I have a hold for the next 7 days on FF flights into SJO on 12/21-1/4 but trying to do some research before we commit to the trip. Looking to see at least 3 different areas (including Arenal) during our 14 days if possible but still want to relax. We are a family of 4 - in our forties with 2 boys who will be 12 & 14 then - we are not surfers but the boys have surfed and they love boogie boarding. We have several 30-something year old friends (without kids) staying at Mal Pais Surf Camp during the last week and we are thinking of this area for the last part of our trip. Not sure if we want to be at the surf camp though.
When we travel, I strongly prefer VRBO properties over hotels because we get separate rooms, kitchens, laundry and a lot more space for our money. I have been reading a lot about crime in this area and I'm concerned. I found a couple of nice VRBO homes but now I am worried about the safety. Are we better off staying in a hotel or more organized place than a VRBO in this area? This place looks nice and it says they have security through Hotel Luz de vida but it still looks very open to me. http://www.vrbo.com/394335haf
Also, I keep reading about bugs and wildlife...we aren't super-prissy but would prefer not to sleep with bugs, lizards, snakes, etc. is that just a given in CR or can you find places without? This will be our first trip to CR and to Central America (I've been working on my husband to come for years so I want to be sure to be safe and pick the right places for him to enjoy- not too rustic- and for us to be safe.) He wants to go back to Hawaii but I want to try a new place. Would appreciate any insight!