I am looking for 2 places to spend 2 weeks in; in January 2021. I will most likely fly in and out of San Jose and spend a few of the days there so maybe a 5/5 split between the 2 locations. I haven't been to Central America yet, but Yucatan and Ecuador. I am not a go, go, go type traveler anymore and as I have been working in hospital lab through the current 'situation', I will want an easy trip. Also am an older woman not in the peak of shape for high altitude hill birding. Tend to be a budget traveler and Canadian, so $1 is only about $.60 US today. I determined Monteverde and Arenal to be the easiest for shared shuttle bus and options of lodges that include decent birding on site. I am willing to splurge on Arenal Observatory Lodge (the cheaper La Casona rooms are still a 'splurge' in my budget) and thought to book Monteverde Reserve Lodge, but I see the latter only take bank transfers. I need something that I can cancel with no penalty in case wave 2 (or 3) means vacation is cancelled by other powers than mine. That or wait it out and see what is available closer to October or November for booking.
I would appreciate any recommendation of a reserve lodge situation that allows for birding on site,some sort of restaurant for basic meals and no need to drive. I don't mind a bathroom down the hall, but no hostel. Comfortable bed, and the best would have an inroom reading/lounge chair and some veranda seat. I am willing to hire a bird guide some days or take a tour to sites close by. I have no set bird list in mind, but I do want to have at least one canopy type bridge walk for upper story birding and animal views.
My last question, is whether Monteverde Cloud Forest is truly 'the best' location, or if there is something similar and not so highly priced if I don't stay on site. Too bad Curi-Court doesn't offer accommodations.
(I hope to visit again for other locations, but for this trip, this is the region I have in mind) Thanks for any feedback or alternate recommendations.