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Costa Rica itinerary - 10 days help

Costa Rica itinerary - 10 days help

Old Mar 17, 17, 8:10 pm
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Costa Rica itinerary - 10 days help

I am planning to fly L.A. to San Jose on Dec 17 (reaching on dec 18 early morning) and flying back from Liberia on Dec 28. So i would have 10 full days in CR.

We love volcanos, forests and not really a beach person but would love to check out at least one beach area. I am assuming beach area would be in eastern side so we can fly out of Liberia at end of the trip. However I am not able to plan the right no of days. If I stay in Arenal area can I visit Manuel Antonia park which seems far in the south?

Any help would be appreciated. We will NOT be renting a car buy relying on shuttle/ tour guides etc.

note we are reaching SJO at around 5 am on Dec 18 and flying out of LIR around 1.15 PM.

Thanks in advance.
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Old Mar 18, 17, 11:32 am
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Originally Posted by MNSWEEps View Post
If I stay in Arenal area can I visit Manuel Antonia park which seems far in the south?

Any help would be appreciated. We will NOT be renting a car buy relying on shuttle/ tour guides etc.
Arenal to Manuel Antonio is a long drive (check it on Google Maps), and probably longer if you rely on buses for transportation. It is not something you'd want to do as a day trip from Arenal if that is what you are asking.

CR has a couple domestic airlines that provide service between the various places you mention. That could be another option for getting around. Depends on how many in your party, luggage, etc. if it is worth it to you.
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Old Mar 19, 17, 9:37 am
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Actually I ended up booking for Dec 15 , reaching SJO early morning on Dec 16 at 5 am. Flying back from LIR on Dec 28. I will post my tentative itinerary later today for any expert opinions.
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Old Mar 19, 17, 11:49 am
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Dec 15 – LAX – PHX – SJO
Dec 16 – reach San Jose around 5 am – Private 4 hour shuttle to Manuel Antonia National Park area and check in today
Dec 17, 18 - 2 full days in Manuel Antonio NP. Dec 19 – Checkout and private shuttle to Arenal Volcano. Check in to hotel
Dec 20, 21 - 2 full days in Arenal Volcano / hot Springs area.
Dec 22 – Checkout and private shuttle to Monteverde
Dec 23 – 1 full day in Monteverde
Dec 24 – Checkout and private shuttle to Guanacaste area.
Dec 25 - 1 full day in Guanacaste area (which area?)
Dec 26 – 1 full day Nicaragua trip.
Dec 27 - 1 full day in Guanacaste area (which area?)
Dec 28 – Checkout and private shuttle to Liberia airport. LIR – MIA – LAX (reach L.A around 11 pm)

1) 18th is Monday park holiday so please suggest something to do in MA area.
2) The only reason we are in Guanacaste area is we want to do day trip to Nicaragua. We are not beach people so are we spending too much time in Guanacaste area?
3) Should we instead get hotel in Playa Hermosa area for easy access to Santa Rosa MP( is it worth it?) ?
4) I also see Volcano Miravalles in north west side of CR. Anything interesting?
5) Open to suggestion so if you have something please let me know.
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Old Mar 19, 17, 3:26 pm
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That itinerary looks exhausting. The thing most people don't realize about Costa Rica is how rudimentary the highway system is and how much time it takes to get from place to place.

When you say "private shuttle," do you mean you will arrange your own private transportation? Or are you talking about the shared shuttle services like Grayline and Interbus?

Rincón de la Vieja is the volcano to see in NW Costa Rica and has a much better tourism infrastructure than Miravalles. It's about a half-hour outside the city of Liberia.

The Nicaraguan border crossing at Peñas Blancas is slow and chaotic any day of the year, but will be especially so at the end of a long Christmas weekend. I wouldn't attempt it unless I had more time to devote to Nicaragua.

Getting to and from Monteverde is a rugged trip. I wouldn't undertake it unless I had more than a day to devote to the place.
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Old Mar 19, 17, 4:40 pm
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Thanks SJOGuy.

