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Getting to Montezuma with children - water taxi vs. ferry

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Gallipolis, Ohio
posts: 39
reviews: 6
Getting to Montezuma with children - water taxi vs. ferry

Hello, all! I would really appreciate some feedback.

My husband and I would like to end our Costa Rica vacation with a trip to the Nicoya Peninsula. We are struggling with the logistics of this. We are travelling with our 3 and 5 year old children from Manuel Antonio. We will have a rental car and three nights.

Should we:

a. Take the water taxi near Jaco. Is this suitable for young children? Would it be really choppy? Do you think they would have child sized life jackets, etc? And what could we do with our rental car?


b. Drive to Puntarenas, take our rental car over on the ferry, and then drive to Montezuma. Is the road really bad? We will have a 4x4 rental vehicle.


c. Do the ferry, but stay in Vistas Las Islas and have a vehicle to explore.

d. Skip the Nicoya Peninsula all together. If so, what would you recommend in its place? We'd like to stay on the Pacific coast or San Jose area and our trip already includes San Jose, Arenal, Monteverde, and Manuel Antonio.


Chicago, Illinois
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
posts: 6,026
reviews: 22
1. Re: Getting to Montezuma with children - water taxi vs. ferry

Whether you should head to the Nicoya peninsula with young children for a 3 night stay depends on what you are looking for. Beaches around Montezuma are not child-friendly due to rip currents although you will definitely see kids playing in the shallows on the beach just north of town. I would not recommend the water taxi from Jaco because it might be difficult for kids that young in an open boat if they have any tendency toward motion sickness. The ferry would be much easier for them.

Much as I love the Nicoya peninsula I don't think it's worth it with kids if you only have 3 nights. It will take a full day to get there from MA if you drive to Puntarenas and take the ferry. It will take a full day to drive back to San Jose. Two full travel days for 2 days on the beach? Not such a good deal IMO.

I'm always pleading with people to head south from Manuel Antonio to check out Dominical/Uvita and the beaches in Marino Ballena national park. There is rainforest hiking, wildlife, waterfalls and a whole different vibe from MA. You could stay at Hacienda Baru, La Cusinga Ecolodge or others in the area. It only adds an additional hour to your drive back to the San Jose airport.

The other option is to redistribute those 3 nights among your other stops - adding a day in Arenal, Monteverde and MA. Most folks don't spend long enough in each place to truly enjoy it. IMO there's a huge advantage to staying in fewer spots and slowing down the pace.

Dearborn, Michigan
posts: 579
reviews: 9
2. Re: Getting to Montezuma with children - water taxi vs. ferry

I'd avoid the water taxi with the youngsters. It's usually fine, but you'll be worried about the kids the whole trip.

Take the ferry (I LOVE the ferry ride) and you'll all enjoy it more, it's a leisurely hour break from the ride. FYI, other than the driver they make you all walk onto the ferry, so just be prepared for that part with the kids (I don't have kids, but I've seen them enforce the rule with seniors).

I've been to Costa Rica around 20 times (mostly the Pacific coast) and Montezuma is my favorite spot. Nice small town. It's nice to have a car to get to places with the kids (otherwise I wouldn't recommend a car).

Leave early because it is a long ride to get there.


Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
posts: 8,511
reviews: 58
3. Re: Getting to Montezuma with children - water taxi vs. ferry

I will endorse crfan advice to skip Nicoya and instead head to Dominical/Uvita. You can base yourself at Hacienda Baru, a private nature reserve, nice cottages, a pool, plenty of wildlife around. With a car it is easy to do a day trip to both Marino Ballena NP and to Sierpe for a lovely boat tour on the river.

If going to Nicoya then do your kids a favor and use a ferry.

Gallipolis, Ohio
posts: 39
reviews: 6
4. Re: Getting to Montezuma with children - water taxi vs. ferry

Thank you all so much for you advice! We were planning on spending 6 nights in Manuel Antonio, and doing a day trip down to the Uvita area to do the whale watching tour, but I had not considered staying there longer. We are changing our itinerary and trying to account for our last 3-4 day because we are struggling with reasonable hotel rates at mid-range hotels as our dates get closer to Christmas. We found reasonable lodging on the Nicoya Peninsula.

We will look further into Dominical/Uvita. Thank you for that suggestion! And if we decide to go to the Nicoya Peninsula, we will surely take the ferry over instead of the water taxi.

Edited: 5:23 pm, November 19, 2013
5. Re: Getting to Montezuma with children - water taxi vs. ferry

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