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anne Jan 28th, 2002 12:49 PM

8 days in Costa Rica with kids
I am looking for any guidance on seeing Costa Rica with children (2 girls - 10 & 7). We are renting a car and I feel overwhelmed with all of the choices. We are trying to travel economically and we like to see things that are not on the typical tourist itinerary. Thank you very much.

Iza Jan 28th, 2002 02:26 PM

Anne, I found this report to be excellent help when I was planning our trips to CR (we went twice with our daughter who was 6 and 7 years old, respectively, at the time):<BR><BR>The report also refers to an excellent web site with lots of information and links (and other trip reports) - make sure you check it out and check all the pages (there are signs at the bottom of each page directing you to more pages).<BR>I am not sure if I can help you more because we stayed mostly at high end places (for CR) and followed typical tourist itinerary (Arenal, Tamarindo, Manuel Antonio, Osa Penninsula etc.). One thing I can say though is that our daughter absolutely loved CR (and so did we) and even the touristy areas are wonderful (we went in August so things were not very crowded). Please post here if you have any specific questions.

Brad Feb 1st, 2002 02:21 PM

Iza,<BR><BR>I am curious where you stayed. Frankly budget is not a concern for us. We are going with another family so there will be four adults and four kids (9,7,6,5).<BR><BR>We are thinking of renting a car or using drivers. What do you think of the options? Could we get a driver which could fit eight people.<BR><BR>Thanks,<BR><BR>Brad<BR><BR>Brad

ALF Feb 1st, 2002 10:38 PM

We just came back from a 16-day trip with our kids, aged 10 & 13, and they had a blast. We rented a car and drove all over the Pacific coast, from Nicaragua to Panama. My advice, if you do not want to take the typical tourist route, is GO SOUTH. Everyone heads out of San Jose up to Arenal and Monteverde, then westward into Guanacaste. All these places are nice, but the high alpine cloudforests and coastal rainforests south of San Jose are wonderful. The cloudforests near Sierra del Muerte are less than 2 hours from San Jose on the Pan American Highway. We stayed at a great place near the tiny village of Canon, called Genesis II reserve. Very rustic and not at all fancy, but REALLY off the beaten path. They can only take about 6-8 guests at a time, and will take you on guided walks through their hiking trails and a "canopy tour" (zipping from tree to tree suspended from a cable). Not that cheap, but we felt it was worth it. There are other places to stay along the highway throughout this area. The other region we liked was the Oso Peninsula, and specifically, Corcovado National Park. Most of the lodges there are accessible only by boat, providing a feeling of really being 'away'. We did some great snorkeling, horseback riding, hiking, and swimming there. Again, many of the lodges are not that cheap, but again, we felt that it was worth it. I will tell you that if you asked our kids what the best part of the trip was, they will tell you playing on the beaches of Guanacaste, specifically Playa Hermosa; which was nice, but not that special.

dean Feb 2nd, 2002 04:02 AM

We checked out Genesis II and it is, like Alf said, very rustic place and not funcy. However, for what you get there it is a very expensive place. For the same price in the same area you can easily find a place where you will have your private bathroom with hot water showers. And believe it or not, not everyone is dismissing south of San Jose. We stayed in one place for four days and the place was full. As you see there are people who are interested in staying near Cerro de la Muerte. However, I wouldn't go there with small kids. I would say that Monteverde, regardless of very bad roads, will be more appealing. Also to see all monkeys, toucans, macawas and be near the ocean Osa Peninsula is the place to go. You do not need to stay in Lapa Rios (affordable only for rich) to see all that Osa Peninsula have to offer.

Gina Feb 2nd, 2002 04:11 AM

Brad, we used private transportation between all four places we stayed in and from/to the airport. We had six different drivers and the best was Danny from This driver is recommended by Lapa Rios.<BR>We were always transported in a van (and there were only two of us). There was enough room for 8 people.

Iza Feb 3rd, 2002 08:06 AM

Brad, we went to CR twice and stayed at the following places:<BR>Xandari and Vista del Valle outside San Jose (both recommended highly, although we preferred Xandari)<BR>Si Como No in Manuel Antonio - our daughter really loved it; we liked it too<BR>Lapa Rios on Osa Penninsula - a great experience but the weather could have been better<BR>Capitan Suizo in Tamarindo - this is our family's favorite place in CR - we stayed there twice and would love to return for another vacation there<BR>El Jardin del Eden in Tamarindo - not recommended<BR>Arenal Paraiso - OK but there are probably better choices in that area (check out Montana de Fuego).<BR>I think you can find a driver with a van that could accommodate 8 people. We flew on the domestic airlines a few times and also rented a car (Nissan Pathfinder - expensive but worth it for comfort and added safety). Driving in CR is not a problem if you follow the usual safety precautions and give yourself sufficient time. Please post here if you have any further questions.

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