Help with our Costa Rica itinerary?

Feb 22nd, 2007, 05:53 PM
  #1  
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Help with our Costa Rica itinerary?

Hello, all. Id love your opinion of this draft itinerary for our first trip to CR. (And thanks for all your valuable archived posts.) Boyfriend and I were originally looking for some quiet beach time, but when we decided on CR of course decided we needed to also see the amazing sites. Hoping to start very economical and save the luxury (but not too much) for the end. We plan destinations, but also want to keep it flexible. Were going end of May/early June. That said:

DAY 1: Arrive S. J. around 2pm. Tour the city and stay in town.
DAY 2: Early city touring. Pick up rental car in town; drive to Arenal or La Fortuna. Stay Arenal or La Fortuna.
DAY 3: Tour Arenal area. Volcano, hot springs. Stay Arenal or La Fortuna.
DAY 4: A leisurely drive from Arenal to Monteverde. Stay Monteverde.
DAY 5: Tour Monteverde. Cloud Forest, Butterfly Garden, art galleries. Later day drive to Guancaste. Stay Guancaste.
DAY 6: Guancaste area. Beach time.
DAY 7: Guancaste area. Beach time.
DAY 8: Guancaste area. Beach time.
DAY 9: Drive to Liberia, drop off car, fly home.

Any recommendations welcomed! Thanks in advance.
ascoli is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2007, 06:22 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
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well IMHO id leave Monteverde for another trip, it AINT a leisurely drive!!
youll lose a day getting there and out of there.
Spend an extra day in La Fortuna, more to see and do:

http://costa.rica.typepad.com/la_for...ome/index.html
guanacaste is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2007, 06:30 PM
  #3  
 
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Posts: 5,541
Agree, drop off Monteverde as you only have 9 days and spend the extra in Arenal.
tully is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2007, 09:49 PM
  #4  
 
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Same rec. here. Arenal needs 3 nights. Try to include the all day Cano Negro tour--it's just excellent.
shillmac is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2007, 05:09 AM
  #5  
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Thanks very much for the insight! If we drop Monteverde, and drive directly (?) to Guancaste/Gold Coast, any recommendations of route or what we should see along the way? Or will we kick ourselves for missing the Cloud Forest?
ascoli is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2007, 09:31 AM
  #6  
 
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well, Monteverde Cloud Forest is lovely but its not the Amazon.
and you just DONT have time!
There are better wildlife spotting opportunities at Cano Negro Reserve:

http://costa.rica.typepad.com/cano_n...ome/index.html

and if youre in Northern Guanacaste visit Rincon de la Vieja

guanacaste is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2007, 10:36 AM
  #7  
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Excellent. Thanks again!
ascoli is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2007, 10:53 AM
  #8  
 
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con gusto
guanacaste is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2007, 05:02 PM
  #9  
 
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We just returned from CR. Drove that terrible road to Monteverde and we felt it wasnt worth the trip. I'd skip Monteverde for sure.
Eagle is offline  
Feb 25th, 2007, 08:59 PM
  #10  
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Based on these insights, and many others (as well as having to shorten our time to 8 days...), we've revised the itinerary:

DAY 1: arrive Liberia in evening
DAY 2: drive to Arenal/La Fortuna
DAY 3: Arenal/La Fortuna
DAY 4: drive EITHER to Quepos or Nicoya Peninsula
DAY 5: beach and hikes
DAY 6: beach and hikes
DAY 7: beach and hikes
DAY 8: depart Liberia in morning

Terribly short, but all we could swing this year. I'm having the hardest time trying to judge distances and times. For instance, how long will it take us to get from Liberia to Quepos or the Nicoya Peninsula?

Thanks again.
ascoli is offline  
Feb 26th, 2007, 05:30 AM
  #11  
 
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Why are you going to Quepos.
Its a sport fishing town! At weekends it fills with farmworkers getting drunk.
Only reason to stay there is your're a backapcker who can't afford the hotel in next door Manuel Antonio?

