2 week Costa Rica trip

Old Sep 25th, 2014, 08:51 PM
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2 week Costa Rica trip

Our family's first trip to Costa Rica and we're so excited. Parents in their mid-50's and children in their early 20s. We're ready for adventure and are so fortunate to have two weeks in December to travel as a family. Would love to hear input on the itinerary, but in December, many places are already booked so we are a little late to the party. Here's what we have so far:

Arrive on a red-eye early in the morning to SJO. Rent SUV. Here's the part that I'm struggling with: Where to spend the first night? I will revisit this after listing where else we are going.

Nights 2 - 4: Osa Peninsula staying on Drake Bay. Go to Corcovado Nat'l Park for tour day hike. Haven't decide what else the second day. Any suggestions? I know this is an amazing part of CR and want to experience as much of it as possible during our two full days there.

Nights 5 - 9: Stay at Samara beach. Take surf lessons. Any recommended surf instructors? Any other suggestions of things to do there?

Nights 10 - 13: Stay near La Fortuna. Want to do all of the amazing activities here. canyoning, canopy tour, hanging bridges, white water rafting. How do I begin to figure out who to book all of this through?

Night 14: Back to San Jose maybe by mid-day to spend a half day there before our very early flight out the next morning.

So would love input on any and all of this. But my biggest question is: where to stay that first night? Since we will be driving up the coast from Drake's Bay to Samara (I know - a very, very long drive. Is this too much?), I was thinking that our first day out of SJ on our way to Drake's Bay should be a drive on Hwy 2 so we don't have any back-tracking. Rather than driving to the coast from San Jose, stay on Hwy 2 through the mountains on down to Potrero Grande. From there I'm not sure the best way to drive to Drake's Bay. So I guess I'm asking several questions here: 1. Where would you spend the night between SJ and Drake's Bay on Hwy 2 (or there-abouts)? 2. How do you recommend driving from Hwy 2 to Drake's Bay? 3. Is it too crazy long of a drive from Drake's Bay to Samara to do in one day?

I guess another question: the adult kids are going to get really tired of hanging with their parents. What fun stuff can they do at these places at night while the parents stay home and read books?
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Old Sep 26th, 2014, 03:24 AM
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We use Sky Trek for ziplining in La Fortuna and Rios Tropicales for rafting. For other tours, check out Desafio and Sunset tours; both of them have comprehensive websites that list all their tours and activities. We did canyoning with La Roca through Sunset Tours. You can do the Hanging Bridges on your own but will increase your chances of seeing wildlife if you hire a guide - we've used both Desafio and Sunset Tours, and they're excellent. La Fortuna has a big disco that's popular. In general, CR does not have a lot of nightlife. People tend to go to bed earlier since it gets dark early and the sun is usually up by 5:30 a.m. I'd recommend asking locally for night time activities.
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Old Sep 26th, 2014, 04:40 AM
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how about dominical or uvita? about a 3 hour drive and then only 1/5 hrs the next day to sierpe for your drake bay excursion.
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Old Sep 26th, 2014, 05:41 AM
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Thank you, Volcanogirl, for your tour operator suggestions. I will definitely look into booking with them. Should I go ahead and reserve them now for late December?

And good idea about Dominical and Uvita, plambers. I guess we'll head towards the beach from San Isidro de El General rather than staying on Hwy 2 inland. Doesn't seem like there's a lot to recommend staying inland.
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Old Sep 26th, 2014, 08:50 AM
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m, I usually just book everything when I get there, but December around holiday time, is one of the busiest times to go. If there's something you have your heart set on, it doesn't hurt to book ahead.
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Old Sep 29th, 2014, 04:35 AM
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mhgr, a general piece of advise, dont cram all adventure activities in Fortuna, there is basically canopy tours and rafting all over CR.

The best rafting outfits in Fortuna, by size, are Desafio, Wave and CR descents, in that order. Desafio and Wave are owned by Americans which is important to me because that means they understand what makes you click but it is a personal opinion. My options for waterfall rappelling are Pure Trek and Desafio, and pure trek specializes in it, that is all they do, Desafio has a much bigger catalog of adventure activities.

Skytrek is probably the best option for canopy tour/zip line in Fortuna.

For nightlife, what we call here THE DISCO (volcan look) has pretty much seen better days, it only opens on saturdays and maybe fridays but it is the place to go for dancing. there are other bars in Fortuna like Mango;s near the church, El Establo on the way to the waterfall, but essentially there is not much "nightlife" as you know it going on in Fortuna. the good think is that the hotsprings are always better at night so the younger adults will "kill" at least one night there. the happier hotsprings is BAldi although they just opened a new one across the street called KALAMBU, it is essentially a waterpark and it could be a good option.

enjoy your visit!
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Old Sep 29th, 2014, 05:08 AM
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I will try to address your first night stop. It much depends on which time your boat to Drake Bay leaves from Sierpe. It is about 45 min between Dominical and Sierpe, and about 60 min between San Isidro de El General. So you could stop at KM 70 on the PanAm Hwy, at Paraiso de Quetzal Lodge (Quetzal?s Paradise), a small lodge with great hummingbird gallery. Or you can drive down to Savegre Valley and have one night at one of the lodges at San Gerardo de Dota. Add 30 min of driving for each of these places.
If that is too far (driving time wise) you can reach Dominical and stay either at Hacienda Baru or at any of the lodges around Dominical.
Driving to Drake Bay ... you are not really planning to drive all the way to Drake Bay?! As car is pretty useles there why not park it in Sierpe and use a boat transfer to Drake Bay? Much more comfortable, less nervous and definitively less depending on actual rainfall situation (and involved river crossings).
Driving from Drake Bay itself to Samara is some kind of a "holiday killer". If you are not a truck driver by a profession. From Sierpe to Samara, well, maybe if you are enjoying long hours on the road. The above advice about changing Samara with Uvita is a good one.
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