May '09 Trip - which Costa Rica beach to choose

Old Jul 14th, 2008, 07:28 AM
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May '09 Trip - which Costa Rica beach to choose

I'm struggling with which part of the coast to stay on during our 10 night trip to CR. We are a family of 4 w/2 grown children. We will most likely rent a car and spend 4 nights in Arenal area and then another 3-4 at a beach location. The other nights will be decided on as I plan. My question is: Given that May is the start of the wet season, which beach area should we choose? The MA area where we might have more rain or the NW region (Guanacaste or Nicoya Pen.) that as I've read can have an extended dry season. Note: We like laying on a beach for a couple days, but then would like other things to do...outdoor activities, places to lunch/shop. Thanks for your comments, they just might sway my decision!
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Old Jul 14th, 2008, 08:21 AM
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Even though May is the first listed month of the rainy season, you probably won't see much rain, if any at all, except for the typical afternoon, early evening shower that passes thru. Sept/Oct are the months that get the most rain if I remember correctly. As for the beaches, there are incredible beaches inside MA Park, but you have to go into the park to get there. I would say to go to the Nicoya Peninsula or Guanacaste beaches where you can stay in a hotel and walk to the beaches. I really like the small towns all along these areas as well and with a car, you can easily visit them. Each has a little something different. Hope this helps.
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Old Jul 14th, 2008, 08:46 AM
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terri58blue, we love the northern parts of Guanacaste and the Nicoya Peninsula, but with 3 or 4 nights, I'd choose one place to hang out. That would be Manuel Antonio. It will not be crowded in May, there shouldn't be much rain, and in that one area there is a LOT to do, including wonderful beaches, kayaking, horseback riding, ziplines, mangrove tours, and much more. There will be the opportunity to see lots of wildlife with a minimum of effort. There are many good restaurants in the area; it's quite an inclusive place. AND, if you are flying in and out of SJO, Arenal and MA are each only a 3 hour drive from that airport--very convenient.
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Old Jul 14th, 2008, 11:55 AM
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If you haven't already visited it, this site can give you a good idea of the rainy season in May: http://costa-rica-guide.com/travel/i...492&Itemid=696

We are spending 4 nights in Arenal as well, and then moving on to 4 nights in Manuel Antonio (Buena Vista Villas). Our hotel is owned by Tulemar properties, and there is a beach on the hotel property that I've heard is nice...so I'm hoping that even if we get rained on in the MA park, there will be at least one sunny day we can spend at the beach on-site.

We flirted with the idea of going to Guanacaste to try to catch some dry weather, but it seemed like there was more to do in MA..and I'm not the type of person that can sit on a beach for days on end either.
I think Guanacaste is more known for beaches, resorts, and sportfishing, but that's just the impression I got.
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Old Jul 14th, 2008, 02:53 PM
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http://costa-rica-guide.com/Weather/...rMap.html#rain

We like this site as well, very similar. When you put the cursor on an area, it will show monthly rainfall possibilities on the circular model below.
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Old Jul 14th, 2008, 02:55 PM
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I should add that our trips to MA have always been in late June or early July. We'll be there in early August this year. We haven't had problems with rain in the past, even that far into the rainy season. Just those afternoon showers and sometimes during the night. In Costa Rica, it is always advisable to take advantage of the mornings, up until about 1:30 or 2:00. Keeping our fingers crossed this time!
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Old Jul 15th, 2008, 03:45 AM
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Thanks for all your comments, I think I'm settling on MA, rain or shine!
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Old Jul 15th, 2008, 04:42 AM
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Terri I believe you will be pleased with your decision. MA just has so much to offer to keep everyone happy. Your split between Arenal and MA will give you a tremendous amount of activities and restaurants to choose from.

My daughter just returned from a one month stay in MA. Left home May 23rd doing a language study program. During her stay Alma hit and brought in tons of rain, but that was very uncommon. The rest of the time there were afternoon and evenings showers on just some days.

For your group, you will have mornings available to take part in activities in the event of an afternoon shower, where as she was in school and doing community service during the week days and only had late afternoons and weekends for activities. Still she came home with a nice tan and tons of exciting memories.

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Old Jul 15th, 2008, 07:25 AM
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Just to elaborate on others comments. We spent a week in MA last August and loved it. MA does indeed have something for everyone and the beaches and wildlife inside the Park are amazing. Never felt like rain was a problem. Beautiful mornings and early afternoons; rain starts about 2 and lasts until 5 or 6. We did miss out on the famous sunsets, but have no regrets about the time we went.

The only thing I'd add is that many excursions (like swamp tours, catamaran and sailing trips) only operate in the mornings and do not operate in the afternoons during the rainy season, so plan accordingly.
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Old Jul 15th, 2008, 11:07 AM
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terri, the park is closed on Mondays, so plan another activity for that day if you can. MA has a lot of good restaurants; we enjoyed Ronnie's Place/Mi Lugar the most and also liked Barba Roja, Cafe Agua Azul, and Salsipuedes. Cafe Milagro has wonderful espresso shakes and coffee drinks. We went in July and just had afternoon showers.
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