Help with Logistics! Planning family trip in '06

Old May 6th, 2005, 11:06 AM
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Help with Logistics! Planning family trip in '06

Planning to celebrate my 40th in '06 with a family adventure (kids age 11 & 9)of a lifetime. Done some research and read countless posts but frankly they have left me totally confused! I need major help with my itinerary (specifically number of days needed in locations) and kindof thought I wanted to include a stay at Paradisus Playa Conchal but seems so out of the way. Here's where I am so far:

Arrive San Jose
Peace Lodge 2 nights- Sarapiqui River Raft
Tabacon Hot Springs Resort - ? nights - Arenal Volcano and Sky Adventure
Si Como No - Manuel Antonio - 3 nights
La Forutna Waterfall LaFinca
Valmy tour
Can I also squeeze in Playa Conchal for luxurios beach time somewhere without logistical nightmares? Help!

I obviously need to do more homework just need to be pointed in the right direction.
Thanks!
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Old May 6th, 2005, 11:42 AM
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kcshoe,
Much as I know you'd hate to leave anything out, you might want to choose between 2 nights Peace Lodge and 2 or 3 nights Conchal. Or choose between Manuel Antonio and Conchal. You can river raft the Savegre down at Manuel Antonio.

2 nights Arenal
3 nights Conchal
3 nights Manuel Antonio

???

Or 2 nights Arenal
3-4 nights Conchal
2 nights Peace Lodge to relax before flying out. . .

These are tough choices to have to make. Your itinerary is just fine without Conchal, but it is a good choice if your children would enjoy a huge swimming pool and some water activities. Even if you don't choose Conchal, they'll have a wonderful time because of all the other varied activities.
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Old May 6th, 2005, 11:58 AM
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Thank you for you help....like I said "adventure of a lifetime" I'm trying to get it all in! You are right, choices need to be made. I'm leaning toward Arenal,Conchal,Manuel Antonio. Any recommendations on how to accomplish this? Long drives could be tough with the kids and I don't want to waste precious time zig zagging around the country. Thanks for any help!
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Old May 6th, 2005, 01:50 PM
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No way to avoid 2 long drives. Arenal to Conchal, then Conchal to Manuel Antonio--both between 4 and 5 hours. About 3 hours SJO to Arenal, then 3 hours Manuel Antonio back to San Jose. So about 14-16 hours on the road total.

The good news is that the roads are fairly interesting! Between Arenal and Conchal (as you travel around Lake Arenal) the kids should be entertained with coatamundis begging alongside the road. Then between Conchal and MA, there is the Rio Tarcoles and the required stop for crocodile viewing! So:

What time are you arriving? Chances are you'll drive on to Arenal the day of your arrival, spend 2 nights?

Drive to Conchal, spend 3 nights? Drive to Manuel Antonio, spend 3 nights?

Back to San Jose? What time is your departing flight? If it is in the a.m. or early afternoon, it would be best to stay overnight near the airport. But do put Conchal in the middle. You can begin at either Arenal or Manuel Antonio (Arenal a little closer to the airport by about 30 minutes).

