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Costa Rica with Youngsters – Household Can Journey


If your loved ones loves nature, there are few locations on Earth extra magical for a household trip than Costa Rica. Blessed with an virtually unfair quantity of pure riches together with two coasts, mountains, dense jungles and cloud forests, there isn’t any finish to the household adventures you may have in Costa Rica with youngsters.

There are such a lot of unbelievable areas to journey inside this lovely Central American nation, so we tried to plan a Costa Rica household trip permitting us to see as a lot as potential. Though it was in excessive season, visiting Costa Rica with youngsters over Christmas was the proper time for us to go to.

a boy catches the sunset on the beach at the all-inclusive Best Western in Jaco, Costa Rica.

Costa Rica with Youngsters – Desk of Contents

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Planning a Costa Rica Household Journey

When to Go to Costa Rica with Youngsters

Our recommendation for when to guide your loved ones journey to Costa Rica is a reasonably tropical vacation guideline. Most households (like us) might want to go to Costa Rica in winter throughout their youngsters Christmas trip from faculty, however there are additionally many advantages to visiting Costa Rica through the shoulder season as nicely.

the view of the Arenal Volcano from the La Fortuna Butterfly Conservatory in La Fortuna.
Arenal Volcano Nationwide Park

Excessive Season in Costa Rica

Excessive season in Costa Rica is usually between the winter months of December and April. That is when the climate is usually dry and lots of vacationers go to the nation for its seashores, wildlife, and journey actions.

two kids play in the sand and water at Playa Manuel Antonio Beach.
Manuel Antonio Seaside

In alternate for the perfect climate of the 12 months, a go to to Costa Rica with youngsters in excessive season additionally means costly lodging and large crowds on the prime vacationer locations all through the nation.

We deliberate our Christmas household journey to Costa Rica a number of months upfront and have been stunned to find that a number of of our most well-liked lodging have been already absolutely booked. Study from us and guide your lodging as early as potential in case you are planning a household trip to Costa Rica throughout excessive season and particularly over Christmas.

the view from our room at the Riu Guanacaste all-inclusive resort in Costa Rica.
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Shoulder Season in Costa Rica

The shoulder season for visiting Costa Rica with youngsters is often thought of to be the months of November and Might. Throughout this time, the climate in Costa Rica remains to be comparatively good, however there are fewer vacationers. When you can schedule your Costa Rica household trip throughout shoulder season, you’ll get pleasure from to fewer crowds and extra reasonably priced lodging.

How Lengthy to Journey in Costa Rica with Youngsters

With so many wonderful tourism locations similar to Guanacaste, La Fortuna, Monteverde, Manuel Antonio Nationwide Park and Corcovado Nationwide Park, you would go to Costa Rica with youngsters for over a month and nonetheless not see all the pieces.

This timeline isn’t usually life like whereas touring with youngsters, so developing with the perfect Costa Rica itinerary for your loved ones will rely fully in your pursuits and the way a lot time you could have.

a white faced monkey with a baby on its back at manuel antonio national park in costa rica.
Manuel Antonio Nationwide Park

We created our household Costa Rica itinerary by specializing in our pursuits – we needed to see as a lot wonderful Costa Rica wildlife and jungle as potential with a wholesome dose of seashores and family-friendly resorts as nicely. We then factored in journey occasions (with our rental automotive) to strategically give our youngsters some downtime on journey days.

With three weeks for our Costa Rica street journey itinerary, we tried to discover a stability to make the entire household glad. We included the locations we needed to see, in addition to loads of family-friendly locations in Costa Rica for teenagers.

