The Ultimate Guide To Costa Rica Family Vacations
A trip with your family is a big deal, nobody wants unexpected problems of any kind, but we all want pleasant surprises. That is why we dedicated time to create the Costa Rica Family Travel Guide for you to find all the necessary information, to make your Costa Rica trip pleasurable. This Ultimate Guide to Costa Rica Family Vacations, however, not only gives you updated information, but it provides deeper insights and links to all the valuable recommendations that we have created for you to explore.
But before we go into the details, our first advice is always the same, to look for expert advice! The fact that you are reading our post is already a great start, but consider going further and let us organize the trip for you. When it comes to having an unforgettable time in Costa Rica, nobody knows better than us.
Our second piece of advice is to take the time to research as much as possible about Costa Rica. That is the only way you will be able to find the perfect match of destinations, accommodations, and experiences that will fit your expectations and needs. It is not chance that Costa Rica is listed first at Conde Nast Travelers 40 most beautiful countries in the world, which means the possibilities are many and without an informed view, you might miss the perfect trip.
Manuel Antonio National Park
The most visited park in Costa Rica, Manuel Antonio, is known for its extraordinarily diverse plant and animal life, including three of the four species of monkeys found in Costa Rica as well as two kinds of sloths. I love this park with children in tow as the wildlife experience is very accessible. The park is concentrated, so little legs dont need to go too far to appreciate all the jungle has to offer.
The exotic beach in Manuel Antonio is right out of a movie with lush tropical foliage and soft white sand. The jungle backs up to the water, so it is not unusual to have monkeys frolicking on the beach looking for snacks to steal.
Like in Arenal, ziplines, hanging bridges and other adventure activities are offered in spades, although given the beauty of the beach, its an ideal place to get some family downtime. Depending on the time of year, dolphin and snorkeling excursions are available for families to get out on the water.
Watch Sea Turtles Nest And Baby Turtles Hatch
Costa Rica has five main sea turtle nesting spots . But catching the right time of the year to see this impressive spectacle of nature is tricky.
Tortuguero National Park is the favorite place to watch sea turtles nest and hatch because it has longest season.
From July to September, watch pregnant mothers coming ashore to find their nesting spots. As the mothers enter into their birthing trance, you can safely draw close enough to watch her deposit hundreds of golf ball-sized eggs in the sand dunes.
From September to November,baby sea turtles begin hatching by the hundreds in the early morning hours. Cheer the hundreds of baby turtles as they race precariously toward the surf.
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Raft Down The Pacuare River
Explore Costa Ricas most renowned rafting spot on the Pacuare River. Brave the III/IV rapids, stopping intermittently to take breaks to jump off boulders into the water and swim in pools formed by cascading waterfalls. Plan two days to see the countrys longest river.
The guides of Pacuare Lodge know every twist and turn of this river and its communities. Its no wonder because most of them grew up in the area.
Whether they are cooking traditional meals for you, or taking you on a hike, or inviting you into a remote indigenous village, they are the perfect hosts. This is where youll get away from the touristy crowds and find yourself immersed in the real Costa Rica.
Costa Rica Family Itinerary: 7 To 8 Days
Costa Rica is easy to access via two international airports, Liberia and San Jose. It makes an ideal weeklong family vacation for American families who need to work around limited school holiday periods.
I worked with our tour operator exhaustively to figure out the best family itinerary that is suitable for a wide variety of ages and interests. In this itinerary, you can do mix of iconic Costa Rica attractions like ziplining and wildlife viewing, and still have all-important downtime.
If you have just a week, I recommend limiting the itinerary to two stops, excluding the first or last night that may need to be spent near the airport depending on flight times. Despite Costa Ricas small size, driving from one place to another takes time. Although more roads are paved than when I was last there almost two decades ago, many roads are narrow and transfers take time.
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Day : Whitewater Rafting Tour
Go whitewater rafting! Paddle down the refreshing Rio Balsa as you experience class II-III rapids! If you want to see some wildlife up-close and personal, check out The Resorts very own wildlife preserve where they take care of animals such as pumas, ocelots, monkeys, sloths, and toucans.The Springs Resort & Spa
Margaritaville Beach Resort Playa Flamingo Playa Flamingo Costa Rica
Anyone familiar with Jimmy Buffetts Parrothead lifestyle brand will be comfortable lifting a frozen beverage at the 5 OClock Somewhere Bar and Grill inside , a 120-room resort in Guanacaste Province. Located across the street from Flamingo Beach, the Costa Rica all-inclusive resorts accommodations include a number of family-style rooms, such as a studio with kitchenette, bunk bed suite, and two-bedroom suite.
