Itinerary Suggestions, Monteverde vs Arenal
Replies: 5 - Last Post: Oct 31, 2012 2:12 PM Last Post By: Rosie1986
Oct 30, 2012 11:22 PM
Itinerary Suggestions, Monteverde vs ArenalHi all,
I know that this post is a repeat of posts past but I would love any info you could offer.
My boyfriend and I are going to be in Costa Rica from Dec. 20-27. We're more interested in nature and hiking as my boyfriend is a wee bit terrified of open water. Here's my question if we are planning on spending a few days in the Arenal area should we also head to Monteverde or try something else like Manuel Antonio.
I'm a little bit at a loss when it comes to the exact itinerary. I have a tendency to overpack my itinerary when I travel and don't really want to during this trip. I want to be able to enjoy CR and relax a bit. I feel like maybe I could squeeze in both Monteverde and Manuel Antonio but don't know if I'm pushing it.
Dec 20: arrive in SJO at 1 pm and drive to Arenal
Dec 22: Arenal
Dec: 23: drive to Monteverde/Manuel Antonio??
Dec. 27: fly out of SJO at 4 pm
Oct 31, 2012 3:20 AM
1Personally I'd go to Monteverde and leave out MA.
I prefer to see 2 places well rather than try to rush it...and to spend as little of my vacation 'in transit' as possible.Particularly on such a short vacation,and on the kind of roads you will be driving (scenic but tiring ;-)
Monteverde doesn't have a great rep. on here......its out of the way,the weather is often bad...but if you are really into nature(esp. plants and trees) the 2 national parks there are great.There are loads of possible walks on private land as well,if you want to see more animals...as well as 'adrenalin' stuff like zip lining (personally I don't like that stuff so I didn't do it,but lots of people in Monteverde do).
There are some good places to stay and eat as well.
Oct 31, 2012 5:39 AM
2i agree with lucapal - arenal and monteverde would be the best thing to do.
the drive from arenal to monteverde is rugged for part of the way and is time-consuming. but, you can just make a day of it and enjoy it. when i am traveling that kind of area, i just go really slow in some places and often stop and look for birds or monkeys or sloths, especially in wooded areas. it does take some time, but is a beautiful drive.
i do not recommend monteverde for the "casual" tourist who is going there just because it is "famous." but for people who are looking for nature and some hiking, it is a great place. (a number of biologists live or work part of the year there.) plan on being in the forest as early as possible - just at daylight is the best time. this will allow you to see the most birds (and the fewest people). i know that some tours start at 7:30 or so and they call that "early," but if you are birders, you know that is not really early. sunrise is around 5:30 all year round.
arenal is also great. not only are there the volcano-related activities such as hiking the old lava beds and hot springs, but you can take some great day trips to the rio celeste in the tenorio national park or cano negro. having a car will make this much easier and more affordable. (you don't need a guide)
Oct 31, 2012 7:32 AM
3I agree with the above sentiments. The drive to Arenal is also lovely with some cool towns to stop and poke around or enjoy thing like Botanical Gardens in Sarchi, and the swiss village on the lake in Neuvo Arenal on the very nice slow go scenic road around the lake to Monteverde. The other option would be Tenerio/Celeste Waterfalls too..far less touristy if you are not into skywalks and extreme ziplines....
Here is my trip report for a few years ago, has some great lodging options too...
Trip Report SJ>Arenal>Tenerio etc
Oct 31, 2012 8:17 AM
4by the way, if you are interested in solohobo's suggestion of the "tenerio" area and want to google it for more information, you should google "tenorio" which is the correct spelling. (he never gets it right.)
a lot has happened in that area since he visited so if you are interested, there are more lodging options, more things to do and a new road into the park. however, if you are going to be in the arenal area for a few days, it's just as easy to do a day trip to the tenorio national park for the hike to the rio celeste. there are several tour options available, including this one: http://www.ruralcostarica.com - but you could just go on your own. sometimes there are guides at the entrance to the national park that you could hire.
Oct 31, 2012 2:12 PM
5If you are planning to stay in Arenal I coul recomended looking for Erick Guzmán, He is a great guide and know a lot and could give you recommendations about what activities you can do in that area. Also is important that in Arenal area sell the tour at Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge but they never visit the real Caño Negro so be careful because it is located 26 km from Los Chiles. Caño Negro is a wetland and it has 350 species of birds, mammals and reptiles, the principal tour is by boat on the river. If you like to visit Caño Negro you can visit www.birdsparadisecr.com
Also from Arenal area you could visit Tenorio National Park and visit the Ligth Blue River (Río Celeste) is a beautiful place and in the same day visit Maleku indigenous, they are in Guatuso Area. This places are located 1 hour and 45 minutes from Fortuna by car.
Islita AreaBook now
(3 star Hotel)
From US$303.00 per night
(2 star Hotel)
From US$50.00 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$68.76 per night