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Wildlife and Surf Itinerary Help

Old Feb 25th, 2013, 11:37 AM
  #1  
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Wildlife and Surf Itinerary Help

Hi,
My family (inc. 8 and 11 year old) is headed to CR for first time for 9 days in August. We are thinking about starting in Arenal for three nights (Leaves and Lizards or Los Lagos) and then heading to Osa for 5 nights (BdC, Iguana and/or Lapos Rios). BdC sounds amazing and would like to visit for hiking, wildlife, etc. But I was thinking about splitting with Iguana or Lapos for surfing (boys wants to learn to surf) and diving (for my husband). We were going to try to also go to Nosara (Arenal - Osa - Nosara) but I think we will save time and flight $ by staying in Osa.
Any thoughts about these hotels in Arenal? We definitely want to go to Proyecto Asis and I'm not sure how we will decide between all the other activities in this area. Favorites?
Any thoughts about whether we need to split time in Osa to better enjoy water activities? If so, Iguana or LR? Thank you!
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Old Feb 25th, 2013, 12:11 PM
  #2  
RAC
 
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Bosque del Cabo and Lapa Rios are next door neighbors, and they are right where the surfing is. So, given that criteria, I think you can choose between the two. You can surf from either lodge.

Iguana Lodge is much further from the surf area--it's near the mangrove and dolphin tour area, but it is right on the beach. Lapa Rios and Bosque del Cabo are on the water, but 500 feet up.

So, I would say you would choose to spend 5 nights at either Lapa Rios or Bosque del Cabo, or you spend say 3 nights at one of those places and 2 at Iguana Lodge.

For diving, you're pretty much on the wrong side of the Osa peninsula--for that you want to be in Drake Bay.
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Old Feb 25th, 2013, 02:26 PM
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Thank you. I think I will stick with BdC then for our stay in the Osa. Any opinions on Leaves and Lizards, Los Lagos or other places in Arenal?
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Old Feb 25th, 2013, 03:02 PM
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Both times we've visited Arenal, we stayed at the Arenal Observatory Lodge--best hiking, best wildlife, best volcano views in the area. Food is not the greatest (or at least wasn't back in the day) but it's very affordable. We'd only consider going back to Arenal if we could stay there.

The Arenal Observatory Lodge and Bosque del Cabo are the only two placs we've seen a wild cat in Costa Rica, btw. We saw the puma at BdC and a jaguarundi at the AOL.
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Old Feb 26th, 2013, 01:37 AM
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Out of those two, I'd lean towards staying at Los Lagos. Leaves and Lizards is pretty far out and not convenient to town or for doing tours. It has a lot of things to do on the property and is popular with young families. Silencio del Campo is also popular. We've stayed at the Springs Resort and Spa, Nayara, and the Lost Iguana and loved all of those. With kids that age, I'd do Proyecto Asis, the Penas Blancas river float, the waterfall hike, and the natural hot springs. If you want a nice hike, the Hanging Bridges is good. If they're up for an all day tour, Cano Negro is good for seeing caimans, water birds, monkeys, etc. We also went tubing at the Springs Resort and Spa and loved it. If the kids are really adventurous, Sky Trek is amazing for ziplining, but the lines are very high and very fast.
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Old Feb 26th, 2013, 01:39 AM
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For hot springs, we like Tabacon or Eco Termales, but if you stay at Los Lagos you'll have your own springs on site.
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Old Feb 26th, 2013, 05:09 AM
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I'll just chime in to second Arenal Observatory Lodge as an excellent choice in the Arenal area...
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Old Feb 26th, 2013, 09:23 AM
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Wow, thank you everyone this is very helpful. Anyone care to chime in whether we should just to Arenal/Osa or should add Nosara for the surfing? Logistically and financially two places sounds better than 3, but before I started doing research on the wildlife and adventurous activites, we were really planning on coming to CR for surf lessons in warm water! Since its rainy season though (beg August), maybe the focus away from surfing will be better (lightening storms)?
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Old Feb 26th, 2013, 09:30 AM
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I would save Nosara for a different trip. One good rule when planning a trip to CR is to assume you'll be back.

Surfing in the morning should be okay--rain typically rolls in around lunch time.

One couple we met at BdC went on a surfing lesson there and they said they had a blast.
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Old Feb 26th, 2013, 09:40 AM
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With nine days, I think two locations would be about right. Traveling can really eat into your time. You might want to spend a night near the Central Valley at the beginning or end of your trip depending on your flight times. Your kids would love the Peace Lodge for a night. It's about an hour from the SJO airport. Xandari is a really nice hotel closer to the airport if you need one.
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Old Feb 26th, 2013, 10:12 AM
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I agree that limiting yourselves to 2 destinations is probably best. I love surfing the Osa in the rainy season. And I wouldn't let a little rain keep you away from the waves. Lightning isn't usually a problem. You can have Backwash and Pan Dulce almost to yourself that time of year (well, maybe more like October/November if you want it entirely to yourself). I've spent many a great session in the water during a steady rain at those breaks and very few other folks around.
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Old Feb 28th, 2013, 10:05 AM
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Thank you RAC, Eliot and Vgirl, your information is so helpful and I am almost ready to book everything. After Arenal, we will stay in Osa and enjoy the surf there. Last questions on hotels. For Arenal, I am looking for something that the kids will enjoy but is more of a CR experience as opposed to an American-type resort. For Osa, I really planned on BDC as it is seems more our style than Lapas Rios but I have a friend who can't stop raving about Lapas Rios. Because both places have such wonderful reviews, I'm not sure why I would spend more money to go to LR--especially since we can use the $ for the activities/tours. Thoughts? Again, I can't thank you enough for the help you have given me here and through other posts. Such a big trip and would hate to end up somewhere disappointing.
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Old Feb 28th, 2013, 11:02 AM
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We stayed at BdC and loved it. If it costs more to stay somewhere else, I wouldn't pay it. You'll be happy at BdC. The wildlife and trails are amazing. If you want away from town in Arenal, go with the Lost Iguana or Arenal Observatory Lodge; closer to town go with Los Lagos or Silencio del Campo. The Lost Iguana is a little bit nicer than the other spots and gives a nice jungly experience. It's out by the lake and the Hanging Bridges. Check out tripadvisor reviews and see which hotel is more your style. Nayara and The Springs are probably more Americanized than what you're looking for.
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Old Feb 28th, 2013, 11:07 AM
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I meant to add that Los Lagos and Silencio del Campo have the benefit of having springs on site, so with kids, that's something to consider. The Lost Iguana and AOL will put you closer to nature, but will be further from town if you want to go to restaurants, etc. Most tours will charge you a little more to pick up there too. We've seen tons of birds, including toucans, at the Lost Iguana, also coatis, and a tayra which was a first for us; there are howlers nearby all the time, but they are harder to spot. Tons of butterflies and beautiful landscaping, nice outdoor restaurant with a volcano view, trails, gift shop, spa, and all that.
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Old Feb 28th, 2013, 11:25 AM
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I would choose BdC over LR. Then again I have been to BdC 12 times and LR 0 times, so I am biased. But I think especially w/kids you will appreciate the great trail system that BdC has and that you can roam at will, unlike LR.
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Old Feb 28th, 2013, 11:56 AM
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I don't know if there's a place like the AOL in the US--combination of views (volcano and lake), wildlife, hiking, and remoteness. It's not a resort, but it rather a true lodge setting.

Lapa Rios I'm sure earns its raves. Hard to go wrong, but BdC has a very good track record.
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