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Carsick kids - Staying in one place in Costa Rica

Old Dec 14th, 2010, 04:54 PM
  #1  
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Carsick kids - Staying in one place in Costa Rica

I would love to take my kids (8 and 10) on a trip to Costa Rica, but I'm getting a bit overwhelmed by how much driving is involved to see the various sights. I'm starting to feel the pressure of seeing everything on our trip and, with our kids being prone to motion sickness, I'm beginning to wonder if Costa Rica is the right choice. But maybe the pressure isn't necessary? Is there one place where we could spend 5-7 days and see most of what Costa Rica has to offer? Our main priority would be to experience nature - both flora and fauna.
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Old Dec 14th, 2010, 05:22 PM
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How important is the beach to you? If not important, maybe base yourselves near Arenal volcano. If it is important, maybe base yourselves in Manuel Antonio. You can get a lot of flora/fauna with either, but maybe the volcano would be a better choice with kids, I don't know. But, it's sort of difficult to have both on a trip to CR w/o traveling to and fro.

Have you checked out a place like Leaves and Lizards near Arenal? Maybe you can split your time between two hotels there? Just one thought.

Or, you could spend a few days near Arenal, and then a few days closer to the Sarapiqui area -- they're not that far from each other.
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Old Dec 14th, 2010, 05:41 PM
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The problem is that you still have to get to this one destination you select.

Stretches of the route to Arenal are very twisting and turning. The trip is not for anybody who's prone to motion sickness.

The new highway to the Pacific coast makes for pretty smooth sailing to Manuel Antonio ... if it's open. The highway has been closed so much this past year by landslides because of faulty contruction. When that happens, you are stuck with the old route, portions of which are very twisting and turning.

I'd seriously say if car-sickness is an issue with your kids, don't come to Costa Rica. Maybe they'll outgrow it in a few years. Then it'll be a good option.
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Old Dec 14th, 2010, 05:46 PM
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Thanks for your responses. I think you might be right, Jeff, that we should just wait a couple years and see if they outgrow it. I am also considering the Mayan Riviera/Cozumel, which seems to also have a lot of interesting animals and would much easier to access. It just doesn't sound as interesting as Costa Rica. Oh well - thanks again!
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Old Dec 14th, 2010, 06:34 PM
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Now why can't I be this level headed? I'm so obviously childless!

By the way, if you do end up going the Mayan Riviera route -- I'm headed there in March myself -- maybe check out Punta Laguna: http://www.locogringo.com/past_spotlights/oct2003.cfm

It's near Coba so apparently can be combined on a day trip there -- and the possibility of monkey sightings is pretty high. Not sure at all about the twisty-turniness of the roads though, so can't speak to that issue yet. But I'm getting sort of excited. Definitely not CR, but hopefully something equally adventurous.
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Old Dec 14th, 2010, 06:56 PM
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You could fly to Quepos and then stay in Manuel Antonio? That would avoid the twisty streets and you'd have wildlife and beaches. You could also venture south along the flat Costanera (now paved) to the Dominical area, Hacienda Baru is great for wildlife and has the zipline/canopy combo.

Now that I think about it, I don't think the main highway between San Jose and Manuel Antonio is twisty, either.
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Old Dec 14th, 2010, 07:49 PM
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But is that the main highway that Jeff said is frequently closed?

I don't know why I didn't consider taking small flights within Costa Rica. That's an excellent idea. And thanks for the Hacienda Baru recommendation. I looked it up in my Frommer's guide and it sounds wonderful.

Hmm, maybe this trip will work out after all!
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Old Dec 15th, 2010, 02:34 AM
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My daughter is 14 now & has always suffered from motion sickness. When she was younger she wouldn't take the medication and threw up everywhere we went. After I finally convinced her to try Bonine, everything changed & she hasn't gotten sick since. I love Bonine because it doesn't make you drowsy like Dramamine. I suggest checking into that before deciding not to go. We've traveled extensively throughout CR (via cars & planes) & it's my daughter's favorite place...it would have been a shame if we had missed it because of her motion sickness. Your kids are the perfect age to really appreciate all CR has to offer so I hope it works out for you!
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Old Dec 15th, 2010, 02:43 AM
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My daughter suffers from motion sickness to some extent as well. For some reason she does ok in Costa Rica. I'm not sure why. But we got her the Sea Bands and she did take Dramamine when needed. I think being in a van with a driver instead of a smaller car helped as well. The Dramamine, which made her tired for the longer rides, was a plus because she slept. She'd put her iPod on and nap, so no car sickness. She was 9 on our trip this past summer. We drove from San Jose to Arenal, Arenal to Peace Lodge (on perhaps the worst roads in the country as a result of the prior year's earthquake) and then back to San Jose, then took a flight to Puerto Jimenez. She did fine on the small plane flights. She's been there twice now and has done ok with the car rides.
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Old Dec 15th, 2010, 02:51 AM
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Pleny of nice options close to SJO for you.

www.hotelvillacaletas.com

nice choice for you a little over an hour

from the airport nice pretty

flat downhill drive to the coast.

plenty 2 do for kids in that area

around Tarcoles jungle cruises birds monkeys crocs etc.

