Our Guide to the Perfect Costa Rica Family Vacation
With a wealth of adventure and warmth of spirit, Costa Rica is a land of dramatic volcanoes and pristine wilderness.
Reams of sandy coastline also make for the perfect Costa Rica family vacation.
For an active family holiday
Explore the Central Cloud Forests
Set out on an adventure through this rolling landscape that’s blanketed in forest to trek or horseback ride to waterfalls and through national parks. Then, for a panoramic view of the wilderness, venture across a towering canopy suspension bridge.
Venture into rural Turrialba
Tucked into the Central Valley region, Turrialba encompasses mountains and farmland with lush green coffee plantations, making it an especially scenic spot for horseback riding, hiking and cycling, as well as the chance to visit the sugar and macadamia farms.
For a family adventure holiday
Discover caves and lava fields in Arenal
Arenal is Costa Rica’s biggest draw for outdoor activities, with ziplining, whitewater rafting and horseback riding through the mountains, as well as the chance to hike through the rainforest and lava fields of Arenal National Park. Close by, venture into Venado Caverns for what is known as the best caving in Costa Rica.
Breakfast in the jungle canopy at Pacuare Reserve
For a treetop rainforest stay, head to Pacuare Jungle Lodge, and have breakfast or lunch in The Nest, which in its lofty setting above the jungle canopy can only be reached by zip lining in. Go on canopy tours, hiking, fishing and whitewater rafting, then cool of in one of the rainforest waterfalls.
Holidays for families with young children
Play in the waves at Dominical
Stay in the peaceful coastal town of Dominical for quiet stretches of beach, waterfalls to visit, and dolphin and whale watching, which is sure to captivate the entire family.
See monkeys and toucans in Manuel Antonio
Along this rainforest-enveloped coastline, families have easy access to both the sandy shores and wilderness where the family can set out on guided nature walks and mangrove boat tours to spot wildlife like toucans and monkeys. While staying at the family-friendly hotel Si Como No, guests can visit the Manuel Antonio Nature Park and Wildlife Refuge, which has a butterfly garden and reptile exhibits.
For a family nature holiday
Seek out rainforest creatures and marine life on the Osa Peninsula
This secluded peninsula in the south-west of Costa Rica has been named the “most biologically diverse place on Earth” by National Geographic, due to the primary rainforest of Corcovado National Park. As well as exploring the park’s nature trails in search of wildlife, head out to sea on dolphin and whale watching boat tours, or dive in to discover the colourful underwater world around the coral reefs of Isla del Cano.
See baby turtles hatch on the Nicoya Peninsula
Along the peaceful sandy coastline, Ostional National Wildlife Refuge is the setting for ‘Arribadas’ when hundreds of thousands of sea turtles arrive on the shores to lay their eggs in the black sand. Once hatched, the baby turtles race across the sand to reach the ocean. Visit between June and December for the chance to see this wildlife phenomenon.
Spot turtles and wetland life in Tortuguero
With a name that translates to ‘Land of the Turtles’, Tortuguero is a well known spot for watching turtle nesting, but with 19,000 acres of rainforest, wetland and caribbean shores with waterways weaving their way through, the pristine region offers so much more in wildlife exploration, with tours on food and by boat.
For a cultural family exploration
Experience tribal life in Rio Celeste
Discover the indigenous culture of Costa Rica by visiting the Maleku tribe in Rio Celeste. To preserve their traditions and culture, the tribe invite visitors into the Maleku Cultural Reserve for an insight into their language and way of life. Plus, in this wilderness setting, there’s plenty of wildlife exploration on offer too.
Visit the ancient city ruins of Turrialba
This mountainous region isn’t only for outdoor exploration, but it’s also the setting for the archaeological site Guayabo. The pre-Columbian ruins of this ancient city lie in the shadows of Turrialba volcano surrounded by the encroaching rainforest, with stone statues of crocodile and jaguar gods to speak your children’s imagination. Take a tour of the ruins to have storied brought to life by the knowledgeable guides.