So Confused -- what would you pick?

Jun 1st, 2005, 10:27 PM
  #1  
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So Confused -- what would you pick?

Going to Costa Rica mid-July.

After reading more postings on the board I feel more confused and want to revise my itinerary. (Sorry Shillmac, you gave me such good advice about my original plan. But, your description of La Finca so enchanted me that I feel like I need to start over) How can I go to CR and not go to Manuel Antonio or Arenal? How can I miss a stay at La Finca (Neta's Place)? How can I go in mid-July and not go to Tortugera? How can I not explore the central valley? How can I manage all these things in eight nights travelling with a party of eight ranging from 70 to eight-years-old?

Which would you pick? I need to make a final decision soon!!

misha2 is offline  
Jun 1st, 2005, 10:48 PM
  #2  
 
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Hello Misha, equal where you go, every place has its attraction. You canŽt do all in eight days. Take two or three places, maybe beach, volcan, nationalpark and when you like this country, IŽm shure youŽll come back again to see more.
Saludos
costaklaus - www.costaricaweb.de
costaklaus is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2005, 10:17 AM
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misha, relax! We didn't see Arenal until our 2nd visit, and Manuel Antonio our 4th visit! In the meantime, we loved everything else so much that it kept us coming back--still at it. Take CostaKlaus's advice and just pick a couple of place and enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!!!!
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Jun 2nd, 2005, 01:10 PM
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Thanks I just need to keep things in perspective.
misha2 is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2005, 03:55 AM
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Misha, I know exactly where you're coming from. I, too am overwhelmed and my head is spinning. But i only have my fam of 4 to consider. I WANT TO EXPERIENCE IT ALL NOW TOO! It's just so hard having so many choices and being that I've never been there, done that, I don't know which we would like best and of course we want the most out of our vacation that we can possibly get! With about 8-10 days,I had thought of Arenal, Tamarindo area, and MA but was advised that even that would be too much driving time so I narrowed it down to just Arenal and MA, being assured that we can find pretty much everything we want to do between those 2 places and the rest will just have to wait till subsequent visits.....and it sounds like those are a given! Being that I am looking into renting vacation homes vs hotels (because I like alot of privacy in a swimsuit-lol!), I have run into problems finding an available place for middle of July. I have been "arranging" our travel plans for over 3 mos.and the dates have changed 3 times because of various reasons so now I find practically everything is booked thru the summer (vacation rentals). I can't find one in Lake arenal area SO now I don't know if I should go to the north coast beach area, like around Tamarindo-North and skip Arenal altogether or just stay there maybe a night in a hotel and see whatever we have time for and then head West for 4 or 5 nights and then to MA, or if that is too far to go or what! My head is spinning so much I feel like saying "forget it, let's just take a cruise like I originally thought about!" But I really do want to go to CR.....I wish there weren't so many choices because I feel that because of all the time and OBSESSION I've put into this, that my expectations are going to be so that I will be disappointed regardless. I welcome any and all insight or suggestions or words of wisdom. Anything that might make this a trip to CR instead of a loony bin!! Thanks, Tina
beena is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2005, 04:51 PM
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Misha, My kids and I spent a month in Costa RIca last year and didn't hit as many places as some people hit in a week. There is A LOT to be said for picking a few things and enjoying them. Slow tourism is an art. Take the time to enjoy, relish, experience what you are seeing, hearing, smelling, feeling. Relax. Educate yourself on your options but don't plan every second or even every block of time. Give yourself options. Especially if you are traveling during the green season, you may not even decide where you're staying or for how long until you get there. We planned our first and last night and let the rest fall into place as we experienced the trip. We extended a couple places we REALLY loved and skipped a couple places we decided we would have to hit next time. Realx and enjoy.

Blessings,

Julie
tica_traveler is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2005, 04:52 PM
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Misha, My kids and I spent a month in Costa RIca last year and didn't hit as many places as some people hit in a week. There is A LOT to be said for picking a few things and enjoying them. Slow tourism is an art. Take the time to enjoy, relish, experience what you are seeing, hearing, smelling, feeling. Relax. Educate yourself on your options but don't plan every second or even every block of time. Give yourself options. Especially if you are traveling during the green season, you may not even decide where you're staying or for how long until you get there. We planned our first and last night and let the rest fall into place as we experienced the trip. We extended a couple places we REALLY loved and skipped a couple places we decided we would have to hit next time. Relax and enjoy.

Blessings,

Julie
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Jun 3rd, 2005, 09:27 PM
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beena/tina -- I know exactly how you feel I almost gave up all my hours of planning and was going to go to an Alaskan cruise instead! If I come up with any words of wisdom or find brief moments when I don't think of the trip I'll let you know

Julie,
I wish I could be so relaxed. And I know that my best memories will be from simple unplanned moments. And yet, with a large family group in a small period of time I think that I have to plan and then let things each day just happen.

misha2 is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2005, 11:10 PM
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Have been to CR 3 times, once in '89 when it was truly off the beaten track an twice recently with kids. The reason CR is becoming so enormously popular is because it is a quasi exotic, reasonably priced destination close enough to the US. Remember - it is so close that you can return again and again. You wouldn't attempt to see 4 places in Hawaii, the Caribbean or Mexico in 8 days! Slow down and enjoy.

