Costa Rica Vacation Ideas
Costa Rica Vacation Ideas
If Earth had a heart, it might be Costa Rica. Few countries on the planet offer so many variations of terrain, climate, flora and fauna, so it’s a rich learning ground to teach children about preserving and enjoying the environment. Cloud forest walks through the treetops on hanging bridges, listening to the howl of a monkey, soaking in hot springs fed by a volcano — these are memories that will leave a lifelong impression. From animal life and relaxing on unspoiled beaches to thrilling adventures and cultural experiences, your family will discover what the saying Pura Vida means, and with luck, you’ll bring a bit of that “simple life” spirit home.
Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica
Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Monteverde, Costa Rica
Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica
Tortuguero, Costa Rica
A trip to Costa Rica is a chance to experience one of nature’s most incredible playgrounds, from exotic animal encounters to exciting activities. Upon arrival, head straight for Arenal — home to a conical volcano that emerges from a tropical rainforest, this region is the epicenter of adventure. You’ll want at least three days here to enjoy the many possibilities, which include whitewater rafting, waterfall rappelling, natural hot springs and much more.
Fly through the treetops and take in the mountain views with an epic zipline experience for the whole family.
Older kids will delight in the thrills that come with navigating the rapids of the region’s scenic rivers. Families with younger children can opt for a more leisurely float trip or a guided kayak ride on a calm lake.
Test the limits of your bravery as you drop over some of Costa Rica’s most beautiful cliffside waterfalls, or take a guided hike to see these natural features.
Costa Rica's animal life comes alive as darkness falls. An expert naturalist leads you on a walk to spot nocturnal creatures of all types.
Carve out a few days of your trip to relax amid the beaches and national parkland of Manuel Antonio on the western coast. Morning nature hikes through the jungle pair perfectly with lazy afternoons on the area’s wide, sandy shores, as sloths and monkeys observe you from the trees above.
An experienced naturalist will help your family spot all kinds of exotic wildlife on this picturesque 2-mile hike.
Wander the colorful stalls of a vibrant morning market before learning how to transform your fresh, local ingredients into a feast, including homemade tortillas, ceviche and more.
Paddle among mangrove trees on this guided tour through Manuel Antonio's calm waters.
A naturalist guide leads you on horseback through the area's lush rainforest, home to wildlife and beautiful waterfalls.
Beach lovers adore the Guanacaste province for its long sandy beaches, full-service resorts, dry rainforest ecosystem, yoga culture and extensive watersports, including (and especially) surfing. In particular, the Nicoya Peninsula has some of the best surfing conditions in the world on Nosara and Santa Teresa beaches — if you’ve always wanted to try catching a wave, this is the place to learn how.
Learn the ropes at an iconic surfer’s beach, or consider spending several days enrolled in a dedicated surf school program to master riding these legendary waves.
Snorkel with sea turtles and keep an eye out for dolphins on this private cruise along the Guanacaste coast.
During periods around the new moon, kayak or canoe at night to see plankton sparkle and glow below the surface of the water.
Learn the ropes of commandeering a sailboat with guidance from a nautical expert.
Monteverde is an unmissable stop on a Costa Rica itinerary. Spend a few days here to experience the incredible cloud forest ecosystem, best enjoyed by walking along the treetop hanging bridges. Below the canopy awaits an amazing array of biodiverse flora and fauna, from howler monkeys and jaguars to the elusive red-and-green quetzal.
This excursion leads you along the stunning hanging bridges, where you will explore the treetops as you take in the cloud forest from above and within.
Butterflies, sloths and frogs, oh my! So many species call Costa Rica home, and Monteverde is a great place to see all kinds of fun creatures at close range.
Learn all about how chocolate, coffee and sugarcane are grown and harvested, and get hands-on experience with these local crops.
Marvel at the cloud forest from above as a network of ziplines whisks you over the treetops.
A trek to the remote Osa Peninsula is worthwhile for those who plan to spend more than a week in the country or are making a second trip to Costa Rica. This region is home to some of the most incredible biodiversity in the world. We love booking clients at a luxurious ecolodge to experience the untamed beauty of the Osa Peninsula with creature comforts close at hand.
Corcovado National Park is the peninsula's crown jewel. Explore this richly biodiverse rainforest on a naturalist-led hike.
The Pacific side of Costa Rica isn’t known for its beaches, but rather for its warm water that creates optimal conditions for whale watching.
Get out on the open ocean with an expert who can help you reel in a big catch.
Don a mask and flippers and glide through the waters, marveling at the sea life below the surface.
This wildlife sanctuary on the northern coast — which feels more like the Amazon than the Caribbean — is ideal for families truly looking to get off the grid during their time in Costa Rica. There are no roads here; it’s accessible only by boat or plane. Tortuguero is particularly popular during turtle nesting season, July to October, as the beach is one of the most important nesting sites in the world for endangered green sea turtles.
Locals will take you to protected locations to witness a spectacular natural phenomenon: sea turtle nesting. Only available seasonally.
See how many forms of wildlife you can spot as your open-top boat meanders through quiet canals.
Learn all about this secluded Costa Rican community as you and your guide walk its colorful streets, shopping for local handicrafts.
Grab your binoculars — Tortuguero is home to more than 300 bird species, including macaws, toucans and others.
Want to save all the great intel and tips you are finding on Ciao Bambino? My Trip Planner allows you to bookmark articles, family-friendly hotel reviews, and family vacation packages. Simply click the heart icon on anything you want to save. Site registration is required to get started. Happy planning!
Please fillout the form below to create your free My Trip Planner account.