Help me plan activities for 2 days in Arenal

Old Mar 8th, 2010, 10:13 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 1,802
Help me plan activities for 2 days in Arenal

Hi all!!
We arrive in Arenal on a Tuesday afternoon around 5pm and depart Friday morning.
That gives us 3 nights and 2 full days to fill.

Can all you experts help me plan the perfect itinerary for those days that would give us a great taste of the Arenal area!? The trick is that I am about 5 months pregnant - -- so cannot do "active" things like ziplining or horseback riding. Also, we have been given recommendations to do Cano Negro -- but with a 3 hour drive to Arenal on Tuesday and a 5 hour drive to Manuel Antonio on Friday, we think it would be too much driving.

- We know we want to do the hanging bridges -- but how long does this take?
- Also, we have heard about a gondola trip/zipline trip (where my husband could maybe take the ziplines down).
- We would love to do the Hot Springs -- but I am not allowed to go into superheated water. So the question is -- are all the springs super hot?

Some recommendations would be appreciated!!
steviegene is offline  
Old Mar 8th, 2010, 10:48 AM
Join Date: May 2007
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The Hanging Bridges took us about 2 hours; it's not strenuous, just a pretty hike. If you're comfortable going up and down steps, you might go to the waterfall as well. You can swim in the little river there. If you don't want to hike all the way down, there's a scenic overlook spot. Sky Trek has a Sky Tram component that you could do. If you wanted to, you could go to the spa at Tabacon while your husband visits the springs there. Cano Negro is one of our favorite things but sounds like you've already ruled it out. There is a portion of the road at the end that is very bumpy. Check out Don Rufino restaurant, one of our favorites. El Novillo is good for steaks, we also like La Choza de Laurel, and Soda la Parada is good if you want something cheap. Another thing you might consider is just hiring a guide for part of the day; we used Sunset Tours, and he spotted some amazing wildlife for us including howlers, toucans, a peccary, and an anteater.
volcanogirl is online now  
Old Mar 9th, 2010, 05:28 AM
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Posts: 1,802
Thanks for your suggestions, and restaurant recommendations.

Would it make sense to do hanging bridges and waterfall in one day?

We would love to do Cano Negro -- just think it may be too much driving.
We will be in the car 3 hours on Tues, then 5 hours on Fri -- so spending another 4 hours in the car either Wed or Thurs seems like too much. But can we decide when we get there -- do the trips book far in advance?
steviegene is offline  
Old Mar 9th, 2010, 06:24 AM
Join Date: May 2007
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If you wanted to, you could do them in the same day. I might break it up into two days just because it's a lot of walking, but up to you and what you're comfortable with. I think you'd be fine to decide on Cano Negro once you're there. It's a great chance to spot wildlife in the area.
volcanogirl is online now  
Old Mar 9th, 2010, 10:06 AM
Join Date: Jan 2004
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Various temp pools at all the springs. The spa at Tabacon is indeed, very nice. Pricey, but nice. You could enjoy a facial; not sure if they do pregnancy massages. Very relaxing place.
shillmac is offline  
Old Mar 10th, 2010, 11:37 AM
Join Date: Jan 2006
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You could take a day trip to Monteverde. There are some nice little shops in LaFortuna for local crafts.

Tabacon is very nice. Check out their website and schedule any spa treatments in advance or you may not be able to find a slot. Foot massage and mud wrap are two of my favorites.

Ecotermales is also a decent place with springs, less commercialized, only 100 allowed in per time slot. If you do the evening slot, you get a wonderful meal with your visit.

There is a small pizza place on the right side of the road going from arenal to la fortuna that makes excellent pizza.

One of the best meals I have ever had was at Hotel Tacotel ... scalloped sea bass.

As for Cano Negro, it has been 7 years and things could have changed, but the last 10 miles or so was on the bumpiest rock covered road and a very uncomfortable drive.

Have fun!
bawlmerhon is offline  
Old Mar 11th, 2010, 06:48 AM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 861
Question about the hanging bridges - When I first read of them, I visualized nice safe pedestrian bridges hanging in the air. Then I saw youtube video of a place in the southern US that has hanging bridges and zip lines. Their hanging bridges are more adventuresome. You wear a harness and the bridges have empty spots in the floor and look like they'd be difficult and scary. Which type are the ones in Costa Rica?
traveler2005 is offline  
Old Mar 11th, 2010, 09:43 AM
Join Date: May 2007
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The ones in the Arenal area are sturdy and look like they were built by an engineer, no harness required.
volcanogirl is online now  
Old Mar 11th, 2010, 10:51 AM
Join Date: Aug 2004
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WE spent 3 1/2 days in Arenal area at end of Feb. Hanging bridges are worth doing but only with a guide; you won't see a thing without one. We had an excellent guide when we booked directly with the hanging bridges; his name is Oscar; Go as early as possible in the day; we went at 9:00, and there were so many groups that the Toucans that had been spotted earlier had been scared off. WE also did two hikes ( more like walks); one at the Arenal Volcano park; one at Silencio Del Campo; a private park on the road from Fortuna just before turn off to Arenal Volcaon NP. Saw monkeys and lots of birds.
We also did the waterfall hike; I would say skip it; very touristy ; also very steep and if its really humid as when we were there, very uncomfortable. I believe if you take a day trip to monte verde you'll spend most of your time in transit.
sammy123 is offline  
Old Mar 11th, 2010, 12:50 PM
Join Date: May 2007
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We loved the waterfall; it was huge and beautiful and the little river where you can swim was crystal clear. Definitely lots of steps though. Agree about the guide at the Hanging Bridges; we had a nice little walk/hike but didn't see any wildlife.
volcanogirl is online now  
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