Prior to my trip to Costa Rica, I thought the country was only suitable for serious bird watchers and honeymooners and would simply not work for a family summer holiday. This view couldn’t be further from the truth – the country has something to offer for both parents and children with a diversity of wildlife and activities that can be incorporated within a 2 week trip (or longer).
Starting with a visit to La Paz Waterfall Gardens which is an ideal introduction and insight into what will follow later in the holiday. It also incorporates a rescue centre, some of the toucans will even come and sit on your arm! Stay in the comfortable Xandari plantation. Following your stay in the Central Valley, you can explore the many inland canal waterways and all its jungle inhabitants in Tortuguero on the Caribbean coast. Lodges are rustic and simple and excursions (included) are on a group basis. School summer holidays are the ideal time for being able to watch Green turtles come ashore and lay their eggs on the beach, a truly memorable sight. South of Tortuguero is Cahuita National Park good for snorkelling by the reef and observing coatis, raccoons, sloths and capuchin monkeys. Nearby is the Sloth sanctuary which is a fantastic project – it is possible to visit and even help out as a volunteer.
From the Caribbean coast head to see the mighty Arenal Volcano and enjoy a wealth of activities such as ziplining through the jungle and white water rafting. End a day relaxing in the Ecotermales natural hot springs followed by dinner. This is a family run project and you will be eating fresh Costa Rican food in what used to be the family’s own house.
For those looking for relaxation and time on the coast travel south to the Pacific resort of Quepos. There are some lovely charming boutique hotels some with access to their own beach as the beaches inside the park can get busy at times. Visit the nearby Manuel Antonio National Park – the smallest National Park in the country which is very popular and one look at the pristine white sand and you’ll be able to see why! The whale season starts in August. El Parador is ideal for families with 3 swimming pools and activities on site.
A final stop on this 2 week trip could be the Osa Peninsula, this remote area is one of the best places for wildlife observation. There are lodges dotted in the jungle, some with amazing views of the ocean from your bungalow. This area would make an unforgettable end to any trip.
If you’re looking for a family holiday full of action and adventure Costa Rica really is an excellent choice, many of the lodges offer spacious 2 bedroom units useful for those with younger children. The school summer holidays in the UK is the low season in Costa Rica, so take advantage of lower prices and fewer tourists, to see the country at its best. There are tropical downpours all year round but these tend to be short sharp bursts and the sun is soon shining again. It is a compact country so distances between resorts are relatively short despite the basic road network. The children will be captivated by the wildlife and will have so much to tell their friends or grandparents on their return!
A typical 14 night family holiday including Central Valley, Tortuguero, Arenal and Manuel Antonio is from £3250 per person (2 bedroom unit or 2 bedrooms) depending on the age of the children.
Interested in going to Costa Rica? Sunvil Traveller have a family holiday offer.