November vacation in Costa Rica

Sep 30th, 2005, 02:43 PM
  #1  
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November vacation in Costa Rica

My boyfriend and I are spending 11 days in Costa Rica mid-November. We are flying into San Jose and renting a 4X4 from Tricolor Car Rental. Here is our itinerary:

Peace Lodge 1 night;
Lost Iguana, Arenal 2 nights;
Ranch Armadillo, outside of Playa del Coco, 2 nights;
Tango Mar Resort, Tambor, 1 night;
Villa Caletas, Jaco, 3 nights;
El Cafetal Inn, close to San Jose, 1 night.

We want a lot of adventure and some relaxation. We would love any feedback or recommendations. Has anyone stayed in the places we have reserved and if so, what was your experience. Thanks!! ~Amy
amysg is offline  
Sep 30th, 2005, 03:32 PM
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Sorry, I haven't been to any of those hotels but something did catch my eye. I would try to do 3 locations max with the time you have. I especially would cut the Tambor part; I don;t know exactly how long the drive is but I'm guessing about 5-6 hours from Coco. That's a lot of driving for 1 night! Just my dos colones.
tully is offline  
Sep 30th, 2005, 07:14 PM
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We loved the Lost Iguana Resort. There is so much to see in Arenal. I would consider adding a night there. Things take a little more time in CR and just checking in and getting settled will eat up more time than you imagine.
misha2 is offline  
Sep 30th, 2005, 07:20 PM
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Hi Amy - We've been a few times and haven't stayed at any of these places, but there are so many great places and so little time! My advice as far as driving: allow plenty of time and be prepared for some difficult roads. What looks like a 2 hour drive (in US time) on the map can well take an entire afternoon in CR - especially getting over to Arenal. If you want relaxation, loosen up the itinerary or you will go crazy! Email me if you want more info. We've been all over CR with our kids, always driving and booking our own trips, so I can speak from experience.
Tibbi is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2005, 03:10 PM
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I would have to agree with Tully. You definitely need to omit the Tambor part of the trip unless you can stay there about 3 nights. It's a great area and I've heard good things about the hotel, but it is absolutely too time consuming getting in and out for one night.

The ferry is the way to go, but you have to arrive at just the right time to catch it (in fact about 30 minutes early, at least, to get in line). Don't even think about driving south from Nicoya and NOT taking the ferry--the road is absolutely horrendous with huge ruts. Very, very slow and treacherous--we were on it in July.

If I were you, I'd add another night at Playas del Coco (this is a neat area and 2 nights doesn't do it justice). You should definitely do a day trip up to the Rincon de la Vieja while you are so near. Then you could spend the rest of your time at Villas Caletas (or the Tambor region, but not both!).

To those of us who have been there several times (and speaking for all of us), your itinerary looks good, but that one thing jumps right out and yells, "No"! You'll understand more when you arrive.

The road to Arenal, at least in our experience, is one of the better roads and it has never taken us longer than 2.5-3 hours to get there from the airport.

Another thing to remember is that if you finish up at Villas Caletas, you will be within a nice fairly close drive of the airport should you have an afternoon flight. For a morning flight out of SJO, you'll need to return the night before to the airport area. Many people won't even take the chance on driving back in to SJO the day of a flight. There can be some unexpected delays on those roads--everything under the sun! Have a great trip!
shillmac is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2005, 03:12 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2004
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Oops, sorry. I reread your post and noticed El Cafetal the night before you fly out. Excellent choice--we stayed there one night a couple of years ago when we were picking someone up at the airport the next day. We loved it there. A recent visit to their webpage looks like some remodeling has gone on since we were there. It's a great place!

I'm not familiar with Rancho Armadillo, but sure would like to hear all about it when you get back!
Coco is a fun place at night if you are looking for light hanging out and maybe a little dancing!
shillmac is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2005, 05:37 AM
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Ditto! One night in Tambor is just not worth the hassle of getting there.

Peace Lodge is not your typical Costa Rican hotel, but is incredible. We stayed here our last two nights in 2004. After some rustic lodgings, this place was unbelievable. Very romantic rooms, with almost anything you can think of. The pictures on the website are what you get plus more! Make certain you allow enough time here to hike the grounds, to see the butterflies and hummingbirds and waterfalls.

Never stayed at your other choices, but Lost Iguana and Villa Caletas get good reviews.

CoCo was a fun little town. A little shopping, a few good restaurants and some nice little open air bars where you can share an Imperial with locals an other travelers.

I would either spend more time over on the Southern Nicoya and drop one of your beach locations - or add a night to Coco or Arenal.
dfarmer is offline  
Oct 4th, 2005, 08:25 AM
  #8  
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Thanks to all for the feedback. We made some adjustments and will be cutting out some of the trip and adding a few more days onto a current reservation. This will allow us more "chill" time. Thanks Again!!! ~Amy
amysg is offline  

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