What would you do if you had 6 days in Arenal?

Jul 21st, 2008, 03:11 PM
  #21  
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Lfm, thanks so much for that insight! It's really helpful. I'm going to check that out and keep my fingers crossed. I'll keep y'all posted.

Also, just so folks know, my mom has been contacting the rental companies for inquiries and keeps saying "No wonder everyone loves Mapache!" They've really been great answering our inquiries, and following up with us, even though they don't have the car we want. Apparently mom used the web-based chat feature to ask some questions and they actually emailed her a transcript of the chat afterwards. She was very impressed. It stinks--we'd love to give them our business!
beloit96 is offline  
Jul 21st, 2008, 07:04 PM
  #22  
 
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Personally I'd be fine with 6 nights in Arenal is there's plenty to see and do and will allow you not to be running all the time. Cano Negro is a must do as well as Eco-Thermales hot springs. It took us about 2 hours to get from Arenal to La Paz, but maybe our driver was speedy...also I've beet to Nuevo Arenal and it's a bit further out...but I can't remember in which direction! There is a Desafio tour we really enjoyed called the Cultural Tour. If you choose one or two activities each days there's still plenty do to once you include options like zip line, horseback, waterfalls, rafting, canyoning, Venado caves, trip to Las Pumas, etc.
hipvirgochick is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2008, 03:58 AM
  #23  
 
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beloit, I'm jealous you get to spend so much time in Arenal; we just got back and already miss it. I'd definitely do Cano Negro with Sunset Tours and visit Eco Termales for dinner and hot springs. Also zipline with SkyTrek, do a volcano hike, do the Hanging Bridges, and maybe whitewater raft or visit the waterfall. One of the best things we did was hire a birding guide through Sunset Tours for a private tour; we saw so many great things including an anteater, a peccary, toucans, and an ornate hawk eagle, along with loads of other birds. We're not huge birders, but it was a great day and fun to have a guide to ourselves.
volcanogirl is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2008, 04:53 PM
  #24  
 
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We loved Hanging Bridges, spent 2 hours walking through, and saw lots of wildlife.
You don't need a guide at the Fortuna waterfall -- it's an easy walk down (once you drive there). Can swim at the bottom. Trip up is a bit strenuous.
I'd recommend a road trip along the paved East side of the lake -- very different terrain. We stopped at a TERRIFIC place for lunch, Toad Hall. Run by an ex-pat American. Great food and views.
Definitely spend some time on the west/ southwest side, near Arenal Obs Lodge. Worth a trip to the lodge and hiking from there. Sky Trek is great and seemed very safe (we're alive and loved it). There's a very cool little zoo/ herpetarium in the town just the other side of Sky Trek on the dirt road -- they provide a bilingual guide.
The town (fortuna) seemed like a dump to us -- I wouldn't spend a lot of time there.
Marco13 is offline  
Jul 23rd, 2008, 04:45 PM
  #25  
 
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We were in CR 4 years ago & spent several nights at Arenal. We did the following & I recommend all of them:
Cano Negro tour (full day)
Hanging Bridges
Zip LInes (my family went but I chose to swim at Arenal Paraiso)

My daughter returned 2 years ago with her boyfriend & they went to some bat caves, & also someone took them on a small boat on Lake Arenal. I think they went on a hike close to Arenal, around the lava fields.

Seems to me there is enough to do in the area for 6 days. Enjoy!!! We LOVED CR!!!!
Kwoo is offline  
Jul 29th, 2008, 08:47 PM
  #26  
 
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I'm glad to see this thread is still alive so I can comment further. We just got back from Costa Rica, and we had a fantastic time in Arenal. Hike to the hardened lava boulders and spent some time admiring the volcano from up close. Definitely go to one of the hot springs. And, make sure go swimming at the base of LaFortuna waterfall. We didn't zip line in Arenal, but we did zip line with Sky Trek in Monteverde, and found the company very professional. Zip lining was a hit with everyone in our group. Do the hanging bridges. the views are incredible. And, make sure you set aside some time in the evenings just to sit and enjoy volcano views. Have a wonderful time!
Dana_M is offline  
Jul 30th, 2008, 02:25 AM
  #27  
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We leave in just a few days now! Woohoo!

Thanks everyone for all your feedback.

