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Reserva Biológica La Danta (near Dominical) - anyone been?

Reserva Biológica La Danta (near Dominical) - anyone been?

Old Feb 9th, 2011, 07:06 AM
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Reserva Biológica La Danta (near Dominical) - anyone been?

Hi all,

We're researching day (or half day) trips from Manuel Antonio, since we'll have six nights there, and I can find lots of info on most activities. So far, we're planning to do the Don Lulo Nauyaca Waterfalls, Hacienda Baru, and the Vanilla plantation.

One that I can't find all that much info about is the Reserva Biológica La Danta. I read that they have fruit trees, nuts, and spices, offer, tours, hikes, etc. Only one guide even mentions them. Has anyone visited, and if so, can you tell me about your experience? We have two adventurous kids, ages 6 and 8, so we need to keep that in mind when planning activities.

Thanks!
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Old Feb 10th, 2011, 03:00 PM
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Really, no one??? Well, if that's the case, I may HAVE to go there, if only for the "off the beaten path" cred!

Seriously though, surely someone knows something about this place? Right? Maybe?
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Old Feb 10th, 2011, 04:15 PM
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I have information about this place and about good alternatives for activities with kids that age, gathered through research for my own trip. I thought about posting it, but Shillmac's put me off. Sorry.

If she doesn't come through in a couple of days, I will.
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Old Feb 10th, 2011, 04:45 PM
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I think he's asking for personal experience there, and even though we all can google with the best of them, I won't.

John for your 6 days staying MA, are you allowing time to explore the park itself and some activities in that area? Best I can remember, the Nauyaca tour started at 8 or 9am and boy was it a full day, we were whipped afterwards. I think we were done maybe 2 or 3pm, so that's a full day there. Then Hacienda Baru, think we spent about 3-4 hours there and didn't nearly cover all the trails only the beach one and 1/2 of another.

You may also want to look into Rancho La Merced, about 15-20 minutes S of Dominical if I recall. Right by the 159km marker, they do horse back rides as well as private tours on their reserve, which is all family owned. The private tour was around $20-30 and a couple hours long, just me and the guide, very nice.

And actually if your that far South couldn't hurt to drive another 30 minutes or so, have breakfast or lunch at Hotel Cristal Ballena, it has a beautiful view and then go down to Ballena Park, and walk out to the whale's tail.
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Old Feb 10th, 2011, 05:11 PM
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Tilted...over my head, some weird message board feud?
I've done plenty of Googling (and searched this board), not a lot of info on this place.

Tully, thank you for the insight and ideas. I'm trying to think about budgeting time. We'll be in the Arenal area for 5 night prior to MA, so I think we're going to do a lot of activities (zip line, etc.) there.

I'm thinking we'll have a couple of mornings for MA park and a couple of beach mornings leaving maybe 2 "excursion" mornings and an afternoon excursion or two. Trying to narrow it down. I likely won't do both Baru and La Danta, just weighing all options.

About the waterfall horseback ride: the kids have never been on a horse but I've read they accommodate kids and the horses walk only, no trotting. What was your experience like? Suitable for children in your opinion?

Thanks again,
John
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Old Feb 10th, 2011, 05:30 PM
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Oh dear, well John let me tell you I had the son of Secretariat at Nauyaca Loved every second of it. Now, they ask you in the beginning - no experience, little experience, owned a horse, etc. I used to have a thoroughbred so I asked for a fast horse, and after the stop for breakfast we took off, the rest of the group didn't catch up for a good 10 minutes. One of the most fun times of my life to be honest, galloping (yes!) through the trail, thru rivers, holding on for dear life. But yes there were others with horses that people were mumbling they could walk faster than the horse, just plodding along. So of course, they would note the kids and put them on the plodders. Bring a towel with you, which I forgot. The waterfall is truly beautiful, as is the ride thru the country and 2 great meals.

Zipline in Arenal I'd rec SkyTrek if you think the kids can handle it. The first time you see the first real line, after the practice one, is a big gulp. Arenal Paraiso offers one that's a bit tamer. The Canopy Safari one in MA is really nice too, but it does have rappels which may be too much for the kids (it was almost enough for me, I think they thought they never get my grip off the guide).

Hope you have a blast, sounds like your kids will for sure.
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Old Feb 10th, 2011, 06:38 PM
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Again, thanks, great insight.
You're ride seems...well...scary! Glad you enjoyed it though.

I have been looking into "tamer" zip lines...for the kids...not because I'm afraid of heights or anything...yeah...it's the kids.

In Arenal, I'm thinking possibly Los Lagos and if we wait until MA, I'm thinking maybe Canopy, Hacienda Baru (since they have only one platform (all other zips are from the ground over valleys), or Titi.
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Old Feb 10th, 2011, 06:42 PM
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"You're" should obviously be "your". No excuse for the weird parentheses either. Had to correct myself, sorry.
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Old Feb 10th, 2011, 07:57 PM
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Just thought I'd throw out there that we took our 4 year old granddaughter (at the time) on the Canopy Safari ziplines and she hung with the best of us. Rappeling and all. . .we even had a Tarzan swing. It was awesome! We've not done Skytrek at Arenal or Arenal Paraiso.

