Family Christmas Trip to Costa Rica

Jun 26th, 2003, 06:44 AM
  #1  
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Family Christmas Trip to Costa Rica

Kids (ages 12&13) HAVE to be back at school Jan. 5th so, yes, we now know it will be crowded and expensive in CR! We're still game to try: leave 12/25. Have 3 nights booked outside San Jose (at Intercontinental) with day trips (1)to Tortuga Island & (2) to Braulio Carrillo for aerial canopy tour. The third day we travel to Arenal, staying overnight in case we can see the volcano. Then we transfer to Manuel Antonio...we're booked at La Mariposa but waitlisted at Si Como No. Have not arranged tours there: thinking of guided hike in rain forest...maybe horseback riding?...boat ride in a mangrove swamp? Would appreciate any suggestions. We're getting up to date on Hep A & B vaccinations plus new tetanus shots for the whole family. Considering malaria pills. Realize CR is a great destination but are prone to be careful, especially since one child has asthma.
peggi is offline  
Jun 26th, 2003, 07:53 AM
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Hello Peggi,
I hope that Volcan Arenal will be in view when you are there. One of the best things to do is visit one of the natural hotsprings there in the evening and watch the volcano while you are relaxing and sipping on a fresh fruit drink! Sometimes one can even see lava spewing over the top if the night is clear. I have to say, however, that entrance fees can be somewhat steep, but it is worth it.

We stayed at La Mariposa in Manuel Antonio and absolutely loved it. It is situated on a cliff overlooking the ocean and the National Park. We saw toucans from our porch and swam in the pool which overlooks the ocean as well.

We took a guided nature walk there, highly recommended, as the tour guides are trained to find things that we could never find ourselves...tropical birds, monkeys, insects. It is truly an educational experience. And, usually at the end of the nature hike you end up at the beach and can have lunch.

Malaria pills wouldn't be a bad idea before you leave.

Have a great time.


Cate22 is offline  
Jun 26th, 2003, 08:58 AM
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Sounds like you have a wonderful trip planned. Regarding the malaria pills, I have been traveling to CR for 11 years now and last year was the first time I had heard anything about malaria in CR. There were 3 very isolated cases. You could do a past search to see for yourself that Malaria is not a big problem. amcostarica.com (an excellent english language newspaper in CR that is very respected) has a search engine to retreive back stories and if you just type in Malaria you will get any info they have ever reported on it. I do not personally know of anybody who has taken the pills although I am sure there have been some. They can cause problems themselves (pills) and only you can decide if they are worth taking to reduce the very slight risk of contacting malaria.
Regarding things to do in Manuel Antonio, Riosparaiso is suppposed to be a great place. Have not been there but have read lots of very good reports about it. You can do a day trip from your hotel in MA, they will pick you up and return you. A guided tour through Manuel Antonio is also highly recommended. The kids will be thrilled with the monkeys in that area.
Suzie2 is offline  
Jun 26th, 2003, 10:13 AM
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I have also been to CR several times and never had the shots, but that's your call.

There are at least three canopy tours in MA. Canopy Safari, Dream Forest Canopy and Rainmaker. Rainmaker is a walking tour on suspended bridges, the other two are tarzan style. Although I've not been on any of these, I hear Canopy Safari is more of an 'experience' with swimming and picnicing along the way.
I wish I could remember the name of the horseback riding tour we took because it was so nice. It's a 'family' run operation. There is great deal of the riding time spent riding through a small stream that's beautiful. The final destination is a little waterfall. After the ride, they take you to their home, where you can cool off again in their pool, while you are waiting for them to serve you an excellent homemade lunch. If you decide to go horseback riding, ask the hotel about that operation. Some people on the ride were picked up at La Mariposa so I know they know about this. We were picked up at Villas Nicolas, which is right next door to Si Como No.
Ally is offline  
Jun 26th, 2003, 01:28 PM
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Thank you, everyone! Our tour company seems to have that horseback riding excursion described by Ally...do you think we need to book in advance since this is such a busy season?? Also, does anyone know about the tour of the mangrove swamp??
peggi is offline  
Jun 26th, 2003, 05:07 PM
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The horseback trip Ally describes sounds like the trip we took through Finca Valmy, operated by Michele Leveque and Valentin Venegas. Michele is a professionally trained chef from France, and you won't likely forget the lunch she prepares. It was one of the best horseback riding experiences I have ever had. They also have the most adorable collection of chihuahuas! You can contact Michele or Vale at (506) 779-1118, (506) 393-6814 or (506) 367-4087. I think it would probably be wise to book in advance since you will be there at the height of tourist season.
Terri
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Jun 27th, 2003, 06:20 PM
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We are family of 4. Are you planning on taking malaria prophylaxis?We did on our last trip, and are doing the same this summer. Just being careful, I guess. It's no big deal. 1 pill once a week before during and after the trip for I think 4 weeks. It's called Chloroquine. We also finished up our hep A series. That's a good idea to check if we're due for our tetnus. We have friends that love La Mariposa. They said the new rooms will be great, and the view is fantastic.
Anita_ is offline  
Jun 29th, 2003, 10:21 AM
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We're still trying to decide about the malaria but our pediatrician seems to recommend it; a medication we're considering is malarone, which appears to have fewer side effects...but you have to start a couple of days before, take it daily on the trip and for 7 days after. We're also taking Typhoid oral vaccine (no big deal - 4 capsules over 8 days, 5 years protection). The other suggestion is products with 20-30% DEET. Also, planning to take Cipro along in case anyone contracts the travelers' scurge. Thanks for the feedback on La Mariposa!
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Jun 29th, 2003, 11:33 AM
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I am curious about the Typhoid. I have never heard of it being in CR although I would imagine it has happened or could happen during a severe emergency like flooding, earthquake or some such disaster when sanitary conditions are compromised. If you are taking it based on a CDC warning, they pretty much give general warnings for Central America as a whole and not whether a specific country has had the disease or not. It does not mean that all the countries have it. The World Health Organization does not consider it a threat except for during the above problems or when a country has low standards of sanitation.
Unfortunately, that is what most docs base their info on because they don't have the time to do a search based on individual countries. My husband is one of those docs.
I can understand your use of Malaria preventative because of the cases last fall but Typhoid would be a stretch.
I am planning on going into Nicaragua next year and may think about taking some precautions then because the sanitary conditions are not as good as in CR.
Suzie2 is offline  
Jun 30th, 2003, 04:49 AM
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I think you're right in that all of Central American often gets "painted with the same brush". Since typhoid is transmitted via food and water and since we could take a few pills, not another injection, we just decided to be extra cautious.
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Jul 7th, 2003, 09:18 AM
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ttt
peggi is offline  
Sep 30th, 2003, 04:55 PM
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Still planning on going...a little worried that Arenal erupted in Sept. Has anyone stayed at La Mariposa recently?
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