Monteverde or Tortuguero??

Old Sep 9th, 2008, 08:53 AM
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Monteverde or Tortuguero??

I am planning a 9 night trip to Costa Rica in March. Want to combine lots of birds, wildlife, adventure, canopy, horseback riding and beach. Need to be back in San Jose for the last night because flight out is at noon. Was thinking, Monteverde, Arenal and Tortuguero but then I don't think there is any real beach in there. Are we better off doing either Monteverde or Tortuguero, Arenal and then maybe Manuel Antonio? If we go to MA I'm thinking of Si Como No. Hopefully some of you will have a better suggestion for me. Am desperate I only have flights on hold until the end of the week.

Thanks,
Pam
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Old Sep 9th, 2008, 09:58 AM
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If it's not turtle nesting season, which I think March isn't, I would save Tortuguero for another trip. We were in Tortuguero this past July and while we enjoyed that region quite a bit, it does take time to get there unless you fly in and out, and you are correct that you can not swim there at the beach. The real reason for going is the turtles!

For a 9 day with your options I would suggest Arenal, Monteverde and Manuel Antonio. We also went to Manuel Antonio this past trip and really enjoyed our beach time and relaxing there. Si Como No gets good reviews and I know a few people who stayed there and enjoyed it. We stayed at the Tulemar Bungelows and really liked it a lot as well!
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Old Sep 9th, 2008, 02:30 PM
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I'd give Tortuguero a pass if the turtles aren't nesting. For our first trip, we had 9 days and just did a split between Arenal and Manuel Antonio, with the last night in San Jose.
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Old Sep 9th, 2008, 03:22 PM
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Agree with above shell and vgirl. . .and think you would probably benefit MORE by narrowing your choices down to Arenal and Manuel Antonio. . last night near airport, so 8 nights right? Both areas have so much to see and do. I believe that if you try to squeeze in 3 locations, you'll be shorting yourself at all 3 places.
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Old Sep 10th, 2008, 03:08 PM
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Skip Tortuguero

www.desafiocostarica.com

Great adventures at Arenal

including ride ot Monteverde.

www.lostiguanaresort.com

very nice there

Si Como NO nice but

Prefer www.lamariposa.com

www.thealtahotel.com

nice Escazu hotel for flight night

have fun,


qwovadis is offline  
Old Sep 11th, 2008, 03:19 PM
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I noticed that two of your objectives are birds and canopy tours. You almost have to leave Monteverde in the mix. March is prime Quetzal season. The mot mots, bell birds, and toucanets will be active too. There are a lot more species to see. I am sorry, I only know the big gaudy ones. But March is a great time for birding.

Tortuguero always has good birding too. Large green parrots and lots of waterfowl. So there is a lot of nature going on here as well. Not just turtles.

But the Canopy tours were invented in Monteverde, and I think that the best in Costa Rica can still be found there. So I agree with ShellD, and think you should go for the three mentioned.

If you don't mind the long travel day when you arrive, you could do Arenal, Monteverde, and Manuel Antonio. When we plan an itinerary for our customers, we always recommend a minimum of three nights Monteverde, three nights Manuel Antonio, and two nights Arenal.

I know some of the Arenal aficionados will disagree with me. So I apologize in advance to my board buddies. But I just think that there are a heck of a lot more natural things to do in Monteverde and Manuel Antonio. Plus, it is a difficult trip getting up and down the mountain to Monteverde. So it is worth the extra night there.

If you arrive in Costa Rica early enough in the day, you could go directly to Arenal. Then Monteverde and Manuel Antonio. This would leave you a night to spend near the airport before you depart for home.

Hope this helps! Let me know if I can offer any more advice.

Warm Regards,
Pat Hewitt
Travel Professional
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Old Sep 11th, 2008, 07:02 PM
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Definitely agree with Pat on several counts. Monteverde needs to be 3 nights. And of course, I still think you could benefit from 4 nights each, Arenal and MA. But I'd also love for you to have the op to see the quetzal and the 3 wattled bellbird! I overlooked that sentence. . .thank you, Pat!

And yes, I am one who thinks there is a LOT to do at Arenal, including some very nice ziplines. That said, it is also a place where you can pack quite a bit into a short amount of time if you arrive fairly early in the day (by noon or 1:00). If you've already done the zips at Monteverde, then DO try to spend your full day at Arenal with the Cano Negro tour. Lots of wildlife, including MANY water birds. Actually, with Sunset Tours, we returned about 3:00 p.m., which gives you plenty of time to shop around in La Fortuna, have dinner, and do the hot springs at night if you so desire. Early arrival the day before, you can always do the Hanging Bridges or Arenal National Park tour. We really like Arenal Paraiso for location, spa, moderate prices, swim up bar, hot thermal pools, and a nice view of the volcano. Action (lava flow) is still around on the Arenal Observatory Lodge side, though--I believe. Can someone confirm that? Speaking of Arenal Observatory Lodge, it is also a very good place for spotting lots of birds--and close to the National Park entrance as well as the Hanging Bridges.
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Old Sep 11th, 2008, 08:18 PM
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Arenal is still our favorite; we only spent 3 days there this trip and were wishing we had spent 4. I could easily return to Arenal every single trip and still love it - the hot springs, hanging briges, volcano, waterfall, and my favorite Cano Negro, plus excellent bird watching. We hired our own birding guide through Sunset Tours, and it was really wonderful. We actually ended up having 3 guides, and they made us hot coffee and we munched on cookies while hiking around seeing amazing birds and wildlife - a great day. We saw an ornate hawk eagle, and tons of other birds, howler monkeys, an anteater, and a peccary. In Monteverde, we loved the ziplines, and we did an awesome night hike at Hidden Valley.
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