Plan the perfect week in Costa Rica with these family-friendly itinerary ideas. From volcanoes and hot springs to waterfalls and estuaries, each plan features a range of outdoor experiences. Focus your time around hiking and wildlife viewing in national parks, opt for an adventure centered around volcanoes and Pacific beaches, or choose a trip filled with active pursuits like sailing and snorkeling around the coral reef off the Catalina Islands. With hands-on activities like chocolate-making workshops and nighttime rainforest walks, these action-packed trips are a hit with kids and adults alike.

Itinerary #1: Outdoor Adventures & Wildlife of Costa Rica 

Explore the best of Costa Rica's landscapes and wildlife habitats on this 7-day journey through La Fortuna Waterfall Reserve, the Monteverde cloud forest, and Manuel Antonio National Park.

Monteverde cloud forest
Monteverde cloud forest
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Taste Chocolates on a Tour of a Cocoa Bean Farm La Fortuna
Day 2 Go on a Sloth and Bird Hike & Dip in Hot Springs La Fortuna
Day 3 Discover the Children's Eternal Forest Monteverde
Day 4 Tour Monteverde Cloud Forest on a Guided Hike Monteverde
Day 5 Transfer to Manuel Antonio National Park Manuel Antonio
Day 6 Hike, Sail & Snorkel in the Park Manuel Antonio
Day 7 Depart Costa Rica  


The adventure begins in La Fortuna with a trip to a cocoa bean farm where you will learn how chocolate is made from bean to bar. On day two, look for sloths hanging from the trees during a guided hike through the rainforest, followed by a refreshing dip in natural hot springs. 

Continue to Monteverde cloud forest. You'll get to know the Children's Eternal Forest, the largest private reserve in the country, before finishing your journey with a few days in Manuel Antonio National Park. During a catamaran cruise, you'll have the chance to snorkel in the bay, looking for starfish, parrotfish, and possibly even dolphins. Learn more

Itinerary #2: Volcano & Pacific Beach Family Adventure

On this thrilling week-long trip, you'll see a range of Costa Rica's top natural highlights, including the volcano in Rincón de la Vieja National Park, the surf hub of Tamarindo, and the sun-kissed beaches and unspoiled rainforests of the Nicoya Peninsula. 

Playa Tamarindo at sunset
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Liberia & Transfer to Rincón de la Vieja Rincón de la Vieja
Day 2 Hike in Rincón de la Vieja National Park Rincón de la Vieja
Day 3 Transfer to the Surf Town of Tamarindo Tamarindo
Day 4 Take a Private Surf Lesson at Playa Tamarindo Tamarindo
Day 5 Kayak Along the Coast Tamarindo
Day 6 Enjoy a Free Day in Tamarindo Tamarindo
Day 7 Depart Cost Rica  


After touching down in Liberia, you'll spend a day hiking around volcanoes, rivers, and waterfalls in Rincón de la Vieja National Park. By day three, you'll be making your way to the Nicoya Peninsula and the surf town of Tamarindo. Learn to catch a wave during a private surf lesson on the beach and enjoy the laid-back atmosphere of the village.

On day five, kayak to Capitán Island through the clear waters of Tamarindo Bay. Snorkeling with tropical fish is an optional activity here. You'll choose your adventure on day six, opting for a jungle hike, a safari-style boat trip, or whitewater rafting on the Tenorio River. Learn more

Itinerary #3: Explore Wetlands & Caribbean Beaches

White sand beaches, river canals, jungle trails, and bright blue waterfalls await on this action-packed 7-day itinerary around Costa Rica that's perfect for families. Highlights include historic San José and a pair of national parks for wildlife viewing, boating, and night hikes.

