Is Costa Rica Suitable for a Family Vacation?
Given Costa Rica is renowned as an adrenaline-junky’s dream, many families wonder if the country is a suitable destination for a family vacation. We get how the ‘crazy sport-mad country’ tag can cause confusion but, in reality, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better country for a family adventure.
Safe, fun, ridiculously easy, convenient and incredibly varied, Costa Rica offers the kind of family-friendly adventures that’ll make you scream ‘why hadn’t I thought of this before?!!!’ From guided wildlife spotting tours to soft whitewater rafting, canopy, zip line and snorkeling tours and more adventurous sports for intrepid older kids: Costa Rica HAS.IT.ALL.
Here’s an overview of the best family-friendly aspects of Costa Rica adventure tours.
Variety is key… and Costa Rica has plenty of that!
Not every family is the same, right? There are young dare-devils who put adults to shame on a thrilling zip line and older kids who prefer a more subdued kind of adventure. The key to a successful Costa Rica family vacation is knowing who’s in for what and what everyone’s desires and skills are. Since the country is, basically, just one colossal outdoor playground, it all boils down to how hard-core you and your family want to go.
Beginner or heart-in-your-throat zip line ride? You can choose. Class II or V whitewater rafting rapids? You can choose those too. No matter what the activity is, Costa Rica offers beginner, intermediate and advanced versions, so finding the one that’s right for your family is insanely easy.
So, what’s on offer?
The Most Popular Family-Friendly Activities in Costa Rica
There is a ton of fun family-friendly stuff to do in Costa Rica, and we’re not exaggerating in the slightest. Here’s a preview:
Canopy Tours – whether it’s walking on elevated platforms, crossing gorgeous hanging bridges, zip lining down or taking a cable-car, the sheer number of canopy tours in Costa Rica and the array of difficulty levels is outstanding.
Whitewater Rafting – Costa Rica is considered a leading rafting destination, the country home to world-class rapids that attract thrill-seekers from all over the world. But you certainly don’t need to send your 8-year-old down a Class V rapid! Instead, you can choose a river that’s best suited to their age and skill-set. Our whitewater rafting page details the most popular options for adults and families alike. Here, you’ll learn more about which rivers you ought to home in on and also learn more about the impressive options, including tours that run from just two hours to two full days.
Hiking – Perhaps the easiest outdoor activity to partake as a family, hiking is Costa Rica’s most glorious activity. When you hike, you’re immersed in sensational wilderness, will keep eyes and ears open for wildlife spotting and will get to see amazing landscapes you’ll miss if you just keep to the tarmac. In all honesty, some hiking and trekking is indispensable to soak up the best of Costa Rica.
The great news? You can hike every single day and see something different, every single day. You can hike in luscious jungles and over verdant hills, trek up a mountain or a volcano, chase waterfalls or simply take a leisurely walk through a magical butterfly garden. No matter the age of your kids, you will always find suitable hikes on offer, no matter where you go.
Read more about the best kid-friendly hikes in Costa Rica and you’ll see why sturdy shoes should take a prime spot in your suitcase.
Mountain Biking – Families with older kids will love our mountain biking tours. We’ve taken away the worry about ‘shoddy equipment’ and invested in a fleet of top-notch bikes, helmets and all the bits and bobs you need, so you and your intrepid offspring can zoom down those hair-raising volcano trails with peace of mind. Costa Rica is home to a seemingly endless array of mountain biking trails, thanks to its innumerable peaks – this is seriously the best family fun you can have on two wheels, anywhere on earth!
Read more about mountain biking in Costa Rica and we bet you’ll want to include it in your adventure tour itinerary.
Wildlife spotting – This is, hands down, the one activity that gets the whole family excited beyond words. The great news? Seeing animals in the wild is a near-daily occurrence in a country like Costa Rica, where wilderness abounds. There are a few pockets of nature, however, that simply deliver more rewards – there are a few special places like the Manuel Antonio National Park, that predictably deliver on the goods.
This is also an easy park to visit if you have small children. From raucous monkeys to sloths, iguanas, toucans and so much more, the best wildlife spotting reserves are reason enough to plan a family adventure vacation in Costa Rica. Our tip? Always head off at first light, always opt for a guided tour with a local expert (these guys will point out wildlife you didn’t even know existed) an include at least one night-time animal spotting tour on your itinerary. It’s a whole other world out there, when the sun goes down!
Learn more about Costa Rica’s iconic wildlife and where to spot them.
All water sports – What’s a tropical family vacation without some kind of water sport?! In Costa Rica, you’ll have an abundance of water-based sports and destinations from which to choose. Whether it’s surfing, swimming, snorkeling, SCUBA diving or SUP you’re after, you’ll find it all, right here. The most family-friendly beaches in Costa Rica are any along the northwestern Pacific coast (the Nicoya Peninsula and all the Guanacaste gems), as well as a select few around Puerto Viejo, over on the southern Caribbean coast. It’s important to choose the right beach town as a base for your family vacation because not every beach in Costa Rica is kid- or even swimming-friendly. Many boast world-class surf which make them unsuitable for relaxing family trips with young children.
Not convinced yet? Then take a moment and watch this gorgeous video – let this mom tell you how amazing a family vacation in Costa Rica can be. Make sure to watch the whole video as she gives some incredibly useful pointers about things to take and be aware of when planning to take kids to Costa Rica.
Accommodation, food & home-comforts: the logistics of a family vacation in Costa Rica
Any family vacation can be as cruisy or challenging as you’d like it to be, and Costa Rica holidays are no exception. The country has a quite refined tourist trail, one that boasts excellent infrastructure, US-style resorts with all the bells and whistles, and restaurants with recognizable kids’ menu items. What you choose to do, with all of that, is completely up to you.
What you should know is that Costa Rica is also an inherently family-friendly country because family and kids, here, are everything. Locals are warm and welcoming; the food is delicious and uncomplicated and nature offers so many adventures of its own accord that an all-inclusive resort is really not the best option here. Sports, excursions, wildlife, adventure and fun in nature are at every turn, most of it without having to pay top-dollar for accommodation to boot. To be honest, families (and children in particular) love staying in laid-back eco-lodges immersed in wilderness when in Costa Rica, the kind with wrap-around terraces visited by monkeys and toucans and the kind that boast miles of walking trails within their own property.
Family adventure vacations in Costa Rica needn’t be complicated nor exorbitantly expensive – the country is paradise on earth for families.
What more do you need?
Take inspiration for our Family Adventure Vacation Itineraries and contact us today