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All Inclusive Packages: Family Beach Time
Some families choose to stay at one of the countrys all inclusive family resorts. Many of which offer nanny services and daily activities that help keep the kids busy and give mom and dad some much deserved time to themselves. For a trip that bring all-inclusive packages together with safe, family fun, we would recommend a family trip to the Gulf of Papagayo. This part of the Guanacaste province is known for the high-end resort that caters to all your needs as well as maintains a balance with the natural wonders surrounding it. You can enjoy the many activities organized in and around the resort.
The best part is that the water at beaches like Playa Panama and Playa Hermosa are so calm that it is perfect for smaller children to swim in safely. Especially Playa Panama feels like you are stepping into a big swimming pool! Your trip to the Costa Rica beaches will be even more perfect with a horseback riding tour in the sunset!
Your kids would also love a day trip to Ostional Wildlife Refuge and spend some time watching the sea turtles nesting and eggs hatching! The Guanacaste beaches are the perfect trip for families and kids of all ages.
Have Questions Contact Us
If you still have questions or want to hire our services, please contact us. We would be thrilled to help, and well make sure you have the best possible family vacation in Costa Rica.
John Rabenau has been working in the eco-tourism & adventure travel industry in Costa Rica since 2002. He has worked in a variety of capacities from Outdoor Educator & Principle Guide to Itinerary Design Manager & Business Owner for numerous organizations. He has grown Costa Rica Escapes into one of the most reputable Costa Rica travel agencies since its creation in 2006, hosting more than 5,000 people with custom vacation itineraries.
Costa Rica Escapes is a boutique Costa Rica vacation planner who, since 2006, uses extensive knowledge and local relationships to create one-of-a-kind Costa Rica vacations for travelers looking for a unique experience. Learn more about us.
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Blue Surf Sanctuary Santa Teresa Surf Hotel
Blue Surf Sanctuary is a boutique surf hotel located near world famous surf spots at Mal Pais and Santa Teresa Costa Rica. We have 4 wonderfully equipped Bungalows and a beautiful open air kitchen located a very short walk from the beach. Our front desk is open and staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Our surf resort not only offers Costa Rica surf vacation packages, we also offer the ultimate beach retreat with local spa services, massage, and yoga! Let us build your perfect surf trip.
Many of our guests come to Costa Rica for the awesome surf. Santa Teresa / Mal Pais has become a world famous surf location. Not only is the surf great, the beach is consistently voted tops in all of Central and South America. It really is one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. You will love the vibe. We can help you build the perfect Costa Rica surf vacation!
Santa Teresa and Mal Pais are located on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica on the Nicoya Peninsula. The two small surf towns share a 6km stretch of beach and road. There are many restaurants, surf shops, and groceries. We are located near one of the best surf breaks in the country, Suck Rock.
Involve Your Kids In Planning
One of the most important parts of your family trip to Costa Rica is the pre-planning. Take some time to tell the kids about where youre going. Set the scene: let them know that theyll see monkeys or that the beach will be right outside their hotel room door. Get them excited aboutand involve them ineverything youll see and experience.
Give your kids the chance to pick at least one activitytotally their choice. If this is a little too intimidating, let them choose from a parent-approved list. There are so many choices for family fun: hanging bridges, safari river floats, kayaking, canopy zip lines, and horseback rides.
The Number One tip when trip planning is: Make sure to pick tours that will wear them out. Whether its zip-lines or whitewater rafting, a full day of activities or hikes, choose tours theyll love.
Remember, youre in a kid-friendly and adventurous paradise. Costa Rica is the perfect choice for traveling with kids, from the youngest infants to surly teenagers and beyond. So, take a deep breath, relax, and enjoy your vacation!
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Surf On The Longest Wave In The World
From the Caribbean to the Pacific, Costa Rica is a surfers paradise! However, only one beach, Playa Pavones, is known for having the longest wave in the world. The water in Costa Rica is warm and shark-free no wetsuits are needed year-round.
Other favorite surfing beaches include Hermosa Beach, Avellanas Playa Negra, Playa Grande, and Playa Viejo. A favorite for families and beginner surfers is the beach in Tamarindo.
Our friends at Iguana Surf in Tamarindo offer surfboard rentals, lessons, and even a surf camp!
The Foods Of Costa Rica
Our family really enjoyed the traditional Tico fare. Breakfast included delicious fresh fruits as well as Gallo Pinto. Our favorite lunch and dinner entrees included a barbecue chicken dish from Que Rico Restaurant at the Arenal Volcano Inn. We ordered Arroz con Pollo at restaurants throughout the country, as it became a family favorite. The traditional Casado, including beans, rice, fried plantains and a choice of meat, was also fun to try at different restaurants.
Our family returned home with a very large bottle of Lizano Salsa, which is used to flavor many of these traditional dishes.
