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Arenal/La Fortuna and Gulf of Papagayo, which one first.

Colorado
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67 posts
17 reviews
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Arenal/La Fortuna and Gulf of Papagayo, which one first.
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Staying for one week in May. Flights in and out of LIR. Flight arrives Saturday 3:10pm and Leaves the following Saturday 11:55am.

We will be splitting the trip between Tabacon and Andaz Papagayo.

We are renting a car.

Which should we go to first? Originally thinking to head to Tabacon first , but seems like a 3

hour drive and would be dark by the time we got there. Would it make more sense to head to the Andaz after we arrive for a few days and then head to Tabacon?

The Andaz is offering on-site testing to come back into U.S. Are there testing facilities in La Fortuna if we decide to go that route?

8 replies to this topic
United States
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117 posts
1. Re: Arenal/La Fortuna and Gulf of Papagayo, which one first.
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Your flight times present a problem. You are traveling in May so hard to predict about testing etc. but ideally I would change my arrival to earlier in the day if at all possible. Then head to Arenal....end at Andaz which is fairly close to the airport. The fact that they are doing onsite testing will reduce stress and mean less wasted vacation time running around to get a test. If you cannot change flight I would still do Arenal first as coming from Arenal..returning a car and dealing with an airport etc. that early would not be for me. You could also consider taking a private transfer to meet your inbound flight and get on the road with someone who knows the road and could have you in Arenal that night and knowing the road could drive the last 1/2 in the dark. Pick up a car there at your hotel in Arenal. You did not indicate your split but we did 4/3 and if that is your plans you need to get the test 72 hours in advance of departure so you would have to watch the timing. We stayed at the Andaz and it is very relaxing and really no car is needed there unless you want to do a lot of sightseeing in the area. Hope that makes some sense. I am sure there is some testing in LaFortuna as well and your hotel should have information. Good luck.

Colorado
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17 reviews
14 helpful votes
2. Re: Arenal/La Fortuna and Gulf of Papagayo, which one first.
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Yes, unfortunately that is our flights. They are the only direct options and already booked.

We can split the days up how ever. What would you suggest? 4 at Tabacon and end the trip Andaz for 3? Seems beautiful and relaxing but maybe not much to do at Andaz?

United States
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117 posts
3. Re: Arenal/La Fortuna and Gulf of Papagayo, which one first.
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yes I would do 4 and 3....it is a resort hotel...a large one...the one thing I did not like was all the incentive groups there...I doubt that will be an issue this year given Covid. There are lots of adventure trips in the Arenal area...lots to do so yes I would do the 4 nights there. We did not see much sun in Arenal area and welcomed the time to swim and take in some sun, spa etc. at Andaz.

San Jose, Costa Rica
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64,311 posts
140 reviews
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4. Re: Arenal/La Fortuna and Gulf of Papagayo, which one first.
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In your case I will do Andaz then Arenal...

Even that the road from LIR to Arenal is in great shape...if for any reason you ge delay...no many people wll recomend to drive around Arenal lake road at dark...BTW road is in great shape!!

roadadvisor

Atlanta, Georgia
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27 reviews
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5. Re: Arenal/La Fortuna and Gulf of Papagayo, which one first.
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Time at each is up to you, but remember you have a 3 hour drive from Tabacon back to LIR . Checkout of Tabacon, drive to LIR area, , drop off car rental shuttle back to LIR and check in for your 11:30 flight.

Tabacon first... you drive part way in dusk/darkness, but Tabacon is easy to find.. And Andaz is close by for LIR flight home

Andaz first. It's much much closer and you can find it, but you will be getting up at 0-dark-30 to get back to LIR from Tabacon. Perhaps leave Tabacon a day early and get back to LIR area, stay in a hotel and do a day trip, perhaps to Rincon de la Vieja or Cortes waterfall near Bagaces., before checking in to LIR hotel

Have a good trip

Edited: 23 January 2021, 21:00
United States
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117 posts
6. Re: Arenal/La Fortuna and Gulf of Papagayo, which one first.
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@5good analysis...probably driving back in the dark and with only 7 nights I hate one night hotel stays if I can avoid it. Frankly the testing ease at Andaz sound good to me. It is possible that now with US talking about quarantines etc. the OP has put planning on hold.

Colorado
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67 posts
17 reviews
14 helpful votes
7. Re: Arenal/La Fortuna and Gulf of Papagayo, which one first.
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Yes, as of now, we are still planning on coming. Why is it not recommended to drive at night?

Tampa, Florida
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8. Re: Arenal/La Fortuna and Gulf of Papagayo, which one first.
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Roads are not well marked; it's possible to miss turn-offs, even when using Waze. There are pedestrians, bikes and animals sometimes on the roads. All of this is fine in daylight, but potentially disastrous in the dark.

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