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Costa Rica from a tipster

COSTA RICA

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Manuel Antonio - best place for boogieboarding

I have been receiving a number of great itineraries and trip details from friends and strangers. One of the first itineraries I received was from my good friend Arpan. He provides a great itinerary on Costa Rica. Check back in a few days for my additional tips on this itinerary. Also if you have been to Costa Rica and want to share your knowledge with the rest of followtheleader community, send your comments to followtheleaderblog@gmail.com.

Arpan’s Costa Rica Itinerary

One Week in Costa Rica

You could spend a week in Manuel Antonio alone but this trip tries to get a taste of Costa Rica by striking a balance between active and relaxation.

Transportation: Interbusonline.com

If there is a company that epitomizes Costa Rica, this is it.  The service is reliable, easy, convenient and friendly.  The company provides semi-private and private shuttles inwell-maintained and good as new vehicles across the country to major destinations.  The drivers are helpful, knowledgeable, and professional.  While this is only a shuttle service, it is a tour in itself including stops for coffee and bathroom and even slow down or stop for pictures.

Day 1: Friday

Arrive in San Jose

Nonstop from Newark on Continental Airlines

Spend a few hours in San Jose, rest up, and get ready for the beauty,

the friendliness, and the experience that is Costa Rica.

Day 2: Saturday

Travel to La Fortuna/Arenal via Interbus (4 hours)

Visit La Fortuna

Stay in Volcano Lodge

Arenal is one of the most active volcanoes in the world.  The area are

is full of hot springs, wildlife, and provides a good chance of seeing

an eruption.

Go for a hike in the shadows of Volcano Arenal.  It is well worth the

expense of paying for a tour guide to explain the incredible plants

and wildlife of the area.  With any luck, you may even see a troop of

monkeys traveling through the area.  We used Desafio Tours, price

Tabacon resorts provides the five star experience.  Try the Baldi Hot

Springs for a cheaper option but be warned that the water slide is

pretty intense.  Another option is to stay at the Arenal Paraiso,

which has free hot springs for guests.

Day 3: Sunday

Go for an adventure with Desafio Tours and go Canyoneering.  Rappel

down waterfalls, hike through the river in the rainforest, and feed

your inner Indiana Jones.  For this tour alone, it’s well worth

getting water shoes with good grip. Be prepared to be soaked.

Day 4: Monday

Travel to Monteverde via Interbus (4 hours)

Be prepared for a rough ride around the lake and up the mountain to

the cloud forests.  This is a bird lover’s paradise.  If you’re not

one, this may still be interesting but certainly not a must do.

Go for dinner in town and find a place with live music.

Take a night tour of the cloud forest with a certified guide.  Make

sure you make arrangements to go home after the tour unless you want

to sleep in pitch darkness in a forest.

Stayed in Fonda Vela

Day 5: Tuesday

Go for a Zip Line tour with Sky Trek

It’s hard to see wildlife while going so fast but it’s not often you

get to swing nearly half a mile through the air.

Take a coffee tour of Cooperative Santa Elena

Sit on the porch of a farmer to talk about their work, learn about the

complications of the coffee market, and see what is behind the drink

we take for granted every morning.

Day 6: Wednesday

Travel to Manual Antonio via Interbus (4 Hours)

Stay in Hotel Costa Verde

It’s not often you have the rain forest to your back and the Pacific

Ocean in front of you.   It’s an easy walk downhill to the beach and a

quick bus ride up. The view and convenience is spectacular but don’t

expect the service to be overly friendly.

Take a walk down to the beach

Day 7: Thursday

Take a hike in Manuel Antonio Park

It’s well worth the effort to find your way to the unmarked entrance

to the part.  You’ll see iguanas, monkeys, and all sorts of other

animals.  Make sure you keep time to spend time at an incredible

secluded beach.

Day 8: Friday

Travel to Airport in San Jose (3 1/2 hours)

The deluxe local bus is better than most long distance buses in the

United States.  It stops at a rest area that provides fresh mangoes

and plenty of other food options and clean bathrooms.  At a fraction

of the cost of a cab, the bus drops you right in front of the

international airport.

For another great read on Costa Rica check out the NYTIMES article at http://travel.nytimes.com/2009/03/22/travel/22CostaRica.html?scp=3&sq=frugal%20traveler%20costa%20rica&st=cse

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