Your kids would love Monkey Park near Tamarindo where they can hold the baby monkeys. My husband, daughter, and I found this to be quite a thrill! Good for an afternoon. About 30 minutes from Conchal between Huacas and Belen. You'll pass it as you drive to Conchal from Arenal--on the right.
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Old May 6th, 2005, 05:04 PM
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Hello, if you have kids, i would rather recommend you going for the beach to conchal, they will have lots of activities and a big swimming pool where they can really enjoy it, and there are other nice beaches in the area, so you can visit other places staying in conchal hotel, instead of manuel antonio, it is a long drive and it is not so directed for little kids. Arenal is a good choice, you can go to tabacon hotsprings, spend your day in a nice hotel with view to the volcano, or even go to the arenal hanging bridges.
The sarapiqui river rafting is a nice one, not very hard, but good with kids, so you can stay in peace lodge as you said, it is great!, then go to arenal, then conchal, and back to the airport, and it would be more varied than 2 times to the beach. I can help you more, also doing reservations, at [email protected]
Have a nice trip!
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Old May 7th, 2005, 01:10 AM
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Greetings! First, are you staying in CR a total of 8 nights? Couldn't exactly tell from your tentative itinerary.
Your question is quite timely for me, as am starting to make inquiries for multigeneration CR trip, hopefully next year.
You've come to the right place, as there are fantastically knowledgeable, generous, and helpful people on this forum. Here's the little I know that may help as you begin the fun of travel research:
My son and his wife, who have three kids (a bit younger than yours) went by themselves last year and loved Paradisus Playa Conchaland the Guanacaste region, and would return in a heartbeat WITH the children. They said PPC is ideal for kids and they KNOW theirs (age 8,7, 3) would love it.
One thing you might consider--maybe it's cheaper, or allows more freedom?--is renting a condo at Paradisus?? you have your own kitchen, small pool in the complex, etc, in additon to enjoying the main resort facitlities (wonderful huge pool, etc) Do google search under "Playa Conchal Condo" for options.
Alos, note that the beach is NOT the safest for swimming, for kids or adults.--strong current. beautiful, but apparently many visiotrs to the resort do most of their actual swimming at the pool.
Another place they stayed and enjoyed that they thought would be great with kids is Si Como No. They loved the grounds, room, the Nat'l Park(MA); said Finca Valmy's horseback ridiig to their ranch is a **MUST-DO.** They booked this trip before leaving for CR, so arrangements for pick-up time, etc were in place when they arrived at SCN.
Note that the FV folks make very sure to get you the horse that is EXACTLY right for age and experience. They are caring and conscientious that way. My dtr in law had never been on a horse, was petrified, and ended up saying Finca Valmy Tour it was the best adventure of their (too brief) 9 days.
NO comment on Arenal for kids, as mine did not make it there this trip, wanting to relax a bit longer (R and R)at PPC rather than cover more territory in a hurried fashion.
Their ride MA to PPC was about 6 hours but --as Shillmac said above-- NOT difficult.
much is on Pan Am Highwwy and what is not, had fun and interesting sites. They too loved Monkey Park. Not that it is closed on certain times/days so research that if you go.

Good luck! I look forward to reading more advice given to you!!!!
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Old May 7th, 2005, 11:08 AM
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Thank you all so very much for your replies. What a great forum and what great people to spend time sharing their experiences and advice. That said, it also is what makes things so confusing! Right?!

Haven't determined the number of days somewhere between 8 and 10. I'm really torn between Conchal and Manuel Antonio. To do two long drives would be tough in a short span. At this point, I think I am leaning toward Conchal with the hopes of striking a balance between our hiking and other adventures.

BUT...Could someone help with weather? We are considering the third week in June ('06) so we wouldn't have to take the kids out of school. Does Northern Pacific Coast (Tamarindo) get alot of rain during this time? If so, wouldn't be much of a beach vacation and thus maybe we'd do Manual Antonio instead.

Also, considering Tabacon Resort but seems to get mixed reviews anything better?

Thank you again for all your help!
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Old May 7th, 2005, 01:12 PM
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Just a thought: would it make things easier if you flew into and out of Liberia (code LIR) instead of San Jose (SJO)?? Or fly into one, out the other?? then do area around Conchal to Tabacon and return via San Jose. Don't know if that is do-able in terms of rental car return.
If it's rainy in Tamarindo area, it wil be rainy in all the other areas you are researching ...I THINK?? i.e. rainy during part of the day everywhere, but less so in Guanacaste (Playa Conchal area) as this is the driest area of the country??? HELP FODORITES!!!

Check some of the resources like weather.com perhaps.
Also, do check www.tripadvisor.com for reviews/suggestions re: hotels, as well as this forum and others.
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Old May 7th, 2005, 01:28 PM
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here's just one Fodors site that discusses the weather :

http://fodors.iexplore.com/dmap/Cost...er+and+Climate
try a google search, or the search box on this site, for Costa Rica climate.
Have fun researching!
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Old May 7th, 2005, 03:09 PM
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Weather will be no problem for you. Our favorite time is the rainy season which means that some days it will rain a bit in the afternoon. In Guanacaste it can go for days without, however. You won't need to give it a second thought.
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