For my 60th birthday my husband proposed a trip to Costa Rica in early April. We’ll have a car. I have a relative who we will visit at his condo near Tamarindo for 3 nights, then we have 7 nights to explore the peninsula, then the last 2 nights, back at the condo. So we were thinking to have 2 nights at the Arenal area, 2 nights at Monteverde, and then 3 nights on the southern peninsula before going back to the Tamarindo area. Driving from Monteverde, taking the Punaterenas Ferry to Paquera, where would you recommend we stay for one night, considering that an outing to Isla Tortuga may happen the next day? Montezuma? Then after that go to Santa Teresa or San Miguel for 2 nights? Or somewhere else? Also how would the ‘roads’ be to go around the corner of the peninsula to either of those locations? Also would Playa Carillo be a place to consider? Activities: some gentle hiking, some beach time, and maybe an easy kayak or boat tour on a river (I had shoulder surgery in December so am limited with arm activity). Any/all recommendations for this 7 days would be appreciated! Also moderate places to stay, eat? Thanks!!
You shouldn’t take the Puntarenas Ferry to get from Monteverde to the southern Nicoya Peninsula. It would be faster and more convenient to cut across Route 18 to Route 21 south. The directions in our Mal Pais/Santa Teresa post might be helpful for the route down that side of the peninsula. Montezuma would be a great stop and convenient for the trip to Tortuga Island. As for taking route 160 up around the Pacific Side of the peninsula, we don’t usually recommend it unless you are looking for an adventure as the roads can be quite rough. We have some more info about that road in our Road Conditions post. Samara does sound like it would fit with your activities, but if you do go up there after the southern Nicoya, take the gulf side roads. Also keep in mind that holy week is April 9-16th this year and accommodations get very booked up near the beaches.
Yes, it will definitely be a fast paced trip if you only do 2 nights in Arenal/La Fortuna and 2 in Monteverde. They are long drives so basically you will have one day in each place to explore and there is a lot to see. Wouldn’t plan on driving up to Samara any time after dark (it gets dark around 5:45). If you got there just after dark it wouldn’t be a big deal but you don’t want to be driving the roads on the southern Nicoya in the dark.