Itinerary with fam (kids 10, 15 and 16)... HELP

May 31st, 2008, 08:22 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2005
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Itinerary with fam (kids 10, 15 and 16)... HELP

Planning 10 or 11 days in Feb 09. Looking for some great wildlife and beaches for the wife (no riptides please... I have an updated itinerary in mind... could use some input. Here goes....

Day 1...Arrive... rent car... to Peace Lodge
Day 2 thru 5...Arenal.... opinions on Observatory Lodge? Good for kids? Lava views?
5 thru 10.... back to SJ... drop rental off... Nature Air to Osa... Stay at Yellow Coco or Casa Linda or Bambu.... opinions on these places... not looking to break the bank. BDC seems too pricey. Yellow Coco beach seems ideal for wife... wildlife ideal for me and kids. Looking for a compromise, as wife was almost fish food on our last CR visit to Montezuma from nasty riptide.
day 11... fly to sj... overnite perhaps then home

hope someone can offer up more help... especially w/beach and osa portion, as this is the selling point w/wife... Thank you
HansHederman is offline  
May 31st, 2008, 11:32 AM
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Hi I too am traveling with a teen and am doing almost the same itinerary. I am having a driver from the airport dirctly to Arenal I am staying at Los Lagos as I have read great reviews on it for teens and children. I did check the arenal observatory but they were booked I do think los lagos will be a good option for my family even though I probably would not have picked it for my husband and I. I am in the process of deciding what activities to do I am considering cano negro, canopy, hot springs,La fortuna falls and a volcano hike.

I then fly to Osa Nature Air I understand you should get flights confirmed as soon as you know your dates
I booked Yellow coco lodge they have been beyond helpful do far and I feel like I made a good choice hope I will not be disappointed I did call casa bambu and the lady was very helpful the yellow coco fit our preferences better.
We are horseback riding , hike and gulf dulce animal santcuary while there.

Our last night I am staying at hotel pura vida. The have a market visit and dinner which we will do

I wanted my daughter to see the people of costa rica and be involved we are donating books to a school library and you can do a school visit information is on pura vida hotels web sit.We are also donating items to an orphanage.
We are going in Jan.
cmazza is offline  
Jun 1st, 2008, 05:36 AM
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Haven't stayed at Casa Bambu or Linda, but others have and can offer info about that experience. I just wanted to offer a word about the "pricey" comment of Bosque del Cabo. It seems pricey to us as well, BUT. . .

It depends on how much you value LOTS of hiking trails with tons of wildlife; how much you value not having to do a darned thing but enjoy yourself all day and let someone else do the fabulous cooking; how much you value sitting out on that deck with macaws flying by and looking out to the gorgeous Cabo Matapalo coast; how much you value that view while showering!; how much you value the inexpensive guides on staff who provide wonderful opportunities to learn about the rainforest and its inhabitants--during the day and at night also.

We really treasure all those opportunites--thus, are willing to bite the bullet on the price every so often. We'd like Casa Bambu, too, I can tell you, with it's easy beach access, but I'd sure hate to give up the hiking trails as I LOVE doing that and enjoying all the birds and other wildlife! Not to mention the Pacific Trail and the empty Pacific beaches with all the tidepools and that gorgeous waterfall!
shillmac is offline  
Jun 1st, 2008, 08:49 AM
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Well said, shillmac! BdC is just one of those truly special places in the world, and well worth the effort and expense to get there, IMO.

I do understand the concern about keeping costs down and I'm sure you'll have a wonderful time wherever you choose to stay, Hans!

Casas Bambu and Linda are located right by Pan Dulce beach which is considered safe for swimming. We visited that beach last year and the surf was quite gentle the day we were there. Not sure about the beach near Yellow Coco but I'm sure the staff could advise you...

You also mention the Observatory Lodge in Arenal. It generally gets very good reviews with the main drawback being the distance to get into town (about 30 minutes). It is close to attractions like Sky Trek and Hanging Bridges; not to mention the volcano is right there! I have not stayed there, but it would be on my short list for the next time I plan to visit Arenal.
cmerrell is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2008, 04:58 PM
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We stayed at AOL and enjoyed it. The birding there is excellent and there are some nice hiking trails, one leading to a waterfall. Food was decent, office staff helpful, and I was impressed that they opened the dining room early to accomodate those of us leaving for an early tour out of La Fortuna. . .

I'm not sure it would be the best place for a family with kids, though. Would the isolation be a problem? I'll let others comment on that. . .Los Lagos gets good reviews for being family friendly.
shillmac is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2008, 07:17 AM
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Try Linda Vista for Arenal ---less expensive and better views at night IMO.