When you’d desire a one or two week itinerary in your Costa Rica household vacation, we provide some options under on easy methods to cut back our three week Costa Rica itinerary to a two week Costa Rica itinerary.

the kids from the Family Can Travel blog are excited to go ziplining in Costa Rica.
La Fortuna Ziplining with youngsters

Getting Round Costa Rica with Youngsters

Likelihood is good that you just’ll be flying into San Jose or Liberia to start your loved ones trip to Costa Rica. Neither of Costa Rica’s two largest cities supply a lot for vacationers, so you’ll doubtless start your Costa Rica self drive itinerary on the airport. Each main Costa Rica airports are in rural areas, permitting you to keep away from driving within the coronary heart of those massive cities.

two kids look for Costa Rican wildlife in the mangroves in-between drake bay and sierpe, costa rica.
Corcovado Mangrove Tour

Costa Rica Rental Vehicles

After spending an evening at a family-friendly San Jose airport lodge, we picked up our SUV rental and drove to Guanacaste for a keep at a RIU all-inclusive resort. Afterwards, we headed inland for some journey in La Fortuna, earlier than spending one other evening at a seaside resort in Jaco.

We completed our household street journey in Costa Rica by driving south to go to the 2 greatest nationwide parks within the nation: Corcovado Nationwide Park and Manuel Antonio Nationwide Park. We beloved the comfort of getting a rental automotive in Costa Rica, permitting us to see and do issues on our personal schedule.

our rental car for our family road trip around Costa Rica.
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Costa Rica Driving Circumstances

After a irritating time driving in Mexico on a earlier household journey, I used to be nervous about driving in Costa Rica, however I needn’t have frightened. The highways to the foremost vacationer locations are in excellent form and the drivers are a lot much less loopy than in Mexico. It was an virtually utterly stress-free driving expertise in Costa Rica.

It’s potential to get round Costa Rica with public transportation, however our analysis confirmed it to be very inconvenient when touring with youngsters. It’s doubtless greatest to go away the buses to the backpackers and get a rental automotive to benefit from your time throughout your loved ones trip to Costa Rica.

Playa Manuel Antonio is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica.
Playa Manuel Antonio

The place to Keep in Costa Rica with Youngsters

As such a family-friendly vacation spot, it needs to be no shock that there’s a extensive number of kid-friendly locations to remain in Costa Rica. For our household trip, we stayed at quite a lot of lodging together with family-friendly inns and trip leases.

two kids run to the next water slide at the Riu Guanacaste water park
Riu Guanacaste All-Inclusive Resort

As a basic rule, we discovered trip leases (like Airbnb or VRBO) to be the most suitable choice for our household whereas touring round Costa Rica. Once we journey with youngsters, we desire trip leases over inns as we worth the kid-friendly facilities similar to kitchens, laundry amenities and separate bedrooms.

our kids loved the pool at our rental house in La Fortuna, Costa Rica.
Our La Fortuna Rental Home

Household journey to Costa Rica throughout excessive season could be fairly costly, in order a bonus, staying in trip leases allowed us to purchase groceries to make our personal meals. We appreciated to eat breakfast at our condo, pack a wholesome lunch then eat at a pleasant restaurant for dinner. This technique made it simpler to eat wholesome and to journey to Costa Rica with youngsters on a price range.

kids love the fruit smoothies at kid-friendly restaurants in La Fortuna.

Household Journey Tip: It’s virtually all the time extremely popular and humid in Costa Rica. If potential, attempt to discover lodging with air-con in each bed room to assist everybody get a very good evening’s sleep.

Household-Pleasant Costa Rica Street Journey Itinerary

Right here is our three-week Costa Rica itinerary with youngsters. As talked about beforehand, because of the relative inconvenience of public transportation, ours was a self-drive road-trip itinerary for Costa Rica.

Household journey is all about discovering stability. Though we deliberate many family-friendly actions for the youngsters, we additionally added actions we like to do to our itinerary. You’ll see our three-week Costa Rica itinerary tried onerous to attain a very good stability, hopefully making the entire household glad and glad.

two kids have a ball playing on Playa Matapalo near the fami;y-friendly Riu Guanacaste all-inclusive resort.
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Three Week Costa Rica Itinerary Overview

