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:)Please help - Planning CR trip with only days left until departure!

:)Please help - Planning CR trip with only days left until departure!

Old Jun 21st, 2010, 09:38 AM
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:)Please help - Planning CR trip with only days left until departure!

We are a family of 6. Could you please help me, as I do not know the area. Which places are in a better area? Safety is a concern. I would like to be close to Manuel Antonio Park, and a bonus would be to see ocean too. We would like to walk everywhere (if possible), even if it takes 10 minutes. We are very flexible. As far as places to stay in Manuel Antonio, I am looking at several options from July 4-7 or 8:

1. VRBO condo at Villa Manuel-Antonio near Mariposa. He says he has high gates for security.

2. Villa Teca - 2 connecting rooms w/breakfast.

3. VRBO villa next to the Portasol community. It is 5 minutes from the new Quepos Marina

4. Costa Verde - we can get 2 efficiency rooms. Might be a little over our budget. I haven't asked for a discount yet.

5. VRBO villa behind Hotel Mono Azul off main Hwy between Quepos and MA.
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Old Jun 21st, 2010, 09:53 AM
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How long is the drive from Liberia to Manuel Antonio? I've heard 5-6 hours. Our flight arrives at 11:40am. Is there a place to stop to eat (or even get fast food so we can keep driving) on the way? How easy is the drive in the rain in a rental SUV for a 1st-timer?
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Old Jun 21st, 2010, 10:01 AM
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If you stay at a place near the main road from Quepos to the Park entrance, there is a cheap local bus that will carry you in either direction. I don't know if it is convenient to food shopping however. Walking is dangerous in many places along the way because of the lack of sidewalks, huge trucks and busses, plus tourist drivers. Manuel Antonio is on the ocean (do get a guide book or read up here) and has some of the best beaches around. Crime in this area is no where near the problem it is in San Jose. Pick a place that is not too far off the beaten path and keep your stuff in a safe. Costa Verde has studios, and would be my choice.
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Old Jun 21st, 2010, 10:18 AM
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Is the area around Mariposa safe? We really like the pictures of the view from the condo near here. Owner says there are trails to the beach and to the park. It sounds fun to be able to walk the trails. Would this be safe?
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Old Jun 21st, 2010, 10:19 AM
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We stayed near Mariposa, and that's a good area. Close to the restaurants. We walked everywhere, but you do have to be careful on the road. We did a guided tour of the park, and our guide picked us up and dropped us off back at the hotel. Costa Verde is pretty popular too.
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Old Jun 21st, 2010, 11:14 AM
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Would you feel safe in a condo next to Mariposa that has high gates. No security guard. I'm not sure if it has a safe. Renting the condo would allow us to eat breakfast and/or lunch there if we decide to. We just want to be safe though.

If we do Costa Verde, we would do 2 efficiencies. Price doesn't include breakfast.
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Old Jun 21st, 2010, 12:16 PM
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I was never concerned about safety in the Manuel Antonio area except, of course, for the traffic on that one road in and out of the area. I don't think I would worry at all if there are gates or not.

There are buses you can take into the park and then to Quepos if you have to. There are also plenty of taxis if I remember correctly. Was last in MA about four years ago.

I would recommend getting a good hot cup of coffee at Cafe Milagro. There is one in Quepos and one on the road to Manuel Antonio. You may be able to walk to it from your hotel. The best coffee around! I've ordered from them and had it sent FedEx to my house because it's soooo good. Enjoy!
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Old Jun 21st, 2010, 01:27 PM
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I can tell you that either Costa Verde or behind Mono Azul are good locations. We stayed in a casita a Mono Azul and took the bus to the beach daily. I forget how much it was-at most 25 cents a person. I would not want to walk on that road with my children. We went into Quepos our first day there and went grocery shopping, we took a taxi back as we had many bags.
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Old Jun 21st, 2010, 01:31 PM
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Thank you so much. I really would rather stay in the VRBO condo near Mariposa if it is a safe area.

Does anyone know if it is realistic to arrive at 11:40am in Liberia and make it to Manuel Antonio by dark w/rental car, even if it is raining?? I gather not many people travel this route.
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Old Jun 21st, 2010, 01:35 PM
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butterflybush - I was trying to look up casita a Mono Azul. I can't find it. That bus ride sounds great.
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Old Jun 21st, 2010, 01:53 PM
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Will the new highway 24 help us out any during our 7 day trip?

Liberia to Manuel Antonio
Manuel Antonio to Arenal
Arenal to Liberia
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Old Jun 21st, 2010, 02:46 PM
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Though I have not driven from Liberia to MA, I would think it would be longer than 5 hours. With kids, you will probably need to stop several times along the way, plus allow for wrong turns. Sunsets around 5.

