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Need Advice for Multi-generational trip to Costa Rica

Need Advice for Multi-generational trip to Costa Rica

Old Jan 5th, 2009, 07:46 AM
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Need Advice for Multi-generational trip to Costa Rica

We are considering going to Costa Rica as we've heard wonderful things about it. Here is the situation...

We are taking our 5 year old son and my parents who are in their mid 70's. My father has mid stage Altzheimers and cannot walk on very rugged terrain.

An all-inclusive is best for us so it is easy for my parents. I need a place that is fun for my 5 year old and also a place that is do-able for my father. Do you think that Costa Rica might be an okay choice. I can't bear the thought of going on another cruise

My parents also enjoy golf and aren't into lounging around on a beach. They enjoy touring around.

Also, I'm confused about which area of Costa Rica to go to. I don't want to do hours of driving with a 5 year old asking me if we're there yet!

Quick reponses would be much appreciated as I have to book something quickly!
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Old Jan 5th, 2009, 08:42 AM
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I don't want to discourage you from Costa Rica - it's a great place for a family vacation. I would say either Arenal or Manuel Antonio are the most popular spots for first timers and family vacations. Since you say they aren't beach goers, I'd lean towards Arenal, but a lot the activities involve hiking - you could definitely do the Cano Negro tour which is a boat ride to view wildlife and visit the natural hot springs like Eco Termales and Tabacon. And just watching the volcano is really amazing. Other things like ziplines at SkyTrek, hiking the Hanging Bridges, going to the waterfall, etc. would probably be too much for your dad.

Just a thought, but have you considered Hawaii at all? They have a lot more choices involving golf, and it's a bit easier to get around, and you'll find loads of tours to take.
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Old Jan 5th, 2009, 08:58 AM
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Thanks for the response. Are there any all-inclusives in the Arenal area? How far is this from the airport.

We are flying into Florida to meet my parents and then going from there so someplace that isn't too far is best.
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Old Jan 5th, 2009, 09:12 AM
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They are both about 3 hours from the airport, each in a different direction. We hire a private driver through our hotels just because that's easiest for us, but a lot of people do make the drive. There's also a service called Interbus which is popular.

There are not a lot of all inclusives in CR. We've never stayed in one, but a lot of the hotels have restaurants on site.
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Old Jan 5th, 2009, 09:27 AM
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All-inclusives we have stayed at and like are:

Paradisus Playa Conchal (beautiful beach, fun water activities, huge pool, good food. Pricy, but less than Four Seasons, a little further to the north.

Allegro Papagayo--we had lots of fun here, but there were issues with sewage treatment last year. . not sure if resolved adequately. They were closed for a brief time. Have been back open for several months without negative reports.

Tours into the Rincon de la Vieja area are good from the all-inclusives to the north.

Also, in this area is Grand Papagayo Occidental, Fiesta Premier, both all-inclusives.

Flamingo Beach Resort (beautiful beach, fab sunsets) offers an all-inclusive pkg. and they are working hard on their "image"--new spa there.

Tamarindo area: Capitan Suizo gets good reviews, not AI, but would be a good choice.

Personally, if you can afford it, I think the Paradisus would be fun for all of you.

Love the Arenal area as well. Plenty to see and do there, for everyone, especially if you the volcano and lava view, sometimes hit or miss.

We hope to be part-time residents within the next 3 years and fully expect our 85 year old uncle to come visit. He doesn't have Alzheimer's, but has Parkinson's. The good thing about CR is that it is very nice to LOOK at, without having to do much!

Good luck with your decision. It's a wonderland for kids!
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Old Jan 5th, 2009, 09:29 AM
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By the way, the new JW Marriott has an 18 hole course (Tamarindo area). The Paradisus has a Robert Trent designed course. Not cheap, but good! Four Seasons has a lovely course as well.
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Old Jan 5th, 2009, 10:19 AM
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shillmac, lucky you! Which area are you looking to reside in?
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Old Jan 5th, 2009, 10:25 AM
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Thanks shillmac!

I was speaking to an agent who also highly recommended the Doubletree. Said it was a nice modern hotel and was a little closer for some of the eco-attractions. The reviews I've read say the beach is not good (volcanic sand) but the pools are wonderful.

Any more insight with this property?
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Old Jan 5th, 2009, 11:14 AM
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a, if you don't get any replies, head over to www.tripadvisor.com and read the reviews there. You can look at pics too to see if it's your style. I hope you are able to find your dream spot.
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Old Jan 5th, 2009, 11:15 AM
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aturco:

Don't listen to your travel agent, listen to shillmac - she is the expert on this board and will not stear you wrong.

