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help with 8 days of rainforest, beach and adventure in Costa Rica

help with 8 days of rainforest, beach and adventure in Costa Rica

Old Dec 4th, 2013, 11:59 PM
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help with 8 days of rainforest, beach and adventure in Costa Rica

I am having a difficult time deciding on an itinerary for our 8 days in costa rica. I'm traveling in March with my husband and 3 children ages 26, 23, and 22 so we are looking for some adventure as well as exploring the rain forest and beaches. I have looked at many web sites and tour books but can't decide. I'm thinking maybe of going to monteverde, montezuma and manuel antonio. I think we will love the rainforest, waterfalls, canopy tours, beach with surfing, wildlife and some med-light rafting/kayaking.
Are these the best destinations for the activities we have in mind? I wonder if transportation works well for this loop as we are flying into SJO. I haven't seen any tours that go from sjo to monteverde but it seems logical to go from sjo to monteverde to montezuma to manuel antonio if these are the areas we settle on. Your insight would be appreciated. Thanks.
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Old Dec 5th, 2013, 04:15 AM
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Hi Servins!

If you're looking for a 3-centre trip in this timeframe, I'd be tempted to stick up in the north, rather than dropping all the way down to Manuel Antonio. The obvious replacement would be Arenal, which is a fantastic hub for many activities, including rafting and rainforest / waterfall hikes. You could then head out to the Pacific Coast - either Montezuma, or another great option, especially for surfing, is the Nosara / Samara area, which is nice and laid back. In terms of transportation, there are good shuttles connecting these areas, though I'd suggest considering a rental vehicle. Self drive's a great way to go in Costa Rica, as distances are small, and it gives you a much better degree of flexibility to explore the coast, get to different areas, etc.

Hope that helps,
Dave
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Old Dec 5th, 2013, 04:30 AM
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If you're including travel days, then that would really give you only 6 days, and I would not try to hit 3 locations in that short of a time. I would stick to two spots, such as Monteverde and Manuel Antonio.
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Old Dec 6th, 2013, 12:50 AM
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Yes, I was thinking maybe 2 places makes more sense. Not interested in Arenal this trip but one member of the group wants to include the nicoya peninsula which is why I am thinking Montezuma. What do you think about Montezuma and Manuel Antonio?
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Old Dec 6th, 2013, 10:09 AM
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We recently did a trip to Manuel Antonio and stayed at Tulemar Bungalows - it was fantastic. Loved that they have their own beach, and we saw lots of wildlife on the property including howler and capuchin monkeys, sloths, and an aracari. The beach inside the national park is beautiful as well. Most of the wildlife is very used to people so you can get pretty close and get good photos. We love the Arenal area too; to me, it's best place for adventure activities, but understand if it's not for you. I wouldn't go to two beach areas though; the country is so diverse. We always just book drivers through our hotels when we reserve them.
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Old Dec 6th, 2013, 09:16 PM
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Okay, point taken regarding 2 beaches and Costa Rica's diversity. My daughter, will be at the University for Peace in Costa Rica and is looking forward to some time on the Nicoya peninsula when we arrive in March.....so, maybe a second destination should be either Arenal or Monteverde. So, two questions. Which one, Arenal or Monteverde? I hear the cloud forest is really awesome and has great hikes and canapy tours. 2nd question, As we are coming and going from San Jose, should we start in Nicoya or end there. Flights are already arranged so we can't change airports. I would really appreciate the benefit of your experience.
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Old Dec 6th, 2013, 09:58 PM
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Based on what you said you like, Arenal is a better fit. It has the rafting you're looking for. We did ours with Rios Tropicales, and they were great. Also nice hiking at the volcano and the Hanging Bridges. It has the beautiful La Fortuna Waterfall. You can kayak on Lake Arenal. And see wildlife on the Cano Negro tour. The Penas Blancas river float is nice too and tubing at The Springs resort and spa and visiting the Proyecto Asis animal rescue center. Arenal also has beautiful natural hot springs like Tabacon and Eco Termales and the Sky Trek ziplines. Monteverde is nice if you want to go birding and hike in the cloud forest and they have ziplines too, but we go to Arenal just about every year and still haven't seen or done it all. Monteverde can be quite chilly and rainy; we wore fleece jackets and sweatshirts at night when we were there. And it's kind of a pain to get to since the road is long and bumpy. Both areas are nice; they just have different things to offer. We haven't felt the draw to go back to Monteverde like we have with the Arenal area though.
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Old Dec 9th, 2013, 11:10 PM
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If you're looking for Nicoya peninsula, definitely check out Nosara. It was featured in the National Geographic as one of the best beaches in Costa Rica, but it still has that undiscovered feel. There are lots of travel opportunities to nearby cities such as Playa Samara, Playa Ostional, San Juanillo.

Nosara also has that perfect jungle meets beach feel. There's a SPECTACULAR zipline Miss Sky (even better than the one in Monteverde.. longer cables, better views) and wildlife refuge with opportunities to get up close and personal with some orphaned howler monkeys. It's a big surf/yoga town so you can take lessons in either of those as well.

Nosara is perfect for a short trip because it is centrally located on the peninsula and you can get to other nearby places very easily as well as to and from San Jose or Liberia airports. Arenal and Monteverde, while beautiful, are a bit isolated and it would be difficult for you to see much of anything else if you choose to spend a few days there. Also with it being such a big tourist destination activities in this area such as ziplining or tours cost quite a bit more than in other parts of the country.

I'm a 25 year old American girl who's been living in Nosara, Costa Rica for about 5 years now. I would love to give you or your kids some pointers for your trip. Send me an email at [email protected] and I'll get back to you with some ideas! Pura Vida!
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