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Costa Rica - July 2020

(14 Posts)
AlpenCrazy Sun 16-Jun-19 13:46:15

Thinking ahead to next summer (I know it's rainy season), we'd like to go to Costa Rica - 2 adults 2 teens (16 & 14).

Was thinking of doing it independently but BA flights seem so expensive.

If we want to do Monteverde, Tortuguero and Manuel Antonio or similar is this possible from say a TUI hotel base in say Guanacaste?

I'm aware that Caribbean coast will be drier at that time of year than Pacific.

We definitely want to see the cloud forest, zip line, see sloths, monkeys, birds.

Don't want to stay in budget accommodation but don't want to spend a fortune and probably not keen on living out of a suitcase for two weeks.

Advice really appreciated.

OP’s posts: |
SJane48S Mon 17-Jun-19 07:38:08

If you are looking at the BA flights this year as a point of comparison now, they will be expensive. We went August 3 years ago and I booked on release. They went up by over £1K between booking and departure.We didn't go to Guanacaste but we did stay in Manuel Antonio. I would think that if you're staying in a TUI base in Guanacaste & this is the itinerary you want to do then you'll be looking at spending quite a bit of time in a car. We didn't find the weather on the Pacific side a biggie, we'd have one thunderstorm a day in the afternoon or evening and everything was very green! This is where we spent most of our stay - utterly beautiful & would recommend!

PenguinsRabbits Mon 17-Jun-19 10:02:22

We stayed at RUI Guanacaste via TUI and you could get excursions to do all things listed though don't think they went to Manuel Antonio or Tortuguero. Obviously you can hire a car and go where you like but you could be spending considerable amounts of time in car to do that from one base.

There was Diamante next door which had a 60mph 300 metre in air zipline to ocean you could walk to in 5 mins. From beach GeckoTico tours could take you to Carribean coast 2 hours away to see sloths, rainforest etc, was just us with them and also showed us waterfall, told us about their lives in CR, and showed us frogs, about £100 per person. Racoons, coati, gecko, pelican all wandering round hotel, monkeys on the beach 50 metres down road. Buena Vista, either do tour or drive there has 30 metre high zipline through jungle, waterslide through jungle, horseriding, active volcano, hot springs, about 2 hours drive, saw monkeys and toucans there in the rainforest. Monteverde is 4 hours away. They do trips there, we didn't do that one did Arenal instead, also 4 hours, interesting scenery enroute but long day. About 30 trips you can do and windsurfing, SUP and kayaking are included.

AlpenCrazy Mon 17-Jun-19 16:49:49

Thank you both v much! flowers

Tulemar looks stunning. It also looks good for wildlife, sloths, zip lining and white water rafting which are all on our lists.

I'm not sure how long in each place? Assume can relax at Tulemar too so maybe a week there? And look into travelling to Monteverde and maybe Tortuguero?

OP’s posts: |
SJane48S Mon 17-Jun-19 18:50:29

Yes, there is a Sloth Institute on site & I saw as much wildlife in the grounds of Tulemar (there's about 30 acres of rainforest) as we did in the national beach. Because it's spread out, it never felt crowded and at times we had pools (there were 4) to ourselves. They have a private beach with free kayaks. We were in the cheapest accommodation ( there are some pretty palatial places) which was absolutely fine and had a nice balcony with loungers & a hammock with a view through the forest down to the sea which was lovely to relax on with a glass of wine or three! There is an on site restaurant & others outside the resort but it's not AI so if that's a preference then it doesn't offer that. Zip lining, canopy tours, horse riding etc were all on offer. I loved it! We had a week there. In terms of his you spread your time, we usually have 3-4 days in each place. I can pass you on the details of the transport company if you want a quote.

