Is it too soon for Costa Rica?

Old Mar 3rd, 2010, 02:06 PM
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Is it too soon for Costa Rica?

Hello my husband and I are planning on taking our 3 children ages 8, 8 and 5 1/2 (at travel time) to Costa RIca this summer. My husband and I went to Costa Rica about 13 years ago, pre kids, and would love to share this country with them. We are uncertain if this is the year to go or we should wait until the youngest is a little older.

We are planning on arriving in San Jose mid July and traveling up to the La Fortuna area. We would like to stop at Poas Volcano on the way there. We are not sure if we can do this in one day. We plan on driving ourselves. In La Fortuna/ Arenal area we would like to hike to or horseback ride to the waterfall, do a canopy tour, maybe a float tour and do the hot springs. We don't think our youngest son is ready for the zip line tour (probably not our older sons either although all three of our children are adventurous.) Hotel suggestions and experiences with children here are requested.

Last time we did not go the Monte Verde but I would like to go this time. My husband is concerned it is a long way in and out and figures we will see similar wildlife throughout the country. I am aware of a jeep-boat-horseback ride trek to MV and think this sounds amazing. My husband thinks the children are not ready. Has anyone done this with younger children? Successes? Failures? Any feed back on Monte Verde for kids is welcome.

We are torn in what to do next. On one hand we have been to Manual Antonio and would love to take the kids here. It is a long drive and we don't want to spend the whole trip in the car. Would Sarapique give us a similar experience? What about Cano Negro? There is is beach factor too. I have heard you can reach the beach 45 minutes from San Jose now. What a change! We are considering ending up there so we could get back to the airport easily. Does anyone know which beach this is? We have been to Tamarindo and in the interest of less driving with kids would like to go somewhere closer.

Any thoughts an suggestions are welcome.

Thanks
Hang20 is offline  
Old Mar 3rd, 2010, 02:22 PM
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Los Lagos in La Fortuna/Arenal is really popular with families who have young children - lots to do on the property. Check out reviews and pics and see if it's your style. If you hike the waterfall, there's a little set of steps off on the left hand side that leads down to the river - crystal clear water and not as forceful as near the falls themselves. We saw several families enjoying it when we were there. Check out Eco Termales or Tabacon for hot springs. Eco T serves a nice chicken dinner and limits entry to 100 people so it doesn't seem crowded. I love the Cano Negro tour, but it might be too long of a day for a five-year old - no bathroom on boat, etc., but up to you.

If you go back to MA, check out Tulemar Bungalows, Buena Vista Villas, and Si Como No.

In Monteverde, we liked Fonda Vela. They have some nice new junior suites. Wildlife in Monteverde is similar to other areas except for seeing quetzals which was very cool - unfortunately no guarantees that you'll see one though. I would think the horseback thing might be too long for kids that age. Jeep Boat Jeep is a good option though Desafio. You guys might enjoy the night hike we did at Hidden Valley - saw a porcupine, sloth, agouti, coati, fox, etc. Fun to hike around with a flashlight!

I haven't heard about reaching the beach in 45 minutes via the new road - will be curious about how that's possible.
volcanogirl is offline  
Old Mar 3rd, 2010, 02:25 PM
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www.travelkids.com Costa Rica good tips.

kids even 5 year olds love www.manuelantoniopark.com

and www.costaverde.com there...

so I would head there...

www.hotelloslagos.com nice for kids at Arenal

www.costarica.bookit.com has specials on www.tabacon.com

more upscale best hot springs from $199/nt

Have fun,
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Old Mar 3rd, 2010, 02:27 PM
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www.travelforkids.com/Funtodo/Costa_Rica

sorry for typo above...
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Old Mar 3rd, 2010, 02:29 PM
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Thanks volcanogirl. I could not find a close beach on the map and the ex pat I have linked to in CR has not responded since she sent me that insight. On another post you suggested Oso or Tortugero over MV. I was worried about it being so hot and the kids not being able to swim in Tortugero. Would one of the others be a better choice?

Also are we going to regret going in July because of the rain? We went in November last time and although it rained it was not a rain out.
THanks.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2010, 02:38 PM
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Honestly with young kids, I would go back to Manuel Antonio. I just think it's so easy there - easy to get around, great beach inside the park, easy access to wildlife, and lots of restaurant choices. I might save the Osa and Tortuguero for when they're a little older.

