3rd Family trip to Costa Rica -itinerary help

Dec 2nd, 2018, 10:29 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2018
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3rd Family trip to Costa Rica -itinerary help

I am currently planning a 12 day trip to Costa Rica for my family (kids aged 9 and 7). This will be our third trip and our kids are great travellers. Our main interest is birding and wildlife. Our family also loves snorkeling. During our last 2 trips we have visited Arenal, Manuel Antonio and the OSA (Bosque del Cabo) and loved all of it. This year we were thinking of spending time on the Caribbean coast for a new experience. Reading about Cahuita it seems that the snorkeling is quite good. Can anyone confirm if that is true? If it is we would like to spend an extra day or two on the Caribbean coast to snorkel.

Our tentative itinerary is the following:

Day 1: Arrive late and stay at airport hotel
Day 2 -6: Drive to Tulemar and unwind/relax on the beach
Day 6 -8: Drive back to Central Highlands for 2 nights. We are thinking of staying at Rancho Naturalista. Our son loves birds and particularly birds of prey (his dream is to spot an ornate hawk eagle - I know thatís a long shot!) Any other suggestions of where to stay would be appreciated!!
Day 8 - 12: Tortuguero, looking at Tortuga Lodge or Laguna Lodge. Interested in touring the canal and spotting birds, caimans etc. Also hiking in the park. If itís worth it we would take a day trip to Cahuita for Snorkeling
Day 12: Drive back to San Jose and stay at airport hotel

How does this itinerary sound? Is Cahuita worth the trip? If not we may be staying inTortuguero too long. Thanks in advance!
sklejman is offline  
Dec 2nd, 2018, 02:22 PM
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We love Tulemar, that's a great pick. Have heard good things about Rancho Naturalista. Selva Verde is another one you might like - great birding on site, tons of toucans around, and we did a fun boat ride where we saw several species of monkeys, cool birds, and a big croc. We've stayed at Tortuga Lodge and loved it. It's one of the few lodges that doesn't put you into a tour group; we liked doing our own thing at our own pace vs. being part of a big tour group. We stayed in Tortuguero two nights and that was perfect for us; we spent most of our time riding in the canals looking for wildlife. The turtle season for the ones we saw was July through October.
volcanogirl is offline  
Dec 2nd, 2018, 05:04 PM
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You cannot really do a day trip to Cahuita from Tortuguero. I would divide the trip into 2 nights in Tortuguero then 2-4 days in Cahuita or Puerto Viejo.
MichelleY is offline  
Dec 2nd, 2018, 07:59 PM
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Thanks for the replies and suggestions. Good to know about the distance between Tortuguero and Cahuita. Have you tried snorkeling there? Is it worth the trip?
sklejman is offline  
Dec 3rd, 2018, 08:35 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Didnít snorkel, so canít give a review.
MichelleY is offline  
Dec 3rd, 2018, 08:54 AM
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Unlikely that Cahuita would be worth a trip for the snorkeling. Main attraction there really is the wildlife and hike (best place in the country to spot sloths).

We spent three nights at Tortuga Lodge and loved it (but it's NOT cheap). There's hiking on the lodge grounds, but it's really really muddy (I would imagine would be muddy anywhere there's 'solid' ground in the area). Highlight of our night walk was a 7 foot long Fer-de-Lance--her head must have been as big as a coffee mug. Most tour packages there include the standard post breakfast boat tour--I would recommend springing for the early morning tour and the afternoon tour--the canals are really depending on the time of day.

Here's our trip report for Tortuguero and the South Caribbean (Cahuita, Gandoza-Manzanillo, and Puerto Viejo):

Costa Rica Caribbean trip report--February 2018
RAC is offline  
Jan 1st, 2019, 02:36 PM
Join Date: Jul 2015
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What time of year? We were in Cauhita in July and the ocean was rough and muddy. We are from CA, but I wouldnít even let my teen go in past his thighs. Iíve seen beautiful pictures of snorkeling in the area, but I think that happens in December.
florclover is offline  
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