There are dozens of great Costa Rica tours to choose from while on vacation with your family.
Costa Rica makes for a great family vacation because there is just so much to do. Costa Rica’s rich biodiversity and varied ecosystems are a kid-friendly resource for family fun.
From city streets to country roads, these are some of the best family tours and activities for your family vacation in Costa Rica.
San Jose and the Central Valley
San José safeguards Costa Rica’s history and culture. The hands-on Children’s Museum is much like San Francisco’s Exploratorium and great fun for the entire family. For sheer bling, be sure to visit the Gold Museum. The must-see (and do) Central Market is a city block of shops full of souvenirs, produce and coffee, handcrafts and food vendors, including Lolo Mora’s and Soda Tapia—both of which are San José legends.
Two volcanoes are within an hour’s drive of San José. Poas is best known for its large crater and dense cloud forest; Irazu is the nation’s tallest. Unfortunately, access to Poas Volcano is closed at this time, with no immediate plans to reopen. La Paz Waterfall Gardens, on the slopes of Poas, is a popular stop for families: waterfalls, hummingbird and butterfly gardens, and many animal exhibits. Mirador de Quetzales, to the south, is a resplendent quetzal reserve in old-growth rainforest.
In the Central Highlands to the east, whitewater tour operators on the Pejibaye River, Class II – III rapids on the lower river, offer family rafting tours (aged 8+). Combine rafting with a hike through the pre-Columbian Guayabo National Monument, plantation tours, canyoning, cycling, or horseback riding offer up several great ways to get close to all that Costa Rica has to offer.
A few great distinctive hotel options in and near San Jose are Hotel Grano Del Oro and Peace Lodge at La Paz Waterfall Gardens.
Monteverde Sky Adventure Park has several family-friendly tour options. Combine the Sky Tram with the Sky Walk or Sky Trek, according to desired adrenaline levels.
Monteverde Reserve and Santa Elena have miles of trails for self-guided hiking tours, but for best value, book a guide to point out all the critters.
Tamarindo and the Guanacaste Area.
Best known for its world class surf breaks, Playa Tamarindo is not for beginners; consult the experts before paddling out. Newbies or those just learning can ask about nearby gentle surf breaks and lessons.
A catamaran cruise, combined with sea kayaking, snorkeling or diving, and swimming, will have the whole family on the water for a tour of the Guanacaste coastline.
Las Baulas National Marine Park protects leatherback sea turtle nesting areas—tours are limited and strictly controlled.
The mangrove estuary tour between Tamarindo and Playa Grande has something for the whole family. Guides point out the wildlife and kids will love the monkeys.
While visiting the Tamarindo area, we always recommend Hotel El Capitan Suizo.
Central Pacific and the Osa Peninsula
From Puntarenas south to Piedras Blancas and Corcovado National Park, the Central Pacific coast has everything for a beach vacation. The waters along the central coast are better suited to beginning surfers. Family-oriented tours include zip lining, ATVs, sunset cruises, kayak adventures, snorkeling, sport fishing charters—there are tours for every budget and interest. Remote Corcovado, on Golfo Dulce, is one of the most diverse habitats on earth, a stand-alone educational family vacation in itself.
A few great distinctive hotel options in the area are Hotel Villa Caletas and Alma Del Pacifico on the central pacific coast near Jaco Beach, and Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge in the Osa Peninsula.
As your Distinctive Hotel concierge to help book tours and activities for you and the entire family. When booking, be sure to check on age or weight restrictions. Safety equipment and instruction, entry fees, snacks and drinks, as well as a bilingual guide are usually included. Finally, for any activity or tour, be sure to wear sensible clothes and shoes, take bug repellant, sunscreen, and a water bottle, and remember to pack your camera or phone in a plastic Ziploc bag, or other waterproof pouch.