We are looking to plan our first visit to Costa Rica. We want to visit the volcano and park, but stay on the pacific coast. Is this doable? What towns/area would be a good place to start our search?
To see Arenal while staying on the coast? Not really a great idea. 4 hour drive each way to maybe get a glimpse of a dormant volcano.
But, there is good news. You can stay on the coast and see a couple of active volcanos--MIravalles and Rincon de la Vieja. While they don't have the perfect conical shape of Arenal, they do have actual volcanic activity and are fairly convenient for people staying on the beach. Rincon de la Vieja is about 60-75 minutes from the beach resorts--leave by 6:45 and you'll be there for the park opening at 8:00. Las Pailas at Rincon has a very walkable, paved trail where you can see wet and dry habitat, everything from monkeys to ground-cuckoos, and volcanic fumaroles and boiling mud pits.
There are also hot springs at several places in the area, as well as adventure activities like tubing, ziplining, etc.
Yes it's doable. I'm guess you are talking about Arenal volcano as opposed to the Rincon Viejo volcano which is closer to the coast. I suggest flying into Liberia (LIR airport code) Go to the Fortuna/Arenal area for a couple of days and then over to the Pacific coast. There are resorts and beaches up and down the coast. of Guanacaste. Read some threads on the Guanacaste forum.
The original poster wants to stay on the coast. The only way to visit Arenal would be to stay at a different hotel for a few nights. The other volcanoes may be active but their visual impact is not nearly as impressive.
It would be helpful to know what month you'd be traveling during and how long a stay you'll have. You can search volcanic areas if you explore anywherecostarica.com It's a good place to get some basic ideas.
Arenal doesn't work as a day trip. It would be better to spend a few days in the Arenal/La Fortuna area and split it with a few days at the beach. A lot of people like to do a combination of the Arenal area with Manuel Antonio. We did that for our first trip. We usually fly in and out of SJO. If you fly in and out of Liberia, you'll want a beach in the Guancaste area like mentioned above.
Great info! Thank you.
Avoid as much as possibel links...since they are written in some cases years ago...you need first hand advice...that when Trip Advisor can help you better...
Since the OP indicated that they wanted to stay on the Pacific side, not sure why the previous poster is bringing up the Caribbean...
Another great on-line resource to research destinations is https:/… . You can see the main activities summarized by areas and some photos, and if smth appeals to you, you can get more info. Some ppl love Manuel Antonio area, for ex., some find it crowded, touristy and developed. Some love the views from the hilltop hotels in Uvita, others were robbed by the waterfall or on the beach there. You need to research and make own decisions.
For someone to promotes listening to first hand advice, it is funny that "roadadvisro" rarely provides any like SO does.
HmmmmEdited: 08 June 2018, 08:14
If you go with Manuel Antonio, I can recommend Tulemar Bungalows there, one of our favorite spots. They have a beach and great service, beautiful views, lots of wildlife like monkeys and sloths. The park can get crowded, but you're not really bumping into people, more like little groups strolling around with their own guides. You can see a lot of wildlife without even leaving the Tulemar property, and it never feels crowded. Lots of good restaurants within walking distance. I'd recommend trying to get a balcony if you stay there, some have them and some don't.