Kids and CR...any suggestions?

Old Apr 28th, 2004, 02:39 PM
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KAP
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Kids and CR...any suggestions?

We're thinking about taking our 10 year old to CR in late July/early August - want to see the country as much as we can - does anyone have any suggestions for "kid friendly" activities and places to stay where there are other families? Thanks in advance - any suggestions on great places to see and stay are also appreciated!
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Old Apr 28th, 2004, 02:42 PM
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dont know if this is helpful, but we are heading to the four seasons in papagayo. Four seasons do a great job with kids. You can also fly into liberia airport, 20 minutes away. Seems to be plenty to do in the area,canopy tour, rafting, etc.
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Old Apr 28th, 2004, 02:49 PM
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Dear KAP,
When you mentioned staying at places where your child could be around other children, I, too, thought immediately of an all-inclusive resort. Many would argue that this is not the best way to "do" Costa Rica and I agree; however, we have stayed at 2 or 3 AI resorts and most have a fun program of activities planned for the kids. There are several along the Pacific Coast. Some (like the Four Seasons and Paradisus Playa Conchal) are quite pricey. Others are less expensive but still offer much of the same. One that comes to mind (at about half the cost of the Four Seasons) is the Allegro Papagayo right next door to the FS. From this Gulf of Papagayo location, you can arrange tours for all kinds of adventure--and wildlife viewing. Canopy zip lines, horseback riding, a huge waterslide down the mountain (quite the thrill), etc. Also in this same area is the Fiesta Premier Resort.

I don't know how long you will be on vacation, but if you have only 7 days, the above suggestions would work well. If you have longer, your family would enjoy a little time in the Arenal area.
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Old Apr 28th, 2004, 02:50 PM
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Dear KAP,
Costa Rica is a great country for kids! Kid friendly activities include a canopy tour, butterfly farm, animals in national parks (Manuel Antonio would be a great one, lots of easy to spot animals,easy trails and beautiful beaches), horseback riding to name a few. In terms of kid friendly hotel, Los Lagos in Arenal is great (not the most fancy hotel, but with the best view of the volcano, hot pools, slides, crocodile and frog farms). In Manuel Antonio, Si Como No is very kids friendly, but I would recommend Tulemar Bungalows, which is also kids friendly. There are less expensive hotels in MA, of course, I simply don't know what you are looking for and your budget. There are many other palaces to consider, I just think that Manuel Antonio and Arenal are a winning combination for first time visitors.
Pura vida,
Neta Talmor
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Old Apr 29th, 2004, 06:04 AM
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We have taken our daughter to Costa Rica 3 times and she loves it there (she was 6 the first time and 9 during our last trip).

You don't have to stay at all-inclusives to get the benefit of company for her. Our daughter loved Si Como No in Manuel Antonio which is popular with families. Her favorite in Costa Rica is Capitan Suizo in Tamarindo where in the summer months (July and August) there are plenty of vacationing families - last summer we stayed there for 6 nights and there were at least 5 or 6 other kids around her age all the time we were there.

As to activities: she loved horse back riding (we did that in Tamarindo but you can do it everywhere in CR - just make sure you get a well behaved docile horse if she is not a good rider), she liked boogie boarding and generally playing in the waves, playing in the pools (Si Como No has a nice water slide and Capitan Suizo has a swinging rope hanging off one of the trees near the pool); snorkeling in tide pools in Santa Teresa. She also had fun doing a zip line canopy tour - she is very athletic. She was a bit afraid of the volcano when we went to see Arenal but loved the Tabacon Hot Springs.

I have trip reports from our last 2 trips - let me know if you would like to see them and I can e-mail them to you.
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Old Apr 29th, 2004, 03:51 PM
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Manuel Antonio has my boys' all time favorite beach--it is really great. Shallow a long way out, nice sand and great for body surfing.
They went to Costa Rica when they were 10 and 14, and it was one of our best all-time vacations. We went on what was then the Temptress Explorer--now owned by Cruise West. It is a small ship that can take you places a large ship could never go. You go to shore by Zodiac.
Cruise West has some great family deals in the summer. It is completely all-inclusive, includes all shore activities. There were several other families on the trip, and my boys had a great time. My oldest son and another 14 year old boy hung out together. The ship is small enough that they can really be free to roam around by themselves. I would do it again in a minute!
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Old Apr 29th, 2004, 06:52 PM
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Rachel: I laughed out loud when I read your last sentence as I'm doing exactly that! I traveled on the Pacific Explorer last July with my mom, aunt and 13-year old cousin (we got a great deal through AAA). Even though I was the only single woman on the ship over the age of 18 and under the age of 50, I had a blast. The guides and crew were amazing and it was an incredible experience. Needless to say, I'm returning to the Pacific Explorer July 17th, this time with both parents, my aunt and uncle, and my 20-year old son. I couldn't agree with you more that the Pacific Explorer cruise is a wonderful way to visit Costa Rica with kids. I don't know if you saw my trip report from last July, but I remarked on how quickly the kids bonded while on the ship.

Other than Canada and Baja California, my son has never traveled outside the U.S., so this will be quite an experience for him. My son is an avid nature lover and hiker, so I knew Costa Rica would be the perfect vacation for him. I've also realized as he's gotten older that I'd better take him now while he's still willing to travel with his mom.
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Old Apr 30th, 2004, 11:05 AM
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Hi all,

This thread is interesting to me, as we are traveling with our 11 yr old girl and 9 yr old boy in August.

Iza, did your daughter do the zip lines at Arenal? What is the minimum age limit? Do you do any rafting with her? We're interested in both of these activities in the Arenal or MA areas, but aren't sure what the rules are for kids.

Finally, I am going to ask this silly question again. (Those of you with daughters will understand.) My daughter is very persistent in asking whether there will be a place to get her hair braided with beads! (In the Bahamas and in Mexico, there seems to be someone on every street corner offering this service.) We'll be in the Arenal, Jaco and MA area.

Thanks

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Old Apr 30th, 2004, 12:34 PM
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lvk, we did the zip line canopy tour at Rincon de la Vieja - she was 6 and a half at the time and they did not have a problem with her doing it. I think you will not have a problem with a 9 year old. We did not do any rafting but I believe the rafting companies actually do have an age limit.

As to hair braiding, it is not as popular in CR as it is in the Caribbean or Mexico and the only places that have it are big all inclusives - I read a trip report from someone who stayed in Tambor (I forget the name of the hotel) and her daughter had her hair braided there. We generally stay at smaller hotels and we have never seen it done at the places where we stay. Costa Rica does not have the pushy vendors trying to sell you things all the time.
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Old Apr 30th, 2004, 01:20 PM
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TAGriffin,
No, I hadn't seen your report--just checked it out and it was exactly as you described--Stephen was one of our guides too, along with David, who, if anything, was even better.
I usually don't hang out on this board (usually Europe is more my thing), but I am planning a trip to Belize.
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Old Apr 30th, 2004, 02:45 PM
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We got hair braiding done on the beach at Conchal (behind the paradisus hotel). You can walk 5 minutes up the beach from Brasilito to Conchal. However, you won't be in this area...don't know about Manuel Antonio, but there are vendors out. I'll bet you can have it done here!
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