Jan 2013, Itinerary advice?
Replies: 5 - Last Post: Nov 20, 2012 12:03 PM Last Post By: SoloHobo
Nov 9, 2012 5:41 AM
Jan 2013, Itinerary advice?Hello!
I would like to get some advice/input about our Itinerary on Costa Rica (Jan 1 to Jan 20).
We arrive to San José on Jan 1, and leave from Liberia on Jan 20.
We are two adults, and a 12 years-old girl who loves nature.
Jan 1 and 2:
The idea is to stay in Alajuela the first two nights (we arrive about 8am, so we'll have basically all Jan 1 available).
The idea here is to know Alajuela & San José (day 1), and on Jan 2 be all day on Nacional Volcán Poás and La Paz Waterfall Gardens.
For Jan 2, instead of renting a car, I would prefer to hire a Taxi for the day. Any idea about how to arrange this, and how much could it cost?
Jan 3 and Jan 4:
Move to La Fortuna and stay here for at least two nights.
Should they be more nights here? It is ok to choose La Fortuna, or it would be better another place nearby?
In these two days, we would be visiting Volcán Arenal / La Fortuna / Cerro Chato / La Catarata de la Fortuna.
Jan 5 (or later, if staying more on La Fortuna):
Move to Monteverde, and stay for at least two nights. Or should they be more?
Jan 7 (or later..):
now it gets more complicated. Where to go? Worth going to Quepos / Manuel Antonio? Or skip it? (too crowded?)
We would like to visit many National Parks and forests, but if they are too far, or too much 'touristic/crowded', it would be better to skip them or go there anyway?
and/or Punta Arenas / Montezuma / Malpais
and from there Samara / Nosara ...
The idea would be finishing on (not Tamarindo for sure) maybe Playa Grande (try to see the nesting turtles here), Parque Nacional Palo Verde, .... Or it would be better Playa Hermosa? would be closed to Liberia airport. I think it is 0:30 hrs. vs 1:30 hrs. on a private shuttle.
It would take too much time go to Tortuguero (It's January) and/or Cahuita zone? (my daughter would love to visit the 'Aviarios del Caribe Sloth Sanctuary', but I don't see a way to make it, on the days we have, and without too many travel (road) hours.
Too many places to choose from... We have 19 nights, but they do not seems to be enough!
I think more than four locations would be too much. The question would be, which four locations, and on which order, maximizing wild life spotting, and having some beach time (not surfing).
Many thanks for any advice you could have!
Nov 9, 2012 6:00 AM
From 7th Jan most Ticos will be back at work so the real pressure on places like MA will decrease somewhat (although still be busy)- the reason its probably worthwhile is that there is a very good chance of seeing sloths in the wild. (I've stopped and picked a large adult out of the road in MA, but most are in the park). Playa Grande is also a good alternative as you can still take a boat taxi across to Tamarindo for a different vibe. Personally I would stay on the Pacific coast so as not to feel too rushed around. You can always do the east coast next time! Enjoy...
Nov 9, 2012 7:15 AM
2for your "all day taxi," i would contact your lodging in alajuela ahead of time and tell them what you are looking for. they will make appropriate arrangements for you. be sure to specify if you need an english-speaking driver and be sure to specify that the driver needs to be licensed and insured to carry passengers (and not just someone's cousin who has a car.) for all day, i would expect to pay something around $100. and buy him lunch...
i would extend your time in la fortuna by one night. do all the "local" stuff -- the volcano, waterfalls, maybe horseback, hot springs, etc. then take a day trip to either cano negro or the tenorio national park for the hike to the rio celeste. you could also visit an indigenous village at guatuso. http://www.ruralcostarica.com
if you are going to be in or near tamarindo, you can take the boat trip down the tempisque river through palo verde national park. http://www.paloverdeboattour.com lots of wildlife and a beautiful trip.
for me, tamarindo is very over-developed (65 restaurants) and not my favorite place to stay. but it depends on what you are looking for. there are some great places nearby. playa hermosa and playas del coco are the closest beaches to the airport and from either of these, you can visit any of four national parks.
i would try to be sure to include santa rosa national park. la casona, an old farmstead, features prominently in costa rican history and has several great trails in the area with one longish one leading to a deserted beach. http://www.acguanacaste.ac.cr/1997/ecodesarrollo/ecoturismo/santa_rosa_turing.html
i am not really a fan of manuel antonio. while most costa ricans will be done with their christmas vacation, it will still be crowded with tourists. it is the most visited national park in the country. it is easy to see wildlife in many other locations so i would think twice about whether it makes sense to make the trip there.
one possibility for seeing wildlife is at las pumas wildlife rehabilitation center in canas. you could stop by there on your way from arenal to the northern pacific coast. at las pumas, you can see animals that you would not ordinarily see in the wild - such as the big cats.
i understand that seeing caged animals is not the same as seeing them in the wild, but i would not make a special trip to manuel antonio just to see monkeys and sloths which can be found in most of costa rica. (you can see both of these on the palo verde trip and probably on the cano negro or tenorio national park trip)
Nov 12, 2012 2:29 PM
Nov 20, 2012 8:52 AM
4Hey, let me throw a few monkey wrenches at ya, that you might like. Rather than visiting a waterfall, why don't you repell down the face of it? They do that in la Fortuna.
You have the right idea to do adventure stuff first, then head to the beach communities last. Beach lodging usually will pamper you more, which might be necessary after frolicking around in the jungle for 4-5 days. The questions you have to ask yourself is whether this trip should be about the adventure, is cost a factor, what cost do you wanna hit, and so on? The Caribbean side is more like going to Jamaica. Is a little more turn of the century, Gillian's island feel. You may even struggle to find hot water, but its defintite a Swiss Family Robinson way of life. Limon and puerto viejo are the bigger destinations on the east side of Costa Rica. You can find places like this down there, www.fincachica.com.
If you are in La Fortuna, there's a place about 25 mins from the city called The Tree Houses Hotel, www.treehouseshotelcostarica.com. This place can't get anymore jungle. There's also a place called The Treetop House in Monteverde, but I don't remember their website. Be aware that while you are in la fortuna, the volcano goes off fairly often and if you see lava running down it that doesn't mean you have to run for your life! I'd watch what the hotel staff for their reactions. LOL
Manuel Antonio is awesome but can get pricey...
Quepos I've heard is a blast but I've never been there myself....
The four places we are going next at the same time you are going is San Jose, Limon/ Puerto Viejo, La Fortuna, and Monteverde
Nov 20, 2012 12:03 PM
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