First time to Costa Rica, is Manuel Antonio worth a long drive to get to?
I have 7 full days in June to visit Costa Rica for the first time. Flying in and out of San Jose. We have accommodation booked in Monteverde for the last 2 nights of our trip, returning to San Jose the final morning for our flight out.
We are strongly wanting to keep the accommodation we have in Monteverde and it's the only dates they have available for us so cannot be changed. We also strongly want to do a bare minimum of 2 nights in each destination to get as much as we can from the area.
We are also definitely making a stop in La Fortuna (Arenal Volcano area), but the dates can be flexible for this stop.
I basically have 6 nights total to work with and currently have 2 booked in Monteverde.
My big question is, should I do 4 nights in La Fortuna and 2 nights in Monteverde and call it a day?
Or should I add in Manuel Antonio National Park? I'd have to cut down our La Fortuna stay to 2 nights to accommodate 2 nights in Manuel Antonio area. Is this packing in too much? Since Monteverde is our last stop, it forces us to do a bit of backtracking. We could begin trip in Manuel Antonio, heading straight there from the San Jose Airport. After that we could head up to La Fortuna for 2 more nights (but that's a 5 hour drive according to Google) and then down to Monteverde for our last 2 nights and onto San Jose the last morning. Is this too much to tackle??
Another alternative i was thinking about was forfeiting Manuel Antonio for 2 nights at a beach resort in the Tamarindo area, which would help cut down on driving a bit (i think).
We do really want to see sloths and monkeys! So if Manuel Antonio is the only place to see them, we may have to add that in and make it work somehow.
Please advise! Greatly appreciated.