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Itinerary advice - Rio Pacuare, Arenal and Bosque del Cabo

Itinerary advice - Rio Pacuare, Arenal and Bosque del Cabo

Jan 22nd, 2007, 03:54 PM
  #1  
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Itinerary advice - Rio Pacuare, Arenal and Bosque del Cabo

We are a group of 4 travelers in our mid-30s (2 couples) taking our first trip to Costa Rica in mid-April. Our preliminary itinerary for our 12-day trip is listed below. We'd love to hear any comments, criticisms and/or suggestions you may have, especially in response to our questions. Thanks in advance!

Day 1: Arrive San Jose and stay overnight there at Marriott (using points)

Day 2: Early AM, leave for overnight rafting trip down the Rio Pacuare with rafting outfitter "Rios Tropicales."

Day 3: Finish second day of rafting, and get dropped off back at Marriott in San Jose. Spend the night.

Day 4: Rent car and drive to Arenal area. Check in at Tabacon Hot Springs resort. QUESTION: IS THE VIEW FROM THE "SUPERIOR" ROOM AT TABACON WORTH THE UPGRADE? DUE TO AVAILABILITY, WE'LL BE GIVING UP A KING BED TO STAY IN A SUPERIOR ROOM, BUT WE DON'T MIND IF THE VIEW IS SPECTACULAR. ALSO, ARE THE ROOMS SOMEWHAT LUXURIOUS? THE PICTURES ON THE WEBSITE DON'T SHOW A WHOLE LOT, AND THE RESORT GETS DECIDEDLY MIXED REVIEWS ON TRIPADVISOR.

Day 5: Explore Arenal area

Day 6: Either continue exploring Arenal area, or take a day trip to Montverde Cloud Forest (ANY RECOMMENDATIONS?)

Day 7: Travel day to Bosque del Cabo on Osa Peninsula. QUESTION: IN TERMS OF LOGISTICS, WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO GET TO THE OSA FROM ARENAL? WE ARE LEANING TOWARDS DRIVING BACK TO SAN JOSE, AND CATCHING A FLIGHT TO PUERTO JIMINEZ. BUT WHAT ABOUT DRIVING TO QUEPOS AND FLYING FROM THERE? ANY COMMENTS?

Day 8: Bosque del Cabo

Day 9: Bosque del Cabo

Day 10: Bosque del Cabo

Day 11: Depart Bosque del Cabo, fly to San Jose, spend night

Day 12: Fly back to US

Bosque Del Cabo looks amazing to all of us, but will it be "more of the same" after our 3 days in Arenal? Our group is a little concerned that our itinerary doesn't have a beach-specific leg to it. What say you?


haydencat is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2007, 05:36 PM
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No, it won't be more of the same--Bosque del Cabo doesn't have a volcano!

You have a nice itinerary. Definitely catch a flight to Puerto Jimenez. It's close to a 6 hour drive to Manuel Antonio. You can get an afternoon flight from the Sansa airport by the international airport. Gives you plenty of time to get back to the airport area from Arenal.

Monteverde is too far for a day trip--you'd spend nearly all your time on the road. Do book the Cano Negro trip for a day--you'll enjoy being on the water (Rio Frio) up toward the Nica border, lots of birds and wildlife. Small tour groups, excellent guides. . . .this is an great opportunity you'll have while in that area that you won't have down on the Osa.

Bosque del Cabo is fabulous. You'll love it, but it is vastly different from Arenal. You'll be more aware of being IN the rainforest--lots of wildlife all around. .no need to go in search of it! Many good hiking trails; surfing available, horseback, just a wonderful place to learn, soak up nature, and relax!

Nice start to your holiday with the Pacuare adventure. You'll be ready to rest a bit by the time you get to Arenal. . oh wait a minute. . .you guys are mid 30's. . .I was thinking of myself. .approaching mid 50's!

By the way, we've never stayed at Tabacon and won't. . .too many bad reviews for us. .and it's been that way forever. Compared to other places that seldom get a negative review, why would you want to stay there? Of course, I guess it is nice to have the hot springs available at no extra cost, but I think I'd pay the price to visit and stay elsewhere--like Hotel Kioro, Lost Iguana, Arenal Paraiso (more basic but great volcano views), or any number of other places that people tend to speak highly of nearly all the time. . .just me.

