Hello from Cape Cod! Love your web site and see you are from Boston. I am planning a winter trip with my wife and 2 young girls 10 and 11 years old. I plan to fly into Liberia, rent a 4×4, and spend 3 or 4 days in the Arenal area. Then I want to do a few days on the coast for a little beach time and fly back. Have to take kids out of school so in total we have 7 days, maybe 9 if I push it with my wife.
Friends stayed at Hotel Punta Islita and it looked amazing. How long of a drive would it be from Arenal to there? Tamarindo seems closer but possibly kind of a tourist trap? A lot of surfing friends go to Nosara. Do I gain anything with the further drive to Punta Islita or would I get the same experience with a shorter drive staying elsewhere? Is the Caribbean coast a more convenient trek from Arenal and back to Liberia? Any advice or feedback would be awesome. PS- the Patriots won today
Hope all is well on the cape! Punta Islita is probably about a 4.5 hour drive from La Fortuna. It is a beautiful place and quite remote and peaceful. Because it is off the main roads it takes longer to get there. Tamarindo is the complete opposite with lots of development and things going on. The Caribbean would be too far from Liberia for such a short trip but there are lots of other places in Guanacaste that would be a good spot for a family. Samara,or like you mentioned, Nosara are just a bit north of Punta Islita so the vegetation is similar (not as remote feeling though). Both towns have a good mix of things to do (a day trip to Punta Islita could be one thing) and are a manageable drive back to the airport (2 hrs). Another couple of destination options would be Brasilito or Playa Hermosa. These towns have more of the northern Guanacaste landscape (not as much jungle) but have beautiful beaches and again a good mix of activities. They aren’t as built up as Tamarindo and are also just an hour or less (Hermosa is only 30 min) to the airport so you can really maximize your time. Hope this gives you some ideas, go Pats!