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How do I avoid touristy experience but experience it all?

Santa Cruz...
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How do I avoid touristy experience but experience it all?

Family of 6 (no little kids: teens) want to experience nature and adventure but really don't want to deal with tourists clicking cameras and tacky souvenir shops. On our way from SJO to a friend's house in Playa Miguel, we'd like to stop and stay in a town to experience the rainforest, mountains and things like canopy walks/river rafting/ long nature hikes. I envision coming home after a long day to a small lodge screaming with charm and good food. Should I stay off-the beaten path near Monteverde and Arenal? Locals....help! Big thanks, Lisa

Cahuita, Costa Rica
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1. Re: How do I avoid touristy experience but experience it all?

That's tricky as off the beaten track and non-touristy don't correspond with the river rafting and activities that you'd like to partake in. Both Monteverde and Arenal are pretty much on the tourist track but would be fantastic places for all the things you want to do. I think you can safely visit without being overwhelmed by clicking cameras (although there may be a few stores with 'pura vida' fridge magnets and Imperial t-shirts). As long as you aren't traveling at the peak of high season, one of the lodges outside of La Fortuna may meet your requirements and keep you close enough to all the stuff that your teens want to do too.

Slovenia
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2. Re: How do I avoid touristy experience but experience it all?

Canopy walks and river rafting are touristy experiences. Don't know where Playa Miguel is but staying at one of the small lodges around Tenorio NP is as off the beaten path as possible. I have stayed at La Carolina Lodge, others have great words about Casitas Tenorio. Bijagua is the town.

3. Re: How do I avoid touristy experience but experience it all?

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