We're off to Costa Rica and never been there!

May 7th, 2017, 12:21 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: May 2017
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We're off to Costa Rica and never been there!

Hi everyone, I'm new to Fodor's forums and looking for some advice for our upcoming trip to Costa Rica. My wife and I are 50's-60's but decent hikers. We went to Italy 2 years ago and drove a car w/GPS with good results. We like clean, mid price hotels/B&B's/cottages & don't need luxury amenities. We love meeting new people/locals but don't speak Spanish so we're hoping to overcome that through friendliness and respect.

We arrive in CR in 2 weeks about 1:30 pm local time on a Saturday. I'm thinking by the time we de-plane, get luggage and pick up our car at Tri Color car rental (with GPS!) in the terminal we'd be lucky to be on the road by 3 to 3:30? Should we even consider trying to drive to Monteverde and be there by 5:30-6 or is Poas area a better idea/do-able that first night?

We're considering a day and a half in the Poas/La Paz waterfalls area then on to Arenal/La Fortuna for several days and then to Monteverde for several days. I thought we could start that loop either driving to Monteverde then Arenal then La Paz/Poas or starting in Poas and go the other way.

Our trip works better if we can start in Monteverde but I don't see any way we make it there that first night before dark (5:30-6pm?) if my timing estimates are correct.

If Poas first, we'd drive to a hotel (any suggestions?) in Poas after leaving San Jose. Thought about driving up to Poas Volcano the next morning before 10 am to see the crater and maybe hike one of the trails for an hour or so to Botos Lake. Then the Doka Coffee Plantation tour in the afternoon.
We'd stay overnight then La Paz Waterfalls in the morning then about a 3-4 hour drive to La Fortuna in the afternoon.

Does any of that sound nuts? We would be grateful for any thoughts from those of you who have been there.

We also would love to visit the Manuel Antonio area and maybe La Selva/Tirimbina but I don't see any way we can do all of that in 9 days! We fly out the following Sunday. The Saturday arrival and Sunday departure days don't really count so really we have 7 days to roam.

We might be able to extend our stay in the extended Poas area to see La Selva/Tirimbina. Anybody see those? Are they wonderful?

Thanks a bunch in advance for any thoughts.
paulfoxmattress is offline  
May 7th, 2017, 03:47 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Head to Poas/La Paz first. Not enough daylight to get to Monteverde. Plus GPS isn't always correct so have a hard copy map also. We stayed at the Peace Lodge at the La Paz Waterfalls. Try to at least 2 nights per stop. Distances between locations is time consuming due to weather and road conditions.
MichelleY is offline  
May 7th, 2017, 07:48 PM
  #3  
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Thanks Michelle, I appreciate the help. How did you like the Peace Lodge?
paulfoxmattress is offline  
May 8th, 2017, 08:44 AM
  #4  
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We'll post a detailed trip report when we return.
paulfoxmattress is offline  
May 8th, 2017, 08:55 AM
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It was great, some say Disneyish, but we loved it! It was nice to have comfy accommodations after an over night flight and getting lost for hours on the road. We fed hummingbirds by hand, did the night frog walk, spent an hour watching butterflies hatch, and went thru the monkey and cat houses. Then there are the waterfalls to hike along. We spent 2 nights. We had cold rainy weather throughout our 2 week trip. Torrential rain actually. So it turned out these were some of the only animals we saw as the rain keeps them in the forest. We then moved on to Arenal etc.

I can't recall off hand some of the other nice places to stay near the Poas area. Perhaps Volcanogirl will post with better info for you.
MichelleY is offline  
May 8th, 2017, 06:00 PM
  #6  
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Thanks again, Michelle. As it turns out I found out today that Poas park is closed down because of volcanic activity. There is no telling when they will re-open so I think we won't get the chance to see it.

Kind of throws our planning into a mess. I don't think we'll get on the road early enough to get to any of the areas we hope to see, Arenal, Monteverde and now Manuel Antonio. We'll probably get out of San Jose towards wherever we decide to head first and stay somewhere that first night.

Thanks again for your thoughts.

Paul
paulfoxmattress is offline  
May 8th, 2017, 07:45 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Peace Lodge and La Paz Waterfalls has plenty to see and do. We did not get over to Poas. Ran out of time.
MichelleY is offline  
May 8th, 2017, 07:55 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Another option closer to the airport is Xandari. I have never stayed but it gets good reports.
MichelleY is offline  
May 20th, 2017, 07:41 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
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Pura Vida Hotel near the Airport. they reimburse for an airport taxi and yourcar can be delivered the next morning.

Thousands Poas from your balcony. Pretty convenient for the Doka tour.
mlgb is offline  
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