First family holiday to Costa Rica In July with teen

Old Apr 13th, 2021, 05:48 AM
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First family holiday to Costa Rica In July with teen

Hi, From the UK - planning a family trip with a tween and teen. Is late July ok with regards to weather?

We have approximately 14 nights. First time so not sure on best itinerary. We like waterfalls, animals, rafting, zip wires, easy hiking, pool and relaxation. Currently thinking:
One night close to airport
4-5 nights Arenal
2 nights Monteverdi
5 nights Manuel Antonio.

But probably have 2- 3 nights still to play with? Any recommendations or comments regarding itinerary please? Also, please could somebody advise on best way to find reliable private shuttle service to transport us? Or whether self drive is more advantageous?
any must do trips and best way to book them?

Thanks very much for any help you can offer.
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Old Apr 13th, 2021, 08:53 AM
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We've been to all the places you're interested in and enjoyed them. May to November is what they call green season in which you're more likely to get rain, but we've had some rain on all our trips since it's the rain forest. That's what keeps things green and cools things off a bit. The Arenal/La Fortuna area has a beautiful waterfall, you can raft with Rios Tropicales or Desafio, zipline at Sky Trek, hike at the Arenal Observatory Lodge - free if you stay there; they have a free guided hike each morning, otherwise I believe there's a fee, and the Bogarin Trail is great for seeing wildlife like sloths and both poison dart and red-eyed tree frogs if you do their guided tour. The Manuel Antonio area has lots of monkeys; we saw them all over the property at Tulemar Bungalows where we stayed and inside the national park. Monteverde is nice for hiking and bird watching but can get chilly; we wore sweatshirts and fleece jackets at night, and our hotel had the fireplace going.
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Old Apr 13th, 2021, 08:54 AM
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Regarding drivers, we always just reserve them through our hotels when we book our stays, and that's worked for us.
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Old Apr 13th, 2021, 10:37 AM
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Sounds great, thanks for your help. Did you go from Manuel Antonio straight to SJO airport? How long does that take please? Is it right to spend about equal time in Arenal and Manuel Antonio?
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Old Apr 14th, 2021, 06:26 AM
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It's about three hours or so to drive from Manuel Antonio to SJO. They recommend arriving three hours before your flight.
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Old Apr 14th, 2021, 12:49 PM
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Several years ago with our then 10 & 12 year old boys we went SJO to OSA (Bosque del Cabo), then Manuel Antonio (Tulemar), then Arenal (Tabacon). Loved Bosque del Cabo and Tulemar, Tabacon was like a western hotel but great views of the volcano from there. Our last two nights we stayed at Xandari in Alajuela not far from the airport. Very nice villas with great views, walking trails to a waterfall, surrounded by coffee plantations, very good restaurant there as well. We visited Paos volcano and a coffee plantation from there.
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Old Apr 14th, 2021, 12:57 PM
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BTW, we went first two weeks of August. Did it rain - yes a few times there were late afternoon downpours that were actually kind of exciting. It was very warm so getting wet didn't bother us.
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Old Apr 15th, 2021, 10:47 AM
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Thanks for your posts, great to hear your experiences, did you hire a car or arrange transfers to get around?
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Old Apr 15th, 2021, 12:22 PM
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We flew SJO to Puerto Jimenez then to Quepos then back to SJO. I don't think they fly to Quepos anymore, Nature Air was in business at the time. From SJO we rented a small SUV and drove to Arenal. The ride up to Arenal was the direct route through the hills that was a bit harrowing at times. We took our time on the way back stopping in small towns like Sarchi with their wagons and crafts.
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