Finding a great place to stay for the entire family isn’t difficult to do in Costa Rica. The weather is great, the beaches are spectacular, Ticos love kids, and there are more activities than you can do in a month. If you’re specifically looking for places that welcome families with open arms, you’ll find options throughout the country. Here are just a few:
The all-inclusive, Spanish-run Barceló chain (www.barcelo.com) boasts three family-friendly hotels, in San José, Playa Langosta on the northern Pacific coast, and Playa Tambor on the Nicoya Peninsula. This chain offers many kid-oriented activities, such as movies, miniature golf and handicraft workshops. All activities are included in the all-inclusive prices.
Grupo Marta (www.grupomarta.com) offers five hotels that cater to families: the Best Western Irazú and Best Western San José Downtown, both in the capital; the Hampton Inn and Holiday Inn Express, near Juan Santamaría International Airport; and the Best Western Jacó Beach Resort on the central Pacific coast. Children under 12 stay free in their parents’ room, and all the hotels offer the amenities you would expect from an international chain.
Also in Jacó, Hotel Club del Mar (www.clubdelmarcostarica.com) offers quality comfort in its hotel rooms and condos nestled in a quiet cove at the sound end of Jacó beach. Accommodations feature ocean views and balconies, and the large, ocean-side pool provides space for laps and volleyball, as well as a connected kids’ pool for the little ones.
Travelers to Manuel Antonio on the central Pacific coast will find pleasant refuge at The Suu (www.thesuuhotels.com), a modern hotel offering a library, cinema and more. Hotel Mono Azul (www.hotelmonoazul.com) lets kids 10 and under stay for free, and its Kids Saving the Rainforest program is a great way to get the little ones interested in ecology and conservation.
In the northwestern province of Guanacaste, families can try the Occidental Grand Papagayo (www.occidentalhotels.com), featuring a Kids Club for children ages 4 to 12 with specially designed activities to keep the little ones engaged. The hotel is 35 minutes from Daniel Oduber International Airport in Liberia, the provincial capital.
If you’re looking to explore the area around Arenal Volcano in northern Costa Rica, Hotel Linda Vista del Norte (www.hotellindavista.com), 26 kilometers from La Fortuna, is a good choice. Green spaces, a unique tiered swimming pool and myriad tours will keep the entire family happily busy.
Tirimbina Biological Reserve (www.tirim bina.org) in the Sarapiquí region teaches the mysteries of the rain forest to all ages. This nature-oriented lodge along the Sarapiquí River offers tours in many different subjects, including bats, chocolate, frogs and more.
And over on the Caribbean side, Villas del Caribe (www.villasdelcaribe.com), about 15 minutes south of the town of Puerto Viejo, sits in front of a placid beach that’s great for swimming.