Points and Miles to Costa Rica (Partially)


We just enjoyed a huge family trip to Costa Rica. There were 16 or us in total! Here’s how we used points and miles to get to Costa Rica – well partially!


Flights to Costa Rica

This trip was to celebrate two graduating seniors, and our daughter, Kelly from Colorado Springs, invited us to come along. We were all flying out of Denver International Airport, but we traveled on two different flights. Half of us flew on United Airlines, and one family flew on Southwest Airlines. Here are the costs for flying to Liberia Airport.


screenshot united flights



It was cheaper to fly on Southwest, but it wasn’t a direct connection.


screenshot of Southwest flight



As I’ve mentioned before, we don’t use points and miles for all of our travel, especially when we travel in a big group. We prefer to stay in an Airbnb together, and when everyone is sharing the expense, it can be very reasonable.

However, before our trip, my husband and I used an expiring 85K Marriott Certificate to stay at the Westin Denver International. We got a $50 breakfast credit because we have Platinum Elite status. We then met half of our party in the Capital One Lounge in Denver for more food.



Hotel room

We stayed at the Westin Denver Airport with an annual night certificate.


Once we arrived at Liberia Airport, customs was super quick, and we rented our cars (through Adobe and Hertz) and headed to the La Fortuna area. We stayed at Arenal Manoa, a great family stay with hot springs, pools, and a gorgeous view of the volcano. While we paid cash for our stay, we could have booked it using a Capital One Venture Card and then used the purchase eraser to pay for our stay. We paid about $300/night for our stay in a room that slept 4 people and included a large breakfast buffet.


Hotel pool area

Check out that gorgeous view of Arenal Volcano!


Activities in the La Fortuna Area

Besides soaking in the thermal hot springs and playing at the pool, we had two amazing adventures. First up was rappeling and ziplining with Maquique Adventures – they were amazing. Our admission price included lunch and the nicest guides ever. They took care of our group of 16 with humor and kindness. I cannot recommend them enough! We rappelled over waterfalls, and everyone from our two 10-year-olds to this 71-year-old grandma had the best time!


Group of people in outfits for zip lining

Grandma, grandpa,  and some grandkids ready to go canyoneering and zip lining!


On our second day, we did some more ziplining with Arenal Mundo Adventura. It was fine but after the care and service we received from Maquique Adventures, it paled in comparison.


Moving to the Tamarindo Area

On our third day, we headed to Tamarindo, Costa Rica. We had stayed there years ago, and I loved this little surf town, so I was happy to return. It was about a four-hour drive from the La Fortuna area, but we enjoyed the cute towns and scenery on our way.


Tamarindo colorful sign in city.

This was our second visit to Tamarindo and we enjoyed it, once again!


We stayed in this VRBO for five nights. It was a little pricey, but we split the cost three ways and we had plenty of room for our group of 16. The kids in the group were VERY excited that we decided to splurge on this space. I actually would like to check out the JW Marriott Guanacaste the next time that I am in Costa Rica. 


Large house with pool

Our VRBO was very large and spacious and easily accommodated 16 of us!


Activities in Tamarindo

Much of our time was spent in the pool at the center of the rental along with beach time at Langosta Beach – a quick walk of a few minutes. We could easily walk into town but it was so humid and warm that we often used a golf cart and rented scooters for the kids. Some of the places we enjoyed eating at were:

  • Sol Bakery- yummiest bakery items
  • Fish and Cheese – pizza, pasta, fish
  • Langosta Beach Club – loved the nachos, fish and chips
  • Patagonia – great steaks

We hired a chef to cook us dinner at the house one night and that was so much fun!


People eating around a large table

Hiring a chef to prepare and cook a meal for us one night was actually cheaper than eating out!


Bottom Line

While we didn’t use point for our accommodations other than our pre-travel stay, we could have used Capital One Venture Miles to erase part of it. Miles were used by most of the family for flights to Liberia. We don’t use points and miles for ALL of our travel generally, especially when traveling in a large group. Costa Rica on points and miles can certainly be done though and we are much more likely to do so when traveling in smaller groups. 


Related Posts


Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. American Express is a Travel Mom Squad advertiser, but we always show the best public offer even when we don’t earn a commission. Terms Apply. 

Share this post

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Want to know the most popular card for beginners? 

click here

Advertiser Disclosure: Travel Mom Squad has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Travel Mom Squad and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. This compensation may impact how or where products appear on this site. Travel Mom Squad has not reviewed all available credit card offers on this site.

Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.