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Costa Rica w kids--Manuel Antonio, Papgayo and Arenal Volcano?

Costa Rica w kids--Manuel Antonio, Papgayo and Arenal Volcano?

Old Jul 19th, 2012, 04:26 PM
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Costa Rica w kids--Manuel Antonio, Papgayo and Arenal Volcano?

My family of four (including a 10 year old and a 4 year old) will spend 10 - 12 days in Costa Rica in late August-early Sept. I would like to divide it into three legs (in any order)--a few days at the Four Seasons Papagayo, a few days at Manuel Antonio and likely stay at Como Si No and Arenal Volcano and possibly stay at Tabacon Hot Springs Spa, though I am open to any kid-friendly hotel nearby. I am lost on what is the best way to go from place to place--flights or rental car or shuttle/group transfer. Can I get your advice? Also, is it realistic to do these three locations in 10-12 days? Many thanks for guidance!
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Old Jul 19th, 2012, 05:06 PM
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We went to Costa Rica in August 2004, & we rented a car & my husband and daughter took turns driving. The signage at the time wasn't that great (not sure if it is better now) so you do have to pay attention & we did make a few wrong turns, but we figured it out & had some laughs. You do have to be careful driving over the mountains. And we did NOT drive over the mountains at night. We like having the freedom of a rental car instead of depending on bus or shuttle schedules.

We stayed at La Colina in Quepos (near Manuel Antonio), then drove to Arenal & stayed at Arenal Paraiso, then spent one night near Poas at Poas Volcano Lodge, & spent our last 2 nights at Orquideas Inn near San Jose. I am quite sure ours was a 10-day trip. I think we stayed 3 nights MA, 3 nights Arenal, one night Poas, & 2 nights Orquideas. The drive from MA to Arenal took all day but the scenery was beautiful & we made stops for lunch, bathroom breaks, etc.

Hope this helps.
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Old Jul 19th, 2012, 05:13 PM
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If you're adventurous, rent a car and drive it; if you just want to sit back and relax and enjoy the views, hire a private driver. We book them through our hotels when we reserve them.
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Old Jul 20th, 2012, 06:00 AM
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Thanks so much for the responses!
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Old Jul 21st, 2012, 06:06 AM
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You definitely have enough time to see each place. You could rent a car, get one with a GPS and if you have a concierge at any of the hotels you can ask them to help you with directions. You can also take a private van from each location, which is nice because then you can make as many stops as you like. Another option would be the shared buses with either Interbus or Greyline. There are also short domestic flights through Nature Air.

In the Arenal area some other kid-friendly hotel options are the Lost Iguana and The Springs. Also in Arenal, definitely go to the hot springs at Tabacon even if you don't stay there, Sky Trek Adventures is an amazing and very fun - but high and fast - zipline. They also have a tram and sky bridge for those that don't want to participate in the zipline aspect. Pure Trek Canyoning is great as well.

In Manuel Antonio your kids will love the Si Como No hotel, waterslides - plus they have one of the best breakfast buffets in the area. For activities in MA I recommend going to white water rafting with Amigos Del Rio, they do an amazing job, the guides are great and your kids would enjoy the trip. Canopy Safari is a good kid-friendly option for ziplining, they also have a serpentarium and butterfly garden.

Enjoy your Costa Rica adventure!
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Old Jul 21st, 2012, 06:58 AM
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Just a heads up that that can be a really rainy time for a lot of areas of CR. I'd recommend packing some books, DVDs, etc. in case you get some rain. I probably wouldn't do Interbus for a family of 4. You'd end up paying pretty close to what you'd pay for a private driver since Interbus charges per person. In Manuel Antonio, we were able to walk to a lot of places because things are close together; the Arenal area is much more spread out. I think Si Como No has a shuttle to the beach, but double check me on that.
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Old Aug 7th, 2012, 10:28 PM
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Yes, you can cover those areas in 10 to 12 days. I don't recommend renting a car. The roads are terrible beyond words and the driving routes can be very confusing. You will have less stress if you book private minivan transfers between those three points.
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