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Last Post This thread is marked as being about Costa Rica
1. Posted by victoria95 (First Time Poster 1 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

So here is my tentative, very general Itinerary for my 6 night 7 day Costa Rica visit. I'm really just looking for someone to fill in the gaps for me and offer suggestions/revisions!

Mar 6: Arrive SJO at 11:30am. Take public bus to La fortuna (is this bus directly available from the airport?) Arrive probably around 6-7pm (assuming customs and bus schedules take longer) then just chill in La Fortuna for the night.

Mar 7th: Do some all-day excursion in La Fortuna

Mar 8th: Another excursion in La Fortuna.

Mar 9th: Take a shuttle to Manuel Antonio in the morning...Beach relaxing/bars/activities (open to suggestions)

Mar 10th: Beach relaxing/bars/activities (open to suggestions)

Mar 11th: Head to Alajuela in the morning. Arrive sometime in afternoon.

Mar 12th: Flight at 5:30am

Also, are night buses a thing here? If so, is this a better option with time management?

2. Posted by greatgrandmaR (Travel Guru 2623 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

I do not know about the buses. I have driven through Fortuna but it was a long time ago. I am just finishing writing up my trip to Costa Rica in 2015

3. Posted by Code (Budding Member 23 posts) 6y 1 Star this if you like it!


To go to La Fortuna, please read this post. It will explain every step to go there (please note that the directo bus departs only in the morning)

As a quick reference, an Uber service from the airport to La Fortuna downtown will cost about $80. (if you want to use an Uber, please go outside the main exit at the aiport and request it on the street -basically walk away about 100 meters. ) You can also use an official taxi at the airport, but ask in advance the estimate price, could be pretty expensive)

La Fortuna is beautiful, please go to the thermal waters (plenty of options: my fav is Tabacon or Baldi)

4. Posted by thegeegs (Budding Member 20 posts) 6y 1 Star this if you like it!

Hi there!

OK if you are landing at 11.30, then by the time you have cleared customs etc, you will have missed the bus North. They only leave early morning and, as far as I know, only from San Jose, so you might need to get the bus to San Jose and overnight somewhere. Any half decent hotel can tell you where the buses North to Fortuna go from (there are several different places for North bound services in SJ))

Also I dont know if you have arranged one specifically but I have never heard of a shuttle that runs from Fortuna to Man Ant, and if there is, it will take several hours to get there

You might want to look up these buses/shuttles and times before you get here to make sure you can do what you need. And no, there is very little in the way of any "night service" bus here

Thanks and good luck

5. Posted by greatgrandmaR (Travel Guru 2623 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

When we were in Costa Rica in 1996 we stayed at the Hampton Inn across from the airport for about $71/night (more than 20 years ago). There was a pool, a free shuttle to the airport, and a free shuttle to local restaurants, and free breakfast. You can make a reservation with their 1-800 HAMPTON number, or call the hotel directly. We would take the shuttle back to the airport and take a bus from the airport into town. The bus ended up in the Coca Cola district. HOWEVER - there is a new bus station and all the buses go to this new bus station in San Jose now and it isn't in the best neighborhood.

In 1996 had "The Essential Road Guide to Costa Rica" which had the bus schedules etc. but I am sure there are better sources for bus times and routes now. We got a tiny 4WD car from Elegante, which was about $54/day (45372 colones for 4 days with two drivers and insurance - the colones were about 190/$ when we were there). All are standard shift cars - ours was too small for more than 2 people. and drove through Fortuna to Arenal and then to Monteverde and then back to the airport. The Arenal volcano was still erupting then.

When we drove to Manuel Antonio we were behind a bus to Quepos, and my daughter stayed at a place in Quepos and did a lot of adventure type stuff - white water rafting, zip lines and waterfall rappelling. But we went all the way to the village outside the park.

