Help Planning for 2 Weeks in Costa Rica

Apr 11th, 2010, 08:03 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Apr 2010
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Help Planning for 2 Weeks in Costa Rica

Hi. I'm looking for advice for 2 weeks travelling with 2 teenagers to CR for a first time trip.

So far I have booked 5 nights at the beginning of our trip at Tulemar in MA. I know I want to visit the Arenal area. I'm looking for some other recommended areas to visit that aren't too hard to get to and maybe have a nice view or are special in some way. We really like to stay planted as possible while on vacation and venture out on short day tips, so I am looking at staying 5 nights/4 night/4 night kind of travelling.

I'm looking for advice for another place to stay for a few nights other than Manual Antonio and Arenal area. I don't know if I really want to fly to OSA area due to the cost and heat/humidity. I am pretty sure we won't be able to sleep at night without A/C. I'm thinking of renting a car after our stay in MA and driving to our next destination. Is Monteverde accessible with a SUV and worth the drive from MA during the rainy season? There is alot of conflicting opinions about Monteverde. Also, for 4 people the Peace Lodge is very expensive. Is there any other place to stay around that area which decent.

I've read alot of information on this forum and TA already, but I don't see alot of info from first timers looking to fill two weeks without including OSA. For experienced CR travellers, if it was your vacation how would you plan your 2 weeks (starting in MA). I really don't want to overspend on this trip, either. We've been to Hawaii for 2 previous vacations and chose CR this time for a lower cost alternative.

Also, I'm not sure if anyone else felt this way before travelling to CR, but for some reason I am not as excited about planning this trip as I was when planning for Hawaii. I am not sure why I feel this way. Maybe because I don't know what to expect.

Any comments/help is greatly appreciated!!!
javafan1 is offline  
Apr 11th, 2010, 01:05 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
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CR is not Hawaii...do not come expecting the same vibe...

more natural and rustic and dodgy in places

Better wild life...

In 2 weeks would do www.tortugueroinfo.com

www.arenal.net www.monteverdeinfo.com

finish www.manuelantoniopark.com www.tulemar.com Mot Mot

Would rent a car after Tortuguero road to MV rattly

have done it a bunch in a 2WD so no worries

part of the adventure...have fun,
qwovadis is offline  
Apr 11th, 2010, 02:16 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 23,878
We've been to Hawaii and love it, and we also love CR. The topography and lushness of CR remind me a lot of Hawaii. I find the people in CR to be a lot warmer and friendlier though and the infrastructure to be a little less developed. The wildlife is amazing and a huge plus for CR. I love Tortuguero, but if you're worried about heat and humidity, I'd give it a pass. Monteverde was so cool when we were there that our hotel had the fireplace going. Nice to see the cloud forest, go hiking, zipline, do a night hike, etc. If you want someplace similar to the Peace Lodge, Xandari is nice - great view, nice hiking, a few waterfalls on the property, etc. You could do day trips to La Paz, Doka, Poas, etc. Maybe two or three night Monteverde and then end at Xandari, which is closer to the airport.
volcanogirl is offline  
Apr 11th, 2010, 02:28 PM
  #4  
 
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Are your kids interested in surfing at all? If so you might think about heading to Uvita/ Dominical area after MA. Gorgeous there, pretty laid back and a variety of things to do.
hipvirgochick is offline  
Apr 11th, 2010, 03:58 PM
  #5  
 
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What time of year? So many choices with 2 weeks. Tortuguero would be great if it were the turtle nesting season and then tie that in with Puerto Viejo de Talamanca on the Caribbean coast.

Hear is a link to our trip report:

http://www.fodors.com/community/mexi...rip-report.cfm
MichelleY is offline  
Apr 11th, 2010, 07:38 PM
  #6  
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We will be traveling in July. Are the roads to usually too muddy this time of year to go to Monteverde? Does the rainy season make it really dangerous driving the routes from MA to MV and from MV to Arenal too, i.e. no guardrails, narrow roads with trucks, etc? Maybe I am worrying too much, but I know scary mountain roads have caused needless stressful moments before in our vacations.

Also, how far is Dominica to travel from MA? Is there a new paved road? I think I heard there was a new pacific highway or something. My kids have taken some surfing lessons, but I think we are more of a pool rather than open ocean folk. But I do like the idea of staying near the coast for the bulk of the vacation. It just feels like your on vacation when you can stare at the sunsets over the water while enjoying a glass of wine from your balcony. How about the Montezuma area after MA (possibly YlangYlang resort) or is that too much of a hassle due to the travel times?

I still haven't ruled out OSA, maybe Bosque del Cabo, but again, the heat/humidity and cost have me wondering if it is really worth it, especially after 5 days at Manual Antonio area. I'm thinking we are more of lazy eco tourists.

