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mad Feb 19th, 2004 11:06 AM

just returned from CR
My boyfriend and I just returned from an incredible trip to CR. Thanks to all who helped me out on this board!

we stay at the hotel bourganvillea outside of SJ our first night there. A really pleasant, relaxing place outside the city.
we then flew down to the Osa. I was scared of the little plane, but it ended up being a really fun ride and well worth it.

We stayed at Bosque del Cabo for 3 nights. I wish I could've spent the rest of my life there! Aside from the huge toad I found in my shower, it was beautiful, relaxing, but with tons to do, great food, great service and super nice people. I can't say enough about it.

After reluctantly leaving Bosque, we flew back to SJ and rented a car and drove to Arenal. While I hear it's cloud covered most of the time, we were able to see lava flow our second night there from our hotel room at Arenal Pariaso (a nice, comfortable hotel with a great view). it was amazing. Went on a really fun horseback ride there too- the best way to see the volcano up close.

we then drove to Monteverde (not as bad a drive as I thought it would be), which I am surprised to say, we were really disappointed in. the weather was cold and rainy and unless your a big bird watcher, we really didn't see the appeal. maybe because we had seen so much already. we stayed at El sapo Dorado, which we really enjoyed. We were supposed to stay at Poco a Poca, but left after seeing how dark the rooms were.

Anyway, it was one of the best trips I've ever taken, and I've traveled extensively. I can't recommend it enough!

Ally Feb 20th, 2004 09:34 AM

Glad you had a great trip, overall. Don't worry, many people feel the same way you do about Monteverde. It seems to be one of those places you either like or don't, and if given the choice between Arenal or Monteverde, I THINK most would choose Arenal.

ForkinMouth Feb 20th, 2004 11:18 AM

Mad: Was the flight to the Osa bumpy? I am a white-knuckle flier and am trying to get up the courage to fly down to Bosque del Cabo in December or January. How long was the flight and do they really enforce the 25 lb. luggage limit? Also, how was the heat and humidity at the Osa and did you go to Corcovado N.P. or just explore the rain forest surrounding Bosque del Cabo? Is 3 nights enough....I was planning on spending 4 or 5 nights there.

liz10 Feb 20th, 2004 01:01 PM

Who did you arrange the horseback ride through and how long was it? Any other details would be welcome.
Thank you!

mad Feb 21st, 2004 01:41 PM

The flight to the Osa was not bumpy at all. I was nervous cause the plane was so small, but it was very smooth, although I'm sure it depends on the day. they asked how much we weighed and weighed our bags, but said nothing about a 25 lb limit. it was all very casual- comically so. the flight took about 45 minutes. On the way back, we unexpectedly stopped at Drake Bay, so it was hour. A very worthwhile flight, as the Osa was so relaxing and untouristy. we didn't go to Corcovado- seemed like no one did who was there at the time. there are some very knowledgeable guides at Bosque and tons to see there in terms of animals and rainforest. I felt like we really go the most out of being down there just wondering around the immediate area. I would stay as many nights as you can afford, personally. we could've easy spent the whole week there, but also did a lot in 4 days time.

as for the horseback ride at arenal. we did it through the hotel- arenal paraiso. it was just us and a guide for about 3 hours. really fun, but not for the nonadventurous type. you have to go through a couple shallow streams and some mud and rocks. it was really fun, but my heart was racing a few times!

any more questions are welcome. hope that's helpful!

mad Feb 21st, 2004 01:43 PM

sorry, missed the weather question at the Osa. it was hot, but more than bearable. it cools down a great deal at night. so much so, that I wore light cotton pants every night. the mid-afternoon is pretty hot, but really not that bad, except if you plan on hiking that time of day.

liz10 Feb 21st, 2004 04:15 PM

Appreciated the info about the horseback ride. Do you think it's too adventurous for an 8-year old whose ridden a few times?

As it happens, we're doing a similar trip to yours - first night at Bouganvilla, then to Drake Bay (La Paloma) for 4 nights and then to Arenal for two nights at Arenal Paraiso also! (we're going on to Tortuguero afterward, not Monteverde). Did you do any other activities in the Arenal area? We really only have 1 full day there so we're trying to figure out what to do.
thanks for sharing your trip with us!

shillmac Feb 21st, 2004 05:48 PM

Definitely if you are only at Arenal for a day, try to go to Tabacon Hot Springs (or one of the other springs in the area). It is beautiful there and definitely worth a couple of hours of your time. That coupled with a horseback ride would make for a very nice day in this lovely part of the country.

CaseyLee Feb 23rd, 2004 06:34 AM

good to hear! i'm going a cr trip with my boyfriend at the end of april. i've gone before a couple times and was going to show him a few places that are my favorite. we have room for one more place & wanted a beach/surf one. i was wondering what bosque del cabo was like (i.e., is it beach?) and where it was. thanks!

mad Feb 23rd, 2004 08:58 AM

Dear Liz- to address your horseback riding question, I personally would not take an 8 year old on the ride we went on. it was pretty rough and they don't give you helmuts. Perhaps check with another hotel, other than Arenal Paraiso, as there are many other horseback riding options. Arenal Paraiso does have a pretty cool zip line, which your 8 year old would probably love. The hot springs were fun too.

CaseyLee- as for your Bosque question, yes it's over looking the pacific, which is very rough. the beach is beautiful, but you'd need to be a pretty strong swimmer/surfer to go in. They recommend that you don't swim there. As beginners, we took surfing lessons on the Gulf (about a 10 minute drive from Bosque). The waves weren't great, but I think it was just a bad day. check out their web site for more info: hope that's helpful!

liz10 Feb 24th, 2004 03:02 AM

I think we'll skip that horse ride! Thanks too for the tip about the zip line. Any restauant suggestions in the Arenal area or did you eat at the hotel? Thanks again for the info.

mad Feb 25th, 2004 08:25 AM

we ate at Vaca Muka, which was highly recommended- we weren't so impressed, except that it's cheap. we also had dinner at the hotel, which was good. Their breakfast, which is included, is not so great, so don't be thrown off by that. We didn't have too much time, so that was about it. I'm sure there's a lot more out there! Also, don't give up on the horseback riding- it was a blast, I'd just go through a different hotel.

Suzie2 Feb 26th, 2004 09:45 PM

Regarding the Bosque del Cabo/ surf question. It is not right on the beach. It is way above it..The surf has been a bit choppy in that area for surfing lately but it can be a great place. Los Almendros lodge has easy access to the beach.

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