“We will be travelling with a 5 yr old boy who is snakes, bird and all wildlife mad and a two year old girl. We would like to see wildlife, volcanoes and rainforest and end with a few days at a beautiful beach. We do not want resorts, we would prefer rustic, ecolodges, treehoused and little cabins. Where possible we would like a separate room/annex for the Kids.”
Randall Jiménez, a local specialist from Costa Rica, helped this traveler put together a customized itinerary.
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Trip planning highlights
Trip to Costa Rica, Mar 24 - Apr 07' 2018 - Amendment #2
Summary of the trip planning conversation
Our budget for most nights would be $100-150 but would like a few special places to stay too when we could go higher.
Welcome to kimkim!
My name is Yenyi and I am a staff member here at kimkim, specializing in Costa Rica travel.
I am going to send you a couple of itineraries that would fit what you are looking for, with some great wildlife, volcanos and ending at a beautiful beach.
I think of the two, my favorite one for you is the "Best of Costa Rica", it has the volcanos (Arenal), rainforests well cloud forests (Monteverde). In the Monteverde area, there is a serpenterium, which will excite your little boy. And finish in Manuel Antonio national park, which is both a national park and beautiful beach area that you can explore.
Let me know what you think.
Great, the first looks interesting but we will be going for two weeks, so could add something more. What are the approx prices for two adults and one child in a bed, the other in a cot we would bring ourselves?
I've invited one of our travel specialist in Costa Rica, and he can help with suggestions with additional things to do, as well as giving you a ball park price for the trip.
You should hear back from him within the day.
Costa Rica Local Travel Specialist
Good day from Costa Rica and thanks for your interest in traveling to my country.
My name is Randall, I am the kimkim Destination Expert in Costa Rica. I have been designing active itineraries for families with small kids in Costa Rica for 18 years and I am pleased to be able to give you the benefit of our experience and customize your dream trip to my country.
I agree with you that in two weeks, you few more areas in the country but not many to avoid long driving distances for your kids.
I noticed that you will be traveling during the Easter week (March 25 to April 01st), so we will try to avoid the coasts during that week because their rates are high during that week at the beach hotels.
You will see below a tentative itinerary "at a glance" that I put together for you to review, so you can have an idea of how those two weeks might be spent in Costa Rica. I am sure you will have a ton of questions so please feel free to let me know so we can make sure the final itinerary meets all your wishes.
Mar 25 - Arrival to San Jose / Overnight in San Jose
Mar 26 - Transfer to Rincon de La Vieja Volcano National Park / Overnight in Rincon de La Vieja
Mar 27 - Butterfly Garden, Serpentarium & Frog Exhibit Tour / Overnight in Rincon de La Vieja
Mar 28 - Transfer to Monteverde Cloud forest / Twilight Hike / Overnight in Monteverde
Mar 29 - Free morning / Bat Jungle Tour in the afternoon / Overnight in Monteverde
Mar 30 - Car-Boat-Car transportation through Lake Arenal to your hotel in La Fortuna / Arenal Natura Park tour in the afternoon to see wildlife / Overnight in Arenal
Mar 31 - Visit a Wildlife Rescue Center in the morning / Free afternoon / Hot Springs at night / Overnight in Arenal
Apr 01 - Free day for optional activities in Arenal / Overnight in Arenal
Apr 02 - Transfer to Puerto Viejo on the South Caribbean coast / Overnight in Puerto Viejo
Apr 03 - Sloth Sanctuary tour in the morning / Free Afternoon / Overnight in Puerto Viejo
Apr 04 & 05 - Free days to enjoy the beach / Overnight in Puerto Viejo
Apr 06 - Free morning on the beach / Transfer back to San Jose / Overnight in San Jose
Apr 07 - Airport transfer / Departure
You will notice I have not included pricing at this stage. We usually work in this way to make sure we get the itinerary right first. I am aware of your budget and would not suggest anything that would not be available within that budget.
