Where are you going?
Or, let us surprise youSpin the Globe ®

Costa Rica for Families

Excursions for Adventurous Families
Costa Rica for Families
Costa Rica, in addition to being a politically and economically stable country *and* a short flight from most U.S. cities, is truly family-friendly. Take your kids to the top of a volcano, introduce them to a sloth, or learn to surf together. This country’s loaded with memorable activities.
Photo by Héctor Calderón
  • 1 / 6
    Excursions for Adventurous Families
    Excursions for Adventurous Families
    If your family is active and adventurous, the hardest part of your vacation will be narrowing down what you want to do. Hiking, cycling, whitewater rafting, surfing, spelunking, and canyoneering are just a few of the family-friendly outdoor activities Costa Rica offers. You can explore independently, but dozens of tour operators offer vacation packages and à la carte excursions led by guides who will take you everywhere from the popular Arenal Volcano to less-visited, off-the-track spots like Prusia Forest or Río Celeste Park. Activities can be adjusted based on the age and skill levels of each family member; just let your tour outfitter know your needs when you book your trip.
    Photo by Héctor Calderón
  • 2 / 6
    Animal Adventures
    Animal Adventures
    Costa Rica’s wildlife statistics are impressive: nearly 190 amphibian species, 260 different reptiles, 230 mammal species, and about 900 types of birds. Experts have said there are too many insect varieties to count (wasps alone represent 275 distinct species!), though most visitors prefer the country’s gorgeous butterflies. Bring your binoculars and a field guide, and turn your vacation into one long game of I Spy. Take the kids to see nesting turtles and newborns as they make their way to the sea, visit El Viejo Wetlands, in Guanacaste, or head to Limón’s Sloth Sanctuary. If you want to volunteer, the Costa Rica Wildlife Sanctuary allows visitors to assist in the care of injured animals or help build new facilities.
    Photo courtesy of Sloth Sanctuary by R. Richardson
  • 3 / 6
    Unforgettable Gardens
    Unforgettable Gardens
    When it comes to playing, for most kids nothing beats a garden. And, with Costa Rica’s weather, being indoors is almost a crime. Some of the most spectacular gardens in Cartago include the Jardín Sólo Rosas, with more than 300 species of roses, and Lankester Botanical Garden, with amazing displays of heliconias, orchids, and a quaint Japanese garden. In Heredia, Bosque de la Hoja is the perfect setting for a picnic surrounded by babbling brooks.
    Photo by Héctor Calderón
  • 4 / 6
    Milk and Strawberries
    Milk and Strawberries
    Younger kids, especially, enjoy visits to Corso Lechería, a farm experience outside Fraijanes, where two-hour tours allow participants to milk cows and watch the dairy turn that milk into a variety of cheeses. When the tour moves outside to the garden for a ride aboard the region’s gaily colored oxcarts, children delight to see the bunnies, pigs, horses, and hens. That visit sets the stage for a meal at Restaurante Freddo Fresas, named for the strawberries (fresas) that constitute the region’s principal crop. In addition to a full menu, Freddo Fresas is known for desserts made from the bounty of the restaurant’s garden.
    Photo by Héctor Calderón
  • 5 / 6
    Coffee Culture
    Coffee Culture
    Kids may not enjoy drinking coffee, but it’s undeniably fascinating to visit a coffee estate and see how much work goes into every cup. Doka Estate, on the slopes of the Poás Volcano, is the largest coffee plantation in Costa Rica and is particularly beautiful. The tour spends time outside in the fields and inside the plant and touches on the whole production process, from germination to grading and bagging.  Some of the coffee plantations in the Orosi Valley also offer English-language tours.
    Photo courtesy of Doka Estate
  • 6 / 6
    Ice Cream Time
    Ice Cream Time
    When traveling in Costa Rica, you’ll find no excuse to limit your children’s (or your own) ice cream intake. While the country is home to any number of artisanal shops, Galway is the one that best leverages the bonanza of tropical fruits available in Costa Rica.
    Photo by Héctor Calderón