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Old     (bcoppinger)      Join Date: Sep 2002       10-06-2011, 2:19 PM Reply   
There have been several Costa Rica threads on here, but for some reason I am unable to find them now. My wife turns 30 in January and I am trying to plan a surprise trip to the Arenal area of Costa Rica. We should have 4 days for activities while we are there. I have read about the area online, but the amount of information is hard to sift through. Do we need to rent a 4x4 or take the shuttle from the airport? Where is the best/most economical place to stay? Any things to stay away from? Must have items? Best tours? Wakeworlders always have pretty good advice on a range of topics, so let hear it!
Old     (trace)      Join Date: Feb 2002       10-06-2011, 3:54 PM Reply   
I have stayed a few places up there, but we enjoyed Lost Iguana the most. Rent a 4x4 because the resorts are isolated from everything else there is to do up there. Kinda doesn't matter which airport you're flying into if you're only going to that area- it's a couple hours from LIR, and maybe 3 from SJO.
Old     (bcoppinger)      Join Date: Sep 2002       10-07-2011, 6:32 PM Reply   
Is Arenal a good place to go for the amount of time we have or do you recommend a different part of the country?
Old     (trace)      Join Date: Feb 2002       10-09-2011, 11:11 AM Reply   
Unless you want to get some surfing in, I think it's a great choice. Plenty day trips to do in the area - rafting, zipline, horseback, hiking, etc. The food is more local, still really good but not as cosmopolitan as some other areas. Finding folks that speak English is also a bit more of a challenge than other areas. The volcano and lake are absolutely stunning.
Old     (norcalrider)      Join Date: Jun 2002       10-10-2011, 6:17 PM Reply   
Do a day at Tabacon and spoil her. You can swim up to a bar and have a great time while she's getting the resort treatment.
Old     (trace)      Join Date: Feb 2002       10-11-2011, 8:50 AM Reply   
Agree - Tabacon is pricey (especially for CR) but definitely worth it for a day trip.
Old     (bcoppinger)      Join Date: Sep 2002       10-11-2011, 11:50 AM Reply   
That sounds like a great idea.

Should we just get a room the first night in San Jose and head up the next morning or try to make the trip after dark when we arrive?
Old     (norcalrider)      Join Date: Jun 2002       10-11-2011, 12:18 PM Reply   
Get a room in Alejuela for that first night. It is closer to the Airport than San Jose and easier to get in and out of. Traffic going into San Jose is a bear. Driving can be, umm, interesting in Costa Rica. Though I do not think getting to Arenal was that bad, the roads won't be lit the whole way. Heed the speed limit even though none of the locals do. I have been pulled over twice down there (nothing $20 couldn't fix). Tourists all drive the same compact suvs so it is easy picking for the police.
Old     (bcoppinger)      Join Date: Sep 2002       10-12-2011, 12:14 PM Reply   
Thanks for all the information guys. I booked the trip this morning. For anyone else looking at The Lost Iguana groupon has a great deal going on right now and saved me several hundred dollars on the room.
Old     (tripsw)      Join Date: May 2006       10-28-2011, 10:23 AM Reply   
Hola JBC, great choice! Sorry I didn't reply any sooner but I couldn't access WW for the last 10 weeks or so. I live in Nuevo Arenal, at about 45 minutes from La Fortuna, on the north side of the lake. I have my wakeboardschool on the lake (check, in Puerto San Luis, close to TIlaran (about 1h 20m from La Fortuna). Yes for sure do Tabacon, I recommend going in the evening. You (or at least I) don't need to soak in bloody hot pools when the sun is out, it's hot outside and you could also be wakeboarding! And the buffet at Tabacon is fab-u-tas-tic so you won't want to miss out on that. If you need any other info about the area, about what (not) to do and where (not) to go let me know!


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