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14-day December trip with kids to Costa Rica. Itinerary help

Vienna, Virginia
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14-day December trip with kids to Costa Rica. Itinerary help

Hi:

We are two familes with three kids ages 5, 6 and 8. We are thinking of visiting Costa Rica for 14 days in December '12 and would like some help with the planning. We would like to do adventure things in the beginning and end with a few quiet days at the beach. With that in mind, we are thinking of flying into San Jose, then renting car and visiting Arenal, Monteverde, Manuel Antonio and back to San Jose to fly out.

Day 1: San Jose

Day 2, 3, 4 and 5: Arenal

Day 6, 7, 8 and 9: Monteverde

Day 10, 11, and 12: Manuel Antonio

Day 13 and 14: San Jose

1. Are the days set aside too much/too little for a relaxing vacation?

2. We would like to do ziplining, horsback riding and some hiking as well, but are not sure if we should do this in Arenal or Monteverde. Any suggestions?

3. Are there any activities that should specifcally be done only in Arenal and only in Monteverde?

4. Are there any all-inclusive resorts (on the beach) in Manuel Antonio where we could spend our last few days relaxing? If not, what are our options?

5. Can you recommend family-friendly places to stay in San Jose, Arenal, Monteverde, and Manuel Antonio?

Thanks,

D

Slovenia
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for Costa Rica
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1. Re: 14-day December trip with kids to Costa Rica. Itinerary help

Yours is a well on the beaten path and balanced itinerary. I would shave one day from Monteverde and add it to Manuel Antonio.

Monteverde is known for its ziplines and hiking, so that would be activities in Monteverde. Do horseback riding and (easy) walking in Arenal, together with some guided tours like boat trip to Cano Negro.

There is no need for an AI; in Manuel Antonio the hotels and restaurants are plentiful, and with some research, the costs can be manageable.

All of the places (99%) in Costa Rica are family friendly. Where would you stay depends entirely on your budget.

San Jose, Costa Rica
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2. Re: 14-day December trip with kids to Costa Rica. Itinerary help

You have already some great advice by XELAS...and he knows my country!

Let me try!

Day 1: San Jose...depends on time of arrival...you guys can drive same day to Arenal..is only a 3 hours drive!

Day 2, 3, 4 and 5: Arenal...nice kids will love it!

Day 6, 7, 8 and 9: Monteverde...you can get here by the Boat Jeep Boat...about $ 29.00 per person is a door to dooor service..

Day 10, 11, and 12: Manuel Antonio

...about 4 hours ride ...nice of course to stop by Tarcoles river bridge to see the wild crocs...

Day 13 and 14: San Jose

...Maybe a good place around SJO...many options...Hampton Inn..Holiday Inn Express!!

1. Are the days set aside too much/too little for a relaxing vacation?

I will stay less time around Areanl maybe one less day!

2. We would like to do ziplining, horsback riding and some hiking as well, but are not sure if we should do this in Arenal or Monteverde. Any suggestions?

Either place is nice...maybe horses around Arenal...also zip lines and hiking around Monteverde.

3. Are there any activities that should specifcally be done only in Arenal and only in Monteverde?

Not really!

4. Are there any all-inclusive resorts (on the beach) in Manuel Antonio where we could spend our last few days relaxing? If not, what are our options?

Many nice places to stay around MA...sorry no AI!!

Manuel Antonio...Budget La Posada...The Fallls...Espadilla...Cabinas hotel El Bosque...Inn On the Park...more money...Si Como No..Mariposa...Arenas del Mar...El Parador...

5. Can you recommend family-friendly places to stay in San Jose, Arenal, Monteverde, and Manuel Antonio?

Really depends on your budget...some places around San Jose mostly used for dirty old guys that are not family friendly...once you can tell us about your budget then we can tell you about our recommendations..

Arenal...Silencio del Campo...Arenal Lodge and Gardens...Los Lagos.

Monteverde...El Establo...Poco a Poco...Fondavella...Belmar...Rustic Lodge

Thank you for visiting my country!

roadadvisor

Vienna, Virginia
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3. Re: 14-day December trip with kids to Costa Rica. Itinerary help

xelas and roadadvisor:

Thank you for the detailed comments. Once I plan my activities for Arenal and Monteverde, I will have a good idea of where to eliminate a day from and add it to Manuel Antonio.

My hotel room budget is no more than $250-$300/night. I would also prefer (but not a requirement) if we get one of those hotels/rooms that have a local, authentic feel, but it's more important that they are safe and friendly for families with kids. Which places can you recommend for my stay in San Jose, Arenal, Monteverde, and Manuel Antonio? I would prefer something close to or on the beach in Manuel Antonio so the kids can have a blast and we don't need to drag the beach stuff (even if we have a car).

Also, if I am renting a car to go from San Jose to Arenal, I cannot do the boat-jeep-boat option to get to Monteverde. I was planning on having a rental car for all the 14 days since we have kids and we wanted that convenience when we drive to all the places.

Regards,

D

Vienna, Virginia
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4. Re: 14-day December trip with kids to Costa Rica. Itinerary help

BTW, one more question, in addition to the hotel recommendations:

Do you know how allergy conscious are restaurants? My son is allergic to eggs, nuts and peanuts. When I explain this to waiters or hotel managers, can I rely on them to take the matter seriously?

Regards,

D

Cartago, Costa Rica
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5. Re: 14-day December trip with kids to Costa Rica. Itinerary help

Yes, you can relay on them. Just tell them every time you are having a meal just to make sure.

Uvita, Costa Rica
Destination Expert
for Uvita, Ojochal
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6. Re: 14-day December trip with kids to Costa Rica. Itinerary help

Yes you can but do drive the point home with the waiters that it is serious alergy.

Chicago, Illinois
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for Costa Rica
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7. Re: 14-day December trip with kids to Costa Rica. Itinerary help

I would be very concerned about the extensive allergies you have to deal with and would not rely on a brief conversation with a waiter to protect your son. Odds are he/she doesn't know every ingredient or garnish in every dish the restaurant serves and you will be there at a very busy time of year when it's easy for the staff to make mistakes. Expecting them to remember ingedients IMO is a mistake unless you personally talk to the chef/cook and feel confident they understand your issues.

I wouldn't risk it if these are life-threatening allergies.

Vienna, Virginia
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291 posts
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8. Re: 14-day December trip with kids to Costa Rica. Itinerary help

Thanks everyone for the information about the allergies.

xelas and roadadvisor:

I wanted to circle back to you on your question about my budget so you could recommend hotels.

My hotel room budget is no more than $250-$300/night. I would also prefer (but not a requirement) if we get one of those hotels/rooms that have a local, authentic feel, but it's more important that they are safe and friendly for families with kids. Which places can you recommend for my stay in San Jose, Arenal, Monteverde, and Manuel Antonio? I would prefer something close to or on the beach in Manuel Antonio so the kids can have a blast and we don't need to drag the beach stuff (even if we have a car).

Regards,

D

San Jose, Costa Rica
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3,528 posts
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9. Re: 14-day December trip with kids to Costa Rica. Itinerary help

For Arenal check Arenal Paraiso, El Silencio del Campo, Arenal Springs, for Monteverde the Cloud Forest Lodge, Poco a Poco, Trapp Family Lodge, for Manuel Antonio La Posada.

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El Silencio
El Silencio
Bocas del Toro Province, Panama
J L
Richmond, Virginia
1 post
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10. Re: 14-day December trip with kids to Costa Rica. Itinerary help

Planning a similar length trip this December with three kids - 5-10-14.

Will you report back on what you did on your trip and share your tips with us? :)

thanks!