The expertise/experience of the forum would be much appreciated.
My wife and I are hoping to take a special trip for our 10th anniversary...with our kids (3 and 5) and parents (two couples around 60).
I realize that it's hard to find a "perfect" resort, but we're pretty low maintenance and would like to find the best combination of the following:
-We'd like the resort to be less than an hour via taxi from Liberia airport. We've done the 2-hour-plus cab ride before in C.R. and don't want to do it with two little ones this time around.
-On-site wildlife (monkeys, iguanas, crabs, etc) for the kids is highly desirable. We don't want to have to take an $80/person excursion for the kids to see wildlife.
-We want to stay "All Inclusive".
-We can't afford to go $2000 USD/person (non-AI) in an effort to price ourselves out of unruly behavior...but at the same time, I'd rather pay a few extra dollars and not contend with the large intoxicated families (mom and dad partying with underage teenagers and thinking it's cute) during our stay. This will be our first "real" trip with the kids, and I'd like for us to be someplace family-friendly and classy.
-We're willing to sacrifice in terms of sand/water...I realize this isn't the Caribbean side...I think the kids would do just fine playing in the gentle gulf waters.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated:
A) The Hilton Papagayo looks really nice, but I worry about our 60-year-old parents with all the hills/slopes. Everything else looks nice...how "extreme" is the hills/shuttle situation?
B) The J.W. Mariott Guanacaste looks nice, but I keep reading reviews about "how expensive the food is". Is this resort not truly A.I.? Are people ordering off of the "specialty" menus and incurring bills voluntarily?
C) The RIU Guanacaste looks like it would meet our needs nicely...my only reservation is the immense size of the resort. Maybe that would actually be a "good" thing in terms of being able to move away from anyone intoxicated.?
D) Very "mixed" reviews from Occidental Grand Papagayo and Barcelo Langosta. We're not snobby travelers at all, but the last thing I want is to spend another week with continually intoxicated revelers screaming "Roll Tide, Roll!" from 7:00 A.M. - 2:00 A.M. Costa Rica is far from Cancun, I know...but is this a situation in which I'lll wish I had spent a few more dollars?
Thanks again and happy travels! :) Pura Vida!