Our Favorite Costa Rica Locations for a Family Vacation
Costa Rica, a small country in Central America, boasts a myriad of natural wonders that are sure to enthrall the whole family. From the lush rainforests and turquoise waters of the Pacific Ocean to the verdant mountains, Costa Rica is a paradise to explore.
La Fortuna: A Gateway to Adventure
La Fortuna is another must-visit on your Costa Rica vacation. This charming town, located in the shadow of the imposing Arenal Volcano, is the gateway to many outdoor adventures and one of the most famous areas of Costa Rica.
Ride Horseback to La Fortuna Waterfall
A horseback ride to La Fortuna Waterfall is a thrilling experience. As you meander through the rainforest, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of the Arenal Volcano. You can take a refreshing dip in the cool, clear pool at the waterfall.
The Arenal Volcano is another must-see. Situated near La Fortuna, it’s one of the most active volcanoes in Costa Rica. Here, you can enjoy the natural hot springs, ride horseback, or try zip-lining over the forest canopy. It’s a great way to create unforgettable family adventures!
Soak in the Splendor of La Fortuna’s Hot Springs
One of the highlights of visiting La Fortuna is undoubtedly the chance to relax in its natural hot springs. Fed by the geothermal heat of the mighty Arenal Volcano, these thermal waters offer a unique way to unwind amidst the lush Costa Rican rainforest.
If you’re looking for a prime hot springs experience, look no further than The Springs Resort and Spa, one of our absolute favorite resorts in the area. We recently shared this video on our Instagram page showcasing the amazing hot springs at The Springs Resort and Spa.
At The Springs, you’ll find an impressive collection of natural hot springs scattered across the resort. With temperatures ranging from 76°F to 103°F, there’s a perfect pool for everyone. The mineral-rich waters are soothing for your body and beneficial for your skin.
What sets the hot springs at The Springs apart is the stunning setting. Nestled amidst the tropical rainforest and overlooking the Arenal Volcano, each hot spring offers a unique vista. Whether you’re soaking in the thermal waters by day or under the star-studded sky at night, the experience is magical.
But don’t just take our word for it. Read more about this incredible resort below or our complete review here.
The Springs Resort and Spa: A Slice of Paradise in La Fortuna
There are plenty of great resorts and hotels, but one of our top picks in the La Fortuna area is, without a doubt, The Springs Resort and Spa. Nestled amidst the lush rainforest, with a backdrop of the majestic Arenal Volcano, this resort is truly a slice of paradise.
At The Springs, luxury meets nature. Each room offers spectacular views of the volcano, and the resort’s design seamlessly integrates with the surrounding natural beauty. It’s common to spot colorful birds or playful monkeys right from your balcony!
The resort truly shines when it comes to its amenities. Thanks to its proximity to the Arenal Volcano, it boasts an impressive collection of thermal hot springs. These natural pools, with temperatures ranging from 76°F to 103°F, are perfect for unwinding after a day of adventure.
But relaxation at The Springs is not limited to the hot springs. The resort’s world-class spa offers a variety of treatments designed to rejuvenate your body and spirit. The spa uses local ingredients, from massages to facials, to create a unique wellness experience.
For the more active members of the family, The Springs offers a variety of recreational activities. Whether it’s zip-lining through the forest canopy, horseback riding, or exploring the area’s wildlife on a guided tour, there’s never a dull moment at the resort.
When it comes to dining, The Springs doesn’t disappoint either. With five restaurants and bars on-site, you can savor various cuisines, from traditional Costa Rican dishes to gourmet international fare.
Taste the Tropical Fruits
Don’t leave La Fortuna without trying the tropical fruits. The fresh, local produce is a treat for your taste buds, whether the sweet pineapples or juicy mangos.
Visit the Awe-Inspiring National Parks
Among the must-visit spots in Costa Rica are the national parks. Manuel Antonio National Park, located on the Pacific coast, is renowned for its beautiful beaches and thriving wildlife. It’s an excellent place to spot howler monkeys, iguanas, and more!
Over on the Caribbean coast, you’ll find Tortuguero National Park. Here, you can witness sea turtles nesting – a truly magical experience. For the more adventurous family members, the Corcovado National Park on the Osa Peninsula offers an intimate encounter with the natural world.
Exploring Manuel Antonio: A Tropical Paradise
Manuel Antonio, renowned for its striking beauty and abundant wildlife, is undoubtedly one of the best places to visit on your Costa Rica vacation. Nestled on the Pacific coast, this beach town boasts an enchanting combination of rainforest, white-sand beaches, and coral reefs.
Unwind at Manuel Antonio Beach
Manuel Antonio Beach, known for its stunning sunsets, is the perfect spot to unwind after a day of adventure. The surrounding area of the beach is teeming with wildlife, so don’t be surprised if you spot a sloth or a troop of monkeys!
Discover a Diverse Marine Life
For those interested in marine life, snorkeling is the best option. The waters are home to many fish, sea turtles, and dolphins. It’s an unforgettable experience for the entire family.
Zip Line Through the Rainforest
Feeling adventurous? Why not zip line through the tropical rainforest? It’s an exhilarating way to get a bird’s-eye view of the lush canopy and its wildlife.
Our Favorite Manuel Antonio Resort
Tulemar Resort is a luxurious getaway in the heart of Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica. Offering a range of accommodations, from intimate bungalows to spacious villas, it’s the perfect destination for any traveler. With its private beach, lush rainforest surroundings, and abundant wildlife, Tulemar provides an unforgettable experience in a tropical paradise.
