Central America - Costa Rica in December
Oct 24, 11, 3:13 pm
Planning a first time trip to CR, flying in and out of LIR, 10 days. Thinking of going to Monteverde, Arenal, and then a beach destination, but cannot decide between Guanacaste, Manuel Antonio or Jaco. Since we are flying back out of LIR, I was thinking of Guanacaste for easier/less stressful trip to the airport, but wonder if that would mean a not so great beach experience. My travel agent suggested Tamarindo, but seeing so many reviews refer to it as a "cesspool", I am a little cautious. I was thinking of two nights in Monteverde, three in Arenal (going whitewater rafting one of the days), and the remaining four nights on the beach.
Oct 24, 11, 5:05 pm
welll....if those reviewers call tamarindo a "cesspool" I can only imagine what they would say about Jaco
There are PLENTY of options in Guanacaste anyways, one right after the other, Flamingo , Conchal, Brasilito etc etc all nearby
Samara and Nosara are nice small beach towns as well
Oct 25, 11, 6:51 am
Manuel Antonio Park, just past Quepos is a pretty magical place where exotic wildlife meets beautiful beaches. Don't skip it. Jaco is a dump, but there are nice beaches between Jaco and Quepos, as well as the beautiful beaches in Manuel Antonio itself.
Nov 9, 11, 7:50 pm
Sitting on the beach in Samara now and can recommend it. Plenty of good beaches on the Pacific side, so I would not worry about a bad beach experience if you do a bit of research.
If it helps, we did 3 nights in Arenal, 3 nights in Rincon de la Vieja, 3 nights in Samara and will spend 3 nights in Monteverde. So far we have been fine with the time spent in each place. More beach time is always nice, but I would not skimp elsewhere.
Dec 15, 11, 3:32 pm
Just came back from the trip - we did two nights in Monteverde, three in Arenal, and four in Tamarindo (at the Tamarindo Diria). Tamarindo is definitely touristy, and the people who constantly try to sell you cigars or those hellishly annoying whistles on the beach definitely didnt improve our experience. I am not sure that I would come back to Tamarindo, though our hotel was very nice. But the beach is very pretty, and it was nice to spend the last few days of our vacation just relaxing by the pool, on the beach, and having dinner at the nearby restaurants. Being somewhere less tourist-oriented would have been more pleasant, but then we wouldn't have the luxury of not having a car to get around, so I guess that's the trade-off.