My fiancee are staying all expenses paid for 5 days near Puentarenas....
Is there a good reason to go adventuring or do something other than water sports at the resort? I'm ok with sleeping for 5 days if I have to.
If so, take the ferry across the gulf to Paquera and go explore some of the beaches on the peninsula. Mal Pais, Santa Teresa and Montezuma are all cool. You can go for a horseback ride on the beach or check out the zipline tour thing in Cabo Blanco nat'l park. There's a surf shop a hundred yards off the beach in Sta Teresa where you can rent a board.
Just make sure you leave early and plan for a very full day - you'll be on the ferry/driving for a couple hours each way. Totally worth it though.
We'll also be building a school while there and visiting some orphanages.
25-minutes up to the surfing town of Tamarindo. Lots of reasonable hotels there and it is a fun place for food, shopping, surfing and grabbing a drink.
Your best bet is probably going to be to look for something in Tamarindo. My understanding is that the town has really grown over the last 10 years, so you should be able to find something that fits the bill.
I haven't personally been to that town, so I can't make any specific recommendations (sorry about that).
The linked website is where I'd start my search - check out the various types of places under the accommodations tab. It looks like it'll at least be able to provide the names of places and you can do some secondary research.
Hope this helps, and have fun.
We stayed there for spring break senior year. About 16 in a house (linked) and another 10 or so at a nearby resort. The house was walking distance into town and we were able to rent a shuttle to take us out for other activities (zip lines, ATV rentals, etc). Amazing trip, would love to go back some day.
I'd recommend Manual Antonio over Jaco - it is less built-up, with hotels essentially nestled into the jungle on the hillside, as opposed to the high-rises you see in Jaco. It's more of a tropical rainforest feel. Many of the hotels are within walking distance of the beach and the national park, which is stunning. There is ziplining nearby, bars, a few pretty good restaurants, nice beach...
to Manuel Antonio, so it is easier to access from San Jose than Jaco, which is a car/van trip up and over the mountains on a questionable road. The Sansa flights are little pudde-jumper prop planes that go from San Jose out to various regional airports throughout the country.
Both times I've been to Manuel Antonio we stayed at the Hotel Costa Verde, which I highly recommend. It's a good value, it's a quick walk down to the beach in the morning (and cheap cab in the evening after all the pina coladas), good food, and you can stay in an old 727 if you're so inclined.
is a good suggestion.
It's another place I have yet to visit down there.
The impression that I get is that it's nice (I've heard of Americans doing destination weddings down there) but a little crowded/over-commercialized. It's very easy to get to from San Jose (not super far, good roads the whole way and no ferry rides), which I think is the major contributor to the crowd factor.
Are you thinking of checking it out?