Traveling with your family to Costa Rica? Perfect! Costa Rica offers a wide variety of activities for your tribe to enjoy: beaches, zip lines, museums and wildlife refuges... You will spoil your kids.
Start by renting a car in Costa Rica, preferably a 4x4 for families and go for an adventure on the roads and tracks of the country.
1. Fly over the jungle on a zip line
Credit : @PerryGrone
You will find zip lines all over Costa Rica. This is an experience you won't want to miss! You'll fly over the treetops at full speed on a thrilling adventure. Book a zip line tour in key locations around the country:
- Selvatura Park in Monteverde
- Sky Trek in La Fortuna
- Sky Adventures at the edge of Arenal Volcano National Park.
Hold on tight and get ready to enjoy an incredible view of the rainforest below.
2. Take a hike in a waterfall
There are waterfalls all over lush Costa Rica, but one of the favorites is the La Paz Waterfall, especially suitable for families with children. There are trails for all levels and your kids will love the surrounding flora.
Alternatively, head to the La Fortuna waterfall near the Arenal volcano. Once you descend the 400+ steps to the base of this 76-meter waterfall, you and the kids will be ready to jump into the cool blue water.
Another absolutely fantastic waterfall is the Rio Agrio waterfall in "Jurassic Park" in San Carlos. The hike there is easy and charming. You'll walk along a small path through the lush nature, cross a small suspension bridge to marvel at the magnificent waterfall as the landscape opens up at once. At the entrance of the park, the locals have had fun putting dinosaurs to remind us that Spielberg's movie was shot in Costa Rica.
3. Of course, go from beach to beach
You will find many beautiful beaches and turquoise waters in Costa Rica. If you're more of a "white sand" person, go to Conchal in Guanacaste on the Pacific coast or Manzanillo beach on the Caribbean coast (where you can snorkel). For surfing, take the kids to the beaches of Nosara or Tamarindo. Many national parks also have fantastic beaches, including Manuel Antonio National Park and Marino Ballena National Park.
4. Crossing suspension bridges
What child has never dreamed of walking on suspension bridges? The cloud forest of Monteverde or Mistico in La Fortuna, are popular places for suspension bridges, where you can walk on footbridges through the forest canopy, sometimes above the clouds. Bring a jacket, it's a bit cool up there and the humidity makes it feel even more so.
5. Attend the birth of the green turtles
The beaches of Tortuguero National Park, on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, are among the most important nesting sites for sea turtles. Four different species of sea turtles, including the endangered green turtle, lay their eggs here between March and October. If you visit Costa Rica in July, go to the Ostional Reserve to watch the turtles lay their eggs and give birth, where every year locals and tourists wait for the "arribada" (arrival) of the turtle mothers. Otherwise, if you want to see leatherback turtles, you should go to Playa Grande, next to Tamarindo.
6. Museo de los Niños
Incredible but true: from 1908 to 1979, this "castle" was the most feared prison in Costa Rica. Today, it has been transformed into an educational and entertaining children's museum. In fact, it is often considered one of the best things to do in Costa Rica with small children.
The Museo de los Niños offers a wide range of hands-on exhibits. With over 40 rooms and interactive areas, this museum will awaken your children's passion for learning and curiosity in a fun way: Here are some of the topics covered to give you an idea:
- Ancient Egypt
- Fauna & Flora
The museum is located in downtown San Jose and costs less than $4 per person.
7. Bathing in mineral hot springs
We do not teach you anything: there are many volcanoes in Costa Rica. And generally, who says volcano says hot springs. The country is no exception to the rule: there are many hot springs heated by volcanic activity throughout Costa Rica. Two of the most popular hot spring locations are Tabacon Thermal Resort & Spa and The Springs Resort & Spa, both located near the base of Arenal Volcano.
We recommend spending half a day there relaxing while your kids play on the slides. That said, the rates are not cheap. If you still want to bathe in hot springs on a limited vacation budget, the currents run through the spas but do not stop there. On your way down the river, you can always stop and bathe for free.
8. Take the Chocolate Tour
Costa Rica is famous for its coffee and chocolate production. As you are with your children, they will be more interested in the subject of chocolate.
The best chocolate tours can be found in Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí, La Fortuna or even among the Bri Bri Indians in Puerto Viejo de Limón. During the tour, you will learn all about the process of transforming cocoa into chocolate.
This tour is very fun and interactive for children.
The icing on the cake: the tasting at the end of the visit!
9. Visit wildlife rescue centers
Costa Rica has excellent wildlife rescue centers that teach children the importance of preserving and respecting nature. You can get up close and personal with animals such as sloths, monkeys and macaws.
Visit the best rescue centers:
- Jaguar Rescue Center in Puerto Viejo, Limón
- Toucan Rescue Ranch in San Josecito, Heredia
- The Ara Project and Kids Saving the Rainforest in Quepos
- Wildlife Rescue Center, in Alajuela, not far from the airport.
10. Playa Tamarindo
Last but not least on our list of fun things to do in Costa Rica with kids is Tamarindo. It is the largest resort in Guanacaste famous for its ecotourism and surfing.
A visit to Tamarindo Beach should be at the top of your list of things to see in Costa Rica with kids. In addition to magical sunsets, snorkeling and surfing, the village of Tamarindo also offers all the necessary infrastructure (restaurants, hotels, stores...) to spend a great day with your kids.