Costa Rica Family Explorer
A real Latin American adventure with wonderful wildlife, zip lining, volcano hikes and beach time
Personalised journeys from start to finish
Save an acre of rainforest each time you travel
Every detail taken care of
- Private tours and transfers
- Luxury accommodation throughout
- Meet and greet airport service
- Full support from your travel designer and concierge before, during and after your trip
At a glance
Costa Rica is a wonderful destination for families, with lots of outdoor activities, great wildlife and some of the friendliest people in Latin America. *Please note this price is per person based on four people*
Your 11-day adventure starts in Tortuguero, a dense and intricate network of rivers, lagoons, and canals crisscrossing different rainforest, swamp and beach. This is a magical place for wildlife lovers, with frogs, monkeys and birds darting through the canopy, while turtles and caimans glide through the water. You can explore this pristine environment by foot and by boat, getting up close to the park’s fascinating inhabitants.
Your next stop is Arenal, home to the mighty Arenal volcano that soars through the clouds. Take a ride on the Sky Tram and enjoy aerial views of the surrounding forest, then zip line through the canopy and kayak around Lake Arenal – this really is the perfect place for active families. You’ll also take a walk along Arenal’s famous hanging bridges at night to spot nocturnal animals such as frogs and snakes.
It’s then time for some downtime on the coast. The Guanacaste Coast is the perfect place to relax and enjoy some quality time together. Your final stop will be Costa Rica’s Coffee Valley where you’ll enjoy a thrilling hike around the Poas Volcano with its incredible steaming crater.
Example Trip Itinerary
Private transfer to your hotel in San Jose
Accommodation in San Jose
- 40 rooms
- Spa (massages only)
- Two Jacuzzis
- Rooftop terrace
This traditional and elaborate mansion in the city’s downtown district is surprisingly cosy, but naturally classy and luxurious. Grano de Oro is a grand and tropical Victorian casona, very familial in feel with its heavily embellished interiors strewn with antiques, faded family photos, original art pieces, dark woods, deep carpets and stone tiles. Lit by the warm glow of wall lanterns, its forty rooms are well equipped with TVs and internet. Choose a standard room for comfort and a more modern style. Both the views and decor improve with the category rank. The Vista de Oro suite is wonderfully decorated in period ceramic floor tiles, wood panelling, with rich rugs and throws. The Garden Suite is similarly adorned but also has its own private garden and patio. On the ground floor is the restaurant with half its tables set in the hotel’s charming atrium circling a Spanish-tiled fountain surrounded by stained glass windows and the shuttered corridor balconies spilling over with vivid green plant life. The chef is French, the menu extensive, and its tables are often frequented by locals as well as guests. At night the rooftop terrace is a great place to relax, have a drink or try out the Jacuzzi. Set in the heart of San Jose in the Barrio don Bosco neighbourhood, this is a delightful hotel; a great place for exploring the city or stopping over on your way further into Costa Rica or flying out.
- 24 villas
- Three swimming pools
- TV and DVD room
Its innovative design and fun tropical decoration is what makes Xandari quite a one-off hotel in Costa Rica’s Central Valley. Set in 40 acres of plantation gardens and only twenty minutes from San Jose international airport, this is an ideal hilltop hideaway if you’re just beginning or ending your trip. Surrounded by lush vegetation, the terraces offer spectacular views of the majestic Central Valley. With an architect and artist for owners, Xandari has definitely felt the force of their creativity and the hotel is adorned with extraordinary sculptures, tropical colours that imitate the fiercely vivid flora, tapestries, mosaics, paintings and stained glass. Its 24 spacious terraced villas offer stylish seclusion, vibrant comfort, beautiful valley views, and come with kitchenettes and a small garden. The atmosphere is relaxed and the staff immensely friendly. Xandari’s grounds have four kilometres of trails filled with native birds to watch, and there’s also an orchid house, greenhouse, orchards, and organic gardens supplying the hotel’s restaurant. The farm-to-table menu includes a variety of healthy choices from Costa Rician specialities to Mediterranean and Californian dishes. Massages, facials and mud wraps are just some of the treatments on hand at the hotel’s well-appointed Spa village. Guests are invited to plant native trees during their stay at Xandari. Trees, bushes and flowers which especially attract, feed and provide shelter to the various types of birds and butterflies are chosen to be added to the gardens.
