Itinerary help -- Is this feasible?

Old May 2nd, 2003, 08:52 AM
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mml
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Itinerary help -- Is this feasible?

My finance and I are planning our honeymoon in Costa Rica this November for 12 nights/13days. Below is what we are thinking in terms of location & length of stay. What I'm concerned about is the driving time. Based on the below -- is it too much driving? Are there any flights we can take to shorten the moving around part of the trip? i.e. direct flight between the northern coast to Manuel Antonio or vice versa. Is it worth it to drive to Aernal then drive back to San Jose and fly to the northern coast, fly back to San Jose to fly to Manuel Antonio?

First night - San Jose (Grano de Oro)
2 nights - Arenal (Tabacon Lodge)
4 nights - Playa Tambor (Tango Mar)
4 nights - Manuel Antonio (Si Como No)
Last night - San Jose (Grano de Oro)

Also, any thoughts on the hotel selections? I keep going back and forth between Punta Islita or Tango Mar & Si Como No or Villa Caletas or Makanda by the Sea.

Obviously I need some help!! Any input is very appreciated. Thank you in advance.

Mary
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Old May 2nd, 2003, 09:42 AM
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Hi,
A couple of years ago, I stayed at Grano de Oro. Our room was small but very cute, breakfasts were yummy, staff friendly and helpful and I'd stay there again. San Jose is your typical polluted Central American city although it has some sites worth seeing. We had one or 2 nights there and that was plenty.

I didn't stay at Si Como No but it looks to be the nicest place in Manuel Antonio. I think you'll be happy there. Four nights is adequate but if you want to just relax, you could even add a night there. I loved that part of CR!


As for travelling, I went from San Jose straight to Arenal from the airport and stayed 2 nights. Tabacon is tiny so the time you have alloted is fine. We headed to Monteverde from there for a couple of nights and then drove to Manuel Antonio. We didn't do any backtracking but since you're going Playa Tambor, the routing is different. We hired a driver to take us to each city but flew back from MA to San Jose. After all those bumpy, unpaved roads, we were happy to get on that little plane. If you opt to fly, know that there are restrictions on luggage weight. My friend and I discarded clothes (we packed some of our old stuff) b/c we were afraid they wouldn't let us on the plane ;-) They didn't even end up weighing our bags--but I've spoken to others who did have luggage weighed....

Enjoy your honeymoon! Cr is a great place to go.
Debbie
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Old May 2nd, 2003, 10:00 AM
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Hi Mary:

I agree with Debbie, the hotels you've picked are great, and your itinerary looks good as well. The only change I might make is just staying 1 night in Tabacon and leave for the beach the second afternoon if you want to get another beach day.

As far as transportation, there's another option to driving and flying, which is to hire private transfers. That way, you don't have to worry about your luggage weigth or about staying awake through the drive (not that the bumps will let you sleep for long ), and you still get to say when and where to stop on the way to each place. I've worked with operators that can arrange that with no problems.

Send me an email if you have any more questions,

Enrique
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Old May 2nd, 2003, 12:19 PM
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I am also going on my Honeymoon to CR (in Sept-Oct) and I have a similar itinerary (although including Monteverde). I'd love to hear from Enrique about specific referrals to private transfers. I think that is the way to go to aviod the rental experince and small planes! Thanks!
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Old May 2nd, 2003, 03:31 PM
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rungirl:

Send me an email and I'll forward you the information. Regards,

Enrique
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Old May 2nd, 2003, 03:43 PM
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Many of the bus companies have private transfers. You could try Interbus, Fantasy bus. Monteverdeinfo.com has private transfers as well as regular shuttles between various places.
There are many private drivers and I will send you the name of the one we used for 10 days this year. He is great and a lot of fun. He surprised us with a lot of exciting little stops along the way to our hotel destinations.
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Another option would be to contact a tour company. Many of them will help you with as much or as little as you want with your trip. We pick our hotels (occasionally asking for advice) and they make the hotel reservations and arrange for transportation between the places for us.
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Old May 2nd, 2003, 07:39 PM
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We used Elegant Adventures about 3 yrs ago and were really happy with them. W/the exception of one hotel everything was perfect. On those long, bumpy rides we got to know our driver and quickly realized that he was a really nice guy, but it wasn't until we had a (big) problem with the hotel in Manuel Antonio that we realized just how special he was. Before we could even ask, Carlos was on the phone to the initiative to call the main office in San Jose to get things squared away. The gentleman in San Jose, another Carlos, had us transferred to another property in less than an hour. No muss, no fuss.

Great customer service, wouldn't you say
Debbie
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Old May 3rd, 2003, 05:15 AM
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It's a tough decision deciding between Si Como No and Makanda by the Sea. For a honeymoon, I would probably go with the latter. Smaller and more private. The pool is beautiful, and the service attentive. There's a trail down to the beach. I headed down there early one morning while dear husband was still in the shower. Lordy, what steep steps. Still, a very beautiful early morning walk. Lots of birds and monkeys up and about at that early hour.

We didn't have a car while at Makanda, and the hike up the hill to the 'main road' is pretty darn steep. Only about a 15 minute walk, but definitely builds calf muscles. Si Como No is on the main road, so if you're walking, it's easier to get around. It's also busier. When we were at Si Como No two years ago there weren't many kids around at all, but I understand it can get pretty full of families. We met the owner this year at another property down on the Osa peninsula. He seemed a very nice person.

Have a wonderful honeymoon.
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Old May 3rd, 2003, 07:17 PM
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I agree your trip sounds great. I would recommend xanadu for your last night. it is in alajuela (near the airport) and gorgeous and really romantic. We loved it and the is nothing in San Jose worth spending the night for. (sorry if I have the spellings incorrect). By the way, if you do want to go to monteverde, there is the Jeep-boat-jeep from tabacon. It takes about 1 1/2 hours and costs about $25 dollars. We loved Tabacon, too.
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Old May 4th, 2003, 04:39 AM
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If you really want to drive all around make sure you get a good map and a full sized 4x4 like a Toyota Four Runner. It will still be raining in November and many backroads are simply too challenging for little Nissans and Kias. Your trip sounds great, San Jose is another latin city but ask directions to the "Boulevard" a pedestrian only street where you can get great shopping. It runs for about 1 mile and don't be afraid to tell them you will pay only 1/2 of what is asked for!! Most places will come down some. It is a vibrant city and stop for lunch any restaurant and ask for a "casado" rice/beans/choice of meat/veggies/bread for about $4.00!! You don't have to pay tourist prices for food either. The last 4 times I used www.gaialinktours.com for booking and tours. They were great.
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