Costa Rica with small kids...help please

Old Sep 8th, 2005, 10:48 AM
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Costa Rica with small kids...help please

Hi, My husband and I are thinking about going to Costa Rica for 7-9 days on our next family vacation with our two kids ages 4 and 6. I have heard that Costa Rica is amazing, but honestly I don't have a clue about how to start planning a trip. Please give suggestions on where to go, what to see and places to stay. This is what is on our "must have" list.
Wildlife - the kids would love to see all the birds, monkeys, etc.
Beaches - for part of our stay we would love to just relax on a beautiful beach.
Adventure - please suggest things that would be appropriate with small kids.
Local flavor - We don't want any "all-inclusives", we want to experience an authentic CR. We prefer small "boutique style" resorts over "big" hotels.

I am open to all suggestions. Please suggest a good plan for us that will include everything we should do/see, while still being a relaxing vacation. My husband hates to pack & then un-pack, so I am thinging we should limit to two places. Is that possible?

Thanks, Trisha
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Old Sep 8th, 2005, 12:35 PM
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Trisha,

There are so many options for you to consider...here are a few.

December-March is tourist (dry) season and you can really plan to go anywhere you like in the country. The other months require some planning to reduce the rainfall you could anticipate.

Most of the time in rainy season you will still experience sunshine in the morning with showers (sometimes hard) in the afternoon and at night.

A great place for a family vacation on the Caribbean side is Punta Uva between Puerto Viejo and Manzanillo. There are really rustic hotels here and a few nicer ones. Cabin rentals and Las Palmas on Punta Uva would make for a fun, fairly secluded beach vacation. Great hiking is close by with the Cahuita National park and the Gondaco-Manzanillo reserve full of howler monkeys, sloths, birds, butterfly's. The largest coral reef in the country is here and makes for good snorkeling if you like that.

If you want less seclusion you could try Manuel Antonio National park on the Central Pacific. This is very commercialized but has extremely pretty beaches and a nice small park for hiking. Plenty of tour options wherever you go.

Further south of Manuel Antonio and Dominical is Playa Uvita and Ballina National Park. This is a great place for wildlife and calmer beaches. Snorkeling, whale and dolphin watching is big in this area too.

Wherever you go keep in mind that some beaches are surfing oriented while other locations provide a calmer surf for your kids to have fun.

Have a fun vacation!

Roger
http://fun-costa-rica-vacations.com
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Old Sep 9th, 2005, 12:42 PM
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We took both our kids, ages 2 and 4.5, to Costa Rica in July. We'd also taken the older one when she was just shy of two. Kids love Costa Rica because of all of the wildlife to see there--mine would check out crabs and lizards when they got restless during dinner (all the restaurants are open-air). The Costa Rican people are also really tolerant of children--there is no undercurrent of "why did you bring your kids here" that you will notice a lot when you return to the US. You can read my trip reports at http://www.markandmonica.com/Travel/costa_rica_2005.htm and http://www.markandmonica.com/Travel/costa_rica.htm to see where we went and our experiences.
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Old Sep 12th, 2005, 05:47 PM
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Manuel Antonio is a great place for children. Get a guided tour of the park so the kids can see some of the animals, like sloths in trees, through a telescope. They'll be able to see white-faced monkeys up close. The beach is calm and waters are warm. We stayed at Si Como No which is very family friendly. I believe at Finca Valmy Tours, a horseback riding ranch, there are ponies the kids could ride on through a beautiful rural village. We also loved Arenal. See my posting on another email string about our 9 day trip.
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Old Sep 13th, 2005, 09:52 AM
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Most people's experiences in CR with younger kids are positive. Ticos love children and families; at times I think you might get extra consideration. You don't say when you are going but as noted above, high season is approx from Thanksgiving through Easter. June 15 through Labor days are getting busier now since so many families go when school is out. During those busy times its best to make some reservations in advance. Other times its ok to wing it. Don't miss the Arenal area: volcano, hot springs and waterfalls as well as other attractions. The Quepos/ManualAntonio area is nice also. Tamarindo on the Nicoya peninsula has a nice range of hotels close to beaches. With one week you might consider going from San Jose to Tam, over to Monteverde Cloud Forest, then to Arenal and back to SJ. I would also purchase a CR guidebook; I prefer Lonely Planet, but you will find several different ones at your local Borders or B&N. Good luck and have fun!
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