Enjoy your evening in this metropolitan capital city, relaxing at your hotel after your flight.
Boat and road transfer to your lodge
Accommodation in Tortuguero
- 12 rooms
- Swimming pool
Located right on the water, with a friendly and cosy atmosphere, first class service and comfortable cabins it’s no wonder that Manatus is hailed as one the best hotels in the Tortuguero. The 12 rooms are typically ‘Tico’ (Costa Rican) in style, spacious, well equipped, and comfortable with a real sense of privacy. With natural wood furniture and warm colours, the rooms are designed to make you feel connected to the surrounding wildlife and canals. And by simply stepping off the hotel’s private jetty onto their motorboats you can begin days discovering the national park and its teeming wildlife with comprehensive tour programs and naturalist guides. Then there’s kayaking along the canals, fishing, hiking or simply relaxing on the hotel’s waterside decking. The specially designed Afro-Caribbean fusion menu at Ara Macaw gourmet restaurant is sure to delight your senses. Choose one of the special combinations of local Caribbean flavours and scents, or opt for a more cosmopolitan dish. Then the perfect place to spend a tropical evening is at Morpho Bar where there are a variety of cocktails to choose from. Take a dip in the outdoor pool overlooking the Tortuguero canals and fringed with swaying palms. Strolling through the hotel’s beautiful gardens you’ll discover a world of tropical flowers, exotic plants and vibrant birdlife. Rates include transfers to and from the hotel, all meals, guided tours and the national park entrance fee.
- 27 river view rooms
- Swimming pool
A pleasant riverside hotel one mile north of the Tortuguero Town, this jungle lodge is typically Costa Rican in its flamboyant style and offers a perfect location right on the river’s edge of the watery wilderness. There are 27 simple and comfortable jungle lodge-style rooms. The lack of televisions in the rooms allow guests to fully appreciate the sounds of the tropical rainforest. In fact, the atmosphere in the lodge as a whole is laid back, and tranquil. The hotel’s restaurant dishes up creative contemporary takes on traditional Costa Rican meals. The chef’s team weaves the tastes, textures and aromas of tropical ingredients into every meal. Dine at a table suspended over the river and its banks. Bring the day to a close with Caribbean-themed cocktails at the bar. Unwind at the pool and enjoy the river views, or while away the hours in the hammocks down on the southern point. Be sure to make time to explore the well-kept tropical gardens. You can either take a tour with Tortuguero’s naturalist guide, or stroll through the plantation-style property yourself. As you wander between the buildings and gardens, keep and eye open for iguanas and toucans.
Spend your days here in the 'Land of the Turtles' exploring the myriad of waterways and nature trails with your expert guides, and relaxing to the sound of the jungle from your lodge. Other more adventurous activities such as kayaking, fishing and walking are available, as are more specialist wildlife excursions. Talk to your travel designer about how you would like to spend your time here. The turtle nesting season is July to October.
Private transfer to Arenal
Accommodation in Arenal
- 103 rooms and suites
- Two restaurants
- Four bars
- Swimming pool
- Thermal springs (not private)
Tabacon is a beautiful and serene luxury hotel, located at the foot of the majestic Arenal Volcano. It is set within 900 acres of lush, tropical grounds through which Costa’s Rica’s largest network of hot springs flows. This rainforest retreat is tucked away on a winding road that climbs up from the small village of La Fortuna. There are 103 rooms and suites that look out over the rainforest and gardens. Decor is contemporary and elegant and feature artwork and furnishings from Costa Rican artists. The River Tabacon feeds into waterfalls and warm pools lined with soft, black sand and guests staying at Tabacon will enjoy full use of the thermal mineral springs. The water is heated by the volcano and the temperature in the pools ranges between 72 and 105 degrees Fahrenheit. Head upstream and you’ll find the Shangri-La Gardens, an adult-only hideaway with six pools, cocoon-shaped cabanas and bar. The open-air spa offers a range of rejuvenating treatments, made all the more relaxing by the idyllic surroundings and sounds of the rainforest. There are two restaurants offering a mix of Costa Rican and international cuisine, as well as four bars.
