Visiting Costa Rica With Kids

In Costa Rica, families discover a captivating destination, where thrilling adventures and breathtaking natural wonders create cherished memories and a deep love for nature.

Costa Rica for Families

Planning a Costa Rica family vacation can be an exciting venture as this Central American nation is a haven for families, packed with many natural marvels and thrilling activities suitable for children of all ages. If your family craves an adrenaline rush or simply desires serene relaxation by the beach, Costa Rica is the ideal destination that caters to all.

This guide will delve into the best places to visit, top family activities, and where to stay in Costa Rica with family to ensure you have the best experience with your loved ones.

Is Costa Rica Family Friendly?


Costa Rica is undeniably a fantastic choice for families seeking a safe and enjoyable vacation. You might be wondering, "Is Costa Rica safe for families?" Well, the answer is a resounding yes! This beautiful country offers many family-friendly activities, ensuring an adventurous yet secure experience for everyone.

Communication won't be an issue either, as English is widely spoken, offering families convenience and peace of mind. Another great advantage is its proximity to the US, making it an ideal destination for shorter vacations—like 5 to 6 nights—and school breaks.

Planning a family vacation to Costa Rica and apprehensive about managing younger children? Let your worries fade away. Costa Rica is a family-oriented destination filled with fantastic options for kids under twelve. The country's range of adventurous activities can be easily tailored to all ages. With hotels offering special children's clubs, menus, and accommodations, Costa Rica is a welcoming environment that provides an ideal introduction to international travel for the youngest members of your family.

But what about the logistics of traveling in Costa Rica? That's where we at Scott Dunn come in. The biggest challenge for families can be navigating transfers between light aircraft flights or long car rides. We make your family-friendly Costa Rica experience smoother by managing these transfers and flights for you, alleviating the stress and letting you focus on the adventure ahead.

What Part of Costa Rica is Best for Family Vacation?


Embarking on a Costa Rica family vacation promises an unforgettable adventure filled with natural wonders and thrilling experiences for all ages. From the bustling energy of San Jose and the Central Valley to the serene beauty of the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica offers diverse regions that cater to family fun. From discovering diverse wildlife in the Manuel Antonio National Park to enjoying soft adventures on the Caribbean Coast, each destination offers a unique and enriching experience for families. So, whether your little ones are wildlife enthusiasts and beach lovers, or your teens are adrenaline seekers, these are some of the best destinations for an idyllic family vacation in Costa Rica.

San Jose and the Central Valley: This region is a fantastic starting point for a family trip to Costa Rica. San Jose, the main airport and gateway, welcomes you to a memorable vacation. The bustling city is a cultural hub with museums, parks, hotels, theaters, and historic buildings showcasing the country's rich heritage. It’s also an excellent hub for day trips to Central Valley's natural wonders, including cloud forests, volcanoes, and exciting activities like horseback riding, kayaking, white water rafting on the Pacuare River, and waterfall rappelling. It's a perfect setting for a family-friendly Costa Rica vacation.

Manuel Antonio National Park: A wildlife haven and one of the best places in Costa Rica for families. The park boasts plenty of kid-friendly trails leading to hidden animals within the forest canopy, guided by experienced local experts. After a day of jungle exploration, the warm Pacific waters and pristine sandy beaches serve as an idyllic backdrop for a relaxing family picnic.

Nicoya Peninsula: This Pacific Coast destination is characterized by its captivating blue waters, wild, untouched beaches, and surfing opportunities for all levels. From September to November, the peninsula hosts an extraordinary sea turtle nesting season, providing a unique, educational, and memorable experience for families vacationing in Costa Rica with kids.

Osa Peninsula: The southwestern gem is an absolute must for wildlife enthusiasts on a Costa Rica family vacation. The Osa Peninsula is home to the Corcovado National Park, a sanctuary for rare and endangered species such as jaguars, pumas, scarlet macaws, and vibrant poison dart frogs. Further, the Cano Island Biological Reserve is a marine paradise, offering unrivaled snorkeling opportunities to discover a vivid underwater world.

Caribbean Coast: Particularly suited for families with young kids, this area provides a variety of soft adventure experiences. From witnessing turtle nesting and hatching to leisurely canoe rides and gentle hikes, the coast ensures an enriching family experience. Destinations such as the Guanacaste Peninsula offer an array of big resorts with plenty of family-oriented amenities like kids' pools and easy access to nature reserves and adventure activities.