If you're going to Guanacaste regaion try --- 74 buycks a night for ocean views, two pools (one big and one small) and great beaches there and nearby...
dmowry is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2008, 10:22 AM
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I'll agree with Los Lagos in Arenal for your family. A perfect place for kids and teens for sure, but the adults really seem to enjoy it there too. We had a great time and the hot pool is wonderful!
hipvirgochick is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2008, 05:10 PM
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Thank you friends for all the helpful advice. As much as I've read great things about BDC, I've also read about Casa Bambu (tripadvisor, etc). Awaiting word from owner. Also, Shillmac, maybe you can help me on this.... is Casa Bambu relatively close to BDC and if so would there be access to the trails? I'd really hate to factor in cost Shillmac, BDC sounds fantastic, but I'm figuring with meals 600 a nite for 5 people. I would rather spend the cash on some quality tours (fishing, animal sanctuary, etc). As far as AOL goes, the standard rooms are the only ones that are left... was kind of hoping for the Smithsonian Room with the sweet volcano views. Will definitely check out Los Lagos and Linda Vista for Arenal. Concerned that the Los Lagos area is too touristy? Really looking for true Costa Rica, which is why I would like to exclude MA from my itinerary. Keep sending advice friends... I really appreciate all the help.
HansHederman is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2008, 05:45 PM
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I agree that BdC becomes a bit too much hit to the pocketbook when planning for a family. Wait til they are grown, and maybe they can join you at their own cost! Maybe. . LOL!

glover stayed at Casa Bambu a year or so ago. Perhaps she will chime in. I'll e-mail her and ask if I can pass her e-mail along to you. She really liked it, loved it in fact. I think it would be a great place for your family.

As far as I know you could hike the Golfo Dulce trail for a short distance, but I know the trails are meant to be used by BcD folks only. I'm guessing there is a sign at the lower entrance to the Golfo Dulce Trail (this is the only trail leading down to the Cabo Matapalo coast from BdC) stating as much.

As for AOL, don't be afraid to look into La Casona accomodations. We stayed there a couple of years ago. Bedroom only, facing the volcano, great view, with 2 large shared bathrooms. It was a new experience for us, but very cost effective, and worked out just fine. The bathrooms were always spotless and we hardly saw another soul. That was in July. You could rent 2 of these rooms for about $100 per night total for both--breakfast and tax included, I think.
shillmac is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2008, 07:21 PM
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Thank you Shillmac... I would like more details of Glovers stay at Casa Bambu as I have already read some and am impressed. Tripadvisor has a way of steering one in a certain direction. Standard rooms at AOL don't seem too bad @122 a nite w/tax and breakfast, but would like to know if the standards have that great view the Smithsonian Rooms have. Not quite sure of the layout. As for Los Lagos, I'm not quite sure... LaFortuna seems real real busy... considered Silencio del campo or something like that but am turned off by the huge hotel supposedly being built next door... I really want to give my family the total CR experience... anyways.... Shillmac... my son already promised me an African safari when he's off my dime. Maybe I'll take it easy on him and "settle" for BD
HansHederman is offline  
Jun 4th, 2008, 08:22 PM
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Have you tried doing a search on the forum for Casa Bamub? It might pull up Glover's report. Also, you can search "glover". See how that works. In the meantime, I'll e-mail her and ask her to "tune in"!
shillmac is offline  
Jun 4th, 2008, 08:22 PM
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Bambu. . . !!
shillmac is offline  
Jun 4th, 2008, 09:03 PM
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Hello Hans, Shillmac tells me you're lookign for info on Casa Bambu. You can do a search and find my trip report . . .

Let me know if you can't find it - I just did a search for "Casa Bambu" and there it was titled: "Glover's back . . .etc."

We actually stayed in Casa Linda - and really just loved it. It's rustic but very comfortable at same time. You'll see in my report that we took the trail toward Bosque del Cabo - though admittedly it's marked "private." I planned to be quite comfortable explaining that we were potential BDC guests and Fodorites when we got to the top (but you'll see we never did). ..
So it's a fur piece. ..doable, but fur. Ditto taking the "road," which we did as well. But not to worry, think you'll find plenty of trails and walking around the casas and Cabo Matapalo.

After you take a look at the report, let me know if you still have questions . .. I'd think your kids would love staying in the house. Owners supplied lots of helpful info. On site caretakers were delightful and responsive. We hated to leave!
glover is offline  
Jun 5th, 2008, 06:23 AM
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Thanks, Glover!
shillmac is offline  
Jul 23rd, 2008, 08:10 PM
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Here we go again.... I put the CR plans on hold so me and the new wife could focus on our St John nuptials now I'm back with some plan changes. Son's going to Spain with his school in April so I have to cut the days/cost for the CR trip; therefore, unfortunately I have to hold off on Osa. What a buzz kill........ New itinerary help would be appreciated.... Revised version is..... Days 1-4... Arenal... perhaps the observatory lodge then to MA and LaPosada for days 4-8 as LaPosada gets some great reviews. I know MA and Arenal is more touristy than I wanted, but with my kids being first timers, I think the wildlife and volcano would be cool for them to see. Anyways, if anyone can offer up some more help, that would be cool. Also, best time to book flight? (flying from Boston if it matters).....Should I book flight before lodging? A good car rental company that is reasonable? Is the 1500.00 damage deposit normal? You all have been great... Thanks
HansHederman is offline  
Jul 29th, 2008, 12:29 PM
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Glad you are still planning your trip. My family loved AOL, we don't like touristy either, but its not as you may think.. Seeing Arenal in her glory is really special. We loved the hike to the old lava field. The grounds of AOL are lovely, dinner isn't too great, make the trek into town, every trip down that amazing driveway is a hoot! Go to EcoTermales hot spring, have a dinner there, very tasty, teen friendly.
4explore is offline  

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