Manuel Antonio to San Jose Airport

Old Sep 24th, 2008, 12:14 PM
  #1  
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Manuel Antonio to San Jose Airport

My husband, my son and I are going to Costa Rica in 2 weeks. We will only have 8 nights there. We are considering staying in Arenal for 3-4 nights (?), and in Manuel Antonio for 3-4 nights. Our flight back is at 6:45 am from San Jose. Should we move close to the airport from MA on our last day? Any suggestions or input is greatly appreciated. Should we rent a car or what's an alternative?
Thank you.
mysic is offline  
Old Sep 24th, 2008, 12:24 PM
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You'll definitely need to stay by the airport for your last night. From MA to SJO is more than 3 hours, plus you'll need to get to the airport early. You can drive, hire a private driver (we always hire them through our hotels before our trips), or you might check on Interbus. If you want to fly, check out Sansa or Nature Air. We liked Grano de Oro, great little boutique hotel with a wonderful restaurant. Villa Bonita and Orquideas Inn are popular too.

Do you not have your hotels reserved already since you're going in 2 weeks?
volcanogirl is offline  
Old Sep 24th, 2008, 12:40 PM
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I have not reserved anything yet. It's a very spontaneous trip. My son is a "lonely planet" traveler and does not like all the preparations, booking etc, (he's been all over the word but Latin America), but I do. We've decided to join him in CR. However, I've spent a lot of time reading the blogs here.
Where we have to stay in our last day?
Do we need a car all 8 days, if we would rent it? How do you hire a private driver? So if a hotel does not have this service? Can we use a taxi from the airport to Arenal; and then hire a driver or take a bus from Arenal to MA ? How much aprox. is a ride from Arenal to MA (private driver, bus)?

Thanks again.
mysic is offline  
Old Sep 24th, 2008, 12:56 PM
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A private driver from SJO to Arenal ran us $120, and from Arenal to MA it was $180. Wow, you guys are spontaneous. I guess you're pretty flexible about where you're staying. Some places book up months in advance, so you may want to call and check around a little bit and check availability before you go. If you're hiring a private driver, you need to do it before your trip. Also check out the website for Interbus - it gets good reviews and is reliable and affordable. I listed several hotels where you could stay your last night, but I would book them ahead. Good luck!
volcanogirl is offline  
Old Sep 24th, 2008, 03:23 PM
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YES you definatly need to be near the airport on your final night. You will have to be at SJO 2 to 3 hours before departure.

As already suggested - Orchideas Inn (a fun place with good food!) is about 10 mins from SJO. Villa Bonita (a B&B, much liked by many on this forum), I believe I remember 5-10 mins. And there is a Hampton across the street if needed. The Grano de Oro is downtown in San Jose.

SJO is west of San Jose in Alajuela.
dfarmer is offline  
Old Sep 24th, 2008, 03:34 PM
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mysic, if you haven't checked it out yet, www.tripadvisor.com is a great site for looking at hotel pics and ratings - might give you a better idea of what each spot is like.
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Old Sep 24th, 2008, 07:25 PM
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My flight leaves San Jose at 7:20am so I booked the Orquideas Inn for my last night. I am using Interbus for getting around in CR - they are inexpensive and you can reserve in advance online.
soloadventurer is offline  
Old Sep 25th, 2008, 06:12 AM
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mysic - just to emphasize a couple of point made by others.

You'll have to be near SJO on your last night and the places suggested have gotten good reviews here. We had a 1:30 pm flight from SJO; left MA before 8 am and got to airport at 11. We made our flight with only about 10 min to spare. The security/immigration lines can be very unpredictable - and often long as we found out.

One way to save time is to pay your departure tax upon ARRIVAL. There's a separate booth in the airport. We didn't (didn't know you could at the time) and it would've saved us about 20 min.

In MA itself, you wouldn't need a rental car. Things are fairly close together and taxis are plentiful and cheap. We rented a car for our trip, but we just wanted it for flexibility.
dfr4848 is offline  
Old Sep 25th, 2008, 08:18 AM
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mysic,

I suggest some planning in spite of your son. I would not want to get to CR and spend a lot of time trying to figure out what to do, then what to do next. Commit now to good hotels in the areas you wish to see. Plan your transportation -- you may not need a car all the time, and let the obvious be your guide, such as whether to stay near the airport for a 6:45am flight.

Get a guide book that is written for parents and older, not one for backpackers, etc.--unless you intend to backpack. If your son wants to wander around on his own, rent some cell phones in CR so he can touch base now and then.
Kinkazote is offline  
Old Sep 25th, 2008, 08:40 AM
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I'll add my voice to the suggestion of doing at least some advance planning. While it sounds very romantic to land in a new country and go wherever the four winds might take you, you do spend a lot of precious time on the ground investigating all your options. That's fine if you have a month to play around with, but eight days will go by quickly. It can take an entire morning to figure out how to get from A to B if you're going into it blindly.

I'd say, get a guidebook and start looking into some of your options.
Jeff_Costa_Rica is offline  
Old Sep 25th, 2008, 10:56 AM
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I definitely agree with the other posters here to make some arrangements in advance; especially if you aren't accustomed to flying by the seat of your pants (even though your son may be)! You're already leaning towards Arenal and MA (both great choices). You can always be spontaneous in what you choose to do in each locale, but it would be nice not to burn a hole in your vacation by needing to search for places to stay and transportation...

Also, be sure to pack some rain gear! You're sort of in the height of rainy season, but don't let that deter you; you'll have a great time!
cmerrell is offline  
Old Sep 25th, 2008, 03:50 PM
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mysic, I'd love it if you would post a trip report when you get back. I'm such a planner that I can't imagine winging it. I hope you have the best of luck and find great places to stay and good weather.
volcanogirl is offline  
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