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Travel suggestions? Driving rental SUV with 18 mo baby

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Gainesville, Florida
posts: 2
reviews: 106
Travel suggestions? Driving rental SUV with 18 mo baby

1) In January we plan on driving a rental SUV (with personal Garmin GPS and infant car seat) from San Jose. On Day 1 we drive to Arenal and stay Night 1 inArenal. On Day 2 we drive to Monteverde. Any suggestions for best route to take between Arenal Observatory lodge and Monteverde (Santa Elena)? (greatly appreciate tips for stops, scenic route, gas station, baby specific nuisances to aniticipate and be prepared for)

2) We travel on Day 2 from Arenal to Monteverde. We plan on staying in Santa Elena on Night 2 and Spend Day 3 and Night 3 in Monteverde. Any suggestions for activities during our stay in Monteverde?

3) At least one of us would like to do the canopy tour with zip line in Monteverde (the other will do something with the baby in the meantime). Any suggestions for a place that all of us can go to and then split there? Any idea how long would a canopy tour take? Do all canopy tours have zip line as part of the tour? which is a good company to go with?

4) All of us would like to hike monteverde forest (dad, mom and 18 mo baby) for about of 2 hours with the possibility of having to take some breaks. Can you suggest a customized hike and/or package/guide considering our need?

5) On day 4 we head out of Monteverde. We have one yet-to-be-planned Day 4 and Night 4 in Costa Rica (We have to be in San Jose for Night 5 to catch an early morning flight on Day 6). We would love to hit a beach before heading back to San Jose. Any suggestions for a driveable baby-friendly destination between Monteverde and San Jose? Would Manuel Antonio be a good destination?

Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
posts: 5,464
reviews: 52
1. Re: Travel suggestions? Driving rental SUV with 18 mo baby

It is your holiday but anyway, I am curious. What is the meaning of driving 3 hours from San Jose to Arenal for half a day? And AOL has a stretch of really bad road. There is really one only route from Arenal to Santa Elena, around the lake to Tilaran then up the hill to Santa Elena. Count 4 hours. You can (and will) stop often, however on the last one hour there are only limited places to have a break. Monteverde is known for its cloud forest, birds, ziplines and hanging bridges. These are also the most common activities there. Using a private guide you will be able to customize your activities at any location.

Baby specific nuisances??!! For me all this trip is one big nuisance for an 18 month old baby. Hiking in the jungle? Really?! I mean, take your baby to Costa Rica, find a nice spot near the beach like Manuel Antonio or Samara, and have good relaxed holidays. And come back when the baby will be 180 months old.

Chicago, Illinois
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
posts: 4,951
reviews: 20
2. Re: Travel suggestions? Driving rental SUV with 18 mo baby

You should check a map online and you will see that there is no beach between Monteverde and San Jose so your one-night beach stop requires a whole lot of additional driving: 4 hours to Manuel Antonio and then 3 hours back to San Jose, or 3 hours to Punta Leona and then 1.5 hours back to San Jose. Punta Leona has a beautiful beach but the only hotelfacing it, I have some concerns about.

I also agree with xelas that this sounds like a terribly flawed travel itinerary where you spend an hour on the road for every 30 minutes you'll spend on nature or adventures. For such a short trip you really need to limit yourself to just 2 spots.

3. Re: Travel suggestions? Driving rental SUV with 18 mo baby

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