Travelling with lots of small kids
Replies: 3 - Last Post: Nov 24, 2012 7:08 AM Last Post By: seventhheaven
Nov 23, 2012 8:34 PM
Travelling with lots of small kidsWe are planning a trip in late Jan/early Feb to Costa Rica with 5 kids, aged 7, 4, 2.5, 116 months and 6 months. We will be spending just over 6 weeks there. Tentative itinerary is Arenal, Monteverde, Manuel Antonio. Best way to divide up the days? Method of transport between places? Must see activities for that age group? What can/can't the little ones do in the way of skytreks/trama/canopy tours/bridges etc.? Any other places you would reccommend instead? Accommodations that cater to children (likely looking at hose rentals given our numbers). What to bring for the wee ones? Any insight much appreciated!!
Nov 23, 2012 11:30 PM
1Well there are endless options for everything, from lodging to tours, but with 6 weeks, you can see a lot more than the 3 most touristy parks in the country at high season. What about renting a condo or villa or house for a few weeks of beach time? You don't need more than a few days at each place, 4 max, to do the areas offerings. And the young ones can't do most of those activities anyway. Why don't you come to CR when they are older can appreciate the nature and wildlife and hike trails, go in heat and humidity and handle more stress of the activities?
Have you looked the LP, Moon, Roughguide, guidebooks for CR? Are we to plan out the trip for you? Have you read back on the CR branch for all the info n transport is listed a million times?
You also don't mention a budget per day for lodging, whether you have considered renting a car, or what airport you fly into?
Nov 24, 2012 5:07 AM
2arenal would be a good area. lots to do and see and some good day trips such as the trip to cano negro wildlife preserve which is a boat trip. you can do other boat trips on lake arenal as well as kayaking with some of the older kids. you can also do a day trip to an indigenous village. the climate is good and it's easy to get around.
monteverde - not so much for small children. it's hilly and the streets are rocky and it is generally rainy and cool. the real attraction there is the cloud forest which won't be appreciated by kids that age.
manuel antonio. sigh. it's like asking someone to recommend a nice beach and they recommend miami. don't pick manuel antonio just because it is "famous."
i would recommend spending some time in samara. it's a family-oriented beach town with lots of lodging options. the beach doesn't have very big waves, usually, so great for the kids. nearby playa carrillo is beautiful and also has a small wildlife rehabilitation center full of various animals that the kids will like. http://www.samarabeach.com
as for activities such as ziplines, etc - you will need to contact each one individually. they all have their own rules. many of them have to do with height of the child. i don't think any of your kids would be able to do zip lines or anything like that.
there are "canopy walks" in various areas where you can walk through the rainforest and go across bridges that are at canopy level. doubtful that any but the two oldest would appreciate that.
for your group, i would plan a lot of beach time at a beach without big waves and as many boat trips as possible for excursions. short hikes maybe if there are enough adults to carry the littlest ones.
have you thought about heading to the northwest of costa rica? you could go arenal, playa hermosa, samara. from playa hermosa, you can visit any of three national parks that are less than 1.5 hours away. in santa rosa national park, there is "la casona" which is an old farmstead and figures prominently in costa rican history. there are several trails nearby that are easy and fairly short. there is a boat trip on the tempisque river through palo verde national park where you will see a lot of wildlife.
renting a house would be the way to go. you can do your own cooking (or hire someone) and it would be very comfortable and easier for the children. check vrbo and also look at vacation rentals at trip advisor.
you should know that if you are here for six months, you will need to "renew" your visa by leaving the country at 90 days, which is the term of your visa. most people take one of the international buses to nicaragua or panama but there are lots of options. (no, you can't take a rental car over the border) there are also organized tours that manage this and that is very easy.
i just can't imagine the mountain of "stuff" you will have to bring for the children! very brave....
Nov 24, 2012 7:08 AM
3We were in Costa Rica with our two 3-year-olds in April -- it was a great trip, so much fun for all of us. Some thoughts/tips:
We spent most of our time in Uvita. The beaches around there were gorgeous but beware, the surf is pretty intense. My daughter wanted to head out into the waves, and I held onto her for dear life. Even very close to shore, the waves were very strong for a little one. My son wouldn't go near the water but he was happy making mandalas in the sand with seaweed and coconuts... There was no question of them being in the water on their own, even with waterwings. Small children would have to be held. If getting your little ones into the water is important to you, I would look into where the safest beaches are, at least for some of your trip.
The car we rented was reliable but the car seats were old and the kids could **undo their straps** on their own. There was also no working child-safety lock on the doors. So yes, they could open the doors if they wanted to. We tried jerry-rigging some solutions but I spent most of my time in the car facing backwards. Just something to be aware of.
One day we went down to Sierpe and took a boat tour of the mangroves. This was a lot of fun for all of us. Among other wildlife sightings, we were lucky to see a pair of Scarlet Macaws in their nest, some howler monkeys, and a lot of caimans. The tour operator we used was Gaviotas de Osa. Highly recommended.
Tried to visit Pura Vida Gardens in Tarcoles but we got there very late and didn't want to spend the very steep entrance fee. If we return to that area we will try again though. It looks like a beautiful place for the whole family. You can have lunch there as well.
Lots of good luck to you! If I think of anything else that might be useful I'll post again.
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