Things to do in Costa Rica with Kids


Costa Rica with kids and other family members of varying ages is equally rewarding. The country offers something for everyone, from pristine sandy beaches perfect for sunbathing to adventurous surf lessons, kayaking, or snorkeling amidst vibrant marine life. Costa Rica provides the perfect blend of relaxation and adrenaline-pumping activities, all set at your own pace. Moreover, the availability of luxurious villas, large enough to comfortably accommodate the whole family, makes Costa Rica an irresistible choice for your next family getaway. Below are some of our top things to do in Costa Rica with kids of all ages.

Zipline Through the Jungle

For a fun family activity with older kids, embark on a high-flying, ziplining expedition through the jungle. Costa Rica family tours often include this adrenaline-fueled adventure. Feel the rush as you and your family glide through the treetops, providing a unique perspective on Costa Rica's exquisite landscape.

Try White Water Rafting

Costa Rica vacations for families with teens seeking a heart-pumping experience should consider white water rafting down the Pacuare River. This exciting activity, better suited for those with older children, provides an unforgettable way to bond and create lasting memories on your getaway.

Go Wildlife Viewing

Costa Rica's abundant wildlife provides endless opportunities for unique family encounters with nature. Guided Costa Rica family tours in national parks and wildlife sanctuaries let your little ones see fascinating creatures up close, like howler monkeys and sloths. Among the things to do in Costa Rica with kids, visiting Manuel Antonio Park is a must. Here, you'll witness diverse flora, fauna, and wildlife, including the irresistibly adorable sloth. Or your family-friendly Costa Rica trip could include a visit to the Corcovado National Park. Spanning a whopping 103,000 acres, this park just might be your chance to spot wildlife. Older kids can take longer and more strenuous jungle treks to spot unique animals like macaws, howler monkeys, and perhaps even a puma.

Take Surfing Lessons

A family trip to Costa Rica is sure to delight teenagers as well, especially since they can surf their hearts out while parents unwind with a relaxing book on the beach. The Nicoya Peninsula is one of the best places in Costa Rica for families with older kids who love adventure. Test your family's surfing skills in this region, known for some of Central America's finest waves. Imagine your teens coming home, their heads filled with exciting stories about their adventures and the wildlife they encountered.

Relish the Tranquility of the Caribbean Coast

A family trip to Costa Rica wouldn't be complete without visiting the pristine Caribbean Coast. Imagine lounging on white sandy beaches lined with luscious coconut trees, perfect for a serene day out with your family and a vacation with youngsters in tow.

Witness Turtle Nesting and Hatching

Completing our list of best things to do in Costa Rica with kids is the magical experience of sea turtle nesting season. From September to November, tens of thousands of sea turtles come ashore at Ostional Beach or Tortuguero National Park to lay their eggs. Witnessing the adorable hatchlings making their journey to the sea is a sight your kids young and old will never forget.

Plan Your Trip

Best Family Resorts in Costa Rica

Planning your Costa Rica family vacation can be quite a task, given the sheer number of resorts to choose from. But fear not, here are some of the best Costa Rica hotels for families of all sizes.

With Younger Kids

Planning a memorable family vacation? Then, consider Costa Rica with kids. This safe, vibrant country is a dream destination, boasting a multitude of Costa Rica family-friendly resorts. Experience the thrill of scaled-down ziplining, surfing, and white water rafting at some of the best Costa Rica hotels for families. And every Costa Rica family resort prioritizes your family's comfort and enjoyment. They offer special children's clubs, kid-friendly menus, and comfortable family room accommodations.

Pool and outdoor area at Nayara Tented Camp Arenal
Nayara Tented Camp, Arenal

A collection of safari-style tents deep among nature with toucans and parrots flying overhead and sloths spying from the trees. Sustainable and luxurious, the tents come with private plunge pools and are big enough to fit the whole family in. This is also a fantastic hotel option for children of all ages.

main pool at arenas del mar in costa rica
Arenas del Mar, Manuel Antonio National Park

This laid-back escape sits where the rainforest meets the ocean among 11 green acres of nature reserve that is heaving with wildlife. Particularly well-suited to kids of all ages, Arenas del Mar has interconnecting bedrooms, super-fun activities, and the beach feels remote and calm – perfect for little ones. What more could you ask for on a family vacation to Costa Rica?

With Older Kids

Your teens will never be bored while in Costa Rica. And certain Costa Rica family-friendly resorts are ideal for families with teens and older kids because they offer easy access to adventurous experiences. Older kids can enjoy engaging treks at a Costa Rica family resort, spotting unique wildlife such as sloths and macaws. Also, the lodges provide opportunities for exciting waterfall hikes, where the family can enjoy refreshing dips and rappelling adventures. The resorts below stand out when traveling Costa Rica with kids, as they blend relaxation and adventure perfectly, making them the best resorts in Costa Rica for families.

