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Have airfare, am wishy washy on where to stay!-Costa Rica

Have airfare, am wishy washy on where to stay!-Costa Rica

Old Feb 28th, 2015, 09:21 AM
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Have airfare, am wishy washy on where to stay!-Costa Rica

(I'm posting for any help, but sincerely hope RAC sees this and replies as he seems to have been to all the places I'm considering )

Been obsessing about CR for months as a 50th birthday trip for myself. Airfare miraculously dropped to practically nothing this week and I bought before they figured out it was a mistake When I first started, I was obsessed about going to Osa and spending a week in the jungle but getting there--and staying there--seemed cost prohibitive so kind of put it out of my mind and started over. I then moved to obsessing about Xandari and Finca Rosa Blanca. Then moved on to Cristal Azul. Then to Ylang Ylang, where i lingered a good long while. Then it was Arenas Del Mar. And now I'm back to Iguana Lodge or Bosque del Cabo.

Here's the thing--I'll be traveling with hubby and two girls, 11 and 13. Hubby just needs a bar to survive the week with all the estrogen. Two of us want to see critters, two of us want beach. Food needs to be accessible but none of us are foodies. We are traveling April 7-15. We are just average folks, which means we aren't 1 percenters so Lapa Rios it ain't gonna be.

Having said all that, I finally went to arriving at SJO on the 7th and going to Xandari until the 10th to relax and see Poas. Then traveling via Sansa to MA and staying till the 15th at Arenas del Mar. However, after getting the price there I realized I could probably do the jungle for what I'm paying for a big touristy area and no meals included. So, should I go back and look again at IG or BdC? Or revisit YY which is considerably cheaper (but in a drier and hotter area, I hear?) Or is ADM still a very good choice with tons of creature comforts? It really does need to be kid friendly. We aren't an overly active family so don't have to be doing doing doing but don't want them to get bored, either. We live in rural Mississippi so anything is going to be a treat but I want to expand their minds and their viewpoints (we homeschool) and really want it to be a treat for all of us.

I know this is long and all over the place but I would love to hear advice/opinions so I can finish booking and quit obsessing (and actually get some housework done!)

Thanks so much!
Melanie
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Old Feb 28th, 2015, 10:41 AM
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Oh, have also considered El Remanso and Playa Nicuesa, if anyone has opinions on those...
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Old Feb 28th, 2015, 06:10 PM
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I would go to Tulemar Bungalows in Manuel Antonio - they have their own beach, there are monkeys and sloths and cool birds on site, you have your own kitchen to make breakfast and keep drinks cold, and there are lots of restaurants close by that you can walk to. Check out the reviews and see what you think.
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Old Feb 28th, 2015, 08:10 PM
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The tough thing is that they're all good options.

Yang Ylang is more of a couple's vibe, especially at night. We did see one family there, but it would work better as a romantic getaway.

Manuel Antonio would be the "one size fits all" with beach and wildlife whereas the Osa would be more risk/reward--it's the real deal, the kind if place you're dreaming about. Volcanogirl had a good recommendation in Tulemar.

Iguana Lodge and Bosque del Cabo both have swimming pools. IL also has a lovely yoga studio.

IL allows kids 12 and under to stay at 1/2 price. Maybe you could inquire about getting that deal for both of your kids.

For critters, Bosque del Cabo can't be beat.

There are nice places in these areas that are less expensive. Cabinas Jimenez in Puerto Jimenez. I would splurge in the Osa rather than in the Central Valley/Poas area
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Old Feb 28th, 2015, 09:54 PM
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I checked one time and Tulemar had no vacancies so I never went back.

13 year old loves the look of IG; hubby doesn't really care but likes ADM; the 11 year old just wants to go on a Disney cruise :/

The unswimmable beach is a negative for Bosque (as is the ressie agent at IG) while I would book with El Remanso just because the ressie agent has been so pleasant

Cost wise, BDC, IG and ADM are basically all the same.

I hate I'm obsessing I just don't want to get it wrong. It's the expensive, once in a lifetime adventure that I hate to screw up.
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Old Mar 1st, 2015, 04:52 AM
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I love BdC, but if beach is important then I would stay somewhere else, or do a split with BdC and a beach location. I might lean away from staying at Xandari that long. We loved staying there, but we just did it for a night to be close to the airport. It's expensive, and if you're going to pay that, I might stay at the Peace Lodge since there's so much for kids to do there, and it's close to Poas. Two nights there would be about right. Sorry about Tulemar, it's sort of a one size fits all spot in this case. I think you have to look at if you want get away from it all Iguana Lodge or creature comforts at Arenas del Mar.
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Old Mar 1st, 2015, 06:53 AM
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I will go look at PL right now, thanks. We are an artsy family so loved the "look" of X (and didn't seem that expensive thru Expedia?)

