Hi, Thank-you for all of the information on your site, I have found so many helpful hints and ideas for our upcoming trip. My husband and I are coming to CR for our first time this Christmas, and we are travelling with our children. We have a 4, 6, 8, and two 22 year old girls. We are flying into SJO, arriving around 1:30pm, and staying that first night in Alajuela. We are staying closer to Monteverde for the next three nights, and then we are staying in La Fortuna for the next two nights. We had originally planned to stay in Jaco from Dec 24-27, but I have read mixed reviews about the beach (being extremely hot with the black sand, unsuitable for swimming with young kids, and somewhat dirtier than other options). We then planned to head down to Manuel Antonio from Dec 27-30, and then closer to San Jose for the last two nights at the hotel Alameda Cariari, that was recommended on your site. We are wanting to stay in a really nice area, especially over the Christmas stretch. Somewhere with a nice beach etc. I know it would involve more driving, but I am wondering if you would suggest going down to Uvita or Ojaocal for Dec 24-27, or if you have an alternative suggestion? We booked a car rental for the time we are there, to make it easier to travel. I purchased your Top 10 Costa Rica Itineraries, which suggested Nosara for families, but I just feel like that may add too much driving. We also have the option of extended our stay in LaFortuna and or Manuel Antonio. In the end, we want to see as much as CR we can
Thanks for any help that you maybe able to offer.
The Costa Ballena area (Dominical, Uvita, and Ojochal) is definitely worth checking out if you are okay with the extra drive. There are some very beautiful beaches there but they aren’t great for swimming with little kids in general (better for surfing). Playa Blanca, a little north of Jaco, comes to mind as a really nice beach with white sand and good swimming but the accommodation options there are limited to only a few places. That being said, you could stay somewhere near Jaco and still visit this beach (though it will be packed for the Christmas Holiday). If you are looking to beat the crowds a little, the Costa Ballena would be a better choice. It will still be busy but not chaotic. Nosara and other destinations up that way would be too far with your current layout. To touch on your other question, I would say that you could probably extend your time in La Fortuna for sure. There are a lot of activities to do there (some great things for kids too like a chocolate tour, easy wildlife viewing, night tour, hanging bridges, a waterfall, etc) and you wont be able to see very much with just 2 nights (1 full day of activities). Not sure if this gives you a clear direction to go in but hopefully it helps.