If the stock market gets back up to where it was, I'm going to Paradisus Playa Conchal next CR trip!!!

Good luck,

MY
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Old Jan 5th, 2009, 11:24 AM
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I agree - I would trust shillmac over a travel agent any day.
Except of course Pat Hewitt who is always highly recommended on this board.
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Old Jan 5th, 2009, 11:55 AM
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Sold! My money is on you shillmac! Is the Fiesta now the Doubletree? I'm not sure if that is the one you are referring to.
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Old Jan 5th, 2009, 03:09 PM
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shillmac, I didn't mean that I would trust Pat more than you - lol. I meant you're tied in my book! I just read my post, and it sounded funny!
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Old Jan 5th, 2009, 06:18 PM
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You guys are too funny!

Okay, here's what I know about Fiesta, aka Doubletree. There were 2 Fiestas at one time, but not necessarily at the SAME time. Both have changed owners more than once. The one up north was called Fiesta Premier, typical AI, good reviews. Haven't stayed there, but Percy has. He's a regular on the board. Kind of an odd fellow from Canada--what can you expect?!

JUST KIDDING PERCY!

The other used-to-be Fiesta, located near Puntarenas, is the one I THINK is now Doubletree. We have stayed there, and it is a little atypical. Beach is so-so, food was so-so, entertainment was so-so. Ticos LOVE AI's and this is a popular vacation spot for them, so close to San Jose. In fact, when we were there, there were very few staying who weren't Ticos (Costa Ricans). Nothing wrong with that; I just don't care too much for the location.

The area isn't so great for exploring (my opinion). I'd stick to the ones available further north. Paradisus and northward.

And I am NOT the expert on this board, all! It's Tully--she's the one who remembers even the tiniest of details and has tons of great information to impart!

Actually, it takes all of us. When you think about it, it's the reading of so many thoughts and opinions here that help each of us gradually put some shape to our plans.
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Old Jan 5th, 2009, 06:24 PM
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P. S. I'd trust Pat more than me! He and Jeff are always the final "go-to" guys on this board, as far as I'm concerned.

Volcanogirl. . .as much as you like birds, you'd love this area--Rancho Naturalista. We've talked about it before, haven't we? SO many species, some 400 plus during migration, 250 or more rest of the year. If it ever works out as we hope it will, mi casa es su casa!

You know how we knew we were looking at the right piece of property for us? It's crazy, but a blue morpho fluttered by, and I took it as a sign! LOL! And that white ruffed manakin in the tree had something to do with it as well!
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Old Jan 5th, 2009, 06:29 PM
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Great info - can't thank you enough. Okay, I'm done with Doubletree and considering Paradisus. Here is a skill testing question for you shillmac... if the clan doesn't want to cough up the dough for Paradisus, what would your second choice be for an AI in the area... not too hilly for my dad but fun for my 5 year old.

And then... I will stop torturing you all with these questions!
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Old Jan 6th, 2009, 04:01 AM
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EEEEEEK! I'm going to fail this one!!

Just get the cough it up, is all I can say. Tell them they won't regret it and that they won't miss it 100 years from now.

Honestly, the only other one we have personal knowledge of is Allegro Papagayo, and with the recent problems, I'd probably not choose it right now. AND it is way too hilly. Paradisus is on the beach and flat, flat, flat. Then, of course, there's that golf course. . .

PLUS, Paradisus is large enough that there are cute little shuttles from the accomodations to the main areas to help those who'd prefer a lift. ALSO, my dear friends Zeydi, Roberto, Adriana work there (met them 8 years ago when they worked at Allegro) and I would expect you to give them big kisses!

Okay, that's my best answer. I would reiterate something volcanogirl said. There ARE other options other than AI, but honestly, for what you are describing, I think it is the best fit for all of you. Especially given the huge pool/fabulous beach combo. By the way, there are vendors just outside the beach gate, but their things are fun to look at and they don't bug you.
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Old Jan 6th, 2009, 04:01 AM
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Oh my goodness! I meant, "Just get them to cough it up". Perhaps I'm not awake yet. . .
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Old Jan 6th, 2009, 06:27 AM
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Shillmac - I'll give them the shakedown and get them to cough it up. Thanks so much for all your help.
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Old Jan 6th, 2009, 06:31 AM
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shillmac, too bad there isn't a Costa Rica Jeopardy - you would rake it in!
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