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hokiegirl Oct 2nd, 2005 04:45 PM

Monteverde vs Manual Antonio
If you could only do one or the other, which would you choose? Looking forward to doing night hikes, zip lines and cloud forests.

The thing is that I'd have to choose between Arenal/Monteverde or Arenal/Manual Antonio so hoping you resourceful Fodorites can help me with pros/cons and any useful advise you may have. TIA!

dfarmer Oct 3rd, 2005 05:03 AM

These two areas are totally different.

If it were my trip, I would have to go to MA, only because I have to have a few days at a beach location on every trip.

However, if I were not in need of seeing and being on the water, I would then choose Monteverde.

Monteverde is a Cloud Forest, MA is a Rain Forest.

After experiencing both areas, always in Feb, Monteverde is just so much more grand. The vegetation in Monteverde is just so darn huge! Everything is wet and lush. And walking in the misty clouds swirling around is so mystical. Not to mention the trip to Monteverde is an adventure in itself. The town is very small, with quaint little restaurants and shops. The coffee IMHO is the best ever, although this may be because it is impossible to get unless you make this journey. Things have obviously changed here, as many report that it is becoming much more touristy.

MA is much easier to get to, has many more lodging and restaurant offerings. The view overlooking the Pacific is breathtakingly beautiful. I expected everything to be lush and green and large as in Monteverde, it wasn't. The trails were easy, I just did not have the same feelings here as I did the previous year in Monteverde. However, we did enjoy our time and did like having the ocean and the little restaurants along the waters edge.

Most people tend to do the Arenal/MA split, which is a good one for first time visits. How many nights do you have?

It looks like you will have to plan another trip! And if this is an option, I would do MA this year and Monteverde next.

ewesthoff Oct 3rd, 2005 08:14 AM

So many people rave about MA, but I am not one of them. It was a good time, but none of the hotels in MA are on the beach, and it is a heck of a walk to get there, so you are left either going into the park to go to the beach, which is a beautiful beach, or at the public beach right before you go to the park, which isn't that nice and you have to fend off solicitors. I really wasn't that impressed with the trails in the park, and had so much more fun at other areas. It wasn't much different than walking through the woods/forests of northern Florida. If you do decide to go to MA, the good thing is that there are alot of tours you can take. Like the previous post, unless you really need to be near the water, I would do Monteverde.

Melissa5 Oct 4th, 2005 11:50 PM

We loved Monteverde and plan to go back. Yes, the roads are bad but it was very worth it!

We were disappointed in Manuel Antonio. The Manuel Antonio rainforest is so disturbed by man...and we saw it AFTER seeing the magnificent and much less disturbed Monteverde Cloud Forest.

The beaches are nice within the Manuel Antonio reserved, though. If you really want beach, do Manuel Antonio first, and then do Monteverde last.

dariow Oct 5th, 2005 11:07 AM

I agree that the decision needs to be based on your preferences. Both places have nice things.

Manuel Antonio is a crowded touristy area with a lot of gringos. The park and beaches there are beautiful.

Monteverde is one of my favorite places in the country. The jungles there are wonderful. The downside is that the roads in and out of Monteverde are horrible hence it is hard to get there.

My personal preference is that I do not like Manuel Antonio since there are soooooooo many gringo tourists. I liked Monteverde more. Again it depends on your preferences though

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