- 35 villas
- Private gardens and terraces
- Private plunge pools
- Spa and yoga pavillion
- Lap pool and swim-up bar
This boutique hotel encompasses all things luxurious, with views overlooking the grand Arenal Volcano, beautiful villas and a state-of-the-art spa and yoga pavilion. Privacy is as well taken care of as luxury, sitting outside the Costa Rican town of La Fortuna, Nayara Springs provides the perfect amount of seclusion at around three hours from the capital, San Jose. Each of the 35 villas is nestled among the floral gardens of the tropical rainforest and boasts its own personal pool, a spacious private garden with outdoor shower, a sumptuous four-poster bed, alongside both indoor and outdoor seating areas. A rich array of natural wildlife awaits, and guests can enjoy it from their private terrace, or by taking a tour through the Arenal Volcano National Park. Guests can then unwind by indulging in a treatment at the spa, heading to the yoga pavilion or swimming pool, or enjoying a drink at the stylish piano bar. Cuisine at Nayara Springs is served at the lovely poolside restaurant, Amor-Loco, where fresh fish, Latin American inspired sushi and organic home-grown vegetables all grace the menu.
- 50 rooms (mix of casitas and villas)
- Pool with three Jacuzzis
- Swim-up pool bar
- Wine and tapas bar
- Three restaurants
Voted one of South America’s most romantic hotels, the Nayara is a fitting choice for those looking for a private getaway in the Arenal. Nestled in the green valleys at the foot of the spectacular Arenal Volcano are Nayara’s 50 luxury rooms -29 casitas and 21 rainforest villas. Large screened windows open up allowing for plenty of natural light. The decor is simple, but but neat with lashings of tropical orange, the greens of encroaching foliage, fine bed linen, dark wood furniture and polished floors. The privacy of the cottages and their amenities, with terrace, Jacuzzi and garden, makes this an ideal hideaway for the newly hitched or those after a romantic retreat. Even though Nayara is a resort, the staff make every effort to treat you in a very personal manner and the service is impeccable. Also if you feel like getting out of your casita and enjoying some of the area’s activities and adventures you will be spoilt for choice. For relaxation, however, head to the hotel’s spa for a massage, coffee scrub or a volcanic mud bath. Perched atop a cliff and overlooking the forest, it’s the ideal place to unwind and rejuvenate.
During your time in Arenal, there are a huge number of activities that we can arrange for you. There are adventure activities for the adrenalin junkies as well as options for those who want to enjoy the area at a more leisurely pace. Your travel designer will be able to guide you through the different options, so that you choose the excursions best suited to your interests.
Take a ride on a serene Sky Tram gondola as it soars smoothly through the rainforest, offering wonderful views of the Arenal volcano and the lake. Accompanied by a bilingual guide, the ride takes around 40 minutes with the possibility of short stops to take photographs or to spot tropical birds.
Enjoy this thrilling aerial adventure starting from a tower 13m (43 feet) high and glide your way down eight galvanized stainless steel cables, ranging from 80m (262 feet) to 750m (2460 feet) in length, with an average height of 38m (125 feet). Speeds will top 60km/h (37mph)! All of the 14 platforms, five of which are constructed in trees, are strategically designed at varying heights to allow the clients to observe the rainforest from different angles and photograph the awe inspiring scenery.
This adventure will take you to Costa Rica’s biggest lake, right at the feet of the Arenal volcano. Once at the lake, the team will quickly suit you up with a life jacket and a paddle, and give you a brief explanation of kayaking basic techniques. Your tour will start paddling across the lake with the possibility to observe different species of birds like flycatchers, kingfisher, great blue herons and anhingas and possibly hear howler monkeys call. End with a refreshing swim in the lake.
