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Shillmac and others: 7 Days Too Long in Manuel Antonio?

Shillmac and others: 7 Days Too Long in Manuel Antonio?

Old Apr 12th, 2007, 01:28 PM
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Shillmac and others: 7 Days Too Long in Manuel Antonio?

Thanks so much for all of your advice so far. We are the couple traveling with the 4 y/o and 18 month old. We are thinking of staying in M. Antonio for a week. Is that too long? Should we stay 4-5 days and then drive down to Playa Uvita for a few days? I was trying not to move too much with the kids, but also don't want to be bored. Thanks for your help!
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Old Apr 12th, 2007, 05:38 PM
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For me, it would be too long, about 4 nights. I think it depends on what you want from your trip. Your children, if they like the beach, will have a great time inside the park at that second little beach. Perfect for them. Our 18 month old granddaughter had a blast there last year, and we did very little both days but take her to the beach to play--and a morning tour of the park.

There's a great horseback riding tour (Finca Valmy), but with the little ones, that won't work out for you. Same thing with kayaking the mangroves.

The drive south Uvita is really rough for the first 1.5 hour. I mean knocking heads together rough! But we managed it last year--one way.

Tell you what else our little one enjoyed, and I see this as a decent option for you. We did a week long loop, first down to Savegre Mountain Hotel (a cloud forest area) near San Gerardo De Dota. Fabulous temp in the daytime, cool at night. This is a fantastic place to chill, take walks, see lots of hummingbirds and other birds, go trout fishing, etc. I think your kids and you would enjoy seeing this part of the country. 2 nights is good, provided you get there fairly early in the day.

From there you can drive down to San Isidro, then over to Dominical (Playa Uvita is just south of there). Spend a night or two in the area, then drive up to Manuel Antonio for 2-3 days of beach time. We loved Costa Verde.

Will you need to spend first night near airport? If arriving past 1:00, I'd suggest that. Hotel Villa Bonita, 5 min. away, is a good overnight B&B.

Night 1--airport
Night 2,3--Savegre
Night 4,5,6,7--Pacific area, Uvita, Manuel Antonio?
Last night near airport?

If your flight is 2:00 p.m. or later, you can leave MA by 7:00 or 8:00 and be okay.

Just thought I'd suggest something just a little off the beaten path and a very beautiful and different area.

There are any number of other options, such as an Arenal/Manuel Antonio combination. Very popular for first timers, with good reason. Seems to me, though, that little ones might enjoy a place like Savegre more. . .

Near the airport, should you have spare time in that area (the city of La Garita/Alajuela) is Zoo Ave, a bird zoo. Your kids would LOVE a visit there--it's a rehab place. Lots of gorgeous birds and other animals as well. About an hour or so. Nice little soda for lunch across the street. Good luck!

I don't blame you for not wanting long drives with the kids. We try to break it up as well.

The itinerary above is:

SJO-Savegre, about 2.5 hours

Savegre to San Isidro, about 1.5 hour,
then another 45 min. or 1 hour to Dominical.

Dominical to MA, 1.5 rough hour.

MA to SJO, about 3 hours.

For less driving, you might consider a couple of nights on the way to MA in a place like Villa Lapas (we're doing that this summer with our granddaughter). Good for touring Carara Biological Reserve (scarlet macaws), and walking trails, seeing lots of birds, etc. Also Turu-Bari park nearby. That would give you a bit of variety, which would be a MUST for me!
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Old Apr 12th, 2007, 08:06 PM
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Thank you - this is great!
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Old Apr 13th, 2007, 04:19 PM
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I hope you can use it. It takes a little leap of faith to go somewhere a bit more remote and less talked about. Most probably wouldn't think of the San Gerardo area as good for kids, but our little one really enjoyed everything about it. Costa Ricans love children. . .so you'll certainly be welcomed almost everywhere!
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Old Apr 16th, 2007, 04:38 AM
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I agree with Shillmac - the Costa Rica people love children - they will be treated like little kings & queens.

I would also highly recommend staying near the airport your first night - even if you arrive at lunch time. Air travel will probably been tiring enough for everyone. Take naps in the afternoon and play in the pool. Another nice place near the airport is Orquideas Inn (also 5-10min) that you'll see people talking about. They have a pool, hot tub (for you two) and a couple of pet birds which they probably would enjoy. Good restaurant on site.

3 nights is just right for MA. Unless all you want is to hang out by the beach and pool, a full week would be a little too much for me. I like the cloud forest for your other stop.

Good Luck!
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