totuguero or montevedre

Jan 26th, 2004, 04:35 PM
  #1  
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totuguero or montevedre

Hi, I am planning my first trip to Costa Rica with my family of four including two boys ages 8 and 10. A travel guide sent an itinerary for a trip to Limon and then a boat trip to Totuguero with two nights at Tortuga Lodge. My concern is it seems like a long boat ride to Totuguero from Limon. Is this the kind of thing that my 8 and 10 year old will enjoy? Is there lots of wild life on the way? This is through Costa Rica Expeditions. Also this is only an 8 to 9 day trip. Would you prefer Tortuguero over MonteVerde? And is it too much to try to fit in Tortuguero, Arenal, and MA in one trip or Monteverde, Arenal and MA? The alternative is to do only Arenal and MA or Monteverde and MA. Thoughts anybody? ALso Costa RIcan Expeditions prices seem high. Are they worth it? Thanks for any and all comments!
chinahart is offline  
Jan 26th, 2004, 05:40 PM
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I've been considering the same questions as you! I'll be watching for a reply also...
LA_FadeAway is offline  
Jan 26th, 2004, 06:48 PM
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What a treat you are in for! We've been to Costa Rica many times, but have yet to go to Monteverde or Tortuguero. They are both on our "list". I can tell you, from having talked to a LOT of people who have done both that Tortuguero is pretty awesome. That's not to say that Monteverde isn't because it has Sky Trek and your boys are sure to think that is fantastic! But, if they are into lots of wildlife, I think they would love Tortuguero. Also, everyone I have talked to who has used Costa Rica Expeditions has had nothing but great things to say about them. We are traveling there again in March and are trying to decide where to go. We want to go to Tortuguero, but we'd like to go when the turtles are nesting, and that isn't March! However, I spoke with a Costa Rican last week who said "Go anyway! It is wonderful!"

With 8 or 9 days, you are going to have to make some choices. If you go to Tortuguero, I would suggest choosing only one other location. Monteverde (although different in many ways) is going to bear some similarities to Tortuguero --as far as viewing wildlife. Arenal is great, but you'll stand a much better chance of viewing it in the dry season (you didn't mention your dates). Manuel Antonio is absolutely wonderful, and it would give your boys some beach time if they are interested in that. Keep in mind the park is closed on Mondays when you are planning.

I know it sounds like a family should be able to fit three places into 9 days, but it just doesn't work that way because of travel time from place to place. The transfers almost always rob you of the better parts of two days--that's when you choose two places.

One thing I can tell you, don't worry too much about what you are going to do. All of the things you are looking at are going to provide some amazing experiences for you and your family. I think the only mistake you could possibly make is not WHAT you choose to do, but HOW MUCH you choose to do.
I can promise you, you will want to return, so just plan on saving some stuff for next time! People keep asking us when we are going to get tired of going to Costa Rica and I always tell them "Maybe when we have seen all the parts we want to see!" Of course, everything we have seen so far, we wouldn't mind seeing again--and again! That is why, in 6 visits, we have yet to go to Monteverde and Tortuguero--we have found some places along the North Pacific coast and Nicoya Peninsula that we really enjoy and we have been back there several times--at least a few days each time. Enjoy!

Have a great time!
shillmac is offline  
Jan 27th, 2004, 04:18 AM
  #4  
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Shillmac thanks so much for your reply!. I suspect that I will want to return to Costa Rica many times. So you've not heard any bad things about the boat ride to Tortuguero?
chinahart is offline  
Jan 27th, 2004, 06:22 AM
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Our first trip to Costa Rica was nine nights. We visited Arenal, Monteverde and Manual Antonio. But, we didn't have any kids with us. For us, getting from place to place was part of the fun. Wonderful scenery. We stopped in many small towns and looked around. Got lost a few times. Just part of the adventure. Thinking back to when we did travel with our boys, I doubt they would have been impressed. I do think they would have enjoyed that boat ride though. Although not having done it, it sounds pretty darn interesting.
JeanH is offline  
Jan 27th, 2004, 06:23 AM
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Hi. We went to Costa Rica a few years ago when our kids were 8 & 12. Had a great time. We booked through Costa Rica Expeditions and visited Tortuguero, Monteverde, Arenal and
Tamarindo. (We were very pleased with CR Exp. services - all the connections etc worked flawlessly. Their prices were high, but the service was excellent.) I definitely recommend Tortuguero over Monteverde. We thought Monteverde was way overrated and it is a real pain to get to. Apparently there is a lot less wildlife there than there used to be.

When you go also affects what areas to visit. We went in late July and timed it to see the giant turtles laying eggs at Tortuguero - really awesome. We chose Tamarindo because it's drier at that time of year than the beaches farther south. Unfortunately, in the summer, you have less chance of seeing the volcano at Arenal. We did take a horseback ride to a nice waterfall there & also enjoyed the hot springs.

If you are concerned about the boat ride to Tortuguero, you might ask about flying at least one way.

Have a great time!
so that effects what places I would recommend.

We were in Tamarindo for three days - stayed near the Capitain Siuzo & it looked very nice. Right on the beach with a nice pool & restaurant. However, it is about a 15-20 min walk to the edge
of town. Tamarindo was our last stop so
we mostly laid on the beach (not very crowded & the water is so warm!). Saw lots of iguanas, crabs and a couple howler monkeys right near the beach. This time of year it is mostly sunny in the morning, but rains most afternoons.

We also went to Tortuguero, Arenal and Monteverde.

If you like wildlife, I highly recommend Tortuguero. Now is the season when green sea turtles (3 feet long) come to nest on the beach and you can go with a guide and watch one lay her eggs. awesome! You can also take boat rides through the rain forest- we saw monkeys, quatomundis and a sloth. We stayed at the Tortuguero Lodge (www.Costaricaexpeditions.com). It was pricey, but very nice with excellent food.

Monteverde was very disappointing. It seems to be on everyone's itinerary, but I don't know why. We took several walks in various woods, often during the rain, and didn't see much. Also, the roads are a real pain -4-5 hr of bumpiness in or out.

Arenal was OK. We didn't see the volcano because it was too cloudy both nites we were there. I understand that's typical during the rainy season. Maybe worth a try anyway - definitely if you're going in the dry season. While there we did see a nice waterfall with a swimming pool at the bottom. Also took some hikes and saw the lava rocks from previous explosions.

Hope this is helpful. Good luck.

jerirl is offline  
Jan 27th, 2004, 12:48 PM
  #7  
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Thanks to all who commented. That firms it up so I will definitely go to Totuguero. I have e-mailed with Costa Rica Expeditions and they have said they could arrange for my boys to meet with some of the local village children for games or icecream which I think would be neat. I really want them to learn about other cultures and people. I'll skip Monteverde and probably do Manuel Antonio.
chinahart is offline  
Jan 27th, 2004, 01:05 PM
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Tortuguero is on my list for the next trip to Costa Rica. But, I just want to say how much I loved Monteverde. No, we didn't see as many animals as we did in Manual Antonio, but the plant life is absolutely amazing. I have never seen so many shades of green. Every inch of every surface seems to be green. Beautiful hiking trails, nice waterfalls, even the elusive quetzal. Obviously, the place isn't everyone's favorite, but it's one of mine.

Jean
JeanH is offline  
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