Costa Rica is an amazing family holiday destination. Think of all the amazing sights you will see, the experiences you will have, and the culture you will be immersed in. Costa Rica is perfect for those who want an outdoor adventure, from hiking through rainforests, travelling up volcanoes, or zooming down ziplines. It’s also an unique destination for wildlife and for children and adults alike to experience a diverse ecosystem and feel really connected to the world around us. It has miles and miles of beautiful beaches, as well as easy to travel road trips that take in mile upon mile of stunning destinations. So whether you’re looking for beach or forest, a trip to the city or a multi destination trip from San Jose to La Fortuna, Costa Rica has something for you.
With flights direct from London, as well as regional airports, Costa Rica is easy to get to. There are family friendly hotels galore for you to choose from, and tour guides waiting to show you everything the country has to offer. I’m going to talk about 8 family friendly things you can do together in Costa Rica, to hopefully get you excited about your next trip!
1. Wildlife Encounters
This has to be my absolute favourite one. My family is incredibly nature focused, and Costa Rica offers nature in abundance. Costa Rica has a massive array of wildlife, from snakes and lizards, tarantulas and creepy crawlies, to the cuter animals, slow moving sloths, capuchin monkeys and an array of startlingly coloured birds, including toucans and hummingbirds. One of the great things about Costa Rica is that this wildlife is so abundant you’re likely to see a fair amount whilst out and about, or even in your hotel grounds. If you like wildlife then pick a hotel with plenty of greenery in the gardens, and lots of wildlife will come to you! This is especially handy if you’re travelling with younger children. For older children, you can book one of many nature trails and head off into the rainforest, where a tour guide might introduce you to caracal, or even a jaguar.
2. Beautiful Beaches
Costa Rica has stunning beaches on both east and west costs. I recommend the picture perfect beaches of Cahuita on the Caribbean coast, but there’s golden sands and swaying palms wherever you go along the coast line. Beach days are perfect for the whole family to relax, but you can also get some snorkeling or even diving done to explore the fascinating sea life of the area, which includes turtles! Many beaches will be well stocked for tourists, with beach chairs to hire, drinks aplenty, watersports and boat trips – but there are so many beaches there are also secluded spots you can find, and you’ll never feel overwhelmed by people. Out on a boat you might find yourself accompanied across the surf by dolphins.
3. Zipline Adventures
Costa Rica is famous for it’s ziplines – high up in the rainforest canopy, walking across suspension bridges, travelling even higher in bubble cars, and then finally hurtling down towards the ground in a crazy burst of adrenaline. This is an opportunity not to be missed.
4. Go White Water Rafting or Tubing
The Rio Blanco meanders past the town of La Fortuna, and there you can get inflatable tubes. This river is suitable for the whole family, and you can take a floating safari as you head downstream with your guides and check out all the sights from the water. But for those with older kids or who want a more high octane thrill, there’s also white water rafting, with different sections suitable for different experience levels. One of the other great things about Costa Rica is how geared up they are towards tourism. There’s always a tour guide more than happy to help you out and show you how to do something, so even if you are a complete beginner or have kids who are a little nervous, you’re going to feel well looked after.
5. Experience Culinary Delights
Costa Rican Cuisine is something the whole family can try since it’s known to be fairly mild on the spice scale, with lots of fruits, vegetables, rice and beans. Dishes such as casado include rice, beans, salad, sweet plantains and meat, often fish, chicken or pork. This balance of meat, rice and vegetables is very common in Costa Rica. For a snack, try chicharrones, which you might be familiar as pork rinds – but they’re fried pork rinds, for that extra crunch and are absolutely delicious. You must absolutely try a pipa fria – which is a drink, not a food – a cold coconut which is opened up on the spot, usually served with a straw to drink it. So refreshing! But if you’re craving something familiar from home don’t worry, because cities like San Jose offer food from all cuisines, so you’re likely to find something familiar and comforting too.
6. Bathe in a Waterfall
Costa Rica has dozens of stunning waterfalls. Some are easily accessible, others need a bit of a hike, but are well worth the effort. The water is so blue it almost seems unreal, warm enough to bathe in freely, good for the skin, utterly refreshing, and an out of this world experience that the whole family can partake in.
7. Hike up a Volcano
There’s an abundance of Hiking available in Costa Rica, but one of my most unforgettable hiking destinations has to be heading towards a volcano. Costa Rica has 16 volcanoes and several of them are active although stable; so this is one thing you absolutely need a tour guide for, someone who knows the area and most importantly, has checked fully for the safety of the day’s hike. Your tour guide can also find an itinerary that works well for the whole family, and can always arrange lunch for you, and a return trip via off-road vehicle for those tired legs.
8. Experience Agrotourism
Agrotourism is when agriculture is combined with tourism. In Costa Rica you can choose to spend some time on a farm and experience the authentic agricultural life. This can include feeding the animals, harvesting sugar cane, or riding around the ranch on horseback. Farm living isn’t a luxury stay, but it’s something undeniably authentic, and you know you’re supporting the workers and community by staying with them, whilst they in turn want to share their lives and culture with you. Perfect!
I hope these eight ideas for things you can do in Costa Rica with the whole family have whet your appetite, and with any luck you’re now looking at booking some flights! If you’ve travelled with kids in Costa Rica and have any tips or places that were amazing to visit, please leave them in the comments, I’d love to hear from you.