SJane48S Mon 17-Jun-19 18:58:39

Must stop typing in a hurry! 'as we did in the national park' not 'national beach' and 'in terms of how you spread' not 'his you' - bloody autocorrect!!

rookiemere Sat 22-Jun-19 13:05:55

Going to join this thread as thinking of going next summer. Looks heavenly and DS and DH like their adventure sports so will be happy - I can spend time with my spiritual animal equivalent- sloths !

rookiemere Sat 22-Jun-19 13:06:38

sJane please can you pm me details of the travel company? Thanks

SJane48S Sat 22-Jun-19 14:44:42


sansou Mon 24-Jun-19 15:41:46

We DIYed it last Christmas and hired a car. We had 3 main bases between La Fortuna & Manuel Antonio and decided not to do Tortuguero or drive the LONG way round to get to Monteverde.
3 nights at rainforest eco lodge doing a farm tour, a night walk & a visit to a nearby wildlife refuge centre.
5 nights in La Fortuna staying at a hotel with hot springs fed pools.
Here, we ventured into Arenal NP for a combo package with Sky Adventures basically ziplining, taking a skytram and a hanging bridges walk. We also took a horse ride from our hotel stables & visited the Bogarin Trail. (A must do!)
6 nights (Christmas week) at an AirBnB near Manuel Antonio NP located in the rainforest with our own pool. Absolutely fantastic!
The highlights for us were kayaking around the Damas Island mangroves and Los Campesinos. We found visitng Manuel Antonio NP and the area round it far more commerical than Arenal/La Fortuna so maybe we should have driven the long way round and spent a few days in Monteverde after all.

Tripadvisor was extremely useful so do your research to make the most of your time there. All the activities or "tours" were pricey so hiring a car will definitely help your budget. If you like rice and beans as a staple, you can eat cheaply. We also spent our 1st & last nights near the airport. HTH.

sansou Mon 24-Jun-19 15:44:02

Buy some decent binoculars and take them with you - you won't regret it!

jenks81 Mon 24-Jun-19 17:15:34

We are planning on visiting Costa Rica next May for 9 nights, we are planning on picking up a hire car, doing one night near San Jose airport when we arrive (flight gets in quite late), three nights near Arenal, two nights Monteverde then three nights in Tulemar. If anyone has any accommodation recommendations in Arenal, Monteverde or near the airport I’d be really grateful. It looks such an amazing country and I can’t wait!

SJane48S Mon 24-Jun-19 18:55:26

We had our last night at the Doubletree by Hilton in SJ which is very near the airport. It’s got lots of facilities & has a good breakfast. It wasn’t the grandest Hilton I’ve stayed in but was absolutely fine. The airport is a little way out of San Jose so you if you stay near the airport you won’t see the city (but that’s not the biggest loss!).

Doormat247 Mon 24-Jun-19 22:49:03

I’ve just come back from the Riu Guanacaste with Tui and i’d advise you to give it a miss. It’s loud and full of drunken idiots. The palace next door would be a better choice but if you can find decent priced flights you’d have a much better time booking your own accommodation.
The Tui trips are extortionate and not great value but the guys on the beach selling the same thing are almost the same price so it’s not really worth the risk to book with them to save $10 per person.
The one thing that I’d suggest if you’re staying in Guanacaste is to take a trip over the border into Nicaragua - there you’ll be taken to see an active volcano and be able to see the lava if it isn’t kicking out too much gas.

Monteverde hanging bridges aren’t as amazing as you’d expect - literally all you see is trees, not much in the way of wildlife other than a handful of birds. The hummingbird garden on site is amazing though, they’ll come and sit on your finger to drink nectar. Do a night rainforest walk if possible as plenty of animals will be out and about - we got fantastic photos.

You’ll likely see monkeys from your hotel or on the beach plus you may be able to feed them from a boat. The birds are stunning everywhere you look. We saw toucans and sloths hanging out by the side of the road which was amazing. Zip lining is worth doing (we did it at Rincon de la vieja) but there have been several sites in recent years that have had fatal accidents so make sure you do your research (same with the boat trips - that’s the main cause of tourist fatalities).

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