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First time visitors looking for rest, relaxation and memorys

Maidstone, United...
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45 posts
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First time visitors looking for rest, relaxation and memorys

Hello everyone, we are looking for some help to plan a trip in June 2016. We are x2 couples in the 48-51 age group.

We are looking to book 14 nights, and are discussing the pros & cons of doing beach based area, possibly all inclusive? versus a bed and breakfast base ? with day trips out, or reluctantly a twin centre?. with day trips. My sister is reluctant and nervous to travel to independently, so no busing across country !! and also she doesn't want to pack\unpack. We are on a budget and have to spend our pennies wisely ( don't we all !!)

We love a beautiful blue ocean, with clear water and white sand with good swimming and snorkelling, but we also would like to visit the Arenal Volcano, a rainforest for the animals and reptiles (I keep reptiles myself), and we'd like to do a few activities like the cable car, or zip wire, tubing, and the hot springs and mud baths.

Where is the best place to base ourselves, if not all- inclusive, somewhere where there is a supply of reasonable restaurants We have looked at the Guancaste area and also MA, but are open to any suggestions. All advice is welcome

Chicago, Illinois
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
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10,864 posts
23 reviews
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1. Re: First time visitors looking for rest, relaxation and memorys

I think you're going to have to split this trip into 2 parts: Arenal and a beach stay. You can't reasonably access Arenal on a daytrip from any beach as it's a 4-5 hour drive. You also should plan at least 3 days in the Arenal area and more days would be better if you want to enjoy hot springs, ziplines, rafting, waterfalls and more. Do some more research on Arenal and check tripadvisor hotel reviews to pick a couple of options that appeal to you and fit your budget.

Next you've got to focus on identifying the best beach spot. There are hundreds to choose from. I have to tell you that Costa Rica is not known for white sand beaches or snorkeling. There are few coral reefs so much of the sand is tan to gray. Still beautiful but not like Caribbean island postcards. One of the best beaches in Costa Rica is at Playa Conchal on the north Pacific coast. The Reserva Concahl condos might work for you but there is no real walkable town here so you'd need to drive to Brasilito, Flamingo, Potrero or Tamarindo, all nearby to check out restaurants and shopping.

You might also take a look at Samara, a small walkable beach town with a beach partially protected by a reef, safe swimming and lots of good restaurants in the area. Playa Carrillo just a couple of miles down the road is even prettier but part of its charm is that there are no lodgings or facilities at the beach - just lots of coconut palms.

Both of these options would work best if you flew into Liberia rather than San Jose airport.

You should also read up on Manuel Antonio on the central pacific which has a beautiful beach backed by rainforest and the Caribbean coast as well.

San Jose, Costa Rica
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2. Re: First time visitors looking for rest, relaxation and memorys

For AI we are not very popular about them…the best…WESTIN Playa Conchal…great resort great beach…about 1 hour drive from LIR,,, sory not budget at all,,,nice and expensive…

Maybe for you guys cheek around Samara,,,Nosara…no AI but some great places around…small but nice places…

roadadvisor

Slovenia
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for Costa Rica
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60 reviews
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3. Re: First time visitors looking for rest, relaxation and memorys

Arenal is a popular location, with many activities. It is a viable solution for your first week, as you will be able to find moderately price accommodation, specially as it is a shoulder season. For your second week I suggest you go to the Caribbean side. It offers most of what you are looking for, and it is cheaper than its concurrence on the Pacific side. Two couples could easily rent a house and cook for themselves, and thus save even more pennies.

Maidstone, United...
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4. Re: First time visitors looking for rest, relaxation and memorys

Thanks for your suggestion, we are of the opinion a twin centre will work best for us, il get researching as your suggestion is kind of what i was thinking...

Maidstone, United...
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45 posts
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5. Re: First time visitors looking for rest, relaxation and memorys

Hi, AI are not popular in lots of places we have visited. As we would be keen to support the local community, we will look at other options. Thanks for your info

6. Re: First time visitors looking for rest, relaxation and memorys

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