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kimtrip Jan 11th, 2009 01:09 PM

skip monteverde?
I am planning a family trip to Costa Rica in March, and I'm having a really difficult time making those tough itinerary decisions!
Our current itinerary looks something like this:
-Arrive SJ, spend 1nt
-Drive to Arenal in the AM, then spend 2 nts
-Drive to Monteverde in the AM, then spend 2 nts
-Drive to Manuel Antonio in the AM, then spend 3 nts
-Drive back to SJ for 1nt

Do you think I should skip Monteverde and spend all 4nts in Arenal? While it would be a shame to skip the cloud forest, at least we can zipline and do the hanging bridges in Arenal.

Thanks in advance for your advice!

RAC Jan 11th, 2009 01:47 PM

What time do you arrive in and depart from SJO?

kimtrip Jan 11th, 2009 02:36 PM

We arrive at 2:30pm and depart at 6am. So we're actually spending very little time in San Jose, just dinner and sleeping!

volcanogirl Jan 11th, 2009 02:57 PM

Just me personally, I would spend all 4 nights in Arenal and do Monteverde next time. Arenal has the volcano, SkyTrek, Hanging Bridges, Cano Negro Tour, Eco Termales and Tabacon, the waterfall - definitely tons to do there.

colibri Jan 11th, 2009 04:00 PM

We loved Monteverde, but really you would only have 1 1/2 days there since it would take you 4 hours to make the drive from Arenal.

We spent four nights there and loved it, but I think you need more than two.

Split your time between Arenal and MA this time and allocate more time for MV later.

It takes you much longer to drive from place to place than what it looks on the map.

RAC Jan 11th, 2009 04:06 PM

We split our time between MV and Arenal, two nights a piece, last time and we feel like we wound up shortchanging Arenal.

If you're positive you won't be back, then maybe consider doing that. But, unless you have a keen interest in different kinds of ecosystems or seeing a quetzal, probably okay to skip MV and focus on Arenal.

hipvirgochick Jan 11th, 2009 04:12 PM

I would also consider adding 2 nights to Arenal. Much to do and see in the area even after having been there twice. Orchideas Inn is a nice place to chill 1st and last nights.

kimtrip Jan 12th, 2009 06:05 AM

Thanks to everyone for your responses! I'll discuss with my family but I'm leaning toward staying in Arenal.

owlwoman Jan 12th, 2009 06:32 AM

I would spend 3 nights in Arenal, then 4 nights in Manual Antonio.

I am probably one of the few people who didn't think driving to Monteverde was worth the aggrevation, didn't find it that different from Arenal, ride was a nightmare, plus it's cold and you're in a high altitude.

We drove up from Arenal, spent one night, saw the Cloud Forest (which imo was not that different than the Hanging Bridges) and left (we were supposed to spend three nights there). Like MA much, much better.

volcanogirl Jan 12th, 2009 09:25 AM

Has anyone done the horseback ride from Arenal to Monteverde? I always thought that sounded like torture! I was wondering if anyone had done it and enjoyed it.

kimtrip Jan 12th, 2009 09:44 AM

Obviously I haven't since it's my first time to CR, but I have to agree that it sounds like torture, both for the rider and for the poor horse.

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