Where To Eat: El Patio de Café Milagro for breakfast. Our favorite dinner was a private check, Chef Jose, cooking in our villa!
How To Get There: To reach Tulemar Resort, fly into one of Costa Rica’s two main international airports, Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO) in San José or Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport (LIR) in Liberia. From there, rent a car or arrange a private shuttle (our preference) to transport you directly to the resort. The journey from SJO takes approximately 2.5-3 hours, while the drive from LIR lasts around 4-5 hours, offering scenic routes through the beautiful Costa Rican countryside.
Tip: We found some great prices during October, the rainy reason. Check for the best prices here:
Explore the Wonders of Monteverde Cloud Forest
The Monteverde Cloud Forest, a short hour’s drive from San Jose, is home to stunning biodiversity. Canopy tours are popular here, allowing you to get up close and personal with Costa Rica’s unique wildlife, like the red-eyed tree frog.
Head to the Beaches
For those seeking sun, sand, and surf, Costa Rica’s got you covered. The gorgeous beaches of Playa Flamingo and Playa Grande are perfect places for building sandcastles with younger kids or taking surf lessons with older ones.
Family Travel Made Easy
Costa Rica is a great place for a family trip. It’s small enough to travel around comfortably, and the locals, or ‘Ticos’ as Costa Ricans call themselves, are known for their hospitality. Plus, two international airports make your travel day a breeze.
Plan Your Itinerary
So, how do you start planning your Costa Rica family vacation? A guided tour is a great option for first-time visitors. It takes care of all the daily activities and logistics, leaving you to enjoy your vacation.
However, renting a car could be a good option if you cherish the freedom of exploring at your own pace. It’s worth noting that driving in Costa Rica can be challenging due to its winding roads and unpredictable weather. But don’t let that deter you – with caution and preparation, you can navigate the roads like a pro.
Remember, most popular destinations are just an hour’s drive away, and the journey can be quite scenic. Remember, the sun sets early in this tropical paradise – around 6 pm all year round – so plan your travel day accordingly to avoid driving after dark.
Consider the Weather
Timing your trip is essential. From December to April, the dry season is the best time to visit Costa Rica. The rainy season is also good from May to November if you don’t mind a few showers and want to enjoy the lush, green landscapes.
Our October trips have been where we found some great deals!
Make the Most of Your Costa Rica Family Vacation
Engage in Fun Outdoor Activities
From horseback riding and zip lining to boat tours and mountain bike rides, there are plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities in Costa Rica. Whether you have young kids or teenagers, these experiences will highlight your family adventure.
Embrace the Pura Vida Lifestyle
“Pura Vida”, or “Pure Life”, is a phrase you’ll often hear in Costa Rica.
This phrase perfectly captures the country’s laid-back, enjoy-life-to-the-fullest ethos. This contagious mindset will make your Costa Rica family vacation even more memorable.
Visit a Local School
If you’re traveling with school-aged kids, consider visiting a local school. It’s a wonderful opportunity to meet Costa Ricans and learn about their culture and education system. It’s also a great way to teach your kids about different lifestyles and perspectives.
Savor the Delectable Cuisine
Don’t miss out on the chance to try some local delicacies! Your family will love tasting tropical fruits and fresh seafood. And for the coffee lovers in your family, a visit to one of Costa Rica’s coffee plantations is a must-do.
A Costa Rica Family Vacation to Remember
You’ll find the perfect place for a family vacation in Costa Rica. With its natural beauty, wildlife refuges, and a wide variety of activities to suit kids of all ages, it’s no wonder that Costa Rica is one of the best destinations in Latin America for a family trip.
Whether you want to relax on beautiful beaches, immerse yourself in the natural world, or engage in thrilling adventures, Costa Rica offers all this and more. It’s a great time to plan your family adventure to this beautiful country.
So, are you ready to create unforgettable memories on your Costa Rica family vacation?
- What wildlife can we see in Costa Rica? Costa Rica has many wildlife, including howler monkeys, sea turtles, and bird species like toucans and macaws. You might even spot a sloth, depending on what part of the country you’re in.
- Is Costa Rica safe for a family vacation? Yes, Costa Rica is considered one of the safest countries in Central America for tourists. However, like with any travel, it’s always important to monitor your belongings and follow local advice, especially in large cities like San Jose.
- What is there to do in San Jose, Costa Rica? San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica, offers numerous cultural experiences. You can visit museums, explore local markets, or enjoy the city’s thriving food scene.
- Are there any all-inclusive family resorts in Costa Rica? Yes, Costa Rica boasts numerous all-inclusive family resorts that cater to kids of all ages. They offer a variety of daily activities, from arts and crafts for smaller children to adventure tours for teenagers. While we love all-inclusive resorts, including some of our favorites like the Hyatt Ziva Cap Cana, Costa Rica is somewhere we prefer a more local resort experience.
- What can we do on a rainy day in Costa Rica? Costa Rica offers many indoor activities for rainy days. You can visit a chocolate or coffee plantation, explore a museum, or take a cooking class to learn how to make traditional Costa Rican dishes.
- What are the best things to do in Costa Rica with younger children? Costa Rica is full of fun activities for younger children. They’ll love visiting animal sanctuaries, enjoying the beach, and discovering the wonders of the rainforest on guided nature walks.
In conclusion, Costa Rica is the perfect place for a family vacation. With its stunning natural wonders, friendly locals, and endless adventures, it’s a trip that your family will cherish forever. Enjoy your Costa Rica family vacation and embrace the ‘Pura Vida’ lifestyle!