Hotel ?

Jan 15th, 2005, 02:46 PM
  #1  
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Hotel ?

I am looking for a hotel for our first night in Costa Rica. We will be arriving mid-day into San Jose and traveling by rental car to Playa Grande. I want to go someplace the first night that isn't too far from the airport and on the way to Playa Grande AND close to zip lines and hanging bridges. Can anyone suggest such a place?
tbelgian is offline  
Jan 15th, 2005, 06:42 PM
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The road to Playa Grande is Interamerican highway a good part of the way. Once you get on it, your best bet is to drive until you get there! It will take around 5 hours. I would suggest Las Orquideas Hotel (or the airport Hampton Inn) for overnight. Another option is a small B&B about 5 minutes from the airport (with very easy access to the highway) called Villa Bonita. www.hotelvillabonita.com

There is a zipline north of the town of San Ramon, but it is north of the highway and out of your way. But if you mean that you want to do a zipline/canopy tour on the way to Playa Grande (?), I suppose you could state at Valle Escondido, which is a small hotel in that area. Again, though, it would be out of your way as it is on the road to Arenal, not Playa Grande!

If you are interested in Hanging Bridges AND a canopy tour, you should plan to drive up to Arenal for 2 nights so you can do those things. Then move on to Playa Grande. Arenal is a great location! It is about 2.5 or 3 hours from the airport. I'm not sure how late "mid day" you are arriving. 1:00 would set you up really well to get to Arenal before dark. 3:00 would be too late and would necessitate staying near the airport and starting off the next day. Not recommended driving after dark. Everyone and their dog (literally, along with horses and cattle) will be along the side of the road, if not right in the center!
shillmac is offline  
Jan 16th, 2005, 06:37 AM
  #3  
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Thanks for the info. How long a drive is it from Arenal to Playa Grande? Would it make any sense to go to Arenal for 1 night and tour around part of that next day and then drive to Playa Grande later that afternoon?
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Jan 16th, 2005, 06:50 AM
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From the airport to Playa Grande is approximately 5 hours.

Airport to Arenal is 2.5-3 hours.

Arenal to Playa Grande is close to 4 hours.

You can do the math. It might be worth the extra couple of drive hours to you. Tabacon Hot Springs near Arenal is what I would choose to do given just a few hours. However, you COULD do that at night after you arrive (not sure how late they are open, but I think until 9:00 or 10:00)and use the next morning for the Hanging Bridges, a canopy tour, or hiking, whichever sounds good to you. If you leave Arenal between noon and 1:00, you should be in Playa Grande before dark.

Generally, most wouldn't recommend just one night at Arenal, but it certainly can be done the way you are proposing. It really is a place that deserves more time, however.

You didn't say what time your flight arrives. Remember it gets dark very quickly sometime between 5:30 and 6:00 in the evening. It could take you from an hour to an hour and a half to pick up luggage (helps if you don't check any), go through immigration, and arrange for your rental. If you don't arrive until 3:00, I'd probably scrap the idea of spending the night at Arenal. If you arrive at noon, that's different!

I guess your airline tickets are booked? It would have been handy to fly into Liberia! Only a little over an hour from Playa Grande. . .
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Jan 16th, 2005, 07:10 AM
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We are booked on a US Air flight that is suppose to get in at 2:05. We're hopeing. We are planning on just carry ons. This trip is in March. Will it still be getting dark around 5:30? I wanted to fly into Liberia but it was so much more expensive. We like to drive and see the countryside, but Liberia would have been great. If this does work out, would you stay right at the Tabacon resort?
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Jan 16th, 2005, 07:32 AM
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I'm thinking you can be on your way no later than 3:30, provided you arrive on time. Perhaps sooner. You will be able to drive most of the way while it is still light. It isn't completely dark at 5:30, but will be soon thereafter! Yes, the same every day of the year due to close proximity to the equator.

The drive is fairly easy and the road is decent. It requires care, of course, but by the time it is dark, you will be very close to Arenal and should be able to make your way on in with no problems.

There are a lot of opinions about staying at Tabacon. It has gotten mixed reviews at best. The advantage is that admission to the hotsprings is free if you are a hotel guest. The admission is rather steep. Check their website to see what it is running these days. Seems like about $29 per person.

We like Arenal Paraiso because, should you get lucky, it will give you a great view of the lava flow. You could get checked in by 7:00, unload your things, and head to the springs about 5 minutes down the road. However, by this time, you may be too tired to do anything but sleep! Nights come early and mornings come early! It is usually a good idea to rise with the sun and get a start on the day. I'd still suggest 2 nights at Arenal just so you don't feel like you spend your entire first 2 days traveling nonstop.
shillmac is offline  
Jan 16th, 2005, 07:35 AM
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Need to clarify. When stating times, I tend to err on the long side! You might very well be on your way by 3:00 p.m. and checked into your Arenal hotel by 6:00 p.m. But probably NO LATER than 7:00!
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Jan 16th, 2005, 10:14 AM
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Thanks Shillmac for all of the help. I think we will try to get to Arenal if our plane is on time. I just emailed Arenal Paraiso to see about reservations. It looks like we can't afford to get lost. Thanks again!
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Jan 16th, 2005, 10:16 AM
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Good luck and have a great time! If you don't receive an e-mail response, give them a call. From the US, you dial 011 (506)--- ----.
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Jan 16th, 2005, 02:48 PM
  #10  
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They already got back to me! This has to be a record as for Costa Rica standards. Again, thanks for the suggestion!
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Jan 16th, 2005, 07:13 PM
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Good deal. That must be some kind of record. . . Have fun!
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