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1st time visit w/kids. Help with itinerary. 8 days/7nights.

warren, nj
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1st time visit w/kids. Help with itinerary. 8 days/7nights.

Would love to hear thoughts on our intinerary for family's upcoming trip to Costa Rica.

Family of 5 with 3 children, ages 7-12 flying into San Jose on April 12th and departing on April 19th. (Easter week)

Initially thinking of spending our first 3 nights in Arenal area at either the Springs or Nayara Hotels.

Would love to hear suggestions for tours and activities in the area that are age appropriate for our children.

Travelling by private driver to Manuel Antonio for 4 nights staying at either Los Altos, La Mansion Inn, Si Como No or Buena Vista Villas and then back by car to San Jose Airport. (Having a hard time deciding on accomodations...)

Is this sufficient time in each area? Are we trying to cover too much ground in a week? Would we be better off staying 2 nights in Arenal and 5 nights in MA?

Any suggestions for accomodations in MA. Prefer upscale accomodations.

Also, has anyone heard of Costa Rica Tour and Travel based in San Jose? They are not registered with the Tourism Board of CR and I can only find 3 reviews on Trip Advisor.


Punta Uva, Costa...
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1. Re: 1st time visit w/kids. Help with itinerary. 8 days/7nights.

Los Altos is very nice, do book well in advance for Eater Week, beach resorts are crazy busy. No need for travel agent, you can book yourself, for transport http://www.tucanlimoservices.com/ is excellent and I highly recommend them.

La Fortuna de San...
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2. Re: 1st time visit w/kids. Help with itinerary. 8 days/7nights.

For the ages of your children I would suggest the Springs Resort & Spa over Nayara. The Springs has a huge property with multiple pools, some slides, wildlife rescue and a ton of things for the adults too-spa, pool bars, rock climbing wall, club rio, a lot without having to leave the hotel. I love Nayara but the set-up and restaurants are really geared towards adults & couples. :-)

The ages of your children will allow you to do almost all of the tours in the area and there is a TON to choose from: waterfall rappelling, safari float, kayaking on the lake, boat trips on the lake, hiking, zip lines, horseback riding, and the list goes on. I would suggest you spend an extra night in La Fortuna vs. Manuel Antonio.

For Manuel Antonio, I really like Si Como No, one of my favorite places to stay and is definitely kid friendly or Buena Vista Villas...you can't go wrong with either of these choices!. :-)

Do not use anybody you don't feel good about...and only 3 reviews is suspect. Here are some companies I know you can trust: Anywhere Costa Rica and Pure Trek Costa Rica...reputable and responsive. :-)


warren, nj
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3. Re: 1st time visit w/kids. Help with itinerary. 8 days/7nights.

Great feedback, thank you.

The_Villla_Hermosa, appreciate the insight. Sounds like Springs will be a better option for us in Arenal in addition to the amenities, they offer larger room options that work better for our family. Dont like the idea of side by side (not-connecting) rooms at Nayara..

Will continue to work on our Manuel Antonio hotel. So many great options!

Thanks again!

San Jose, Costa Rica
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4. Re: 1st time visit w/kids. Help with itinerary. 8 days/7nights.

Pure Trek Canyoning will actually take kids as young as 5 years old.

Everyone could ride the tram up/down, and the older more adventurous amongst you could do the zip lines down at Sky Trek/Sky Tram

Agree that The Springs and Si Como No are my top choices in each area for folks w/ kids... In Manuel Antonio, Si Como No has their Fincas Naturales and Santa Juana tours, which are great for all ages, as is the mangrove boat tour, and surf lessons...

Ashburn, Virginia
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5. Re: 1st time visit w/kids. Help with itinerary. 8 days/7nights.

I thought I am planning too early for 2014 Spring Break and I see your post :-) which is almost similar to ours except we plan to land on April 11th night around 10:00 pm and leave 20th around noon from San Jose.

I've been to Costa Rica before with friends on a short trip and did almost the same trip. This time I will be going with family (2 kids 12 & 14).

Day 1 (late night Friday)

Take cab to Finca Rosa Blanca (http://www.fincarosablanca.com/). Since we are coffee lovers, we plan to start our first day at their very scenic hotel.

Day 2 - 3 (Sat - Sun)

Hire a private driver to take us to Arenal with stops at some interesting places on the way. Planning to stay at Springs, or Tabacon or Hotel Linda Vista (https://hotellindavista.com). I stayed at Linda Vista with friends and the views from their are just jaw dropping. I am surprised not many talk about this place here. Maybe because they are isolated from the hotel zone and have no hot springs. If we stay here we have to get day pass to Tabacon for Hot springs and that gets very expensive.

Day 4 - 7 (Mon - Thursday)

Manuel Antonio. Not decided on hotel but will be looking at places with great ocean views and excellent pool. Los Altos looks the most attractive so far.

Day 8 - 9 (Fri - Sat)

Planning to stay at Surf Inn in Playa Hermosa which is about an hour away towards San Jose from MA. I stayed there two nights on my last trip and it was the best part of my trip. Black sand beaches few feet away and it was mesmerizing for me to sit back on the beach and watch the surfers. Some great restaurants and the best breakfast all right on the beach.

Day 10 (Sun)

San Jose to Washington DC :-(

Transportation is costing more than I expected if I don't rent a SUV as we plan to visit quite a few places.

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6. Re: 1st time visit w/kids. Help with itinerary. 8 days/7nights.

Is anyone familiar with Leaves & Lizards at Arenal?

La Fortuna de San...
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7. Re: 1st time visit w/kids. Help with itinerary. 8 days/7nights.

Leaves and Lizards is a nice lodge, but they are located 30 minutes from town on a poorly maintained road. If you stay there, you should have a rental car.

8. Re: 1st time visit w/kids. Help with itinerary. 8 days/7nights.

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