First trip to Central America

Old Oct 26th, 2011, 08:23 AM
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First trip to Central America

We're planning on taking a trip to Central America for 2.5 wks over the Christmas holiday this year. We've never been to CA before but have traveled extensively overseas. We're taking our children ages 6, 4, and 20 mth old. We're thinking about going to Costa Rica. I want our first CA trip to be lots of fun and one that will encourage us to return to CA. We're planning on renting a car so we can go at our own pace. I don't want to move around too much maybe 2-3 different places for the whole trip. We definitely would like to hit the beach, take some jungle walks, see kids love to swim. I checked out Tulemar and they're only available fro, 12-21/12-24 and want to charge us $975/night compared to the $389 listed on their website for high season. They also offered is some condos about and hour back to San Jose for $400/night (you guessed it higher than the prices listed on the condo's website) Are there any more mid price range places anyone can recommend? I'd like a condo/someplace with a kitchen to make life a little easier. I'd appreciate any guidance here. Thanks.
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Old Oct 26th, 2011, 09:31 AM
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Unfortunately you have waited extremely late to book hotels at a reasonable rate. Christmas week is the high season and hotels book up months in advance since many Ticos go to the beach, too.

You might check out some of the rent by owner condo websites for beach stay.

La Fortuna offers lots of mid-priced lodging near Arenal Volcano; also the Puerto Viejo area near Sarapiqu such as Selva Verde for your jungle stay.
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Old Oct 26th, 2011, 01:00 PM
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Honestly, even if I won the lottery I wouldn't consider paying hundreds of dollars per night for a hotel when there are fabulous options all over CA for a fraction of that. Consider a beachy area of Belize or one of the Bay Islands.

It's true you're planning on the late side. I hope you find just what you're looking for - happy trails!
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Old Oct 26th, 2011, 01:07 PM
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hopefullist - any fabulous options for a lesser rate you'd like to recommend? Thanks!
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Old Oct 26th, 2011, 01:14 PM
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There are many condo options on VRBO.com
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Old Oct 26th, 2011, 01:40 PM
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We travel during the low season (sometimes prices are much lower) and I don't know about availability. Often we live with local families which can be an amazing experience and is usually $75-100/night for 2, all meals included.

Here are links to places we've stayed in Belize and Honduras that we've loved for significantly less (and sometimes only a fraction) of the prices you name.
Belize:
www.thetrekstop.com
www.belizecamp.com
www.aguadahotel.com
www.hopkinsinn.com
www.staycayecaulker.com/sailwinds.html

Check out my photos, blogs, travelogues, etc. here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/staceyholeman/collections/

Terrific downloads here:
www.belizefirst.com

On Roatán (Honduras):
www.campbaybeachadventurelodge.com
www.hobbies-hideaway.com

On Utila (Honduras):
http://aboututila.com/AccomInfo/Ligh...otel/Index.htm

I'm really fond of Copán Ruinas; though I stay with local families or in budget places, check out this website (it has links to their other hotel and rental homes):
www.casadecafecopan.com

Guatemala is my favorite country in CA, especially the western highlands where it's springlike year round. It's not a beachy place, though. Let me know if you consider it and want ideas. Happy trails!
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Old Oct 26th, 2011, 01:43 PM
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If you're looking for educational, rainforest fun, Selva Verde in the Sarapiqui area would be a fantastic choice. It's not a typical destination--no beach, so you might be able to book something in the area, even if Selva Verde itself is booked.

www.selvaverde.com

As far as family friendly beaches go, you'll pay through the nose over Christmas.
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