  • Day 1: San Jose Airport
  • Days 2-6: RIU Guanacaste All-Inclusive Resort
  • Days 7-10: La Fortuna
  • Day 11: Jaco All-Inclusive Resort
  • Days 12-14: Corcovado Nationwide Park (through Sierpe and Drake Bay)
  • Days 15-18: Manuel Antonio Nationwide Park
  • Day 19: San Jose Airport
when visiting corcovado national park with kids, watch for the ultra cute squirrel monkeys.
Corcovado Nationwide Park

19 Day Costa Rica Itinerary & Greatest Issues to do in Costa Rica with Youngsters

We beloved our Christmas household vacation in Costa Rica and couldn’t be happier with spending almost three weeks in Costa Rica with youngsters. Our street journey itinerary gave us adequate time to discover every space and discover a few of the perfect issues to do in Costa Rica with youngsters.

a young girl rappels through a waterfall in La Fortuna, Costa Rica.
La Fortuna Canyoning

Day 1 – San Jose with Youngsters

After a full day of flying to Costa Rica from Canada, we arrived within the capital metropolis of San Jose fairly late. We spent the evening on the family-friendly Vacation Inn Airport Resort, which was a 2-minute shuttle trip from the airport. They’ve an incredible buffet breakfast and a big outside pool which is a really kid-friendly 3 toes deep.

a boy is excited for his banana car at the family-friendly San Jose Costa Rica airport hotel

Days 2 – 6: RIU Guanacaste All-Inclusive Resort with Youngsters

As soon as the world began to open up once more for journey throughout COVID, we snuck in a super-easy household trip to Mexico to remain on the RIU Palace Cabo San Lucas.

Usually, we’re extra of an lively mountain climbing & biking household than a ‘chill out on the seaside’ household, however our youngsters beloved the all-inclusive expertise a lot that we determined to deal with them to a different keep, this time on the 5-star RIU Guanacaste Resort.

the grand lobby at the Riu Guanacaste all-inclusive resort in Costa Rica.
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The drive from San Jose to our family-friendly Costa Rica all-inclusive lodge was the longest of our whole journey – clocking in at round 4.5 hours. The ultimate jiffy to the RIU resort was alongside a really slender rural street, however outdoors of that the highways have been in nice form and straightforward to drive. In reality, an honest portion of the drive between San Jose and Liberia is alongside a divided freeway.

The all-ages Riu Guanacaste all-inclusive lodge sits on an unbelievable piece of beachfront property alongside a big bay. You’ll be amazed on the vistas of the encompassing Guanacaste landscapes as you sit on the black sand Matapalo Seaside.

The family-friendly Riu Guanacaste all-inclusive resort sits at the base of a mountainous jungle.
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The seaside on the Riu all-inclusive is nice for teenagers, however should you’d like a while away from the sand, your loved ones may get pleasure from using three swimming swimming pools, which are available quite a lot of depths. Our favourite reminiscence from our keep on the Riu resort was dancing away in one of many swimming pools throughout a kid-friendly foam celebration!

A beautiful fountain in the middle of one of the three outdoor swimming pools at the all-inclusive Riu Guanacaste hotel.
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Our household likes to eat, and we ate very nicely on the Riu Guanacaste in Costa Rica. There’s a wide array of buffet and themed à la carte eating places, which stored us loads full throughout our keep.

a young boy is excited to have four strawberry waffles at the main breakfast buffet restaurant at the Riu Guanacaste all-inclusive hotel.

Given our household journey to Costa Rica was over Christmas, we needed to schedule our keep on the RIU Guanacaste over Christmas, however by the point we went to guide it, the Christmas to New Years dates have been all bought out. If you wish to keep on the RIU Guanacaste over Christmas, don’t delay and guide as early as potential!

a 9 year old girl plays in the warm, calm waters of Matapalo Beach, in front of the Riu Guanacaste family-friendly resort.

Days 7 – 10: La Fortuna with Youngsters

Up till not too long ago, La Fortuna was residence to some of the lively volcanoes on the planet within the close by Arenal Volcano Nationwide Park. Though, the Arenal Volcano has determined to take a well-earned break, the motion and journey all-around this Costa Rica volcano resort city remains to be very alive and nicely.

