place on the beach with great tours too

Oct 11th, 2004, 03:53 AM
  #1  
plc
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place on the beach with great tours too

hi there,
my boyfriend and i are going to CR for his 40th birthday. neither of us have been there. he would like the rianforest, hikes and tours and i would like the beach at least a couple of days anyway. we are landing in san jose on the 8th and returning to boston on the 14th. any suggestions that have the best of both? i'm open to the ecolodges but i didn't see any on the beach.
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Oct 11th, 2004, 05:41 AM
  #2  
Iza
 
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It sounds like the best place for you would be Manuel Antonio. Osa Penninsula would be great for rainforest and the beach, but it is very remote so the tours would be very limited.
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Oct 11th, 2004, 08:38 AM
  #3  
 
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If you're looking for something ON the beach, I can't think of anything better than El Sano Banano Beach Hotel in Montezuma. Their little bungalows are really cute, secluded, and right on a beautiful beach with hardly any other people around. We had monkeys hanging from the trees right outside our room and there are lots of tours and hikes to choose from.
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Oct 11th, 2004, 08:48 AM
  #4  
 
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We stayed on the Osa at a place called The Iguana Lodge on the beach a few miles from Puerta Jimenez.Loved it. The six mile beach was awesome but deserted . The selection of tours available was by far the best we have seen in CR - no ziplines however.
Our first nite we saw a turtle laying and our last nite we released freshly hatched babies. The tours we took were all private- just my wife and me - and affordable. Since we had so many choices the lodge owners local knowledge was important. Some lodges only refer you to tours that they make a cut.
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Oct 11th, 2004, 08:58 AM
  #5  
plc
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Thx friends... El Sano sounds great but we're also considering Osa strongly and would like to stay at more than one place...would it be too much of a stretch to spend 4 days in Montezuma and maybe fly to Osa for 3 days? Thanks again for the assist.
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Oct 11th, 2004, 09:42 AM
  #6  
 
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You are probably looking at less actual resort time than you think depending on what your arrival and departure times are.

If you have to spend a night in the airport area coming and going that would make a big difference.

I have spent a lot of time with Toby and Lauren at Iguana Lodge. It is in a great location. The beach is one of the nicest on the Osa. Escondido Trex down the road has a couple of options for some great kayaking. There are some horseback rides into the rainforest down there that are very interesting. There is a tour to go out and swim with the Dolphins. Only downside is that there is a pretty good taxi charge added to each of these trips to get to and from the tours. Deep sea fishing is popular in that area also. The snorkeling trip is not worth the money and we enjoyed the botanical garden tour but we thought the $100 charge for transportation by boat to and from Puerto Jimenez(not to mention the taxi charge to and from the lodge to the boat) to the gardens was pretty steep.

Friday nights they have a live band next door at their other place. If you get there on a thursday you will have time to have Giovanni teach you a little salsa. He is a wonderful dancer.

They also have boogey boards and kayaks for guest use at Iguana.

All of this really depends on how active you want to be and what month you are going. You mentioned the arrival and departure dates but not the month. Due to its location, the rainy season ends later down there than further north.

One more option that has not been mentioned and I think a lot of people are going to be happy about this, on this board anyway.... There is a place called Hotel Sugar Beach in the middle Guanacaste area, not far from Flamingo Beach. You can go fishing, snorkeling/diving, visit Rincon de la Vieja for some hot springs, mud baths, canopy tour, horseback riding. The great part about this place is that it has recently been bought and renovated (or in progress) by the owner of Orquideas Inn in Alajuela near the airport. If you have been reading the posts, you know how highly regarded Orquideas Inn is.

Costa Rica is a great country and no matter where you end up it will leave you wanting to see more.

Feliz Cumpleanos a su novio! (Happy Birthday to your boyfriend)

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Oct 11th, 2004, 11:38 AM
  #7  
 
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Jessie is right. Check out your flights/travel arrangments very carefully- the right planning is everything for a week vacation in CR. The times of your arrival and departure can actually help decide where you go in the country - flights to the Osa are not as common as say flights to Quepos.Check the Nature air and Sansa websites
I would pick one area for a week but a lot a people would do two.
The Osa is awesome if you want remote beach/rainforest. Some people want more action. I would again agree with Jesse- cabs are more expensive on the Osa than in other areas of the country. Keeping in mind that seemingly short distances take a long time on the Osa you could stay in more than one place on the Osa for some change of location. Say Carate.

