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NYTeacher Jan 3rd, 2010 07:16 PM

Help needed with Costa Rica trip
We are arriving San Jose evening of February 13 and leaving morning of February 21. Want to stay at Arenal and one beach (3 or 4 nights at one, 3 or 4 at the other, final night in San Jose due to early flight?). We have 3 girls - 8, 13 and 14. Some initial questions:

Transportation from San Jose to Arenal: How long a ride is it? Can we do it with an evening arrival? If not, where to stay for the night?

Which beach area to stay at? Was thinking Manuel Antonio, but is that too far? What about Samara?

How to get from Arenal to beach and from beach back to San Jose?

Given ages of kids, what are the top 4-5 "must do" activities? Thinking zipline/canopy is a must, but what else?

Thanks, in advance, for any advice.

volcanogirl Jan 3rd, 2010 07:47 PM

It's about 3 hours from San Jose to Arenal; I wouldn't do the drive in the dark. You can hire a private driver or stay the night and head out the next morning. We like Xandari as a place to stay. Grano de Oro is good if you're looking for a city hotel. From Arenal to MA is about 5 hours; lots of people do it - it's not too far. You could do Interbus, but with that many people, a private driver would be better or drive yourselves. You'll definitely want to see the volcano, visit the natural hot springs, and do the Cano Negro tour. Can also zipline, white water raft, and hike the waterfall. Visit the national park and maybe do a mangrove tour and go horseback riding or sailing.

qwovadis Jan 4th, 2010 05:36 AM

too late to go to Arenal stay around the airport is nice for budget

rent a car with 5 or

Interbus will not for Arenal Liguid Lava tour nice

maybe Rio Celeste hike then for brsch Villa Mot Mot

Have fun,


MichelleY Jan 4th, 2010 03:56 PM

Agree with the previous posters. If you are flying in and out of San Jose, then Manuel Antonio would be a handier beach stay than Samara. Plus probably more amenities to keep the teens happy.

Good luck and check out the trip reports here to get planning ideas.

shillmac Jan 4th, 2010 07:59 PM

Second qwo's Villa Mot Mot recommendation. Great private beach at Tulemar Bungalows, also lots of wildlife right there. We always see monkeys (squirrel and white faced) and sloths. And of course, it was right there at MotMot that we had that unexpected close encounter with a fer de lance! Glad it turned out to be a safe encounter; it was an awesome experience. Still feeling a little guilty as the hotel personnel responded with a machete.

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