Need help with a Costa Rica Itinerary

Old Nov 11th, 2010, 07:03 AM
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Need help with a Costa Rica Itinerary

Hi-

I am going to Costa Rica from Sat - following Sunday.

I will be alone for Sat afternoon - Monday AM and flying into San Jose. I want to get out of San Jose ASAP. Is there a tour or travel agent anyone recommends to make the most of my time. I was thinking of catching a plane to Tortuga (depending on the cost).

When my friend arrives on Monday, I plan to meet him at the SJ airport and go to Arenal to Monteverde to Manual Antonio back to San Jose.

My questions are as follows:

1) Does scheduled shuttle service pick you up and drop off at your airport if you want to go arenal. We don't want to stay in in San Jose.

2) Would it be better to just have my friend catch up with me in a more desired spot to hang out?

Thanks a lot!
bluesman78 is offline  
Old Nov 11th, 2010, 09:49 AM
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Peace Lodge would be a fantastic spot to hang out prior to going to Arenal. The lodge is about an hour from the city. Check out their website - there is a lot to do/see on their property. If you change your mind and decide to spend a night in the city, Hotel Grano de Oro is great and it's walking distance to one of my favorite restaurants, Machu Picchu. Get the sharing platter if you like seafood. Very affordable and fantastic.

If you are active, there's some of the best white water rafting around just two hours away. Easy pickup from San Jose hotels. If you have Fodor's Costa Rica 2010, that's me in the photo on Page 177. The Pacuare River is a lot of fun.

We hire Wilson Rojas to drive us, especially when flying into San Jose. He's great, has a nice van, speaks good English and will be happy to make suggestions/arrangements for you. His email is [email protected].

Hope you have a wonderful trip!
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Old Nov 11th, 2010, 01:05 PM
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Peace Lodge looks wonderful, but it is a tad out of my budget, given that I will be traveling solo.

Thanks for the suggestion of the driver. I will contact him.

I'm tempted to just head to Arenal and then have my friend meet me there.

Are there more excusions/things to do in Arenal or Manual Antonio?

I just don't want to spend time in a city, and since I am coming in at noon, I don't want to waste 3/4ths of a day in San Jose
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Old Nov 11th, 2010, 01:53 PM
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There are a ton of things to do in Arenal and Manuel Antonio. Look here: www.arenal.net and here www.manuelantoniopark.com

There are also several very nice places to stay (no budget busters) in the Alajuela area - this is where the airport is located. You might consider staying there and meeting up with your friend for the rest of your trip. Some nice hotels include La Rosa de America, Orquideas Inn, Airport B&B, Hotel Villa Dolce, Hotel Buena Vista. None of these are right in Alajuela and all in very pleasant areas surrounding the town. They each have websites so you can see for yourself.

From any of these, you can do excursions/tours to Poas or Irazu Volcano, The Butterfly Farm, ZOO Ave, a coffee tour, among other things. You can visit the town of Sarchi which is known for its handcrafts and also the center of the decorated ox carts that are famous. You can take a taxi into the center of Alajuela and walk around, do some shopping or banking, have a nice meal.

For your trip to Arenal, you can arrange a private driver or for a more inexpensive trip, take the shared van shuttle for about $40. www.interbusonline.com
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Old Nov 11th, 2010, 02:30 PM
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There's tons to do in Arenal - the Cano Negro tour to see wildlife, hike the waterfall and swim at the base, visit natural hot springs like Eco Termales and Tabacon, hike the Hanging Bridges, raft with Rios Tropicales, and zipline at Sky Trek. If you hang around San Jose, I'd do a tour to the Doka Coffee estate and Poas volcano. The longer you stay in Arenal, the better your chance of seeing the volcano.
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Old Nov 13th, 2010, 02:04 PM
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Peace Lodge is a bit over the top, isn't it. We only spent one night there. We thought we would arrive mid day and be able spend the afternoon looking around. Wilson stopped us at another small property on the way (late lunch, drinks) and we didn't end up getting to Peace Lodge until after dark. It was pouring rain so all we did was check email, pet the cute little tabby cat and slop our way to the lounge. We heard the spendy dinner isn't worth it so we ended up ordering a club sandwich from room service. It was huge, juicy and wonderful. Didn't know hummingbirds feed at night but apparently they do because we had them on our balcony and even got some great night photos of them. They do an evening frog tour but we were too burnt out to sign up. Ate breakfast and tried to see a few animals the next morning. Still pouring rain and windy. Didn't get to see much before our ride showed up but we hope to go back someday. What a place!

Wilson is great, but he will charge you the going rate so have him give you a quote so you know what to expect. You could use him for your trip to Arenal if he is available but of course he will charge more than the bus. We like going with him because he makes an adventure out of it.

Staying around Alajuela and waiting for your friend is a good idea although you could go hang out in the Arenal area too. If you stay near the airport, Zoo Ave. is close by and really worth the money. Bring a camera. Some critters are roaming about and you can get some great photos.

Tons of things to do in Arenal and MA. Keep in mind it will take you some time (and $) to get to MA from Arenal. Might want to check out how hard it is raining in MA these days. We weren't able to fish, etc. while there because of the heavy rain and wind. The park is a must see in MA and Cano Negro is a fantastic day trip from Arenal.
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