Manuel Antonio or NOT

Old Mar 28th, 2004, 01:43 PM
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Manuel Antonio or NOT

I have been driving myself crazy trying to plan a short (6 day) trip to CR in Mid-Dec, I have been getting great feedback but I am becoming more and more confused about where to go. Am I doing myself an injustice by not trying to go to Manuel Antonio for a few Days? I could do something like this:
Day 1-arrive 1:30 SJO stop La Paz Waterfalls head to Arenal (night view of Volcano-I hope)
Day 2- Los Angeles Cloud forest, hot springs arenal sunset cruise
Day 3-Arenal in AM-Drive to MA
Day 4-MA (canopy tour)
Day 5-MA
Day 6-depart
If not I will spend my first night in Heredia and do a coffe tour/La Paz, head over to the LA cloud forest and spend the rest of my time in Arenal (hot springs, Cano Negro etc)

Any thouhgts....
mansfield is offline  
Old Mar 28th, 2004, 04:26 PM
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Why don't you try to let up on some of the details and just settle on your areas for now. This is all very do-able, but you can drive yourself crazy if you try to work out every single activity for every single day this far in advance! Keep it loose for now. All of those things will be available to you when you get there, and you will, at that time, have a better idea of your surrounding area. Just plan on arriving SJO at 1:30, spending 2 nights at Arenal, then 3 nights at Manuel Antonio. Is your departure time late enough in the day to allow you the drive back from Manuel Antonio on the same day as your flight? Traffic and transportation time can be unpredictable! If a big truck breaks down in front of you, you could be tied up for an hour or two! Most people stay near the airport the night before. You might want to consider 2 nights Arenal, 2 nights Manuel Antonio. Whatever you do, don't try to cram in a lot of activity. You can relax while at Arenal as well as do an activity or 2, but don't try, in 36 hours to do all the activities offered in the area! You will want plenty of time just to look all around you and say "Wow"! Same for Manuel Antonio. . .remember the park is closed on Mondays. . .and a guided tour of the park is something you won't want to overlook. You will have a much better short trip if you just plan on arriving at those two beautiful areas and enjoying what you can after you get there! Remember that, out of 6 days, 3 of them will be partial days (the day of your arrival, the day of your departure, and the day you transfer to Manuel Antonio). By the way, even though you are arriving at 1:30, plan on taking an hour and a half to get out of the airport and another 45 minutes or so to do the paperwork on and pick up your rental. It's a 2 hour airport experience once you arrive (at the least). The sun is well on its way down by 5:30 and it will be dark by 6:00. The drive to Arenal from the airport is about 2-1/2 to 3 hours.
shillmac is offline  
Old Mar 28th, 2004, 08:19 PM
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Regarding the time to get out of the airport...for just 6 days you should have no problem just having a carry on pack. I go for a month and just have a small backpack. This year we flew in on a Delta wide body (arrival 1:30)and we were through customs and out of the airport in 1/2hr. We were in row 14 so we could get off pretty quickly and while most people were getting their checked luggage we went directly to the customs desk.
Whether you go to Manuel Antonio or not, depends on what YOU really want to see or do. You won't have time to see it all so just go with what you think YOU would enjoy the most. You will have a win win trip no matter what you do. You have made some good choices so far so stop beating yourself up. I have been going down there for 12 years and used to beat myself up worrying about "the trip". I have since discovered that Costa Rica has so many wonderful suprises around each corner that we could spend the rest of our lives seeing all of them. We just take each trip one at a time and enjoy it for what it is. Some trips are better than others but they are all great.
Regarding your new itinerary, I don't think it will work. Not really enough time to see the waterfalls and drive to Arenal before dark. There is a very nice waterfall near the volcano. Not too many people talk about a sunset cruise at Arenal. I think you could skip that considering how little time you will be there. Plenty of sunsets in MA.
Just staying in Heredia and Arenal isn't so bad either. Cano Negro will still have lots of water because it is just the beginning of the dry season and the migratory birds will be showing up like crazy.
Your biggest question, I think, is to beach or not to beach. You would have to go to MA for that.
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Old Mar 31st, 2004, 10:38 PM
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Just did that great trip. Got in to SJO at 2pm, drove to Villablanca for first night and Los Angeles Cloud Forest, second night at Arenal (couldn't see volcano because of clouds) 3-6 nights at Manuel Antonio, 7 night outside SJO airport for morning flight. If I was returning on afternoon flight I would leave Manuel Antonio early in morning.
rick7g is offline  
Old Apr 1st, 2004, 10:29 AM
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We had a 1:30 flight out of San Jose airport. Left our hotel in Manuel Antonio at 7:45 a.m., got to the airport at 11:15. You should yourselves about 4 hours to be safe.
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Old Apr 1st, 2004, 05:35 PM
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I was actually having the same dellima about including Arenal. After all I read about Arenal I guess it just didn't appeal to me as much as some other spots Because often the volcano eruptions cannot be seen and the accommodations didn't seem so great, we decided to do Manuel Natonio, Osa Peninsula and Nicoya Peninsula. We had about 10 days and it worked out perfectly. We flew between spots, which saved time.
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Old Apr 1st, 2004, 07:56 PM
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I'm like everyone else who would love to stay at the beach until the last minute, but it really is a little risky to go back the morning of. Case in point. . .on our last return to San Jose (leaving the Liberia at 3:00 and planning to be in SJO around 6:30 p.m.), a truck stalled ahead of us. When that happens, no one is going anywhere. No way to move. The assist vehicles can't even get in to help! We sat or crawled for almost 2 hours and it could've been worse. People just turned off their vehicles and got out to stand around and visit. No need to sit and stew, I guess, if you can't do anything about it! This type of occurence is not all that uncommon! We were so grateful that we had no plans but dinner. It was almost 9:00 before we finally arrived! We would've missed a flight even if we had allowed a couple of extra hours travel time!
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