I want to hear more about Hotel Sugar Beach- had always heard Flamingo beach was past its prime (??)- Not so(??)or..
has anybody stayed at Luna Lodge and is it as nice as it looks (we never made it all the way to Carate!!)

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Oct 11th, 2004, 12:27 PM
  #8  
 
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Have stayed in both Flamingo and Carate (just about every place available in Carate).
Luna Lodge is beautiful. Lana is really great. she used to run the Costa Rica Expeditions Tent Camp. The little cabinas are darling. Cold water showers. Not a whole lot to do in that area but relax. Some good hiking available from the lodge. Food is very good and a lot of the fruits and veggies are grown right there.

Flamingo is very small and very americanized. Not a place I would go out of my way to stay in again. Should you stop there, Maries has pretty good food as well as the pizza place heading up the hill on the right. The beach is very pretty.

Hotel Sugar Beach is set off and the area around there is very pretty. Good snorkeling around the islands. Have not stayed there yet but did a little boat tour of the area to get a feel for it as well as do some snorkeling.

I loved the little town of Potrero.
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Oct 11th, 2004, 02:39 PM
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Hotel Sugar Beach definitely a good choice. You need a car to stay there. For those who don't know, Playa Potrero is a small, beach town near Flamingo, but has maintained its very Costa Rican nature! One has to travel a few km down a little rutty dirt road to get there. There is a good little bakery, a couple of supers, a couple of restaurants, 3-4 hotels which are spread out, etc. It is a small place in the country. Once in Potrero, near Playa Penca, there is another little rutty dirt road that goes to Playa Pan de Azucar (Sugar Beach). Sugar Beach is a pretty beach, and the hotel is all there is. Great for those who prefer that extra isolation. Some would be put off a bit by the difficulty in getting to and from the hotel. We spent a morning there looking around and hanging at the beach and would definitely stay there. Very pretty place. Jessie, we liked Potrero as well. I did a homestay there last year. It's a great place to escape Americana--and so close to Flamingo! But you've heard me say we like Flamingo, also--for its great beach--and Marie's!
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Oct 11th, 2004, 03:40 PM
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That rutty little road from Flamingo to portrero has great monkeys and birds!
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Oct 11th, 2004, 04:42 PM
  #11  
plc
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Great help guys and gals... keep it coming... LAFadeAway recommended El Sano Banano.... Shillmac, do you know much about Montezuma? We're seriously considering El Sano... another thought was the Blue Jay Lodge in Mal Pais but are concerned we may need a rental car and also heard besides the surf scene, there isn't much else to do... we may scrap the plans to visit Osa seeing we only have 7 days... perhaps 2 nites in Arenal??? or the other direction to Peace Lodge??? then to Montezuma for 4 nites... how's the nite life and monkey population there?? I think that's it for now... Thanks for the help... you've all been great...
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Oct 11th, 2004, 05:09 PM
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There were lots of white faced monkeys hanging out around our room in Montezuma. The nightlife is fairly limited to Chico's bar in town, although we had a blast there every night. The bartenders were lots of fun. Most of the other restaurants and bars closed fairly early, but we found excellent food at several of them. El Sano Banano's restaurant was our favorite. They show movies every night at 7:00 on a big screen. We never hung out to watch them, but it was packed in there every night. I just posted a new thread with links to all our pictures on-line. There are many from El Sano Banano and Montezuma if you're interested.
LA_FadeAway is offline  
Oct 11th, 2004, 06:32 PM
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We spent parts of 2 days in Montezuma, plc. If we were to return and stay there in town, we'd pick El Sano Banano based on what we've heard here on Fodor's.

We loved MalPais, but after 4 days were ready to move on. Because we had the car, we enjoyed staying there and driving into Montezuma to have breakfast and an early activity (falls, Cabo Blanco). We'd then have lunch, walk around a bit, and return to MalPais in the mid-afternoon where we would enjoy a gorgeous sunset, a walk on the beach, dinner, and early to bed. It was a very relaxing few days--except for the very strenuous hike through CB. We did a lot of reading and hammock time!

