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Okay, I tried, I really tried....

monmouth, nj
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Okay, I tried, I really tried....

to figure this out on my own but I"m overwhelmed. We want to fly direct from Newark in Feb so our choices are either San jose or Liberia which is great but complicates my planning b/c I don't know which region to stay. Defn pacific coast but thats all I've been able to narrow it down to. Here is what we are looking for: family of 3 (one teenager), february, love the beach but not nec. surfing (snorkeling would be nice), the ability to take day trips to scenic/fun sites, walk to restaurants/shopping but not too much partying (a bit more of upscale restaurants/shopping rather than lots of bars), not more than a 2 hour drive from either airport. Any advise on which region I should focus (we only want to stay in one place) would be appreciated! Thanks!

Pensacola, Florida
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1. Re: Okay, I tried, I really tried....

Well I am not sure that I can really help you much based on your criteria, but I'll give it a go. If you are after shopping and restaurants, you are limited to the Tamarindo area on the Pacific coast, which could mean maybe staying at the Westin AI if you like the all inclusive approach or maybe staying in Tamarindo itself. You may also like the Playa Flamingo area as it is still in close proximity. As far as day trips, basically, you are looking at the trips to Rincon De Vela area. There are a lot of options here. Check with Hacienda Guachipelín. They offer a lot of different tours and adventures. If you are up for a long long day, you could consider a day trip to the Arenal area. There are a lot of options here as well, but it is an all day and into the night trip. I think this would be better done by actually staying at one of the nice places in Arenal rather than doing a day trip. All this being said, I am not sure that anywhere along the Pacific coast is within your specified 2 hour drive time window to the SJO airport. Of course, I always recommend staying at multiple places in different areas, so you can get a real feel for the country. Costa Rica is a little different than most places in that there are a lot of different " micro countries " within the country, all different in climate and surroundings. It is really had to experience it by just staying in one location.

Chicago, Illinois
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for Costa Rica
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2. Re: Okay, I tried, I really tried....

I agree you should fly into Liberia as there are no good beaches within 2 hours of San Jose. For more info on Guanacaste beaches near the Liberia airport check out anywherecostarica.com/regions/guanacaste-cos… Playas Brasilito, Flamingo and Hermosa might all be good choices for you but are a little isolated compared to Tamarindo. For info on Tamarindo check out www.nicoyapeninsula.com/tamarindo/index.php

guanacaste
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3. Re: Okay, I tried, I really tried....

Teens , beach , some adventure ....

Fly in/out Liberia, Rincon de la Vieja Volcano for 2 days and the rest on the beach, Tamarindo seems like the best option, also Playa Hermosa could be an option. It is all pretty close to the airport.

monmouth, nj
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4. Re: Okay, I tried, I really tried....

Thanks so much. We plan on renting a condo/villa, not an all inclusive. I'll narrow my choices down to Tamarindo, Playa Flamingo, Playas Brasilito, Hermosa and Playa Hermosa. All good beaches, upscale restaurants, not too isolated, and finally not too much partying??? Thanks again!

Toronto
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5. Re: Okay, I tried, I really tried....

I wouldn't say that 'upscale restaurants' in Costa Rica is an oxymoron, but it's close. There are many very nice, comfortable restaurants, but to call anything 'upscale' is a stretch.

Grecia, Costa Rica
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6. Re: Okay, I tried, I really tried....

Perhaps a shuttle from SJO to Manuel Antonio could be added to your decision mix (If you have a nap in the shuttle it can seem like 1 hour) as for most of what you are looking for can be found there. Some excellent hotels of all price levels, superb beaches, good swimming, and varied restaurants. What will be lacking is a main street/shopping experience, but frankly, that really isn't possible in Costa Rica. You can easily spend your entire trip there, with an occasional day trip for excursions or down to Dominical for a taste of laid back CR.

Have fun planning the vacation.

guanacaste
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7. Re: Okay, I tried, I really tried....

cathycomfort 2 companies for rentals , http://bluewaterpropertiesofcostarica.com/ for the Tamarindo Flamingo area

http://www.milagrorentalscostarica.com/ for the Papagayo Playa Hermosa area

Atlanta
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for Jaco, Bocas Town
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8. Re: Okay, I tried, I really tried....

cathy I think you are on the right track, fly into Liberia.

Tortuguero, Costa...
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9. Re: Okay, I tried, I really tried....

A absolutely disagree with RanchoLasColinas about the absolute lack of upscale restaurants in Costa Rica. There are options that cater to every budget, and food costs in Costa Rica can be quite high. If you are willing to spend the money, there are nice options in most of the major tourist areas.

There are also many restaurants that cater to the locals, or charge prices out of synch with their food quality. But, that's pretty much true everywhere in the world, right? Some businesses have good price-quality ratios, and some do not.

TripAdvisor will be a fantastic tool for you once you decide on a location. You can look around at the restaurants and even check reviews and ratings on your smartphone.

10. Re: Okay, I tried, I really tried....

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