Need help Planning Costa Rica Trip

Old Jun 2nd, 2013, 08:56 AM
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Need help Planning Costa Rica Trip

I have never been to Costa Rica before but am planning a trip for myself and 2 kids (11 and 16 at that time). Trying to figure out the best place to go but too much to choose from. Was thinking for first time might be best to limit myself to Tamarindo as it seems to have everything there or within a day trip. However, I really want to go to Manuel Antonio as it sounds more along my style. Planning on minimum of 10 days in early March 2014. Want good food, beach, maybe try surfing or snorkeling and wildlife/jungle. Not into shopping or being in a big crowd of tourists. (I know bad timing in March) Would love to see turtles and volcano mixed in there if possible. Hotels just need to be clean and safe not luxurious.

Would appreciate any help or suggestions..
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Old Jun 3rd, 2013, 07:16 PM
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Hi Rubyygirl!

Being a such small country, 10 days is just perfect to visit the volcanoes, the lush jungle and some idyllic beaches as well as to do all the activities you have listed.

My recommendation goes like this:

-2 nights in Tortuguero (tons of wildlife,the exuberant canals,rain forest, Turtle nesting)
-2 nights in Arenal Volcano area (hot springs,cool tours such as hikes, zip line, tubing,canyoning)
-2 nights in Monteverde (cloud forest, hidden valley night walks, hanging bridges, tram)
-2 nights in Playa Hermosa (Beach, water sports,calm sea good for swimming)
-2 nights in San Jose (Arrival and the night before yor flight back home) (depends on your flight schedule, you can go to the Poas Volcano, Coffee Tour, Wildlife Rescue Centers..)

As you are coming with kids, I dont recommend Tamarindo (very touristy and more party in town), Manuel Antonio is great and it may work for you but still touristy.

I hope this helps, if have any other question just ask!
Zizou10

Ps: Food is great in Costa Rica, either traditional or fusion.
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Old Jun 4th, 2013, 09:59 AM
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I'd take a look at doing a combo of Manuel Antonio, the Arenal/La Fortuna area, and Tortuguero, although I'm not sure you would see any turtles at that time. I know the ones we saw nest from July-October. Tulemar Bungalows in the Manuel Antonio area is wonderful and doesn't feel at all crowded, although you'll see a lot of people in the national park. The Poas area would be fun for a night if you can fit it into your schedule.
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Old Jun 4th, 2013, 10:07 AM
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In the Arenal area, maybe the Lost Iguana, Arenal Observatory Lodge, or Silencio del Campo.
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Old Jun 5th, 2013, 08:03 AM
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I have travelled to CR twice. Once with the kids and once without. I have been there in Aug and Jan and honestly the rainy season was the most beautiful time of year! Sure it rains, esp inland but it is warm and everything is lush and full. Very Tropical.
Spend some time in Arenal for the hot springs and cloud forest (ziploning) and Manuel Antonio for the amazing rainforest and beach I recommend Villas Nicholas there, unique villas with an outdoor living area overlooking the rainforest and the ocean.
Try surfing in Jaco or Tamarindo. It's a lot of fun. Or chartering a boat for the day to go snorkelling or kayaking. When we did we ran into dolphins and a whale with her baby.
Beaches in Guanacaste like Ocotal or Playa Flamingo have a lot to offer.
There is no where in the world quite like Costa Rica. You can not go wrong.
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Old Jun 9th, 2013, 01:34 PM
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I agree with Volcano Girl, 3 areas for 10 days is about all you can do without running through the trip.

You might also consider something further down the coast from Tamarindo. You mentioned turtles and while you are not here during the turtle season in Tortuguero you are not without some options. For instance the Nosara area should be looked at. Great area and you may get to see the Olive Ridley turtle nesting nearby in Ostional. This is a year round thing, it peaks in the rainy season but they nest all year. No guarantees with nature but you have a good shot.

Manuel Antonio is great, touristy yes but I go there often. Beautiful is beautiful and the area is...

Very typical trip for first timers is Arenal / Monteverde / Manuel Antonio. This gives you a bit of a taste of everything.
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Old Jun 17th, 2013, 07:30 PM
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Thanks to everyone for all the wonderful advice. I will definitely book for Manuel Antonio and Arenal. I think adding Monteverde as the third option is the best for our first (but not last I'm sure) trip. The three would give me a varied trip where I get a little bit of everything. Turtles may need to wait for a trip in August, but I'm sure the kids will be satisfied with all the wildlife in Manuel Antonio.
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