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Bas traveling around Costa Rica page 6.

Sunset Ferry - Puntarenas
Our last night in La Fortuna was a great one. The sky miraculously cleared itself of any substance and allowed us to view one of the most amazing shows I've ever seen: The Arenal volcano and all its splendor. Eruption after eruption we sat outside our cabins, drinking coffee. We sat mostly in silence with the exceptional "ooh" and "aahh". It was like we were school children on Fourth of July. We were very lucky. I hear of stores of visitors coming to Arenal and never seeing it.

Sloth hanging in tree - Costa Rica
They may hear it crack, pop and fizzle but they never get the satisfaction of watching the molten lava smother the cone like some sort of raspberry syrup. This is why I suggest anyone to spend at least two nights in La Fortuna. It's also important to spend the money for a nice hotel that gives you views of the volcano all night long. If you have to travel to see the show you're really limiting yourself and your chances. You didn't come to Costa Rica to gamble, did you? That's what Las Vegas is for...

Playa Tambor at sunset - Costa Rica
In conclusion, break your time in Costa Rica into just a few places that offer a variety of activities. Don't try to kill yourself seeing every little thing you can or wake up in a different town every day. Your vacation will become a blur. I, too, own a great photo album of Europe and I can't tell you what any of those pictures are, either. Don't treat Costa Rica the same way you do other destinations. Costa Rica doesn't work that way. So, here is the layout for those who have at least two weeks to spend in Costa Rica:

Day 1-San Jose (downtown hotel for the buses...if you have a rental car, it doesn't matter where you stay).

Day 2,3,4,5 & 6 -Nicoya Peninsula (come stay in Mal Pais/Santa Teresa, Montezuma or Tambor) use the place as a hub and take day trips to each one. They're easy to navigate and they're relatively close together.

Day 7 & 8 -Head to Jaco or Manuel Antonio. You have to cross the ferry and head south. Jaco is more lively and Manuel Antonio is more mature. You pick.

Day 9, 10 & 11 -La Fortuna and Arenal. You can spend more time here if you want. Just make sure you spend enough time here to see the volcano explode. Trust me, if you leave without seeing it, it would be an injustice.

Day 12 & 13 -are extra days that I believe you would spend in either Jaco or Manuel Antonio depending upon your speed. Day 13 you have to make your way back to San Jose. I suggest staying in Alejuela.  It's cheaper and closer to the airport.

Read more:

- Day 1 /San Jose.
- Day 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6 /Nicoya Pensula, Mal Pais, Santa Teresa, Montezuma and Tambor.
- Day 7 & 8 /Jaco and Manuel Antonio.
- Day 9, 10 & 11 /La Fortuna and Arenal.
- Day 12 & 13 /Jaco, Manuel Antonio, San Jose or Alejuela.

- Download Bas must see Costa Rica (PDF)
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