Losts of Questions about CR trip Plan

Nov 5th, 2008, 08:21 AM
  #1  
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Losts of Questions about CR trip Plan

We are travelling to CR for Christmas break. Two adults, plus 13y boy and 6yo girl. We are staying at Flamingo Beach Resort in Guanacoste,near PLay Flamingo/Tamarindo Beaches. We will use it as a home base and will be taking day trips from there. Our first time in CR, so have losts of questions.

Some trips we are definitely cosidering: Arenal, Ziplining/Canopy tour, Scuba (wife and are are certified), White Water Rafting...

1) Day Trips: any recommendations for a reasonbaly priced, good day tour operator to book tours with? Assuming we would need them to pick us up, etc. What trips are a must? We may be able to separate so I can do more adventurous trips like Canopy/Ziplining with a teanager while my wife and duaghter do something still exciting but more appropriate for a 6yo. Really need help with this.


2 )Clothing/Things to bring: Need advice on clothing? What things must we bring along? Panchos? Hiking boots (heard plenty of snakes), any other practical advice what to wear in parks, etc?

3) Should we do some tours on our own by renting a car and driving to parks ourselves? What kind of time/distance most of the 'MUST SEE' sights are from Guanacoste? Suggestions for reasonable CAR RENTALS? Any car/driving tips?

4) Any other places we must see that are within a reasonable driving distance/time from our hotel that are off the beaten path and not too touristy?

We would appreciate any other advice or tips. Thanks.

v_sapi is offline  
Nov 5th, 2008, 10:05 AM
  #2  
 
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We always wear shorts, bathing suits, capris, t-shirts - that sort of thing. We don't bother with any special clothing. We always bring a rain poncho, water shoes like Keens, shoes you can hike in (we just use running shoes), sunscreen, and mosquito repellent. If you're going somewhere like Arenal, bring something long-sleeved to wear in the evenings when it can get cool. We had to have a fleece jacket and sweatshirt for Monteverde. Binoculars are good for spotting wildlife. In Arenal, we love Sunset Tours - especially the Cano Negro tour. We had signed up to do SkyTrek ziplines in Arenal but got rained out. We've only seen one snake in CR, and we told our guide we wanted to see one, so they hunted around especially to find one for us. And to top it off, it was a snail-eating snake - not the viper I envisioned. They're definitely out there, but chances are not likely that you would see them.
volcanogirl is offline  
Nov 5th, 2008, 11:22 AM
  #3  
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thanks for fast reply...as i am reading replies about tours, I am trying to figure out how far are some of these trips are...Sounds like distances and time for travel are pretty long. So i guess I wanted to see if we will do 3 tours - (Arenal for sure) what else should we do...?
v_sapi is offline  
Nov 5th, 2008, 12:50 PM
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Arenal is about a 4 hour drive from Playa Flamingo. But I guess you realize that? You'll have about 12 hours of daylight each day. Take 3 meal times out of that, and there won't be much time for the any activities, unless you do an overnight.

shillmac is offline  
Nov 5th, 2008, 04:39 PM
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v, I would overnight in Arenal instead of daytripping; there's so much to do there with the volcano, ziplines, Cano Negro, natural hot springs, etc. Driving between spots is really time consuming.
volcanogirl is offline  
Nov 6th, 2008, 09:12 AM
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I'd like to mention, too, that you probably want to avoid the all-inclusive plan at the Flamingo Beach Resort. The food is mediocre at best. There are SO MANY excellent places to eat within short driving distances:

Potrero: Marco Polo Restaurant

Playa Hermosa: Ginger (only 40 min. if you take the Monkey Trail though Potrero)

Brasilito: Outback Jack's and Hungry Snapper

Tamarindo: Too many to mention!

And right there across from FBR is Marie's, almost everyone's favorite nearby place. Mar y Sol, a more exclusive (but delicious, I hear) French restaurant is also there at Playa Flamingo.
shillmac is offline  
Nov 6th, 2008, 12:07 PM
  #7  
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OK...You guys are definitely making an impact...I just need to find a hotel nearby by the Arenal...thats available and spend 3 days 2 nights...Should I just arrange for transportation to Arenal or rent a car in the Liberia Airport and do the drive myself and then back to Flamingo?

Any advice for car rentals or hotels near Arenal and tour operator that can help me book this? The problem is that confirmations take several days and everyone wants you to be there for 7 days..
v_sapi is offline  
Nov 6th, 2008, 02:33 PM
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We always stay at the Lost Iguana and love it. Not sure what your budget is. Silencio del Campo gets good reviews too. Los Lagos is very popular with families.

