Please Critique Our Itinerary

Mar 23rd, 2004, 01:01 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 14
Please Critique Our Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive into SJO at noon, into MA by late afternoon; night jungle tour?

Day 2: MA: Canopy tour, explore jungle

Day 3: MA to Arenal by 1pm; visit hot springs and La Fortuna Waterfall - poke around Arenal National Park

Day 4: White-water rafting, night hike of Volcano

Day 5: Arenal to Monteverde using shortcut (taxi-ferry-taxi, 3.5 hours); hike in cloud forest, canopy tour (time permitting)

Day 6: Monteverde to Tamardino (5 hours); relax on beach, hangout

Day 7: More relaxing in Tamarindo

Day 8: Morning flight on Natureair back to SJO, leave Costa Rica

Is this itinerary too aggressive - do I need leave more room for travel time? We're thinking of cutting out MA if it is too much.

Also, anything in Monteverde or Arenal that I've missed?

We're leaning towards using interbus but may also drive on our own for greater flexibility.

Thanks in advance for your suggestion / opinions!
JulesRules79 is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2004, 02:15 PM
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If you cut anything out, I'd cut out Tamarindo instead of MA
Ashley04 is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2004, 02:54 PM
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Dear JulesRules79,
To your question - yes it is too aggressive.... I think you will not get a chance to enjoy any of the places you are going to, because you will be there for very little time. In fact, you will have only one full day in each place (and only a short afternoon in Monteverde), and the rest you will be spending traveling. I would cut one location (if I had to chose, either Monteverde or Tamrindo, depending on what you prefer - more beach or more birding, forests etc). Also, you should consider staying your last night in SJ area, unless your flight back home is in the afternoon or evening. Domestic flights can be delayd for any number of reasons, and you don't want to miss your flight back home (or do you?...).
I also suggest you search and read an old post called "some thoughts about planning a trip to Costa Rica", you may find it interesting at this stage of your trip.
Feel free to write me directly with any more questions or for any more information.
Pura Vida,
Neta Talmor
costaricafinca is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2004, 04:11 PM
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Neta is absolutely correct. Too much tranferring in too short a time. Don't feel bad, this is everyone's tendency when planning for the first time. There is SO much to see and do. It is, however, important to be very selective. Not only the driving, but the packing, checking in, checking out, will eat up too much of your valuable time. Arenal and Manuel Antonio would be your best bet for a one week vacation. You'll have the beach experience (coupled with a wonderful park with lots of animals) as well as all that the Arenal area has to offer. Tamarindo is also a fun experience (at least I think so), but there isn't as much to do in a very close proximity as there is at Manuel Antonio. About Day 3: To arrive at 1:00, you will need about 6 hours of driving time. (Maybe less, but not likely). This, of course, does not include checking in and checking out. Meaning that, in our experience, arrival times are rarely as early as we plan for them to be! RARELY! 2:00 probably a more realistic time. Keep in mind that sun will be down around 5:30 and it will be dark by 6:00. The hot springs are wonderful. Are you sure you will have enough time to also see the waterfall that day? Having been there, this seems like it would be a difficult (and stressful) schedule to try to accomplish in one day! As you plan, it is very important to be sure you keep relaxation and enjoyment in mind. You will be on "manana time" whether you like it or not! This is not the place to be in a rush. That can be very frustrating! Time in Costa Rica doesn't move forward toward specific goals the same way we are used to here in the states!. . Thank goodness! Enjoy your trip!
shillmac is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2004, 04:55 PM
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Thanks for everybody's input. We've decided to cut Tamarindo out in favor of MA because we'll be able to select once we get there whether we'd like to just sit on the beach or do some more active stuff.

I've found this forum to be very helpful and can't wait for our trip (only 3 weeks to go! - yes, we are bad procrastinators, we've only got out flight settled thus far)

JulesRules79 is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2004, 08:51 PM
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Good choice to cut out. We just got back today and they said Tamarindo had a lot of wind this time of year too! It was cloudy and rainy in Arenal for the 2 days we were there but the Hot Springs made it worth it. Did not see the Volcano. puckett
puckett is offline  
Mar 24th, 2004, 06:54 AM
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3 weeks??????? Are you talking Semana Santa week (Easter) or the week after???
You could have trouble getting a place on the coast if it is the week leading up to Easter. Ordinarily, procrastinating might mean not getting your first choice but this is not a good time to do it.
Suzie2 is offline  
Mar 24th, 2004, 07:46 AM
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We're going to be in CR the week after Easter (starting on the 13th)

One other question - is the night tour/hike of Arenal worth it? I read in the fodors guidebook that you don't actually got into the park but rather in the roads around the volcano?
JulesRules79 is offline  
Mar 24th, 2004, 08:12 AM
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I haven't done the night hike but from the description you gave it sounds like it might be on the dirt roads that turn off beyond Tabacon. There is one that goes up to the Observatory Lodge but there are other dirt roads there where a lot of people go to look at the volcano when the eruptions are on that side. It is also the road that goes to the park entrance I believe. has a rough map of the area and you might be able to tell where I am talking about. I seem to remember that there were other small dirt roads in that area that are not on the map.
Suzie2 is offline  
Mar 25th, 2004, 09:25 PM
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You may want to consider the hanging bridges walk near Arenal. We spent about 2 1/2 hours here during our trip last week and liked it very much. Although we didn't see a lot of wild life - had we gone with a guide we probably would have - the walk was fantastic.

We took a taxi from Arenal Paraiso ($10.00 ea way). The driver was waiting for us for the return trip at the time we had arranged, which was very convenient. This turned out to be a much less expensive than taking a tour since there were 4 of us.

liz10 is offline  
Mar 26th, 2004, 10:25 AM
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Message to Liz10,
Do you remember what the cost is for a guided tour on the hanging bridge in Arenal?
Kwoo is offline  
Mar 26th, 2004, 11:59 AM
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So thanks to all of the advice that i've found on the forum, we've adjusted our itinerary to:

Day 1 - 3 Arenal
Day 3 - 5 Monteverde
Day 5 - 8 Manual Antonio

We'd like to be able to take private transfers but at $110 from SJO to Arenal, it's a little steep for just the two of us. If anybody is arriving into SJO on 4/14 at noon and are going to Arenal - please let me know if you'd like to share the van and cost.

Same thing goes for Monteverde to Manual Antonio on 4/18 (at around 8am)
(cost we've been quoted is $120 - sort of weird as it only costs $10 more to go about twice as far)

Finally, has anybody had any success negotiating with tour companies to give you a "volume discount" for taking all activities/tours with them?

JulesRules79 is offline  
Mar 26th, 2004, 12:57 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 26
to Kwoo - don't remember the exact amount, but I think it was $45 per person including transportation from area hotels and entrance fee ($20.00 per adult). Our 8 year child was free!
liz10 is offline  
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