liberia-tamarindo-monteverde-arenal-SJ in 8 days?

Aug 11th, 2004, 10:51 PM
  #1  
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liberia-tamarindo-monteverde-arenal-SJ in 8 days?

Hello,
I could use some itinerary help. Am I trying to do too much in 8 days? Here's what I propose:
Saturday: arrive in Liberia 12:30 p.m., drive to Tamarindo
Sunday-Monday: Tamarindo
Tuesday-Wednesday: Monteverde
Thursday: Arenal
Friday: San Jose
Saturday: Depart San Jose 2 p.m.
Also, as this will be in September, is it necessary to have reservations for lodging at Arenal and Monteverde? I'd like to have some flexibility if I decide to leave the beach early or stay, for instance, a day longer at Monteverde.
Thanks!
greenrooster is offline  
Aug 12th, 2004, 05:24 AM
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I think this itinerary might work. You may wish you had more time in Arenal, but if you leave Monteverde very early, you can at least have some of the afternoon left in Arenal (from other posts, I think this trip is 4 1/2 hours or so). And, of course, you'd have much of the day on Friday before driving to San Jose - I think that trip is about 2 1/2 hours (maybe less). So, in Arenal, take advantage of the hike down to Fortuna Falls, watch the lava (hopefully!), visit Tabacon Hot Springs Thursday night - after 7pm it's less expensive & they're open til 10pm, etc. You'll still be able to see some things there for 1 night. In Tamarindo - try Shark Bite Deli for lunch (follow the dirt road/alley from the circle & make a right at the other end) & have happy hour & watch the sunset at Zullymars (on the beach at the circle). Have fun!
sclubb is offline  
Aug 12th, 2004, 06:32 AM
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I have to agree with Sclubb. It looks like a lot, and it IS, but the way you have it scheduled, it will work!
Ally is offline  
Aug 12th, 2004, 06:44 AM
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Its too much, one night in Arenal is not worth the amount of driving you'll have to do. Also, if you are coming from Tamarindo and finally ending in San Jose it would make more sense to do Arenal first then Monteverde. I would recommend spending 3 nights in Tamarindo and 3 in either Arenal or Monteverde.
Traveler863 is offline  
Aug 12th, 2004, 07:12 AM
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I have to disagree. Yes, Arenal would be nice for two nights, but he/she can still enjoy the springs and even a trip to the falls as long as he leaves Monteverde early enough. That way, although he/she won't have much time in Arenal, he/she will be able to see the area, which is different than Monteverde. Just my opinion.
Ally is offline  
Aug 12th, 2004, 10:10 AM
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Also - note that they are flying into LIR and out of SJO which is why their itinerary makes sense for doing it in that order. I think you'll have a great time!
sclubb is offline  
Aug 12th, 2004, 10:30 AM
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Yes I agree with Ally and sclubb,take easy and relax,Costa Rica is..Pura Vida
Lally is offline  
Aug 12th, 2004, 10:36 AM
  #8  
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thanks everyone for the input. i tend to overbook my vacations so i'm seriously considering dropping either arenal or monteverde, especially since seeing lava is the main reason i want to do arenal and it's never a sure thing. plus you can see the flows from near santa elena, right?
greenrooster is offline  
Aug 12th, 2004, 10:43 AM
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Not sure what your budget is, but if you decide to drop Arenal, you may wish to spend your last TWO nights at Peace Lodge in La Paz - great waterfalls & a very relaxing atmosphere. With your car, you could drive about 45 minutes north from there to do rafting or a great canopy tour. Peace Lodge is about an hour from the airport, so since you don't leave until 2pm, you'd be able to stay there your last night & avoid staying in/near the city. Their website is www.waterfallgardens.com - the place is really awesome - book the deluxe room!
sclubb is offline  
Aug 12th, 2004, 11:22 AM
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thanks for the recommendation. we're going to stop by a friend-of-a-friend's coffee plantation and other places in/near san jose, so we are probably one of the few folks who have a legitimate reason to spend any time in the city.
greenrooster is offline  
Aug 12th, 2004, 12:54 PM
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Ok, my .2 cents too! I flew into Liberia & stayed in guanacaste. One day we got up early and went to Monteverde and came back to our hotel that same evening (we had a driver). Then the next day we got up early again and went to Arenal&Fortuna & Tabacon and back to hotel in Guanacaste that evening. Would I have loved more time in each, Yes! But I would do it all again if that's all the time I had. Both trips were worth the horrendous ride each day. The country was beautiful to see! I would ride to Fortuna to spend 2 minutes. It's breathtaking. You do what you have to do. Would hate for you to miss a thing, unless of course it's replaced with another great thing. But only you can decide what it's worth to you. Have a fantastic time...everywhere.
chessiegirl is offline  
Aug 12th, 2004, 05:30 PM
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I'm not much for moving around so much, but I, too, think your itinerary will work just fine in just the order you have planned it. Arenal is a great place, with or without the lava view. You can have a fantastic time there Thursday p.m. and Friday, even until around 2:00 in the afternoon if you want. And still arrive in SJO by 4:30 or so. Go for it! And don't forget to let all of us know how it went. You are going to have a GREAT time!
shillmac is offline  
Aug 12th, 2004, 09:28 PM
  #13  
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one more question: do i need reservations for places in arenal and monteverde or can i make it up as i go along? we'll be there in mid-september. thanks, everyone, for the advice.
greenrooster is offline  
Aug 13th, 2004, 05:03 AM
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You should just be able to walk right in (and maybe even negotiate your price)! Can't imagine anyplace being full in September!
shillmac is offline  
Aug 13th, 2004, 05:11 AM
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Sclubb,
I don't think you understand the drive times with this itinerary. If one is going from Tamarindo to San Jose via Monteverde and Arenal the best order is to do Arenal first then Monteverde. I just did that drive myself. The drive time from Tamarindo to Arenal or Monteverde is about the same, approx 4 hours. However, its the return to San Jose that makes the difference. If leaving from Monteverde its about 2.5 hours from Arenal its about 3.5. Also of note the drive from Tamarindo to Arenal or Monteverde it is best to take the southerly route over the bridge vs. north through Liberia. Both are about the same distance but the southerly route results in less time on Pan American hwy which is heavily traveled with lots of trucks and can be very slow going.
Traveler863 is offline  
Aug 13th, 2004, 05:48 AM
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Traveler863 - I agree that the route over the bridge is less traffic & some nice stretches of road - we just drove Arenal to Tamarindo & went both ways - to through Liberia & from over the new bridge to San Jose. The bridge way was MUCH nicer. As far as the order of the itinerary, I am just going by what others post on here as I have not been to Monteverde yet & did not drive straight from San Jose to Arenal. But, I know others who have been many times insist that the drive from San Jose to Arenal is only about 2 - 2 1/2 hours as well. I think it comes down to the fact that some people just don't mind driving a lot & others do - so it's personal preference and most people seem to agree this is a do-able itinerary.
sclubb is offline  
Aug 13th, 2004, 12:08 PM
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Correct me if I'm wrong (!), but I agree the drive time from Arenal to San Jose is 2.5 hours. We haven't been to Monteverde, but I know that from San Jose to the Monteverde turn-off is about 2 hours and it is another 2 hours up the road to Monteverde, according to other posters--about 4 all together if not a little more. It's seems far more feasible to me to go Tamardino to Monteverde to Arenal to San Jose just as greenrooster is proposing.
shillmac is offline  

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