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jeffaguilar7308 Jan 8th, 2022 04:08 AM

Thoughts on Costa Rica Itinerary
We are flying into and out of Liberia in late May. We have free flights and changing them to SJO is not an option. With 8 days to work with I decided on 2 nights at Rio Celeste, 2 nights at Arenal Observatory, 1 night in Monteverde, and 3 nights in either Playa Flamingo (likely) or the Samara area. Our primary interest is wildlife and the rainforest, but I also want to do beach hopping.
Originally I wanted to go to Manuel Antonio but decided the drive was too long and it would require a night somewhere near the airport before the return flight. But I see the posts about the wildlife and beaches and now I'm concerned I'm going to regret not making the long drive. I realize we are currently sacrificing squirrel monkeys in our plan and possibly macaws (although I could potentially see them in Palo Verde or near Samara).
1) Will I see enough wildlife in Tenorio, Cano Negro, AOL, Monteverde, Palo Verde, estuary kayak (Tamarindo or Ora River) and snorkeling in Guanacaste?
2) My thought is to make a separate journey in the future and hit MA, Uvita, Drake Bay, Cocos Island, and Corcovado all at once when my kids are older and ready for a tougher trip. Should I stick to that future plan or try to do more on this trip since I don't know when the next time will be?

Jeff_Costa_Rica Jan 8th, 2022 05:16 PM

Four destinations in eight days is way too ambitious. I update the Fodor's guidebook to Costa Rica, and this is one big point I try to stress in the planning section. Although Costa Rica is small, it takes a lot more time than you expect to get from place to place. (Wait'll you see some of the roads!) You describe an itinerary where you'll be in the car the whole time, and you talk like there are younger kids in your family. You'll regret it if you try to pack too much in. I'd cut an eight-day trip down to two destinations.

No matter how unlikely it seems now, plan your trip with the idea that you'll go back someday.

MichelleY Jan 8th, 2022 11:00 PM

I agree with Jeff. With 8 days, do 2 locations.

volcanogirl Jan 9th, 2022 04:44 AM

I agree - too much moving around for me. For example, we usually stay four nights in the Arenal area when we go, and I would stay at least two nights in Monteverde. Monteverde is a pain to get to.

november_moon Jan 10th, 2022 03:09 PM

I agree also. With 8 days, I'd go to 2 locations, 3 at the absolute maximum. I'd probably choose Arenal and a beach location.

live2fishCR Mar 9th, 2022 11:18 AM

Better off spending your time exploring a couple of places. Any more than that it is too much and you will be back. It's beautiful. One trip and we were hooked. Now we go once a year and visit different parts of the country.

lauramsgarden Mar 10th, 2022 05:03 AM

longer stays
I'm going to agree with all of the above. We are in Fortuna near Arenal now and booked 5 nights and could easily have filled 7 nights worth. There is so much to do, so many places to explore and you will see more wildlife if you stay in one place than on the road. Here are some pics from yesterdays hanging bridges tour near Arenal

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