A view of the pool at Tortuga lodge
Tortuga Lodge, Tortuguero

The only hotel on Tortuguero with its own private nature reserve, this eco-lodge is right on the river’s edge surrounded by rainforest. Spend your days taking nature walks with naturalist guides, visiting turtle nesting sites, or on boat rides and kayak trips up the Tortuguero River. When staying at Tortuga Lodge, you won’t hear a whisper of ‘I’m bored.’

A view of a lodge at the Amor Arenal in the rainforest of costa rica
Amor Arenal, Arenal

Children aged 13 and over are welcome at Amor Arenal, creating a grown-up vibe that would suit teens wanting to feel like adults. With a swim-up bar playing reggae and hot springs to kick back in after a day of hikes and waterfalls, Amor Arenal brings the cool factor to your Costa Rica family trip.

With Multi-generational families

One of the best things about traveling in Costa Rica is that it offers something for every family member at every age. This becomes clear when you explore the many Costa Rica family-friendly resorts available. Whether you have young children, teenagers, grandparents, or a combo of all three, these resorts cater to every family member, making them some of the best Costa Rica hotels for families. Top this off with luxurious villas spacious enough to comfortably accommodate the whole family, and you have the ideal recipe for a memorable family vacation in Costa Rica.

Main pool at the four seasons hotel in costa rica
Four Seasons Costa Rica, Peninsula Papgayo

Seaview bedrooms, family-sized suites, or casas with space for everyone provide the ideal location to reconvene with the family after days spent snorkeling, surfing, playing golf, paddle boarding or exploring the local area. Then there’s the Explorer’s Club and Tuanis Teen Center for them, and the Prieta Beach Club, with its cool design and private cabanas for you.

For Active Families

Costa Rica is a paradise filled with family-friendly resorts offering exciting adventures like ziplining, horseback riding, and water sports. Exploring Costa Rica with kids becomes unforgettable at the best resorts in Costa Rica for families, providing access to lush jungles, breathtaking beaches, and diverse wildlife. These properties blend adventure and relaxation, creating a safe, fun, and memorable vacation experience.

Pacuare Lodge
Pacuare Lodge, Pacuare River

A 20-suite eco-hotel hidden among the pristine wilderness of Costa Rica's Pacuare River, Pacuare Lodge embraces its remote location by offering helicopter and white-water rafting transfers to the hotel. It even has a treetop restaurant reached by zipwire. Surrounded by lush forests alongside fast-flowing rivers, cloud forests and volcanoes, you’re perfectly situated to dive right into the area’s exciting activities.

aerial view of el romanso lodge
El Remanso, Osa Peninsula

El Remanso is a place that beckons adventurous souls. With its mix of adrenaline-pumping activities like zip-lining through the rainforest canopy and jumping down hidden waterfalls, chance encounters with quirky wildlife and pristine Pacific beaches, this is the kind of place you’ll remember forever.

For Relaxation

For families seeking relaxation in an idyllic setting, these establishments are renowned as the best resorts in Costa Rica for families. Providing a tranquil escape, these hotels offer luxurious amenities, world-class spas, and bespoke childcare services, all nestled within Costa Rica's family-friendly resorts. This unique blend of comfort and convenience, spanning across the country's beautiful Atlantic and Pacific coastlines, makes a vacation in Costa Rica with kids an enriching experience.

Aguas claras hotel
Aguas Claras, Puerto Viejo

Set in a laid-back surfer’s paradise on the Caribbean coastline, Aquas Claras sits among swaying palm trees and beach shacks. Combining the old-fashioned charm of a plantation-style house with a modern beach club vibe, this is a stylish hotel, which welcomes children over eight and is better for families with tweens and teens. There are two-bedroom bungalows, with small kitchens – but the call of the restaurants is hard to resist for most guests. Complimentary bicycles come with the rooms, or you could head off barefoot in search of juice bars and empty spots on the beach. There’s yoga, surfing, and the Talamanca rainforest nearby.

Nantipa boutique beach hotel
Nantipa, Santa Teresa

Beachfront villas and bungalows create a home away from home with hotel services at this eco-lodge with a heart. Nantipa’s roots lie firmly in the community, pioneering social and environmental outreach programs from its beautiful location. Reconnect as a whole family in this carefree beachside living. Hit the waves, collect fresh coconuts, and watch the sun go down over another beautiful day in paradise.

Call us on 858 523 9000 to start planning your holiday

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