Two kids on a family trip to Costa Rica enjoy tandem ziplining.
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Household Journey Actions in La Fortuna

After a 3 hour drive from the Riu Guanacaste to our trip rental in La Fortuna, we spent our three days in La Fortuna occurring all kinds of adventures with our youngsters.

We discovered an unbelievable family-friendly zip-lining expertise (for ages 5+), kid-friendly canyoning (once more, ages 5+), a mild white-water tubing tour and even a go to to a butterfly and frog conservatory to see a few of Costa Rica’s most well-known inhabitants up shut.

a 7 year old boy smiles as he rappels down a waterfall near Arenal Volcano.

Day 11: Greatest Western Jaco Seaside Resort

Our subsequent main vacation spot on our Costa Rica household itinerary after La Fortuna and Arenal Volcano Nationwide Park was Corcovado Nationwide Park. Given it could have been a really lengthy 6.5 hour drive between La Fortuna and Sierpe, we determined to interrupt it up with a one-night keep on the Greatest Western Jaco Seaside Resort, which was conveniently situated roughly midway between the 2.

a family is excited for lunch at the all-you-can-eat buffet at the all-inclusive Best Western resort in Jaco Beach, Costa Rica.

The Greatest Western Jaco Seaside Resort is one other very family-friendly Costa Rica lodge – in reality it appeared greater than half the visitors have been households with youngsters. In comparison with the Riu Guanacaste, the Greatest Western Jaco Seaside Resort is a modest all-inclusive lodge, nevertheless it’s the one all-inclusive resort within the space and was nonetheless a really enjoyable stick with youngsters.

The Jaco Seaside Greatest Western Resort sits on an exquisite piece of beachfront property alongside a big bay with mountain landscapes on both finish. To be sincere, due to a couple pure risks, the seaside isn’t the perfect for teenagers to swim in, however the lodge compensates for it with a number of enjoyable swimming swimming pools.

the beachfront infinity pool at the Best Western Jaco Beach All-Inclusive Resort is the nicest pool at the hotel.
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Days 12 – 14: Drake Bay & Corcovado with Youngsters

Corcovado Nationwide Park is world-renowned for its biodiversity and is taken into account the very greatest place to see wildlife in Costa Rica. With such a tremendous status, we knew we needed to match Corcovado Nationwide Park into our Costa Rica itinerary.

After a fast drive from the Greatest Western Jaco Seaside Resort to Sierpe, we took a enjoyable water taxi to the distant outpost of Drake Bay, which was the bottom for our household adventures in Corcovado Nationwide Park.

a boy with a big smile enjoys swinging on a purple hammock at his house rental in drake bay, costa rica.

Visiting Corcovado Nationwide Park with youngsters is an expertise we received’t quickly overlook – it certain lived as much as its status of a good spot to see wildlife in Costa Rica with youngsters!

Evening Jungle Tour with Youngsters

Our adventures started on our first night in Drake Bay with a evening jungle tour. Armed with flashlights and rubber boots, our information led us up the mouth of a creek close to our home rental.

we enjoyed our night jungle tour in Corcovado national park with kids.
Costa Rica with Youngsters - Household Can Journey 97

The jungle comes alive at evening and we received to see all of it, from all of the well-known Costa Rica frogs (together with the red-eyed tree frog), to lizards, big spiders, scorpions and way more! Though it was a bit scary for the youngsters at first, the thrill of our household journey shortly overtook them and we had a good time!

seeing mating red eyed tree frogs on our visit to corcovado national park with kids was a highlight of our night jungle tour.
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Household Wildlife Tour of Corcovado Nationwide Park

We adopted up our nighttime jungle tour with a daytime jungle tour in Corcovado Nationwide Park. Our household had an extremely profitable jungle tour due to the adept eyes of our information and our daughter (who’s changing into excellent at recognizing wildlife!).

