We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The Tripadvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Tour or Explore on our own?

Spring Lake...
Level Contributor
38 posts
4 reviews
1 helpful vote
Tour or Explore on our own?
Save

We will be staying 2 nights at Tabacon. The first day of arrival we will stay at the hotel and enjoy the hot springs. The next day we have a full day and want to see the volcano, mystico hanging bridges and the La Fortuna waterfall. We will have a car. Do we book a tour or go on our own? The next day we will be traveling back to stay at the Pura Vida Hotel before heading home early the next day.

17 replies to this topic
Tampa, Florida
Level Contributor
9,519 posts
75 reviews
15 helpful votes
1. Re: Tour or Explore on our own?
Save

It's great that you have a car, although that will be a very full day. You can just driver yourselves to these attractions and buy tickets. If the skies are clear, you will see the volcano from the Mistico trails and, frankly, from downtown La Fortuna, too.

They prefer that you make reservations at Mistico since they don't want too many people on the bridges at once.

Are you planning to hike at the National Park or at the Observatory Lodge? Mistico and the waterfall can be done in one day, with lunch between. If you had also hoped to hike elsewhere, you might save something for your last morning.

If you get up early, you can do something before lunch. If you leave for Alahuela by about 1 PM you should be fine.

Spring Lake...
Level Contributor
38 posts
4 reviews
1 helpful vote
2. Re: Tour or Explore on our own?
Save

Yes, we could save one of the places for the next day. We do enjoy hiking. Can you hike at the Observatory without staying there? Is that better than hiking at the base of the volcano? Thanks!

Tampa, Florida
Level Contributor
9,519 posts
75 reviews
15 helpful votes
3. Re: Tour or Explore on our own?
Save

The two hiking options are Arenal National Park and the Observatory Lodge. Yes, you can get day passes at the lodge. Things may have changed, but they used to cost $10-12 pp. You can find guides at the national park, but if you wanted one at the lodge you'd have to arrange it in advance.

San Jose, Costa Rica
Level Contributor
64,847 posts
140 reviews
45 helpful votes
4. Re: Tour or Explore on our own?
Save

Nice that you have a car...and the best is if ou drive to tour sites...

The best hikes aroun at Arenal National Park....it is nice and safe.

Roadadvisor

Ontario, Canada
Level Contributor
18,716 posts
70 reviews
180 helpful votes
5. Re: Tour or Explore on our own?
Save

@2, On a clear day, you should see great views of the volcano from the Arenal Observatory Lodge, its observation platform, observation tower, and various parts of the property and trails. One of the trails is a waterfall one. https://www.arenalobservatorylodge.com/en/# .

SkyAdventure Arenal entrance is located close to it.

If you want to go to Mistico bridges, advance ticket purchase on line is currently required, for a particular time - https://www.misticopark.com . It is mandatory to wear closed shoes. You can buy self-guided entrance tickets or a guided tour.

You don't need a guide for La Fortuna waterfall.

Your 2 nd day in Arenal seems v. busy, not sure I would include all 3 activities on the same day.

San Jose, California
Destination Expert
for California
Level Contributor
21,749 posts
128 reviews
70 helpful votes
6. Re: Tour or Explore on our own?
Save

I agree with driving yourselves rather than taking a tour. Driving is easy and you'll have flexibility. I think the only real benefits of a tour are transportation if you didn't already have it and having someone to reserve times at places that require timed reservations if you didn't want to do that yourself, but that's easy enough to do online yourself.

Spring Lake...
Level Contributor
38 posts
4 reviews
1 helpful vote
7. Re: Tour or Explore on our own?
Save

Thanks everyone! I think we will plan to do one of the things on our last morning there before we head out. Thanks again!

Ontario, Canada
Level Contributor
18,716 posts
70 reviews
180 helpful votes
8. Re: Tour or Explore on our own?
Save

@7, Re doing activities on the departure-from-that-area day: It is usually not recommended to leave anything in your car unattended, so if your hotel can keep your bigger luggage longer after the official check out time, if needed, it might be better to come back to get your things after the activity, than planning to do activities as a stop over on the way to the airport area hotel.

Enjoy your trip!

Connecticut
Level Contributor
1,382 posts
102 reviews
24 helpful votes
9. Re: Tour or Explore on our own?
Save

If we didn't have a guide at Mystico, we wouldn't have seen anything. For that reason, i think you should book a guide.

Spring Lake...
Level Contributor
38 posts
4 reviews
1 helpful vote
10. Re: Tour or Explore on our own?
Save

Good point on the luggage- I will check on that

Reply to: Tour or Explore on our own?
Get notified by e-mail when a reply is posted
© 2021 TripAdvisor LLC All rights reserved.

This is the version of our website addressed to speakers of English in Ireland. If you are a resident of another country or region, please select the appropriate version of Tripadvisor for your country or region in the drop-down menu.