Travelling with a 7 and 10 year old to Costa Rica

(5 Posts)
Emmjo Fri 22-Jan-16 18:02:41

Hi,
I am new to this so hope it's correct! We just needed some advice on a trip we are planning to Costa Rica in December. We initially looked at an organised tour as we want to see the main sites - Tortuguero National Park on the Caribbean coast, the Arenal Volcano and rainforest, Monteverde Cloud Forest and then a few days relaxing on the Pacific Coast. We are now wondering how easy/difficult it might be to organise this ourselves, has anybody done this? The problem seems to be organising the transfers and the long distances between some of the locations. Any advice would be much appreciated! We also understand that this is one of the safest Central American countries and very popular with families, has anyone had any other experiences here? Thank you! E.

NotSoFancyNancy Fri 22-Jan-16 19:00:03

We went with journeylatinamerica about 7 years ago. Their advisors were fantastic. We did self drive which was great. We had a 4wd as plenty dirt roads and tracks.
Easy to navigate, safe and lots of fun stopping in roadside to see wildlife and being in control of our own journey.
Absolutely amazing country and tourism is very eco friendly and sustainable.
Have a look at their website for ideas etc.

SJane45S Mon 25-Jan-16 16:31:22

We're all booked to go in August so while I can't offer any advice on what was great (and what wasn't!), I've done a lot of research like you! We're going to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary and taking our daughter who'll be 8 by then - it's a special trip so want to make sure it's fabulous!

I initially looked at the organised tours but they were pretty expensive and weren't really 100% what we were looking for. British Airways have started flying direct to San Jose from Gatwick this year so we've flights booked with them (around £2100 for the 3 of us). We're having 3 days in San Jose (£150 at a Radisson) and spending 2 of them doing day trips to Arenal and Tortuguero through Viator. San Jose doesn't look particularly lovely so won't be spending much time there!

We're then spending a week in a hotel (Tulemar) in Manuel Antonio (3 hours drive from San Jose) that has a large swathe of rainforest and it's own beach. Looks absolutely beautiful and I'm really looking forward to sitting on the verandah and seeing the monkeys play!

All in all, it's not an un-expensive trip - however the beauty of booking things yourself is that you can spread payments and do things your own way.

Have a great time in December!

dogsbreath Mon 25-Jan-16 16:44:19

Hi, we were in Costa Rica over Christmas. We organised our own accommodation and drove ourselves. We loved most of Costa Rica apart from the Monte Verde area which was too touristy for us. We have travelled extensively. We speak some Spanish, enough to ask directions and to chat to people about everyday issues and needs. Be aware that most places don't have place names so you will need a good sat nav and maps. The Pacific Coast is lovely for snorkelling and the national parks in that area are stunning as is Tortugero. We took our 11 year old with us he is very interested and knowledgeable about wildlife. Do you have anything specific you would like to know?

chemenger Mon 25-Jan-16 21:36:58

We did a coast to coast trip three years ago in the Easter holidays. We went on a package, which we were dubious about but turned out well. Our dds were 11 and 14. There were about 20 people on the tour, including other children. We started in Tortugero, which was amazing. We did two half day boat trips while we were there and saw all sorts of wildlife. You can only get there by boat or small plane. We then crossed the country stopping in Arenal, where it was too foggy to see the volcano, but we spent the evening in a huge hot spring resort. We went to Monteverde which featured huge zip wires over the forest canopy, walkways that put us eye to eye with howler monkeys and a slightly surreal visit to a cheese factory. We also visited a banana plantation, a hearts of palm farm, a butterfly farm and an ice cream shop famous for its giant iguanas. We were dreading what was described as an afternoon in a family home with folk dancing demonstration but it turned out to be brilliant, lovely teenagers dancing with real enjoyment and sharing their culture (still sounds cringeworthy but it really wasn't). We went to a museum of native history, again fascinating. We finished on the Pacific coast, swam, surfed, scuba diving, rafting and a visit to a exhibit explaining how chocolate is made. On the tour the guide was amazing, he knew where to find all sorts of little interesting things. At one point we stopped and some small children came on the bus to show us giant beetles. We spent some extra time in the Pacific resort then hired a car to drive back to San Jose, on a journeys memorable for "the time daddy bribed a policeman", which we had been warned was likely to happen. It was a perfect holiday for us; we like to be doing rather than sitting around. It was a lot of driving on not very good roads so I think we were happy to sit back and let someone else do it. It is a fantastic country, it feels very safe and welcoming. If we went back we would do less and go independently, but I don't think we could have seen as much in the time as we did on the tour.

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