We highly recommend dining at a Soda in every town you visit. A Soda is a casual restaurant, often run out of someones home, with an open air dining area. The menu is basic but authentic. A Soda is more affordable than many of the restaurants catering to tourists, and much more authentic. You get a real taste of the area!
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Is Costa Rica Safe For A Family Vacation
Its totally normal for families to be concerned about safety when traveling with their kids.
Although other Central American countries do have a major problem with gun violence and gangs,Costa Rica is the exception.
Costa Rica is a country that abolished its miliary in 1949 and has invested heavily in education. While you might encounter petty crime in the capital of San Jose, it isnt common for tourists to encounter problems.
Costa Rica also has clean drinking water and food. So go ahead and enjoy all that tropical fruit and salads. Health care services are available throughout the country.
The roads are mostly paved between tourist destinations, but they can be windy and narrow going up and down the mountain passes.
There is often heavy traffic in the capital of San Jose. Rent a car and drive if you are used to driving in foreign countries. Otherwise, we recommend leaving the driving to the professionals.
Why Is Costa Rica A Great Place For A Family Vacation
The people of Costa Rica are called TICOS they are very generous, family-oriented and happy folks. This country is an awesome place to take kids it is such a wholesome country surrounded by nature. Taking a family vacation to Costa Rica will enrich the soul and help open eyes to an enchanted place.
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Cariblue Beach And Jungle Resort
Cariblue has a two-bed jungle house to accommodate families and plenty of activities on offer including snorkeling, cycling, hiking and fishing. Theres a playground, game-room and a kids club so parents can get some time to themselves, too.
- Location: Limon Province, 10 km to Cahuita National Park, 220 km from San José
What Is The Cheapest Time To Go To Costa Rica
Costa Rica has three seasons. The peak times to visit are the holiday weeks of Easter, Christmas, and the New Year. Holiday time is the most expensive of all to travel to Costa Rica. Next is high season, which is the dry season on the Pacific side of the country where most of the all-inclusive Costa Rica resorts are clustered. High Season runs from December to April.
The cheapest time to visit is low season, which is the rainy season on the Pacific side but the dry season on the Caribbean side of the country. The low season when you can get deals and the lowest prices, says Sheehy. Low season runs from May to November.
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Be Prepared For Costa Rican Weather
This sounds obvious, but pack weather-appropriate clothes. Being too cold or too hot can cause crankiness. And on that topic, dont underestimate Costa Ricas ability for cold or hot.
If youll be traveling to higher elevations, like the Monteverde Cloud Forest, bring layers and cozy pajamas. If youre hitting the beaches, pack plenty of ocean-friendly sunblock.
Moon Walk At Irazu Volcano Crater
In a country with over 200 volcanoes, there are just two volcanoes where you can drive right up to the rim. The tallest of them all is Irazu Volcano.
As you wind up the side of the volcano, the landscape is dramatic. Local farmers are working the rich fertile earth along the mountainsides, growing all sorts of vegetables.
But as you climb higher, the trees shrink and begin to look wind-swept and gnarly. You eventually emerge above the tree and frost line at 11,000 feet.
The air is crisp, and the wind can be fierce. It feels like youve driven into space and landed on the moon. Walk straight onto the rim and into Irazus sandy crater. There are several mini craters and magnificent emerald-colored pools fed by rainwater and tinted by the acidic minerals of the volcano.
How Can Families Have An Authentic Experience In Costa Rica
With expert guidance, you can get the comfort, security, and peace of mind that the resorts offer, and still get to see and experience the real authentic Costa Rica. That is what we do at Costa Rica Escapes. We put together the perfect family itinerary by finding the correct amenities and qualified service providers.
When we are working on designing those custom itineraries, we always look for boutique-style hotels located in places that are off the beaten path. At those accommodations, unforgettable trips can happen.
Smaller hotels tend to appreciate business more, and therefore they want to make sure all of their guests have the best possible time. But also the people that run amenities at those destinations believe in personalized service within a welcoming and secure atmosphere.
The off the beaten path destinations and attractions also make an extra effort to look after Costa Ricas culture and biodiversity as they share it with visitors.
Get Face To Face With A 17
The biggest croc is called Osama Bin Laden, we were told, as we boarded a small boat on the Tarcoles River. Hes a 17-foot-long male and hes elusive. Luckily, it seems that all the river cruise guides seem to know exactly where to find this big guy at any time of the day.
We pulled up right next to Osama and the guide reached down to give him a pet. Im not so sure that was such a wise thing to do, but it was definitely an unforgettable moment.
On the cruise, youll see lots of magnificent birds hanging out along the mangrove and muddy river banks, along with bright red river crabs and other small critters, and the fast walking Jesus Lizard who literally walks on water.
Be aware:Crocodiles like to hang out where rivers and streams meet the sea. Avoid swimming anywhere where you see signs warning you of potential croc activity.
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