Only a few of the numerous highlights included recognizing 3 out of 4 of Costa Rica’s monkey species, a mom tapir and her child, a number of brilliantly coloured toucans and an anteater.

toucans were our kids favorite bird on our family corcovado jungle tour.
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Snorkeling with youngsters at Cano Island Organic Reserve

The Cano Island Organic Reserve, not far offshore from Drake Bay, is a well-liked vacation spot for snorkeling. We’ve been wanting to present our youngsters extra publicity to the fantastic thing about underwater life so we went on a Cano Island snorkeling day journey.

Given the Pacific Ocean isn’t world-renowned for its readability, the water round Cano Island is surprisingly clear with a very good quantity of tropical fish. The spotlight was when a big sea turtle swam proper under us!

a 7 year old boy loves the high speed boat ride between Sierpe and Drake Bay, Costa Rica.

Mangrove Wildlife Tour

Our last journey of our go to to Corcovado Nationwide Park with youngsters was to take an thrilling mangrove tour from Drake Bay again to Sierpe. Water is a magnet for wildlife, so we noticed a formidable number of Costa Rica wildlife with our youngsters, together with seeing the ultimate of the 4 Costa Rica monkey species. As well as, we noticed so many crocodiles and tropical chook species that we misplaced depend.

a playful white faced monkey delighted our kids on a mangrove tour to sierpe, costa rica
Costa Rica with Youngsters - Household Can Journey 100

Days 15 – 18: Manuel Antonio Nationwide Park with Youngsters

Ever since visiting for the primary time over a decade in the past, I’ve all the time dreamed of coming again to Manuel Antonio with my household. Why? Manuel Antonio Nationwide Park isn’t solely some of the lovely nationwide parks on the planet, nevertheless it additionally has world-class wildlife recognizing alternatives together with a number of gorgeous seashores. It’s a excellent place to go to in Costa Rica with youngsters.

the two main beaches in Manuel Antonio National Park are back-to-back on the narrow portion of this peninsula.
Costa Rica with Youngsters - Household Can Journey 101

Given we couldn’t spend Christmas on the Riu Guanacaste all-inclusive resort like we had initially needed, we did the following smartest thing and deliberate our go to to Manuel Antonio Nationwide Park over Christmas. We even splurged and employed a non-public nationwide park tour for our household on Christmas day!

a family wears santa hats while visiting Playa Manuel Antonio on Christmas Day.

Manuel Antonio Jungle Excursions with youngsters

Regardless of seeing an unbelievable quantity of wildlife up to now in our household Costa Rica trip, we hadn’t had any good sloth sightings. This was rectified on Christmas Day when our information discovered many sloths for us, together with two moms with their tiny sloth infants!

a boy looks on in wonder during a family jungle tour at Manuel Antonio National Park in Costa Rica.

Our jungle tour information additionally noticed many different Costa Rica species we hadn’t but see on our household journey together with colourful crabs, bats, moths and even a big, lovely carnivorous flower! After the jungle tour, we spent a enjoyable afternoon on one of many lovely seashores inside Manuel Antonio Nationwide Park.

two kids play in the sand and water at Playa Manuel Antonio Beach
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We returned to Manuel Antonio Nationwide Park the day after Christmas, however this time we went with no information. Given how onerous it’s to see wildlife in Costa Rica with no educated information, we had low expectations for our solo stroll by way of the nationwide park, however we actually stunned ourselves.

We had discovered lots from our guides and noticed fairly a little bit of wildlife on our personal. And, in reality, we had a very unbelievable sloth encounter, which ranks up there as one in all our High 5 animal encounters of our lives!

During our visit to manuel antonio with kids, this sloth came very close to us.

Kayaking close to Manuel Antonio with youngsters

We’ve performed an amazing quantity of family-friendly actions in Costa Rica, however we hadn’t but gone kayaking. For our last day in Manuel Antonio Nationwide Park, we joined a kayaking tour by way of the mangroves close to the park.

