Trip Report Aug. 15 - Aug. 24

Old Aug 26th, 2005, 01:58 PM
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Trip Report Aug. 15 - Aug. 24

Hi everyone,

Thank you for the great suggestions, we had a wonderful time. Originally we were going to do 4 nights Arenal, 4 nights Manuel Antonio, 1 night San Jose... but once we got there, we changed it up a bit. Ended up doing 3 nights Arenal, and 6 nights Manuel Antonio.. and we don't regret it!

Arenal
We arrived in San Jose, rented a car (totally worth it), rented a cell phone (ditto), and were on our way to Arenal. Very good roads, no complaints really. Few potholes, but definately do-able. In 3 nights in Arenal, we saw lava flow, hiked to an observation point, sat in a hot spring pool, swam in a waterfall, and took a day trip to Monteverde for a Canopy Tour (Tabacon no longer has Canopy Tour).
Los Lagos in Arenal
Our original hotel booking. Good clean rooms, good view, awesome slides at the pool, nice hot spring pool, TERRIBLE POOL BAR SERVICE, overgrown grounds, sad crocodile exhibition, never a concierge around when you need one. We sat for 45 min. and didn't get served at the bar on our first night in CR. boo. We checked out the next morning to stay at Montana de Fuego.
Montana de Fuego in Arenal
LOVED the hut we got for only $30 more per night than Los Lagos, gorgeous view, well kept grounds, GREAT SERVICE, TOTALLY recommend.
Arenal Volcano
Mostly clouded over, but cleared up some days. Beautiful. Saw lava flow at night when we took the car out at midnight.
Arenal Waterfall
MUST DO! Steep hike down to waterfall, can swim in the pool it forms and go behind the waterfall. LOVED IT!
Day trip to Monteverde from Arenal
ROADS WERE TERRIBLE TO MONTEVERDE FROM ARENAL!! Extremely poor or none at all signage. Our 2 wheel drive barely made it, and I believe we even punctured our muffler. We were exhausted from the trip. Moon Shiva Restaurant in Monteverde known for it's mediterranean cuisine was all out of anything Mediterranean, so that was a bummer. We did the Original Canopy Tour in Monteverde and had a blast! Staff will take pictures of you while your zipping along!

Manuel Antonio
Drive from Arenal to San Jose to Manuel Antonio was easy and ROADS WERE EXCELLENT. Great signage. Stayed at Mango Moon and were delighted with our stay. Carlos took great care of us and booked us on all the right excursions. Horseback Ride to waterfall was nice and long and served a fabulous lunch. Whitewater Rafting on the Naranjo was the highlight of our trip! Class 3's and 4's all the way.. just a blast! Got tons of pictures from the staff for only $25. Tour of Manuel Antonio Park was great, saw lots of animals, insects, lizards, and bats. The beaches were sooo much fun. Boogie boarded in the big waves and soaked in the sun.

Weather was great our entire trip. you're going to get a few hours of rain EVERY day at this time of year, but it is not that troublesome. And it most definately rains throughout the night every night. I could go on and on, but email me if you have specific questions or if I left something out. [email protected]

PURA VIDA!
LSUsajani
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Old Aug 26th, 2005, 03:21 PM
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When you say there was no canopy tour in Tabacon - do you mean in the Arenal area there is no canopy tour? I thougth that there was a canopy tour by sky tour there? Can you provide further detail - thanks!
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Old Aug 28th, 2005, 06:08 AM
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Sally,

There are canopy tours in Arenal. There's a very good one at Arenal Paraiso.
Sandy
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Old Aug 28th, 2005, 09:26 AM
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Hi LSUsajani,
Thanks for your trip report. My girlfriend and I vacationed in CR in May of this year. We loved it so much, we are going again in November. Our current itinerary is almost exactly what you originally planned (3 nights Arenal, 4 nights MA, and one in San Jose).
When we went to Arenal in May, we stayed at Los Lagos... interestingly enough, our experience at the pool was one of the highlights of the hotel - and the bar food was good. Only negative I can think of was watching the bartender unabashedly pour cheap vodka into Absolut bottles - but as inexpensive as the drinks were, we didn't care. We will not hesitate to stay there again.
We also took the car out late at night - woke at 2 am to find a perfectly clear starlit night - the eruptions were simply fantastic to watch. I was also able to show the Milky Way to my girlfriend, who never saw it before, having grown up in light polluted metropolitan/suburban areas. The darkness around Arenal was complete.
We are going back to Los Lagos in November, especially now that we learned the lava is supposedly now once again visible from that hotel. Were you able to see it from the hotel during your trip there?
I hope we will have as much fun as it sounds like you did in the MA area - love your recommendations!
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Old Aug 28th, 2005, 07:34 PM
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Sally17, yes there are other canopy tours in Arenal, but the one that Original Canopy Tour was doing at Tabacon Resort (which was very popular apparently) no longer exists. They still have the hot springs there, but it's like a zoo! So many people! We couldn't even get in! Also, even though they opened their line at 10am for the springs, they had to shut the line down by noon cause it would get so crowded. There are other spots to sit in the Hot Springs like at Baldi which I heard is very good. Los Lagos also has a hot pool from the hot spring water. The reason we did the canopy tour in Monteverde was because we thought we'd go ahead and see that area too. But it really wasn't our thing. Arenal and MA were definately better for us.

GregandNanette, No we did not see lava from Los Lagos. We had to drive around to the other side of the volcano to see it flowing out.

Hope this helps!
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