Costa Rica currently makes up 5% of the biodiversity of the world and its forests teem with wildlife. One of the best times to experience the staggering range of fauna is at night, with many species coming to life after the sun goes down. There are around 2,000 species of butterflies active during the day but 4,500 are nocturnal. A similar pattern occurs with the activity of some amphibians, reptiles, mammals, as well as some species of exotic flowers that only bloom at night.
Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park offers guests the opportunity to observe the forest in the darkness of the night during a walk that passes through the hanging bridges. It is also possible to observe animals such as frogs, snakes, lizards, mammals and nocturnal birds such as the owl and the barn owl.
Private transfer to the Guanacaste Coast
Accommodation in Guanacaste Coast
- 85 rooms
- Two Restaurants
- Spa and Gym
- Swimming pool
- Beach fronted
Even with 85 rooms El Mangroove still strikes a very boutique sort of style and atmosphere. Cool, contemporary design combined with a quiet position on the Papagayo Gulf, makes for a more personal alternative to the larger resorts of the area. It’s the epitome of relaxed barefoot chic. The hotel’s range of suites have been decked out in a contemporary yet natural style, spread over three floors, affording every level a new tier of views of the surrounding mangrove trees. The property also fronts a dark-sand beach almost exclusively enjoyed by its guests, or you can take to relaxing on the sun loungers and cabanas surrounding its outdoor pool and lovely gardens. There are a good variety of activities from fishing to yoga and surfing, and El Mangroove has two restaurants serving some excellent farm- and ocean-to-table dishes, ranging from Peruvian to Argentinean.
- 289 rooms and 21 suites
- Swimming pool
- Four restaurants and two bars
- Direct beach access
- Fitness Centre
This spacious hacienda-style resort on the Guanacaste coast combines exclusive five-star luxury with beautiful seaside surroundings. Courtyards slung with hammocks, red brick and dark furniture give the hotel a local feel, and the 289 rooms and 21 suites have a typically “Tico” feel with marble bathrooms, and stunning views out over the beach and ocean. With four restaurants, two bars and a coffee and ice cream shop, there’s plenty of choice when it comes to dining. Enjoy Italian-style dishes at Azul Grill, savour international cuisine made with local ingredients at Mansita Restaurant, satisfy your craving for something hearty at Sabanero Steak House, and treat yourself to contemporary Asian flavours at Tamarine. Azul Pool Bar specialises in refreshing natural cocktails and healthy light meals, and Nau Lobby Bar is the idea place to raise a glass at the end of a busy day. For a quick Costa Rican coffee or indulgent Italian ice cream, pop into Waves and Cream. After a day of exploring, indulge in a treatment or two at the spa, take a dip in the swimming pool or stroll down to the beach. There are a variety of activity options for active guests. Head out into the countryside and go biking, hiking or horseriding, or spend your day at the beach jet skiing, kayaking, snorkelling sailing or surfing.
- 57 rooms, suites and casitas
- Infinity pool
- Restaurant and two bars
- Private beach
An impressive resort with a luxurious collection of accommodation categories, Punta Islita also has its own private beach and is well connected to the local villages. Situated on the beautiful Guanacaste coast and western side of the Nicoya Peninsula this hotel comes with all the extensive facilities and modern amenities one expects yet avoids the insular feeling you sometimes get from other resorts. There are 57 rooms, suites and casitas to choose from. Deluxe rooms are spacious and have their own terrace with hammocks, the suites are similar but have their own deck with Jacuzzi and if you want an ocean view in either, you’ll have to specify this. The casitas are really quite charming and ideal for couples or for those looking for that extra bit of privacy with their own garden, plunge pool, and terrace. As well as the choice of staying in the hotel’s casitas or villas, there is the private Islita beach with sun loungers and a frequent shuttle service to the Corozalato village and other local towns for guests who want to discover the region and perhaps indulge in some local artisanal shopping. The villas tend to be privately owned but rented out by the hotel with either two or three bedrooms, terraces, private plunge pool, garden and are a great option for families, groups or extended stays. Stylish Pacifico Restaurant showcases the rich textures, vibrant colours, and flavours of Costa Rica, and the menu features fresh local ingredients reflecting the region’s diversity. For a laid-back meal, take a table at Los Cocos Beachfront Club. There is a plentiful amount of local expeditions, adventure activities and workshops to enjoy and a spa, golf course and tennis courts to indulge in.
