Hi we are planning to visit CR in July as a family with an 11,9 and 4 yo. I would like to follow your 1 week itinerary as it will be our first time there. We will arrive in San Jose on Friday 07/07 at 7:40pm. We plan to get a hotel in either San Jose or Alajuela to explore either on Saturday morning/mid day before driving to LaFortuna. We will do the hiking on Sunday at Arenal National Park , bridges/hot springs on Monday, drive to Manuel Antonio on Tuesday and stay in a rental home from HomeAway(maybe), Zipline(or another adventure you can recommend with a four year old) and dinner on Wednesday, MA National Park on Thursday, drive back to either Alajuela or San Jose in the afternoon on friday and stay the night as our plane departs on Saturday morning at 8:00am.
Is this doable/recommendable for a family of five? I was thinking upon arrival to drive to San Jose and explore it Saturday morning before driving to LaFortuna and Friday when leaving from Manuel Antonio to drive to Alajuela to explore a bit and be close to the airport for 8am departure Saturday morning. Would you advise on that? Although traveling back and forth seems inexpensive I am thinking of renting a car for our stay or should we take a shuttle from Alajuela to La Frontera and then rent a car there to drive to Manuel Antonio?
Thanks sooo much for your help!
That’s a good schedule. It’s a little fast paced, but is fine if you don’t mind being on the go. We would suggest heading straight to La Fortuna on the Saturday after you arrive, though, since you have only two nights there. That will give you a little more time. Then if you want to explore San Jose or Alajuela a bit, you can do it at the end of the trip from Manuel Antonio.
For activities, you could also look into a night tour in La Fortuna to see frogs, cool bugs, etc. and a mangrove boat tour to Isla Damas near Manuel Antonio. These mangroves have a lot of wildlife like monkeys. Both of these tours are great for younger kids.
For transportation, a rental car is usually about the same price as a shuttle for a family of five, and it is really convenient to have one in Fortuna and Manuel Antonio, where things are more spread out. Make sure to check out our rental car discount if you do decide to get one.
Hope that helps and your family has a great trip!