We're a young family with a 16-month old 'baby'. We don't splash cash but enjoy some comfort. What's the best location for a hotel where we can relax on the pool but also go to a nice beach and on some days drive to nearby coastal attractions? Many thanks for your help.
PS.: we fly from the UK, so an ideal trip would be 7 to 10 days. And we're from Brazil, so we've seen plenty of jungle/tropical forests already. We're planning on Costa Rica for the beach alone.
We loved Tamarindo. Hotel Hotel Capitan Suizo was my kids favorite spot. When we were there 2 yrs. ago it was also home to abandoned baby monkeys. Your little one would get a kick out of watching them. The restaurant they had was beautiful and food good. Rooms were lovely, but not super fancy. Price reasonable. RIGHT on the ocean as well.
Sounds like a very relaxing trip! I recommend looking into the Guanacaste area to stay - this province has MANY beaches all within driving distance. Some of my favorites are Playa Flamingo, Playa Grande, Playa Conchal, and Playa Tamarindo (this one has more of a nightlife as well if you want that). If I were you, I would just search for deals online for a nice hotel in any of these places because you can easily drive from beach to beach as well =)
Hope this helps, have a great trip! Also, if you are interested in studying Spanish during your trip, you should check out Instituto Estelar Bilingue - http://www.estelarcr.com/ for great classes, activities, and even something for your baby! Good luck!
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We stayed in Jaco at Club Del Mar Resort (website) and it had a nice pool as well as being right on the beach. Jaco is very much a beach tourism town, but we snagged a room with a kitchenette, found a grocery, made our own food (and drinks) much of the time (the hotel restaurant was good, too; I don't remember if we found other good places to eat), and had a good time even though a beach tourism town didn't really seem like our bag of tea. The beach was great for just walking along, with plenty of stuff to stop in and see along the way.
My family have traveled with kids and we are very rarely staying at hotels. If we do we look for ones that offer bungalows or cabins with 2 bedrooms. If we can't find we look for Vacation Rentals. Specially if you are planning to stay for a while having a place for the baby to nap while you can be in the living room is GREAT. Having kitchen and fridge is also a big plus.
West coast ! plenty of resorts on beach, I believe surfing is a bit southern...........
I recommend the Guanacaste area. There are many beautiful beaches with fantastic resorts!