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San Jose to Sarapiqui to Manuel Antonio in late April -

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Mar 24th, 2012, 02:36 PM
  #1
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San Jose to Sarapiqui to Manuel Antonio in late April -

I am arriving in San Jose in late April and going to get my daughter who is in Sarapiqui. She wants to go from there to Manuel Antonio. I am thinking of renting a car in San Jose to get to her. Is it a difficult drive to Sarapiqui and safe for a single woman (age 59) to drive herself? How long does it take to get to Manuel Antonio and is it a difficult drive? Any recommendations on moderately priced lodging would also be great. Thanks!
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Mar 24th, 2012, 06:44 PM
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I would not drive by myself or advise two women alone. Hire a driver to have ease and peace of mind.
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Mar 24th, 2012, 06:50 PM
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Info on drivers and interbus:

http://www.fodors.com/community/mexi...and-quepos.cfm
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Mar 25th, 2012, 06:11 AM
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Why on earth wouldn't a woman be able to drive a car alone? I've done it; never had a bit of worry (tho I've had to ask for directions in places).
About 50 miles, or 2.5 hours, from San Jose to Sarapiqui. There is a bus from there to SJ, so perhaps your daughter could come to you. From San Jose to Manuel Antonio is on the new roads, a fairly easy drive.
Certainly not a day's drive.
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Mar 25th, 2012, 06:18 AM
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Never mind. On second thought, there is no way I'd drive through SJ again. Worst signs ever, free-for-all driving, not for those without nerves of steel.
Unless you really want to visit Sarapiqui (Puerto Viejo Sara.?), have a driver bring your daughter to you (as near the airport as possible) in SJ, then you can drive on the major highway(s) to Manual Antonio.
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Mar 25th, 2012, 10:09 AM
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Thanks to both of you. It sounds like having her come to the airport where we could pick up a car and then drive to Manual Antonio may work given the safer roads, etc....suggest getting a four-wheel drive?

Questions to all - anywhere in particular you would recommend in Manual Antonio or thereabouts - moderate price?
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Mar 25th, 2012, 10:21 AM
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We liked Mango Moon; you could also check Posada Jungle Lodge and Villas Nicolas. Costa Verde is popular too.
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Mar 25th, 2012, 11:24 AM
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Tulemar is very highly recommended and popular (for example, http://www.vrbo.com/375571). They have a private beach that's lovely; otherwise, you will be limited to the MA national park beaches, which can get really crowded.
You do not need 4WD if you are only taking the highways to MA.
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Mar 25th, 2012, 11:32 AM
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BTW, we've had good experiences with car rentals from Solid and Europcar, most recently (Feb) Solid. Have your cc company give you the documentation (just a download) that you have collision coverage through them (CDW) and you will only have to purchase liability (with Solid, ~$10/day). You might also want to get a prepaid cell phone for your visit.
I loved Villa Mot Mot at Tulemar Bungalows, but it was only one bed.
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Mar 25th, 2012, 07:32 PM
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We stayed at Costa Verde for 3 nights and had one at Costa Verde 2. Loved CV 2 for the view.
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Mar 26th, 2012, 11:12 AM
  #11
 
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Meeting your daughter at the airport would definitely be your best bet. You can then rent a car at the airport and drive yourself...relatively easy drive about 3 hours. You can also have a driver pick you up at the airport and bring you straight to Manuel Antonio. For 2 people it is about $150 for the private van and he can stop along the way for restroom breaks/lunch etc.

Keep in mind you don't absolutely need a rental car in Manuel Antonio especially if you stay somewhere that is centrally located, like Tulemar. You can always call taxis 24 hours/day and great restaurants are walking distance. There is also a bus that runs to the park every half hour for 50 cents! Also, all the tours/activities include roundtrip transportation.

Tulemar has several options for accommodations, you can see all of them here at www.4tulemar.com.

You will love Manuel Antonio and Costa Rica!!
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Mar 26th, 2012, 11:25 AM
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Agree - we didn't really need a car in Manuel Antonio. We were able to walk to a lot of restaurants from our hotel. To get to ones further away, we just called a taxi, and it was really affordable, around five bucks. We took a guided tour of the park, and the guide picked us up and dropped us back off at our hotel. You do have to be careful walking along the roads.
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Mar 28th, 2012, 07:18 PM
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Thank you all ---my daughter just got a recommendation of Hacienda Baru Wildlife Lodge in Dominical - has anyone heard of that?

Finally, as we have decided at this point to drive, we will be leaving Manuel Atonio and then going to La Fortuna. Is it a very difficult drive there? Also, recommendations on where to stay at La Fortuna?

Again, thank you for all of your advice
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Mar 29th, 2012, 06:36 AM
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The drive to La Fortuna is pretty easy, and very scenic; I like the route through Grecia and Sarcha. In the Arenal area, I loved Lost Iguana (but we had a Groupon; it's otherwise a bit pricey). The LI location is very good for for the SKyTrek zipline (up the Volcano Observatory Lodge road) and there's also a great nearby hanging bridge trek (2 minutes from Lost Iguana). I also am a fan of the Smithsonian rooms at Volcano Observatory Lodge; lots of space and wonderful views. Nice hiking trails there, too. Both places have wonderful grounds, nice pool and hot tub (Lost Iguana food and restaurant are way better, though). You might prefer a 4WD for going to SKyTrek or Volcano OL; the road is a bit rough, but a sedan can do it.
Hacienda Baru has lots of fans here (there are a couple of recent posts about it). If you are in that (Ballena National Park) area, make sure to visit gorgeous Playa Ventanas at low tide and walk through the sea caves!
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Mar 29th, 2012, 06:45 AM
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I misunderstood; if you are going from M.A. National Park (or Dominical, or Quepos) area TO La Fortuna/Arenal, you MAY not want to drive the route I mentioned, but rather Route/Hwy 1 to Las Canas, then around the western/northern end of the lake.
There are several routes; a very good map to buy/download is "mapCR.com"
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Mar 29th, 2012, 10:18 AM
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Lost Iguana is our favorite spot too; they run specials a lot, so if it interests you check with them. Silencio del Campo is another popular option.
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Mar 30th, 2012, 10:08 AM
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I visited Hacienda Baru several times while staying in Manuel Antonio. It's a great place.

I would stay there if I ever went back to Costa Rica. If you need air conditioning, check if they have it. Although at night there should be enough of a breeze to get by with a ceiling fan.

In MA there is Villas Nicolas not too expensive. The rooms have air and a small kitchen. It's on the hill above town, though.

I tried to get into La Posada, but it was booked solid. Everyone seems to like it and it's right next to the park.
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Mar 30th, 2012, 03:00 PM
  #18
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We're huge fans of the Arenal Observatory Lodge--great hiking, better views, and the best wildlife in the entire area.
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