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Please HELP with my itinerary, How to visit Tamarindo, Arenal and Manuel Antonio

Please HELP with my itinerary, How to visit Tamarindo, Arenal and Manuel Antonio

Old Jan 15th, 2002, 04:33 AM
  #1  
Cat
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Please HELP with my itinerary, How to visit Tamarindo, Arenal and Manuel Antonio

With only 8 vacation days, what is the best itinerary for our first trip to Coasta Rica? We want to see all the different wildlife, river raft and end our trip relaxing by a beautiful beach.

What was your best experience. What can we skip? Are the hot springs worth visiting?

Thanks!

 
Old Jan 15th, 2002, 05:07 AM
  #2  
Robbie Felix
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With 8 days and traveling tme what t s in CR, you would be better off going to
Arenal and Tammarindo or Arenal and Manuel Antonio. The three are very far apart and you will eat up too much time driving if you try to do all three.
I live in Manuel Antonio, so take my advice with the normal grain of salt as I love it here.
Manuel Antonio has a lot to offer that Tamarindo does not. We are in the rainforest and more than just a beach destination. We have rainforest, the national park, white water rafting, canopy tours, ocean sports, wildlife, fabulous beaches, etc.
Tamarindo is more about the beach.
The hot springs in Arenal are well worth a visit. I wouldn't miss them. And if you get lucky enough to get a cloudless night the volcano is awesome to watch when it erupts. It has some effects that are spectacular and unlike volcanoes in say...hawaii, which run a slow lava flow. This one erupts like fireworks and is incredible. A couple of years ago was up there and lucky enough to stay for three cloudless nights, an eruption all night every night. It was one of those experiences that makes the top ten in a lifetime.
Never seen anything more beautiful except maybe the waterfall in Dominical.
Robbie
 
Old Jan 15th, 2002, 05:55 AM
  #3  
Iza
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Take Robbie's advice and do not try to do all three places in 8 days. It is too much driving around.
Remember that depending on your flight schedule, you may have to spend the first and last night of your trip in San Jose area, so that really just leaves you with 6 days.
I would suggest that you do either Arenal and Tamarindo or Arenal and Manuel Antonio.
Manuel Antonio is more developed and touristy than Tamarindo. We found Tamarindo much more relaxing than Manuel Antonio. The beaches are beautiful in both places, but Robbie is right as to the rainforest and rafting - they are probably easier to access from Manuel Antonio than Tamarindo.
I think the hot springs are worth a visit, we really enjoyed them even though the weather was not that great and we did not see the volcano.
Given what you want to do, you should probably stay in the San Jose area for an additional night at the beginning of your trip and do your rafting from there. Then go to the Arenal area for a couple of nights and then go to your beach destination and drive back to San Jose from there.
Have a great trip.
 
Old Jan 15th, 2002, 06:04 AM
  #4  
Ally
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I agree with Robbie....stick to just two areas. Yes, the Tobocan Hot springs are worth a visit. Even if you don't get to see the volcano erupt, you'll most likely hear it, and the hot springs are beautiful...although a tad expensive, but, it's a beautiful place to spend a day. As for the other destinations. I've been to both areas so here's my take: Tamarindo is dryer and has hotels on the beach. Lot's of surfers. The main town strip has a lot of places to eat, most could be walking distance from your hotel.
Manuel Antonio is much more lush, but most hotels are built in the hills above the ocean, so, no direct beach access, but beautiful views, and the beaches are much prettier. You'll see a lot more wildlife in Manuel Antonio.
A car or taxi would be needed more in Manuel Antonio than Tamarindo. So, it just depends on what's important to you.Hope this helps.
 
Old Jan 16th, 2002, 04:37 AM
  #5  
Cat
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Thanks for the good advice, my travel agent has said something similar. I really want to get the most out of our trip, so which combination (in your opinion)would you take?

The reason I want to visit Tamarindo area is because my husband wants to try out surfing/boogie boarding. Are you able to do this at the beaches in MA? Will you still see wildlife in Tamarindo?
 
Old Jan 16th, 2002, 04:52 AM
  #6  
Ally
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If your husband is just starting the surfing/boogie board thing, then Manuel Antonio will be fine. Generally, the waves are better in Tamarindo for experienced surfers. That's why that area gets a large surf crowd. But, you'll see some surfers in Manuel Antonio too. It would be a nice area to 'get started'. You would see more wildlife in Manuel Antonio for sure.
 
Old Jan 17th, 2002, 10:36 AM
  #7  
Scott Gauvin
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I work for a travel company that designs custom trips and here are my 2 cents:


Day 1
Arrive - drive to Arenal

Day 2
Canopy tour, horseback riding, volcano tour, hot springs.

Day 3
Wildlife float trip (get to see lots of animals), drive to Tamarindo.

Day 4
Beach Day

Day 5
Fly to San Jose - Drive to Turrialba

Day 6
Whitewater Rafting

Day 7
second day of rafting

Day 8
Departure

I suggested the 2-day rafting because it is truly an awesome experience. You spend part of the first day rafting and spend the night along the river in the middle of the jungle. The next day you can do some hiking around the jungle and maybe even meet some of the local Indians that live along the river. Finish up the rafting and then head back to San Jose.

Hotels I would suggest

Xandari - San Jose
Arenal Lodge - Arenal
Capitan Suizo - Tamarindo
Casa Turire - Turrialba

Alternatively if you want to go to Manuel Antonio, keep in mind it is a bit more expensive here is another suggestion:

Day 1
Arrive - drive to Turrialba

Day 2
Whitewater Rafting 1 day - drive back to San Jos

Day 3
Fly to Manuel Antonio - on the beach by noon.

Day 4
Beach Day - explore the park

Day 5
Fly to San Jose - Drive to Arenal

Day 2
Canopy tour, horseback riding, volcano tour, hot springs.

Day 3
Wildlife float trip (get to see lots of animals), drive to San Jose.

Day 8
Departure

Xandari - San Jose
Arenal Lodge - Arenal
Si Como No - Manuel Antonio
Casa Turire - Turrialba

Good Luck

 
Old Feb 3rd, 2002, 12:57 PM
  #8  
Phyllis
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Is there boogie boarding available at the Capitan Suizo?? Where do you rent? How are waves in April? Is there any shady area on the beach? I am torn also between capitan suiaz and Tulemar Bungalows in manuel Antonio. We are rafting on the Pacuare, is the float trip wothwhile on the Sarapiqui, we will stay at Neo tropica in that area, on route to Arenal the next day. Any ideas?? Thanks Phyll
 
Old Feb 4th, 2002, 03:44 AM
  #9  
Iza
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Phyllis,
I believe I responded to your other questions about Capitan Suizo but here you go. Capitan Suizo has boogie boards for use of hotel guests (I can't remember if they are free or you have to pay something like $1 for the day). There is good boogie boarding right outside the hotel.
The pool area at Capitan Suizo has good shade and the beach also has decent shade (Capitan Suizo has lounge chairs and hammocks under the trees).
If you get bungalow #4 you can actually sit on the porch of your bungalow, have a good view of the beach and the pool at the same time and be in the shade.
 
Old Feb 5th, 2002, 04:47 PM
  #10  
Izza
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Dear Izza, Thanks SO much for you help!! I will try to secure B.4!! Phyllis
 

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