Featuring some of the most stunning rainforests in the world, Costa Rica also boasts inviting beaches, turquoise surf, towering volcanoes, and abundant wildlife. Whether you’re zip-lining through the rainforest canopy or connecting with locals and learning firsthand about pura vida during an authentic homestay, Costa Rica mixes adrenaline-spiking adventure with many chances for blissful relaxation.
Here’s our list of some of the best places to visit on a Costa Rica family vacation.
Manuel Antonio National Park
Located on the Central Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, Manuel Antonio National Park contains more than 100 species of mammals and 170 species of birds. A favorite hiking destination, the park boasts many well-kept hiking trails culminating in stunning beaches and lookouts.
Hike to the breathtaking Nauyaca Waterfalls, and keep your eyes open for local wildlife. From mantled howler monkeys to white-headed capuchin monkeys, sloths, deer, and toucans, the park teems with life.
The largest county in Heredia, Sarapiquí remains a popular tourist destination for outdoor adventurers. Fed by the Sarapiquí River, explore jungle reserves such as La Selva Biological Station and Tirimbina Biological Reserve where kayaking, birdwatching, and whitewater rafting opportunities abound. It’s also a launching off point for riverboat tours of the forests.
Enjoy life as a local during an authentic homestay experience and a school visit in El Roble de Sarapiquí. You’ll pass through the lush, verdant rainforests of Braulio Carrillo National Park to El Roble, situated in Costa Rica’s lowlands and renowned for its picturesque plantations. These plantations prove rich in crops including bananas, papayas, plantains, and pineapples.
Savor learning firsthand about the Costa Rican way of life, pura vida (e.g. “pure life”), while living with a local family and participating in cooking and other daily activities including gardening and artisanal crafts.
Arenal National Park
Arenal National Park remains a top adventure destination for families on the go, featuring activities for all ages. Take a stunning 20-minute gondola ride on the Sky Tram to an observation platform offering sweeping views of Arenal Lake, the Arenal Volcano, and endless jungle-laden mountain ranges.
Then, prepare for the adventure of a lifetime — zip-lining along the 3,280-foot-long Sky Trek zip-line system. Soaring 600 feet above the rainforest canopy, you’ll enjoy the breathtaking exhilaration of a bird’s eye view of the rainforest.
La Fortuna Waterfall
Just three miles south of the town of La Fortuna, take the trailhead to La Fortuna Waterfall, an iconic 200-foot-tall waterfall that plunges through the verdant jungle into an emerald green pool. Along the way, you and your kids will experience the pristine rainforests of Arenal Volcano National Park.
When you’re ready for a little R&R, head to the Ecotermales Hot Springs to soak in more beautiful rainforest scenery while savoring the chance to dip into five volcanic hot springs (ranging in temperature from 99 to 106 degrees Fahrenheit) and a freshwater pool.
Unlike the other coastal towns of the Guanacaste Province, Samara remains off-the-beaten-path. The result? An authentic Costa Rican beach town that places you right in the heart of endless family activities. From the Playa Samara, learn how to open sea kayak before paddling to Chora Island. There, enjoy a colorful underwater parade of marine life while snorkeling along the shores of the island.
Visit the Werner Sauter Biological Reserve where you and your kids can head out on the Samara Trails Tour to explore one of the only private reserves in Guanacaste. The two-and-a-half-hour hike takes you through a former cattle farm and mango plantation into the heart of a unique tropical dry forest.
Back in Samara, paddleboard the open waters of Playa Samara’s beautiful bay where you’ll enjoy stunning views of Playa Samara. You’ll also appreciate the sheltered waters of this area as you learn to balance, kneel, stand, and paddle on your board.
Costa Rica Family Vacation
Just because you’ve started a family doesn’t mean you have to surrender your adventurous ways. There’s no better place to explore the richness of family adventure travel than a Costa Rica family vacation. Whether you’re snorkeling near Chora Island or hiking to La Fortuna waterfall, there’s no end to adventure in kid-friendly Costa Rica.
Find out more about our 8-day Costa Rica Adventure, an immersive family adventure into one of the most beautiful and biodiverse places on the planet. From white water rafting in Sarapiquí to ziplining in Arenal, you’ll forge authentic connections with locals while enjoying an amazing adventure in Costa Rica with kids.
At Our Whole Village, we create transformational trips for curious families who want to create lasting memories while making a difference. We’re here to help you and your family experience the world, its peoples, and its cultures. Contact us today to learn more about the unforgettable journeys that we handcraft for adventure-seeking families just like yours.