Need help on CR plans for April

Oct 1st, 2005, 10:53 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 6
Need help on CR plans for April

I just reserved our flights to CR for mid-April.We have 3 children (ages 9, 13, and 15) and my two sisters. 7 of us in total. We arrive in SJO at 8:30pm so will need to stay first night in SJ. We then want to go to Arenal for 3 nights. Really interested in Lost Iguana but no one seems to ever mention here. It had great reviews on Trip Advisor. Is it too far away from things. I thought it might be nice for the kids. Any other suggestions for Arenal?? We then want to go to MA for 4 nights. Trying to decide between Como si no or La Posada Bungalows. I also need help on decided between renting or hiring a driver. I'd love to hire a driver so we can all relax and enjoy the rides , but I am concerned that we would need a car to get around Arenal and MA? Any thoughts? Any names of great drivers that you have used? I have been reading this site for a month and you have all helped me decide that CR would be a great trip for us. We live in Maine and love the outdoors and adventures. Can't wait to hike,bike,zip,paddle, etc. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!! I would love to finalize my plans soon. Thanks so much!!!
maineisit is offline  
Oct 1st, 2005, 02:17 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 27
Lost Iguana is very nice hence the good reports on Trip Advisor.

Si Como No is one of my favorite places and I highly recommend it.

Using a driver or driving yourself is a personal choice. It really depends on how much flexibility and privacy you want on your trip.

If you decide to drive I highly recommend a 4x4 for visibility and good suspension for hitting the pot holes. Also, don't drive at night (except locally to and from restaurant etc) since there are no lights, winding narrow roads, and easy to get lost.

For a downloadable visitors guide

http://www.fun-costa-rica-vacations.com

Arenal has plenty of activites including the Tabacon hot springs, canopy tours, horseback riding, the La Fortuna waterfall, hiking, Lake Arenal world class wind surfing, and just exploring!

Have a fun vacation!
Roger
rogerd is offline  
Oct 1st, 2005, 04:16 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 533
Wife and I (late 40s) did CR in June and it was a wonderful trip.
We personally preferred having our own car, but it seems that many postings here speak highly of having a driver. The previous posting had good thoughts on renting and driving.
We did MA first and stayed at Si Como No. It was very nice. A bit pricey, but very nice. I can't compare it to other places in MA. We enjoyed having our car in MA to get around, however, if you are going to do tours every day, you often are picked up by the tour operator, so you won't need a car for that. We then went to Monteverde for 2 nights.Stayed at the Hotel Belmar. Not as fancy, but we liked it a lot. Then to Arenal. Lost Iguana was very very nice. Other postings might let you know if other hotels have better views of the lava at night, but LI views were pretty neat. It IS about 12 or 15 minutes from the town of La Fortuna, which is neat to go into for lunch (try Lava Rocks restaurant on the main drag across from the church). We did the zip line in Arenal.
If you stay out that way, you are pretty close to the road that you would go to at night to see the lava. The LI is closer to that road than downtown.
Also, about 15 minutes drive from LI, in the direction AWAY from LaFortuna, going up along the east side of the lake, is a neat little shop called Toad Hall (or something like that). Nice drive, good views of lake, neat arts and crafts, and a good place to go get a coffee and dessert.

We've lived in and traveled a lot in Europe, and CR was an entirely new and different kind of experience for us, but it was very neat and we will return. Let me know if I can be of any help.
EK
ekellyga is offline  
Oct 1st, 2005, 05:27 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 385
I did not stay at Lost Iguana. I did a bicycle ride past the hotel and it looked very pretty. One tour I STRONGLY recommend from Arenal is the Caño Negro tour. It is a boat ride wherein you see lots of animals.

The canopy and caves tours are great out of Arenal also but your 9 year old might be too young for that.

They have a great volcano tour that includes dinner and a visit to the hot springs. Horseback riding tours are fun also in both MA and Arenal.

Lastly, you can do kayaking and river rafting tours from both places.

Have a blast in CR.
dariow is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2005, 05:20 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 19
dear maineisit,

my husband and i stayed at lost iguana and absolutely loved it! yes, it is removed from la fortuna by about 15 minutes but we liked being away from it all. you really feel like you are away from it all and the grounds are incredible and the views are amazing! breakfast was good at the hotel but we found that lunch and dinner were not very good at all, just a personal preference. (lots of american dishes that were not very good--i think it would be better if they prepared local dishes). staying at lost iguana was one of the highlights of our trip: sky trek zip line, kayaking, we loved it all!

in manuel antonio, i would also recommend si como no. (my husband and i stayed at mango moon and visited si como no while we were there). beautiful pool and there were a lot of kids as well. it is also conveniently located--just please be careful on that main road, bring flashlights if you are going to be walking at night, etc. we did not rent a car and really enjoyed having drivers, taxis, etc. in MA, we took taxis to dinner and back at night because we found the main road to be full of curves, bumps, and drivers going really fast! (and we're from nyc so we're used to crazy driving!)

we had several AMAZING drivers that i can highly recommend. i booked all of our drivers and activities through ralph at gaia link tours(http://www.gaialinktours.com)and every activity and driver far exceeded any expectations i had. they did a really great job of finding bi-lingual guides that were fun, caring, and always on time. our favorite driver was a man named luis, i think you could reach him at gaia link or at tucan limo services. please email me at [email protected] if you would like luis's personal number or if you would like to see photos. (i have several of the beautiful grounds at LI)

have fun planning!
allthingsbb is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2005, 05:35 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 617
maineisit - I hired Leo Roderiguez in May and we 50 yr. olds and an 18 and 21 yr. old all felt the same way about him - he was fun, so knowledeable, such a good driver, etc. [email protected] is his e-mail address. Another person just placed a pic of Leo (along with compliments) on www.frommers.com travel website. Click on Travel Talk, then to the left, click on Central and So. Amer. and click on Costa Rica and you will get additional info. just like you do here on fodors.com Scroll down and see beebeck's post and she included a pic of him and his 2002 Toyota van. Have fun - it is soooo nice there.
Dyer is offline  

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