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Is Jan the coolest dry season month in Osa & where else to go for wildlife?

Is Jan the coolest dry season month in Osa & where else to go for wildlife?

Old May 5th, 2009, 12:33 PM
  #1  
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Is Jan the coolest dry season month in Osa & where else to go for wildlife?

This would be our first trip to Costa Rica. Planning approx 8/9 days. How's the temp in late Jan? Is there a cooler period outside of the green season?

I was originally thinking of splitting our stay at 2 locations in Osa , Playa Nicuesa and BDC, but am concerned that the location of Playa Nicuesa down by the beach might be hotter and buggier than BDC's location on a bluff. Anyone agree or disagree? My thought on the split stay was that we would have easier access to water based activities such as boat rides and kayaking as well as visit the animal sanctuary from Playa Nicuesa and at BDC we could just do onsite stuff.

I'm also considering a split between BDC and somewhere entirely different but need suggestions on where. I've ruled out Tortuguero based on it not being turtle nesting season. Here's our criteria if choosing a different location:

1) View wildlife in a natural setting. I don't want to see monkeys that know how to open potato chip bags (a comment I read in reference to MA). We're not really birders but do enjoying looking at everything. A mix of mammals and birds would be ideal.

2) No crowds.

4) Cooler than Osa.

4) Not too long or difficult to get to. Logistically easy to combine with Osa.

5) Reasonably nice accommodation.

Does what we're looking for exist?

We went to Belize earlier this year and split our inland time between Lamanai Outpost Lodge and Chan Chich which we thought was a perfect combination if that gives some idea of what we like.

Realistically, when do I need to start booking or am I late already?

One last thing, we'll probably try to fly Lacsa nonstop from LAX. As much as it pains me to forgo the frequent flyer miles it does save us a lot of time over other options and the morning arrival/evening departure means we don't need to overnight near the airport.

Thanks!
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Old May 5th, 2009, 02:27 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2008
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Osa will be great do www.bosquedelcabo.com much better

Would stay there but if a split for nicer beachier area

Might consider Mal Pais bordering Cabo Blanco...

Bordering Cabo Blanco Wildlife Reserve, Mal Pais is a perfect ... Unique in Costa Rica's national park system, Curú is ...

https://www.montezuma-hotels.com/hot...tel-casa-chame

Do reserve soon high season,have fun
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Old May 5th, 2009, 02:28 PM
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You might enjoy Arenal. Arenal is our favorite spot - it has the Cano Negro tour with Sunset Tours where we saw a lot of wildlife like capuchins, howlers, bats, sloths, caimans, and birds, a waterfall, ziplines like Sky Trek, natural hot springs like Eco Termales, and the Hanging Bridges. One day we hired our own nature guide through Sunset Tours, and we saw an anteater, howler monkeys, toucans, loads of birds, and a peccary - kind of amazing because we weren't seeing much on our own. Wherever you go, I would visit the Osa last because it will kind of spoil you for spotting wildlife in other places. Arenal is about 3 hours from SJO if you drive, but you can also fly there.

I'm the one that made the MA monkey chip comment - lol.
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Old May 5th, 2009, 02:31 PM
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http://www.hotelcasachameleon.com/co...tel-about.html

sorry pooced the link...agree with VG

www.arenal.net makes a nice stop

not too much wildlife there though

only on the full day Cano Negro tour...
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Old May 5th, 2009, 02:34 PM
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Duh, I forgot the best part of Arenal - the active volcano which is really cool. Our favorite place is the Lost Iguana, but there are a lot of great spots.
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Old May 5th, 2009, 02:43 PM
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I really don't remember being that much hotter at Playa Nicuesa than at Bosque, the rooms are fairly close to the beach (about 2 minutes walk) so there was always a decent breeze at PN. At Bosque there's always a nice breeze in May & June, not sure about Jan though. As far as wildlife, I did not not have a bad time at PN but was a little disappointed in the amount of wildlife and the upkeep of the trails. Maybe it was the time of year (May) and maybe they've worked on their trails some more. For wildlife, you just can't beat Bosque, so I would devote at least 4 days there, the beach is not far away to walk to or you can even get a 5 minute ride.

Someplace else....there's a couple different areas but they only fit your requests here and there. Selva Verde is a very nice place, though may be packed full in Jan not sure. It would also be as hot as the Osa but tons of frogs, birds and animals, plus La Selva OTS is nearby. A place that would definitely be cooler than Osa would be Bosque de Paz, about a 2 hour drive from Alajuela. Lots of birds, some animals of the agouti/coati sort and very peaceful. Small place so no crowds but it is very low key, the owners are very hands on. Arenal of course is another option, still hot but decent wildlife spottings but it's a very popular place.
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Old May 5th, 2009, 03:16 PM
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Thanks for the comments so far!