We've traveled in July and had some rain but never complete rain outs. I do like that time of year.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2010, 05:35 PM
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Hang20, your kids are great ages to take to Costa Rica. I will warn you you will be very disappointed with Manuel Antonio comparing it with your earlier trip. It's a lot more developed and the wildlife is a lot more scarce than 13 years ago, unfortunately. You can read my trip reports for more ideas about what to do with kids here: http://www.markandmonica.com/Travel/...taRica2008.htm http://www.markandmonica.com/Travel/costa_rica_2005.htm http://www.markandmonica.com/Travel/costa_rica.htm
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Old Mar 3rd, 2010, 05:38 PM
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Oh, and I would definitely NOT go to Monteverde with your kids. It's just a very long, very tough drive. If you want to take them to see a cloud forest, the Rain Forest Arial Tram in the Braulio Carillo forest is easy to get to. http://www.rainforestrams.com/ If you go there, for lunch continue on about 15 minutes on your left there is a restaurant with a frog farm that's nice.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2010, 05:38 PM
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Honestly, Hang20, your children would do better on a good zipline tour than the horseback. We took our 4 year old granddaughter zipping in Manuel Antonio, felt very secure with it, and she loved it. I think the company was Canopy Safari Tour (hopefully that is close!). No way would I put her on a horse for a long horseback ride!

I'd save Tortuguero for when they are old enough to go hiking down the beach late at night with a small group of people and a guide in search of nesting turtles. This is an awesome experience, but requires stumbling over driftwood (no flashlights allowed except the laser used by the guide) and lot of patience.

Arenal would be a fantastic area for the kids as would MA. Lots to do both places. CR is very child friendly--have a great time! And no, they aren't too young!
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Old Mar 3rd, 2010, 07:29 PM
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We saw loads of wildlife in MA - more capuchin monkeys than we could count, sloths, iguanas, a raccoon, lots of crabs - I think your kids would love it and combined with Arenal could be a pretty neat experience.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2010, 09:11 PM
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Ah, volcanogirl, but 13 years ago Manuel Antonio was more like the Osa is now. When I was there five years ago one coati had literally ten people around it snapping pictures (fortunately it didn't care). It's just a lot more crowded than it used to be, and someone who was there 13 years ago will definitely notice a difference.
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Old Mar 5th, 2010, 12:38 AM
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My 5 yr old nephew still talks about the trip to Costa Rica we took (he's now 10) and his parents travel constantly. This kid has ruined sneakers walking alongside molten lava on the big island so he's done alot.

But things he remembers and loves: 1. iguanas laying with us at MA beach 2. arenal skytrek zipline 3. butterfly park somewhere in MA 4. Peace Lodge butterfly atrium and the "waterfall shower" in the room. 5. Pool at Si Como No in MA and finally, seeing me and his mom screaming on bed pointing to a bug in the corner.
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Old Mar 10th, 2010, 06:41 AM
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Thanks everyone for your insights. We are thinking now about flying into Liberia and seeing El Rincon de la Vieja. I don't see much on this park here. Any thoughts?

Also I am running into problems online with a family of 5 trying to book hotels. Don't they have rollaway beds? It seems like I can't stay at Si Como No in MA in just one room. Suggestions? We can find incredible suites and bungelows but they are out of our budget ($618 night at Tulemar.) (!)
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Old Mar 10th, 2010, 01:00 PM
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Been to Tortuguero and Manuel Antonio, for kids, Manuel Antonio is far better! Easier and more options.
Enjoy Costa Rica
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Old Mar 10th, 2010, 03:28 PM
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Did you check the Mot Mot Villa at Tulemar? That one is supposed to be pretty affordable.
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Old Mar 10th, 2010, 06:48 PM
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Tulemar is now $618 a night? That is crazy!! Those are Bosque del Cabo rates. Maybe you should just go there...
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Old Mar 10th, 2010, 08:01 PM
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I would seriously rethink that time of year. We were there about a month ago, Jan/Feb. The weather was starting to become warm to unpleasant. The san jose area was pleasant, but were very uncomfortable when we went on La Fortuna and Tort... boats tours(times without the wind), and off couch tour stops. We had no rain then either, lucky us. But if you live in TX, AZ, Africa, etc, where it gets very hot, and children can tolerate those higher temps, go for it!
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Old Mar 11th, 2010, 06:10 PM
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I went to Manuel Antonio this past January and in January 2009. This last trip we saw a lot of wildlife (seems like more than we saw with the guide the first time) including a huge troop of howlers at Cathedral Point and Squirrel monkeys while having drinks on the main drag close to the park. You can't beat the beaches in and around the park. I don't have kids, but think Manuel Antonio would be ideal for them.
While at Rincon de la Vieja we saw very small kids ziplining and they seemed to be having a great time. (I also responded to your separate post about Rincon for more info on that place).
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Old Mar 14th, 2010, 10:03 AM
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I talked to anywhere costa rica this morning and she told me the Mot Mot Villa at Tulemar is no longer an option. They only have Premium rooms she did not mean AVAILABLE she meant they were no longer renting them. Has anyone else heard this? It seems like a good place to stay, reasonablly priced for our family. She redirected me to Buena Vista (more expensive.) We have 5 my kids are too young to have their own room.
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Old Mar 15th, 2010, 10:18 AM
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Have you tried contacting the owner directly? The listing for Mot Mot is still on vrbo http://www.vrbo.com/163728
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