Itinerary advice/Arenal and MA

Jul 25th, 2008, 06:45 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 101
Itinerary advice/Arenal and MA

Hi... Could use help with travel plans. Spending 8 nites in CR with family. I believe just enough time to enjoy 2 regions (Arenal and MA). Would 4 nites in Arenal Observatory Lodge and 4 at La Posada in MA be okay. Plan is.... plane arrives at SJ at 2 pm... Drive to AOL for 4 nites then off to MA for 4 nites then depart from SJ in early afternoon.... Also, has anyone stayed in any standard room at AOL? How are the views? Was reaaly counting on Smithsonian Room or Junior Suite but neither are available. One last question..... Can anyone recommend a reasonable rental car company... do most comapnies charge 1500.00 or so damage deposit? Thank you for the help.
HansHederman is offline  
Jul 26th, 2008, 06:16 AM
Join Date: Apr 2006
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Hi Hans,

I think a 4 night split would be terrific. We had 3 nights each in Arenal and MA on our first trip and definitely could have used an additional night in each place (especially Arenal).

You may be okay to make the drive to Arenal on your arrival day, but do keep in mind that it will be getting dark between 5:30-6:00-ish. Driving during the day is enough adventure! Driving at night on unfamiliar roads in CR is not particularly advisable, although the roads in and around the Arenal/La Fortuna area were in very good shape when we visited in 2006. The drive to AOL from the main road is gravel however, and you'll need to go nice and slow. Travel time from SJO will probably take you ~3-3.5 hours.

I haven't stayed at either of your hotel choices, but I considered AOL for our trip. I think I remember reading that the standard rooms at AOL don't have much of a volcano view. I could be wrong about that, but you might want to double check.

Shillmac and several other posters recommend Tricolor for more reasonable car rentals. We've used Europcar and Payless with no issue, although I don't know how their prices compare to others.

Hope this helps a little...

cmerrell is offline  
Jul 26th, 2008, 08:15 AM
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 757
Though it makes for a long day, we went from San Jose to Arenal the day we landed. If we went again, I do the same as we found San Jose to be very unappealing and it allowed us maximum time to explore Arenal (we only stayed 3 nts). FYI- the drive between Arenal & Manuel Antonio is approx 5 hrs

Enjoy...CR is a great country!
SiteC_er is offline  
Jul 26th, 2008, 09:38 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,949
The standard rooms at the AOL have porch views, but not window views of the volcano. They're much larger than the Smithsonian rooms.

We're doing pretty much the same thing you are this coming February as part of our trip. After staying 4 nights at Selva Verde, we're doing three nights at La Posada, one night at Villa Lapas (to see Carara and a crocodile tour) and then on to Arenal for three nights (we did two nights there last year).

For a rental car, get an Internet/email quote from Tricolor.
RAC is offline  
Jul 26th, 2008, 12:54 PM
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 54
We always use Alamo which bought out National. They have decent rates and if you demand a newer car, you usually get one. Use any gold card and your deposit and collision is covered.
Have fun.
costarog is offline  
Jul 26th, 2008, 02:04 PM
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 23,815
I think the way you're splitting up your time is perfect. We just got back from our second trip to Arenal; it's a great area, and there's loads of activities to do there. Tricolor is probably the most popular car company on the board, but we've always hired private drivers, so I can't vouch for them myself.
volcanogirl is offline  
Jul 26th, 2008, 03:33 PM
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 12,269

Closet to the volcano but
is way out in the middle of nowhere on pretty bad roads pretty
far from La Fortuna.More of an eco
camp experience if you are up for that.Something closer in with a family with more kids stuff like Arenal Manoa might be better for me.

Recently stayed at

Close to park tons to do for families.Definitely rent a car.Recently rented a Sentra from U-save used my cc for the CDW.Base price $106 plus LDW/tax so total $196 for the week.

Defintely saved a lot

good local good deals

good comp site

europcar CR also good deals too

Have Fun,

qwovadis is offline  
Jul 28th, 2008, 07:08 AM
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 3,221
We used EuropCar and had no complaints (other than we had some problems with the GPS we rented). They upgraded us at no costs to a larger SUV. Don't remember the exact amount (DW took care of the car), but damage deposit wasn't anywhere near $1,500.
dfr4848 is offline  
Jul 28th, 2008, 03:02 PM
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 9
Sorry for adding my own question to your post, but it pertains to the car rental question.

About the car rental-I was actually just trying to reserve a 4X4 and I have talked to Tricolor, Europcar, and Payless. They all say that there deposit is between 1,000 and 1,500.

I was really shocked that it was so much. Is this a knew thing? Does anyone else have any advice on car rental agencies?
aquabot is offline  
Jul 28th, 2008, 06:54 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 101
Thanks for the replies thus far... very helpful. Booked casa at La Paloma and awaiting to hear from AOL... aquabot, Tricolor is the company that quoted the 1500.00 damage deposit. Seems pretty steep.
HansHederman is offline  
Jul 28th, 2008, 06:59 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 101
Sorry... I meant La Posada
HansHederman is offline  

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