I do plan to stay at least 4 nights at BDC.

qwovadis,
Do you mean Bosque del Cabo is much better than Playa Nicuesa? Could you expand on that comment as to why?

I hadn't really thought of the Nicoya peninsula only because it seemed far from Osa but I see that I could fly from Tambor early in the morning and connect to Puerto Jimenez via San Jose. How do the temperatures and wildlife viewing compare to Osa and what makes it unique?

volcanogirl,
Ah, so you're the monkey chip commentator! I couldn't quite remember where I'd read that. Is the Cano Negro tour a 2 hour drive each way from Arenal? On your other day, did you do local wildlife viewing with a guide? Where specifically did you go that day and how did this compare with Cano Negro? Would you say you saw much more at Cano Negro? How busy are the trails in the Arenal area?

tully,
Thanks for letting me know the location of PN isn't that much hotter. It wasn't so much the beach we were wanting (as a matter of fact beach isn't even one of the things we're necessarily looking for) but it seemed to me that it would be easier to do certain activities from PN whereas at BDC we'd have to go back/forth to/from Puerto Jimenez.

I'd considered Bosque de Paz but some reviews I read mentioned that they feed the wildlife and that gave me pause. Is that true?

Thanks again, all!
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Old May 5th, 2009, 05:34 PM
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Yes, I'm monkey chip girl!

Cano Negro is a couple of hours away near the border of Nicaragua; it's a neat boat ride into a preserve, and you travel up and down the river spotting wildlife. We've gone during rainy season and saw tons of wildlife. I really loved it. We've been to Arenal twice already and are planning to go back again this summer. It's the spot that keeps drawing us back. We met our guide on the Cano Negro tour and hired him to take us out for the morning; it was really cool. We were staying at the Lost Iguana, and he took us about 5 minutes away to some land owned by the electric company, and we just spotted wildlife all morning - seeing the anteater and the peccary were so cool, and we saw tons of howlers, and an ornate hawk eagle, toucans, all kinds of cool things. The funny thing is I've never thought of Arenal as having great wildlife, but he just kept finding one amazing thing after another. He brought a couple of other guides along, and they made us coffee, and we had that and cookies in the jungle, kind of like a jungle tea party - it was really awesome. The things you see at Cano Negro are different because it's water-based, so lots of caimans and water birds and things like that. On our ride there, we stopped whenever we would see wildlife, so I liked that that broke up the drive a bit. Arenal just has load to do, and that's what I like about it. I'm a go, go, go vacationer and like to see and do as much as possible.
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Old May 5th, 2009, 05:53 PM
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Playa Nicuesa was okay but I would rec Bosque del Cabo 10, no, 100 times more, lol. Playa Nicuesa is on a much smaller plot of land, BdC is a couple hundred acres, think they're up to 750 now. There is just so much wildlife at BdC & really so much to do I've never felt compelled to leave much, maybe the refuge or horseback riding. You could also stay closer to PJ at a place like Iguana Lodge for 1-2 nights if you want o do more daytrips from there.

At Bosque del Paz, they do put out bird seed which the agouti's, paca's and of course coati's snuff out. There are much more birds there than animals and it did get quite nippy at night.
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Old May 5th, 2009, 07:10 PM
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Thanks guys! The more I research the more confused I get

What do you think of San Gerardo de Dota? Is it primarily a birding area? It looks beautiful though and I think has many of the things we're looking for. Are you able to hike on your own directly from the lodges here?

Or maybe we should just stay at BDC the whole time. It seems to have everything we're looking for.
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Old May 7th, 2009, 10:32 AM
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While I still haven't figured out exactly what I'd like to do, I started looking at Sansa and Nature Air flight schedules. When does Sansa usually release their high season schedule? Can I roughly go by the current schedule or is there a great deal of variance between low and high seasons?

If we're arriving SJO at 9:00am, can we make a 11:00 flight out of Pavas? Returning if we can get a flight that gets into SJO around 4:30pm is that plenty of time to connect to a 7:00pm intl flight? How far is the Sansa terminal from the intl terminal?

Thanks!
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Old May 7th, 2009, 11:09 AM
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The Sansa terminal is right next door to the International terminal. You never know about connecting flights - planes run late all the time, customs and immigration times vary. We've breezed through in half and hour and had it take as long as 3 hours.
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Old May 7th, 2009, 01:04 PM
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Assuming an on time intl arrival, flying business class with carry on only, normal traffic conditions for that time of day, is a 2 hour window enough to make a flight out of Pavas? How much time does everyone else usually allow if headed directly somewhere by air?