Where on the Nicoya Peninsula? It covers nearly a fifth of Costa Rica.

Best and nearest beaches to Liberia Airport are Playa Hermosa and Playa Ocotal, both about 30 mins drive from the airport:

http://costa.rica.typepad.com/playa_...ome/index.html


http://costa.rica.typepad.com/playa_...ome/index.html


guanacaste is offline  
Feb 26th, 2007, 09:26 AM
  #12  
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Ha, Guanacaste! That's quite a different take on Quepos from what I've heard from others (quiet, secluded...). Thanks for the perspective!

We were looking at Mal Pais and Montezuma, but fear we may be spending too much time in the car getting there and back.
ascoli is offline  
Feb 26th, 2007, 10:22 AM
  #13  
 
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When most people say Quepos they actually mean Manuel Antonio, which is technically not a town as it is a park, but people refer to it as such anyway, myself included. The two are somewhat interchangeable. MA is a lovely place and great place to visit, especially on your first visit.
tully is offline  
Feb 26th, 2007, 06:05 PM
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I have not yet visited the Nicoya peninsula, but loved Manuel Antonio this past December. As Tully alluded, Manuel Antonio is just minutes south of Quepos. As you leave Quepos and head up the hill towards the national park, there are several good hotel choices (many with lovely views of the Pacific). The national park was wonderful; beautiful beaches, a variety of hiking trails, and lots of wildlife (monkeys, sloths, iguanas, etc...).

I thought Arenal and Manuel Antonio were the perfect destinations for my first trip to Costa Rica.

Lots of people speak highly of Mal Pais and Montezuma as well, so you probably won't go wrong regardless of what you choose. Hope you have a terrific time!
cmerrell is offline  
Feb 27th, 2007, 04:43 PM
  #15  
 
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We stayed in La Fortuna for several days and did the following 1/2 day adventures:
an ATV ride with a hike to a waterfall
a bat cave tour which was amazing
a zip line which was unbelievable fun
Tabacon for a massage, facial and a pina colada in the hot springs pool.
Nights we watched the lava flow off the mountain. Montezuma is a gross town full of pot heads and back packers, but the walk to the waterfall was fun and easy.
annergizer is offline  
Feb 27th, 2007, 04:52 PM
  #16  
 
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ascoli,
I agree with other posters that Arenal and Manuel Antonio are perfect for a first visit, particularly 8 days in length.

A little concerned about why you are flying into Liberia. Arenal is 4 hours from Liberia (approx) and 2.5-3 hours from the San Jose airport. Manuel Antonio is 3 hours from SJO, but 4-4.5 hours from Liberia. Flying in and out of SJO would serve your purposes much better, and is usually cheaper. You can expect about 5-6 hours transfer time between Arenal and MA. Good choices for you--enjoy yourselves!
shillmac is offline  
Feb 27th, 2007, 06:05 PM
  #17  
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Thank you to everyone for your help!! At the risk of sounding terribly wishy-washy...I've been in "high-research mode" and trying to take it all in. The one thing we've definitely decided is that this is just our first trip to CR! That said, because we do have a limited time and we don't want to spend it all in the car, we're going to focus on the North Pacific this trip, using Playas Hermosa as our base to exlore the coast (avoiding the busy, built-up beaches); Rincon de la Vieja, the Guanacaste National Park. If the spirit moves us, we'll head east to Arenal or Caño Negro; we'll just wait and see! Again--thanks so much for your help!
ascoli is offline  
Feb 28th, 2007, 05:09 AM
  #18  
 
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"using Playas Hermosa as our base to exlore the coast (avoiding the busy, built-up beaches"


There is major construction in Playa Hermosa- as there is on most Guanacaste beaches-, book a hotel on the beach and you wont notice it!
guanacaste is offline  
Feb 28th, 2007, 04:04 PM
  #19  
 
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Great idea--lots to see and do in that area. Have a nice time! Yes, you'll return!
shillmac is offline  

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