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help with 8 day trip with our adult children

Which Manuel Antonio National Park hotels are on sale?
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Saratoga, California
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11 posts
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help with 8 day trip with our adult children

I've tried figuring out the answer by reading tons of old posts, but I'm still having trouble, so I'd appreciate any and all input. We are flying in and out of SJ. Our plan is to spend the first night in SJ than start with a 2 day rafting trip. After that is where it gets confusing.

The kids have different interests. We have 1 surfer, a few beach lovers, and a few that want to see monkeys (but are not huge nature lovers). A couple of them would like some night activity.

We were originally thinking of spending a few days in Tamarindo to satisfy the singles, but I'm not sure I want to forgo a "Costa Rican" feel. We were considering MA instead.

We also thought we could squeeze in a couple of days at Arenal OR Monteverde too, but maybe it's all too far. Or maybe I should just be working with a good, knowledgeable travel agent?!

We know we have to spend the last night in SJ to make our flight, so day 3-7 are the dilemma. Other than the Pecuare trip, should we just be looking at one place or two? Guanacaste coast (and where....?) or Manuel Antonio? Arenal/ La Fortuna or Monteverde? Or neither? Thanks very much in advance!

Halifax, Canada
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87 posts
35 reviews
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11. Re: help with 8 day trip with our adult children

We called to book the Pacuare Lodge for the rafing first (check it out.....looks AMAZING!) and their tour agency, Aventuras Naturalas, does all the bookings.

http://www.adventurecostarica.com/

They offered to book the rest of our trip, including our hotel in Puerto Viejo, our hotel in San Jose, and all of our drivers. I'm sure I probably could have gotten the drivers a bit cheaper by looking on my own, but they weren't terribly higher than other quotes I had seen.

From what I can see, we didn't pay any extra for their services. Our hotel in PV and the Pacuare Lodge prices are all identical to what the websites say. It's just SO nice knowing that someone is taking care of all the details for us. When we decided a few weeks ago that we wanted to spend an extra day at the Pacuare Lodge instead of Puerto Viejo they were able to call the drivers, hotels, etc and make all of the necessary changes.

I highly recommend Catalina and the Pacuare Lodge - we leave this week and they have been extremely wonderful in their communications and knowledge so far. I'll let you know when we return if anything else comes up!

CT
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89 posts
19 reviews
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12. Re: help with 8 day trip with our adult children

We enjoyed Puerto Viejo as a family with young teens, but I am not sure if my children had been "adult" that it would have been our choice based upon what you are looking for.

I would say that Manuel Antonio is probably a preferable choice for beaches, close to surfting spots, nightlife that is close/cheap to get a cab to/from (or even walk depending upon your lodging),and easier to spot monkeys without going to day trips/hikes. Many visitors use the bus to get around during the day, so if you are going different places at different times that shouldn't be much of a problem. There are several very nice condos that would fit your group, as well as lots of vacation homes available on VRBO.

As far as a private driver is concerned, you can use the same driver to all your destinations. You can just email them with your dates and locations, and they will send you back the prices. There is a list of drivers on this board that is posted quite often that has names and email addresses. You may be able to get a discounted rate for multiple trips.

As I said, we did enjoy our time at PV, but I think Manuel Antonio has more to offer for a group with varied interests. I would not stay in PV without a car, and that makes it more difficult to get around with a large group in more than one car. PV also have more of a Caribban vibe than a Costa Rican feel. Again, not a bad thing, I just mention it because you described an interest for a "Costa Rican feel".

Manuel Antonio...
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13. Re: help with 8 day trip with our adult children

You don't really need a travel agency.....you can do it yourself.....for the transportation....check out Toucan Limo.....safe and reliable....http://www.tucanlimoservices.com/.....I think you have enough information to make your decisions......the Pacuare.....Arenal.....Manuel Antonio.....yes....there are enough night time activities to keep the kids entertained.......early evening live music at several places.....late night dance clubs in Quepos.....we can even arrange a one day diving trip to Cano Island for your husband.....great diving there!

Good luck.....

Tulemar Dave

San Jose, Costa Rica
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3,528 posts
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14. Re: help with 8 day trip with our adult children

A travel agency should not charge you more, (I know some do) as they get a comission from the hotels. Ask for a breakdown so that you can compare.

Manuel Antonio
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2,171 posts
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15. Re: help with 8 day trip with our adult children

The Pacuare trip is great and you will love that. Afterwards, from what you describe Manuel Antonio would be close and fill the needs of everyone in your party from surfers to some light night life, to monkeys, to beaches. You can easily book this all your self, it is not that complicated if you decide to just go to Manuel Antonio. Also, the other coast is fabulous, but it is a long way and would not fit what you describe as much as our area would, especially with families. Enjoy!

16. Re: help with 8 day trip with our adult children

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