Return Trip to Costa Rica

Old Feb 2nd, 2011, 07:09 AM
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Return Trip to Costa Rica

Just returned from two amazing weeks in Costa Rica! It was beyond my expectations! My 9 year old son loved it. He did every tour - even the canyoning (Pure Trek in Arenal). There's the whole world to see and normally I don't repeat a destination. But we feel in love with Costa Rica - like many of you have! Even the driving was fun - what an adventure getting lost from Monteverde to Arenal on those dirt moguls! I'm already planning another trip for next year - about 16 nights. I don't want to pull my child out of school again and I'm thinking of going either June 30-July 16, or August 18-Sept 3. It's the rainiy season - is there any difference in these dates?

We visited Rincon de la Vieja, Monteverde, Arenal, Manuel Antonio and a quick stop at Ocotal Beach before our return flight out of Libera. We'd like to repeat Arenal - so much to do there! For a return trip to Costa Rica, what other destinations do you recommend? We'll be renting a car so we can drive anywhere!

Thanks so much!
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Old Feb 2nd, 2011, 09:35 AM
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I'd go with the July time frame; they have what they call "little summer" over a lot of the country then, and the rains aren't so bad. September is very rainy for a lot of the country - depends on where you go though. The Carib. side follows a different rain pattern. Have you seen this map? You can mouse over the areas you're interested in to see average monthly rainfall indicators.

http://costa-rica-guide.com/Weather/WeatherMap.html

In addition to the areas you've been, we like Tortuguero and the Osa a lot. Lots of good wildlife in both areas.
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Old Feb 4th, 2011, 12:09 AM
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June is nice in Costa Rica. Our first family trip was in June...Arenal, Monteverde and Manuel Antonio.

My second trip to costa rica was with my husband, to Bosque del Cabo...it's amazing! We saw monkeys every day, several times a day...3 types of monkeys. And lots of other great experiences.

I'm already dreaming of my 3rd trip to Costa Rica. One of our daughters recently had her honeymoon in Costa Rica!

Enjoy dreaming.
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Old Feb 4th, 2011, 04:48 AM
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Glad you had a great trip. We've been twice now and would go back again!!!
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Old Feb 5th, 2011, 08:46 AM
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I had to laugh I do not like to repeat destinations much either with the exception to Costa Rica it draws be back every time. I love OSA
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Old Feb 5th, 2011, 11:52 AM
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Have you thought about the cloud forests around the San Gerardo de Dota area - Savegre is a great place to stay, pretty isolated though, mainly hiking and birding, but absolutely gorgeous.

We also enjoy the Sarapiqui region, loads of activities and only 2 1/2 hours from the airport. We often stay here our last night (at Selva Verde) before catching an afternoon flight.
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Old Feb 5th, 2011, 08:05 PM
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col, what are some good activities in the Sarapiqui area?
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Old Feb 6th, 2011, 11:28 AM
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VG - excellent guided tours (birding, natural history) at La Selva Research Station, part of OTS - Organization of Tropical Studies. We also enjoyed the chocolate tour at La Tirimbina Rainforest Center, didn't do their bat tour and they also offer others.

Selva Verde offers free birding tours in AM and PM. We like staying there, nothing fancy, but grounds have lots of birds, frogs, iguanas, howlers and sloths. It's not like BdC, but what is?!

We took a boat ride, saw some wildlife, but nothing compared to Cano Negro or Tortuguero. There's also tours offering rafting and ziplines nearby.
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Old Feb 6th, 2011, 02:46 PM
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Thank you, c!
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Old Feb 7th, 2011, 06:14 AM
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Thank you everyone for your recommendations! I am planning on the OSA - how many days do you suggest? Saraquipi and La Selva sound nice. We like the more rustic places. For our visit to the caribbean side, should we visit Tortugero and Cahuita?
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Old Feb 7th, 2011, 07:20 PM
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The only thing I can suggest is try to NOT do everything. The urge to maximize the activities, ends up its just one blur in a few months.

Pick 2 or 3 key tours and then just explore places with a vehicle. That way you'll discover unique things and still have a couple of highlights that will stay with you.
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Old Feb 7th, 2011, 07:31 PM
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I would definitely try to get in 4 nights min on the Osa, the longer the better IMO. Your son would love the area I'm sure, it's sensory overload.

I do agree with above and not to try to squeeze too many places in, CR is best enjoyed slowly, like a good meal.
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Old Feb 19th, 2011, 01:22 PM
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I visited both the Osa and Sarapiqui area on my 3-wk January visit. Can't comment on what they would be like in the rainy season, but highly recommend both. (I have to laugh because during my 4 nights in Sarapiqui area, it poured rain for 3 days solid, and I mean poured like I've never experienced before. A guide at La Selva told me in 2010, 3 of the 4 big floods were in the "dry season.")

In Sarapiqui, my focus was birding. Stayed 2 nights at La Selva Biological Station and 2 in town, at Posada Andrea Cristina, w/ very bird-oriented hosts. It was excellent for birding, even with the rain (I was very grateful for indoor bathroom, free dryer, and birding from the porch). If the weather had been drier, I would have gone on a night tour. Sarapiqui is also a great staging area for river rafting (Pacuare) but I didn't try that. The bus ride from SJ through Braulio Carrillo NP is beautiful.

I spent a week in the Osa Peninsula: 1 night Puerto Jimenez, 3-day/2-night backpack into Corcovado NP with a guide, nights before/after that at La Leona Eco-Lodge just outside Corcovado, and 2 nights at Ojo del Mar, on the Golfo Dulce closer to PJ. I would have happily spent more time in every single place, but I wanted to visit Chirippo NP and the Caribbean coast too, and the Osa was the most expensive and complicated part of the trip. Worth saving up for, however. The biodiversity was phenomenal; the wildness of Corcovado inspiring.

Hope you can make the difficult choices to narrow down your destinations and enjoy a wonderful return visit. Wish I could have gotten to San Gerardo de Dota too.
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