That said, I love Tortuguero, but it is a very regimented (and pricey)travel experience; I would save it for an August trip when you can be assured of seeing the turtles. For the first time, I would suggest 1 night at La Finca on your way in or out, 2 nights Arenal and 5 nights MA for relaxation and nature.
crosscheck is offline  
Jun 4th, 2005, 05:39 AM
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Thanks for your reply crossfire. Your analogy to Hawaii and Mexico has really put things in perspective. Please, please tell me -- do you think that MA is as relaxing as a beach resort in Tamarindo? I know they are very different. But, I can't seem to get a sense of what MA is like? I really want to end my trip with low-key quality beach time. Is that something I can do in MA comfortably? Also, do you know what the weather will be like there in late July?
misha2 is offline  
Jun 4th, 2005, 05:56 AM
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Misha - I have agonized each year while planning our trips to CR.

As for MA vs Tam - we have visited 5 beach areas in CR, but not yet Tamarindo. However, are you looking for an area that you can walk right out of your room onto a beach? If so Tam will probably suit you better over MA.

MA has absolutely stunning views of the Pacific and the jungle, but from up into a hillside, which would require a hike or ride to the beach. Whereas the central to southern Nicoya Penn will have more lodging options on or very near the beach.

MA has tons of offerings in the way of activities. Has probably the most amount of rooms in one area as any place in CR and probably has the most restaurants too.

While I certainly enjoyed our time in MA, I greatly missed hearing the pounding surf from my room and being able to easily walk out onto the beach.

Whatever you decide - do give yourself time to enjoy the location that you are in.
dfarmer is offline  
Jun 4th, 2005, 02:46 PM
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Glad you've decided to relax. There will be plenty of other trips. It's crazy how so many Type A travelers who hop from place to place have embraced costa rica, especially considering how bad the roads are there.

I agree with farmer about MA. Bottom line is it will be less relaxing because it is not beachfront. However, must disclose that I have not been there since '89. It was gorgeous then, but I have heard from friends who went this year that it is not the unspoiled paradise it once was.

Have been to tamarindo twice in the last two years, primarily because my kids are surfers. Tam is not a natl. park paradise like MA, but the beach is perfection for beginning/intermediate surfers and boogie boarders. And, if you stay at capitan suizo you'll have awesome sunsets, warm crashing waves, plus monkeys and iguanas in your midst. But don't expect a lot of culture in town other than laid-back beach culture...
crosscheck is offline  
Jun 5th, 2005, 01:41 AM
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Oh GREAT! Now that I had decided on going to Arenal and then to Quepos instead of Tamarindo, you guys go and describe ALL the good things that Tamarindo has to offer over Quepos! Yes Misha, I may be back to the drawing board-you just had to ask didn't you?! just kidding.
beena is offline  
Jun 5th, 2005, 03:28 AM
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Beena,

Are you up early, too trying to finalize plans? Quespos? Should ne looking into that, too?
misha2 is offline  
Jun 5th, 2005, 03:34 AM
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Thanks for the suggestions. So, are Are you suggesting that we spend two nights in Tamarindo after Arenal and then go on to Paradisius? Also, is there another relaxing beach/slighlty luxurious experience that you could suggest that would allow us to fly out of San Jose. ( the priceas are so much cheaper to do a round trip. How far are Conchal and Tamarindo from Arenal. Thanks so much for your help.
misha2 is offline  
Jun 6th, 2005, 02:15 AM
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"Are you up early, too trying to finalize plans? Quespos? Should ne looking into that, too?"
Misha-SOMETIMES I NEVER MAKE IT TO BED!!
...seriously....that's how crazy it's gotten.
beena is offline  
Jun 6th, 2005, 02:18 AM
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Oh, I forgot...Quepos is the town right next to Manuel Antonio.
beena is offline  
Jun 6th, 2005, 04:36 AM
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Not to add fuel to any fire , but I believe Tamarindo is quickly becoming as built up and touristy as Manuel Antonio ..... ( this of course in a Costa Rica " touristy " sense , still no Cancun !! ) What could help you decide is landscape and lush factor .... Would be much more jungly in M.A. , more wildlife sightings , but then again there is more lodging on the beach in Tamarindo !!! Tough choices and I am absolutely no help on this one !!! ( I usually check out tons of photos and see what it is like visually ..... )Go on hotels web-sites and look at there photo galleries .
faithie is offline  
Jun 6th, 2005, 09:24 PM
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ma is definitely more jungly. tamarindo is getting more built up, but still does not have a paved road! if you decide on ma, i would recommend tulemar bungalows. we have not stayed there, but it was highly recommended by 3 different friends.
crosscheck is offline  
Jun 12th, 2005, 04:59 PM
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Well I'm going to confuse you now and throw a new place into the ring. I traveled with a party of 7 that included my 79 year old mother and opted to stay in central CR to cut down on the driving. (see Nature Lover's itinerary). We did Arenal, La Bosque de Paz, and Serepiqui. We found La Bosque de Paz (not be confused with La Bosque de Cado) truly heavenly, if you are into wildlife. People who don't like to hike can just sit on the porch and watch the wildlife come to them. Hikers can explore the primary forest around. preserve. And it is definitely not built up. The only place in the land....
Millie64 is offline  

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