Tours in Arenal

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Sep 17th, 2006, 06:15 AM
  #1
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Tours in Arenal

My husband and I are travelling to Costa Rica for 10 days... we are going to spend 4 nights at La Pradera near Arenal and 6 nights in Puerto Viejo. We are going between Christmas & New Years... so it will be crowded and we want to try and book as much as possible ahead of time...

So here's my question - what are the best things to do - and should we just sign up for tours through our hotel - or are some tours better than others?? here's what we're considering.... we'd love some advice:

-Volcano Tour
-Cano Negro
-La Fortuna waterfall tour
-Rio Celeste tour
-Arenal canopy tour (should we do a canopy tour in Puerto Viejo instead?)
-rafting (what river would be the best for beginners? should we save this for Puerto Viejo?)

We would really appreciate your advice!!
scout4 is offline  
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Sep 17th, 2006, 07:17 AM
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Definitely can recommend the Cano Negro tour--one of the best things you could do for your money. It's a don't miss.

We haven't done hiking on the volcano (volcano tour) or through the national park.

Thoroughly enjoyed La Fortuna falls. We had a car so we just drove there and hiked it alone. You could do the same with a taxi. I don't see a lot of need to do this one in a tour group.

By all means, do the ziplines at Arenal (assuming that's what you mean by Canopy Tour). Puerto Viejo doesn't offer anything comparable. There is an excellent canopy tour at Hotel Arenal Paraiso.

You could do river rafting from Arenal, and others will know much more about that than I. I do know that Pozo Azul offers that (and other tours)--probably on the Sarapiqui.

Since it is the Christmas season when you will be traveling, you will be wise to book ahead of time the things you most want to do. I'm thinking especially Cano Negro, which is very popular. And I would imagine that La Pradera would be happy to handle those bookings for you.

In Puerto Viejo (including north to Cahuita and south to Manzanillo), you'll find a more laid back feel. It could be very rainy as December and January are the months they get the most rain over there (although there really isn't a totally dry season on the Caribbean side).

I always tell people that, if they want someone to show them the highlights of the area, including the Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge to contact Abel Bustamante in Manzanillo. If you are interested, I have his phone number. He is one of the nicest persons you'll ever meet, extremely knowledgeable about all of Costa Rica, speaks English, doesn't charge much, and you would enjoy at least a day with him. Guaranteed to see lots of wildlife. You could meet up with him, discuss your interests, then go from there. With 6 days, you'll have plenty of time to work that out.

Be sure to have dinner at least one night at La Pecora Nera. I would also recommend a little restaurant called Totem. Excellent. Both Italiano.

It's a lot of fun to rent bicycles and ride up and down the road between Puerto Viejo and Manzanillo, but that might be best done in the early morning during the high rainy season!

Good luck and have fun!

By the way, I don't know about the Rio Celeste tour (as far as what it includes, etc) out of Arenal, but I do know that it is about an hour and a half-2 hour drive and that the Rio Celeste is a beautiful blue during the dry season on Volcan Tenorio. Could be an enjoyable trip. . .more waterfalls. We enjoyed hiking on Tenorio and the Rio Celeste this past summer.
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Sep 17th, 2006, 08:06 AM
  #3
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thank you... your info was exactly what I was looking for. I'd love contact info for Abel Bustamante if you have it..
I didn't know it was the "rainy season" on the Carribean side... yikes. Is it non-stop rain?
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Sep 17th, 2006, 11:39 AM
  #4
 
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Shillmac,

Do you have an email for Abel Bustamante? I am going to be in PV next month and would like to meet up with him. Thanks!
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Sep 17th, 2006, 01:02 PM
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Yes, his e-mail is:

[email protected]

Tell him hello from Jill in Oklahoma!

Abel has such a passion for his country and a deep respect for the things of nature. Spending a few hours with him is always a highlight of time spent in the PV area. In fact, I make it a point to get back over there every time I'm in the country for several weeks--just to go birding with Abel. Last July he was telling me, though, of all the other kinds of tours he does with people.

Although it rains the whole darned year in the southern Caribe area, September and October are the driest months, and December/January are the wettest. Occasionally during these months the rain comes for days on end, heavily, resulting in flooding and evacuations. This has happened a couple of times in the past 4-5 years. It closes roads between SJO and Limon, causes landslides, you name it. That said, I expect the chances are slim of such a thing happening during your visit!

We went there for the first time in January of 2003. Although it was somewhat stormy (because of a very significant cold front further north) with rough seas (and a few electrical outages!), our days went just fine. It was a little rainy off and on in the afternoons, but never hampered our activities. I'd go there in January again. I really believe that between the 2 months, January is more reliable than December. Seems like the "big" rains have occured more often in that month.

There is a weather map you can look at, but I never have the website on hand. Always have to look it up--you'd think I'd bookmark it! I'll try to find it and post it for you. I think it tells the story very well!
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Sep 17th, 2006, 01:22 PM
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Thanks for the email!

Any other must do's during our 4 day stay near Punta Uva?
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Sep 17th, 2006, 01:50 PM
  #8
 
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Just the things posted earlier--bicycles, restaurant recommendations, etc. It's a great place to relax and take it easy! Next month should be a very good time to visit!

Parque Nacional Cahuita is always a good place to visit while in that area. I'd for sure do that. You might also spend a little time in and around the town of Bri Bri, perhaps check out some of the indigenous culture. Abel could direct you with that also. If you are going to contact him, he is your best resource on what to do.



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Sep 17th, 2006, 02:25 PM
  #9
 
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definitely do the Cano Negra day tour- about USD45 p.p- the entrance to the la fortuna warterfall is USD6, you can swim down to the left of the fall where the rocks break the flow.
you could also visit the Cocodriulkus Valle- crocodile sancturary-have breakfast at la choz laurel on the high street- walk or drive about 100 metres toward the volcano and turn right at the sign!

http://costa-rica.typepad.com/la_for...ome/index.html
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