Start planning your Costa Rica family holiday
Family travel to Costa Rica offers a great way to get everyone off their phones and laptops and engaged with nature. Costa Rica’s diverse wildlife is just one incredible reason why families return here again and again for unforgettable trips. A tour in Costa Rica offers plenty of animal-related adventures that children as young as 4 will love, as well as more intense excursions for teenagers and experienced trekkers. It's easy to keep kids and teens active for two weeks or more, and the most cost efficient way to explore one or more of the country's diverse regions is on a self-drive tour, giving you the flexibility to get from A to B in your own time. It can take up to half a day to drive between cities and national parks, so this should be taken into account when deciding how action-packed you want your Costa Rica family adventure to be. Tours with private transfers between resorts are also available, but an extra cost should be factored in if you're not planning on using a rental car. Thankfully, family-friendly accommodation in Costa Rica can be found pretty much everywhere, from jungle lodges to sea-side hotels with everything you need to keep your little ones entertained.
Best things to see and do in Costa Rica with kids
One of the most popular family activities in Costa Rica involves hiking around Arenal Volcano, where you can also relax in the evening in volcanic hot springs. Exploring the mysterious Monteverde Cloud Forest is a must for families with kids or teenagers, and the best way to spot the area's abundant wildlife and birdlife is on a canopy tour which follows specially built walkways, high up in the trees. Everyone will love catching glimpses of Costa Rica’s animal residents on this jungle tour and with the help of a guide and a pair of binoculars you’ll get to see all your favourite animals. For the more adventurous families out there, why not try zip-lining through the jungle while you're there? To get even closer to your favourite species, visit one of Costa Rica’s wildlife sanctuaries, such as the Sloth Rescue Centre in Cahuita, where you will get to help make food for the rescued animals, learn all about them and even get face to face with them. A river safari through Tortuguero National Park in Costa Rica's Limon region is another fantastic option for families travelling with older children or teenagers. Situated on the northeast side of the country, it's a short flight or long bus and boat transfer from most of Costa Rica's biggest tourist spots, but it contains some of the country's richest biodiversity, including the impressive green sea turtles, leatherback turtles, and hawksbill turtles for which the park was given its name. If you travel to Costa Rica between July to October or February to April, you and your kids might even get to see the turtles nesting! There's nothing like watching baby sea turtles hatching on the beach, and our local travel agents are able to organise visits to baby sea turtle nurseries and sanctuaries around the country, to increase your family's chances of seeing this incredible phenomenon during your visit.
Costa Rica’s delicious food is another reason why it’s such a perfect destination, with a delicious local dish for every taste, even the fussiest of eaters will love learning to make traditional chocolate by hand in Sarapiqui - this one is usually a favourite with parents too! For a truly immersive cultural experience, our local travel agents can even organise special school and farm visits to allow children to see what life is like in Costa Rica for kids their age. Travel out to Costa Rica's Pacific or Caribbean Coast to enjoy action-packed family fun, where you can swim, snorkel, jet ski, take a surfing lesson, or enjoy horse riding along the family-friendly beaches of Tamarindo or Samara. After all that fun you’ll be glad to relax on the beach and enjoy a well deserved, delicious meal as you watch the sun set and reminisce on all the amazing memories you’ve made together.
Best time to visit Costa Rica as a family
Costa Rica’s climate is split into the dry season and the wet season, with both offering benefits for travellers who choose to visit during each one respectively. For sunrise to sunset sunshine, travel anytime between November and April, however, be warned - this season does generally result in a peak of tourist activity and can mean that you and your family might encounter crowds. For the best result of good weather and reduced crowds, travel during the shoulder season at the very beginning or end of this dry period. The rainy season also has its attractions, with much cheaper prices on accommodation and pretty much everything else too. Rain only falls for, at most, a few hours a day and its interspersed with beautiful sunny weather. The rainforest, as its name would suggest, is generally met with showers all year, which can provide a nice respite from hotter summer temperatures. Whenever you visit, you will have to make the decision based on what you and your family’s needs and what you want to get out of your trip.
Family holiday tips for travelling to Costa Rica
With a little research and knowledge you can ensure that you are as prepared as possible for your family trip to Costa Rica, here a few tips and tricks to ensure that everything runs smoothly on your holiday.
- If you do plan on visiting Costa Rica during high season, try to plan accommodation in advance to ensure that places don’t fill up and leave you without any family-friendly options.
- Whilst Costa Rica is still cheaper than much of Europe and the USA, it is one of the most expensive countries in Latin America and as such, you should expect to have to spend on food and drink. Save money by eating local and travelling in the low season if possible.
- If you and your family plan on travelling to a lot of different locations within Costa Rica, make sure you pack accordingly, since the weather can vary hugely between inland, coastal and rainforest areas.
- Be prepared to be flexible. As with any visit to a foreign country, sometimes plans can change unexpectedly and to avoid any stress its best to be prepared to go with the flow in these situations.
- Learn a little Spanish. If you don’t already speak a bit of Spanish, learning a few phrases can be hugely useful during your trip. If nothing else, locals will always appreciate being greeted, thanked or addressed in their own language.
- Costa Rica is known for its laid back and happy atmosphere and ‘Pura Vida’ and it is one of the things that visitors to this beautiful place remark upon and appreciate the most, enjoy your time here and embrace the atmosphere!