I'm leaning toward IL just because I'm afraid ADM is the Disney version of CR and not what I think I'm going for. On the other hand, living in MS a five star experience is also a rare bird! (See? I'm telling ya, I'm all over the place)

I really do appreciate you guys helping me.
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Old Mar 1st, 2015, 07:14 AM
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Xandari is very artsy; we met the owner, and he's a really interesting architect, and his wife is an artist. Peace Lodge is more Disney feeling, so if you want to avoid that, it might not be your kind of place - it's nice though - closer to Poas and has a beautiful hike with 5 waterfalls, an aviary, nocturnal frog tour, etc. Tons for kids to do there.
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Old Mar 1st, 2015, 07:52 AM
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Volcano girl, I can't thank you enough for your input.

IG doesn't have availability before the 10th so I'm locked in for three days somewhere. PL isn't showing availability those days for four thru Expedia but I'm emailing them directly.

I just chatted with Tulemar and they can do five nights but we would have to change rooms. And after resort fee and easter pricing, it's more expensive than my other options.

No one has been to or seen el Remanso? That girl that helps there has been so nice I would like to consider it! I know I've probably worried the crap out of some asking about dates, etc but the online girl with IG has been totally off putting. Im trying not to take it as a sign.
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Old Mar 1st, 2015, 08:14 AM
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We changed rooms in order to stay at Tulemar too; we've stayed in three different styles of rooms there. If you go for that option, I'd recommend getting something with a balcony if you can. We loved spending time out there for enjoying the views and watching wildlife. El Remanso gets rave reviews; we haven't stayed there - this board has a strong following for BdC, so it might be harder to find someone who has stayed at ER, but I always hear good things about it. Yes, unfortunately Easter is a pricey time to go and hard to find availability. I think some people book this stuff a year in advance.
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Old Mar 1st, 2015, 10:16 AM
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I stayed at Arenas del Mar. It is not Disneyesque. The grounds have a lot of wildlife, you can take a shuttle within ADM and walk along the public beach (which is more swimmable than the "private beach attached to ADM.) to the town and to the Manuel Antonio National Park (but after one visit you may just stay on property). They have an excellent naturalist onsite, btw (Ersel) and I would definitely book one of his tours if you can.

I'm a bit surprised you are flying from San Jose to MA, it really isn't much of a drive and you can stop on the Tarcoles bridge and have a look at the crocs.
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Old Mar 1st, 2015, 10:23 AM
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Re San Jose, I had a less than satisfactory experience with customer service at Finca Rosa Blanca. However it's a beautiful location.

I liked staying at Pura Vida, they have some larger rooms. It is fairly close to Poas (you can see it from some rooms) and the airport.

http://www.puravidahotel.com/index.p...sjo-hotel.html
http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Rev..._Alajuela.html
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Old Mar 1st, 2015, 10:52 AM
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Migb: I never really considered driving to MA? ADM had a private transfer for $400 roundtrip and we could fly for $600 and save hours so I just thought that was a better option? But I guess you mean renting a car--which I was hesitant about since we read from all indications it's difficult to find your way around there. I didn't want to get off on the wrong trip foot immediately with husband by a stressful, lost drive. Is that NOT the case? That would certainly save some money, I guess.

Volcanogirl, PL looks amazing but it is over double the price of X, which means I would have to cut back on the main part of the trip--in the OSA or somewhere else.
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Old Mar 1st, 2015, 12:41 PM
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I am not sure you would necessarily "save hours" by the time you factor in needing to get to the airport, check in, possibly have a flight delay, and transfer from the airport to the hotel.

If you don't wish to drive there may be other transfer services besides ADMs, but $200 one way (for 4 people) doesn't sound that terrible. Plus I'm sure they would stop at the bridge for you which you would miss while flying.
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Old Mar 1st, 2015, 12:45 PM
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BTW make sure that if you stay at Xandari or Finca Rosa Blanca, the shuttle price is not increased for that pickup. (Actually verify for whatever hotel you are using).
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Old Mar 1st, 2015, 01:12 PM
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Tandoori said they would shuttle to and fro for free if we booked directly with them (and not Expedia) plus they have a promotion of 15% off right now, making it MUCH more affordable than PL. I've given up on Finca Rosa Blanca--I think it's not the right fit for kids.

ADM did say the private transfer would stop to see the crocodiles. If I stay there, I might reconsider flying.

El Remans just sent me a price with EVERYTHING, including flights, so I'm trying to parse that out now. Problem is, it can only be four nights and I don't see flying that far at that expense for just four nights down there. Which also leaves me four nights to fill at X or elsewhere. Price seems very high but maybe not with six activities, all transfers, flights and meals included.

But I do just keep coming back to IL or ADM.
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Old Mar 1st, 2015, 07:28 PM
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Would an IL and ADM split work for you? We never fly to Manuel Antonio either; we just use a private driver. I agree it's fun to stop and see the crocs. The road to MA is in good shape compared to other CR roads.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2015, 10:05 AM
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Even if you don't stay at Peace Lodge, it might be worth swinging by the La Paz Waterfall Gardens that are connected to the property; you could do all the fun stuff without paying to stay at the hotel.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2015, 10:51 AM
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I am not sure, with what they charge to go to La Paz gardens for foreigners and the cost of a shuttle, maybe not!
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Old Mar 2nd, 2015, 12:51 PM
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Thank you, mlgb, for mentioning Pura Vida. I am loving reading that web page! Wish they had a pool!!
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