Do you want rain forest, nature reserves, sun and sand? Then Costa Rica is the land for you, as long as you don’t mind bugs that are the size of small birds.
The Cerros de Escazú mountain range runs down the west coast of Costa Rica and provides great views of ocean sunsets as well as some spectacular zip lining. The average ocean temp in February hovers at 27 degrees – so if it’s warm waters and cool mountain breezes you need this is the place for you.
I look for places that are peaceful and quiet, which can be hard to find when travelling with children on a budget, but I’ve found some terrific villas that offer more beauty at less price.
I’ve found that VRBO is a great way to find a villa and below are some good finds if you are looking for a great family vacation for 4-6 people for under $8000.
And some friendly advice. It’s best to fly into San Jose, mid-week. For example direct return flights from departing Feb 3,2015 and returning Feb 17, 2015 are (today) priced at $729.66 for a family of 4 that’s under $3000 for flights.
If you like to explore than a 4 wheel drive vehicle is essential. Aside from the main highway most of the roads are steep and often filled with large pot holes. Some mountain side villas require a 4×4 just to get up to them – the views are well worth the drive! You can rent a 4×4 Suzuki from Mirage for $30.39 a day this includes unlimited mileage bringing the total in around $500 for 2 weeks.
Another key thing to know is that if the villa you rent here is over 1000 feet elevation then you don’t need air conditioning as the mountain breezes are cool and constant. I prefer being a little more remote, away from the dogs barking in small towns but close enough to go out to a restaurant. Here are some choices that will bring you in under $8000 for a 2 week getaway for 4 people:
1. RAIN FOREST RETREAT
The first villa I would recommend is in a secluded but beautiful setting. This home high up in the mountains but with an amazing view of the “Whales Tale” http://www.vrbo.com/273452 the drive up to the villa is extremely steep but you get accustomed to it quiet quickly. The peaceful srroundings, with howler monkies calling in the early morning and evening was beautiful. Rental price is $1195/week.
2. WALK TO THE BEACH
This listing on VRBO is one place that we stayed with an easy walk to a small beach. Shana Residences are beautifully laid out with a great view and quite large for a 2 bedroom http://www.vrbo.com/3687824ha The sunsets were beautiful and the monkeys were everywhere. It wasn’t at a high enough elevation to go high without air conditioning, but we only used it during the warmest part of the day. For $2000 per week, it was an easy drive in on paved roads, and close to restaurants and the town of Quepos.
If you are going to the Manuel Antonio area it is worth the splurge to spend 1 or 2 nights at Arenas Del Mar Beach Resort – a small eco-resort with rooms perched on the sides of a cliff situated in the rain forest. If you want to wake up to the sound of birds, bugs and the surf crashing against rocks far below this is well worth $600 – $800 a night. The pools are beautiful as is their private beach. And if you are there on a Thursday the beach dinner is amazing!
Have a suggestion or recommendation please contact me!