We are flying into LIR on 12/11 for a month. We have pretty much decided to rent a car since it’ll be easier with the little one. But where to go? We are wildlife and beach focused but don’t want to spend too much time on the road. I think monteverde may be a waste with a toddler. If we stick to the nicoya peninsula are we going to see diversity? Should we trek over to Manuel Antonio? What about a 4wd?
You can get quite a bit of biological diversity on the Nicoya Peninsula, especially if you include time in the southern Nicoya too (somewhere like Montezuma maybe?). Since you have a whole month, you could definitely consider Manuel Antonio too, which has a bit different rainforest and lots of monkeys! You could take the Puntarenas Ferry across, which kids usually love. But keep in mind that from mid-December on, the Central Pacific (and most easily accessible beach towns in the country) get really busy. Another idea is to go inland to somewhere like La Fortuna and see a different area of the country/landscape. La Fortuna will be busy too but you could stay in an outskirt like Nuevo Arenal or El Castillo and enjoy the area from there. 4×4 really depends on the destinations but if you do go to the southern Nicoya we highly recommend it. Hope this gives you some ideas, happy planning!