Costa Rica Vacation Ideas | Ciao Bambino!

Costa Rica Vacation Ideas

  • When to Go

    Year-round

  • Trip Duration

    7-10 days

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.

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Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica

Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Monteverde, Costa Rica

Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica

Tortuguero, Costa Rica

Kick Off Your Trip: Arenal

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.

Sample Activities

Ziplining

Fly through the treetops and take in the mountain views with an epic zipline experience for the whole family.


Whitewater Rafting

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.


Canyoneering/Waterfall Rappelling

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.


Night Walk

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.


Manuel Antonio

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.

Sample Activities

Guided Nature Hike

An experienced naturalist will help your family spot all kinds of exotic wildlife on this picturesque 2-mile hike.


Market Visit and Cooking Class

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.


Kayak Excursion

Paddle among mangrove trees on this guided tour through Manuel Antonio's calm waters.


Horseback Riding

A naturalist guide leads you on horseback through the area's lush rainforest, home to wildlife and beautiful waterfalls.


Guanacaste

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.

 

Sample Activities

Surf Lesson

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.


Catamaran Cruise

Snorkel with sea turtles and keep an eye out for dolphins on this private cruise along the Guanacaste coast.


Bioluminescence Tour

During periods around the new moon, kayak or canoe at night to see plankton sparkle and glow below the surface of the water.


Sailing Lesson

Learn the ropes of commandeering a sailboat with guidance from a nautical expert.


Monteverde

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.

Sample Activities

Hanging Bridges

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.


Animal Sanctuary Visit

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.


Farm Tour

Learn all about how chocolate, coffee and sugarcane are grown and harvested, and get hands-on experience with these local crops.


Zipline Canopy Tour

Marvel at the cloud forest from above as a network of ziplines whisks you over the treetops.


Osa Peninsula

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.

Sample Activities

Guided Nature Hike

Corcovado National Park is the peninsula's crown jewel. Explore this richly biodiverse rainforest on a naturalist-led hike.


Whale Watching

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.


Deep Sea Fishing

Get out on the open ocean with an expert who can help you reel in a big catch.


Snorkeling Tour

Don a mask and flippers and glide through the waters, marveling at the sea life below the surface.


Tortuguero

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.

Sample Activities

Turtle Nesting Tour

Locals will take you to protected locations to witness a spectacular natural phenomenon: sea turtle nesting. Only available seasonally.


Canal Boat Tour

See how many forms of wildlife you can spot as your open-top boat meanders through quiet canals.


Guided Village Tour

Learn all about this secluded Costa Rican community as you and your guide walk its colorful streets, shopping for local handicrafts.


Birding Excursion

Grab your binoculars — Tortuguero is home to more than 300 bird species, including macaws, toucans and others.


To Know Before You Go

  • Travel to Costa Rica is suitable for all ages. Some outdoor adventures, like whitewater rafting, have minimum age or size requirements.
  • The best time to visit Costa Rica is from mid-December to April (the dry season). This peak tourist season boasts plenty of sunshine, making it an ideal time for exploring rainforests and lounging on beaches. That said, the dry season is the most popular and expensive time to visit.
  • Between May and November, prices are at their lowest, but the weather will be wet. During June and July, rain showers pause briefly, and Costa Rica’s forests burst with green foliage.
  • Weather also varies by region. Along the Caribbean Sea coast and Northern Plains, expect high humidity and temperatures ranging between the 70s and high 80s year-round. In the North Pacific, prepare for lower humidity but temperatures that often soar into the 90s during the dry months. Flora and fauna are subject to the climatic conditions of each region.
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