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arenal and monteverde with kids (5 and 7)

Atlanta
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arenal and monteverde with kids (5 and 7)

Hi. We are planning a trip to Costa Rica next march with 3 generations, very adventurous grandparents and kids ages 5 and 7. We have to go to Arenal b/c the 7 year old loves volcanoes, but it looks like Monteverde doesn't have that much different to offer, and we are choosing between that and some beach time. Any suggestions? The 5 year old (4 now but 5 by then) is not a great hiker, so we can't plan anything to rugged. Thanks alot.

Dallas, Texas
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1. Re: arenal and monteverde with kids (5 and 7)

don't know about Monteverde, but have researched Arenal a lot for our family. Several families are staying at Hotel Los Lagos because a lot for the kids to do right there. also for ziplines, some have recommended SkyTrek/SkyTram because the guides will ride with the younger kids, or they can take the Tram back down and skip the hiking. as I understand, you can try a short line or two and if you don't like it can still take the Tram down.

I think the hanging bridges are on the agenda for us also.

We're flying in/out of SJO and on way from Arenal back to SJO are going to do a sidetrip to see Poas Volcano and possibly La Paz waterfall and gardens.

We chose to use a driver rather than rent so we have someone knowledgable to help us pick kid-friendly activities.

good luck in your planning

SE Michigan
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68 posts
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2. Re: arenal and monteverde with kids (5 and 7)

Greetings,

We just went to Costa Rica in July. We have 3 boys (4, 7, and 9) and travelled with friends who have children of similar ages.

We did not go to any beaches, so i can't comment on that. However, we did go to Monteverde. Our friends had been to Arenal the previous year. They said that the cloud forest experience in the Monteverde area is very different from the rain forests in Arenal. But if you want a big contrast, obviously the beach is going to provide more of that. Are you thinking of going to one where you can possibly see turtle nesting areas?

Here's wehat we did in Monteverde. Based on misguided info, we walked from Santa Elena up to the cheese factory (the ice cream was a big hit with the kids, but we should have taken a taxi instead of walking! it was way too far and we were mostly in the road), short hike at the entrance area of Bosque Eterno de los Ninos (BEN), CASEM, and etc. We spent another day at Selvatura - there was a lot to see there, and the 'hiking' was on well-travelled trails, but by the end the kids all had a "no more hiking!" attitude. We had a guide who was really good, although the kids weren't paying so much attention to him as the adults were. The next morning the dads and older kids went on a zip line adventure (Aventura) while the moms and little boys went to a Children's Hour at BEN. Everyone had a great time on their respective adventure. Our friends left that afternoon, but we went to a twilight tour at BEN that night. What kid doesn't like a "flashlight walk"? (especially one that includes red-kneed tarantulas and other cool creatures...) It was really really neat, although my 4yo fell asleep about 30 minutes into it and had to be carried. We forgot to take our own flashlights, but the guide had extras. Some kind of head lamp might be more convenient (especially if you end up carrying a child...). None of this was particularly rugged, although it was a lot of walking. (The twilight tour was the most rugged, but the darkness probably affected my perception!)

Enjoy your trip! With very adventurous grandparents along, you're sure to have a good time.

SE Michigan
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68 posts
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3. Re: arenal and monteverde with kids (5 and 7)

bethtex, we went to Poas and La Paz. We were staying at the Poas Volcano Lodge. We went to La Paz one day, and spent maybe 4 hours there. It was our first "explore" day in Costa Rica so everyone was full of energy, and there is lots of see. We went to Poas the next day. Poas is a neat sight (and site!) and was on the top of my list for that portion of our trip, but to be honest, I preferred La Paz. If you hit the volcano right (get there early before the clouds roll in), you can probably do both in a day. And if you've been to Arenal, Poas will be an interesting contrast in terms of how different "active" volcanoes can be.

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4. Re: arenal and monteverde with kids (5 and 7)

Just returned from Monteverde/Arenal/ and Manuel Antonio beach and loved all three. We stayed two nights in Monteverde, hiking in the Monteverde reserve the first day....only saw a few monkeys at the end, but the scenery was amazing. We did the Sky Trek hanging bridges and zip line and loved both. They mentioned to us that the youngest kids they take are 8 so you might have to have some people do the zip line and others do the hanging bridges. They offered a great student rate so it was only $5 more to add the bridges.

Arenal was great. We ran into a local guide at a bar one night and he showed us a great local swimming hole that has a waterfall and great huge boulders to jump off, plus a rope swing. I couldn't tell you exactly where it was, but it was a highlight for us. If you to there make sure you have someone watch your valuables as the guide told us things get stolen and they did with two Canadians who were there. He also took us to some local hot springs across from Tabacon and we hiked up to watch the volcano at night.

Enjoy the trip!

costa rica
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5. Re: arenal and monteverde with kids (5 and 7)

Id combine Arenal with Manuel Antonio>

…typepad.com/arenal_volcano/…index.html

…typepad.com/photos/manuel_antonio/index.html

SE Michigan
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68 posts
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6. Re: arenal and monteverde with kids (5 and 7)

anncon mentioned that the Sky Trek zip line requires 8 to be 8 to ride their zip lines. Our families had a 6yo and (very small) 7yo go on the zip lines with Aventura, and they both loved it. We'd been told by our hotel desk clerk that Aventura will take really young/little kids. (My 4 year old had no interest in going, so we don't know how young!)

My point is that if your young kids want to go on a zip line, ask around - different companies have different policies. Also note that the younger kids will ride with a guide (in part so they don't stall out in the middle due to being so light!).

7. Re: arenal and monteverde with kids (5 and 7)

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