Costa Rica, an enchanting Central American gem, is brimming with opportunities for family fun! This dynamic country holds an inviting blend of coastal and outdoor explorations that captivates visitors of all ages. Its accessibility, thanks to well-paved roads, means luxury and local culture can seamlessly be intertwined, making your stay truly unique. With a plethora of engaging activities, ranging from adrenaline-pumping sports to visits to renowned sites such as the La Fortuna Waterfall and the Arenal Volcano, you’ll have no shortage of thrilling exploits to fill your travel itinerary. Wildlife enthusiasts will find themselves in a paradise, with chances to witness exotic creatures like sloths, turtles, and rare avian species.
Costa Rica’s geographical tapestry is made up of seven distinctive administrative provinces – Alajuela, Cartago, Guanacaste, Heredia, Limón, Puntarenas, and San Jose. We focus on a selection of these regions in this blog post, illuminating the top family-friendly escapades to be found within each. Furthermore, we have incorporated suggestions for nearby child-accommodating accommodations, ensuring that you can optimize your trip based on your chosen exploration zones.
Guanacaste Province with Kids
Nestled along the Pacific Coast, you’ll find Guanacaste Province. About 4-5 hours from San Jose, this area offer a fantastic array of water sports and opportunities to hit the beach, including surfing, deep-sea fishing, and more. Embracing surf and sand along the Pacific Coast is definitely one of the best things to do in Costa Rica with kids!
Where to Stay in Guanacaste Province
When staying in Guanacaste Province, Andaz Costa Rica Resort At Peninsula Papagayo (a concept by Hyatt), is a good option for families. This luxury resort offers world-class golf, three beaches, family-friendly activities, and spectacular on-site dining.
Or, try JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa. This hacienda-style hotel provides stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and a chance to immerse yourself in a lush, tropical environment. Not to mention the Kids Club with certified staff, infinity pool, and trails for biking and hiking! Finally, The Westin Reserva Conchal, an All-Inclusive Golf Resort & Spa offers families an eco-friendly retreat with access to the Westin® Kids Club, complimentary fine dining, and an on-site spa!
Things to Do in Guanacaste Province with Kids
Guanacaste Province offers the perfect location for on-the-water Pacific Ocean exploration.
Take Surf Lessons
In Guanacaste Province, your family can find a variety of water activities to explore, including surfing! Active kids who are also good swimmers will delight in the opportunity to experience surfing. With Tamarindo Beach as the backdrop, kids have the opportunity to learn and enhance their skills with professional instruction. Both group and private lessons are available, meaning you can select the best option for your child’s needs and experience. All lessons include 2 hours of instruction, the use of a soft-top surfboard, and a bilingual surf instructor, among other amenities. Ask us for the best surf schools in the area.
While kids are learning to surf, you can soak up the rays on Tamarindo Beach. Perfect waves for surfing can make swimming challenging here, so sit back and relax. Or, take a stroll hand-in-hand down the beach, enjoying some adult-only time while kids are surfing under professional supervision.
Alajuela Province with Kids
Located in Alajuela Province, you’ll discover the beauty of La Fortuna de San Carlos (or, La Fortuna for short). This small Costa Rican town is one of the country’s most famous locations. It’s nearby the capital San Jose, and provides a gateway to some of Costa Rica’s best attractions, like the Arenal Volcano and La Fortuna Waterfall. In fact, many of these iconic sites also offer night tours to give travelers a new perspective on Costa Rican wildlife! Be sure to include this destination in your Costa Rica family vacation!
Where to Stay in Alajuela Province
Want to situate your home-base in Alajuela Province? For a truly unique stay, check out Tree Houses Hotel Costa Rica. Your kids will adore sleeping in the canopy of the Costa Rican jungle! Offering stays throughout Costa Rica, most of them reside near La Fortuna. Plus, you’ll have three treehouse styles to choose from, including “the family”, a one-level treehouse situated for maximum privacy and accommodating up to 6 people.
Want immediate access to healing hot springs? Book your stay at The Springs Resort and Spa. With hot springs featuring various temperatures, including one with a slide, your kids won’t want to leave this Costa Rican paradise! Finally, the Peace Lodge offers a boutique hotel experience within the iconic La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park!
Things to Do in Alajuela Province with Kids
Here are eight amazing things to add to your Alajuela Province bucket list while exploring Costa Rica with kids. Want local tips and personalized advice for your trip to Costa Rica? Click here for more information!
Enjoy the Scenery at Mistico Hanging Bridges Park
An amazing adventure awaits your family at Mistico Hanging Bridges Park! Located between a lowland, a forest, and a highland, this La Fortuna park combines several different ecosystems to create beautiful biodiversity. Be sure to snap a photo of the signature hanging bridge overlooking a scenic lake, providing visitors with spectacular views of the surrounding area!
Aside from the famous hanging bridge, the park also boasts some of the best things to do in Costa Rica with kids. Take kids on a bird-watching tour or a hike through the forest with a knowledgeable wildlife specialist.
Take a Treetop Adventure at Arenal Ecoglide Park
Experience Costa Rica from the treetops at Arenal Ecoglide Park! Located in San Carlos, this family-friendly destination is ideal for adventurous kids. With activities for younger children and teens alike, the outdoor activity center boasts a double cable system for its zip-lining and a few free-fall experiences. Parents can rest assured knowing their children are in safe hands! However, keep in mind most activities here are available for kids over the age of 5.
