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costa rica for my 50th

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Aug 29th, 2013, 12:43 PM
  #1
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costa rica for my 50th

Hi. Have been reading so many great trip reports, I think we want to go Costa Rica with our kids (10 and 12) for my 50th next year. Will most likely go in August. Am considering hiring a driver.
This is what I have so far :
Day 1- arrive in San Jose-need to stay in San Jose one night (ideas?)

Day 2-4-Tortuga Lodge for 2 nights . Is this place as amazing as it sounds? Would take boat over and plane back. Looking at upstairs room for breeze. Am thinking August for turtle nesting season.

Day 5 and 6-Arenal-Springs hotel?

Day 7-10-rent privateall inclusive villa in Ocotal, Guanacuaste
fly out on Liberia

I don't think the drives are any more than 3 1/2 hours. I want us to experience different areas of the country and see animals!!

comments?thanks all
plambers is offline  
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Aug 29th, 2013, 05:53 PM
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We really like Grano de Oro in San Jose; it's a beautiful historic hotel with a great restaurant. If you want to get away form the city, Xandari is fantastic. Also really like the Marriott close to the airport; we stayed on points and weren't expecting much, but it was great with beautiful grounds and good restaurants with a nice colonial flair. We even saw parrots in the trees there. Nice pool area which might be good for kids.

Yes, Tortuga Lodge is fantastic. We picked it because some of the other lodges assign you to a group, and we wanted to go at our own pace. Great food and excellent service, fantastic guides as well. We boated over and flew out. We had an upstairs room and really liked it. It felt more private since the windows are screens, as is the case with most of the lodges.

Have not stayed at Arenal Springs, so can't speak to that. Nayara, Silencio del Campo, and the Lost Iguana are popular. If you want fancy, the Springs Resort and Spa is amazing; we stayed on a Groupon deal for half price.

Have not been to Guanacaste. Did you consider Manuel Antonio? Tulemar Bungalows is amazing. We saw monkeys and sloths on the property, and they have their own beach. Lots of good restaurants in the area that are walkable from the villas. Kids love that area, very popular with young families. The national park is gorgeous with a beautiful beach. Tons of fairly tame wildlife there, more monkeys than we could count. The Damas mangrove tour is good as well; monkeys climbed aboard our boat when we did it. Hopefully the Guanacaste folks will chime in for you. Sounds like you have your heart set on staying there.
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Aug 30th, 2013, 07:26 AM
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Volcanogirl, what would i do without you? I was considering Mot Mot in Tulemar but the all inclusive villa in Ocotal is too amazing to pass up.
Won't i see alot of animals in Tortuga Lodge? We want an upstairs room for breeze and privacy. Is it super hot there without ac?
I am also concerned about the rain issue in MA in August. Ocotal should be less rain but it is still the green season.
Thanks for the feedback on San Jose hotels. Since it is the first day there, I dont' want it to be a letdown for kids. Tortuga lodge will only do free transfer for San Jose area.
This plan seems to work for us-now I need to price it and seek if air works. We can only fly out of Liberia on a Saturday.
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Aug 30th, 2013, 09:56 AM
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p, I hope you love the villa. Tortuguero is hot and humid, but not unbearable or anything. It's similar to the Osa, can be pretty warm and muggy. Most of Tortuguero consists of canals, so your time there would primarily be spent in a boat touring them, and that's where you'll see the wildlife. We did see a lot there including monkeys, an otter, crocs, and some cool birds including a toucan, and of course the turtles. I think the room had a ceiling fan, but you might e-mail them to double check. The food is great. Most of the lodges do buffets, so we appreciated the table service. The food was so good that I asked for one of the recipes, and they gave it to me. I'd expect some rain in August. We went in July and got quite a lot, but we were still able to do everything that we wanted. Brings something dark to wear if you're going to go on the night hike to see turtles. They ask you to wear dark clothing on the hike because light colors can confuse the turtles. I look forward to hearing about Ocotal when you get back.
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Aug 30th, 2013, 12:18 PM
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VG, folks seem to love Costa Rica. I just want to make sure we know what we are getting into. We are not exactly a roughing it family and we like our creature comforts.
Tortuguero or MA? At Toruguero, is there any ac (like when you dine?). is it fun to be in heat/humidity/rain? Does everything go on in the rain? i fear we will just end up sitting in our hotel room waiting for the rain to stop.
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Aug 30th, 2013, 01:07 PM
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If you want creature comforts, I really think you would love Manuel Antonio. It's Costa Rica without any suffering - lol! Air conditioned villas, tons of good restaurants, lots of activities - very easy with lots of infrastructure. The vast majority of places in Tortuguero will not have air conditioning. The lodges have screens instead of windows, so ac wouldn't do much good there; it's kind of like fancy camping with cabins. The temps were in the low 90s when we were there. Our dining was done outdoors on an open dock along the water. If you want a.c. and all that, Tortuguero may not be the best spot for you; it's a much more natural get away from it all environment. Most people eat all their meals at their lodges since it's fairly isolated. There's not much to the town itself; the lodges are scattered along the canal. You can't swim in Tortuguero due to sharks, crocs, rough waves, etc. You can kayak there if you want to and go exploring. Think big green trees and twisty turning canals around every turn. Manuel Antonio is your more typical pretty beach area with swimming, sailing, light sand, palm trees, etc. Lots of tours you can do and beach time. Just depends on which is your type of place. The animals in Manuel Antonio are very used to people so you can get pretty close. Most properties will have monkeys and other wildlife. Tulemar has a huge property that you can explore. In Tortuguero, most of the properties are smaller, much less hiking and more kayaking or boating tours. If you want kind of magical, mystical fancy camping on canals, go with Tortuguero. If you want nice relaxing beach vacation, go with Manuel Antonio. If you want to be kind of isolated and go exploring, go with Tortuguero. If you want to be around other people and go to nice restaurants, go to Manuel Antonio. They are really, really different types of places. Regarding the rain, you probably wouldn't see much because the animals tend to hide out until the rain stops. Regarding the heat and humidity, think the Gulf Coast in the summer, and that's pretty similar to what the climate is like.
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Aug 30th, 2013, 02:19 PM
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Great explanation, VG - you nailed it!!
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Sep 8th, 2013, 08:59 PM
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sugiero que vueles a liberia LIR, de alli te dezplaces al resto del pais asi evitaras llegar a la capital que es problematica como toda capital, de guanacaste puedes visitar, arenal, y seguir a tortuguero, tambien la zona de manuel antonio esta a 3h de camino, ademas si quieres puedes como plus visitar nicaragua q esta muy cerca de liberia......
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Sep 9th, 2013, 09:38 AM
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Thank you, Miss col!
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