Costa Rica minus the drive

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Jan 29th, 2014, 08:35 AM
  #1
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Costa Rica minus the drive

Wow, I have planned a lot of family trips and none have been as challenging as this Costa Rica one! There are so many places and I really don't even know where to start.
I'll be concise. Here is what am am looking for
-I want the beach and the rainforest without having to drive 4-5 hours from san José airport.
-I want a home to rent not a hotel room (a private pool would be a nice bonus)
-I want to be near waterfalls
-I want to be able to see monkeys from my patio
-I want to be able to walk to the beach
I have been looking into Dominical and everything about it seems perfect except that long drive from the airport. I don't know if I want to drive all that way after a long day of flights. Is there anywhere maybe only 1-2 hours from san José that is laid back with rain forest and beautiful beaches?
I would really appreciate any advice!
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Jan 29th, 2014, 08:52 AM
  #2
RAC
 
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No, there isn't any such place. There are places that meet a lot of those criteria, but San Jose is smack dab in the central valley/plateau, surrounded by mountains.

I would recommend figuring out which features are "must haves" and which are optional, and working from there.

Have you looked into taking an internal flight on Sansa or Nature Air?
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Jan 29th, 2014, 09:32 AM
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If you would consider a 3 hour drive, I think Manuel Antonio would fit your other requirements. We stayed at upper Villa Mot Mot (no private pool) at Tulemar and had monkeys on our balcony every day. There is a private beach that you can walk or shuttle down the hill to. I don't know how many are in your party or what your budget is but there are house rental options at Tulemar that do have private pools http://www.4tulemar.com/
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Jan 29th, 2014, 09:37 AM
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I was going to suggest the same thing that Patty did. We stayed at Tulemar Bungalows and loved it. I got the recommendation on this board. They have their own nice beach, and there are howler, capuchin, and squirrel monkeys on the property. We also saw sloths and an aracari. The drive was a little under three hours for us. Shelter From the Storm is another place that's popular; we haven't been there, but it gets good reviews. I don't think you'll do much better than a three hour drive since SJO is so landlocked. It's not a bad drive at all, and there are cool things to see along the way like the big crocs in the Rio Tarcoles.
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Jan 29th, 2014, 09:52 AM
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It probably was less than 3 hours of actual driving for us too. We had a private driver and he stopped at several places to show us stuff. You don't really need a car once you're in Manuel Antonio so you could just hire a driver to/from the airport if you don't want to drive yourself.
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Jan 29th, 2014, 09:55 AM
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Same with us - had a private driver booked through Tulemar who stopped to show us the crocs. On the way back, we saw a tree full of scarlet macaws that we would have missed on our own - that was so cool.
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Jan 29th, 2014, 01:48 PM
  #7
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Thank you so much for the replies. I am trying to keep it under 2000 for the week. I will look into manuel antonio/Tulemar and see if I can find something in my price range. We need 2 bedrooms since we are bring our 5 year old. I am so excited for him. He is going to LOVE seeing all the wildlife!!
I have looked into flights Sansa and so far each would include a 2 hour layover at SJO- if's that's the case I would rather be driving.I am going to try to plug in difference dates..and see if that helps. Anyone have experience in Domical?
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Jan 29th, 2014, 01:49 PM
  #8
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Patty- I love the idea of hiring a driver. That would be so much more enjoyable for us. About how much would that cost?
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Jan 30th, 2014, 04:34 PM
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I can't remember exactly. I feel like it was around $150 one way.
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Jan 30th, 2014, 07:10 PM
  #10
 
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We haven't stayed there, but Shelter from the Storm is popular.
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Jan 31st, 2014, 07:41 AM
  #11
 
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We loved the Dominical area. There is a lot to do, the scenery is beautiful, and the beaches are not crowded. You will probably find a lot of rental homes with private pools in Dominical to be close to your 2000 a week budget. The problem is that it might be hard to find one within walking distance to the beach, and you have that 4 hour drive from SJO. To get the most out of that area, I recommend having a vehicle since the things to see and do are spread out. I'm just not sure you will have as many wildlife sightings from your patio in the Dominical area as you would in Manuel Antonio - that would depend upon the house you find.

If you are looking for someplace right on the beach with plenty of monkeys, you could check out Ylang Ylang Beach Resort in Montezuma. It's a long drive from SJO, but you could look into flying. Once you are there, you wouldn't need a vehicle, and they have two story rooms.
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Jan 31st, 2014, 08:45 AM
  #12
 
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Hi, I see you are having troubles planning your trip and it shouldnt be that way, costa Rica is a very small country , friendly people and lot a awesome places to visit BUT to get to know all the nice places you need to drive from one place to another and I know it must be tired but I assure you it will be worth it
As I can see you better hire a driver for some good reasons, you do not get lost (we do not have signs-I´m from CR), you do not loss time trying to find your way to the beach or hotel or whatever you are going to, a drive will know which route, he will handle the traffic, he will know where to stop (nice spots for pictures, food or panoramic vies) and overall he will get you safely to hotel or beach while you seat back and relax
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