It was nice enjoyable sharing kayaks with our youngsters as we made our method by way of the atmospheric mangroves. Though it’s more durable to identify wildlife whereas kayaking, we nonetheless had a number of nice encounters, together with an up-close go to from some white-faced capuchin monkeys.

a family looks for Costa Rica wildlife on a kayak tour through the mangroves near manuel antonio national park.

Playa Biesanz

We spent our last morning in Manuel Antonio with our youngsters at a shocking seaside simply outdoors the nationwide park limits. Playa Biesanz is an exquisite, secluded seaside beloved by locals and vacationers alike. There’s nice wildlife recognizing at Playa Biesanz as nicely, with a number of monkey species and sloths calling the encompassing jungle residence.

a 7-year old boy plays in the water at the family-friendly Biesanz Beach in Costa Rica.

Get all the main points about visiting Manuel Antonio with youngsters, together with extra about our unbelievable sloth encounter, suggestions on excursions, the place to remain and kid-friendly eating places.

Day 19: San Jose Airport

After a bittersweet morning at Playa Biesanz, we made our method again to our San Jose airport lodge. We stayed on the Vacation Inn once more as a result of its very handy location so near the airport.

This time we had sufficient time to let the youngsters play on the pool, earlier than crossing the car parking zone to have our last meal in Costa Rica at Denny’s. Ya, ya… we all know… it’s not probably the most genuine Costa Rica eating expertise, however we figured our youngsters deserved an enormous stack of chocolate chip pancakes for dinner after being so adventurous on our household journey to Costa Rica!

kids play in the outdoor pool at the Holiday Inn airport hotel in San Jose, Costa Rica.
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A Shorter Costa Rica with Youngsters Itinerary

When you don’t have three weeks for a Costa Rica household vacation, you may simply break up our Costa Rica itinerary into smaller items. These two Costa Rica itineraries are excellent for a 1 week journey to Costa Rica or perhaps a 2 week household trip to Costa Rica.

Costa Rica Itinerary Concept #1: Guanacaste – La Fortuna

Fly into Liberia and spend time having fun with two of the perfect family-friendly locations in Costa Rica. Guanacaste is residence to many family-friendly all-inclusive resorts, together with the 5-star Riu Guanacaste resort, which we stayed at.

a swimming pool at the Riu Guanacaste resort is beautifully illuminated at night.

In the meantime, close by La Fortuna (and Arenal Volcano Nationwide Park) is the journey capital of Costa Rica. With so many journey actions, similar to ziplining, canyoning, tubing, ATV excursions, and extra, there are such a lot of issues to do in La Fortuna with youngsters, you’ll run out of time!

Tubing with kids - La Fortuna Costa Rica.
Tubing in La Fortuna

Costa Rica Itinerary Concept #2: Jaco – Corcovado – Manuel Antonio

If your loved ones are nature lovers like us, this Costa Rica itinerary is ideal for your loved ones trip. Each Corcovado Nationwide Park and Manuel Antonio Nationwide are world-class wildlife recognizing locations. Corcovado is extra distant and rugged, whereas Manuel Antonio is way more accessible. We suggest visiting each in case you have the time and alternative.

kids love the loud growling sounds of a howler monkey in the jungle.
Howler Monkey

Then, after visiting the deep Costa Rica jungles together with your youngsters, why not chill out at a beachfront all-inclusive resort in Jaco in your method again to San Jose? 

the sun sets behind palm trees on the beach near the Best Western Jaco Beach All-Inclusive Resort.
Jaco All-Inclusive Resort

We hope you like your loved ones trip to Costa Rica with youngsters as a lot as we did!

Extra Household Journey Locations


Dan Brewer is an intrepid household journey blogger with a ardour for exploring the world’s most charming locations. With 58 international locations beneath his belt and a way of wanderlust that is aware of no bounds, he has made it his life’s mission to share his journey experiences and insights with fellow households who like to journey.

When Dan is not touring together with his spouse and children, he is both out having fun with the Canadian Rockies he calls residence or engaged on one in all his three journey websites (Household Can Journey, Journey Banff Canada and Final Sports activities Street Journey).


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