- 24 rooms
- Swimming pool
- Restaurant and bar
- Healing centre offering massage, yoga and meditation
- Direct beach access
Harmony is one of the more low-key and intimate hotels on the Guanacaste, finding its charm in simplicity and a surfer chic atmosphere, not to mention having direct access to the Guiones beach. There are 24 rooms from which to choose. The Coco rooms, in the centre of the property, have their own private enclosed patio, hammock and heated outdoor shower. The bungalows are set into the hotel gardens with private wooden decks, rocking chairs, hammocks and some with heated outdoor showers. There is also a two-bedroom bungalow suite available. The hotel’s restaurant makes the most of the region’s nearby farms, fishermen, fruit trees and its own garden. The fresh, local ingredients feature in delicious dishes that are served in the open-air restaurant. There’s also a bar where the resident mixologist creates exciting cocktails and mocktails, and an outdoor sushi lounge. Overall the vibe is relaxing, warm and one of wellbeing. In addition to being focused on creating a friendly and welcoming environment, the hotel prepares its own organic moisturisers and shampoos. Among the activities on offer to fill your time when you’re not out exploring are yoga, meditation and surfing classes, as well as tours to local highlights and attractions.
With its stretches of golden sand beaches, wildlife reserves and ultra-easy-going atmosphere, the Guanacaste Coast is the perfect place to kick back and relax for a few days. Nicknamed the 'gold coast', it stretches all the way from the Nicaragua border south to the Nicoya Peninsula. There is lots to do here from surfing and snorkelling to horse riding and kayaking.
As you take to the sea, feel the exhilaration of the waves at Punta Islita and learn all the essentials of how to surf.
Private transfer to the Coffee Valley
Accommodation in Coffee Valley
- 17 rooms
Located about an hour north of San Jose in a private eco-park and reserve, the intimate and romantic Peace Lodge enjoys a wonderfully interactive setting with nature. La Paz Waterfall Gardens is a private wildlife and nature sanctuary complete with waterfalls, cloud forests, trails, an aviary, butterfly gardens, Jungle Cat Centre and is just 20 minutes from the Poas volcano. The decoration and interiors of the Lodge itself is often likened to Rivendell in Lord of Rings with its grotto-like bathrooms, cosily cavernous rooms, stone fireplaces and bed canopies (some made out of twisted wood). There is a Jacuzzi-tub, private balcony and aromatherapy products with every room and the service is good especially when it comes to the detail, which makes your stay feel very personal. Take a table at Vista Poas, the lodge’s intimate fine dining restaurant, and enjoy traditional locally-inspired Costa Rican flavours. The menu features grilled meats, homemade pasta, savoury seafood, and tender free-range chicken dishes. There is also a selection of wines that pair well with the gourmet meals. Breakfast is served at Tortillas Restaurant which boasts beautiful views over the cloud forest. Tuck into the expansive Costa Rican buffet at Colibries Restaurant, or sip on locally-grown coffee and enjoy fresh pastries at La Terraza near the waterfalls. There are good facilities not to mention direct access to the park, meaning wildlife lovers or families will enjoy getting up close to hummingbirds, butterflies, monkeys and even jaguars. All guests are welcome to enjoy the park before it opens and after it closes.
Spend a night relaxing in Costa Rica's beautiful Coffee Valley, taking in the rolling hills and your peaceful surroundings.
Embark on a guided tour to see the impressive site of Poas Volcano. Other than the lush and exotic wildlife of Poas National Park, the highlight is the active crater, stretching to 1.5km wide, and entirely safe to view.
Private transfer to San Jose airport
Get in Touch
Costa Rica Family Explorer
How We Work
We create fully personalised trips from start to finish, working with you to pick locations, accommodation and guides that suit you.
Each time you travel with us, you preserve an acre of precious rainforest through our partnerships.
From in-depth private tours to restaurant reservations, we take care of every detail so you can make the most of your journey.