Great Eco-tours and Activities for Your Costa Rica Family Vacation

A family vacation to Costa Rica conjures up dreams of sun and surf, jungles and waterfalls, monkeys and sloths. Given the country’s rich biodiversity, eco-tours that get everyone outside are a natural.

Booking eco-tours and activities that are perfect for families with kids is easy to do in Costa Rica. A wonder of flora and fauna, and varying terrain, there is much to do for adventurers of every age.

Here are our top eco-adventure tours and activities for families with children visiting Costa Rica.

Costa Rica Mangrove Tours

  • Tortuguero National Park and Barra de Colorado Wildlife Refuge are home to the animals that make their homes in the dense rainforest, mangrove estuaries, canals, rivers, and lagoons of the Caribbean coastline near Limón. Local guides lead visitors by boat, kayak, or canoe on an exploration of the park’s waterways. Green sea turtles nest from July through mid-October (peak season is August and September).
  • The Damas Island estuary and mangroves are well-known for biodiversity. Local guides take visitors in 1- or 2-seater sea kayaks from Manuel Antonio National Park out to the island for a 3-hour tour.
  • The crocodiles of the Tarcoles River are a familiar sight from the Tarcoles River Bridge. The Original Crocodile Tour, takes visitors by boat for front and center view of American crocodiles. At feeding time, the locally renowned Crocodile Man hand feeds the crocs.

Monteverde & Arenal National Park Tours

  • Trek, walk, or take a tram with naturalist guides at Sky Adventures Monteverde Park to make the most of your visit to the famous cloud forest.
  • Místico Park, in La Fortuna, offers a variety of activities near Arenal. A series of 15 suspension bridges meander through 1.5 miles of canopy. Other options include boat tours of Arenal Lake or hike through Arenal National Park’s distinct eco-zones: secondary rainforest, lava beds, and dry tropical forest.

Costa Rica Marine Adventures

  • Dedicated tours are rare, but nearly any boat trip out on the ocean provides plenty of opportunity to meet the marine wildlife.
  • From December to April, humpback whales take up residence on both coasts. Most Pacific humpbacks migrate in small groups. Southern hemisphere humpbacks move north in late autumn. Several other whale species are also present throughout the year.
  • Dolphins live year-round in Costa Rican waters; others migrate to mate and rear their young (pups). The bottlenose is mostly native to the Caribbean, while spotted, bottlenose, spinner, rough-toothed, and common dolphins—are present from Guanacaste to the Osa Peninsula on the Pacific.
  • Leatherback and Olive Ridley sea turtles come ashore at night to nest in large numbers (called arribadas) along the Guanacaste coastline from Tamarindo south. Tours, led by naturalist guides, are strictly regulated. Leatherback sea turtles nest February through June (peaking in March and April); Olive Ridleys nest July through December.

The concierge at your small distinctive hotel can help you choose, and book, the best eco-adventure tours for your family. As always, be sure to pack water bottles, sunscreen, hats, and water shoes that serve as hikers for each member of the gang. Other than that, bring your sense of wonder and discovery; Costa Rica awaits with a mountain of memories that will last your family a lifetime.

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