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5-7 days young children. CR?

Old Mar 8th, 2012, 07:16 AM
  #1  
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5-7 days young children. CR?

We want to take a last minute family vacation in mid-April. We're considering Costa Rica and are wondering if it is a good option for our family. Children will be 5 and 8 months at the time of trip. We can go for no longer than one week. We prefer to stay in one place, although I might consider two different places. We NEED a place with a kitchen. Budget is pretty low but we don't have very high standards. Interests include looking at beautiful scenery, hiking, and in general experiencing things that we don't have at home. We like the beach but as we live in Florida, we're not interested in making that a central part of our vacation. The 8-month-old will just be able to go along for the ride but we need to find some child-centered activities for the 5-year-old. A playground would probably suffice.

Does Costa Rica sound like it would be an appropriate destination? If not, any other suggestions? Where in CR would you suggest? It seems like Arenal and MA are the two most recommended places but it seems like a lot of travel time.
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Old Mar 8th, 2012, 10:35 AM
  #2  
mad
 
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I think if you don't mind driving a bit, it's doable. We just got back from CR- we've been there twice with our young son. Both times were mainly beach focused. We ran into a couple at the airport with a baby and a 6 year old who had just rented a house on Lake Arenal. It really worked for them. You may want to check on vrbo.com and see if you can find something. I imagine the flight from FL is short to San Jose and then you'd need to drive for about 3 hrs. if I recall. You could spend a night in SJ to break it up.
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Old Mar 8th, 2012, 10:53 AM
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The Arenal area is nice. Great hiking at the Hanging Bridges, volcano, and waterfall. There are a lot of stairs at the waterfall, so you'd have to be comfortable carrying the baby. There's a beautiful shallow river at the base where you can swim. There are also nice natural hot springs. We like Eco Termales, and it's nice because they limit entry to 100 people so it's not too loud or crowded. I'd also recommend visiting Proyecto Asis animal rescue center where the kids can get close to the wildlife and feed monkeys, sloths, and other animals. Tons of great adventure activities, but you're limited by what you can do with children that young. There's a Penas Blancas river float if you're comfortable doing that; we saw monkeys and sloths when we did it. If one of you wants to zipline, the others could ride the tram at Sky Trek. There's a nice small park in the center of town. I don't remember seeing any playgrounds. Los Lagos and Silencio del Campo are very popular with young families. Most places don't have kitchens, but would probably have a sink, coffee maker, small frig, etc.

Manuel Antonio is probably the most popular place to go with young children, but if you're not looking for a beach vacation I'd go elsewhere. If you change your mind, Tulemar Bungalows is popular.
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Old Mar 9th, 2012, 07:35 AM
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The beauty of Costa Rica is that you can do either eco-adventure, rainforest, jungle or beach easily, especially on the West Coast. Check out the Recreo (private villas) near Playa Rajada and the Bay of Salinas, the Reserva El Conchal with impeccable condos and villas in Guanacaste or the Four Seasons Costa Rica with suites and villas in a secluded natural sanctuary with jungles on one side and beaches on the other. Families love all of these resorts!

Best Regards,
Julia
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Old Mar 9th, 2012, 01:12 PM
  #5  
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Thinking about it more, I think we need to just stay in one place. I have no idea how the baby will react and what kind of schedule we'll be on so I don't want to feel pressured into fitting a lot of things in. Arenal appeals to me, though I'm disappointed that the volcano is no longer active. Are there many low cost things to do? It seems like there are a lot of expensive tours. I've seen some places to rent on Lake Arenal but I don't know how far they are to the attractions. Being able to self cater is non-negotiable for this trip. Thanks for the advice.
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Old Mar 9th, 2012, 02:31 PM
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juliae, they want a fairly low budget place - I'm thinking the Four Seasons is pretty pricey.

Mia, I think most things that you do there will charge a fee. I know we paid about ten dollars each to enter the waterfall grounds, there's a charge for the Hanging Bridges, etc. Most people do do a lot of tours there. That's one of the reasons that people like to go to Manuel Antonio with young kids I think - because you can just relax at the beach there. The lake Arenal area is very pretty, and you can go hiking there for free. I'm just not sure what you would do in the way of activities unless you just want to relax and enjoy the view.
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Old Mar 9th, 2012, 04:09 PM
  #7  
mad
 
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I know it's not what you're looking for, but if you want a fairly economical kid friendly trip, you might want to look at flying into Liberia and going to Playa Samara. We were there many years ago and found it a very easy place to stay with a variety of well priced restaurants and nice beach for kids. everything was in walking distance. Villas Kalimbas has some really nice two bedroom villas with a pool. nicest people ever own the place and will help you with anything you need. I know it's the beach mostly, but I think you could do some day trips from there. Just a thought, as I know how hard it is to travel with little kids!
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Old Mar 9th, 2012, 06:01 PM
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Thanks, mad, but it's an easy and relatively affordable flight to SJO, which is one of the reasons we're considering it.

I expect paying something to enter NPs and such but theme park prices aren't something we could swing.
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