We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Itinerary 11 days help

Which Manuel Antonio National Park hotels are on sale?
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
See hotels
NY
posts: 62
reviews: 51
Itinerary 11 days help

Traveling as 2 adults and 5 year old. We have 11 days including flight into and out of SJO.

We definitely want Arenal. Here are our other thoughts, any suggestion on itinerary would be great. We were advised Drake Bay and Montezuma were not kid friendly:(

Monteverde

Conchal

Manuel Antonio

Playa Hermosa

I've been reading mixed reviews about spending time in MA, as most say it is very touristy. We do love beach time, but would prefer out time and money spent on more local flavor.

Monteverde had mix reviews that it is hard to get to, time consuming and not worth other areas of interest.

Am I missing a great spot I havent seen in the reviews?

If you designed 11 days with the three of us, how would you do it?

Thank you!

San Jose, Costa Rica
posts: 567
1. Re: Itinerary 11 days help

I think Monteverde is great with kids, and you could do 3 nights Arenal>Monteverde for 2 nights>head to the beach. Depending upon arrival and departure times, that's either the whole trip, or you can either add in a stop or extend time at any of the above (probably my suggestion).

As for the beach, there's a lot of options. A lot of the criticisms of Manuel Antonio as "too touristy" "too crowded" etc, come from folks who remember it 20 years ago, or compare it to Drake Bay. The fact is most visitors here if they've been to a tropical beach, it's Cancun or the Caribbean, in which case Manuel Antonio might seem underdeveloped.

That said, you could certainly consider swapping out Manuel Antonio for Conchal, Hermosa or Samara, or even a trip to Drake Bay (I took my boy there when he was 7, and he loved it--swimming in tide pools, riding in my kayak, snorkeling at Cano Island, night tour w/ Bug Lady Tracie)

Depends upon your traveling style, but if you finished up at the Westin or another large AI, they'd have built in children's programs, which are a nice break for some parents.

San Jose, Costa Rica
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
posts: 39,782
2. Re: Itinerary 11 days help

I drive often to Drakes to check on my farm...and some times my little ones go with me...they do not like the long trip...they love to go there only when we fly...but once around the beaches there they just love the place...for me it is kids friendly...just take in consideration how you are getting there...

Some nice beaches around Nosara...not many people...most of the time...

I really like Manuel Antonio...and most of the time I see a lot of monkies ...more than people...at least most of the time I look for monkies not for people...do the same it really works...

roadadivsor

Manuel Antonio...
posts: 595
reviews: 35
3. Re: Itinerary 11 days help

The two posts above about Manuel Antonio are correct......you and your child will love.....just the right mix of remote/wildlife/beaches/restaurants/things to do.....plus it is not as far away as Drake Bay or Monteverde......two much driving makes even grown ups grumpy.......(I do love Drake Bay for a short stay)....have a fun trip.

Tulemar Dave

NY
posts: 62
reviews: 51
4. Re: Itinerary 11 days help

Thank you all for great thoughts!

We also were thinking of Poas and La Paz Waterfalls. How could we get that in the mix?

So right now I am thinking, Poas, La Paz, Arenal, Monteverde, still undecided on beach, but I've ruled out Drake Bay as too far for this trip. Which beach would be closer for trip back to SJO?

Also, any thoughts on Sarapiqui?

Thanks so much for all your help!

San Jose, Costa Rica
posts: 567
5. Re: Itinerary 11 days help

Again, a lot depends on budget. La Paz Waterfall Gardens is great for kids, and you could stay at their fabulous Peace Lodge, and then head to their sister property The Springs in Arenal, which has a great Club Rio, recreation area down by the river. However, this is very upscale.

The Sarapiqui area is great. Very lush. Great wildlife. Not so much for young kids.

I think Manuel Antonio would be a great beach choice for you.

Edited: 5:06 pm, November 30, 2012
NY
posts: 62
reviews: 51
6. Re: Itinerary 11 days help

Thanks again. We are not upscale travelers. We want to spend our money on sites, activities, experiencing all we can in CR and have a safe, clean, comfortable hotel and as little as possible on transport:)

Do I need to have a separate stay somewhere other than Arenal area to see Poas and La Paz? I think we'd enjoy that, but do not want to add to much travel time in.

Thank you!

San Jose, Costa Rica
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
posts: 39,782
7. Re: Itinerary 11 days help

If you like fiber glass...and plastic flowers and some kind of Disney fake place...The Springs and sister property The Peace Lodge- are waiting for you ...incredible expensive ... OK places...nothing to die for...

Around Manuel Antonio check...Buena Vista Villas and Casas...and Tulemar Bungalow...SOUS...ISSIMO...Los Altos...incredible nice places....and worth every penny you pay for!

For affordable kind of places...La Posada Inn...Cabinas Hotel Espadillas...El Bosque...The Falls..Inn On the Park...

roadadvisor

Edited: 5:25 pm, November 30, 2012
NY
posts: 62
reviews: 51
8. Re: Itinerary 11 days help

I guess I'm confused. Are you saying Poas and La Paz are "Disney" like and not worth the time/expense?

Brooklyn, New York
Destination Expert
for Sarapiqui
posts: 3,552
reviews: 75
9. Re: Itinerary 11 days help

Poas is 100% natural.

La Paz Waterfall Gardens is part wildlife displays involving captive animals (the owners say they're rescued animals, and I have no reason to doubt them) and part actual waterfalls. The waterfall part is also 100% natural, and the highlight of a visit to the gardens.

The lodge at La Paz Waterfall Gardens (Peace Lodge) and the wildlife exhibits do tend towards the Disney side.

San Jose, Costa Rica
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
posts: 39,782
10. Re: Itinerary 11 days help

Thank you RACANDEE ...my broken English is not good enough some times...your clarification in perfect English ...is what I was trying to said!

POAS Volcano NAtional Park...is incredible nice...and of course 100% natural and the wild life as they are supposed to be...FREE!!

roadadvisor