Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Mexico & Central America
Reload this Page >

Advice needed on where to stay? Quepos, Osa, Malpais?

Advice needed on where to stay? Quepos, Osa, Malpais?

Jan 4th, 2005, 10:04 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 86
Advice needed on where to stay? Quepos, Osa, Malpais?

I am a newbie to CR - I have read MANY posts on this, but still need some advice. We are a family of 4 -one 16 year old and a 5 year old. I have found houses/villas that look great and are available, but they are in 3 different areas. The regions are Osa, Quepos (Playa Matapalo I think),Tamarindo, and Malpais (Santa Teresa). Here's what we're looking for:
wildlife -my 5 year old can't wait to see monkeys
surfing - for beginners/novices
easier swimming - riptides a concern (I'm aware that the above 2 often conflict)
beautiful beaches
funky beach bars within walking distance
Thanks so much in advance!
Chuckster is offline  
Jan 5th, 2005, 01:13 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 141
Hello, on Peninsula de Osa in the Corcovado NP is the best wildlife, the Mascaws are great. Near Quepos is the Manuel Antonio NP with nice beach and monkeys, but maybe crowded. Malpais is beautiful for surf. Tamarindo has good nightlife and good waves for surf. There is also a lifeguard at the beach. A few Howler monkey families are in Tamarindo and on the way to Liberia is a Monkeypark.
Have much fun in Costa Rica
Saludo
costaklaus - www.costaricaweb.de
costaklaus is offline  
Jan 5th, 2005, 05:05 AM
  #3  
Iza
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 800
How long will you have in Costa Rica? That will greatly influence your decision on where to stay. Also, let us know when you are going as the weather varies depending on location and time of year.

Here is a brief description of the areas you listed:
- Osa - remote but incredibly beautiful if you are looking for a true nature experience. Least developed of the areas you listed. People stay in lodges that provide accommodations and food, there are no "funky beach bars" within walking distance but wildlife is abundant. Driving is not recommended, you should fly there from San Jose. I would probably hesitate to go there with a 5 year old (and some of the lodges do not accept children that young)

- Quepos/Manuel Antonio - easy to get to from San Jose (drive or fly); compact national park; the area is well developed and rather touristy but still a great place to experience the jungle and the ocean. Due to the hilly terrain walking to bars and restaurants is limited (but there are taxis, shuttles and buses)

- Malpais - this is a surfers' paradise with beautiful beaches; not easy to get to; swimming only at low tide; this is an up and coming area with a number of nice hotels and some pleasant beach bars but it is spread out (car is recommended)

- Tamarindo - well developed compact town with plenty of nice restaurants and bars; the beach has some surfing and some swimming is possible too; it is fairly easy to walk from the hotels to restaurants and shops; the beach is not as beautiful as the beaches in Malpais or Manuel Antonio but has wonderful sunsets.

You will be able to see wildlife in all of these locations. Based on what you are looking for, I would recommend either Quepos/Manuel Antonio or Tamarindo/Playa Grande.
Iza is offline  
Jan 5th, 2005, 07:22 AM
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 86
Thanks so much for your quick replies. Iza, in answer to your questions, we are going in late March and will be there for 7 days.
Thanks again!
Chuckster is offline  
Jan 5th, 2005, 08:56 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 10,212
Wow, Iza, that was a great response! I imagine you have helped a LOT of people with that one! No one could've described those areas better!
shillmac is offline  
Jan 6th, 2005, 05:46 AM
  #6  
Iza
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 800
Chuckster, I think in March I would pick Manuel Antonio over Tamarindo, as Tamarindo will be still dry at that time of the year (we go in August when all of Costa Rica is lush and green, but during the dry season the areas on the northwest coast are dusty and brown). I think that with 7 days you could visit Manuel Antonio and another area (Arenal is a popular place to see an active volcano), but if you like staying in one place instead of moving from one place to another, Manuel Antonio could certainly keep a family occupied for a week. Keep in mind that depending on your flight times you may need to stay in San Jose area for the first and last night of your trip. Consider renting a car (you don't need a 4 wheel drive in Manuel Antonio area) and explore surrounding beach areas as well.
I think Osa would also be lovely in March but, again, with a 5 year old, I would not go there.

Not sure how Malpais is in March - whether it is dry or stays green, maybe someone else can tell us.

Enjoy your trip!

Shillmac, thanks for you kind words!
Iza is offline  
Jan 6th, 2005, 09:35 AM
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 86
Thanks for all the helpful information. I think Manuel Antonio will work for us. We are going to fly Sansa to Quepos, then rent a car. We have reserved a house on the beach. I can not wait to get there! I will post a report when we return.
Chuckster is offline  
Jan 6th, 2005, 11:24 AM
  #8  
Iza
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 800
You are welcome, Chuckster.
I am curious about that house you reserved in Quepos as there aren't many accommodations on the beach in that area. Can you share some info on it?
Iza is offline  
Jan 6th, 2005, 12:26 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 10,212
MalPais is dry in March. I did see some green, but it was covered in dust from the road and looked brown! The locals mentioned that Montezuma falls are much prettier in the green season.
shillmac is offline  
Jan 6th, 2005, 12:27 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 10,212
Sorry, I should have added: We loved it anyway! Great area!
shillmac is offline  
Jan 6th, 2005, 01:55 PM
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 86
The house is through VRBO.com. It's actually on Playa Matapalo. Although I haven't heard from the homeowner for a few days, so I'm getting a bit concerned! Wish there was a way to check out the owners/renters like on Ebay! If this doesn't pan out, we have a house in the hills of MA on hold.
Chuckster is offline  
Jan 6th, 2005, 02:29 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 52
Hey Chuckster,
I have been following your post. We love Manuel Antonio. When I saw that you've reserved a house through VRBO it caught my attention. We stayed at Villa La Macha, VRBO #8747. Just wanted to say it worked great for us and we are returning to the same place next week.
I dont know what your budget is, but this place is great. It overlooks the pacific and has its own private beach. The price also includes a local tica that prepares meals and cleans, and a tico that shops for groceries, takes care of the pool etc. These local people were the highlight of our trip. We became friends with them right away (one of the main reasons for our return).
So if your first house doesn't pan out you may want to check out this one.
TRIP
Trippie is offline  
Jan 7th, 2005, 06:24 AM
  #13  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 86
Trippie
I immediately went to the website for the villa you recommended - and RATS- it's already reserved for the week we're there! Looks gorgeous, though. Thanks for the info.
Chuckster is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
mad
Mexico & Central America
28
Oct 10th, 2011 03:03 PM
Lauren44
Mexico & Central America
5
Aug 11th, 2009 01:50 PM
hipvirgochick
Mexico & Central America
11
Sep 9th, 2006 08:23 PM
judyrose
Mexico & Central America
11
Jan 12th, 2005 02:21 PM
judy
Mexico & Central America
7
Jan 20th, 2003 01:43 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 01:25 AM.