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Costa Rica Trip - Domincal, Uvita or somewhere else?

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My husband and I are planning a 10 year anniversary trip in June to Costa Rica. While well-traveled in Europe and Asia, this will be our first Central American trip (albeit my Spanish is pretty decent.)

We will only be able to get away from the babies for 5 nights (landing in SJO by 11:30am on a Saturday and leaving on Thursday around 4pm). As such, I want to plan our trip to take advantage of our time and give us a introduction to Costa Rica.

Because of our short time, I was thinking we'd probably stay all 5 nights in one place (although I can be convinced otherwise). We typically like to stay in a bit off the beaten path locations, nice-to-excellent accommodations, access to a variety of activities, good food options and quirky culture. For this trip, we want to combine beach/pool relaxation with some wildlife, and outdoor activities (like surfing lessons, hiking, horseback riding, ziplining, snorkling --not necessarily all of course!) I'd like to be able to eat in small local places, as well as somewhere excellent. We do like ppl watching too and having drinks in local bars. I want it to be 'relatively' easy to get it - I was assuming we'd rent an SUV in SJO (although I guess we could take a short flight and also rent a car).

My initial research based upon my criteria was pointing to the Dominical/Uvita region (e.g., TikiVillas), but I would like to hear recommendations for either this area (things to do, places to go) OR somewhere else in Costa Rica that might be a great option for us. I've heard the beaches/park in MA are beautiful, but I thought it might be a daytrip for us as it sounds more touristy than what I want..(or maybe stay there our last night of our trip). I'd love to go to Arenal, but thought it would be too much for this trip.

All recommendations greatly appreciated!

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