“Our traveling family of 6 consists of a couple with children ages 5, 8 and 11yrs plus my mother in her 60s. I love art, history and music, local markets and festivals and any opportunity to learn about the indigenous and local cultures of the region. My partner loves fishing and organics and would like to learn to kitesurf. We are all excited to see the wildlife in Costa Rica particular sloths, hummingbirds, and butterflies. The kids are excited about reptiles as we have no snakes or crocs and few frogs and lizards in NZ. We are fairly adventurous but as our youngest will only be 5 we will not be able to go on long treks.
We really only speak English although the adults have all traveled to Spain and Argentina before so have limited Spanish phrases.
We will arrive in San Jose and would like a 15-day itinerary ending late January. We'd like to includes the sites below and returns us to San Jose. We would prefer not to be in a car for more than 3-4 hours in a day so are happy to stop along the way but would like to stay in key locations for 2-3 nights. We are happy to include boat transportation as well as a car if appropriate. I hear that is a good way to get across Laguna de Arenal and back on to the mainland from the bottom of the Nicoya Peninsula. When inland we would like to stay in accommodation with a pool as we are not used to such hot temperatures. We are looking forward to the beach locations too.
Sites we'd like to see in no particular order:
La Fortuna / Arenal - Volcanic walks, Hot Springs Monteverde Cloud Forest - Canopy Walks, Hanging Bridges, Waterfalls Parque Manuel Antonio - Wildlife Nicoya Peninsula - Beaches, Turtle nesting, Kite surfing, possibly Whale Watching if in season
Plus somewhere along the way:
A zip line experience (suitable for all ages) Visit a chocolate and coffee plantation Any other experience you strongly recommend
Please let us know if you need any more information. We are excited to see what you propose and keen to book asap.”
Mariana Monestel, a local specialist from Costa Rica, helped this traveler put together a customized itinerary.
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Trip planning highlights
BEACH, JUNGLE AND VOLCANOES
Summary of the trip planning conversation
Hi, thanks for your request. I would love to help you create a unique trip for you and your family.
Just I would like to confirm that you elder son will be 11 years old for the trip in January 2018? This is important because the hotel politics are very strict with the children ages.
Hope to hear of you very soon!
Thanks so much for this swift response. Is the price in USD? And does it include all 6 of us?
I will discuss it with our group asap and be back in touch. Is there another option where we can travel with a driver guide? I am not sure if we do want to do that I just wondered what the additional cost would be.
Yes, my son will be 11 when we travel. He's 10 now with his birthday in December.
Hola Lauren! Yes the price is USD$ and yes it includes the 6 people.
Thanks heaps. We are discussing tonight and will be in touch.
We are keen to proceed with your proposed tour without a driver. We plan to arrive in San Jose on Jan 8. Can we please add an additional nights accommodation in San Jose before we fly out.
Before finalizing I will just check with our local travel agent for flight times as we will need to transfer via Houston and I want to be sure that all lines up with our plans in Costa Rica. What kind of deposits are needed and what kind of securities and guarantees are we given that all arrangements are in place?
Also, we liked the 3star hotels recommended in all places except Arenal where we are happy to pay a little extra for the Arenal Spring Resort.
Sure no problem, I can add an extra night near the airport if you prefer, that way you can discover a different area (several tour nearby like animal rescue center that could be nice for the kids and coffee plantations.
I will create the new proposition with the 3* hotels so you can have an accurate price.
Kimkim organised a 16 day self drive tour of Costa Rica for my family (my, my partner, our kids 5yrs, 8yrs, 11yrs and my mum). They were extremely prompt, very responsive and personal throughout the planning. They showed great attention to detail regarding our car seats, wifi and GPS. Fabulous accommodation everywhere. We had a wonderful time. It was great to have that extra flexibility a package tour cant provide.
Marco and the team are Evergreen Lodge in Tortuguero were an absolute highlight. We loved the whole immersive experience of living on the rivers and in the jungle.
I was really glad we drove down the Carribean Coast. El Encanto Inn was great. Dinner at Sonja's home restaurant was gorgeous. We walked to a great Calypso night from the hotel and El Encanto organised all our tours. Luis escorted us to a Medicinal and Chocolate Farm in the Bri Bri reservation which was wonderful. The Jaguar Rescue Centre was also fabulous, thanks to our guide Carlotta. Puerto Viejo was a wonderful swimming beach and we narrowly missed a world surf comp. Playa Negro was sadly quite polluted but it was a great community to walk amongst. We saw several sloths up close from the road.
The drive to Sarapiqui was a big one. The Rain Forest Lodge was a bit of a let down with its Museum closed and Gallery never opened. It seemed to cater for large bus groups and wasnt quite our style. KimKim were right that we needed to stop somewhere closer than Arenal that night though so we were glad of somewhere to sleep.
Arenal Springs was luxurious. Their hot pools were a huge hit with the whole family. I wouldnt book a tour through the hotel though as they add a hefty surcharge.The local laundromat gave fabulous local advice and we had our own car. The road to El Castillo wasnt nearly as bad as the guide book says and we really enjoyed our visit to the Eco Zoo, meeting Victor and our guide Andrew. Victor's wildlife photography is stunning.
The Pacific Coast was much more commercial than I had hoped for but we were excited to see Turtles nesting there (we were out of season in Tortuguero). Pasa Tiempo was a great lodge with a fantastic shared living, dining, entertaining area. We were treated to love music and enjoyed the pool, reading and playing cards amongst others.
Monteverde and Manuel Antonio were both spectacular. It was really worth saving our ziplining for the cloud forest. 60km per hour through a cloud was truly exhilarating. The guides at Selvatura were fantastic with our family.
If you have already been to Tortuguero you dont need a guide at Manuel Antontio. I was pleased we did it independently to allow the kids to travel at their own pace. Gorgeous beach. I'd never seen a raccoon before so that was exciting! Plaza Yara was gorgeous and Roger was a fabulous host who even gave us a wee gift on departure.
Trapp Family Country Lodge was a fabulous airport oasis. Definitely recommend over a chain hotel.
Thanks for everything Kim Kim we will definitely use you again.