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Any tips for Costa Rica?(8 Posts)
We are planning a family trip to Costa Rica next May for 2 weeks. Sons will be 6 and 9. They are very into wildlife and animals. We are fairly adventurous sorts and like quirky places. Any advice and information would be very welcome.
I have looked at it but the long journey times between the different destinations put me off to be honest.
What areas are you looking at going to?
I have been - it is an amazing country but there is every kind of bug under the sun and lots of spiders. They all bite ! I got eaten alive and so lots of bug spray / ani histamine and prepare the dc for the insect life. We were staying in a cabana style places though - if you are in hotels it will be less buggy.
check out rafiki safari - we did one of their packages and it was amazing.
We went for 3 weeks before we had children. It was amazing! I'd love to go back with the children!
kayaking at dawn through alligator infested waters on the carribean coast with howler monkeys in the trees over head.
Flocks of pink flamingoes glowing in the setting sun.
Bathing in hot springs at the foot of an active volcano (Arenal coughs lava pretty much constantly which is incredible to watch after dark).
Canopy walks through the forests seeing butterflies the size of two adult hands and exquisite tropical birds.
Watching turtles lay eggs in the middle of the night.
White water rafting.
Holding a toucan on my arm.
The diversity of flaura and fauna is sensational. I think your boys will love it!
Downsides - food isn't very varied. I ate rice and beans every single day (vegetarian). But there is masses of fresh fruit.
There are mozzies (honestly don't remember spiders as pp mentioned - and I am pathetic about spiders. Poisonous frogs and leaf cutter ants, beautiful bats, fireflies... but nothing that bothered me). Use a mozzie net religiously. Every room we stayed in had one. I sprayed the net with deet before bed, preferring not to put it on my skin. I also added a couple of drops of lavender & citronella essential oils to a handful of body lotion and covered myself in that (natural repellent). May have had the odd mosquito bite but travelled down the mosquito coast with very little problem.
I carried a loo roll around in my back pack. Not necessary most of the time but as we were travelling around a lot sometimes useful. Ditto wet wipes for a freshen up.
Architecture is nothing to write home about. As they regularly have earthquakes they don't build lavish constructions. I think the opera house in the capital was the most (only) ornate building I remember.
A pp mentioned journey times - the journeys were part of the adventure! Bus journeys through banana plantations, boat trips through lagoons. All the journeys offered so much to see!
Hi - we went in August for 2 weeks and had a great time - would go again as it's best, it's pretty magical! I'd recommend the following:
- Take the BA flight from Gatwick as it's direct. Book early as the prices rise quite dramatically
- Go for at least 2 weeks
- San Jose isn't attractive & I wouldn't spend much time there. However, for a days flight recovery and an afternoon city tour, it's a good introduction into the politics and history of Costa Rica which are interesting!
- Take more colones than dollars. Dollars are pretty widely accepted but change is always given in colones.
- There's lots of Americans and as a result, the expectation is of big tips. Check any bill as 50% of the time they've added a 20% tip on there.
- It's not a nice chemical but there's lots of heat and rain and therefore lots of bugs! We used a mixture of 30% deet (daytime) and natural insecticide (evenings) and natural insecticide bracelets on our 8 year old. She had no bites on her in 2 weeks. We did (but were less vigilent!)
- Unless you've nerves of steel, don't drive! I found the Costa Rican driving style pretty challenging - particularly on mountain roads at night time in thunderstorms!
- obvious, but take v light weight loose fitting trousers for the rainforest as there are bugs galore!
- Costa Rican style is very laid back & low key - definitely not Milan!
- carry rain macs/umbrella's everywhere. Rain is sudden and heavy!
We stayed in San Jose, Arenal and Manual Antonio. If you're planning to go to Manual Antonio, we stayed at Tulemar which was fabulous. Have a great time!!
We have just got back from 3 weeks travelling around with a 6 and 9 year old and sound like we like similar hols. We loved CR and did went last year too. Really happy to answer any Qs but I see that this message was from a few weeks ago so not sure if you are checking the thread still. If you are then v happy to help. We probably also fit the 'fairly adventurous sorts and like quirky places' description.
We hired a car both times and found it very easy to drive around and as its a small country it was easy to go lots of places. The road network has been significantly upgraded in recent years so older info may be way out on how possible certain itineraries would be.
NB Arenal has been inactive since 2010 so no constant lava anymore (as a poster upthread suggests) but still a nice area with loads to do, though much more tourist oriented than most places we went.
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