Costa Rica with 4 kids

Old Aug 9th, 2006, 06:53 AM
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Costa Rica with 4 kids

I have learned so much by reading the messages here! It's been far and away the most information I have found, and the spirit of cooperation is terrific. Has anyone had an amazing time with young-ish kids in Costa Rica? We plan to travel in February with kids aged 8-11. A friend wrote a magazine article on family vacations at Playa Negra Resort and recommended it to us. It's difficult to find info about it; the website is somewhat primitive. We know it's about a 45-minute drive from Liberia. Does anyone have first-hand or reliable knowledge of this resort?
Or a resounding recommendation for another kid-friendly venue? Kid-friendly doesn't have to mean Atlantis-like (that's not really our thing), more along the lines of cooperative, friendly and not too expensive. Thanks!!
madigang is offline  
Old Aug 9th, 2006, 07:58 AM
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Hi madigang,
Playa Negra is a little off the beaten path, just a short distance from Tamarindo, and is primarily used by surfers. It would actually take more like 1.5 hour to get there from Liberia.

Just about anyplace you visit in Costa Rica is going to appeal to your children. You will never be far away from wildlife, hiking, beach fun, canopy tours (your kids would love the ziplines especially). The would probably also enjoy Monkey Park, a rehab facility where they could hold the tiny baby howler monkeys. It is close to Playa Negra, between Belen and Huacas (both of which you will pass through en route to Playa Negra).

This entire area of the Pacific Coast is worth exploring. There are lots of beaches all within a short drive. We especially like Playa Flamingo and the Flamingo Beach Resort which has a huge pool your kids would enjoy--and easy access to the beach and those marvelous sunsets. They offer very good prices from time to time. I wouldn't choose their all-inclusive package, though. There are better restaurants in the area, especially in Brasilito.

I'm assuming you've looked at a map. The other area with excellent beaches is Manuel Antonio (central Pacific). The park is well worth your time with a guide and inside the park are some gorgeous swimmable beaches. Swimmable is the key word, because many of Costa Rica's beaches have currents that are dangerous to swimmers. I'm not sure about Negra. Sometimes the surf beaches are problematic for swimmers.

Another good area is further north around Playa Hermosa. It is close to Rincon de la Vieja National Park which offers horseback riding, ziplines, mudbaths (kind of fun!) and a huge water slide down the mountain your children are sure to enjoy! I think that package is Buena Vista Megacombo, or something like that. It's been a few years since we did it. In Playa Hermosa there is El Velero (right on the beach) and Villas del Sueno--those are the 2 hotels I'd recommend. They both get get reviews.

The Playa Hermosa area is only about 20 minutes from Liberia and the airport. From there you can take the Monkey Road (Congo Trail) down to the Flamingo/Tamarindo/Negra area. We found it to actually be a better road than the highway last month.

Whatever you decide, fear not. . your children will have a wonderful time! Costa Rica is fun of wonder for all ages.

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Old Aug 9th, 2006, 09:19 AM
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Playa Flaming is my favorite, there is so much to do within a short drive. I love the Bahia Del Sol hotel on the beach.
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Old Aug 9th, 2006, 12:37 PM
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Bahia del Sol is actually in Playa Potrero, about 5 minutes from Flamingo. That is a nice area as well, and when you do the Monkey Trail drive from Playa Hermosa, you arrive in Potrero first. Across from Bahia del Sol is a delightful restaurant (the name escapes me--something Castle). We've eaten there several times--excellent bakery and good sandwhiches, fish and chips, etc. They were doing a little remodeling first of July added an outdoor dining area. It was almost completed. This is a very nice area--as is Playa Penca right there by Playa Potrero. More of a country feel, less of a "developing area" feel . . .at least for now!

By the way, bfish, I'm not correcting you--just clarifying for madigang. Don't want to be misunderstood!
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Old Aug 10th, 2006, 04:31 PM
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We were just at Playa Negra, not the resort but the beach. It was more a surfing beach, very rocky, but beautiful. We stayed in Tamarindo and drove there for a day. Not only is it a difficult drive filled with nothing but pot holed roads, signage is a bit sketch. Just follow the red arrows on the trees. Took us 1 1/2 to get there (20 km) and 45 back after we realized that we should just power thru the potholes. We also went to Playa Choncal. The most beautiful beach we saw in CR. Flamingo Resort was nice, my kids thought it would be fun. Pretty quiet when we went there for lunch. If we had to do it over again, we would probably check out the resort at Playa Choncal.
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Old Aug 11th, 2006, 07:47 AM
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There is a nice Italian restaurant in Playa Potrero called Marco Polo. My husband and I ate there twice.

Sugar Beach hotel which is on the winding mountain road outside of Potrero is a very nice hotel. The rooms were lovely and the food was good.

Having stayed there as well as Manuel Antonia, I think that Manuel Antonio has more to offer in terms of nearby tours and national parks to visit with kids.
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Old Aug 11th, 2006, 01:04 PM
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i agree with previous posters suggestions for playa hermosa:

itīs safe swimming and an excellent base for local tours and only 35 mins drive from Liberia Airport.
You should not miss the volcano Arenal near the town of La Fortuna:

natural hot springs, waterfalls and a croicodile sanctuary 10 minswalk from the high street!!
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Old Aug 11th, 2006, 02:42 PM
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We travelled to CR last November with our 5 and 8 year olds. Their favorite places/hotels were Los Lagos in the Arenal area (loved the Cano Negro wildlife boat trip), and Costa Verde at Manuel Antonio.
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