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Family of 4 Trip Report

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Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
170 posts
33 reviews
Family of 4 Trip Report

(re-titled & re-posted after much needed editing!)

My husband, our two boys (ages 7 & 9), and I went on our first trip toCosta Rica and returned a few days ago.

We landed at SJO and, through our concierge at Tulemar, booked a private driver who met us at the airport. Super convenient. The trip was surprisingly relaxing, comfortable & incredibly scenic - a great way to see more of the country.

We went on outings that I would highly, highly recommend. All included transportation and were between 30min to 1+ hours away so it was a great way to see the surrounding area without renting a car. If you have kids, we chose these tours specifically because we thought they offered the perfect mix between relaxation and adventure for all of us. All the tours were either private or with very small groups. They were all an excellent way to experience Costa Rica and I seriously can't recommend them enough: Brisas Del Nara Horseback Riding, Don's Vacation Buggy Jungle & Waterfall Tour, Rafiki Safari Lodge's White Water Rafting, & the Fincas Naturales Nighttime Jungle Tour.

To wrap up, there's just a few tips I'd like to offer: as long as you're up on your vaccines, additional shots are not necessary. Bring sun-screen so you don't have to buy it there, it's expensive since locals don't use it. Don't bother with the bug spray - no mosquitoes or biting bugs! Don't bother with any hair products either, the humidity will override any of your attempts. It's hot, pack light. We didn't need a light cover up in the evenings, it didn't cool off. I brought the greatest invention ever which helped a lot: Downy Wrinkle Releaser (you spray it on and there's no need to iron, the wrinkles disappear like magic). Of course you don't want to look like a slob but dressing up here seems rather unnecessary (and uncomfortable). As does make-up which after their first day, nobody seems to wear. One pair of hiking sandals should get you through every single situation you find yourself in. The streets seem safe, there are no sidewalks but the local drivers are used to this and know to look out for you. Money exchanging is really a non-issue, you can use credit cards (Visa is the most popular) and there's ATMs that dispense dollars or local colones. Everywhere we went took both. CR also uses North American outlets & voltage so no need for conversion plugs. Quepos has a farmer's market on Friday nights/Saturday mornings; that was fun. The town shuts down relatively early so if you're heading there for the evening, start out early. It's completely different from day to night so try going during both times. The food, fresh fruit and tap water are all safe to eat and drink. Drink lots of fruit smoothies and juices, they're awesome. And, last but not least, Pura Vida!

Tilaran, Costa Rica
Level Contributor
550 posts
44 reviews
1. Re: Family of 4 Trip Report

Thank you for the report. Great information!

We totally over packed for our first trip. I think we were the only couple dragging 2 huge suitcases around CR! lol

However, I would still recommend to bring bug spray and a light jacket. Temperature does get lower when you're at a higher elevation.

Fresh fruit is definitely something I miss the most about CR. They're naturally sweet and juicy! Yum!

San Jose, Costa Rica
Level Contributor
45,028 posts
30 reviews
2. Re: Family of 4 Trip Report

Great report thank you...


new york, ny
Level Contributor
30 posts
3. Re: Family of 4 Trip Report

We also just returned from this beautiful country and I just want to comment that we had bug sprays and we were still bitten by the darn mosquitoes! I don't know if it's the places we visited (Arenal, MV and MA) but we definitely got fair share of mosquito bites. I'd hate to think how much worst it would have been if we didn't have bug spray.

Manuel Antonio...
Level Contributor
789 posts
58 reviews
4. Re: Family of 4 Trip Report

Hi luvcitylivin.....thanks for the great review of your stay......and the helpful hints.......I think bug bites have a lot to do with the individual (some people seem to attract mosquitos).....and where you are staying.......I live in Tulemar/Manuel Antonio year round.....for over 9 years......and I never use bug spray......but others visiting with me will get bitten.....glad to know that they weren't a problem for you and your family either.......hope to see you back with us again!

Tulemar Dave

Manuel Antonio
Destination Expert
for Manuel Antonio National Park
Level Contributor
2,171 posts
5. Re: Family of 4 Trip Report

I'm surprised on the bug bites, as most people never need to spray in our area. However, there does seem to be some unlucky folks that the critters just love, so I'm sorry it was you. Enjoy!

Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
46 posts
4 reviews
6. Re: Family of 4 Trip Report

Thanks for the review. I'm travelling there in 2 weeks with my young children (6 & 4) so this was very helpful.

Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
170 posts
33 reviews
7. Re: Family of 4 Trip Report

Oh, I'm so glad! And to add, if you have incredibly picky eaters there's no need to worry; like everywhere now, so many of the restaurants offer kids' meals and even the local ones offer a plate of pasta with butter. We hate it that one of our sons is so picky and we know it's our own fault but really, the last place I want to fight over this is on vacation. Have fun!

Montreal, Canada
Level Contributor
2 posts
13 reviews
8. Re: Family of 4 Trip Report

Wonderful report. We are planning a trip with our own 7 and 9 year old boys in June so this is great help in our planning.

Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
170 posts
33 reviews
9. Re: Family of 4 Trip Report

Glad it helped! Feel free to PM me if you have any questions. Have fun!!

Destination Expert
for Arenal Volcano National Park, La Fortuna de San Carlos
Level Contributor
5,467 posts
153 reviews
10. Re: Family of 4 Trip Report

Great report, luv. We loved Tulemar too. I'd love to do the Vacation Buggy and Fincas Naturales next time we go back. I'll have to check out that wrinkle releaser! I had no idea there was such a thing.

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