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Short trip itinerary advice please, looking for birds.

Austin, Texas
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Short trip itinerary advice please, looking for birds.

First time in CR, October 17-21st

40 something couple, frequent travellers, looking for birds & wildlife and to get a feel for CR so we can plan a longer trip. Husband speaks some spanish.

Since we will be short on time we are thinking of renting a car. Any recommendations/advice?

We arrive late, 10:00PM so we will need an airport area hotel (looking for suggestions, we like b&b's). We also leave early so the last night also needs to be near the airport. That only leaves us 2 nights :(

We are terribly torn between staying at Selva Verde Lodge and staying at Posada Andrea Cristina.

We like the idea of staying at Posada Andrea Cristina but also thought it might be better to stay at Selva Verde Lodge since our time is so limited and also that this might be a better place to be in the afternoons (assumption is it will rain, maybe heavily). Thoughts? Is there somewhere else we should consider?

One question I have is how long it will take to get from place to place.

What I have worked out so far:

Oct 17- arrive, night near airport

Oct 18- pick up rental car and stop by a store to buy some trail bars, bottled water, and such. Drive to area. Anything highly recommended to see on the way there? If we arrive early enough go to Nature Pavilion.

Oct 19- morning bird hike with a guide. Should we book one at Selva Verde or do the one at the Nature Pavilion or ?

Not sure what to plan for the rest of the day except another hour or two at The Nature Pavilion.

Oct 20- Another early bird walk with a guide or on our own, thinking about going to Frog Heaven. I'm not sure if we need to make a reservation (or how to do that). And drive back towards the airport, with a stop to buy some chocolate somewhere. Will need to return the car tonight.

Oct 21- Taxi to airport :(

Oct 22nd- begin planning for a much longer trip to CR!

Thanks for any advice/help!

13 replies to this topic
Texas
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for Arenal Volcano National Park, La Fortuna de San Carlos
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1. Re: Short trip itinerary advice please, looking for birds.

We really enjoyed Selva Verde and saw quite a bit of wildlife there including toucans. We also did a hike at nearby La Selva and saw even more wildlife there.

Chicago, Illinois
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for Costa Rica
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2. Re: Short trip itinerary advice please, looking for birds.

If your primary interest is birding you really should stay at Posada Andrea Cristina, in part because its simple and charming and will give you a good taste of Costa Rica. More importantly the family that runs the B&B are excellent birding guides and you really should book their time to accompany you on hikes. Among many other activities they have been very active in programs to protect the endangered green macaw. consider booking a day hike at La Selva, a tropical research station, to see more wildlife.

There's nothing wrong with Selva Verde except that it tends to cater to group tours.

I would also seriously consider using private drivers for this very short trip as you don't have time to explore much on your own and the rental car will day your start on day 2.

Edited: 24 August 2015, 19:30
Brooklyn, New York
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for Sarapiqui
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3. Re: Short trip itinerary advice please, looking for birds.

I have to disagree with crfan. Selva Verde has extensive on-site trails and a private reserve that encompasses a number of different habitats so you can see birds at breakfast, before dinner etcetera. The riverside restaurant will produce sightings of everything from nighthawks to Fasciated Tiger Herons to three species of toucan, etc. Regardless of what benefits Posada Andrea Cristina has, it doesn't have that.

Slovenia
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for Costa Rica
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4. Re: Short trip itinerary advice please, looking for birds.

Indeed, as much as I like Posada, and their owners, the property is smallish, no hiking trails to speak of. So for reasons mentioned by racandee it is better for you to stay at Selva Verde.

As for a guide, do organise one before your arrival. Alex Martinez from Posada is very good one, and thus also very difficult to get him.

Also get a private driver to and from Sarapiqui. While there, taxi is not as expensive as hiring a car.

In any case your birding will be excellent! And for the chocolate, years ago Tirimbina has a chocolate tour, and we bought their chocolate in the shop at the entrance.worth checking as cocoa plantations are rare in Costa Rica.

Edited: 25 August 2015, 05:06
Manitoba, Canada
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5. Re: Short trip itinerary advice please, looking for birds.

My wife and I stayed at Selva Verde Lodge for 3 nights last year. They feed the birds by the restaurant so you can watch birds while you eat. They also feed the birds throughout the property. If you decide to stay here, your options are rooms between Reception and the river or bungalows across the highway up on the hill. My suggestion is to get rooms as close to the river as you can. The bungalows are a long walk from the restaurant and pool. Food at the buffet ranged from ok to good. The Italian Restaurant makes great pizza. Day time and night time guided tours can be arranged on site. As suggested by others, I also suggest getting a private driver. The Lodge can make these arrangements but I was able to make cheaper arrangements by contacting Gecko Trail Adventures.

Texas
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for Arenal Volcano National Park, La Fortuna de San Carlos
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6. Re: Short trip itinerary advice please, looking for birds.

We had excellent guides at Selva Verde; in addition to the toucans, we also saw aracaris, howler monkeys, lots of poison dart frogs, and the red-eyed tree frogs as well. Loved the setting by the river, and that pizza was delicious. Agree with bluebomber, we had a room right by the river and loved it. Avoid the rooms closer to the road as they could have road noise. We saw peccaries on our La Selva hike and loads of birds - both chestnut-mandibled and keel-billed toucans, mot mots, parrots, etc. and more howlers.

Austin, Texas
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7. Re: Short trip itinerary advice please, looking for birds.

Thanks guys!

Looks like many recommend a private driver.

And consensus seems to be to stay in the river suites at Selva Verde.

Dallas, Texas
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8. Re: Short trip itinerary advice please, looking for birds.

@HaleyMB Did you love Selva Verde?

I have to make the choice between Selva Verde and Posada Andrea Cristina for 5 night stay during February. They are located within 1 mile of each other so maybe I will split my time. The Silva river lodge rooms are about $75 per night making them the most expensive of my trip. I don't know price on Posada. I am arriving by public bus and using taxi in this area. Selva is slightly closer to other shopping in town of Sarapiqui.

To those who have been to this area, may I have comments and suggestions please?

Slovenia
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for Costa Rica
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9. Re: Short trip itinerary advice please, looking for birds.

My gut feeling is that Posada Andrea Cristina will suit better your travel style! Really homely place, where you will fit in and be able to experience the local life. The double room goes for 58 USD including a great breakfast.

This is how the cabin where the room is looks in the morning light: https://goo.gl/lt7sEq .

Dallas, Texas
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10. Re: Short trip itinerary advice please, looking for birds.

Thanks xelas, I think I will enjoy everything including great breakfast. I sent email to Posada Andrea Cristina. Rate for Selva Verde is $122 per night so that doesn't fit my budget. I just hope it doesn't rain heavy because that tin roof could be really loud! Looks like there could be lots of wildlife right at Posada Andrea Cristina.

Edited: 15 December 2015, 14:41
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