a VirtualTourist member from Silverthorne
Planning an 11 day trip to Costa Rica at end of April - flying in and out of San Jose. Arriving 6AM in San Jose - going straight to Arenal - 3 nights there. Then to Flamingo Beach Resort in Guanacaste for 4 nights. We are renting a car. Question is - should we drive to Manuel Antonio and spend 3 nights there before heading back or any other suggestion after beach stay in Guanacaste?
The only suggestion I would have is to turn your car in at the end of the Guanacaste section and fly to the east coast for a couple of days. The rain forests there are different from the ones on the west coast
It would take about 5 hours to drive to Manuel Antonio from where your staying. Also, three days in M.A. Is too much. Consider taking an extra day and drive down the Guanacaste coast. There are some beautiful beaches and quaint little communities to spend one night. I have a travelogue very close to what your plan is although I don't go that far north, only had 7 days. [original VT link]
We did Costa Rica in December/January.
We drove from San Jose - Arenal and stayed 3 nights
Arenal - Monte Verde for 3 nights
Monte Verde - Manuel Antonio 4 nights.
We loved all three of these. Easy driving, good roads (contrary to everything we had been led to believe).
By the way, be prepared to pay high taxes and insurance on your vehicle. We weren't prepared for this and thought we'd gotten a pretty good deal on our rental car.
Between taxes and insurance it ended up being over $400.00 more than we'd expected.
Insurance is really recommended for Costa Rica.
Manuel Antonio is beautiful (although I can't compare to another beach area since it's only the beach area we have been to in CR). With that said, I'm not sure it is all worth it for you to go all the way down to that area. It has wildlife ( Arenal has the same- monkeys, sloths, lizards, etc if you go to their forest area), beautiful beach, but you are already going to Flamingo beach (I would think not much different), besides, the best beach in MA is inside MANP, you have to pay and hike in everytime. If I were you I would go somewhere with a different experience like the cloud forest or Carribean side, or inland.