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Decided to DIY my August Trip - Itinerary Advice Please

San Diego, CA
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35 posts
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Decided to DIY my August Trip - Itinerary Advice Please

I am planning an 8 night trip to CR this August with my wife and 4 "adult" children.

I had been working with a travel agent, but have ultimately decided to DIY booking the trip. She was great and all, but I felt like I wasn't getting exposed to some of the accommodations that interested me and my kids. It also seemed like I could save several hundred dollars doing it on my own. But I need some advice.

The itinerary she eventually suggested was:

Arrival in SJO 8:42PM (20:42) transfer directly to...

2 nights - hotel/lodge in Bajo del Toros

3 nights - hotel in Arenal

3 nights - Manuel Antonio (at a "villa" my daughter found on TA)

Departure from SJO 1:30 PM (13:30)

I'm wondering if that's the correct "balance" for 8 nights. (and in a separate thread I've asked about whether it would be preferable to stay in a hotel near SJO and get started the next morning or get on our way and slog out the late arrival).

I'm wondering if we should "steal" a day from the rain forest/volcano part of the trip and add it to the coastal/beach part.

I'm also wondering if there's any reason/need to split the rain forest/volcano part between two venues or should we combine them and avoid the need to transfer after just a couple of nights.

What time would we need to leave Manuel Antonio in order to make a 1:30 PM (13:30) flight back to the US? Should we stay closer the night before or flights?

Any thoughts/advice would be more than appreciated.

Thanks,

Farmguy78

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Arenal Lodge
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5 replies to this topic
San Jose, Costa Rica
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1. Re: Decided to DIY my August Trip - Itinerary Advice Please

Good idea DIY...and you will save tons of money...foregt about middle people...

roadadvisor

Tampa, Florida
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2,594 posts
51 reviews
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2. Re: Decided to DIY my August Trip - Itinerary Advice Please

Manual Antonio is very different from the Arenal area. If you skip one, you're not combining an experience. I did not realize that you have only eight nights. With private drivers you can maximize the time and you can leave MA early in the morning to get back to the airport on your last day.

Still, you may feel rushed visiting all three places. If you can find lodging that you love, I'd recommend sticking to just two areas. There's the most to do round Arenal and Manual Antonio, out of the three locations you're planning on.

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Arenal Lodge
Arenal Lodge
899 Reviews
La Fortuna de San Carlos, Costa Rica
San Diego, CA
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35 posts
21 reviews
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3. Re: Decided to DIY my August Trip - Itinerary Advice Please

Thanks for the reply. I wasn't suggesting that we would skip Arenal. Instead I was wondering if a single stop in Arenal for 4 nights and a single stop in Manuel Antonio for 4 nights would be a good balance instead of 2 nights at one property in Bajo del Toros (El Silencio Lodge) and another 3 nights in Arenal at the Naraya Hotel. Will we get different experiences between Arenal and Bajo del Toros or will they be similar?

Edited: 10 May 2018, 08:51
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Arenal Lodge
Arenal Lodge
899 Reviews
La Fortuna de San Carlos, Costa Rica
Manuel Antonio
Manuel Antonio
Province of Puntarenas, Costa Rica
El Silencio Lodge & Spa
El Silencio Lodge & Spa
755 Reviews
Bajos del Toro, Costa Rica
Ontario, Canada
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8,026 posts
66 reviews
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4. Re: Decided to DIY my August Trip - Itinerary Advice Please

I would do 2 areas in the short time that you have.

For the last night, I would stay by SJO, as you need to be at the airport, according to airlines' advice for international flights, 3 hrs before your flight, I.e., in your case, 10:30 am. I prefer a good sleep and a nice breakfast, without worrying about the weather, traffic, etc., when I know I am close to the airport afterwards. But it is doable from MA, with an early start, too, so it is up to you.

I would not want to spend more than 3 nights in MA area. (We were there in Aug., too.)

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Juan Santamaria Intl Airport
Juan Santamaria Intl...
San Jose, Costa Rica
Tampa, Florida
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2,594 posts
51 reviews
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5. Re: Decided to DIY my August Trip - Itinerary Advice Please

There's much more to see and do near Arenal. You could easily spend four days there and not be bored and the views are spectacular if the skies clear. If you're looking for somewhere with fewer tourists and less development, that would describe Bajo del Toros. I can't see spending more than a few days there, though.

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Arenal Lodge
Arenal Lodge
899 Reviews
La Fortuna de San Carlos, Costa Rica
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