Also www.xandari.com VERY close to airport plenty to do

like Poas www.dokaestate.com www.aterfallgardens.com

Prefer CR to Mexico for nature/wildlife/monkeys/birds

unless it is all about the beach

in which case www.cancun.bookit.com many great options

on sale for kids to just play around the resort/beach...

Happy Hunting,
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Old Dec 15th, 2010, 02:52 AM
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www.waterfallgardens.com missed a w somehow...
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Old Dec 15th, 2010, 05:57 AM
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Thank you all for your responses! I'm going to try that Bonine and see if it works. We have a long car trip coming up so I'm going to try it then. And, ShellD, you are right that a little bit of drowsiness isn't the worst thing in the world. And thank you for all those links, qwovadis, I'm going to look at them later today. I'm also going to now search this board for good itineraries but, after researching Manuel Antonio, we definitely want to spend a few days there. Thanks again!
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Old Dec 15th, 2010, 08:22 AM
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If you guys are fit enough to hike uphill for an hour or two the Night in the Jungle at HB would be fun! & I'd be so jealous!

http://www.haciendabaru.com/a-night-in-the-jungle
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Old Dec 15th, 2010, 09:01 AM
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If you only have five days, I'd go to Manuel Antonio and stay somewhere like Tulemar Bungalows or Si Como No. With seven days, I'd do a combo of Manuel Antonio and Arenal - tons to see and do, and you'll have a great beach as well as the active volcano. Los Lagos is really popular with families with young kids - waterslides, etc. I never get carsick, but on our first trip to CR going to Arenal, I got sick. The road is very twisty and turny. Ever since then, I've taken Dramamine and worn Sea Bands and haven't had any problems. And check out Nature Air and Sansa for flights - that's a great suggestion.
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Old Dec 15th, 2010, 10:40 AM
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After looking at prior threads, it does seem that most families split the time between Manuel Antonio and Arenal and now we've decided to go for at least 7 weeks. It seems like it makes sense to fly into San Jose and then out of Libera - or vice versa. I'm going to look into that in order to save some driving time too. That night in the jungle camping trip looks great! Thanks for the link.
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Old Dec 15th, 2010, 10:41 AM
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Oops - meant 7 days. I'd love to go 7 weeks though. Thanks for those accomodation recs, volcanogirl.
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Old Dec 15th, 2010, 11:26 AM
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As a child who was ALWAYS throwing up from motion sickness.. I will respond. Talk to your doctor about giving your children either Bonine or dramamine. These drugs changed my life, and allowed me to experience things that would have been impossible otherwise. I think children of that age would love Arenal. I have not been to Mauel Antonio, but have been to the beaches south of Tamarindo and they would like that too (Junquillal Samara, Playa Giones). The drive from Arenal to the Nicoya P. Is not bad.. even for us pukey types. Go....
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Old Dec 15th, 2010, 03:11 PM
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B, I was about to be very jealous of you! I really think you'd enjoy the split. That's what we did for our first trip, and we got to see some amazing things.
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Old Dec 15th, 2010, 05:53 PM
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I'll be in Costa Rica for the entire month of February with my 8-year-old that is prone to motion sickness, and we'll be taking the bus and driving all over, so thank you all for the advice. I'm mooching off it!
JC
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Old Dec 15th, 2010, 07:00 PM
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B, my daughter & I had amazing 7 days in C.R. this past Aug. She's usually fine with car ride (not good with airplane) but this time she told me she doesn't feel good & had a little motion sickness. She's 12 now and she handles pretty well when she doesn't feel good. Take meds, put on iPod & nap was her way too. She was also careful not eating too much before car ride, avoid greasy/acidic foods...loved gallo pinto but didn't eat sausages/eggs/pancakes with too much syrup if car ride is coming up, and avoid orange juice too. She also had extra saltine crackers from the Lodge's dining, brought it with her. In Costa Rica, many activities/tours start very early in the morning so we went to bed very early too.

I am sure there is the way you & your children can enjoy C.R. Such a beautiful country, keep searching!
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