I think you would really enjoy this area. I'd scrap the Osa idea this time. Too early in November to avoid the risk of "way" too much rain. You could certainly enjoy a couple of days in Arenal. It is beautiful up there--I think the hot springs at Tabacon are a don't miss. MOST will agree, although there has been an occasional negative post based on price.

I have one other suggestion that you might want to consider. Since you have only 6 days (even less, actually), MalPais/Montezuma seem too distant to split your time with Arenal and still have adequate time at M/M.

About 1.5 south and west of the airport is the hotel you've heard others and myself mention on this board--La Finca Que Ama. You could drive there, stay the night, go to Turu-Bari park the next morning (only about 45 min. away). Take a later ferry over to Paquera and on to Montezuma arriving later in the day.

You would be arriving in Montezuma on the evening of the 9th. You'd have the 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th there. Return to SJO on the 13th and stay near the airport, such as Las Orquideas. Fly out the 14th. I think this would make for a more leisurely trip and you would be moving all the time in the direction of Montezuma while taking your time along the way. Just a thought--because your time is short--it would save you road time (quite a lot of it!).
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Oct 12th, 2004, 08:11 AM
  #14  
plc
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Shillmac.... how does Peace Lodge sound for the first 2 nites then off to Montezuma?... I hear there are alot of cool tours within the Lodge... also, if we do choose that itinerary, should we fly to Montezuma or we were thinking of taking a van if that's possible... thanks again, amigos...
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Oct 12th, 2004, 09:51 AM
  #15  
 
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Peace Lodge would be a wonderful choice also, although the place Shillmac is recommending is in the right direction logistically. It would not be necessary to fly from Peace Lodge, but it would add about an hour to your drive. No big deal.
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Oct 12th, 2004, 04:19 PM
  #16  
 
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There is a TON of stuff to do in the Peace Lodge area. This would definitely be a good choice as well, as LA said! We haven't stayed at Peace Lodge, but have been in the vicinity numerous times--I'd stay in that part of Costa Rica any ole time!
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Oct 12th, 2004, 05:06 PM
  #17  
plc
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LA,

you were extremly helpful and your pix were the best and definatly solidified our plans for peace lodge. but where from there???????? maybe el sano banano? tropico latino? another idea? should we start at peace lodge or end there before we come home?
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Oct 12th, 2004, 05:15 PM
  #18  
plc
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shillmac,

any suggestions from peace lodge or on the way back ending at the peace lodge? again the dates are landing in san jose on the 7th, returning home on the 13th.
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Oct 12th, 2004, 07:18 PM
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plc,
A lot depends on your arrival and departure times. To me, the best option would be to head straight for Montezuma, stay at El Sano Banano, then return to Peace Lodge for your last 2 nights. This puts you close to the airport for your departure.

If your arrival is later in the day, you probably won't be able to get to Montezuma until the next day. Because your time is short, I'd suggest flying into Tambor. Sure hate for you to miss the drive, but I hear it's pretty from the air as well! You just don't get the total Tico experience without a few stops at those little sodas along the road!

It takes a long time to get to Montezuma by car or shuttle. You would literally use up the better part of 2 vacation days.

7th--arrive, catch connecting flight to Tambor

7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, overnight Mtzma

11th--return flight to SJO, transfer to Peace Lodge.

11th, 12th overnight Peace Lodge

13th--transfer to SJO for departure

OR, if you arrive SJO later in the day:
Spend the first night at Las Orquideas (or someplace less expensive such as Vida Tropical if you arrive really late in the day!), then transfer to Montezuma via the airport in Tambor early on the 8th. This still gives you ample time in Montezuma. What do you think?
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Oct 13th, 2004, 01:42 AM
  #20  
 
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I agree that I'd go to Montezuma first if you can. It took us about five or so hours from Alajuela by car and ferry. I can't really imagine going to Peace Lodge first, because everything else might seem like a bit of a "let down" after that, if you know what I mean. It was a fabulour place for us to end our trip.
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