9-day Costa Rican Natural Wonders - Nov 15 - Nov 23, 2021

Traveler: Alda Bernice M. - Local specialist: Olman Romero

In Arenal/Fortuna we took a Traditional Cooking Class at the Arenal Vida Campesina, a family-owned organic farm, where we learned to cook "verduras salteadas con pasta de achiote" over a wood-fire stove. We hiked (Canoa Aventura) and rafted (Costa Rica Descents) at the Arenal Volcano and la Fortuna Falls. The Tabacon hot springs with dinner was an amazing, relaxing experience.

Ziplined and hiked the Cloud Forest hanging bridges; and took a Night Walk (Selvatura Adventure Park) in Monteverde.... read more

In Arenal/Fortuna we took a Traditional Cooking Class at the Arenal Vida Campesina, a family-owned organic farm, where we learned to cook "verduras salteadas con pasta de achiote" over a wood-fire stove. We hiked (Canoa Aventura) and rafted (Costa Rica Descents) at the Arenal Volcano and la Fortuna Falls. The Tabacon hot springs with dinner was an amazing, relaxing experience.

Ziplined and hiked the Cloud Forest hanging bridges; and took a Night Walk (Selvatura Adventure Park) in Monteverde. On the trip from Monteverde to Manuel Antonio, we took a detour to the Jungle Crocodile Safari (Jose's Crocodile Safari & Bird Watching Tour) a must see, along the Tarcoles River.

We spent our last few days in Manuel Antonio, where we were awakened in the morning with the roars of the howler monkeys. What a story to tell!

In addition to our need for adventure, my son and I wanted some relaxation time, so we stayed at resorts: Arenal Manoa & Hot Springs; El Establo; La Mariposa; and Park Inn San Jose Hotel (1 night). All provided excellent accommodations, service, and restaurants. Breakfasts were included at all accommodations. The Arenal Manoa is a couple of miles from the town on a highway, so no hiking into town. Did not feel we missed anything as our excursions usually included lunch and/or dinner. The Establo hotel is located on a hill, so hotel transport is provided to/from the rooms to the reception/breakfast areas. There was a small glitch in our reservation for the La Mariposa, however, the front desk staff accommodated us with cocktails, while we waited. In addition, they arranged for us to have an in-room COVID test prior to checking out. A shout-out to the front desk clerk at the Park Inn San Jose Hotel, who took it upon herself to provide us a take-away breakfast snack as we were leaving at 5:00am the following morning.

Two changes I would make to our trip: (1) the transfer from Manuel Antonio was a 6.5 hr. drive, which meant we did not arrive into San Jose until almost 8:00 pm. (2) Manuel Antonio is known for the howler monkeys, I think I would have liked to have stayed in one of the cabanas at the Howler Monkey Hotel, near the Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve.

Hotel Review

Arenal Manoa & Hot Springs

Fortuna

Overall Rating
Hotel Review

Great staff, great food, great service, and amazing massages.

Tips for future travelers

We booked a lot of excursions so we were content to be away from town. If someone is planning to spend time in town, they might want to be closer or have access to a car.

Location

Loved that we were in a rain forest with a view of the Arenal Volcano. Great way to start our adventure.
Cleanliness & Comfort

Rooms were clean upon entry; rooms were spacious.
Staff

Service at the restaurant was excellent; as well as, the massage therapists.
Authenticity & Character

The hotel is located in a tropical forest with a variety of birds and wildlife . We had a celebration dinner at the restaurant, which was 5-star presentation and taste.
Activity Review

Monteverde Hanging Bridges + Zip Lining

Monteverde

Overall Rating
Activity Review

The ziplining crew was amazing. They provided constant support and encouragement for everyone in the group; and they were constantly mindful of creating a positive fun experience.

Transport

Equipment was well-maintained and secure.
Guides, drivers and staff

Knowledgeable and professional on every level.
Quality of Experience

1st timer and I am looking forward to trying this again.
Olman Romero profile photo
Olman Romero, local specialist, responded to this review:

Hello Alda,

Thanks for your complete review.
I am happy to know your family enjoyed your visit to our country.

I see you have great experiences to tell other people about your experience in Costa Rica, I hope this was not the last time you explore amazing Costa Rica!

Pura Vida!
Olman