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We're off to Costa Rica and never been there!

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Hi everyone, I'm new to Fodor's forums and looking for some advice for our upcoming trip to Costa Rica. My wife and I are 50's-60's but decent hikers. We went to Italy 2 years ago and drove a car w/GPS with good results. We like clean, mid price hotels/B&B's/cottages & don't need luxury amenities. We love meeting new people/locals but don't speak Spanish so we're hoping to overcome that through friendliness and respect.

We arrive in CR in 2 weeks about 1:30 pm local time on a Saturday. I'm thinking by the time we de-plane, get luggage and pick up our car at Tri Color car rental (with GPS!) in the terminal we'd be lucky to be on the road by 3 to 3:30? Should we even consider trying to drive to Monteverde and be there by 5:30-6 or is Poas area a better idea/do-able that first night?

We're considering a day and a half in the Poas/La Paz waterfalls area then on to Arenal/La Fortuna for several days and then to Monteverde for several days. I thought we could start that loop either driving to Monteverde then Arenal then La Paz/Poas or starting in Poas and go the other way.

Our trip works better if we can start in Monteverde but I don't see any way we make it there that first night before dark (5:30-6pm?) if my timing estimates are correct.

If Poas first, we'd drive to a hotel (any suggestions?) in Poas after leaving San Jose. Thought about driving up to Poas Volcano the next morning before 10 am to see the crater and maybe hike one of the trails for an hour or so to Botos Lake. Then the Doka Coffee Plantation tour in the afternoon.
We'd stay overnight then La Paz Waterfalls in the morning then about a 3-4 hour drive to La Fortuna in the afternoon.

Does any of that sound nuts? We would be grateful for any thoughts from those of you who have been there.

We also would love to visit the Manuel Antonio area and maybe La Selva/Tirimbina but I don't see any way we can do all of that in 9 days! We fly out the following Sunday. The Saturday arrival and Sunday departure days don't really count so really we have 7 days to roam.

We might be able to extend our stay in the extended Poas area to see La Selva/Tirimbina. Anybody see those? Are they wonderful?

Thanks a bunch in advance for any thoughts.

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