Manuel Antonio or Monteverde?

Old Oct 11th, 2007, 08:21 AM
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Manuel Antonio or Monteverde?

Hi, my friends and are going to costa beginning of december and ran into a time concern planning our trip (one week in costa). So far our itinerary is:

Day 1: Arrive in San Jose drive to manuel antonio
Day 2: Manuel Antonio:
Day 3: Dive to paquera-montezuma
Day 4: Montezuma
Day 5: Montezuma drive to Monteverde
Day 6: Monteverde/Arenal
Day 7: Arenal
Day 8: San jose

Is this too much? If so, we're thinking of cutting out either manuel antonio or monteverde...manuel antonio because we want to avoid all the tourists.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!
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Old Oct 11th, 2007, 09:09 AM
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That seems like a little too much moving around to me. It takes a while to get from place to place, and you don't want to spend all your time traveling. Regarding MA or Monteverde, you have to look at what interests you - if you're a rain foresty birder who is into plant life, I'd head toward Monteverde. If you're a beach lover, I'd go to MA.
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Old Oct 11th, 2007, 09:09 AM
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That is a LOT, perhaps think about cutting out 1 of the beach destinations as well as choosing between Arenal or Monteverde. Your 1st and last days you have to remember arrival/departure time, as well as consider the amt. of time you'll be in the car. Distances might not seem great on a map but the reality is different(bad roads etc).
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Old Oct 11th, 2007, 09:26 AM
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That is what we suspected...I guess we just wanted to do everything and not enough time
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Old Oct 11th, 2007, 09:28 AM
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Yep, we've already been twice and haven't seen everything yet. I suspect you'll make it back again someday.
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Old Oct 11th, 2007, 10:48 AM
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In your post you stated you wanted to go to MA to avoid all the tourists, but this is a heavily touristed area. There is reason for that though because of course the park is there and many other activities.

If you want to go to a less touristed area I recommended Puerto Viejo on the Carribean side. Beautiful beaches there, great food and people, more laid back and less expensive. I'm not sure the weather though for your timeframe, so you'd want to check that out. We stayed at Banana Azul there and loved it (returning next Spring).

Agree your schedule is pretty ambitious due to travel times. Great that you are getting a car though. 2 or 3 places would give you an opportunity to settle in, meet new friends and enjoy the area more.

Happy planning!
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Old Oct 11th, 2007, 10:49 AM
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Wanted to add -- Puerto Viejo and Arenal would be a good combo and there are a couple places not too out of the way between the two you could stay a night and do some birding. You could also check out some of the great white water rafting on the Pacuare river.
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Old Oct 11th, 2007, 05:25 PM
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Just noticing your screenname. Are you college guys? Not trying to be nosy, but it does make a difference!

For the younger set, Montezuma is pretty cool. Surfing nearby at Malpais and Ste. Teresa. It's a fun area, with the Montezuma falls and swimming in the icy cold pool at the base. Also hiking Cabo Blanco Reserve is strenuous, but fun for wildlife viewing.

Either beach location would be a good combo with Arenal (my choice over Monteverde), but Manuel Antonio is a little quicker to get to and you don't have to plan your travel around the ferry schedule (from Puntarenas to the southern Nicoya Peninsula--and Montezuma).

Some people prefer to be ON the beach instead of overlooking it. You'll be overlooking it at MA, although some of the views are stupendous. Manuel Antonio National Park is a big draw. I THINK you'll find fewer people at Montezuma.

Puerto Viejo is also a good choice, as hvc mentions, but tends to be a bit rainy in December. Still, it is an area that holds a lot of appeal for the younger set and you can get a place pretty close to a beach.

Some drive times:

SJO to Arenal, 2.5 hours
Arenal to MA, 5-6 hours
Arenal to Montezuma, 6 hours, minimum
SJO to Montezuma, 5.5-6 hours
(need to accomodate ferry schedule)
SJO to Puerto Viejo, about 5 hours
Arenal to Puerto Viejo, ?? 5-6 maybe

Whichever you choose, you'll have a great time! But do narrow it down. It is very easy to want to see it all--we've all been guilty of that. But you'll be killing yourselves trying to get from one place to the other and not having time to enjoy yourselves once you arrive. You can see a lot of country that way, but man, it's grueling, and no time to chill and enjoy where you are!
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Old Oct 12th, 2007, 08:23 AM
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Eh, not exactly college kids (I don't even think they are out yet in beg of Dec.) but recent alums...maybe thats why Montezuma appeals to us

Thanks for all the tips, its been really helpful!
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