We always hire drivers through our hotels when we book them. Interbus is popular, but I'm not sure if it covers the area you're interested in; you might check their website. Or you could rent a car and drive it yourself. I'm a huge fan of Arenal. You have to do the Cano Negro tour and go to Eco Termales for dinner and natural hot springs - the best!
volcanogirl is offline  
Nov 6th, 2008, 03:34 PM
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Definitely recommend renting and driving. Arenal is a spread out area, and it is very convenient to have a car while there.
shillmac is offline  
Nov 6th, 2008, 04:15 PM
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We've stayed at Arenal Paraiso and would recommend this facility for a family. There is a canapy tour on the premises, a decent restaurant, many pools for hte kids to explore, and a nice hiking trail that begins at the hotel. The accommodations were decent. Clean, helpful, and accommodating staff. We visted three years ago with our children ages 18 and 19 and they were thrilled.
colavecd is offline  
Nov 6th, 2008, 06:02 PM
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One of our favorites as well. Also Arenal Observatory Lodge.
shillmac is offline  
Nov 7th, 2008, 06:20 AM
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Again, thanks for everyones input...so we changed our res to two nighst at Arenal Manao hotel, so will have to drive there from SJO airport upon arival. Unforunately we will only have 2 nights and really 1.5 days..ALL HOTELS ARE BOOKED UP for XMAS, we were lucky to get the two nights!.

Def looking to do the Canopy tour with my son heard Sky Trek was highly recommende..but perhaps I can do it elsewhere.. Looking for one other suggestion for a tour that includes anything we must see in the area..Keep in mind i have no idea how much my 6y will be able to bear..

Not sure how to include Cano Negro during the stay at Arenal probably will try to come back from Playa Flamingo..although this would really suck.

DO WE NEED to rent a 4X4? Our driving will fcous around the area..will be driving to Playa Flamingo...and around that area mostly..
v_sapi is offline  
Nov 7th, 2008, 06:57 AM
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v_sapi, if Sky Trek holds to their 8 yr old age limit for the zip line, which I'm told that they do - the zip lines at Los Lagos allow younger children to go tandem. We did this one. My 7 year old daughter went tandem and the guide she had was amazing with her!! She loved it! They had about 12 lines and it was well worth it. You don't have to stay at their hotel to do their zip lines. I'd try there if you can't do Sky Trek.

Shell
ShellD is offline  
Nov 7th, 2008, 08:52 AM
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Our Cano Negro tour left around 7:30 in the a.m. I think it would be very difficult to try to do it from another location. It doesn't get back until about 3:30 in the afternoon. I think your kids would love the natural hot springs. Tabacon is a little bit flashier with a water slide; Eco Termales is more low-key with a great dinner. I'd put one of them on your "don't miss" list. There's also a waterfall in the area and the Hanging Bridges if you're interested in a nice hike. If you hire a guide there, you might see some wildlife.
volcanogirl is offline  
Nov 10th, 2008, 03:49 PM
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VG, thanks for all the great info...as far as tours, we are looking at a combo tour because of limited time...the two options one is Hanging Bridges the other one is Panas Blacas Safari float...also as far as Hot Springs...is Baldi Springs as good as Eco Termales or Tabacon? Which OPTION for TOUR and SPRINGS is more kid friendly?
v_sapi is offline  
Nov 10th, 2008, 04:15 PM
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v_sapi,
The Penas Blancas Safari is very slow moving, a little wildlife.

If you can manage a full day Cano Negro tour, it is awesome, LOTS of wildlife. One of the "don't miss" activities at Arenal, as per opinion of many on this board, including myself.

Don't go to Baldi--do Eco Termales instead as an alternative to Tabacon. Baldi is just the least appealing of the 3. I guess if you've never done any, any would seem pretty cool, but those who've experienced all three would discourage you from Baldi.

Personally, I really like Tabacon, but hate that they have jacked the price up so much. They would prefer people stay at their hotel, so have made it very expensive for daytrippers. It is beautiful, though.
shillmac is offline  
Nov 10th, 2008, 04:17 PM
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Sorry, didn't finish! Yes, you'd be better off with a 4X4.

I'd choose Hanging Bridges over Safari Float for your kids.

You can do the hot springs on the late afternoon/evening you return from Cano Negro, combining those 2 things in your one full day. Can you do the zips on the other half? If so, then you will have done the best of Arenal in your brief time.

Good luck!
shillmac is offline  
Nov 10th, 2008, 04:43 PM
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I agree with shillmac. If you can do Cano Negro and then Eco Termales, that would be the best day in my book. We met folks in Arenal that did Baldi and didn't like it at all - loud music, overpriced drinks, etc. They had tried to get into Eco Termales, but it was sold out. If you want to do Eco T, definitely book ahead. I would get your children some of those wildlife identification cards, so they can be involved in spotting the wildlife.
volcanogirl is offline  
Nov 12th, 2008, 05:38 AM
  #19  
 
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volcanogirl- When you say book ahead, how far in advance?

We are heading to Arenal in January and want to do Cano Negro, a Canopy Tour, and Eco Thermales. I contacted Arenal Observatory Lodge to see if they could make reservations for us, and they said they will take care of that when we arrive.

Should I go ahead and book through Sunset Tours? I don't want anything to book up before we have a chance to make a reservation. We only have 4 days in Arenal so we don't want to miss out on anything!

Thanks!
sessa is offline  
Nov 12th, 2008, 10:06 AM
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I think you can contact Eco T through arenal.net. Check the website to see if that's correct. They only let in 100 people a night, and lots of people book in advance. I was glad we booked ahead just for our own peace of mind. It's a neat spot. I'm the type that books it when I decide to go there, just in case it fills up. Part of the reason I like it there is that they limit the number of people who can get in, so it's still relaxing. Their dinner is great, and I think their prices are reasonable.
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