First Time Family Trip to Costa Rica

Old Apr 27th, 2003, 11:43 AM
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First Time Family Trip to Costa Rica

Planning a family trip in August with my three
daughters(ages 21,14 & 14)and hubby.I'm going to run some places and hotels by you, please advise!Three nights on the outskirts of San Jose, doing day trips.Thinking of staying at Hotel Bougainvillea,Alta,Inter-Continental or San Jose Palacio.Then we would go to Trogon Lodge and spend 2 nights,go hiking and hang out.Next we would like to go to Manuel Antonio.Can we drive from San Gerardo de Dota to Manuel Antonio without going back through San Jose? If so how long would it take? Where to stay in Manuel Antonio?La Mariposa,Hotel Verde Mar,Villas Nicholas?Hotel California sounds great but seems to be in Quepos in the city.Makanda sounds wonderful, but seems a little quiet.We would like to stay someplace nice,with a chance to see some wildlife, but we don't really want to be the only family at some honeymoon hotel.Then we would like to go to Tamarindo.I read somewhere on these posts that there is a flight from Quepos to Tamarindo.In Tamarindo we are deciding between Hotel Capitain Suizo and El Diria.We will spend 4 nights then fly back to San Jose for one night before flying home.Any advice you can give us would be great.Oh, one more thing, my two youngest daughters really want to see monkeys, am I on the right track?
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Old Apr 27th, 2003, 12:00 PM
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Hi, The only part of your proposed trip that I have any first hand information on is lodging in Manual Antonio. I think you can eliminate Makanda, I don't think they allow children under 16. You didn't mention Si Como No, we stayed there last year, it was great. I'm not sure what type of accomodations that they have for families of five though. There is a children's pool and an adult pool, both with swim up bars. Decent restaurant on site too. And a movie theater that shows fairly new films every night. Next door is Villas Nicholas, I've never stayed there, but here decent things. They may be better equipped to handle a family. We saw monkeys from our rooms at both Si Como No and Makanda. Hotel California is not in Quepos, it's closer than the above mentioned to town, but definitely not in town. Another option, although I've never stayed there might be Tulemar Bunagalows. I'm sure they have a web site. My kids are grown now, I sure wish I would have taken them to Costa Rica when they were younger. I know they would have had a grand time.
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Old Apr 28th, 2003, 01:03 PM
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We stayed at Si Como No last October with our boys ages 11 and 12. They absolutely loved it! There were monkeys everywhere and the pool with the slide and swim up bar was a HUGE hit. We could hardly get them to leave the hotel. I can't say enough good things about the staff and the whole area in general. The park in Manuel Antonio is packed with animals, be sure to hire a guide at the entrance or you will miss many of them. I too wanted to see monkeys and was not disappointed, they were everywhere! A shuttle from the hotel will take you to the park and you can walk to the beach easily. Hope you have a wonderful time.
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Old Apr 28th, 2003, 09:26 PM
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Thank you both for the advice! I looked into Si Como No and it looks great, I'm in the process of booking it now!
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Old Apr 29th, 2003, 01:40 PM
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We went to Costa Rica 3 years ago when our kids were 8 & 12. I have a suggestion for your itinerary. I would eliminate the initial days in San Jose and instead go to Tortuguero (sp?). The big draw is that in August huge sea turtles come there to lay their eggs and you can go out at night (with a guide only) and see them. If you are interested in wildlife, it's definitely worth the trip. During the day, you can take a boat trip into the swamp/rain forest and look for more animals. We went through Costa Rica Expeditions and were very happy with them. However, if you do a web search, I'm sure you can find other agencies to take you there.
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Old Apr 29th, 2003, 02:17 PM
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We thought Tulemar Bungalows was wonderful! Monkeys and sloths, etc., right out our door and at the pool (both spider monkeys and capuchins). Gorgeous pool, and the private beach was lovely, with umbrellas, lounge chairs, towels, etc. We didn't swim at the beach in the park because it was so much more relaxing where we were. Very comfortable accommodation for a family of five, especially if you want to room together (which was an issue for us, as our kids are younger than yours). Quiet place, not a lot of action; but you can find that in Quepos and elsewhere. Breakfasts were great, although dinner at the expensive restaurant wasn't very good. In Tamarindo we were pleased with El Jardin del Eden; never did check out Capitan Suizo, which seems to be everyone's favorite (it was full, of course, as was Si Como No), but we did see El Diria and were happy with our more intimate choice.
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Old Apr 30th, 2003, 05:47 AM
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I would second what Sandra has to say about Tulemar. The Bungalos are like a large two room suite with kitchenette. It would give you plenty of room. We were there last August with our two boys 13 & 11. We also loved their small beach. Had it basically to ourselves with the monkeys and Iguanas that hang out. They have a small snack/drink bar and sea kayaks/boogie boards to use.

Si Como No looks/is very nice, but Tulemars large private grounds and natural setting appealed to us more. There were several families staying there, but it was very quiet as everything is so spread out.

As far as the outskirts of San Jose look at Xandari. Really unique property overlooking the lights of the city and mountains beyond. Easy to get to Paos, Sarchi, and a coffee plantation is part of the property. Nice lap pools and very nice spa as well.
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Old May 2nd, 2003, 07:32 PM
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If you do go to Tortuguero bring some flashlights that have red lights. The regular white lights are not allowed because they confuse the turtles. You can get them at places like WalMart.
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Old May 4th, 2003, 04:27 AM
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I have stayed at the Espadilla right at the corner of Manuel Antonio Park and the beach. Great spot, rather economical, lots of wildlife and a great area for both family and kids. Lots of tours in MA/Quepos. If you are into virgin rainforests got to Rainmaker hanging bridges and if you want excitement go to RioSparaiso Biological Reserve with tree-top canopy tours/zip lines, spectacular horseback and Hot Springs. In San Jose, the hotels you mentioned are very different. Alta is a "honeymoon" place and rather isolated. Inter-continental and San Jose Palacio are on the main highway and really nowhere to go. Bougainvillea is better located. Last time I used Quality Colon in SJO and went thru www.gaialinktours.com for a fantastic rate and tours. From Dota you can get to Quepos thru the Alto de Chiral and down some twisty rainforest road called Paso Real. You need a guide for this-no signage.
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