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Guanacaste in October

Hello there! My family of 5 will be traveling to Costa Rica this October. Hubby and I last went to CR about 12 years ago, when we flew into San Jose, stayed in Jaco, visited San Manuel Antonio, and then Arenal. This time we are bringing our three young children, ages 7, 5, and 4.

We are coming in with friends and staying at Dreams Las Mareas for 3 days. This style of travel (all inclusive resort) is not my ideal, but it is a compromise in order to be with friends, who are staying the entire week. We would like to branch off and visit other places, stay in smaller hotels/B&Bs, eat local food, etc. Our Spanish is decent if one speaks slowly, :) We will have about 9 days in the area.

Any recommendations? I would love to be super adventurous and venture over to Nicaragua, but somehow I think that might be more difficult than it's worth.

Thank you!

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