Since you are flying in & out of Liberia, why not do a beach stay closer to there? Nosara, Samara, and other areas north would be closer for you.

http://samarabeach.com/rentals.htm

Just my 2 colones. Good luck.

MY
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Old Jun 21st, 2010, 03:12 PM
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That's a lot of driving for a 7 day trip. Agree with Michelle to check some closer beaches to Liberia. Liberia to Quepos probably 5 1/2 if you have a stop for lunch. Quepos to Arenal about the same if not a bit more and Arenal to Libera 3 1/2 hours. That's like giving up two full days almost since the sun sets at 5:30pm.
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Old Jun 21st, 2010, 03:43 PM
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If you stick with MA, I would feel safe staying near Mariposa. We stayed at a B&B that had a gate but no security guard. Mariposa is right across from Cafe Milagro.
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Old Jun 21st, 2010, 05:00 PM
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I know driving from Liberia to MA will be a trip, but I thought that driving from Manuel Antonio to Arenal would be quicker b/c of the new hwy. I have spent hours evaluating MA options. I hate to start over looking for a place to stay closer to Liberia. I don't know what to do...

So far, my schedule is this:
7/4 Arrive in Liberia 11:40am (get luggage and rental car)
Leave at 1pm - drive to MA
Arrive in MA at 6pm --(I guess we have to go to top of mtn?? for VRBO next to Mariposa)

7/7 or 7/8 check out that morning and drive to Arenal

7/7 or 7/8 arrive at Los Lagos. (They still have rooms)
Check out on 7/11 early am and drive to Liberia Airport for flight that leaves at 12:40pm
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Old Jun 21st, 2010, 07:03 PM
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What if I go to Arenal first from Liberia? Then I can spend the last day driving back to LIR from MA. That might be a little better. What do you think?
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Old Jun 22nd, 2010, 07:20 AM
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The good advice from the beginning has been to find some place to stay near Liberia. Travel time and uncertainties can eat into your 7 days. An accident on one of the highways can eat a half to a full hour waiting for it to be cleared. Getting to one of the one lane bridges at the wrong time (half the time) can add another 20 - 30 minutes. An encounter with one of Costa Rica's finest, looking for a bribe, can take even more time. If any of the 6 of you needs the john, finding one and using one will take even longer. This is why driving to MA from Liberia is likely to take you more time than the 4.5 to 5.5 hours quoted. You WILL be driving in the dark as everyone advises you not to do, and you MIGHT be driving in the rain.

Arenal is great if you spend a few days there. You stand a chance of seeing something red coming down the mountain at night. Often the business end of the mountain is obscured by clouds. Lava is defined as flowing molten rock. It does happen occasionally, last May I think, but flowing molten rock is rare at Arenal. What you can see is little pyroclastic events where hot, red, automobile-sized boulders burp up and bounce down the mountain. Despite what is called the "lava flow" in post after post and websites, there is very rarely any molten rock visible on Arenal. The chance that there will be a clear view at the same time that there is actually molten rock flowing -- in a single day's visit -- is very, very low. Either stay a few days or come back when you have more time.

Find a hotel on the Pacific coast. especially one that will help you out with transportation from the airport. Or, better, spend the time at Arenal where there is tons of things to do. You have picked an airport at the north end of the country, and it would be wise to plan a vacation there. I think you will find this same advice to you in numerous posts, so it just might be true. Reign in your plans a little bit and you WILL have a good time and make eveyone else happy in addition.
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Old Jun 28th, 2010, 09:49 AM
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I am so sorry but I have to agree with above poster.

It's possible you won't get out of customs until 12:30 or 1:00,(what if the plane is late?) then have to get your rental car..it's more likely you won't be on the road until 1:30 or 2:00. Then there is lunch...no fast food is available on your route. With all that, it would be too late to make it to MA by 6:00. Better chance of making it to Arenal.
And with a 12:30 departure flight from Liberia, you'd have to be ON the road by 5:00am from MA in order to feel slightly safe about making your flight home.
I know it would mean more homework but I would consider finding another beach local, closer to the airport. Samara or Nosara are good recommendations as they are only 3-1/2 hours to the airport, or you could stay even closer on one of the northern beaches...Coco or Hermosa (not to be confused with the Hermosa bach down south) or Playa Flamingo.
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Old Jun 28th, 2010, 07:43 PM
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I think the OP has already left ........
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Old Jun 28th, 2010, 09:02 PM
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if you read this, get a gps. few highway markers or signs in CR.
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