By private shuttle I meant http://www.costaricashuttle.com/.

So if I stay 2 nights in Monte Verde what can you suggest on North West side for few more days left? I wish we can do the Nicaragua trip since we are almost there and don't want to miss it.

I am a little confused on where to stay after the MonteVerde stay.
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Old Mar 19, 17, 6:56 pm
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Your realistic choices for Nicaragua would be San Juan del Sur, a beach town just over the border, or Granada, a wonderful colonial city about 90 minutes from the border. If you were staying at Playa Hermosa, a good choice not too far from the airport for your flight out, that's a good 1:45 to the border. And who knows what the wait will be at the border Christmas weekend? My concern is that you'd have so little time in Granada itself. I also see that Costa Rica Shuttle charges $300 one way to make that trip. Yikes. The whole thing doesn't seem worth it for one day to me.

I think Nicaragua deserves its own trip. I'd plan that for another time.

Santa Rosa National Park doesn't have that much infrastructure. Rincón de la Vieja NP does. There are lots of things to do in the park. There are also a couple of lodges within the park, and you wouldn't be far from the airport the day you fly home.

Last edited by SJOGuy; Mar 19, 17 at 7:02 pm
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Old Mar 19, 17, 7:10 pm
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10-15 years ago, I took Ticabus from San Jose to Managua. Not a horrible trip, but long and exhausting. Even if you're just going over the border, I wouldn't do less than 2 days.

Your trip looks way too ambitious. I'd actually stay in San Jose for a day or two. They have a parade in December, and it can be interesting around the Christmas season, although use common sense tactics for valuables.

I'd do Manuel Antonio, Arenal, and somewhere in Guanacaste. December can be high season, so I'd try to book early, and look for a value proposition.
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Old Mar 19, 17, 8:43 pm
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Thanks for good info guys.

For Nicaragua day trip I am not planning to take Costa Rica shuttle. Others like https://www.anywhere.com/costa-rica/...a-one-day-tour charge around $165 - $180 for the round trip. Anyway, I still haven't decided but I will keep your opinions in mind.

I also found LA POSADA right outside MA park with good reviews. Yes it not luxury but thats not what look for. Since we won't have rental car, walking to park or beach seems nice from this hotel. Any experience or opinion for my dec 16 - 19 stay ?

http://laposadajungle.com/
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Old Mar 20, 17, 11:12 am
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Busy Itinerary

This is indeed a busy itinerary for Costa Rica. Travel times on the ground here are unpredictable, although it's usually not as bad along the major tourist routes. One way to say the better part of a day is air transportation between Arenal and Manuel Antonio. It's a 25-minute flight versus a 5 or 6 hour drive. You'd have to visit Arenal before Manuel Antonio as the flight only operates one way.

I live in Costa Rica and do a lot of traveling by air. There are 2 domestic airlines here (Nature Air and Sansa) and both are very good. Nature Air uses twin turboprops and Sansa uses Caravans. Domestic air travel here is a breeze. Other than at SJO (and sometimes LIR) it's basically a show up and hop on the airplane affair. Air travel saves gobs of time here as the roads are such a slow way to travel here.

Going to Nicaragua and then coming back into Costa Rica can be a pain due to long lines at the border. You might consider finishing your trip in Nicaragua and departing from Managua. If not, this is another good opportunity to use air travel. Nature Air operates flights from LIR to and from MGA and Sansa flies to Emerald Coast.
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Old Mar 22, 17, 6:54 am
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Tamarindo

Hello Mns. When I was in Costa Rica, I spent 5 days at the Ocho Artisan Bungalows in Tamarindo, and enjoyed 5 wonderful days with my wife thanks to the kindness of all costa ricans.
Have a nice trip!
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Old Apr 23, 17, 11:36 pm
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Last edited by beachfan; May 3, 17 at 10:08 am
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