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costa rica itinerary

des moines, IA
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costa rica itinerary

I had posted here a while back while in the very early stages of planning our first time Costa Rica vacation. I got some good recommendations at the time and have done more research since then. Three couples in our 50's are planning to go in March of 2011. We will have 9 or 10 days and plan to stay at 3-4 locations. It is our desire to visit rainforest, beach, coffee plantation etc. As of right now I have San Jose picked as the airport.We were told Doka is a good coffee farm, so we would possibly stay at an overnight stop there on night one. (It does not seem to be too far of a drive from the airport). Suggestions on a place to stay near there?We will probably get a van, if available, for 6 people. After Doka, we would head to the Monteverde Cloud forest region. We read about the Hidden Canopy Boutique Hotel and are checking on availability. Any other option suggestions?

After 3 nights there, we might head down to Manuel Antonio for a condo on the waterfront. We would like a 3BR for this stay. Is this a good location? I heard Jaco was more for younger more adventurous crowd. Any suggestions for an affordable 4-5 night stay there? Finally, we will head back to San Jose for an overnight before flying home. Hotel suggestions here? None of the above is set yet and we are open for any advice. It seems to be at least a 3 hour trip between all 3 locations. Is the drive do-able and safe for the inexperienced? Thank-you in advance for any help from anyone.

San Jose, Costa Rica
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1. Re: costa rica itinerary

Hola barista53.

Nice to know that you will be around here on March 2011...

1- Arrive in San Jose...depending on the time of the day...some options...but since you like to see Doka or another coffee plantation maybe nice to stay around...good fun place...Xandary Plantation...or Finca Rosa Blanca...amybe get the car next day...try to deal with the big guys...Avis...Hertz...National...Toyota...Budget...Dollar...in case of a dispute better chances to have some kind of answer...

2- Doka coffee plantation tour is nice and simple very good sample of our old coffe farms...about 2 hour tour...

Drive to Monteverde Cloud Forest about 3 hours...easy drive on Pan Am Hwy...#1....North!

3- Monteverde some great tours available at Selvatura..zip lines...canopy...of course the always nice hike inside of the Natural Reserve

Monteverde...some other options in Monteverde...Poco a Poco...Sapo Dorado...El Establo...Fonda Vella...Belmar...

4- Monteverde...

5- Manuel Antonio National Park...about 4 hours and 30 minutes drive even less...nice places around there...Los Altos incredible nice new condo complex...also...Buena Vista Villas and Casas...Tulemar bungalows...and of course a lot of villas and houses for rent...

6- MA

7- MA

8- MA.

9- Back to San Jose about 2 hours and 45 minutes ride...great road all the way!

Not problem at all to drive it to any good driver...just common sense and please observe speed limits and driving distances...over the limit tickest are very popular among locals and visitors and are around $700.oo USD!

You can deal directly with hotels and tour companies...and if you find somebody to help you can ask where they are located...good to know where your money is going!

roadadvisor from Costa Rica and IN Costa Rica

Let me know if you have any more questions!

Edited: 08 September 2010, 11:08
Antigua, Guatemala
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2. Re: costa rica itinerary

For a great coffee plantation experience I agree that Finca Rosa Blanca is super! From there Monteverde is about 4 hours and I love Hidden Canopy, and if it's booked, I would recommend El Establo. I also would recommend going to Arenal.

Arenal is the active volcano area with rain forest, best adventure tours and hot springs. Here my favorite hotel is Nayara!

Manuel Antonio is the perfect spot for you guys for the beach. I would check out Panorama houses in Tulemar, they are 3 bedrooms or Buena Vista Luxury Villas, they too offer gorgeous 3 bedroom options.

Hope this helps,

Marina K. Villatoro

Atlanta, Georgia
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3. Re: costa rica itinerary

From the San Jose-Alajuela area Monteverde is 4 hours and dont start out late in the day. The dirt gravel road you turn onto for Highway 1 is not an easy drive up to Monteverde. It is rocky and curvy so dont want to drive it at night.

Hampton Inn right next door to the San Jose International airport is a good choice, very well located to the car rental and getting on Highway 1 to Monteverde. I invite you to read my Costa Rica travel blog on the web costaricalearn.com All categorized to find your topic of interest easily. Esp read what I wrote about my experience renting a vehicle in Costa Rica, esp the insurance. have fun, regards, costaricalearn

des moines, IA
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4. Re: costa rica itinerary

Thank-you to all of you who have replied so far, I am getting very excited to pin down our itinerary. All of this information will be so helpful in doing that.

San Jose, Costa Rica
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5. Re: costa rica itinerary

Hi Barista!

