Help w/ honeymoon to Costa Rica

Old Feb 2nd, 2010, 07:12 AM
  #1  
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Help w/ honeymoon to Costa Rica

We are spending 7 nights in late june early july for our honeymoon. Here is what I was thinking, please let me know if I'm missing something. What we are looking for in this trip is beach and lots of sightseeing.

So I was thinking we arrive in San Jose airport and go straight to Arenal. Is there a shuttle bus or taxi that can take us to Arenal? How far is the ride?
- stay 2 nights in Arenal (Silencio del Campo).I'm open to suggestions on where to stay here, I would like to see the hot springs and volcano and do horseback riding. Is there beaches in Arenal? I would love to stay at a beach hotel/resort but still have views of the volcano
- day 3 go back to the San Jose airport and fly to Osa.Stay at Lapa Rios (or another suggestion). Spend the rest of the time here in Osa until we fly back to San Jose to go home.
Am I missing something important?
Some more questions,
Silencio del Campo, is it within walking distance to shops or restaurants/bars?
same with Lapa Rios.We don't want to be totally secluded since we would like to take walks and simply explore life in CR

thank you all for your help
jmestyle is offline  
Old Feb 2nd, 2010, 09:00 AM
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I'm adding more info..

Does this trip seem like to much traveling?
I just realized that we would have to fly to San Jose,fly to Arenal, stay for 3 days,fly back to San Jose and then fly to Osa.
Is the checkin process longer than the actual flight?
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Old Feb 2nd, 2010, 09:35 AM
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There are no beaches in Arenal. Check a map. However, some of the resorts have pools that allow you so soak in volcanically heated water while viewing the volcano (or viewing the cloudcover and wonder what the volcano looks like). Time to buy a Travel Guide. You are wise to pick two major locations rather than three. Take time to enjoy the places. Transportation takes more time that it ought to. Getting to and from Osa can eat up most of a day. Or if you want the Osa experience, plan to spend the whole time there. Bosque del Cabo is the resort that has the biggest following on this forum. There are a few others, but they lack the following that BdC has here.

Lapa Rios is very secluded. It is possible to eat at one or two of the other resorts, but there is no street of restaurants, and even Puerto Jiminez is pretty limited. The beaches available from Lapa Rios are natural (meaning with lots of nature and clothed people) and at some distance from the hotel. They are not staffed, guarded, or provided with chairs unless you are at Casa Bambu or similar. If you really want Costa Rican beaches at their best, you may want to be in another part of the country all together.

Or, you might consider saving Osa for another trip and going instead to Manuel Antonio for the beach segment. Staying at Tulemar or Buena Vista Villas will allow you to use one of the most delightful beaches (in my opinion) in the country. If you want romantic, fancy, or sophisticated resorts, a wide choice is available in Manuel Antonio. A wide choice of restaurants is available, as well as hiking in the park, and lots of typical activities.
Kinkazote is offline  
Old Feb 2nd, 2010, 09:46 AM
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Silencio del Campo is a lovely place. The grounds are beautiful there and it's a smaller locally owned lodge, with hot springs on site. The location isn't really walkable into town convenient to town where taxi isn't a big cost. Since you mention wanting to walk around and explore (I'm one of the Bosque del Cabo fans here) you might check out BDC over Lapa Rios in that they offer a great trail system that you can hike on your own whenever you want, besides it being a wonderful place. As mentioned above, Manuel Antonio would offer more dining choices, beaches and walking distance to things than either Arenal or Osa.
hipvirgochick is offline  
Old Feb 2nd, 2010, 10:01 AM
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So much of your planning will depend on arrival and departure times into and out of SJO. It is possible you may need to spend first and/or last nights near the airport. Logistics of travel in Costa Rica can be very tricky! Just be sure you have all 7 nights to spend at your two destinations rather than just 5 nights.

While I think you have selected 2 excellent destinations, just be aware that, with regard to domestic flights, morning is the best time for the green season (rainy afternoons) months. Less of a chance of having a flight canceled or delayed due to weather.

It would be helpful (for us to help you) if you would let us know your arrival and departure times.

I second the Bosque del Cabo suggestions. It is right next door to Lapa Rios and would offer you, my opinion, a better overall experience (though I've not stayed at LR). People on this board who frequent BdC and return again and again don't seem to be interested in finding out much about Lapa Rios. That speaks volumes.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2010, 10:21 AM
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SJO to Arenal is about 3 hours by car if you decide not to fly; you can drive it, take Interbus if it fits your schedule, or hire a private driver which will run you about $140. Most people do Arenal and Manuel Atonio for their first trip; it gives you a good combo of volcano and beach time and lots of adventure activities. Since you specifically mentioned that you want beach time and don't want to be isolated, I think MA would be a better fit for you, although we loved Bosque del Cabo on the Osa. I'd spend at least three nights in Arenal since you'll spend your first day traveling.
volcanogirl is offline  
Old Feb 2nd, 2010, 10:47 AM
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Do you see the same type of wildlife in MA as you would in Osa?
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Old Feb 2nd, 2010, 10:56 AM
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They are such completely different places. The Osa is off the grid. You'd most likely spend most of your time at whichever property you choose. At a place like BdC, you can spend days hiking the trails, but you'll have to hike to get down to the beach. The wildlife is amazing, jaw dropping, and you might be the only person around to see it. Places on the Osa are isolated, so you usually eat most of your meals on the property. It's Costa Rica in a very natural state. Dinners at BdC are communal so it's fun to share with everyone else about your day. Doing tours can add up because you'll have to pay for transportation i.e. we went to the animal sanctuary, but had to pay the boat fee to get there. If you want to do tours, try to talk to others to see if they want to share the cost.

