Costa Rica for 7 days in March

Discussion in 'Central/South America' started by thepointstraveler, Jan 25, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. thepointstraveler

    thepointstraveler Silver Member

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    Hey everyone. I am taking my wife on a 5 day (7 including travel days) trip to Costa Rica March 6th - March 12th. We are flying FSD-DFW-FLL airport change to MIA-SJO and then the return flight is better LIR-DFW-FSD. I see several Marriotts in San Jose, but outside that, I'm not sure. I figure we can stay in San Jose at Marriott properties the first 3 nights since we want to spend a few days seeing Manuel Antonio, Volcan Poas National Park, & La Paz Waterfall. I figure we can do all these while staying in San Jose. There isn't much else for chain hotels in the rest of the country and we would also like to spend a day white water rafting the Pacuare River (which we could probably stay in SJ for) but also we would like to spend time in Monteverde, and also see the Arenal Hanging Bridges which are too far to waste time driving. Plus, we have to fly back from LIR. Anyone have any ideas or suggested destinations?

    We have the following hotel points:

    SPG: 70,000 but I am using these in Maui
    Club Carlson: 170,000
    Marriott: 142,375

    If I have to pay for a hotel I will, but I will mention that my wife and I do not care about luxery as we do not spend much time in the hotel and we would rather save money but still feel safe..

    Thanks everyone!
     
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  2. marcwint55

    marcwint55 Gold Member

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    We stayed at a small place in Arenal called La Mansion. The service was great and the views were spectacular. The price was very reasonable, although it has been several years since we were there.
     
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  3. Espan

    Espan Silver Member

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    With 5 days, and getting from SJO to LIR, you're gonna have to be creative, and also sacrifice some of what you want to see.

    Manuel Antonio is 2.5 hours driving from San Jose. Arenal is around 3, but in another direction. Monteverde is about 3.5 from San Jose and about the same from Arenal, if you take the Jeep-Boat-Jeep transfer...

    La Paz/Waterfall Gardens is a good day trip out of SJO

    You can do a full day rafting trip on the Pacuare out of SJO and they will even drop you off in Arenal (where you'd have to pay for a hotel, plenty of options in a range of price and comfort categories). Spend 1-2 nights there, then head to the JW Marriott in Guanacaste. The JW's a great property, and about an hour 20 minutes or so from LIR.

    Feel free to PM me...
     
  4. thepointstraveler

    thepointstraveler Silver Member

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    Thank you both for the input! I figured I would end up having to sacrifice a little bit, but it is hard to choose what gets cut! I think we will probably cut Manuel Antonio out and do as suggested, 3 nights in SJO, 1 night in Arenal (possibly at La Mansion, it looks great), and then spend the last two nights at the JW Guanacaste. Any other tips for a trip to Costa Rica? Or any other sights between SJO and Arenal or Arenal and LIR?
     
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  5. Espan

    Espan Silver Member

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    I highly recommend one of the canyoning tours in Arenal (Desafio or Pure Trek). If you can afford the splurge for the entry into Tabacon Hot Springs, they are spectacular. If not, Eco Termales are the second best hot springs in the area.

    La Mansion is very, very nice, but it is a bit far from the volcano/hot springs and La Fortuna. If you do stay there, the restaurant Gingerbread is the best in that area.

    Out of the JW, be sure to have lunch one day at nearby Lola's on Playa Avellanas.
     
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  6. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    Guanacaste is so beautiful, I'd swap 3 days there for 2 in SJO, frankly.

    This is taken from the Hilton, but you get the point:

    [​IMG]
    60 by Deirdre Saoirse Moen, on Flickr
     
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  7. thepointstraveler

    thepointstraveler Silver Member

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    That sunset is amazing!!!
    How are the beaches in Guanacaste? I read several reviews on the JW and many people said the beach was terrible and rocky there?
     
  8. thepointstraveler

    thepointstraveler Silver Member

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    The canyoning tours look awesome! I don't think I can convince my wife to do it though :( I have been trying to sell her on a zipline tour for a month with no luck. But the Tabacon Hot Springs are right up her alley, thanks!
     
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  9. Jeff the Wanderer

    Jeff the Wanderer Silver Member

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    We spent an evening at Eco Termales when we were there last summer and it was fantastic. We were literally the only people there for almost the entire time we were there. Even when a few others were there, we had our own pool all to ourselves. I have never been to Tabacon (Eco Termales was significantly cheaper), but I would highly recommend Eco Termales if you are looking for a relaxing private time in the Hot Springs.

    I would also recommend cutting a day or two off of your time in San Jose. There is so much to see elsewhere in the country, it is a shame to spend too much time in and around the city.

    Desafio canyon/rapelling tour out of Arenal was amazing. My wife was definitely out or her comfort zone, but agreed to go because I wanted to and was so excited about it. By about 5 minutes in, she was loving it and can't wait to try something like that again. In fact, we are headed back to Costa Rica at the end of March this year with the kids and as soon as the trip was booked, she was looking for a zipline tour that we would be able to do with the kids. Desafio was super professional and made the experience great for both of us.

    It will add a bit on to the cost of the trip, and you can't use miles for the flights, but I would also recommend using Nature Air to cut some internal travel time out of your plan. Flights take about 25 minutes instead of 3 1/2 hours of driving over roads that are sketchy at best in some parts. They cruise nice and low so you pretty much get a sight seeing flight in addition to getting to your destination way quicker.

    Hope this helps a bit. I would be happy to answer any questions you have.
     
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  10. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    I am not a beach person, weirdly.
     
  11. secretsea18
    Original Member

    secretsea18 Gold Member

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    Also expect that the driving times will be longer than the times posted above and you will want to stop and look at things on the way. Also you might get stuck behind trucks. :)
     

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