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2 - 3 week with a 4 year old

Toronto, Canada
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13 posts
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2 - 3 week with a 4 year old

Hello all,

I need some help planning an itinerary. My wife and me plan on taking a 2.5 week trip to Costa Rica in February with our 4 year old daughter. I have read about the country and it sounds amazing but we are having a hard time figuring out where to go.

I would love some input from the forum.

About us: My wife is Spanish and I am Canadian. Historically we have travelled independently and without a plan on previous trips through Europe, SE Asia, Japan, India and South Africa. This is our first trip with our 4 year old and as such are trying to plan our trip.

What we ant to do: This is a vacation not a trip. So we would like to pick two or three "anchor" spots where we could get accommodations, enjoy the area and do a day trip or two. We want to combine beach scene (with safe swimmable beaches, my wife loves swimming in the ocean, lakes); wildlife and some low level outdoor activities (no zip lining but suspension bridges are fine, some easy short hikes due to my daughter).

The problem we are having is everything sounds great and the few places that stand out to us seem hard to get to.

What is the best beach area for us? Puerto Viejo and Playa Nacasocio sound nice?

Is it worth going to Tortuguera in February?

Monte verde or Manuel Antonio as a base? How far are they from each other.

Please help us. Would love suggested itineraries with some insight into places suggested. We have a modest budget (above back backer but not luxury)

Edited: 20 January 2014, 20:38
Slovenia
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for Costa Rica
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1. Re: 2 - 3 week with a 4 year old

Puerto Viejo with its neighbors, Cahuita and Manzanillo, definitively warrants one week. 3 nights in Tortuguero, every kid should love canoes and canals. Few days in Sarapiqui, off the tourist radar with plenty of wildlife, and a chocolate tour in Tirimbina. Arenal with hot springs, lot of pools, and easy hiking another 3-4 days. Can't say anything about Playa Nacasocio yet Manuel Antonio might be a better bet if your departure flight is from San Jose (SJO).

Monteverde is a location for itself, not a base, and might be of lesser interest to your kid.

Costa Rica is not SE Asia cheap, yet is below Europe. A modest yet clean cabin for three, with generous breakfast included, can be found for around 50-75 US$. There is no need for a car both in Puerto Viejo and in Manuel Antonio (and they have both good bus connections to San Jose, for the rest of your trip renting a car is your best option.

Happy planning and safe trails!

Toronto, Canada
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13 posts
59 reviews
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2. Re: 2 - 3 week with a 4 year old

Thanks Xelas for your answer.

What is the best way to get from Puerto Viejo to Tortuguero?

What are the highlights of Sarpiqui? I just looked on tripadvisor and there is not much information on the area.

Slovenia
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
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3. Re: 2 - 3 week with a 4 year old

Puerto Viejo to Tortuguero:

1. get a local bus to Limon, a taxi to Moin, a boat transport to Tortuguero

2. with a car, drive to La Pavona, park and take a boat

More details at www.tortuguerovillage.com ; there are tour operators in Puerto Viejo that are offering tours (and transport) to Tortuguero.

Mainly excellent wildlife sightseeing opportunities; Organisation of Tropical Sudies has its campus at La Selva, and you can do guided hikes there. La Tirimbina Bilological Reserve another nice spot for wildlife plus very interesting Chocolate Tour (with chocolate preparing and tasting). Selva Verde Lodge has good hiking trails; Rio Sarapiqui for boat tours. It is yet not discovered area (luckilly) and still have a lot of Tico rural life going on.

Toronto, Canada
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4. Re: 2 - 3 week with a 4 year old

Thanks for your tips. Just booked flights it looks like we have 16-17 days. Thinking of passing on Tortuguero after discussing it with my wife. What else would you add to the itinerary?

5. Re: 2 - 3 week with a 4 year old

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