Dana, did you have a lot of rain while you were there?

beloit96 is offline  
Jul 30th, 2008, 02:30 AM
  #28  
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Oh, I just saw your quick report Dana. Sounds like it rained the whole time!!!
beloit96 is offline  
Jul 30th, 2008, 06:49 AM
  #29  
 
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beloit, we had quite a bit or rain, but it didn't stop us from doing anything we wanted to. Have a great time!
volcanogirl is offline  
Jul 30th, 2008, 09:03 AM
  #30  
 
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We had a lot of rain, but like VG, it did not deter us from activities. In fact, after a heavy rain the skies cleared up and offered magnificent views of the volcano.
Dana_M is offline  
Jul 30th, 2008, 02:30 PM
  #31  
 
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Ah, youŽll be okay with 6 days. What a great deal--a chance to do it all without having to pick and choose! IŽll bet youŽll figure out more stuff once you arrive.

The Rio Celeste is definitely worth your time. Probably best done as a tour, so youŽll have someone to guide you on the Volcan Tenorio hiking. Or hire a private person.

Also, do consider a day at the spa. Tabacon Grand Spa is highly rated in Central and South America (top ten I think). It is on Tabacon Hot Springs property, but a separate entity. Consider the cacao scrub followed by a massage. YouŽll be amazed. Get a 10:00 a.m. appt. and stay until 1:00 or so. . .allow plenty of time to lay around in your spa robe (itŽs a fabulous robe, wish I had one JUST like it!). While lying around youŽll be served hot tea, cold water, chocolate covered strawberries and the like. Very nice way to spend a little time!

You see, you CAN enjoy 6 days at Arenal, no worries! LOL!
shillmac is offline  
Jul 30th, 2008, 02:32 PM
  #32  
 
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By the way, book your spa appts. ahead. Money no object? Go twice and try something different! LOL!

Actually, IŽm quite serious. . .

Also, consider the Cerro Chato hike.
shillmac is offline  
Jul 30th, 2008, 04:28 PM
  #33  
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Thanks, Shill! I could definitely spend hours and hours at the hot springs... and getting a massage and other treatments just sounds like heaven! I wish I could say we are headed to CR flush with cash, but that's unfortunately not the case, so we'll be doing a little bit of picking & choosing. But I thought the same thing as the responses to my initial question came in... looks like we'll have time for everything in the area and a little down time too. I'm just bummed about La Paz. oh well, next time!

I was counting on Eco Thermales for sure since it sounds like Tabacon is so expensive, and did I read somewhere that they were restricting entry? Maybe I didn't, maybe it was just the expense that had me thinking twice about it. But we'll see how our budgets look after we figure in all the other tours.

Any recommendations on a good tour company for Rio Celeste?
beloit96 is offline  
Jul 30th, 2008, 04:47 PM
  #34  
 
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Yes, book Eco Termales ahead; they limit entry to 100 people and usually sell out. We met people in Arenal that couldn't get in.
volcanogirl is offline  
Jul 31st, 2008, 05:45 AM
  #35  
 
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We tried to get into EcoTermales and couldn't because they were sold out, so definitely book ahead.
Dana_M is offline  
Jul 31st, 2008, 07:51 AM
  #36  
 
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Just a FYI. You donŽt have to pay to get into Tabacon Hot Springs if you have a spa appt. You only pay if you will be using the hot springs. So no cost to get in for the spa as it is not affiliated. . .
shillmac is offline  
Jul 31st, 2008, 08:02 AM
  #37  
 
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How far ahead do you recommend booking Eco Thermales? We have a January trip planned. Also, would you book it thru the hotel or independently? We are staying at AOL. Thanks!
sessa is offline  
Jul 31st, 2008, 08:34 AM
  #38  
 
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We booked ours through Sunset Tours; we did a combo volcano hike and Eco Termales with dinner - their chicken was really good!
volcanogirl is offline  
Jul 31st, 2008, 08:52 AM
  #39  
 
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Thanks, volcanogirl! That combo sounds right up our alley! I assume I can book other things thru Sunset Tours, too (i.e. Cano Negro, ziplining, etc.)?
sessa is offline  
Jul 31st, 2008, 09:28 AM
  #40  
 
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We used them for Cano Negro too and saw tons of wildlife. They have a website that lists all their activities along with the prices. I'd recommend them.
volcanogirl is offline  

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