I went on the Doka Estate tour with my sister last April and it was pretty cool. The actual property grounds are gorgeous and the restaurant and butterfly garden are an added bonus! It sits at the top of a mountain and we got VERY lost getting there - the directions from their web site aren't totally accurate and only get you about half way there (and we didnt have a gps)... they offer a tour that includes transportation - take it!! Otherwise, its like a scavenger hunt trying ot get there! Once there tho, everything was smooth sailing and the tour guides were great! Not sure if there's really a reason to stick around for the night tho... unless you're just looking to relax. There are some nice places to stay that are surrounded by mountains and offer spectaular views of Central Valley lit up at night.

Manuel Antonio is great... nice and clean, everyone is super friendly and always willing to help you out. Practically everyone speaks English so you won't have to worry about getting by! Manuel Antonio National Park offers great hiking that's not too exhausting and there are some truly gorgeous and secluded beaches hidden in the national park if you're willing to go off the beaten track a bit!

I've stayed at these condos in Manuel Antonio before... the staff is friendly and the accomodations are very comfortable without goining over the top:

villascostarica.com/manuel-antonio-condo-ren…

Have a great Costa Rica adventure!

des moines, IA
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6. Re: costa rica itinerary

Thanks again for all your help...Here is a second itinerary, so any suggestions or comments are appreciated. First, which is better, fly into Liberia or San Jose? I am thinking it will depend on the itinerary, so here it might be. Stay one night at the airport city. Travel to Samara Beach area. Stay 3-4 nights. Travel to Monteverde Cloud Forest area. Stay 2 nights at Hidden Canopy or another available hotel. Travel to Arenal Volcano. Stay 1 night in that area. Then head back to airport area and stay last night before flying out. Will we get a good feel for Costa Rica? I would like to insert a coffee farm tour in there along with the zip line of course. Monteverde Coffee farm was suggested. Any others besides Doka? My main concern is mode of travel. I hear there are 4x4 tours that go from Monteverde to Arenal that include a boat. I am getting mixed comments about, drive ourselves or be driven. So confusing, especially the length of time it takes to get everywhere. Thanks again for any input on my new potential itinerary.

San Jose, Costa Rica
8 posts
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7. Re: costa rica itinerary

Hola Barisa!

If you're starting at Playa Samara, then you should DEFINATELY fly into Liberia Airport. From Liberia, Samara is less than an hour away. From San Jose, Samara is almost 4 hours away! That way, you don't have to stay the first night in the airport city... wouldn't you rather get to your destination that night and wake up in paradise?! Liberia is a well-developed city/town, but it's nothing when compared to waking up at the beach!

If you arrive and its nearing sunset, then I would arrange for a driver - the roads aren't very well marked and you really don't want to make your first attempt at Costa Rica driving in the dark! It's hard enough in the day light! If you plan on renting a car, you'll be well-served by getting a GPS - trust me - I learned the HARD WAY!!

The best way really, would be get a driver from the airport to your accomodations, then arrange for a car rental with GPS to be dropped off for you at your vacation rental. Renting a car at the airport can take an extra pain-staking hour and a half - on top of getting thru customs and baggage claim! You don't want to start off your relaxing Costa Rica adventure with added hassles!

des moines, IA
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8. Re: costa rica itinerary

Thank-you for the airport info...this is EXTREMELY helpful!

San Jose, Costa Rica
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9. Re: costa rica itinerary

Hola Barista 53

More expensive flying into LIR than SJO...a lot more money...you can try to get a flight that arrives at SJO as early as possible...and get a car and drive to Samara ...nice good road...with a GPS even better....from SJO to Samara no more than 4 hours...easy and great road...just get a GPS and a good map...Airport in San Jose SJO by Alajuela our second largest city in Costa Rica...I drive for living here in Costa Rica...and I can tell you that as long as you observe speed limits and driving distances every thing is going to be OK!

I really like your second itinerary...

The Boat Jeep Boat is just a transfer not a tour...but if you are travelling Samara...Monteverde...Arenal...go ahead and drive around the lake about 2 hours and 45 minutes...the road between Santa Elena and Tilaran in bad shape..but a lot of fun and some incredible places to take pictures of LA PAMPA GUANACASTECA...

Samara ...Monteverde...4 hours and 30 minutes..even less.

Monteverde...Arenal...less than 3 hours...

Arenal...San Jose...3 hours...

roadadvisor

Just buckle up and enjoy the ride in PARADISE!

Some other coffee Tours but Doka among the best...if you have any more questions please let me know!

Edited: 14 September 2010, 09:03
10. Re: costa rica itinerary

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