Also, tully, you are reminding me that Hacienda Baru is definitely on my list. I've been reading Monkeys Are Made of Chocolate, by Jack Ewing, owner of Hacienda Baru. It is a collection of stories and fascinating. It's been around for several years, but I just started it. One of these days. . .
You really know the area south of Manuel Antonio better than we do; certainly more hotel information.

Sounds like a great trip, John. Happy planning!
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Old Feb 10th, 2011, 07:57 PM
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John you'd be amazed how quickly you can turn around doing those ziplines. First time, first couple of lines I'd hang back, not really wanting to go but by the end of it you're just enjoying the heck out of it and don't want it to end. The guides will often go with the kids if they're scared (I don't think they'll go with you though, sorry ) Los Lagos I'm sure would be pretty tame since it's a family resort and I've heard the same of Titi though have not been on it.

Oh and in MA, stop by El Avion, it's tacky fun, you can have a drink with a great view and the kids will like the plane.
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Old Feb 11th, 2011, 05:29 AM
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Thanks again to both of you, great stuff! Good to hear a four year old enjoyed zipping through the air.

Ah, and I had read about El Avion but forgot about it. On my list now, for sure.
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Old Feb 11th, 2011, 06:04 AM
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I'm glad that tully and shillmac did reply after all. Of course direct experience provides the most useful information. However, that doesn't mean that other information has no value. So here's a couple of points relevant to your question that they missed. To be clear, this is based on research.

- In addition to Don Lulu's horseback tour to Nauyaca Falls (aka Santo Cristo falls), another ride to those falls is offered by Bella Vista Lodge.
- Bella Vista is located right across the road from RB La Danta.
- RB La Danta has a facebook page with more info, and a thorough write-up in the Moon guidebook, on line.
- One reason you may be having trouble getting info is that its current name is pretty new. Formerly called Finca Brian y Emilia, and I think Finca Brian y Milena before that.
- I think Brian was formerly Brian Chisman, has changed his last name to Brian Satkarananda and has the email [email protected], and that Emilia is his grown daughter.
- Parque Reptilandia is nearby and might be a hit with the kids.
- If you're going as far south as the Whale's tail in Uvita, you might want to continue a little further to Tilapias el Pavon, a restaurant at which you (and the kids) have the option to catch, and the restaurant cooks, tilapia from their aquaculture pools, and which is adjacent to a cool-looking and oft-praised waterfall/swimming hole.
- Presumably you're aware of the dangerous surf at Dominical itself, but just be sure I'm flagging it. Another drowning at that particular beach just a few weeks back.

Sorry if my first post above dragged you into my recent kerfuffle with shillmac. My dilemma was, she recently told me to shut up (that's an accurate paraphrase). I intended to do just that on your post, until I returned to it to see if there was anything worth adding to my own notes. When I did, all I found was you pleading for information and no contribution from shillmac or anything else. I didn't want to leave you hanging, nor to again be accused of being arrogant for merely distributing relevant information, so I tried to split the difference.
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Old Feb 11th, 2011, 06:34 AM
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Thanks Tilted, great info. I read the page on La Danta in Moon, but found no info elsewhere - thanks for the tip about Facebook. Also looking up Tilapias el Pavon right now.
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Old Feb 11th, 2011, 09:00 AM
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Con mucho gusto.
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Old Feb 11th, 2011, 09:12 AM
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If you check my trip report you can see that I, also, had one of severa aspiring Secretariats at Don Lulo's. Be also aware that the horse trail in places is rocky, slippery, somewhat steep and muddy. I'm not sure I'd be bringing my young children if they'd never ridden before, especially if it has been raining.
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Old Feb 11th, 2011, 10:07 AM
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Yeah, we're not sure about the ride to the falls just yet. Thanks for the input.
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Old Feb 11th, 2011, 10:37 AM
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Yeah, be careful about asking Don Lulo questions. They will say whatever is necessary to appease your concerns but it may not reflect reality. I was supposed to be on one of the tamer horses, LOL! And was told that the trail was just fine after all the rains, another LOL.
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Old Feb 13th, 2011, 09:51 AM
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John, would you like to see the CD of photos that we bought from Canopy Safari? I'd be glad to share it with you.
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Old Feb 13th, 2011, 12:41 PM
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Sure, thanks. I mentioned to my wife that you found that company suitable for your four year old granddaughter. We have some options with zip line tours, not sure who we'll end up going with.
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Old Feb 13th, 2011, 12:58 PM
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I am impressed you saved that shillmac. I ah 'accidently' threw mine away after seeing the image of me with a funny looking helmet on screaming my head off was seen. John I think it's a good idea to have a place in mind for Arenal & MA, as well as Dominical. That way when you're up for it, you'll have the option to choose.

I honestly don't recall Nauyaca being really steep or rocky at all. Muddy yes, but the horses slogged right thru it quite nicely. I did feel bad for the hikers we came across who decided to hike to the falls instead of by horse, it's a considerable distance and I've never seen people look more miserable.
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