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Costa Rica, has anyone been?

(15 Posts)
weegiemum Wed 22-Nov-17 21:42:12

Thinking about going back to Central America having done Guatemala and Honduras in the past.
Costa Rica is supposed to be amazing. We have 3 teenagers who would be 14, 16 and 18, plus I have mobility issues.
Looking at a lot of websites, but wondered if anyone had first-hand knowledge?

weegiemum Fri 24-Nov-17 13:31:13


SevenOf1981 Fri 24-Nov-17 13:40:22

We went in late 2015 for our honeymoon, it was wonderful.
Everyone we spoke to seemed to start in the north around the volcanoes and then head south.
We just booked into Tulemar for 10 days and stayed there.
It's such a beautiful country and the people are so lovely. I did expect to see a T-Rex come stomping out of the trees though!
Where we stayed was extremely hilly and the cars were manual, which surprised me given the prevalence of automatic gearboxes in the US.
The wildlife is stunning and I loved seeing the sloths, parakeets and monkeys. I'd love to go back.
The place we stayed was very quiet, but there were a few families.
Food amazing. Prices good too. We spent about $1200 over the 10 days including excursions and food in the resort.

I recommend going on the shoulder of peak season. The weather was perfect, place was cheaper and all the activities were pretty much just us. Made for a really personal holiday without extra costs.

mummymeister Sat 25-Nov-17 10:21:57

Take a look Belize. we had the holiday of a lifetime there with our teens. they had a very active holiday but it was easy for me not to be and there were plenty of walks on the flat which I enjoy more than great big hill climbs. I have a trip report if you want it message me and I will e mail it to you. Belize has mayan ruins, howler monkey walks, manatees, snorkelling with rays and sharks, ziplining, tube floating down the rivers - it was just fab.

EmpressoftheMundane Sat 25-Nov-17 10:29:10

Costa Rica is easy. You can drink the water, it is well developed, there is a great health care system and the people are known for being friendly and hospitable.

There are jungle walks that have been paved in the cloud forest, and gondolas to take you into the canopy if you have mobility issues. For the teens there are proper hikes, abseiling and whitewater rafting as well as surfing schools on the pacific etc.

There isn't a lot of cultural interest (of course, everywhere has some, but it doesn't have native american pyramids, or impressive colonial buildings). Costa Rica's pull is eco-tourism and nature.

weegiemum Mon 27-Nov-17 13:35:32

Sounding good!

We have seen enough colonial/mayan ruins to not feel they're important in our (getting more realistic) trip. We did Honduras andGuatemala when the dc were smaller.

Definitely drawn by the volcanoes (OK thats mainly me !) and biodiversity, also by snorkelling/scuba opportunities (dh and I have our PADI open water and dc are really keen to learn), or if on the pacific coast, dc have had surfing lessons in the Dominican Republic and Kite Surfing in Spain so lots of options.

Off to dig into travelling websites. As dd1 is almost 18 this might be our chance at a last big "family" trip and CR is sounding like it might fir the bill.

EmpressoftheMundane Mon 27-Nov-17 23:16:53

My recommendations:
Great hike, but not super easy. Crazy Europeans doing it in flip flops! Where boots. It's hot, but there are also snakes.
If you go to see Arenal, don't miss the hot springs! Lovely to sit in warm water at night under the stars while watching the volcano drip lava and belch hot embers, if you are lucky.
I did a day trip with a friend in the 90s down the Pacuare and it was great.
I went diving 30 years ago not the caribbean cost in Panama and though not famous it was very good. Loads of colour and different types of coral and fish. I would expect Costa Rica to be similar. But of course, we always hear that the reefs are dying, so I don't know.

There is too much to list, but these are a few things to get you started. T

PhilODox Mon 27-Nov-17 23:20:23

Arenal- isn't that the observatory? I thought it was in Chile! blush

EmpressoftheMundane Mon 27-Nov-17 23:36:07

It's also the name of an active volcano in Costa Rica.

PhilODox Tue 28-Nov-17 11:55:01

Ah! Was hoping I could see both if we went... NM.

EmpressoftheMundane Tue 28-Nov-17 20:00:14

I'm ignorant of any arenal observatory in Chile. I just know the volcano in Costa Rica.

chemenger Sun 03-Dec-17 12:29:28

Another vote for the hot springs in Arenal, we went in the evening and it was magical. We went at Easter and the weather was perfect. We were on a tour which went from the Caribbean to the Pacific. We started in Tortuguero (sp?) which can’t be reached by road, only boat. I really liked it (you can’t swim in the sea there for a reason I don’t remember but might well be enormous crocodiles) we saw loads of wildlife on boat trips there. Monteverde is great too, everyone except me loved the zip lines there. We drove back from the Pacific resort to San Jose, in the worst hire car in the world - a journey that goes down in family history as “the time daddy bribed the policeman”. We had been warned that this would happen and told that $20 US was the going rate! It is a fantastic country and when we go back we will do it independently but the tour was a great way to pack a lot into two weeks. The food is amazing, the people are wonderful.

SJane45S Mon 04-Dec-17 09:56:17

We went last August and had a fantastic time. We did go to Arenal- not sure when the others went but it's not smoking and active anymore so you won't be watching lava or hot embers! The springs we went to as well at Arenal were nice but man made pools fed by hot springs so had more of a concrete feel that I was expecting! San Jose isn't lovely but worth a day just in terms of the history/culture bit. We went to Manuel Antonio which is pretty well known and therefore not completely off the beaten track but it was fabulous and I loved it. We stayed at Tulemar which was a fabulous resort spread out over hectares of rainforest and your teenagers would probably love it - they also have free jeeps that pick you up and drop you off wherever you want to go in the resort. It has it's own private beach, cayaks etc. It is a hilly country which others have said. There are paved pathways through the jungle in Manuel Antonio. The food is ok (I'm a veggie and it was alright if not amazing), the people were friendly and it all felt very safe! The summer weather is typically clear mornings and a thunderstorm in the afternoon/evening so pack waterproofs and deet if you're planning a summer trip.

AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 04-Dec-17 10:07:08

I've been and loved it! We went with Exodus travel on a guided tour and had an amazing time - was quite flexible as each day there were choices about what to do and we had an amazing guide who loved nature.
We visited Tortuguero (AMAZING!) - we saw (under close supervision) a green turtle laying her eggs), both coasts, the volcano (also in a pool rather than actual hot springs which disappointed me also), the Sarapiqui park (white water rafting). Food was good, travel easy and lots to do everywhere. Our kids were 14 and 11 and they enjoyed it.
I would advise booking the direct BA flight as its a long way and some folks in our group were going via the US or Spain on the way home and they weren't looking forward to it.

weegiemum Tue 05-Dec-17 18:46:30

Thanks everyone this is great. Will share this with dh and dc. I'm sold on it, thats for sure!!

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