Answer for which trip is better for a first timer w/ 9 days

Hi Gage, 

San Jose airport –> Dominical –> Manual antonio –> Monteverde –> Arenal –> airport is a good mix of destinations for the first time visitor, however it is very ambitious for just 9 days. You will probably leave some places feeling like you missed stuff and feel like you are constantly moving. Since Dominical and Manuel Antonio are about an hour apart, you may just want to choose one and make a day trip to see the sights at the other. Dominical has better surfing than Manuel Antonio. 

The other option, San jose airport –> Puerto Viejo de Talamanca –> San Gerardo/Los quetzales national park –> Dominical –> airport is also a really cool itinerary but more off the beaten path. Also there are less options for restaurants in places like Los Quetzales (San Gerardo de Dota) but it can be a very authentic experience.  

Hope this helps with your planning, if you’d like more help on this with suggestions for activities, hotels, and other tips, check out our Itinerary Help Page for details.  Have a great trip!