We suggest booking a package to try a bit of everything. With a canopy tour, you’ll be able to conquer 14 platforms and 12 canopy cables located throughout the trees, concluding with a ride on the Tarzan swing. Precautions will be explained at the “cable school” before any action. In the end, you can enjoy a complimentary drink while looking through the professional photos taken during your visit!
Visit the Butterfly Conservatory
An afternoon at The Butterfly Conservatory is one well spent! For families who have animal lovers, this is a must-visit destination in Costa Rica. Located in the small town of El Castillo, it’s a short drive away from La Fortuna, making it convenient to add to your itinerary. The Butterfly Conservatory focuses on preserving butterflies and other tropical rainforest species of the Arenal region.
Luckily, you can learn more about them by taking a tour of the property with your children! Book a kid-friendly Metamorphosis Tour and you’ll wander through diverse exhibits about frogs, butterflies, and other insects, highlighting how wildlife endures in Costa Rica’s natural environment. Kids can also take the Rainforest River Walk along the creek running through the property, where you’ll spot sloths, monkeys, toucans, and parrots. With views overlooking the Arenal Lake, end your visit at the gazebo, surrounded by peaceful hummingbirds.
Puntarenas Province with Kids
Puntarenas Province is home to Quepos, a tiny town on Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast. Famous for its white-sand beaches, native squirrel monkey population, and wonderful views, it’s best known as a way to access the famous Manuel Antonio National Park. Here are our recommendations on how to explore this stunning natural area as a family!
Where to Stay in Puntarenas Province
Need a home base near Manuel Antonio National Park? We’ve got you covered. Arenas Del Mar Beachfront & Rainforest Resort provides the best of Costa Rica at your fingertips. From beach access with loungers and umbrellas to resident monkeys and sloths to quick access to some of the best hiking in Costa Rica, a stay here will lead to a divine balance of adventure and relaxation. Plus, this beachfront luxury resort also offers spectacular dining and friendly staff.
Then, your family may also enjoy Tulemar Resort. This gated, residential resort is centrally located in Manuel Antonio. Plus, the property’s hiking trails will ensure you and your kids can spot monkeys, sloths, and exotic birds during your stay! Tulemar Resort offers bungalow-style accommodations, as well as privately owned vacation homes available for rent.
Things to Do in Puntarenas Province with Kids
You can’t leave Puntarenas Province without checking Manuel Antonio National Park off your Costa Rica bucket list!
Explore Manuel Antonio National Park
Manuel Antonio National Park is a stunning showcase of Costa Rica’s natural beauty. Located in Quepos along the country’s Pacific shore, this expanse encompasses rugged rainforest, white-sand beaches, and colorful coral reefs. Here, families can explore with the help of a guide or with a self-guided map, depending on preference. If you want to learn more about the park’s wildlife, we recommend a guided tour. Guides will have a better idea of how to spot the animals and flora, so if kids are interested in seeing monkeys, lizards, snakes, or sloths roaming free, this is probably the best option.
If you want to explore at your own pace and possibly relax seaside, there’s a place for that too. Manuel Antonio National Park contains three beaches where you can spend the afternoon sunbathing with snacks. Purchase refreshments from the on-site cafe, since the park doesn’t allow outside food!
Limón Province with Kids
Costa Rica’s Limón Province at the Caribbean Coast houses the small town of Tortuguero, famous for its sea turtle population. From here, you’ll be able to access the diverse ecosystems within Tortuguero National Park, where you can see these turtles up close!
Where to Stay in Limón Province
If Tortuguero National Park is your main draw to Costa Rica, you’ll want to stay nearby. Located along the Caribbean coast, the Tortuga Lodge & Gardens provides stunning views of the Tortuguero River and luxury amenities. Eco-conscious families will also love its rustic lodge feel, which was built with the immediate tropical environment in mind. Tortuga Lodge & Gardens also features its own private nature reserve, ideal for daily nature walks (you can even embark on guided walks with local naturalists).
Things to Do in Limón Province with Kids
Families exploring Limón Province will love adding these two fantastic wildlife adventures to their itinerary!
Spot Sea Turtles at Tortuguero National Park
Tortuguero National Park is the best place to see turtles in Costa Rica. No wonder families love it so much! Located in the Limon province along Costa Rica’s Caribbean Coast, this tourist spot is famous for attracting wildlife enthusiasts worldwide. Here, you can expect to find the park’s main attraction nestled along a marked trail on the beach: Green Sea, Leatherback, and Hawksbill Turtles. Due to poaching, many of these species are near extinct, so the park is the best place to see them up close without destroying their natural habitat.
There are a variety of ways to venture through, most of which kids will enjoy. Take a walking tour with a ranger, where you can learn more about the turtles and their history. Or consider checking it out via kayak for a different perspective. Either way, the whole family will treasure special moments at Tortuguero National Park!
We hope you liked this list of Things To Do In Costa Rica With Kids! From coast to coast, this rugged Central American country brings out the adventurer in everyone. Your trip will be no different, so enjoy Costa Rica with your family! Start planning your Costa Rica Family Vacation now right here!