As soon as we are sure the itinerary is what you want, I will go ahead and price it and also give you an idea of hotels. I will be looking for hotels that are intimate and friendly as I think this is more what you are looking for and as we are dealing with hotels all the time, I can give you good recommendations.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Many thanks for the itinerary. We have had some more chats at home about the holiday and have a few comments to help you plan the trip!
We will actually be arriving on Sat 24th March at 13.40, so will need to start the trip from then! We will be leaving at 15.05 on Sat 7th April.
Although we wanted some time at the beach at the end, we think it might actually be better to have some activities - the kids are not great swimmers and we'd like to have the opportunity to maybe go out on a boat dolphin watching or do some snorkeling? We were wondering is somewhere else might have that option? Maybe Manuel Antonio or somewhere else?
We would also like to stay in a tree house if possible (our 5 year old is extremely excited about this possibility!) I have heard good things about Tree Houses Hotel in San Carlos, you may know others. It would be great if we could fit that in.
We were also wondering whether it would be possible to not stay in San Jose on the first night, but maybe go to Monteverde first? Or somewhere nearer but out of the city in gardens? I know it would be a long drive straight after a long flight but we would really like to do this if possible.
We would also like to do a bit more walking in the rainforest during the trip. We have a baby carrying a backpack for the two-year-old and our 5-year-old son is a good walker - we would love to include a few more walks if possible.
I was wondering what type of transportation we'd be using - would it be a minivan or taxi or something similar? We just need to think about baby seats for the two-year-old - is it possible to get them for the long journeys.
We are aware that adding more things to the trip will make it more expensive, and that is fine. The first quote was very reasonable and we can probably go a bit higher with it.
Finally, it would be great to chat over the phone with you about the trip, let me know when would be good to talk.
Many thanks for all your help
Just looking at the first itinerary, which included Damas Estuary/Manuel Antonio - do you think we could include those two after Arenal? Is there some option for beach (or pool)time in Manuel Antonio? We don't mind spending a bit more on the hotel for our last few nights if there is somewhere special.
Sorry for the multiple messages - I thought it would be good to get all our thoughts in one go, rather than having to redo the itinerary again and again!
I was thinking, if we stayed on the Pacific coast after Arenal, we could maybe do tours to Isla Tortuga, Damas estuary etc on the way down to Manuel Antonio, and stay somewhere near a nice beach - Montezuma or somewhere else you recommend?
Costa Rica Local Travel Specialist
Thank you for your emails and the additional information that you shared, very useful information, by the way, to work on the best logistic for your trip.
There is not a problem to drive you from the airport on Day 1 straight to your first destination, logistically it is better to drive you to Rincon de La Vieja first, it may take perhaps one more hour of drive but it will save you time on the upcoming days.
You are right that there is a tree house in the area of San Carlos but there is one important thing for you to consider:
- there is nothing around for you to do there and if you don't have your own car, you would be stuck there with nothing to do because the local tour operators in the Arenal volcano area, don't pick up people there for the activities, besides there are no restaurants nearby either where you can go out to eat - so, my recommendation is to stay in the town of La Fortuna, where you will have plenty options for activities and places to eat...what do you think?
After Arenal, we can drive you to Manuel Antonio National Park and beaches, instead of the Caribbean coast, and from Manuel Antonio we can arrange: a catamaran and snorkeling tour, a boat trip to the mangrove of Isla Damas, a guided hike to the national park to see wildlife and much more (please see the document attached with a list of activities in this area). Manuel Antonio has beautiful beaches and all the hotels have their own pools, so you don't need to move to another area, as you will find here activities, nice beaches, and relaxation.
If we include a catamaran tour in Manuel Antonio, you may consider not to do the Isla Tortuga tour, but if you still want to do it, we would need to drive you to San Jose on April 05th, so you can take that one day tour on the 06th, the day before to fly back home, would you like to do that?
The transportation included on the trip is a minivan, some of them are private transfers and some others shared, but if you want me to quote private transfers on each day that you move from one area to the other, just let me know and I will do that.
I look forward to hearing from you and if you send me your phone number and the best time for me to reach you, I will be happy to call you.