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3-4 days in Costa Rica: What should we do?

Thinking of heading to Costa Rica (likely the west coast) for a long weekend with my wife.  What should we do?  Mix of beach and adventure would be ideal.  Not sure of time of year (but outside rainy season). Thanks!

6 Answers

answered by
Rocio from Costa Rica

 Hi Brett!! I definitely think that you chose one of the most beautiful regions of Costa Rica to spend your upcoming vacations. I would choose a combination of  beach, mountain (cloudy forest) and probably a quick ride to volcanos.

Having said so, I will start enjoying the beaches located in the Guanacaste province. Probably the quickest way to get here  will be landing at the Daniel Oduber International Airport, rent a car at the airport as most beaches are located pretty close to the airport. I will mention basically the hotels and/or resorts where I have stayed in (I don't like to recommend a place that I do not know personally): Reserva Conchal Golf Club, Conchal Hotel, JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa, Andaz Peninsula Papagayo, Flamingo Beach Resort and Las Catalinas. If you want to visit a pretty cool beach, (actually it is a gem), try Villas Hermosas in Playa Santa Teresa (a 4x4 will be needed). From Guanacaste, you can drive to Monteverde Cloud Forest. It is considered one the most well known cloud forests in the world for its wide variety of biodiversity, conservation contributions, etc. One of my favorite places of Paradise. You wont regret it!!  I recommend: Monteverde Lodge & Gardens, Hotel El Establo. If you have time make a one-day tour to enjoy the amazing Volcán Arenal . This volcano looms large and ominous over the pasture green hillsides that surrounds its base. Last but not least, I will suggest having the experience of hot springs. Nice places to feel the heat of the hot springs are: Hotel Arenal Kioro, Tabacón Grand Spa, and Baldi Hot Springs Resort Hotel & Spa.

I wish you enjoy your vacation trip and find my country fascinating.

Pura vida!!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Guanacaste (region)
  2. Daniel Oduber International Airport (attraction)
  3. Reserva Conchal Golf Club (attraction)
  4. Conchal Hotel (restaurant)
  5. JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa (hotel)
  6. Andaz Peninsula Papagayo (hotel)
  7. Flamingo Beach Resort (attraction)
  8. Las Catalinas (attraction)
  9. Villas Hermosas (attraction)
  10. Playa Santa Teresa (attraction)
  11. Monteverde Cloud Forest (attraction)
  12. Monteverde Lodge & Gardens (hotel)
  13. Hotel El Establo (hotel)
  14. Volcán Arenal (attraction)
  15. Hotel Arenal Kioro (hotel)
  16. Tabacón Grand Spa (attraction)
  17. Baldi Hot Springs Resort Hotel & Spa (hotel)
2 thankscomments (2)

answered first by
Justin from Phoenix

I'd recommend grabbing a quick flight to Quepos, and from there grab a taxi to Manuel Antonio. It's a 15-minute flight versus about five hours driving. And you'll wind up in a place with some nice little beaches, plus monkeys and iguanas roaming around. For a weekend that short, I'd spring for La Mansion Inn. It's pretty sweet, especially because of its Bat Cave bar. You should also visit El Avión. Still the best sangria I've had, plus a really cool atmosphere.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Manuel Antonio (region)
  2. La Mansion Inn (attraction)
  3. El Avión (restaurant)
2 thanks

answered by
Jenn from Costa Rica

Hi Brett,
With 3-4 days I'd stick with one destination and do day trips out of there. You could either fly into Liberia airport and explore northern Guanacaste (beach towns like Tamarindo or Playa Flamingo) OR fly into San Jose and head to the Central Pacific to a beach town like Manuel Antonio. The big difference between these regions is the climate and landscape. Guanacaste is drier and flatter and the Central Pacific is lusher rainforest with more wildlife. Both have a lot of activities and are a good introduction into Costa Rica. There are also less touristy areas near both places if you wanted to visit somewhere a little more remote. Good luck planning!


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Tamarindo (city)
  2. Playa Flamingo (attraction)
  3. Manuel Antonio (region)
1 thanks

answered by
Ross from Fort Collins

Having been many times if you try to do the Osa Peninsula in 3-4 days you will see nothing! The osa requires at least a week. Usually you fly in then fly the next day to the osa and then the same on your way back, so that's your hole 4 days!? Justin has the right idea but I'd go to Jaco and take the water taxi to Montezuma its a small funky town with great food and lots of waterfalls, there is even one of the seven waterfalls in the world that falls into the ocean! The town itself is small enough that you will feel at home within a couple hours and you will make travel friends there very easily! My only word of warning is DONT try and and to much, with three days you are very limited so sit back and have some imperials on the beach and do nothing. Also I was just there for work and CR has gotten insanely expensive, you can still get some cheap acomidations but food and drink are more expensive than Spain! If you need further help let me know! 


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Osa Peninsula (region)
  2. Jaco (city)
  3. Montezuma (city)
1 thanks

answered by
Jacey & Scott from Fort Collins

For 3-4 days, I'd stick to one "area" if you can.  Look into heading south to the Osa Peninsula.  Stay at Aguila De Osa Inn, where you can take part in activities that they will organize for you-zip lining, snorkling, scuba, fishing, or hiking in Corcovado National Park.  The staff is incredibly friendly, the food is fresh (caught that day), and you will wake up to white-faced monkeys running on your roof.  There are a few quiet beaches (you may not see anyone else) that you walk to from the lodge.  If you opt for this option, there are two options to fly into/out of from San Jose:  Drake's Bay which is a quick trip from the inn or Palmar Sur.  Choose to fly into Palmar Sur and take th 1.5 hour boat ride down the Sierpe River.  It's spectacular to watch the walking trees, see the caimans, and sit back and enjoy how the river changes as it gets closer to the bay.

Otherwise, head right to Manuel Antonio National Park.  Stay at Si Como No Hotel and enjoy their pool, or walk down to the beach.  Make sure to visit our friend Adrienne at her coffee shop/restaurant:  Cafe Milagro!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Osa Peninsula (region)
  2. Aguila De Osa Inn (hotel)
  3. Corcovado National Park (attraction)
  4. Sierpe River (attraction)
  5. Manuel Antonio National Park (attraction)
  6. Si Como No Hotel (hotel)
  7. Cafe Milagro (restaurant)
1 thanks

answered by
Russ from Ohio

Get out San Jose ASAP and head to either Arenal Volcano or the beach at Herradura, The Marriott Hotel and Condos is beautiful. Check out "Stay in Costa Rica"  they rent condos very reasonably. Also spend a day at one of the Hot Springs at Arenal area. (La Fortuna).

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