Costa Rica and two-year-old itinerary

Old Jan 12th, 2008, 10:36 AM
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Costa Rica and two-year-old itinerary

We want to fly to Liberia, CR in March and stay for 7 or 8 nights. I'm looking for advise on taking a two-year-old to Costa Rica. Have looked at Grand Cayman, etc. in Caribbean but really want to go to Costa Rica to see pretty beaches, rainforest, animals, maybe a waterfall.
1. Is it a good destination w/toddler?
2. What hotel (preferably all inclusive) would you pick on the beach that is closer to airport--within an hour? Any hotels where you've seen younger children so she'd have a playmate for beachtime? This hotel would hopefully have medical care available, if needed, close by and a great pool area.
3. Would you suggest going to Arenal or the Peace Lodge for 3-4 nights? If so, what activities would be appropriate? How far would it be and how would you get there?

Thanks for your advice!
danisunshine is offline  
Old Jan 12th, 2008, 10:58 AM
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Are you booked into Liberia? If not, please consider something besides the all-inclusives of the north Pacific (near Liberia) which will be full of spring breakers!

We have traveled to Costa Rica with our 3 year old granddaughter every year since she was born. This past summer, at 2.5, she loved Peace Lodge. The summer before, she loved being on the beaches of Manuel Antonio for a few days. Costa Rica is a great place with a toddler--the Ticos love children and all the wildlife is exciting for young ones (and old ones!).

You'd need to fly into San Jose for those options, though. Depending on arrival/departure times, you might need to spend first and/or last nights near the airport.

Peace Lodge is fabulous and the grounds would provide all the entertainment you would need for a couple of nights with your daughter. I have serious doubts that they will have availability at this point, but it wouldn't hurt to check. Manuel Antonio has a great beach inside the park for swimming and playing in the sand (2nd beach inside). There is all kinds of wildlife in the park adjacent to the beaches.

If you are already booked into Liberia, then Peace Lodge and Manuel Antonio are both out of the question for you--too far for transfers. It would eat up too much of your valuable time and I can tell you the transfers with a toddler in a carseat are long and tedious and not particularly pleasant. We limit them as much as possible--or keep them to 2 -3 hours max. This 4-6 hour business would NOT be fun (and you'd be surprised how many of the transfers take at least that long--including Liberia to Peace Lodge or Manuel Antonio).

Liberia to Arenal is about 3 hours with some decent places to stop along the way. Arenal seems a bit less of a good place for toddlers, but would still be very do-able.

Flamingo Beach Resort in Playa Flamingo (about 1.5 hour from Liberia) is a good place for toddlers--great pool and kid's pool adjoining it. Iguanas everywhere. And a kids' playground. The beach is right across a narrow dirt road and long and wide and great for sunsets and day-playing in the sand. This is a place we've enjoyed with our granddaughter a couple of different years, including this past summer.

If you are still leaning toward all-inclusives, check out Grand Occidental Papagayo, Fiesta Premier, or Allegro Papagayo, all about 30-40 min. from Liberia.

Further south, at Playa Conchal, is the more upscale Paradisus Playa Conchal (about 1.5 hour away and close to Playa Flamingo).

Hope this helps! Being in CR with a toddler is NOT a problem. Just have to gear it toward her as you know and avoid long uncomfortable drives.
shillmac is offline  
Old Jan 12th, 2008, 11:02 AM
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BTW, keep in mind that March is an extremely hot month for Guanacaste beaches. The climate at Arenal (and the central part of the country) is much cooler. Our trips have been in July when the temps are more moderate and the afternoon rains cool things down a bit.
shillmac is offline  
Old Feb 1st, 2008, 05:44 PM
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shillmac -
This info is helpful - we're taking off in a few weeks for San Jose and making our way to Playa Hermosa with our 4 year old. I'm wondering about other activities with her like boat tours (how big are the boats?), doing those walks with the suspension bridges (are they suitable for kids?), etc. Any insights there?

fuzzbo is offline  
Old Feb 2nd, 2008, 05:55 AM
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Check out the Palo Verde tour. It's a slow boat tour and I think would be okay for a 4 year old. You can google it. Just type in Palo Verde and Costa Rica. She might also enjoy Monkey Park located between Huacas and Belen (about an hour from Hermosa).
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