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Trying to plan family trip to Costa Rica...HELP

NJ
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14 posts
11 reviews
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Trying to plan family trip to Costa Rica...HELP

We are a group of 6 traveling to CR for the first time around 1st week of July. My parents ( in their late 60's), my husband and 2 teens make up our group. We would like to see Tortuguero, Arenal Volcano, Monteverde Rain Forest , and maybe a half day of white water rafting on the Pascuare river. We are more eager to see the country and not looking to stay at a all inclusive beach resort. So the accomodations need to be clean and have a bath attached and we are happy.

We have about 6-7 nights in CR and are thinking that maybe a private vehicle and a driver might work out better for us since we are a group of 6. Any suggestions on how the itinerary should be, how we should travel to these destinations and where we can stay? We welcome any thoughts on hiring a private van with a driver.

Also I am trying to figure out how to get to a hotel in Tortuguero. Would it be difficult to reach there by own ( van with driver) or do we have to use the package deal given by the hotel to take care of the transportation to Tortuguero.

Thanks in advance,

Lucy

Antigua, Guatemala
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2,958 posts
22 reviews
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1. Re: Trying to plan family trip to Costa Rica...HELP

In 7 nights it's really impossible to do all you want. I would recommend sticking to 2 no more than 3 locations.

Tortuguero is best for the 3 days/nights tour, and I recommend having the lodges tour, they take care of everyting since it's so difficult to get to on your own. From there head to to Arenal for 2 nights and then top it off with Manual Antonio for 3 nights.

Or you can skip Tortuguero all together and go to Arenal, Monteverde and Manual ANtonio. This is more doable, less travel time and you can enjoy yourselves more.

Hope this helps,

Marina K. Villatoro

San Jose, Costa Rica
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46,225 posts
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2. Re: Trying to plan family trip to Costa Rica...HELP

Well if you like to move around ...it is possible...a lot of good olde driving...

1- Maybe first day depending on arrival stay in San Jose...next day...

2- Pacaure river rafting...after the rafting...stay around Siquirres to meet the Tortuguero lodge tour next day...two day one night...

3- Back to Siquirres have the private driver waiting for you...transfer to Arenal...then nesxt day some nice tours...

4- Jeep-Boat-Jeep to Monteverde...one night and back to San Jose...

Of course you will see a lot...I drive people like you guys all the time...

roadadvisor

Pensacola, Florida
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12,945 posts
55 reviews
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3. Re: Trying to plan family trip to Costa Rica...HELP

www.costaricaexeditions.com

They own the Best lodges in all your areas

Like Tortuga Lodge in Tortuguero

GREAT company

Set a nice custom tour up with them...

The way to go with 6 usually for a nice custom tour...

Have fun,

Pensacola, Florida
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4. Re: Trying to plan family trip to Costa Rica...HELP

www.costaricaexpeditions.com sorry missed a p

New York, NY
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22 posts
31 reviews
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5. Re: Trying to plan family trip to Costa Rica...HELP

We were a family of 4 that used Costa Rica Expeditions for a hotel in Monteverde and private drivers (van) to and fro. The company was excellent about communicating and working out all details ahead of time and accommodating special requests. The drivers were extremely careful - always steady and safe. We appreciated being on our own schedule instead of having to work around a bus line or having to drive on the tricky windy dirt roads ourselves. Prices were reasonable, and the customer service followup after the trip was great as well.

NJ
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14 posts
11 reviews
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6. Re: Trying to plan family trip to Costa Rica...HELP

Thanks for your post. Did you use CR expeditions just for for part of your trip ?

NJ
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14 posts
11 reviews
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7. Re: Trying to plan family trip to Costa Rica...HELP

Hi all,

I have booked my trip. We will be arriving at San Jose on July 4th at 9pm and leaving from SJ on July 11th at 1 pm.

We were initially planning to go to Tortuguero on July 5th am but now am having 2nd thoughts about the whole Tortuguero portion. One of the reasons I would venture that far would be to see the turtles and since it is the beginning of July I am wondering if they will be there. Is there any other place in CR that offers the turtle laying eggs experience and also sighting of caimans? In other words would I miss seeing any flora and fauna if I don't include a trip to Tortuguero?

Chicago, Illinois
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
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9,181 posts
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8. Re: Trying to plan family trip to Costa Rica...HELP

Congratulations. Roadadvisor's advice as always is good. I would defintely include Tortuguero as it is a distinct and fascinating environment. There are other turtle nesting sites but they're even farther from Arenal and Monteverde.

I would suggest that you consider visiting either Monteverde or Arenal but not both since they are not all that different (unless you're a botanist or birder). You also save time spent getting from place to place if you limit the number of places you visit and you'll have more time to relax and enjoy the trip. To revise roadadvisor's itinerary consider:

Day 1- Arrive SJO and trnasfer to local lodge. Maybe Casa Bella Rita.

Day 2- Pacaure river rafting...after the rafting...stay around Siquirres to meet the Tortuguero lodge tour next day. Check out Finca Maqugue Falls Resort at http://www.tropicalmountainresort.com/

Day 3- Meet package tour at Siquerres for bus/boat trasnfer to Tortuguero for 2 nite stay. See options and more info at http://www.tortugueroinfo.com/

Day 4 Tortugeuro boat tour through canals and overnight tour of turtle nesting beaches

Day 5 - Back to Siquirres have the private driver waiting for you...transfer to Arenal midday. Spend afternoon at Hanging Bridges or hike to LaFortuna waterfall. Overnight Arenal.

Day 6- Zipline, boat tour on lake Arenal, rafting (easier than Pacurare if you kip day 2), volcano hike. Overnight Arenal.

Day 7 - Morning trnasfer back to SJO (3 hour ride)

If you're not up for Pacuare rafting then just skip day 2 and add an extra night in Arenal where there are lots of great adventures, hikes and activities available. Suggest stay at Silencio del Campo, a small Costa Rican inn with volcano views, great hospitality and a small hotsprings onsite.

San Jose, Costa Rica
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9. Re: Trying to plan family trip to Costa Rica...HELP

Thank you CRfan...coming from you is a real honor...GRACIAS!

To see some great big crocs...Tarcoles river bridge...and is FREE...and on the way to Manuel Antonio...

Another great are to see turtles...Ostional beach...a little far from everywhere in Guanacaste...

roadadvisor

Edited: 04 June 2010, 20:07
Seattle, Washington
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2,505 posts
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10. Re: Trying to plan family trip to Costa Rica...HELP

crfan's day by day itinerary and lodging suggestions is great. Regarding Tortuguero, the turtles are a wonderful reason to visit but to be honest it's such a unique and gorgeous there it's worth visiting either way in my opinion.