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Manuel Antonio or Samara?

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We are trying to decide between Manuel Antonio and Samara for our trip to CR in late Feb/early March 2013. Husband and I are travelling with our 9 year old son, and we plan to book through Anywhere Costa Rica using private transport. We are spending 3 nights in Arenal, 2 nights Monteverde, then 4 nights at the beach, but can't decide which.

We want to try surfing, see lots of wildlife, hike and perhaps snorkel. We are on a moderate budget. Manuel Antonio seems the obvious choice for a family, closer to San Jose for getting back to the airport the last day, with plenty to do, but Samara sounds nice as well, and a little quieter. I'd love to hear others' experiences or thoughts on either location!

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