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Two-week itinerary during Christmas and New Year with kids.

Two-week itinerary during Christmas and New Year with kids.

Old Dec 8th, 2012, 04:41 AM
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Two-week itinerary during Christmas and New Year with kids.


This is our itinerary during Christmas and New Year. We are two families with 3 kids (age 5, 6 and 8). We have booked the activities in the itinerary (indicated as "Reserved") so we are all set with those. My questions are:

1. What can you recommend for each day after we are done with the main morning activity? It must be kid-friendly and kid-doable!
2. Is it worth visiting Tabacon Hot Springs?
3. Are there any must-eat restaurants that you can recommend?
4. Is my estimate of time required for driving correct? We have rented a SUV, and will be downloading a EZFind Costa Rica map.

Fly into San Jose, pick up car and drive to Hotel in Alajuela .

See Poás Volcano [45mins drive; reach before 10AM before clouds over the volcano]
See La Paz Waterfall gardens [20 mins drive]

Leave for Arenal (9 AM; 3-4 hrs drive)
Afternoon, go to Tabacon Hot Springs (Day Pass Entrance Only)

Sky Tram and Sky Walk (unguided) at Arenal Volcano National Park [Reserved]

Cano Negro boat tour [Reserved]

Drive and hike to La Fortuna Waterfall
Leave for Monteverde (10 AM; 4-5 hrs drive)

Guided Tour Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve [Reserved]
The Bat Jungle
Evening, see Ranario (Frog Pond)

Ziplining Canopy Tour [Reserved]
Hummingbird Gallery
Butterfly Garden
Hidden Valley Night Tour

Leave for Manuel Antonio (10 AM; 5-6 hrs drive)
Stop by Tarcoles river bridge to see the wild crocodiles

Horseback ride to forest and waterfalls [Reserved]
Relax and spend time at the Playa Espadilla public beach

Early morning guided hike to Manuel Antonio National Park [Reserved]
Spend rest of the day at a beach (#3) inside the park

Damas Estuary Boat Trip [Reserved]

Leave for Alajuela (10 AM; 3-4 hrs drive). Return car.

Fly out of Alajuela/San Jose

dukkar is offline  
Old Dec 8th, 2012, 06:00 AM
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You might consider the kid friendly (and 1/4 the price) Los Laureles Hot Springs just west of La Fortuna: http://www.termalesloslaureles.com/

You are perhaps optimistic about the clouds over Poas: an earlier arrival time would be better (also to avoid crowds; when you do, if it IS clouded over, give it 15 minutes). The road (from the park parking lot) down to La Paz will take a bit longer than 20 minutes, IMO (if road repair is still happening; here's a waterfall from the road pic: http://www.govisitcostarica.com/trav...d=388&phID=185).

p.s. We like the hanging bridges hike (near Lake Arenal, just past Lost Iguana resort); if your kids have energy to burn after all that.
Itinerary sounds terrific!
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Old Dec 8th, 2012, 01:21 PM
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We did the ziplining at Arenal, so I'm not sure about the one in Monteverde - make sure there is no age limit (for your 5 and 6 year old), and watch some youtube videos to make sure your kids will be ok with it.

Your itinerary sounds great, wish we were going again!
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Old Dec 8th, 2012, 02:18 PM
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It all sounds fun to me. I think some of your drive times are a little long. We just went from the Arenal area to the Waterfall Gardens, and it took our driver about 2 hours and 15 minutes or so. A new road has gone in where the earthquake had damaged the old one. I think Tabacon is worth seeing; your kids would love it - very elaborate, and it has a water slide. Reaching Poas by 10:00 is no guarantee that there won't be clouds. We arrived much earlier and it was still so clouded over that we couldn't even see the crater. We lingered around like Sylvia mentioned and eventually they parted, but it took a while. If you're staying at the Peace Lodge, they have a night time frog tour that would be a fun evening activity. Other than that, your kids would probably love just relaxing at the pool. Have you thought about visiting the Proyecto Asis animal rescue center? Kids love that. We were able to feed a sloth, monkeys, and other animals when we went. I agree with x about the ziplines - are your little kids doing that? The one we did didn't allow anyone under the age of 8.

Some of the restaurants we've liked are Don Rufino, La Choza de Laurel, Soda la Parada, Pizzeria de Johnny, Ronny's Place/Mi Lugar, Barba Roja, Salsipuedes, Cafe Milagro, and Cafe Agua Azul. I don't know where you're staying, but both Nayara and the Springs Resort and Spa have good restaurants.
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Old Dec 8th, 2012, 03:44 PM
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Thanks everyone.

Volcanogirl: I wanted to visit Proyecto Asis but they only have guided tours or volunteering at specific times. I couldn't find anything that said I could visit them anytime I want in the afternoon without making any reservation. Would you know?

Also, we booked Original Canopy Tours for zip lining in Monteverde. Their minimum age is 5 yrs. See http://canopytour.com/monteverde.html.

So it appears everyone is saying that I shouldn't try to do anything extra on top of what I have outlined in my itinerary. I just thought most of the activities such as guided treks, zip lining, etc would end by lunch time so I would have time to kill in the afternoon.
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Old Dec 8th, 2012, 06:45 PM
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d, I'm not sure; we visited the center with Desafio as part of a tour. I think the center offers one morning tour and one afternoon tour, but I'm not sure of the times. I really can't imagine ziplining that young - your kids are brave! You will have time in the afternoons, but you're already doing so much; I think some relaxation time is nice. Maybe pack a couple of games and some books - that's what we do. And spend time at the hotel pool. We've done the Original Canopy Tour in Monteverde - it was fun, not as scary as Sky Trek. They had a picture of Jimmy Carter on their zipline hanging up in their office when we were there!
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