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jmhh Jan 11th, 2007 08:15 AM

Skip Monteverde?
If I'm going to spend several days around Arenal and see and do most everything (cloud forest tours, zip lines, rapelling, etc.), should I skip Monteverde?...what to substitute for it on way to Manuel Antonio?...thanks,John H.

shillmac Jan 11th, 2007 10:00 PM

Hi John. You really don't need to substitute anything for Monteverde en route to Manuel Antonio. Yes, it's about a 6 hour drive, considering stops you might make), but scenic. Monteverde is nice, and although it LOOKS like it is on the way, you could almost be at Manuel Antonio before you got to Monteverde--from Arenal! Unless you have things you are looking to do that are specific to Monteverde and the cloud forest, you can probably get most of your kicks at Arenal and Manuel

jmhh Jan 15th, 2007 07:41 AM

Hi Shillmac...thanks for the reply...if you had to choose, which between Arenal and Monteverde?...any hotel recommendations in those places and in Manuel Antonio? the Costa Verde in MA a risk?...hear anything bad about Service Car rental...they have proposed a great rate to me...finally, if I have not worn you out, which way to drive to Manuel Antonio from Arenal?...thanks for any help....John H.

guanacaste Jan 15th, 2007 10:39 AM

Arenal, more to see and do:

the drive to MA is a little over 4 hours if you 'make progress'

Suzie2 Jan 15th, 2007 12:35 PM

I can certainly understand why you might want to substitute. You have that time alloted so why not use it. 3 places is better than two if you have the time!

If you want to substitute just to see some different things but don't want to travel too far out of the way there are some interesting places along the way to Manuel Antonio . I assume you will have a day or two that you can use if you skip Monteverde. Los Angeles cloud forest is a nice place for one. It is on the way towards Manuel Antonio by San Ramon. Not a lot of stuff there like Monteverde such as zip lines etc, just pure cloud forest. You will have had time to do plenty of zip lines in Arenal anyway.

Villa Lapas near Jaco. Great birding and a good place to stay if you decide to visit Carara reserve where you can see lots of wildlife.

I enjoyed staying in both of those areas.

shillmac Jan 15th, 2007 03:45 PM


My pick would be Arenal--Monteverde very nice as well, just harder to get to and well, to me just not quite as much in the way of a variety of activities. Very hard to compete with lava flow and a rumbling volcano (if you get to see it!).


Deluxe--Lost Iguana, Hotel Kioro

Moderate--Arenal Lodge, Arenal Paraiso (our usual choice for the location, ease of getting to, and view of volcano), Arenal Observatory Lodge (long rough road, but great birding on the property)

Budget--La Casona at Arenal Observatory Lodge, La Pradera

(Lots of other choices as well)

Hotels--Manuel Antonio:

Deluxe: La Mansion, Tulemar Bungalows,
Parador, Si Como No (we liked it there)

Moderate: Costa Verde (a VERY good choice--not at all a risk--ask for the Studio Plus for outstanding views); Hotel California (liked it as well); Villas Nicolas--to name a few. . .

Budget: Didi's B&B has gotten good reviews just recently

Lots to choose from there as well. . .

2 routes to Manuel Antonio (I'd allow 6 hours to include a lunch break and a look at the crocs at the Rio Tarcoles):

Drive from Arenal to San Ramon. From there you have a couple of options:

1. Head west on the Panamerican highway to Puntarenas, then south to Quepos

2. Backtrack east a short distance toward SJO, then take the exit for Atenas, tracking from there down through Orotina--outstanding views on this route---both will take about the same amount of time.

Good luck and have fun!

jmhh Jan 16th, 2007 01:41 PM

Thanks to all who posted!....great information I really appreciate...John H.

GlMcGuire Jan 16th, 2007 02:41 PM

Another great location close to Arenal is Lands in love cloud forest. a truly beautiful and unique place, the room and the infrastructure is very nice and the staff made us feel really welcomed.
you have plenty of things to do. at the hotel area you have canopy very esciting with great guides, canyoning, 5 diefferent trails to the cloud forest.
this is a good replacement for monteverde. it's not so expensive and few months ago i got there fourth night for free.
for Manuel Antonio i take Hotel California - i enjoyed staying there too.
Enjoy your stay at C.R

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