Punta Uva in Puerto Viejo
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Explore Downtown San José San José
Day 2 Spot Wildlife on a Night Hike in Tortuguero Tortuguero
Day 3 Boat Along the Tortuguero Canals Tortuguero
Day 4 Discover the Beaches Around Puerto Viejo Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
Day 5 Tour Cahuita National Park Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
Day 6 Visit a Jaguar Rescue Center Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
Day 7 Depart Costa Rica  


Spend a full day exploring historic downtown San José on the first day of the trip. On a self-guided tour, you will see the city's bustling markets, grand cathedrals, and fascinating museums, including the Jade Museum. Then move on to Tortuguero National Park, where you will go on a nighttime rainforest hike with a knowledgeable guide. Enjoy a boat ride through the park's canals before traveling to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca.

Take some time to enjoy the region's black, golden, and white sand beaches. You will drive the short distance to Cahuita National Park on day five. This is a great place to try snorkeling, with tropical fish, stingrays, and octopuses native to the area. On the last full day of the trip, you will learn about the rehabilitation of wild animals when you visit the Jaguar Animal Rescue Center. Learn more

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Itinerary #4: Discover Manuel Antonio National Park & La Fortuna

Focus your time on two destinations—beautiful Manuel Antonio National Park and the region around Arenal—on this week-long trip that includes waterfall hikes, wildlife viewing, and soaks in hot springs.

Manuel Antonio National Park
Manuel Antonio National Park
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Travel to Manuel Antonio National Park Manuel Antonio
Day 2 Boat Around Damas Island Estuary Manuel Antonio
Day 3 Go on a Guided Hike in the National Park Manuel Antonio
Day 4 Transfer to Arenal & Soak in Hot Springs La Fortuna
Day 5 Visit the Arenal Hanging Bridges & La Fortuna Waterfall La Fortuna
Day 6 Tour the Proyecto Asis Rescue Center La Fortuna
Day 7 Depart Costa Rica  


Enjoy the tropical beaches and pristine rainforest of Manuel Antonio National Park on the first day of the trip, where you'll have the option to try snorkeling or parasailing over the ocean. Then discover the mangrove ecosystem of Damas Island Estuary during a boat tour that doubles as a birdwatching opportunity. You'll go on a family-friendly guided hike around the park on day three.

Transfer to Arenal and the town of La Fortuna on day four. Over the next few days, you will visit the Arenal Hanging Bridges, hike to Arenal Volcano, and go for a dip in the Tabacon Hot Springs. On the last full day of the adventure, you will tour a rehabilitation center for local animals and have the chance to interact with monkeys, parrots, and sloths. Learn more

Itinerary #5: Hike, Snorkel & Sail in Costa Rica

This 7-day adventure through Costa Rica is all about outdoor excursions, from hiking through the rainforest to boating through an estuary to snorkeling with tropical fish off the coast of the Catalina Islands.

Enjoy the sunset aboard a luxury catamaran
Enjoy the sunset aboard a luxury catamaran
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Explore the Rainforest After Dark La Fortuna
Day 2 Trek to Waterfalls on a Guided Rainforest Hike La Fortuna
Day 3 Sloth and Bird Hike & Dip in Hot Springs La Fortuna
Day 4 Enjoy a Catamaran Sailing Tour at Sunset Tamarindo
Day 5 Boat Around Tamarindo Mangrove & Estuary  Tamarindo
Day 6 Snorkeling Around the Catalina Islands Tamarindo
Day 7 Depart Cost Rica  


Your tour begins in La Fortuna. You will go on a guided nighttime hike to a private ecological reserve to look for insects, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals. On day two, you will hike along the bright blue waters of one of Costa Rica's most stunning natural attractions, the Río Celeste. Look for sloths and colorful birds during a morning hike on day three, then enjoy an afternoon excursion trekking around the base of Arenal Volcano.

Continue to the surf town of Tamarindo. In the late afternoon, set sail on a catamaran cruise that culminates with unforgettable sunset views. Day five brings another boat tour around the Tamarindo Estuary, a nesting spot for leatherback and Pacific green turtles. