Need to tune up Costa Rica Itinerary--Opinions?

Oct 29th, 2019, 01:21 PM
  #1  
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Need to tune up Costa Rica Itinerary--Opinions?

So we've decided to head for Costa Rica on Dec 4th, landing at night, and head back to the US on Dec 16th in the afternoon, giving us 12 nights in Costa Rica.

We have booked our first night near San Jose at the Buena Vista Chic hotel.
We figured we'd head to our next stop, Manual Antonio, sometime the next day via shuttle or even by air. We ARE NOT going to rent a car. Shuttle or flight suggestions welcome.
We then have booked 6 nights in Manual Antonio, where we have been before. I'm thinking we could shorten this reservation to five nights, giving us six more nights in other place(s) in CR.
I'd like to spend four or five days in Arenal, where we've also been before. Getting there might be iffy (probably back to San Jose via shuttle/plane and even another shuttle)
So...
Should we spend two nights closer to the airport on the way back to San Jose or should we break up the trek from Manual Antonio with some stop in between?

Thanks for any help.
AlessandraZoe is offline  
Oct 29th, 2019, 03:11 PM
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Sansa is the main in country airline since Nature Air has gone out of business. You could also check into taking the Interbus shuttle if you can make the times work. Private driver is another option; we usually reserve one through our hotels when we book them.
volcanogirl is online now  
Oct 29th, 2019, 03:35 PM
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Thanks, volcanogirl. I wish Fodors paid you! I relied on you for the last trip.

Since I wrote, I revamped my itinerary to
1 night near airport
5 nights in Manual Antonio
3 nights in Jaco where we can kick around on the beach and in town
3 nights in Arenal

I'm trying to decide WHERE to stay in Arenal. Oh, I loved our stay at the Nayara, and indeed, I have booked our rooms there. But I am thinking we will be running out of cash with THAT booking.
AlessandraZoe is offline  
Oct 29th, 2019, 04:20 PM
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Normally I would say to take a night from one of the beach locations and give to to Arenal so that you'd have some more time there, but you've been there before, right? So you know the types of things that there are to do and probably have done a few of them already. So in that case, I think 3 nights is sufficient.
november_moon is online now  
Oct 29th, 2019, 11:02 PM
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Haha, that would be nice! Glad to help. Tulemar is great in Manuel Antonio if you don't already have a place there. We like Nayara in the Arenal area too, have also stayed at The Springs Resort and Spa, but it's even pricier I think. We had a Groupon deal and got it for half price. Have also stayed at the Lost Iguana, and the Arenal Observatory Lodge. Tabacon and Silencio del Campo are popular too. I'll be curious to see what you think of Jaco; it has a party town reputation so we've kind of avoided it, but some people really like it.
volcanogirl is online now  
Oct 30th, 2019, 10:54 AM
  #6  
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Thanks! Shuttles it shall be!

Still tweaking...
Dec 4 1 night near airport
Dec 5-9 5 nights in Manual Antonio at La Mariposa
Dec 10-12 3 nights in Jaco at Hotel Club del Mar with unit that has washer/dryer (to catch up on stuff from Mariposa stay). Avoiding weekend since locals camp out on beach in front of hotel. Might want to learn to surf nearby (age 66, never tried).
Dec 13-15 3 nights in Arenal at the Arenal Springs Resort (I think Nayara prices just might kill my husband)
Dec 16--Head back early am to spend long hours at San Jose airport before our flight

november_moon--I'm still thinking about taking one more night off the Manual Antonio stay or one more night off the Jaco stay.
As to Jaco, volcanogirl, I never thought I'd go there, but I actually sort of like ticky-tacky from time to time, and my husband loves to kick around ticky tacky as long as he's not stuck there forever.


AlessandraZoe is offline  
Oct 30th, 2019, 02:26 PM
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It has a rep for drugs and prostitution, but it's probably only if you're in certain areas or go to certain bars. Supposed to have some good night life and restaurants. Let us know how it goes. Make sure your MA park visit doesn't fall on a Monday since the park is closed that day. Hope you have lots of fun.
volcanogirl is online now  
Nov 2nd, 2019, 08:34 AM
  #8  
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Thanks, volcanogirl, for the reminder. As soon as I get the itinerary straight, I'm contacting MAE, your referral from our last trip. My husband has a bromance with Juan.
AlessandraZoe is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2019, 04:41 AM
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That's awesome - Juan Brenes is the best, amazing guide. Sounds like your trip is really shaping up.
volcanogirl is online now  
Nov 7th, 2019, 03:57 AM
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I just posted a new thread for an updated Manual Antonio Expeditions contact email. I'm having no luck contacting Juan. I might throw caution to the wind and book everything through the hotel, but darn...
AlessandraZoe is offline  
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