Help With Six Night Itinerary - Arenal and ?

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Apr 11th, 2004, 08:18 PM
  #1
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Help With Six Night Itinerary - Arenal and ?

Hello and thanks to all of you for all your help. We are a family of four with a 15 yr old girl and a 17 yr old boy who will be spending 14 nights in Costa Rica, July 31 - Aug 13. We are staying at Los Suenos (for "free") for the first seven nights. We had planned to leave Playa Herradura, drive to San Jose, and fly to the Osa peninula for 4 nights but after reading the posts about Sansa air, we decided to stick to the ground. We intend to rent a car in San Jose and are thinking of driving to Arenal from Playa Herradura. Any suggestions for taking our time driving to and from Arenal, then San Jose, in order to see more of the country?
I know there are many of you who have driven in CR and I'd love to hear of waterfalls or botanical gardens or anything else and places to stay in the area.
Thanks, Catalina
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Apr 12th, 2004, 04:05 AM
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Dear attylonzano,
I think you are making a good decision, traveling inland and to a volcano, rather than spending more time on the beach, although I hear Osa is amazing. There is plenty to do driving from the beach to Arenal. Some interesting things on the way include Turubari Park (www.turubari.com which includes canopy, aerial tram, tropical gardens and more), Poas Volcano, La Paz waterfalls, and Sarchi (arts and crafts town, great for souvenirs etc) to name a few. Driving to these places is not difficult, and the roads in general are good all the way to Arenal. You can spend 2-3 nights getting to Arenal and enjoying these day trips, and stay in Arenal itself for 2 nights before you head back to SJ for your flight back home.
Feel free to write me directly with any more questions or for any more information.
Pura Vida,
Neta Talmor
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Apr 12th, 2004, 04:09 AM
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There is another domestic airline in Costa Rica, currently named Nature Air. When we used them, the name had been TravelAir.
Your drive to Arenal won't be easy. The roadbed around Lake Arenal is in really terrible condition, so be prepared!
There is a botanical garden to the south, the Wilson Botanical Garden. I haven't been there. Actually, the entire country is a botanical garden!
Pura vida - Carol L
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Apr 12th, 2004, 05:14 AM
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Dear carolll,
There is really no need to drive around the lake. attylozano can drive through San Ramon - La Tigra or through Zarcero.
Pura vida,
Neta Talmor
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Apr 12th, 2004, 07:17 AM
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I'd like to know what was written in the post about Sansa that made you decide not to fly them! I've used them in the past with no problems...my husband used them this past Jan. and is intending to use them again at the end of the month. Do you know something he should know? THANKS!!
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Apr 12th, 2004, 04:37 PM
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Thanks to you all. I will print your suggestions. I'd love to hear more, e.g names of small towns to stay in on the way.
To Ally-
I did a search on this forum by typing in "Sansa" and there were honest posts about the turbulence and weight restrictions, the small number of seats in the plane and the fact that these are not new planes. My 15 year old daughter has a fear of flying under the best of circumstances and we did not want to take a chance that her trip to the Osa on Sansa (or any other small plane) would be so traumatic that she would be unable to fly back to San Jose.
Have you done a search on this site for others' experiences with Sansa? Good luck and thanks for the post.
Catalina
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Apr 16th, 2004, 09:31 AM
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Now that it is the weekend, I hope that others will share their thoughts.
Catalina
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Apr 16th, 2004, 01:08 PM
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Just returned April 3rd from CR. We also are a family of four with a 14yr old daughter and a 16yr old son. We rented a 4x4 and had a great time exploring. Places we visited were Playa Hermosa Guanacaste,Arenal,Monteverde, Esterillos Oeste and Manuel Antonio.

If you drive to Herradura, make sure to stop at the Rio Tarcoles Bridge and see the crocodiles(cross the bridge,pull over to the right,walk back 1/2 way across the bridge,lots of crocs.) Take a day trip down to Manuel Antonio, beautiful beach and rainforest. This is a small park, easy to hike in a day, you can park at the entrance for 1,000 colones.We saw alot of wildlife here as there were lots of guides,if you don't want to go on a long guided tour tag along behind one for awhile, look up and figure out what they're looking at, if you have a pair of small binoculars take them with you. We were lucky enough to see a mom and baby sloth down low. There was lots of monkeys, Iguanas running around, our daughter was thrilled to see a Jesus Christ Lizard. Son was happy to go snorkeling and found it better than Hermosa, where we had paid $35 each to go on a snorkeling tour.

Loved Arenal,didn't get to see the volcano as it was clouded over. Most enjoyed by our teen was exploring the Venado Caves, about 45min. drive from La Fortuna(lovely town). You can drive to the site and get a guide, flashlight and rubber boots for 3,000 colones per person. What a great time for all, there is even a waterfalls inside. Take extra clothes, you will get wet and dirty, in one chamber the water was up to my waist. It consists of climbing and crawling in some passages, a wonderul experience unless you're claustrophobic, and yes, you will see bats.

Another favourite activity enjoyed by our teens was the canopy tour in Monteverde, you didn't mention that you are going here, but there are canopy tours everywhere. If you want anymore info. let me know, happy to share.
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Apr 17th, 2004, 07:43 PM
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Jolene,
We are going to Hermosa (and Rincon de la Vieja, Nosara and possibly Samara) in June with our 4 and 6 year old. I would love to hear what you thought of Hermosa, where you stayed and any other recommendations of things we should (and should not) do.

Thanks for your help!
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Apr 18th, 2004, 04:54 AM
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2nd Jolene's recs. I visited the many and varied National Parks with guides and I think CR has more naturalists than any other country.
You may want to do a coffee plantation
tour and be sure to bring some Salsa Lizano home.
Pura Vida!
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Apr 18th, 2004, 06:52 PM
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You might want to consider going from Arenal to Centro Neotropico de Sarapiquis, a hotel in Le Virgen about 2 hours away. Check their website www.sarapiquis.org to get info on a very unusual hotel. While you are there, you could contact Hacienda Pozo Azul for their activities (also have a website). They are a great company and have white water, rapelling, zip lines, horse back riding, etc. Lots to do at very reasonable prices.
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Apr 19th, 2004, 04:25 PM
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I have printed all of your suggestions and we will take them with us. Thanks especially to the mom with 2 kids close in age to my kids.
Catalina
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Apr 25th, 2004, 01:37 PM
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ttt, thanks
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Apr 25th, 2004, 06:42 PM
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Just for the record, the Osa is not just about the beach. It is much more. It is one of the most remote and untraveled rainforests in Costa Rica. Just this past year I spent 4 days at Bosque del Cabo and another 4 days at Bosque del Rio Tigre. Of that whole time I think I spent about 20 minutes on the beach while walking to a pick up after hiking several hours in the forest. My husband actually dislikes the beach but the Osa is his favorite place for many other reasons.
As far as the plane rides down there go..there are about 10 minutes or so of turbulence usually but once you are out of the central valley it is usually smooth sailing and the views are spectacular. I keep my eyes peeled for those King Vultures. They are beautiful birds from above.
I am sure you have firmed up your plans for now but do think about it for next time if you go back.

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