Trip Report

Old Jul 7th, 2005, 06:15 PM
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Trip Report

I have been faithfully reading this forum for six months and felt quite comfortable planning our ten day trip with our two teens.
Unfortunately, we did not know that passport regulations have recently changed. We arrived at the Miami airport and were ready to board our flight to CR. We were told that we could not board b/c our passports must be valid for 30 days after our return. Ours were valid 23 days after we returned. We were told to go downtown to immigration. We left our kids at the airportand arrived at the Claude Pepper building. My heart sank when I saw a line wrapped around the building. To make a very long and frustrating story short, we finally received our passports three days later.
Because of this forum, I had gotten to know Neta of La Finca Que Ama through email . I immediately called her and explained the situation.Neta called all of our hotels and shifted everything around for us. Neta is one in a million.
We finally arrived in San Jose around 4:30. Neta sent a cab for us to foolow to La Finca b/c she feared that we would get lost. The drive to La Finca was so much more beautiful than I ever imagined. A totally lush,gorgeous jungle setting. Neta met us at the gale like an old friend and showed us around her charming B&B.I loved her open air deck where all meals were served. The view is just unforgettable. A fabulous meal with candlelight followed. My 15 year old son was quite taken with Arbel-who is extremely charming.We slept well that night and set out for Manuel Antonio.
Drive was about 3 hours to MA. I did not know what to expect b/c I had read good and bad about this area. Neta had suggested Tulemar Bungalows and I am so glad. We stayed in one of their bungalows.The view of the Pacific Ocean was fabulous. We really enjoyed staying here.Our kids loved the private beach and would have spent thie entire time there on the boogie boards. The breadfasts were really quite good and served on an open air deck overlooking the ocean. We did manage to get to the park early one morning. We hired a guide for $20/pp. I felt that we got much more out of this b/c of our guide. Not only did he point out lots of animals but gave us a lot of great information about the animals. There were lots of other things to do at MA, but we had such a great time at our hotel. We looked at Si Como No and I much preferred Tulemar. SCN seemed much busier and is a larger property.
We enjoyed the restaurants but especially enjoyed El Avian. We had dinner there during a torrential rainstorm. Food was very good and quit cheap.
I must mention here that the weather was quite good the whole trip. It would usually start raining around 4:00 every afternoon and sometimes through the evening.
We did not find MA to be crowded at all and wished that we had more time there.
We left early one morning and drove to La Finca again for a second night. I must mention that my husband is a pretty fearless driver and has driven all over Europe. We were unprepared for the number of potholes and wished that we had rented a 4wd. Back at Neta's,we enjoyed an Israeli dinner and loved being back again. My husband mentioned that he felt so comfortable there that he almost offered to do the dishes.
Nest morning, we drove to Los Lagos at Arenal. This was my least favorite of all our hotels. This place had absolutely no charm and was quite busy. It felt very fake and just not what I wanted to experiene in CR. We had a large room that was quite nondescript. We had to drive to the pool and the lounge chairs were made of ceramic tiles and were very uncomfortable. We all felt that the breakfasts were quite bad. I had a hard time finding one thing that I wanted to eat.
EcoTermales was nice, but we arrived when a bus was unloading with a tour of teenagers. It got a bit crowded. We stayed for dinner that was quite good and we were the only ones there. Our kids did not particularly enjoy this -it was quite hot to be getting in hot water. The next day we did the zip lines at Arenal Paraiso-This may not have been as fast or as high as SkyTrek-but it was fine for us. I felt quite safe and it was quite thrilling. Our last day we hiked to the waterfall and that was quite beautiful. I suggest going early in the day. It gets very hot and quite crowded. We alsotook a float trip down a lovelu river that I forget the name of. We visited a farm that has no electricity and were able to have tea with the owners. This was quite interesting
Neta suggested that we spend our last night at The Orquideas Inn. This wa a very good choice. We found it quite charming and had an excellent dinner our last night there. The tiliia was the best of my trip.
If I can answer any questions, please ask away. Our whole family loved CR and hope to return next summer.
nancygol is offline  
Old Jul 7th, 2005, 07:58 PM
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Do they still have the two puppies at Orquedias?
sean420 is offline  
Old Jul 8th, 2005, 04:18 AM
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Yes, they still have both of the puppies. My children enjoyed them immensely.
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Old Jul 8th, 2005, 09:00 AM
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I was so excited to read your trip report!! We are doing something similar. But, we'll be in Arenal first (Lost Iguana) -- then at Neta's then to MA (Tulemar Bungalows) and back to Neta our last night.

Did you have access to laundry at Tulemar? How early do they serve breakfast? How old are your kids? Did they enjoy MA park? Would you reccommend the river float tour that ends up at the farm? How much was it? What other good restaurants did you eat at? Did any of you get sick/carsick? Any more details would be appreciated.

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Old Jul 8th, 2005, 09:50 AM
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Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts about a stressful start to your vacation. I'm glad it turned out well. I can only imagine how it was for 2 teens to wait 3 additional days before leaving.
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Old Jul 8th, 2005, 11:17 AM
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what a terrible start to your vacation! Unfortunately, the regulations changed quite some time ago. at least last fall if I remember correctly. the new rules were certainly in effect when we traveled down there in feb.

Yet another good reason to have someone help at least a little with your trip. We are fortunate to have a tico friend in the tourism business who helps us with our trips. He was a huge help this past year when our whole first few days had to be rearranged due to flooding on the caribbean side.
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Old Jul 8th, 2005, 11:23 AM
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I wish that we had stayed at the Lost Ig
uana. Los Lagos felt very artificial to me. The float trip was fun and we were the only ones on the water. Go early b/c it is quite humid. We made the reservation in town and it was about 40per person. Don't hold me to that. My kid's are 15 and 17 and they are real troopers.

We absolutely loved Tulemar. They initiallyput us in a bungalow nest door to construction and we requested a move. They were very nice and put us in a quiet bungalow.
We also enjoyed Ronnie's,which has beautiful views-The road getting there was quite bad-I suggest that you rent a four wheel drive. we also ate lunch at a hotel very close to the park called Karahe(I think). That was great with two large iguanas roaming the patio.
My kids enjoyed the park but after a couple of hours,started getting very tired and quite hot.At this point the park is getting a bit more crowded. You will have a great time.
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