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Sarapiqui as Day Trip or as Overnight?

Wichita, Kansas
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Sarapiqui as Day Trip or as Overnight?

I have been fiddling around with our July itinerary, and I just cannot decide between two different options. We will have a one-year-old, six-year-old, and seven-year-old with us.

Option 1: One night near SJO. Two nights in Sarapiqui staying at Tirimbina and visiting La Selva in the morning. Two nights in Arenal. Three nights MA. One night near SJO. Pros: Get to explore Tirimbina trails on our own and see early morning wildlife. Cons: No AOL. One extra hotel move.

Option 2: One night near SJO. Four nights in Arenal, with one day being a day trip to La Selva and Tirimbina. Three nights MA. One night near SJO. Pros: One less hotel move. Get to visit AOL. Cons: More driving to get to/from Sarapiqui as a day trip. No early morning self-guided Tirimbina.

Which would you choose and why given our group? We were going to go to Rio Celeste, but it seemed like it would be a difficult hike with our kids. We also ruled out Cano Negro since we will be doing a crocodile river cruise in Tarcoles.

18 replies to this topic
Slovenia
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1. Re: Sarapiqui as Day Trip or as Overnight?

You have a 1-year, a 6-year and a 7-year kids but your dilemma is of an adult persons!! A day trip from La Fortuna to Sarapiqui is not an option. How much would your kids enjoy the trails at AOL?? I think you should revise your itinerary by giving your kids a bit less stressful and more enjoyable holiday. Rio Celeste is yet another "adult only" destination. On the other side Cano Negro is not about crocodiles, and as a boat tour it might have some appeal to your kids. Plus is much less demanding then hiking the trails at Tirimbina or AOL.

Edited: 13 May 2018, 02:55
Wichita, Kansas
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2. Re: Sarapiqui as Day Trip or as Overnight?

We hike somewhat frequently with our kids. The one-year-old rides on our backs in his Ergo. We have done a couple of four mile hikes with him and the kids.

I do agree that Rio Celeste might get difficult with such thick mud, and the water might not even be blue with it being rainy season. That is why we have scratched it.

La Selva, though, has quite a bit of pavement and boardwalk area. It looks completely doable for us. The chocolate tour at Tirimbina looks fine too. So, we are pretty confident that we will go to Sarapiqui. The question is just the timing.

AOL definitely looks fun for us, and that is why we will be doing it with one of the options. We just don’t think it outranks Sarapiqui.

I know Cano Negro is not about crocodiles, but our crocodile river cruise is also known for abundant birds and other wildlife. With that in mind, another boat tour sounds redundant.

Edited: 13 May 2018, 03:35
Toronto, Canada
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3. Re: Sarapiqui as Day Trip or as Overnight?

I would pick Option 2 . Tirimbina will be well worth the inconvenience of an extra hotel with the trails and hanging bridges.

Chicago, Illinois
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4. Re: Sarapiqui as Day Trip or as Overnight?

I’d scratch Saraiqui with 3 children that young. It’s not the hike’s distance that’s the issue. Unless you’re booking private tours at La Selva and Tirimbina you are likely to find that the public group tours are not a good fit for 3 young ones.

I would suggest you book a half-day volunteering at Proyecto Asis for the 2 older children as a substitute.

Texas
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for Arenal Volcano National Park, La Fortuna de San Carlos
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5. Re: Sarapiqui as Day Trip or as Overnight?

You might check out Selva Verde while you're in the Sarapiqui area. We just stayed there. See my review and photos. The wildlife was incredible. Lots of toucans and aracaris, poison dart frogs, red-eyed tree frogs. Saw monkeys and a croc along the river when we did our river cruise. Saw a kinkajou the last time we were there. We did a day hike at La Selva, and it was great, good birding, and we even saw peccaries. Selva Verde has a good outdoor restaurant with their own wood fired pizza oven, fresh grilled veggies, great salad. There was a family next to us, and they let the kids make their own pizza.

Wichita, Kansas
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6. Re: Sarapiqui as Day Trip or as Overnight?

Protecto Asis is definitely in our plans. We will go do that either way.

Selva Verde does look fun. Tirimbina lets you use the trails self-guided for free if you stay there. That is why we were looking at that one, but we still might go for Selva Verde instead.

I was planning on getting some kids field kits for the kids with magnifying glasses, binoculars, etc. so they could be scientists for the day.

Texas
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for Arenal Volcano National Park, La Fortuna de San Carlos
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7. Re: Sarapiqui as Day Trip or as Overnight?

Selva Verde lets you use the trail self-guided for free as well. Everything we saw was on their grounds. They have a reserve over the bridge but we didn't bother going over this trip because we saw so much. Breakfast is included which is nice. One thing you might get is some of those laminated wildlife cards so the kids can identify what they see. You can get them online if you want at Rainforest Publications.We stayed at AOL and liked that too.

RAFTING and KAYAKING
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8. Re: Sarapiqui as Day Trip or as Overnight?

Overnight at Sarapiqui... , Rio celeste is not a good idea for the kids, from Sarapiqui to Arenal is 1 hour through the highway

Texas
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for Arenal Volcano National Park, La Fortuna de San Carlos
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9. Re: Sarapiqui as Day Trip or as Overnight?

Yea, there's a new highway running from the Sarapiqui area to the Arenal area, really cut our travel time. Jose's Crocodile Tour is good for the Rio Tarcoles cruise if you need a provider. We missed out on a place near Selva Verde that I wish we had gone to - Dave and Dave's. I didn't know about it until someone at AOL mentioned it. Supposed to be great for birding and getting photos.

Budel, The...
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10. Re: Sarapiqui as Day Trip or as Overnight?

Hi,

I just got back from our trip with 2 kids. I highly recommend Sarapiqui. We stayed at Selva Verde, did 2 on site hikes which were very nice. The hotel is good, nice location, good pool for the kids and nice restaurant.

We also did the chocolate tour (Best Chocolate Tour is the name) and a river rafting trip with the kids (age 8 and 6) which was very nice.

People here seem to be raving about Proyecto Asis near Arenal. We went there but were not impressed. I mean it is not a negative experience, but I wonder why so many people rate it 5 stars here. There are way nicer options to see animals, in the wild instead of caged (although I support to good work Asis does).

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