Perfect itinerary for Costa Rica

Mar 14th, 2016, 06:39 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 17
Perfect itinerary for Costa Rica


We just booked a trip for 10 days to Costa Rica. we are wildlife and beach enthusiasts and want to get a good taste of all that CR has to offer. Having said that since 10 days isn't too long, we want to limit our destinations to 2 - 3 places max and spend about 2 or 3 nights in each destination instead of hurrying it up. As of now I'm thinking of this itinerary and would love some suggestions on if it can be made better by switching up places. please note that we are renting a car and driving and wouldn't like any distance to be more than 5 hours or so max.

Current itinerary in order of appearance: Arenal (2 nights, 3 days), Manuel Antonio (3 nights, 4 days), Tamarindo (3 nights, 4 days)

I'd love to know if all these places are worth visiting and if the duration of our stay is sufficient for the timeframe we are in CR. Tamarindo I want to include as we love beaches, swimming and nightlife, but i'm happy to consider an alternate beach destination or even a day trip beach destination from Tamarindo that may be cool. Should just be within 5 hours of driving from Manuel Antonio,

Manuel Antonio seems to come highly recommended to us and looks easy enough to drive from San Jose. Otherwise I was considering Corcovado or Tortuguero both of which seem tough to reach.

Would love some suggestions.

aashmoi is offline  
Mar 15th, 2016, 07:10 AM
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 21
These are all great picks! Very lively areas with lots to do and see. I'm very much into seeing wildlife and spending time at the beach or on the water so I like all of those choices. Seeing the volcano in Arenal is an absolute must, and I always like to spend at least a half day out on the water doing some fishing, but literally any of your top 3 picks has a good place to do that:

Tortuguero is a nice area, but as a whole that side of the country is a little more wild, so I wouldn't advise it for a first timer.
Munchin_Mishelle is offline  
Mar 15th, 2016, 11:53 AM
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 23,805
I think you're short changing the Arenal area; there is tons to do there. It's one of our favorite areas - hiking at the waterfall, Hanging Bridges, and volcano, ziplining at Sky Trek, the Cano Negro tour, the Penas Blancas river float, the Proyecto Asis animal rescue center, rafting with Rios Tropicales, visiting the natural hot springs like Tabacon or Eco Termales. Two nights there isn't really enough to me.

I like Manuel Antonio too - beautiful beach inside the park, easy access to fairly tame wildlife, the mangrove tour, the spice tour. With only ten days, I'd increase your time in the Arenal area and then pick one beach destination to go with it. Do you need to spend first or last nights near the airport due to your flight times?

What time of year are you traveling? You can get to the Osa Peninsula fairly easily - about an hour long flight from SJO on either Sansa or Nature Air. You don't really have to go into Corcovado to see wildlife; we saw all 4 kinds of monkeys, toucans, scarlet macaws etc. at Bosque del Cabo. Tortuguero is also good for seeing wildlife, but I'd save it for when the turtles are laying their eggs. If you like nightlife, these spots might not be for you - very sleepy off the grid type areas.
volcanogirl is online now  
Mar 15th, 2016, 03:09 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 9,346
I agree with Volcanogirl. Where are you flying in/out of? Tamarindo would be a rather far slog if you then have to get back to San Jose for your flight home.
MichelleY is offline  
Mar 17th, 2016, 11:02 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 17
Thank you everyone! we are traveling April 8 - 18 and to and from San Jose. Would you recommend another beach area in place of Tamarindo that we could drive from manuel Antonio or fly into from Drake Bay 9if we end uo going to Corcovado) I will condier increasing time in Arenal, but since my heart is set on going either to MA or Corcovado, that may not be possible
aashmoi is offline  

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