New Family-Friendly Destination | Debbie's Caribbean Resort Reviews Forums

Hello everyone. First off, I’d like to thank everyone who has contributed to the message boards. I have used them for several years in planning vacations and found them to be a wealth of great, unbiased information! I am in the initial "research" stages of planning a special vacation for the Summer of 2010. My son has spent the first 2 years of his life plagued by health problems, and I want to show him a great time next summer now that he is doing much better! My wife and I are an active couple transitioning one-by-one from our late 20’s into our 30’s. We’d probably classify as moderately adventurous, but would like to plan something child-friendly and "reliable" for next summer. We’ve been to Costa Rica (Puntarenas) and loved it. We would love to visit the Manuel Antonio preserve again to see the capuchin monkeys, dine within view of Arenal, etc. The "Jaco" area seems to be a viable option, as it is fairly centrally located along the western coast. We’d kind of like a nicer beach, though, than the one along western CR. We enjoyed a trip to Maya Riviera, but it seems comparatively "couples" oriented compared to other areas we’ve seen. Same goes for Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. Jamaica (MoBay) was a great time but not remotely family-oriented. Many of the islands are almost purely shopping-and-gambling oriented and not really suitable for a family trip. Any recommendations as to where we could/would enjoy a trip that will be of very special significance to us? We enjoy some time on the beach, having a nice pool, love off-beach snorkeling if possible, family activities, eco-tourism, etc.

Any insights would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

you cant go wrong with Jaco in Costa Rica. There is also another beach near Jaco but further south called Playa Bejuco, there are two of those if you look in to C.R, don’t get the Northern and Southern confused.I am also a fan of Playa Hermosa(which also is more than one beach) near playa del coco.Of all the places I have been I would either take my kids to C.R(which is actually happening in the near future) or to the island of Cozumel.Those two places are where I felt (IMHO) the safest mingling amongst the locals.Isn’t the Arenal and Tabacon Springs wonderfuly gorgeous? That is a trip that you can’t go wrong on, except if you want pristine beaches. With all the volcano’s in C.R, quite a few of the beaches are black volcanic. The best of which I was on for black sand was at the site of the Allegro Papagayo.

Deputy

Deputy,Thanks for your feedback. I’m definitely leaning toward C.R., as my wife and I consider it a potential retirement destination on top of all the family-friendly things that we can do there. Jaco looks like a pretty central area…reasonable daytime trips up to Arenal/Tabacon, down to Manuel Antonio, up to Monteverde, and in to San Jose.

Tabacon is wonderful. I learned a lesson, though, about the quality of the hot spring places. I had been to a gorgeous one the size of a small ski resort several years back. When my wife and I booked an excursion a few years later, I erroneously assumed that the "Tabacon Hot Springs" was one location…and that we would return to that same location…but we did not. One of the resorts is lush, vast, and has tons of cozy nooks and crannies where couples and families alike can enjoy some privacy and quality time. The location we were taken to was nice, but amounted to a single hot trickle making its way down into a 20′ x 40′ rectangular swimming pool. It was fine, but nothing like what I had hoped to enjoy with her.

Anyway…how would you compare the Playa Hermosa area to Jaco…with respect to beach characteristics/quality, accessibility, magnitude of commercial development, etc…anything that might help us to decide between the two areas.

Thanks!

Mooch

playa hermosa beach, is where they hold some big surfing contest each year, so the quality there is what I think excellent.I sailed off the beach there and had a super time.Jaco, itself is much busier I think. If you stayed in that area, or South I don’t think you would be disappointed.There is great shelling South of Jaco on some beaches. Depends on what type of excursions you want to go on and what your closer too. Being in the Jaco area, there is a great zip line tour that some friends of mine took. They thought it was fabulous. I stayed at the Marriot Los Suenos in May and thought it to be pretty nice. The pool is huge with a lazy river, but the beach is black volcanic, and I would not personally swim from there. There is a marina right next door, which has some beautiful grounds and resturants.A day trip to jaco beaches is 15 minutes, further south about 40 to some good beaches.They are making a "super highway" thru the mountains from San Jose to the Jaco area, which wasnt quite open yet in may, but will reduce the trek through crazy mountains roads in half according to my driver. I do not know when that will open.Good luck with your decision. I dont think you can go wrong in C.R

Deputy

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