Costa Rica is one of the top destinations for families traveling from the US, Canada, and Europe. Thanks to its diverse terrain, rich biodiversity, and a multitude of natural wonders, there is no dearth of fun activities to do in Costa Rica. It is also one of the safest countries in Central America!
Traveling with kids is not an easy thing, especially when it involves a lot of time on the road, walking, or flying. But with a little research, some planning, and organized packing, you can make your trip fun and memorable for the kids.
Let’s take a tour of some of the activities that you can enjoy as a family in Costa Rica.
10 Things to do in Costa Rica with kids
Beaches are an all-time favorite of kids. Your family vacation in Costa Rica is not complete unless you take a trip to a beach. The kids can swim in the ocean, play with the sand, and run around the beach. Older kids can also take surf lessons.
Some of the great beaches for families are Hermosa, Panama, Samara, and Ocotal in the Guanacaste province, and Manuel Antonio and Uvita in the Puntarenas province.
2. Hot Springs in La Fortuna
A perfect blend of adventure, nature, and leisure, La Fortuna is one of the top destinations for families in Costa Rica. There are many exciting activities to do here, and one of them is visiting the hot springs.
Baldi and Kalambu Hot Springs are some great options. They are easy on the pocket and even have kid-friendly pools and water slides, and a play area. And you as parents will get a nice break and will be able to rejuvenate in the thermal waters.
3. La Paz Waterfall Gardens
A wildlife sanctuary home to rescued animals, La Paz is one of the best places to visit with kids. There is nothing more exciting for kids than watching animals and birds up close. It has a mix of waterfalls, pools, and trails, which keeps both adults and kids busy.
There is a hotel “Peace Lodge” right next to La Paz, and you can consider spending a night or two to give the kids more time to explore the area.
4. Wildlife Rescue Centers
There are many wildlife rescue centers in Costa Rica and can serve as a great place for kids to learn about the importance of conservation and taking care of nature and animals. They can watch and interact with animals like monkeys, sloths, and toucans, and have an amazing learning experience.
Some of the best rescue centers are Jaguar Rescue Center, the Ara Project, Proyecto Asis, Toucan Rescue Ranch, and Kids Saving the Rainforest.
5. Chocolate Tours
How about satisfying your kids’ sweet tooth? Chocolate tours are fun, educational, and interactive. Sign up for a chocolate tour and learn about the process of making chocolate from cacao. Encourage your kids to ask questions and even try their hands at making chocolate.
Enjoy free chocolate bars and cups of hot cocoa. You can even buy some chocolates to take back to your home. Some of the best chocolate tours are in La Fortuna, Puerto Viejo, and Sarapiqui.
6. Children’s Museum in San Jose
If you are planning a day trip to San Jose, do not forget to include Children’s Museum in your itinerary. Kids will have a blast learning about the history of Costa Rica through biology, anthropology, and archaeology exhibits. There is also a butterfly garden at the entrance, and the kids can play around with butterflies.
7. National Parks
There are many national parks with short trails in Costa Rica that are an enchanting mix of wildlife and stunning beaches. One such example is Manuel Antonio National Park. It is a rugged rainforest with a beautiful trail that leads you to a private white-sand beach.
You will see different kinds of flora and fauna on the trail, and the children will be kept entertained. If you want the walk to be very informative and interactive for your kids, you can hire a personal guide. Other options for national parks with short trails are Ballena Marine National Park, Cahuita National Park, Rincón de la Vieja, and Arenal Volcano National Park.
8. Short Waterfalls
There are many short waterfalls in Costa Rica that are kid-friendly and not too deep. Kids can swim easily and can have a fun time in the water. One such waterfall is Llanos de Cortes in Guanacaste province. The waterfall is hidden in the dry tropical forest and is easily accessible by foot. The best part is that you can club this with your other plans for Guanacaste.
For kids above 5, the La Fortuna Waterfall is also a great option. There is another waterfall called Cascada el Pavon in Uvita near Ojochal which is also kid-friendly, has a shallow pool, and is absolutely free.
9. Boat Rides and Canoe Tours
If you want to include a relaxing activity in your travel plans, a canoe tour or boat ride is a great option to consider. The kids get to see wildlife without having to walk long distances. The guide will point out different kinds of plants, trees, and wildlife to you, and the kids get excited about spotting some of them on their own.
The canoe tour in Tortuguero, Rio Frio Safari Floats in La Fortuna, Sierpe mangrove boat ride in South Pacific, and Hacienda El Viejo boat ride in Guanacaste are some recommended ones.
10. Family Ziplining
It is no secret that many tourists who visit Costa Rica include zipline in their travel plans. But if you are a family with kids and are wondering if you can do this activity, we have some good news for you. Many tour operators here offer family ziplining or beginner packages. These packages are great for kids who are small or are too nervous to take the tour on their own.
Some good options are El Santuario in Manuel Antonio, Arenal Canopy Adventure and Ecoglide Canopy Tour in La Fortuna, WingNuts Canopy in Samara, and Black Stallion Eco Park in Tamarindo.