We stayed at the Hotel San Bada in a standard room second floor which was also handicapped accessible. The Standard second floor rooms include breakfast, have garden and jungle views balconies (we had a jungle view room), air conditioned rooms, bath with shower and tub (ours was a handicapped room - so no tub), hairdryer, two full size beds, LCD cable TV, wake up service/alarm clock, telephone and security box. The security box had no directions. In 2015, we paid $610 for three nights, but prices can range up to $865 during the high season. There is a nice restaurant on the premises and 3 pools
1-888-294 8317 Local Phone: +506 2777 5333

I also saw (but have not stayed in)
El Faro Beach Hotel -the hotel is made up of shipping containers transformed into rooms with private balconies. It looks like you would have a good view from the balconies. Services include a restaurant, complimentary parking and WiFi, electric golf carts for onsite transportation, and tour & transportation booking service Address: 75 meter from Manuel Antonio National Park
Phone: +506 2777 5115

Hotel La Posada
We didn't stay at this hotel but we saw it when we were in the village
All rates include:
A jungle bungalow
Full breakfast each morning.
Access to the pool and jacuzzi.
Use of barbeque area.
Secured, walled property & parking.
Either a queen and full sized bed or a king bed.
Up to four people per bungalow.
Access to the lush, tropical gardens.
Free wi fi and high speed internet and free calls to the US and Canada
Address: Manuel Antonio, Puntarenas, Costa Rica 836151
Phone: (506) 2777-1446
This hotel also has a pizzaria which offers pizza and sandwiches every day

Inn on the Park which quite near the park entrance and there are six apartments which have a kitchen, cable TVs, hot water, hair dryers, safety boxes, and A/C. There is also a pool. Continental breakfast is included. The rates vary according to the season.

Address: 200 meters from the entrance - Manuel Antonio Village,
Phone: +506 2282 8700

[ Edit: Edited on 23-Feb-2018, at 08:38 by greatgrandmaR ]

6. Posted by fraluchi (Full Member 132 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

For travel by bus in the country your best site to check is (Costa Rica) and most accommodations are listed with Then check the individual properties of your interest and check location on the relating map. Travel times between your chosen destinations are considerable (distances are no measure). Also note that Manuel Antonio is a tourist trap.

7. Posted by greatgrandmaR (Travel Guru 2623 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

Manuel Antonio is very popular with local Ticos. How does that make it a tourist trap? It's not expensive. It is a national park. They don't sell anything there. I don't think it is any more a tourist trap than Yosemite is.

8. Posted by Piecar (Inactive 1218 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

The hotels around it ARE pretty upmarket. Inflated prices. You say the last time you were there was 1996? Let me assure you, ( and I haven't been there in about seven years) that the hills around Manuel Antonio are FILLED with overpriced services and hotels. I used to stay in Quepos, which was a quiet little town, but things really evolved over the time I was visiting. It was such a beautiful place until the developers started to move in. I hope it didn't turn into another Jaco.

Now, I agree that the park remains, (or had remained, seven years ago) inviolate. But that's not all you do there, Grandma, wander around the wilderness all day.

Now, comfort is a sliding scale. I don't need much, but some like a little bit of a fancier room. You can find it there.

The park, though, is lovely. It's not DON'T MISS lovely. But it is really lovely. Just outside the park there was a vast beach that had several beach bars there. There'll be signage to lead you to the kind of place you'd like.

[ Edit: Edited on 23-Feb-2018, at 19:32 by Piecar ]

9. Posted by greatgrandmaR (Travel Guru 2623 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

My first trip to CR was in 1996 when I was still only 59 and we didn't go to Manuel Antonio then. We went to Tortuguero, Corcovado. Arenal (when it was active) MonteVerde and Isla Canos. Our second trip was 2008 and it was just to the Caribbean coast.

The trip to Manuel Antonio was August 2015. I do need what I suppose you would call a fancier hotel - I use a scooter to get around, so I need level access and an elevator for upper floors. I also need A/C as I do not do very well if it is hot. I do not need beach bars - actually I do not need a beach at all because both of us have had melanomas removed. Mostly I want to visit the various kinds of rain forest and see the animals and plants. Manuel Antonio worked well for me for doing that.

[ Edit: Edited on 23-Feb-2018, at 20:00 by greatgrandmaR ]

10. Posted by Piecar (Inactive 1218 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

So I imagine you can see how one would think the the environs of MA is a little touristy. Elevators? Wow.

To be honest, I am no beach person myself. I like swimming, and I like sun...But never got much interested in beach frolic. I imagine a scooter doesn't get you very far in that situation.