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Monteverder or Manuel Antonio, which do you think is better....

Monteverder or Manuel Antonio, which do you think is better....

Old Apr 20th, 2009, 02:29 PM
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Monteverder or Manuel Antonio, which do you think is better....

I'm going to CR in 3 weeks and only staying for 6 days. I'm going to Arenal for sure, but undecisive if I should go to Monteverde or Manuel Antonio. Which of the 2 has a better national park?? Also, should I go ziplinning in Arneal or somewhere else??

Does anyone know what website i can use for rafting transfer. We are staying in San Jose and want to raft and then transfer to Arenal same day...

Also, what is the average price to book a personal driver from San Jose to Arenal then from Arenal to either Monteverde or Manuel Antonio??

Please help!!

Thanks,
Ann
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Old Apr 20th, 2009, 05:07 PM
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We paid $120 to go from SJO to Arenal and $180 to go from Arenal to MA. We used Jeep Boat Jeep through Desafio to go from Arenal to Monteverde, and it was only 25 dollars per person.

Monteverde and Manuel Antonio could not be more different. Do you prefer the beach or the cloud forest? MA was quite hot when we were there, in the 90s, and the beach was beautiful. Lots of restaurant choices, very Americanized. Monteverde is cool. Actually it was cold and rainy when we went. Our hotel even had a fireplace going to keep it warm. We wore sweatshirts at night. Lots of good hiking here in the reserves, and you have the chance to see a quetzal which is amazing. MA tends to attract families and people who want easy access to everything. Monteverde tends to attract birders. I think Monteverde is a little more wild. The monkeys in MA can open a bag of chips.

I would zipline at Sky Trek in Arenal; it has a great reputation and long, high lines. Also a tram takes you up, so it's easy access.

crvacation, just curious about Jaco. It has a rep for being a little seedy - do you think it is?
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Old Apr 20th, 2009, 06:55 PM
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Thanks Volcanogirl!! You're awesome!!

Do you know of any website for rafting transfer and where is the best place to go white water rafting??

Also, should I book tour in advance or can I book at hotel when I get there??
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Old Apr 21st, 2009, 01:49 AM
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I think crvacation's post got pulled for being advertising.

Hi, Ann - We haven't gone rafting yet, but the most popular place to do it is on the Pacuare out of San Jose. Rios Tropicales seems to get consistently good reviews. That's who we were looking at using. You can also raft a couple of different rivers out of Arenal. Check out the Rios Tropicales website and see what looks best to you. I would probably book a rafting trip ahead since they usually need a minimum number of people to take the trip. I think hip was talking about this earlier. Maybe she'll chime in for you; she always has good info. to share.
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Old Apr 21st, 2009, 12:23 PM
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Hipvirgochick has actually mentioned a rafting transfer that will take you from San Jose up to the Arenal area. Is that what you're looking for Ann? Or do you want to raft the Rio Pacuare (famous for white water) and then get a driver to take you to Arenal that afternoon/evening?

I'm going to do the Rio Pacuare day trip in June. You can book that through many San Jose-area hotels or directly through the rafting companies (Rios Tropicales and Aventuras Naturales are two reputable outfits). You can also book through a travel agent. I had Pat Hewitt, who frequently posts here, set that up for me.

I would probably try to set the rafting up in advance so you're assured of getting a spot for the date you want.

I'm not sure who does the Arenal transfer via raft, but Hip probably knows and will undoubtedly respond if she sees this post.
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Old Apr 21st, 2009, 01:40 PM
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Hi Ann - I've rafted the Pacuare with both Aventuras Naturales and Rios Tropicales so I had the chance to compare the two. Both are reputable companies and have almost all the same amenities such as pick up/drop off from your hotel, meals, private shower/changing facilites, etc. While AV as of now only runs the Pacuare and the Sarapiqui rivers, RT runs the Pacuare, Sarapique, Reventazon and possibly one or two more rivers. RT also takes larger groups on their one day trips than does AV: the day I went with RT there were easily 40 people with us and we were picked up in one of those huge tour buses as opposed to the shuttle we took with AV and there were only 10 of us.

I prefer the small group size with AV as we had the time to talk to and learn from our guide about the scenery around us, hike to a waterfall and swimming hole, and basically have the river all to ourselves.

As far as the best place to go, that's entirely subjective. Pacuare is deservedly popular because of the Class III-IV water with big, rolling waves, stunning scenery from start to finish, easy access from nearly all the areas travelers like to stay in, etc. I intend to run it each and every time I go back to CR. Having said that, you do have several other options: Toro, Naranjo, Savegre, Sarapiqui, Reventazon, Balsa, Corobici, Colorado, El General and Chirripo just to name a few. And you can certainly raft if you stay in Arenal, San Jose, Manuel Antonio and Monteverde so just find out which tour operator runs trips near your home base and whether or not they will pick up from your hotel.

I agree with cmerrell about booking in advance to ensure that they have space for you on the day you want to go. May and June along with September and October are generally the best times to go because the rains dramatically increase water volumes, but that's not a sure thing. I rafted the Naranjo in May last year and was disappointed because water levels were so incredibly low and didn't get the ride I wanted.

I haven't heard of the Arenal transfer via raft but can't wait to learn about it.

cmerrell - the Pacuare in June! Let us know how the water is!
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Old Apr 21st, 2009, 02:02 PM
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Hi, Think the info in all the above replys are right on the button. As for Manuel Antonio vs Monteverde. You will save a lot of "being on the road" if you pick Monteverde and not Manuel Antonio ( if you are at Arenal already the jeep boat options is the best since the road from Arenal to Monteverde (the back way thru Tiliran) is very bad and the jeep navigates it very well. Weather is cool and rainy in Monteverde. Rains a lot June through November. Monteverde is like going back in time..very laid back, lots of green everywhere. The zip line in Monteverde is the best because the trees are primary forest and very BIG and tall.
If you want a beach experience then Manuel Anonio- it's hot and more people. Monteverde is a rainforest experience. Personally I think Monteverde is more of an unique experience.
If you go white water rafting out of San Jose , you will return late in the afternoon and it is not a good idea to continue by automobile to Arenal. Takes 3.5-4 hours and driving at night is not a good idea. Roads are mountainous. I write a blog for fun. google me at costa rica learn. Good luck on your trip.
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Old Apr 21st, 2009, 07:46 PM
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We saw a ton more animals in Manuel Antonio than in Monteverde. Twelve anteaters paraded across our path in the park, sloths in the trees, one boa constrictor way up on a branch, tons of birds and monkeys everywhere! All that nature plus beautiful beaches! I loved Monteverde, for all of the reasons above,but for more of a variety, I would choose MA. (We ziplined, went waterfall repelling, surfing, and deep sea fishing)
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Old Apr 21st, 2009, 08:17 PM
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https://www.exploradoresoutdoors.com/

I'm sorry -- I could swear I saw San Jose to Arenal rafting transfers when I was looking into it, and now I'm only seeing Puerto Viejo to Arenal (on this website at least).
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Old Apr 22nd, 2009, 01:18 PM
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Wow rpowell, you had great wildlife sitings in MA! I've seen an anteater on the Osa, but it was up in the tree canopy and mostly obscured by branches. I really want to get a good look at one.

Eressea, I will definitely post a trip report regarding the Pacuare and my other adventures when I get back from the June trip.
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