Possible Costa Rica trip in December

Mar 3rd, 2006, 01:21 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 48
Possible Costa Rica trip in December

Hi everyone.

Thanks for answering the first couple postings I had about Costa Rica and Belize.
We're leaning towards Costa Rica for an 8-10 day trip in December.

This is a very rough itinerary that I'd like to get opinions on for the first time visit:

Fly into San Jose - go directly to La Paz Waterfall Gardens. Peace Lodge 2 nts

Travel to Arenal - (drive ourselves or hire a driver?) 2 or 3 nts

Here is where I'm a little unsure:

Travel to either Playa Conchal, Tamarindo, or Manuel Antonio for beach time - 3-4 nts

We can fly either RT San Jose or fly into San Jose and out of Liberia. Which of the beach areas would be best to do?

Thanks for your help.


travelbunnies is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2006, 09:18 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 10,212
It depends on what you are looking for in a beach location. Manuel Antonio is a great place for viewing wildlife--the best of the 3. The national park there is excellent. Hotels sit up on the hillside and shuttles run back and forth to the beach. Lots of choices for dining. You would want to fly in and out of San Jose. It's about a 3 hour drive from MA to SJO.

If you choose Tamarindo or Conchal, you would want to fly out of Liberia.
But I'm sure you already know that!

Conchal is a gorgeous all-inclusive with a HUGE pool. Good food, service, lots of activites, excellent shows in the evenings. All the amenities of an upscale AI. One of the prettiest beaches in the country. There are vendors on the beach, but they aren't a bothersome group, and it is fun to look at their booths.

Tamarindo is within a 20 minute drive, so you could spend as much time there as you'd like. My choice would be to stay at Paradisus and visit Tamarindo. It, too, has a lot of restaurants, shopping, and bars. Banks, high speed internet cafe. . it is a bustling little place and growing by leaps and bounds. And if you have any trouble with ATM machines, you can try to Banco de San Jose ATM in Tamarindo--it works for us when others don't.

This area is also good for exploring up to Playa Flamingo (fabulous beach, lovely sunsets), Playa Potrero, Penca, or Pan de Azucar (Sugar Beach). There are a couple of good restaurants in Playa Brasilito (try Camaron Dorado on the beach--excellent!). In addition, it is very close to Playa Grande, and I think the turtles are nesting in December. . .

You really won't go wrong either way. Manuel Antonio's big draw is the park. You can, for the most part, find similar activities both areas.
shillmac is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2006, 07:00 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 103
Shillmac.....
You were such a great help when I planned a trip to CR last year. We spent 3 nights at Arenal Observatory with perfect conditions and then on to MA for a 6 night stay at a wonderful and beautiful house. Thank you. I am now planning another trip for this December with same group plus a few more. We are looking at a vacation rental on Playa Flamingo as we want to be able to walk to the beach on this trip. Is there wildlife near the beaches in that area? It was so incredible last trip to see so many different things. Any information would be most appreciated.
patams is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2006, 07:08 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 10,212
We love spending time in Flamingo because it is such a gorgeous beach--and those sunsets! There are some very nice vacation rentals down the beach and I've often thought of renting one of them. We usually stay at Flamingo Beach Resort--especially when they run those $69 per night specials!

Wildlife doesn't really abound right in that area--it is extremely developed. Now if you get into the Potrero beach area, a short distance away, you might see some near the beach--but it is developing at an alarming rate as well. I've not spent a lot of time on those beaches so couldn't tell you. But I think you'll enjoy Flamingo anyway. Gorgeous there.

Glad to be of whatever help I can! Pura Vida!
shillmac is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2006, 08:42 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 648
i'd spend 2 nights in la fortuna/ arenal:

http://costa-rica.typepad.com/la_for...ome/index.html
and if you're flying out of san jose then manuel antonio is a better bet than tamarindo- it has a nicer beah and less of the sex, drugs and party scene of tamarindo.
guanacaste is offline  
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