Please comment on my Costa Rica itinerary

Old Jan 22nd, 2014, 01:03 PM
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Please comment on my Costa Rica itinerary

Hi, my husband and I and our 3 boys ages 9, 11, 14 will be heading to CR in April for spring break. I know this is a very busy time there and we will try our best to avoid crowds. Here is what I have planned. I have a few questions, too. If anyone would like to comment or make suggestions, I would really appreciate it.

4/12 - Arrive SJO at 12:00. Rent car (from which company???) and drive to Tree House Hotel. We are staying 2 nights in the Sloth Tree House. My boys will love this.

4/13 - would like to do a white water raft trip. I have just started researching companies. Would prefer a 1/2 day trip that doesn't start at the crack of dawn since this will be our first morning and everyone may be tired. SUGGESTIONS?

4/14 - have made arrangements for the volunteer tour at Proyecto Asis in the morning, and horseback riding to La Fortuna waterfall in the afternoon through Alberto's horses. Will be checking out of Tree House Hotel and into Los Lagos so kids have access to waterslides and hot springs.

4/15 - want to do SkyTrek ziplining. What time should we pick? Is it better to go first thing in the morning? Is the time stated on the website the time you have to be there, or the time you have to be ready to zipline? Since you have to take the skytram up the mountain I can't decide what the time applies to. Should we also do the hanging bridges there? Is it worth it? Would it be better to go to the Arenal Hanging Bridges? Is one better? Is it just doing too much?

Would like to go to the Rainforest Chocolate Tour in the afternoon. Has anyone done this? Is it worthwhile? I am a total factory tour geek, so I like this kind of stuff. Are there any other/alternative tours of places of interest like pineapple plantations, etc?

4/16 - Drive to Manuel Antonio. Will this take about 5 hours? Is there any place worth stopping on the way? Besides the crocodile bridge?
We are staying at Espadilla Ocean Club in a little rental house right on the beach. Since we have access to the beach, I can't decide about going into MA National Park. I have heard it will be crazy this week, so maybe we can skip it?

4/17 & 4/18 - Not sure what tours to do here. Have looked at Vacation Buggies which looks really fun, but very expensive ($525 for our family of 5). Would tour of rainforest see the same types of animals we would see on a tour of the MA National Park? What about mangrove tour? Is this tour better by day, or the night version offered by Jade Tours? Would really appreciate input here. Want to have some relaxing beach time mixed with some tours.

4/19 - drive to Marriott San Jose. Will this take about 3 hours? If so, we would spend the morning doing a tour before heading out.

4/20 - would like to do a coffee tour. Doka? Any other suggestions? Is it worth going to La Paz waterfall with everything else we will have done? This day is my husband's birthday so I would love to do something special.

4/21 - our flight home leaves at 6:00 am! Should we return the rental car the night before and be shuttled to the airport?

THANK YOU SO MUCH! I have learned so much from these forums already.
PointsWellTaken is offline  
Old Jan 22nd, 2014, 01:29 PM
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Sounds like a great and fun trip for your boys. I have been investigating CR myself for my DH and myself but I can't get him interested in visiting there. It's on my bucket list.....

However, go over to the Trip Advisor forums and open this link:

It has lots and lots of info there that you may be able to get your questions answered. There are trip reports from those that have been there so I am sure that you can finalized your itinerary after checked those forums out. Let me know how things go so I can tell my DH. LOL

When you open that thread look over on right side of page and you will see "Top Questions" posted there. Scroll down and you will find car rental information. Good luck.

If you can't open link just go to TA and find Central America forums.
Luv2travel15 is offline  
Old Jan 22nd, 2014, 02:43 PM
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If you're talking about the Tirimbina chocolate tour, we did it and had a great time. I would strongly recommend that over a pineapple tour, since the pineapple plantations are terrible for the ecosystems there whereas the chocolate tour is health for the environment and takes place in the rainforest itself.

You won't see more wildlife anywhere in the Manuel Antonio area like you will inside the park.

I would recommend spending a day with Poas national park in the early morning (there's paths to hike in case the crater is clouded over--get there early though since it's almost always clouded over by noon) plus either Doka or La Paz. If pressed for time you can just drive past the biggest waterfall at La Paz.
RAC is offline  
Old Jan 22nd, 2014, 03:02 PM
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We used Rios Tropicales for a rafting trip out of La Fortuna and thought they were great. They even had someone take photos along the way, and you could buy the c.d. at the end if you wanted to. We did Sky Trek in the morning because it seems like we had a shot at having better weather. I booked the time online, and they came and picked us up at a specified time. If I remember correctly, the time that we booked as the actual zipping time and the pickup time was earlier. They had to go from hotel to hotel picking up other guests, so might be easier to drive yourselves. Proyecto Asis and the waterfall are both awesome. I'd do the Arenal Hanging Bridges - more natural, and ziplines scare away any potential wildlife. We saw howler monkeys and a toucan at the Hanging Bridges when we went with a guide.
volcanogirl is offline  
Old Jan 22nd, 2014, 03:08 PM
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When you stop at the croc bridge, there's a great little stand that sells fresh fruit smoothies. I'd recommend getting one - mango, pineapple, etc. Don't leave anything in your car unattended though. We did a guided tour of the national park with Manuel Antonio Expeditions, and they were very good. Pointed out lots of things we would have missed on our own - even a viper in a tree. The beach inside the national park is very pretty. We had a beach and wildlife where we stayed, but we still really enjoyed touring the park with a guide. We did the mangrove tour by day with MAE and saw tons of monkeys and even a tiny silky anteater. Monkeys even came aboard our boat. Some boats feed them bananas to attract them, but you're really not supposed to, and our tour didn't. I think it would be hard to see the wildlife at night, so my inclination would be to go during the day. We really liked the Villa Vanilla spice tour too, but boys might be bored. You get to taste fresh vanilla beans, chocolate, and fancy little desserts. Beautiful views too. Other than that, we just hung out on the beach at our hotel.
volcanogirl is offline  
Old Jan 22nd, 2014, 03:12 PM
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The Marriott is really nice; we stayed there for a night because we had points. I thought it would be very Americanized, but it had a nice colonial feel to it, but with extra amenities like the spa, golf course, good restaurants, gift shop, and a really cool little coffee/dessert shop. Breakfast was very good. Nice pool area, and there were lots of wild green parrots in the trees. We had a room on a higher floor, and they were right at eye level which was neat. The Doka Coffee Tour is a good one. I love the waterfall hike at the La Paz Waterfall Gardens - five beautiful ones, and there's a pool/pond where the boys can fish for trout if you think they'd enjoy that. Also an aviary, butterfly house, and ranarium. The only think I don't like is that they had monkeys in an enclosure that seemed too small to me. Some people think it feels a little Disneyesque; kids love it.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2014, 03:14 PM
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And I agree with RAC - Poas is worth seeing if the clouds cooperate. Very pretty.
volcanogirl is offline  
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