Costa Rica, the Central American paradise has it all – simmering volcanoes like the Arenal, turquoise waters in Tamarindo, and thick jungles like the popular Monteverde Cloud Forest. This rich, biodiverse country creates the perfect playground for adventurers looking for their next adrenaline rush.
For families, Costa Rica is a godsend. A culture that’s naturally laid back, friendly, and family-centered offers a great environment for kids. A tourism-powered economy offers a variety of suitable options for hotels, transportation, and activities that include children. For wide-eyed tots (and adults) exploring the world, the country’s rich biodiversity offers a lot of opportunities for learning about nature’s creation.
Family vacations in Costa Rica allow for more experiences packed in as little time possible. Here are 8 reasons why Costa Rica is a fantastic location for family vacationers.
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When it comes to high-octane activities like ziplining through a clouded canopy and climbing up a challenging hiking trail, grown-ups have a variety of adventures in Costa Rica to choose from. That’s well and good, but children have their fair share of adrenaline-laced fun as well.
Kids can still try ziplining from kid-friendly operators, spy on wildlife at various wildlife rehabilitation centers, cross hanging bridges above forest canopies, or attend exciting night tours that allow you to gawk over nocturnal animals. Destinations like La Fortuna allow children and their parents to go waterfall rappelling, kayaking, horseback riding, or going on a safari river float.
An Abundant Wildlife
Costa Rica claims to have the densest biodiversity in the world, and with a high ranking for land conversation, it’s hard to disagree. With a quarter of its territory preserved, there are more than half a million species of plants and animals scattered throughout its protected lands. Attend kid-friendly attractions like turtle nesting sites and an adorable sloth sanctuary, or visit the country’s national parks and rainforests for kid-friendly guided hikes and spy on tapirs, anteaters, lizards, harpy eagles, capuchin monkeys, jaguars, and the like.
With active thermal activity and over 200 volcanic formations, Costa Rica is blessed with hot springs and mud baths that offer rest and recreation for parents and kids alike. A variety of upscale day spas have been built around these hot springs, while others are still untouched. The La Fortuna/Arenal area and the Rincon de La Vieja are just two of the most popular hot springs in the country. If you’re looking for a more tranquil experience, head to the Eco Termales Hot Springs. Are your kids looking for fun? The Springs Resort and Spa features 18 pools with kid-friendly water slides. If you’re aiming to detoxify or participate in a mud fight, go on a mud bath at the Blue River Resort and Hot Springs or Hacienda Guachipelin.
If you’ve been to beaches around the world, you’ll discover that Costa Rica has some of the most drop-dead gorgeous. With coastlines that run thousands of miles on both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, there’s sure to be a beach with your family’s name on it. Some of the country’s beaches have powerful rip currents that are reserved for more adventurous types, a lot more offer calmer kid-friendly waters for swimming. Beach towns such as Playa Hermosa and Playa Samara in Guanacaste or Manuel Antonio situated on the Central Pacific coat are best for families with kids.
Fun-Filled Water Adventures
Being bordered by oceans, Costa Rica is a playground for water lovers of all ages. Diving is recommended for ages 16 and above (there may be rough water and strong currents in some areas). The best dive spots are located offshore and feature pelagic marine life such as nurse sharks, hammerheads, and stingrays. Snorkeling, however, is an activity available in a lot of daytime excursions for kids as young as 6 years old. For young surfers (ages 5 or older), beaches like Tamarindo, Manuel Antonio, and Samara are great for beginners.
Costa Rica’s small size but incredibly varied topography makes it a perfect location for vacationers looking for a jam-packed itinerary. The country is located between the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, with coastal areas that consist of mangroves and beaches. Waterfalls, streams, rivers, and lakes offer lots of opportunities for water fun. Further inland, you’ll encounter the Talamanca Mountain Range which divides the country. The higher regions ascend into the clouds, creating a gorgeous cloud forest. Volcanoes are everywhere in Costa Rica, but only five are active.
It is true to that Costa Rica can be more expensive than other Central American countries, what with its wealth of upscale accommodations and costly activities, however, if you take time to plan ahead, you can definitely experience the country on a budget. There a variety of low-cost sleeping options that include hostels and eco guesthouses. In well-established tourist regions such as Arenal, Tamarindo, San Jose, and Manuel Antonio, accommodations can be high. Getting around Costa Rica is possible via rental cars, public buses, taxis, or minivans. Buses are the most affordable at $3 per ride. If you’re on a budget, make sure to conduct your research and plan ahead!
Safe for Families
Families traveling with children will be happy to know that Costa Rica is a largely safe destination. Many of Costa Rica’s dangers are more nature-related (earthquakes, riptides, and volcanic eruptions, which happen very rarely). Petty crime, such as theft and car break-ins, is something to look out for. Although it is safe, families are advised to stay vigilant.
Costa Rica’s edge over other Latin American countries is its exciting mix of adventures and remarkable biodiversity. Families looking for their first Central American destination should look no further – this gorgeous paradise guarantees unforgettable memories for you and your family!