Monteverde and Dominical--Doable??

Old Oct 26th, 2014, 03:43 PM
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Monteverde and Dominical--Doable??

I am planning a trip the first week of April to Costa Rica. Me, DH, and 2 kids--ages 9 and 12. The 9 year old is a bundle of energy. The 12 year old, not so much. We will have 7 days in Costa Rica. I had originally planned to just go to Dominical--I can think of a good, solid 3-4 days worth of things to do there (and that's without a beach day!). But then I look at Monteverde and I think---hmmmm, could we do something like this:

Day One (thursday)--travel to San Jose, overnight San Jose
Day Two-(friday)-drive or fly (??) from San Jose to Dominical (drive directly or fly to Quepos and then rent a car)
Day Three-(Saturday) Hacienda Baru zip line and jungle hike
Day 4: (Sunday) snorkel boat tour to Cano Island (whichever tour is a day tour)
Day 5: (Monday) Manuel Antonio Park and Beach
Day 6 (Tuesday) Horse back ride to falls

I think we can fly from Quepos to La Fortuna--we would have to return the rental car in Quepos and fly out Tuesday afternoon or Weds am--not sure, the airline website was being weird. I would have to change the itinerary around so that we are doing an activity that is only half a day instead of a whole day. Or can we drive from Quepos to Monteverde? I think no way in heck--that's a loooonng day of driving--and that leaves us one day less in Dominical. But maybe I am wrong??

Day 7: (Wednesday)Monteverde: for 2 days of canopy tours, hikes, see the snakes, butterflies, and hummingbirds--basically one day in Selvatura and the other day doing other activities in the area.
Day 8: (Thursday)Monteverde
Day 9--(Friday)Get back to San Jose, overnight there
Day 10-(Saturday)Fly home

Seeing wildlife is tops. Easy hikes are good. Snorkeling and beach would be really, really fun. But the big priority is monkeys and other jungle animals. Is this doable? Or should we just stay the whole time in Dominical? What about the driving or flying?? I appreciate any and all ideas! Thanks!
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Old Oct 27th, 2014, 06:33 AM
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I take it this is April 2-11. Those first few days you'll run up against the end of Holy Week. You'll encounter quite a bit of traffic. As long as you stay relatively put Saturday and Sunday (Easter weekend) it shouldn't be too bad. Good Friday isn't such a heavy traffic day, and it looks like that's when you'd be driving that weekend.

That is the busiest tourist week of the year. Wherever you're going to be, nail down reservations and car rentals far in advance. Remember that prices will be higher than usual.

Once Easter is over, things will quiet down.

Manuel Antonio National Park is closed on Mondays.

Driving from Quepos to Monteverde will eat up a big chunk of your Day 7. By the time you get there, you won't have much time for activities. Your two days in Monteverde will really be more like one.

April 11 is a holiday in Costa Rica. I'm not sure how that will affect traffic that Friday (Day 9).

Personally, I'd skip Monteverde, given the time frame you have. Dominical, Quepos & Manuel Antonio would be a very nice vacation.
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Old Oct 27th, 2014, 09:31 AM
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Jeff--Yes, you are right that we are going over Easter. Thank you for the heads up on all of the travel/driving issues related to that time of year--good to know! I really wanted to go to Dominical because we could combine beach and jungle outings. Monteverde would be awesome, but I think I would need to build my vacation around that area entirely since it is hard to get to and we just have a week.

I am hoping that MANP will be less crowded on a week day--or would it be better on Saturday or Sunday because more people will be involved in the holiday?? Obviously, we can just go on Tuesday but I am trying to figure out what might be the least crowded day??? Do guide services (e.g. the snorkeling boat) not go out on Easter Sunday? Obviously, I have to call/make reservations--but I thought it wouldn't hurt to ask here first.

Thanks!
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Old Oct 27th, 2014, 10:22 AM
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Why bother with Monteverde when you have other cloud forests (San Gerardo de Dota and Chirripo) between San Jose and Dominical and within easy driving distance of both?
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Old Oct 27th, 2014, 12:51 PM
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RAC--Good to know! Thanks
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Old Oct 27th, 2014, 05:30 PM
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Well, at first glance those parks look like they have lots of strenuous hikes, not necessarily easy ones nor do they have the cloud forest bridge walks. But it would be a cloud forest within a day's drive!
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Old Oct 28th, 2014, 07:52 AM
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Have you thought about just staying in the Arenal area instead of going to Monteverde? It's easier to get to, and there's tons of activities to do there. We loved the Proyecto Asis animal rescue center, Penas Blancas river float, Cano Negro tour, tubing at the Springs Resort and Spa, visiting the natural hot springs like Tabacon and Eco Termales, plus all the fun adventure activities. There are nice hikes at the Hanging Bridges, waterfall, and volcano as well.
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Old Oct 28th, 2014, 09:01 AM
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volcanogirl--I did look at Arenal and decided that for us it would be better to do a beach/jungle trip. My kids love to snorkel. We do white water rafting, tubing, hiking etc at home so I was looking for something different--and for us the beach is different! I think I will just have to realize that we cannot see it all in a week and it will just have to be an excuse to come back to Costa Rica!
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Old Oct 28th, 2014, 09:18 AM
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I didn't mean give up the beach. I meant do a beach combo with the Arenal area instead of Monteverde, and you could still do the cloud forest bridge walk at the Hanging Bridges. The Arenal area is very jungly and green. I just think it's a long bumpy drive to get to Monteverde, but totally understand if that's where you want to go. I wouldn't count on finding very good snorkeling in Costa Rica. It was a bust when we did it due to all the sediment in the water, but hopefully you'll have better luck.
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Old Oct 28th, 2014, 04:37 PM
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There are strenuous and not-so-strenuous walks in any highland area. Look at the Cloudbridge reserve near Chirripo. Most lodges in San Gerardo de Dota will have some gentler paths as well as tougher ones.
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Old Oct 28th, 2014, 06:21 PM
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How long is the drive from Arenal to Dominical?

We are going to do the snorkeling trip to Cano Island which is supposed to be good.

I will look for the Cloudbridge near Chirripo--I need to search for more info on that--just looked at the Fodors guide book.
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Old Oct 28th, 2014, 06:35 PM
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Plan on 5-6 hours.
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Old Oct 28th, 2014, 07:15 PM
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We did Arenal to Manuel Antonio, and it was about five hours, so I agree with Michelle's estimate. Dominical is a little further. Please post back about the Cano Island tour. I would love to find good snorkeling in CR.
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Old Oct 28th, 2014, 07:48 PM
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http://www.cloudbridge.org/hiking-trails/
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