I'm not sure about Tortuguero. I wasn't considering the Caribbean side due to travel logistics.
javafan1 is offline  
Apr 11th, 2010, 08:34 PM
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If you want to go to Montezuma you can probably fly Quepos to Tambor. I'm heading to Ylang Ylang myself in July for 4 nights. Also, Bosque del Cabo and some others. Montezuma looks great to me!
hipvirgochick is offline  
Apr 12th, 2010, 09:10 AM
  #8  
 
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java, we've been traveling in Costa Rica during July for years and have virtually never encountered problems caused by rain. Not to say it can't happen, but our experiences have always been positive and pleasant, even with the occasional heavy rain. It really isn't a situation where you are in the mountains a lot without guardrails. There are some mountain roads for sure, but we've never felt uncomfortable on them.
shillmac is offline  
Apr 12th, 2010, 09:19 AM
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I agree Tortuguero would be a good choice. So would the Montezuma/MalPais area. Peace Lodge is a really cool place to stay if you can swing it. You can do Costa Rica for less, certainly, but there are some fabulous places that will set you back. Peace Lodge is one of the them. I don't think it will disappoint!

We took our family to Hawaii and loved it. The first time we experienced CR, it's been "our spot" ever since. Very little desire to return to Hawaii, or apparently, much of anywhere else! We love the people, the simplicity of life, the jungle, all of it.

As for that word "dodgy", I wouldn't use that with first time visitors. Most of the people and areas are awesome. There are parts of Hawaii (LOTS of locals don't care much for the tourists) and every other place in the world that could be described as "dodgy". My little town in the midwest even has it's dodgy area.

When we went for the first time, I don't think we ever thought of comparing it to Hawaii. After we were there, we did make a few comparisons, and they were on the side of Costa Rica! I hope you guys have a wonderful time. It would be great if you would post when you return and tell us all how it turned out!
shillmac is offline  
Apr 12th, 2010, 03:39 PM
  #10  
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Ok, I really want to get down to Osa, regardless of the heat. I may never get back to CR and I don't want to have any regrets. So here is my more firmed up plans for my July trip:

5 nights Villa Mot Mot in MA (already booked)
4 nights at Bosque del Cabo (fly from Quepos)
4 nights Arenal at Lost Iguana (fly from PJ)
1 night near aiport

A couple of questions:
Given the choice for 4 people lodging, would you stay at the Casa Blanca (available for sure) or in a random Cabina at BDC? I'm not sure about Casa Blanca because of some negative reviews from 2008. I don't know if it is really practical to prepare some of you own meals anyways, since there isn't a grocery store in sight. But I think there would more room to move around in Casa Blanca and the view looks pretty good. Not sure if the house takes anything away from the BDC experience.

Should I take away a night in Arenal and add to BDC? Some of the reviews said the 4 days was plenty for BDC. But others say that OSA is the hightlight of their trip and regretted not staying longer.

I don't plan on renting a car the entire stay time in CR. Any other suggestions or is this good for a first timer to CR traveling with teenagers?
javafan1 is offline  
Apr 12th, 2010, 03:50 PM
  #11  
 
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Just my two cents. I would take a night from Mot Mot and add to BDC. If you can't, MAYBE take a night from Arenal, but Arenal's a cool area too. Osa is my favorite area in all of CR and BDC my favorite place (I've only got 4 nights booked for July and I'm already whining because last trips were 5, 5 and 7). You may feel a little crowded in a deluxe cabina with two teenagers, but if you're ok with it and is saves money I'd go for it. I'd also have no hesitations staying in Casa Blanca...rarely is there a negative review so I wouldn't focus on that. There is a grocery store as you get into PJ and you can stock up there, but I imagine you'll want to have some meals at BDC because the food is delicious.

What are your dates? I'll be there with my teen July 8-12.
hipvirgochick is offline  
Apr 12th, 2010, 06:47 PM
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The Tucan cabina at BDC has an upstairs loft with two twin beds so it's perfect for a family. It's as if you have two rooms although the loft is open.
MonicaRichards is online now  
Apr 12th, 2010, 06:48 PM
  #13  
 
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Oh, and here is the view from that cabina, it's really hard to beat that...http://www.markandmonica.com/Photos/...323_large.html
MonicaRichards is online now  
Apr 12th, 2010, 06:59 PM
  #14  
 
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I'd take a night from Manuel Antonio too - Arenal and Osa are two of our favorite spots. A lot of people do prepare their own meals at Casa Blanca; they just stop at the store on the drive in. If you can afford it, I'd take Casa Blanca just so you have a little more room. We loved Tucan, but 2 adults and 2 teens would be pretty cozy in there. It's doable though if you want to save the money and don't need much privacy.
volcanogirl is offline  
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