Volcano & Beach in Costa Rica

Old Aug 20th, 2010, 11:36 AM
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Volcano & Beach in Costa Rica

I have 8- 9 days in Costa Rica. I have decided on doing Arenal Volcano and then either Tortuguero or Manual Antonio. It seems as this would most efficient, taking into account travel times. I'm just not sure of the big difference between Tortuguero and Manual Antonio in terms of activities and things to see. Also is 2- 3 days enough in La Fortuna?
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Old Aug 20th, 2010, 11:41 AM
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Manuel Antonio is a National Park with several beaches. Tortuguero is an isolated area that has a system of canals but not much for beaches. Really different. For Tortuguero information, check here: www.tortuguerovillage.com For Manuel Antonio information, check here: www.manuelantoniopark.com
You can also take a look at www.govisitcostarica.com for more information on both these areas.
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Old Aug 20th, 2010, 11:47 AM
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Also, MA has restaurants and tours and such while Tortuguero you eat meals at your lodge and the tours are primarily the wildlife spotting through the canals and you can't swim at those beaches. They are actually very opposite types of areas. I suggest at least 3 nights in Arenal. There's a ton to do in that area and that really just allows you 2 full days.
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Old Aug 21st, 2010, 08:34 AM
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Virgochick has it exactly right.

Tortuguero is a terrific spot, and so is Manuel Antonio. It really depends on the type of experience you are seeking.

Tortuguero is all about the nature. During the season (peaking in July & August) massive sea turtles lay their eggs on the beach here. There are also crocodiles, cayman, parrots, monkeys, and other mammals. Getting here is a tour in itself. You drive through the Carrillo cloud forest and banana plantations, then board a boat for the rest of the journey.

This is a remote location, and the logistics can be a little daunting. It is best to buy a package offered by one of the lodges there. These include transportation, lodging, meals and most tours. One of the lodges we work with also offers transportation from Arenal and back to San Jose, or vice versa.

Tortuguero is the real deal, naturewise. We often offer this as a more affordable option to our clients that can't spring for the Osa.

Manuel Antonio is more accessible, and much more developed. So you have a broad variety of accommodations to choose from, as well as an extremely varied restaurant scene. So the stay here is probably more comfortable. With more options if you are seeking to party a little, or have a little romance.

The National Park here is beautiful. I discovered it on my first trip over 20 years ago, and I still enjoy my visits there. It is small, but there are lots of monkeys, and beautiful woods and beaches. This area offers lots of nature related tours too.

Hope this helps! Let me know if I can offer any more advice.

Warm Regards,
Pat Hewitt
Travel Professional
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Old Aug 23rd, 2010, 01:37 PM
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Ok this is what I've come up with for an itinerary for now (just airfare and hotels). Should tours be booked prior to or at the hotel? If there's 4- 6 people going should a car be rented or should we arrange a shuttle?
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Old Aug 24th, 2010, 07:54 AM
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Pat's the man! He helped plan our trip and highly recommend his advice. How about Buena Vista Villa in Manuel Antonio & Lost Iguana in Arenal???
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Old Aug 24th, 2010, 09:10 AM
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If you want beautiful beaches where you can swim, access to pretty tame wildlife, and lots of hotel and restaurant choices, go with Manuel Antonio. If you want to be more off the grid, a little more isolated, and stay in more basic accommodations, go with Tortuguero. The wildlife in Tortuguero was really amazing. The best part of Tortuguero is cruising up and down the canals to see wildlife and also spotting turtles in season. We saw lots of monkeys in MA, but they're the kind that are very used to people and will try to steal your potato chips!

I would spend at least three nights in Arenal; there's tons to see and do there, and it will give you a better chance at seeing the volcano which is often covered by misty fog and clouds.
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