Have a great trip! You're going after Easter, so that's good. . .less crowded!
shillmac is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2007, 08:43 PM
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I totally agree with all of the above comment. The pacuare overnight trip was my favorite thing we did last time we went. As far as Tabacon... it is very nice to visit but very crowded and resort like (food is expensive, etc). We have gotten rave reviews for Lost Iguana and are staying there in a few weeks. Definitely drive to SJ and fly to PJ. We drove to Monteverde and though it was good to see different types of animals etc... the drive is steep, long, and bumpy. Not a day trip. You have a great trip planned out.
lbourne4 is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2007, 03:55 AM
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Shillmac has pretty much covered it for you (she's good like that ) Monteverde isn't worth all day traveling to spend a couple of hours there. JMO but I'd say skip Tabacon as well. There are many other hotels with much better views, I've heard Tabacon has less than ideal views. When I was in Arenal last, one of my guides was telling me how many locals felt about Tabacon and it wasn't particularly good.
tully is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2007, 01:39 PM
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Thanks SO much for all the great advice! I feel reassured knowing our itinerary has been vetted by the CR "experts" on this board.

Based on your advice, we're rethinking our decision to stay at Tabacon. The big draw for us there is the idea of having the hot springs and spa so accessible. However, we are equally interested in good views of the lava flows, weather permitting, so perhaps some of the other hotels might be better for that. It's just hard for us to get over the amazing photos of the hot springs on the Tabacon website!

We'll definitely plan to check out Cano Negro. It sounds beautiful. Thanks again for all the great advice, and feel free to keep it coming!
haydencat is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2007, 08:40 PM
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Hi Tully--hello to the felines as well. Isabelle enjoyed the "cat house" photo!

haydencat--something that seldom gets mentioned about Tabacon--it is built right in the middle of what is considered a danger zone for a major eruption. That would cause hesitation for me. .

That said, I'm one of the ones who happen to LOVE Tabacon Hot Springs. It is beautiful there (and didn't used to be so crowded!). Every bit as pretty as any photos you've seen. I still think it would be worth your time, although yes, expensive if you're not staying there. Haven't tried the spa but hope to in a few weeks!

I guess it doesn't worry me so much to drop in on the hot springs for a couple of hours of "living in the danger zone" as much as it would to stay there at the hotel! There's a reason they have you BACK your car into the parking places so that it faces the road for a quick exit!

Had a tour guide tell the story of the big eruption of 1968 (someone correct me if that is the wrong year!). He was a young boy--it made quite an impression on him, and his telling of it made quite an impression on me!
shillmac is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2007, 10:44 PM
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Thanks Shillmac. I'm so torn! Lost Iguana is cheaper, with upscale rooms and better volcano views than Tabacon. Still, those beautiful Tabacon hot springs are calling to me. Decisions, decisions!

Can anyone comment on the pool area and bar at the Lost Iguana? Also, is the spa open yet at Lost Iguana? It's not mentioned on the website but old posts indicate they were building one.
haydencat is offline  
Jan 24th, 2007, 06:50 PM
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Stay at Lost Iguana, and reserve a day at Tabacon--do the spa there! I think you'll be glad on both counts. Have fun!
shillmac is offline  
Jan 25th, 2007, 02:39 PM
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We went ahead and reserved a "Celebrity villa, Plan B" at Lost Iguana. Yay! Thanks for everyone's helpful advice.
haydencat is offline  
Jan 25th, 2007, 04:33 PM
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Hey Haydencat-
When will you be at BdC? We will be traveling mid April, too (we arrive on the 15th). It would fun if we are there at the same time.
Very Best,
Gem
sparklegem is offline  
Jan 25th, 2007, 04:46 PM
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Hi Gem. We'll be at BdC towards the end of our trip, from April 25-29. You?
haydencat is offline  
Jan 25th, 2007, 07:46 PM
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oh, it looks like you just miss us. We will be there from the 15th through the 18th. Maybe next time!

How is your planning going? Are you getting excited?

Very Best,
Gem
sparklegem is offline  

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