Manuel Antonio is a lot busier - lots of hotel and restaurant choices, and a very pretty beach inside the national park, but the wildlife is really used to people because people feed the monkeys, etc. I remember 15 people crowding around a monkey to take its picture. On the Osa, I saw troops of monkeys swing by our cabin, and no one else was around.

You have to really know your own personality and pick whichever one suits you best. For us, the Osa had a much bigger wow factor, but MA was pretty and very easy to get around and had some great restaurants. You'll see sloths, monkeys, etc. in both places but the experience will be really different.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2010, 11:38 AM
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At BDC you will see Scarlet Macaws, Toucans, Agoutis, Coatis, pelicans, sloths, 4 species of monkeys (most times), maybe peccaries, anteaters (and lots more). All within the grounds and hiking trails. You will not have this at your lodges in Manuel Antonio, however you might be lucky to see a good amount of wildlife in the park, especially if you hire a guide.

As vgirl says it's really a personal preference as to which area suits you best. They are both beautiful areas.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2010, 12:07 PM
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jmestyle-

You will see a lot of the same critters in MA. You will certainly see monkeys, raccoons, coatis, and birds inside the park, possibly very aggressive ones, and many more species at times. From our balcony at Si Como No outside the park proper, we have seen toucans, agoutis, coatis, sloths, (distant) pelicans, three kinds of monkey, fiery billed acaries, a kinkajou, etc. No snakes or large cats there, though. Check the reviews at Trip Advisor for the hotels/resorts/lodges you are considering. Study the BdC website. It is the best lodge website I have ever seen. Quite a few CR websites tend to exaggerate the luxury, lushness, or scenic features of a property.
Kinkazote is offline  
Old Feb 2nd, 2010, 12:39 PM
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Thanks everyone, you are all very helpful.It sounds like I need more than a week!
Maybe I should kick out Arenal and just head to BdC and stay there the whole week.
I just really wanted to see the hot springs and volcano :/
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Old Feb 2nd, 2010, 01:44 PM
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I wouldn't skip Arenal - it's a wonderful area, and the volcano is amazing. You can do the Cano Negro tour to see wildlife there, hike the waterfall, do the Hanging Bridges - I think it's a don't miss. Just pair it with either MA or the Osa, and you'd have a great trip.

http://www.bosquedelcabo.com/home/index.html is a link to the BdC video if you haven't seen it.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2010, 02:56 PM
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Tulemar Bungalows/Buena Vista Villas (same group) at Manuel Antonio will offer some amazing wildlife (or generally does) without even going into the park (although you'd certainly not want to skip the park). We've stayed there the past 2 years and have had white faced (Capuchin) monkeys and squirrel monkeys (this is the only other place for these outside the Osa--they are endangered) all around our villa, even right on the porch.

In addition, there has been one or more than one sloth both times in the trees directly over the pool--up close and personal. So that's pretty good for just viewing in the vicinity of the lodge. Nothing like Bosque del Cabo, of course, but not bad either. Add to that, we saw our first fer de lance (snake) just outside our villa. Last place we'd have ever thought to be on the lookout, and there it was. Gave us a new appreciation for keeping our eyes on the ground when walking just about anywhere! After so many uneventful walks, one has a tendency to let down one's guard. That's a no-no!

With the short flights to the Osa (45 min), even 3 nights there is good, 4 is better, 5 really cool, 6 or more pure heaven. We are more interested in that area now than the Arenal area, but that isn't to say the Arenal area and the volcano isn't a great location. The hot springs are awesome, and I particularly enjoy the Grand Spa at Tabacon Hot Springs--it has a very high rating among all spas in Mexico, Central America, and South America. It would be fun honeymoon treat. Fabulous experience.

It's true that most people choose Arenal/Manuel Antonio for the first trip, but with domestic air, you can get to the Osa in just a few minutes longer than the flight to MA. Either way you go, you can't lose. You'll love it all!

Having been to both the Osa and MA numerous times, I'd choose the Osa hands down. But we sure thought MA was darned special our first time there! A big draw for the Osa is that it is less developed, more pristine, and may not stay that way for long. Manuel Antonio was the first national park and has been a big attraction for years--but not in the same way we think of attractions and crowds here in the states, particular in June or July. Don't let that deter you.
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