Help planning our itinerary

Dec 20th, 2006, 03:18 PM
  #1  
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Help planning our itinerary

Hubby and I have decided to visit Costa Rica in March. I am hoping to receive some help in deciding our itinerary.

We live in Arizona, so our plane flight will be the USAir direct flight to SJO it will arrive in SJO around 8:30 pm and leave at 7:15 am. I realize these times are not optimal in regards to driving out of San Jose on arrival but the direct flight is quite appealing. We will be leaving Phx on a Sunday and returning the next week on Friday morning. (about 12 days).

this will be our first trip to this region. We love traveling and love to get off the beaten path, but then, we also like to see the not-to-be-missed things too. So far, we are looking at visiting La Fortuna/Arenal, Monteverde and Manuel Antonio. We plan to rent a Rav to get around (it is what we drive here and we love it)

Hubby wants the opportunity to be able to go deep-sea fishing one day. Also, I'm highly interested in Tortuguero. I'm a big turtle lover and the idea of having a chance to see a turtle on the beach laying eggs thrills me. I'm just not sure if we can fit in visiting Tortuguero or not. I've been reading that in order to visit Tortuguero, you have to go on a multi-day excursion set up with one of the hotels in the Tortuguero area. They will pick you up in SJ and drive/boat you in to the region. Is this true or can you get there on your own?

Any suggestions/information is appreciated. These forums helped my husband and I tremendously when we planned our trip to Italy in 2005. I'm hoping for the same with our trip to Costa Rica
mazuka is offline  
Dec 27th, 2006, 07:40 AM
  #2  
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Any suggestions/comments? anyone?
mazuka is offline  
Dec 27th, 2006, 09:00 AM
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Tortuguero is a fabulous place to visit--you are correct that you need to book a package out of San Jose. The turtles come ashore to lay their eggs between July and October. You'll want to save that experience for your RETURN trip!

In March, you might be able to see the giant leatherback turtles at Playa Grande--they come ashore between December and March, so it will be the tailend of that window, but you might get lucky! That area would, however, be quite out of the way for your itinerary.

Your itinerary is good. I think it is a good idea for you, on your first trip to CR, to visit the areas you have mentioned. They are all just excellent. Touristy, but excellent. And not touristy in a crowded miserable way. There is definitely a reason why people flock to those areas. You'll understand when you get there!

12 days is good for 3 areas, especially given the fact that you'll need to spend your first and last nights near the airport. I'd definitely recommend Hotel Villa Bonita B&B--only 5 minutes away, and operated by a wonderful Tico couple, Humberto and Carmen. We love staying with them--they are like family. Another good place to stay is Las Orquideas--about 15 min. from the airport. Nice little bar and restaurant. Also a great staff.

You probably won't care to stay at more "luxe" places for such a short time. UNLESS you get back to the area a couple of days early and spend at least one day exploring the area north of the airport (Poas Volcano and La Paz Waterfall Gardens, Doka Coffee Estates, etc). THEN it might be fun to stay at Vista del Valle or Peace Lodge (on the La Paz property)--both just gorgeous.

Let's say you arrive Sunday, spend the first night near the airport. Then you spend Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday nights at Arenal; Thursday, Friday, Saturday nights at Monteverde; Sunday, Monday, Tuesday nights at Manuel Antonio; Wedneday, Thursday nights back near the airport for that one day of exploring that great area. OR just stay at Manuel Antonio an extra night. You could still explore a little bit on Thursday especially if you returned early (it's a 3 hour drive). Flying out on Friday.

Good luck! We're going in March, also. I'm counting the days already, even though it may be a little soon for that!
shillmac is offline  
Dec 27th, 2006, 09:59 AM
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Thanks to all the help here, we are doing the same trip, leaving on a Sunday in March, staying at Orquideas first night, one night at Peace Lodge, 2 nights in Arenal, 3 nights Monteverde, 4 nights in MA, then the last night back at Orquideas for our Fri. early AM flight back. We are getting very excited about the trip and keep checking here for new ideas and restaurants, etc. Definitely doing the Cano Negro tour from Arenal, thanks Shillmac, I'm enjoying all your great recommendations!
owlwoman is offline  
Dec 27th, 2006, 11:29 AM
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id go to Cano Negro from La Fortuna and skip either.
If you visit Tortuguero you can do it as an overnight trip from La Fortuna.
Your hotel in Manuel Antonio can organize deep sea fishing as Quepos is a major sportfishing destination.

http://costa.rica.typepad.com/la_for...ome/index.html
guanacaste is offline  
Dec 27th, 2006, 11:31 AM
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sorry i meant to say skip Monteverde.
guanacaste is offline  
Dec 27th, 2006, 12:15 PM
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Have a great time!
shillmac is offline  
Jan 8th, 2007, 08:06 AM
  #8  
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Thanks for the replies. I was gone to San Francisco this past week so just now getting a chance to check the board. We talked a lot about costa rica while we driving to SF and came up with this itinerary.

Sunday (3/3) arrive (overnight in San Jose)
Monday - go to Tortuguero
Tuesday - Tortuguero
Wednesday - Tortuguero (fishing day for hubby)
Thurday - Travel from Tortuguero to Arenal area
Friday - Arenal
Saturday - trip to Cano Negro (overnight in Arenal)
Sunday - travel from Arenal to Monteverde
Monday - Monteverde
Tuesday - travel from Monteverde to Manuel Antonio
Wednesday - Manuel Antonio
Thursday travel from MA to SJ
Friday - fly home.
mazuka is offline  
Jan 8th, 2007, 08:15 AM
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thats a lot of time in Tortuguero!
if hubby is mad on fishing he might want to fish out of MA, Tortuguero is mainly tarpon.
Out of MA you can catch sailfish, marlin , dorado and more and you can lounge by the pool, visit the park etc, nothing to do in Tortuguero apart from the canal trip!

http://costa.rica.typepad.com/manuel...ome/index.html
guanacaste is offline  
Jan 8th, 2007, 06:53 PM
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You won't need to do the Cano Negro trip after your time in Tortuguero. We loved boating through the canals. In 2 days, I still hadn't had enough--was just fascinated by it and found it so peaceful. But Cano Negro is more of the same, and takes up an entire day.
shillmac is offline  
Jan 9th, 2007, 07:30 AM
  #11  
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so, would you suggest one less day from tortuguero and one more day in Quepos/MA area? Have hubby fish in Quepos instead?

mazuka is offline  
Jan 9th, 2007, 07:37 AM
  #12  
 
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It's whatever you prefer. We had friends who traveled to Tortuguero and stayed an extra day to fish. They did ocean fishing and river fishing--two days of it, actually. Just depends, as Guanacaste says, on what type of fish you're wanting to catch!
shillmac is offline  
Jan 13th, 2007, 02:06 PM
  #13  
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We've decided to reduce the tortuguero days by one. Hubby has said he isn't interested in fishing now due to the high costs we've found. He'd says "that amount of money will buy me lots of fly fishing gear"

So, now I'm trying to decide whether we want to add that extra day to MA/Quepos region or add visiting Poas for that extra day. Thoughts?
mazuka is offline  

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