For those who have missed their flights, do Sansa and Nature Air allow you to take the next available flight (provided there's space) or do you forfeit the ticket and buy a new one?

volcanogirl,
Are you saying it's taken you 3 hours to go through immigration/customs on arrival? Any particular reason why it took so long?
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Old May 7th, 2009, 01:14 PM
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Yep, that's what I'm saying. We had five planes land at once, and the line was really long, winding all the way through the terminal past the shops and fast food places. 3 terrible hours; we had a patient driver waiting for us the entire time. That's why I say you really can't predict it.
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Old May 7th, 2009, 01:35 PM
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Patty, we went to BdC only on our first trip to Costa Rica, and it was fantastic. But, the more I read after getting back, the more it bugged me that we didn't see a different part of the country. This trip, we spent time at BdC, and then flew to Arenal. We loved experiencing such a different ecosystem, and of course seeing the volcano was awesome. Even though it was a busier area with more tourists, it was still very peaceful. We stayed at Arenal Observatory Lodge, and they have a fair amount of walking trails.

Regarding flights, I booked our Sansa flight during 'green' season, and when we got to the airport, our flight number's time had changed from 9:30 to 2:15. We didn't even think to double check it ahead of time. I highly recommend that you not book those flights too far in advance. We ended up getting a Nature Air flight last minute, and Sansa did give us a credit (although not without us pushing for it since it didn't happen within the 30 days they told us it would).
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Old May 7th, 2009, 02:07 PM
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Right now I'm leaning toward 5 nights at BDC and 2-3 nights somewhere else (not in Osa). I think it would ultimately bother me too to not see more of Costa Rica. And as much as I'd like to save BDC for last, I think we'll also go there first and then head somewhere closer to SJO so that we can just drive back on our departure day.

I don't plan to book flights any time soon, just trying to get a rough idea of what's possible.

Thanks everyone!
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Old May 7th, 2009, 05:00 PM
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My vote is for the San Gerardo de Dota area. Savegre Lodge would give you an entirely different experience. It meets every one of your criteria; beautiful cloud forest, not hot at all,no crowds. About 2 1/2 hour drive from San Jose.Amazing birdlife, including the resplendent quetzel and hummingbirds galore. Yes, mainly birdlife, but also great hiking, horseback riding and even trout-fishing! Just a completely different experience.
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Old May 7th, 2009, 07:22 PM
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Or how's this?

Day 1 - arrive 9:00am, head to Sarapiqui
Day 2 - Sarapiqui
Day 3 - back to San Jose, fly to BDC
Day 4 - BDC
Day 5 - BDC
Day 6 - BDC
Day 7 - fly back to San Jose, head to San Gerardo de Dota
Day 8 - San Gerardo de Dota
Day 9 - back to SJO for 7:00pm flight

Is that trying to squeeze in too much? I think it gives us 3 different ecosystems and we don't have to worry about flight connections. How long does it take to get to the Sarapiqui area? Was part of the route damaged by the earthquake?

You guys have been so helpful!
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Old May 7th, 2009, 08:30 PM
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Really, you would rule out Tortuguero just because it is not turtle season? The leatherbacks, the huge ones are often spotted in the winter months and the Tortuguero canals are awesome and have interesting wildlife viewing.


Agree with Tully that Selva Verde is a great spot, unique elevated covered pathways connecting the buildings. It will be full of tour bus travellers so the lodge rooms might be noisy. Make sure you reserve well in advance. The drive to Selva Verde from Orquideas Inn was between 2.5 and 3 hours .

If you decide to go to Tortuguero from Selva Verde you could drop your car at the designated restaurant in Guapiles then catch the lodge bus with the rest of the group heading for your Totuguero lodge OR arrange to meet the Watsons at the dock in Moins...easy to do. It is well marked. Guapiles is about an houre from Selva Verde, Moin about 45 minutes past that. I always fly out of Tortuguero, because of time restrictions, but the boat ride in and out is enjoyable for many people.

Have fun planning.
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Old May 7th, 2009, 08:46 PM
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Really, you would rule out Tortuguero just because it is not turtle season?

Well, that and I thought it takes quite a while to get to if we do the road/boat combination.

It will be full of tour bus travellers so the lodge rooms might be noisy.

That's what I was afraid of. Any recs for smaller accommodations in this area? Has anyone stayed at Tirimbina? I can't find any reviews. I'm trying to avoid places with large groups.
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