Cloud Forest-Costa Rica, Honduras, or Panama?

Old Jan 4th, 2000, 11:33 AM
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Cloud Forest-Costa Rica, Honduras, or Panama?

I need some general guidance. I will be travelling with small children (6& 7) and the other adult has MS (mild). So major considerations are cool temperatures, decent tourist infrastructure and the ability to see the forest without hiking 2 miles up a mountain. However, I still want something slightly off the beaten track. ( I want my kids to actually see some wildlife in its natural habitat, without crowds of other people watching the same thing.) Our vaction is still a ways off, but would like some general ideas as to which places might be worth a closer look. (I admit that I also want to see some ruins and go snorkling which is inconsistent with the above trip but any ideas on how to work those in would be appreciated!)
Old Jan 16th, 2003, 08:18 AM
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Went to costa rica last april, and just got back from honduras. I would recommend honduras. I couldn't beleive how lush it was there. Much more tropial than costa rica. It was amazing. Reminded me of jurasic park.
Old Jan 16th, 2003, 03:59 PM
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David, as far as tourist infrastructure goes, Costa Rica is wonderful.As far as cloud forest goes, the Monteverde area is great, but can be crowded in peak season (which is now... so it depends on when you are planning to go). To beat crowds while hiking in the Monteverde area (at any time of year) the Santa Elena Cloud Forest is wonderful. Not as busy as the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. It's beautiful and you'll see wildlife if you hire a guide (pay a little more for a private guide and it's totally worth it.... arrange through your hotel).

I'm not sure what areas of Costa Rica that Dee must have visited, but I can't imagine anyone saying that Honduras is "more tropical" than Costa Rica... doesn't make sense. CR is extremely lush, especially in the cloud forest areas. I can't imagine any more foliage being packed into one place! Since Dee mentions Jurassic Park... ironically, Jurassic Park was partly filmed in Costa Rica! (as well as CA and Hawaii).

You can snorkel in CR, but unfortunately no ruins (although you're right... that seems like it might be another trip because of temperature.)
Old Jan 16th, 2003, 07:02 PM
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we stayed at the papagayo in guanacaste
in costa rica, and the barcelo, palma real beach resort and casino. Next town was la cieba.
Old Jan 16th, 2003, 07:46 PM
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Hi David
I love Costa Rica and recommend it highly. That said...have you looked into Belize. There are some lovely lodges up in the mountains. Not crowded. A little rough going on the roads up there but lots of ruins, wildlife, waterfalls. Not a true rainforest area because the trees were all stripped away many years ago from a big Hurricane. There are many many trees now but they are much younger than in say Monteverde. Mostly pine trees. There is another great place not quite so high in the mountains but still a comfortable temp called Jaguar Paw Resort (a bit pricey but lots of options for tours). You could then spend a couple of days by the shore for some of the best snorkeling/diving you could ever imagine.
There are some absolutely wonderful places in CR but the cool temps are a problem. Non touristy places and cool weather are not all that easy. Factor in the kids and having things for them and you are talking tourist areas. Tortuguero has lots to see (mostly by boat). There are some really nice places in Drake Bay. Both places less crowded with wildlife but hot. Rara Avis has lots to see and is really out of the way in the rainforest (no crowds here). Pretty warm here too.
You could find a hotel in Arenal that has its own reserve and hiking trails but there would still be a fair amount of people. Arenal Paraiso, Montana de Fuego are not in the center of the tourist activity but close enough to give you the option and both have really good views of the volcano. The temps are very comfortable there also.

Old Jan 18th, 2003, 08:49 AM
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I would be a little concerned about security issues with kids in Honduras. I enjoy Honduras and would go back, but it is the only place I have ever been robbed in Latin America and there are lots of guns and machetes around. IMHO the best way to do Honduras is with someone that lives there.
Old Jan 20th, 2003, 08:55 AM
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We are planning to visit Copan Honduras this February where my daughter currently lives. Copan hs the best Mayan ruins in the world(according to guidebooks) -not as large as Tikal guatamala but better and not overrun with tourists. The Bay Islands in Honduras have snorkeling and there is a new ecolodge called the lodge at Pico Bonito (expensive) which might meet your other needs. From research and from what my daughter has told us it appears certain that Costa Rica has a much more developed tourist infrastructure. You and your kids will definitely need shots for Honduras and malaria pills if you visit the coast. Although night travel is not recommended, crime against tourists is not a problem although many people do carry guns and machetes as mentioned in the previous article. You also have to be careful about what you eat and drink-very careful. God luck.
Old Jan 25th, 2003, 07:42 PM
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Costa Rica is a safe place for all - remember, no matter where you go you must always travel with caution but we felt rather safe in CR and you can eat,drink the water, and enjoy all the food there. Also, you don't need any shots for anything and you don't see people carrying weapons in any part of the country, which would really be frightening for kids. You decide.
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