shillmac! help with family trip

Old Nov 17th, 2004, 05:25 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 130
shillmac! help with family trip

After posting I see that you are practically the expert on Costa Rica. You probably saw my family post, but really, can you give me a 6-7 day itinerary. Even if you just pick the places, I can research the hotels...and what about the driving thing. We are willing, but is it advisable?
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Old Nov 17th, 2004, 12:37 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
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By no means am I an expert on Costa Rica. Oh how I wish this were true!

I suggested Arenal and Manuel Antonio because these 2 locations will give the first timer a very good overview of the country and what it has to offer with the option of lots of activity or lots of rest or a healthy combination of both.

Your itinerary will depend in part on your arrival and departure times. If you arrive late in the day (after 3:00) you will stay the 1st night near the airport. Try to avoid this in order to take advantage of your short time! If you depart before noon, you will need to return to the airport area the night before. You could easily "lose" a couple of nights because of arrival/departure times.

Day 1 (if arriving a.m. or early p.m.)
Rent vehicle--it's a breeze--and drive to Arenal (2.5 or 3 hours)--a beautiful drive. You can enjoy Tabacon Hot Springs at night!
Day 2 Arenal
Day 3 Drive to Manuel Antonio (6 hrs)
Day 4 Manuel Antonio
Day 5 Manuel Antonio
Day 6 Manuel Antonio, return to SJO
Day 7 Departure flight

This is a 2 night/4 night split between Arenal and MA with the final night near the airport. 7 nights.

You might want equal time Arenal and Manuel Antonio. Depends on you and your family. If you especially are craving the beach, you might prefer 4 nights there. I would recommend the 2 night/4 night split because of the partial day lost in driving.

In Arenal, we liked Arenal Paraiso (found it to have excellent views of the lava flow as well as pretty grounds, decent rooms, and good service). Some people like to stay at Tabacon Resort because admittance to the springs is free for hotel guests. It gets mixed reviews, both the rooms and the food. Check the Tabacon Hot Springs website for current prices. I think it is about $20 per person for an evening visit.

At Manuel Antonio, it depends on how much you want to spend. There is a wide range. Middle of the road would be Villas Nicolas with an excellent reputation (I haven't stayed there, but have stayed next door at Si Como No--very nice). You can do the research on hotels and their prices. We have also stayed at Hotel California. It was okay, but I've heard Costa Verde is better. There are some deluxe accomodations as well--Makanda by the Sea, Tulemar, El Parador, La Mariposa to name a few (some don't allow children). Si Como No was very family friendly.

Driving to and from (and in between) these locations is a cinch. You'll enjoy the adventure! There are 6 of you? You'll need a 4Runner or something similar, right? Expect about $500 for the week. You can e-mail if you have more detailed questions: [email protected] I would be glad to help you.
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Old Nov 17th, 2004, 01:44 PM
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Thank you for your help, as I look into this if I need you help I am glad you will be available. Today, I told a couple of people that I was researching CR and they said they'd thought about doing it, but decided against because they heard it was unsafe. And another person said she had a friend who went and was comfortable by the pool but did not feel safe going out at night. I am trying to not let these people scare me out of going, but honestly they are having an effect. Just shoot me, huh?
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Old Nov 17th, 2004, 02:54 PM
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One friend "heard" it was unsafe and another person said someone "told her" it was unsafe. You need to speak directly to people who have been there! None of us will tell you it is unsafe. What nonsense!

I'm a 50+ teacher and have "done" Costa Rica alone as well as with my husband and/or family. No, we don't go walking around downtown San Jose at night (or anywhere else alone), but Arenal and Manuel Antonio are both areas where you should feel extraordinarily safe!
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Old Nov 17th, 2004, 03:28 PM
Join Date: Apr 2004
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molly - I wouldn't worry about 3rd or 4th hand convo's. I just recently went to CR by myself & had no problems, felt very safe. A lot of these people that tell you it's unsafe probably couldn't even pick it out on a map! I know when I mentioned where I was going, a co-worker asked why I would go there with "all the armed guerrillas running around" (uhhh, wrong country, wrong decade! ) You will have a great time with your family.
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Old Nov 17th, 2004, 07:29 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
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LOL! Reminds me of someone I met while in Costa Rica this past summer. This person still hadn't figured out they were not vacationing on an island! Go figure! I teach school and I'll bet 5-6 of my co-workers have referred to Costa Rica as an island when asking me about our travels. There are just a huge number of very un-informed folks out there! Unfortunately, some of them teach geography in our classrooms!!!! UH-OH!

BTW, recently there was discussion on this forum about which place was the better vacation spot--Hawaii or Costa Rica. I just purchased a National Geographic magazine called Adventure Travel 2005 and it had a little article in it with pros and cons. Guess which won??? Yep--CR!
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