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amy Jul 30th, 2002 03:44 PM

Your thoughts on this Costa Rica Itinerary?
My husband planned this for next March, does anyone have any thoughts or suggestions? <BR>Day 1– Arrive San Jose, Rental Car 4 wheel drive, stay at Vista Del Valle Plantation<BR>Day 2- Drive to Volcan Arenal, Stay Montana de Fuego Inn or Tabacon Resort, explore the volcano trails, horseback ride to waterfall <BR>Day 3- Drive to Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve, lunch at Tilaran, Stay at Fonda Vela or Hotel El Sapo Dorado, explore park<BR>Day 4 –Canopy Tour in the morning, afternoon horseback ride<BR>Day 5 – Drive to Pacific Coast, Tamarindo stay at Hotel Capitan Suizo or Sueno del Mar, or Playa Pan de Azucar, Hotel Sugar Beach <BR>Day 6-7 snorkel, horseback ride on beach, kayak Spend night in beach town<BR>Day 8 – drive southern route across ferry at Puerto Moreno and head back to San Jose-Stay at Vista Del Valle Plantation<BR>Day 9 – Fly home<BR><BR>Anything missing? Too much for one week?<BR>Thanks again - Amy<BR>

Kay Jul 30th, 2002 04:26 PM

Just returned...sounds good to me. Loved Tabacon...having the hot springs area every morn and nite was great. On the way to the Pacific, we stayed at Flamingo Bch, we spent the day at Buena Vista Lodge. They offer the Canopy Tour, Waterslide, Lunch, Mud bath and hot & cold pools.

Terri Jul 30th, 2002 05:24 PM

Amy: In my opinion, your itinerary is a little too busy for 9 days. I just returned from a 3-week stay and we did similar itinerary over an 18-day period. Just a couple of suggestions:<BR>1. We stayed at Vista del Valle for 3 nights. I think 2 nights is sufficient, but one just doesn't do it justice. VdV is a great place from which to do day trips to places such as Grecia, Sarchi, Poas and La Paz Waterfall Gardens, just for starters.<BR>2. Driving to Arenal on one day and leaving the next does not give you adequate time to do any of the activities you have listed. We spent 2 nights near Arenal and that was just perfect.<BR>3. Your 2 nights in Monteverde are fine. I think a canopy and horseback ride in one day might be a bit much. By the way, we really loved our room at Fonda Vela. The restaurant, while beautiful, was merely so-so. Try Johnny's near El Sapo and Morphos Cafe in Santa Elena instead. The other option is to skip Monteverde (I loved it, but it's not everyone's cup of tea), and allow yourself more time at some of your other destination.<BR>4. We elected to go to Manuel Antonio instead of Tamarindo, so I can't comment on your plans there. Seems like you have allowed plenty of time though.<BR>5. You might want to consider ending your stay at Xandari rather than Vista del Valle. This is what we did and as much as we loved VdV (and can't wait to return), we agreed that Xandari was the perfect spot to end our trip.<BR>Have fun! You will love Costa Rica.

bly Jul 31st, 2002 09:51 AM

Amy - I agree with Terri and think that your itinerary is a little too busy. It takes several hours to drive to each location, so a lot of your time is going to be spent in the car. We stayed 2 nights around Arenal and didn't get to do everything that we wanted to do. For a brief stay, I think Tabacon would be a good choice. Fairly central, can see lava flow, food was just ok. We stayed at Fonda Vela and had a great time despite the fact it rained non stop for the 2 nights we were there. The Sky Trek with the zip lines was a highlight of our trip. It then took us almost half a day to get to Tamarindo. We stayed at a house run by Sueno del Mar. Great breakfasts, beautiful location. The rooms at Sueno are rustic but look fun to stay in. very friendly owners.

amy Jul 31st, 2002 04:34 PM

Terri - What did you think of Manuel Antonio? We were debating between that and Tamarindo - and I have read mixed reviews of Monteverde, what did you like best about it? I have yet to get access to the guide book that we bought, but he's anxious to book soon, so I greatly appreciate you help with this! Thanks!

Terri Jul 31st, 2002 07:09 PM

Amy: I absolutely loved Manuel Antonio. The beaches in the park are very beautiful and we saw more wildlife there than in any other part of the country, including squirrel monkeys and toucans in the trees right off the balcony of our hotel. Because I've never been to Tamarindo, I can't compare the two, but I do know that Tamarindo is hotter and dryer than Manuel Antonio. I also know that you can stay on or near the beach in Tamarindo, while most places in Manuel Antonio are on the "hill," and require a short drive to the National Park and beaches. <BR><BR>We stayed at Villas Nicolas, which are condos next door to Si Como No. If you are considering a stay in this area, I would highly recommend them. They have the advantage of being within walking distance of several good restaurants. They also arranged a fabulous horseback ride with a gourmet lunch for us, which turned out to be one of the highlights of our trip. I've also heard really good things about the Tulemar Bungalows. <BR><BR>Although we did not see a tremendous amount of wildlife or birds in Monteverde, I loved it because it reminded me so much of the redwood forests near which I love (minus the redwoods, of course). We did not have a rental car and had to take a jeep/boat/jeep transport to Monteverde from Fortuna. It was quite an adventure and was one of our funnest travel days. I'm not sure I would have been so enamored with Monteverde if I had had to drive the road around Lake Arenal and through Tilaran - I've heard it can be a nightmare. Although we did not do the canopy tour (we did Sky Walk instead), the Sky Trek canopy tour in Monteverde looked like a blast.<BR><BR>It really kind of depends on what you're looking for in Monteverde. I went because I wanted to experience a cloud forest and practice my Spanish, and I was not disappointed. We were too late to see Quetzals (they go elsewhere in April), but you would probably see them in March. I was also glad for the cooler temperatures for a couple of days. <BR><BR>Another alternative to Monteverde you might consider is the Los Angeles Cloud Forest, which doesn't require nearly as much travel time as Monteverde. We did not have an opportunity to go there, but I've heard it's very similar to Monteverde in temperature, climate, flora, etc.<BR><BR>I hope that helps. I don't think you can really go wrong no matter where you go in Costa Rica.<BR>

Rob K Aug 9th, 2002 01:37 PM

Amy-I think you have too much driving in your trip. CR is an amazing place, but the roads are poor. Pura Vida!

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