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michelle763 Jan 30th, 2007 12:21 PM

Help- PV or Costa Rica family vacation..
Hi Everyone
I was hoping you can help. I am planning a family vacation this summer to either Puerto Vallarta or Costa Rica. We have been to the Riveria Maya area a few times and Love it but we would like to try somewhere new. We are a family of 4 with 2 kids 9&12. We prefer Non AI, we like both adventure and relaxing by beach/pool. We only have a week. We are traveling from the east coast. Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated. I have researched both and I am having a tough time deciding. I am leaning towards PV and saving Costa Rica when we have at least 10-12 days.

shillmac Jan 30th, 2007 04:22 PM

Your logic makes sense, certainly. You will need MONTHS to experience Costa Rica fully! But you can hit a couple of highlights in a week--3 highlights in 9-10 days. . .fabulous place for families. No experience here with PV, but it sounds nice! Yelepa (sic?) near there sounded even more appealing to me. Perhaps you can pull it up on the search tool for Fodor's. Frequent poster "Faithie" posted it about a year ago. Have fun and good luck whichever you choose. You'll be making some nice memories! :)

suze Jan 30th, 2007 09:05 PM

I love Puerto Vallarta and visit often. There are loads of nice non-AI resorts or local hotels, all kinds of different places around the Bay of Banderas. PV is a normal working Mexican city, pop ~250,000, besides great tourist ammenities and a pride in the development of them. Plenty of formal adventures (parasailing, hiking, ziplines, etc.) plus relaxing by pool & beach or exploring the local neighborhoods on foot.

No experience with Costa Rica to share.

crosscheck Jan 30th, 2007 09:27 PM

We have gone three times each with our kids to Costa Rica and Puerto Vallarta (including the less built up nearby towns of Sayulita, Punta Mita & Bucerias). Both are great destinations. But if you're going in the summer, you should choose CR because PV is much too hot and humid. The traveling time to CR from NY isn't too bad - around 4.5 hours. You can spend 2 nights in the Arenal area and 5 at a Pacific beach. We have gone for just one week several times (from the west coast, which is farther) and haven't felt rushed with two destinations.

michelle763 Jan 31st, 2007 07:03 AM

Thank you for all your replies!

Since I really want to visit both places- we may do Costa Rica this summer and follow up with PV the following year during a different time- Nov or April- any thoughts to which would be the best time to visit?

With only a week in Costa Rica- from what I have read it looks like Arenal and Manuel Antonio would be our best bet?

As far as PV- Shillmac- I actually did read Faithie's report to PV/Yelapa which is one of the reasons I became interested in going- would like to visit Yelapa as well. Her pictures were awesome!
Any thoughts on the Marriott in PV- (we are rewards members)I read many reviews on TA which all seam favorable.

suze Jan 31st, 2007 09:36 AM

Casa Magna Marriott in located in The Marina district in Puerto Vallarta (about 5 mins. from the airport, and 15 mins. further to downtown by car, taxi or local bus). It is a beautiful hotel. I particularly liked (and am guessing kids would too) the huge pool area.

Either November or April should get your nice weather. Basically the 'season' in PV with the best weather is just that... Thanksgiving thru Easter.

swigswig Jan 31st, 2007 02:21 PM

Costa Rica has my vote. Rent a car and check this amazing place out. A few hotels to look into: (MA)
the observatory lodge (Arenal--would need to have a car)
I was there in November and the volcano was very active, so was the wildlife. :) The birds in Arenal are like a rainbow come to life. The monleys and beach in MA are wonderful. Good luck to you.

brollend Jan 31st, 2007 02:31 PM

We just got back from a 1 week trip to Costa Rice and loved it. You can get in a sigificant amount of CR into a week. We spent 3 days at Playa Flamingo on the beach (beach time, ATV riding, snorkel, visited Tamarindo, visited Guatil for authentic pottery) then 4 days at Arenal area (zip lines, waterfall rappel, hanging bridges, bird / wildlife watching (lots of monkeys), La fortuna waterfall, hot springs). I haven't been to PV specifcally, but to Mexico several times and I liked CR much better. Food was unversally good, people freindly, lots of fun things to do and see.

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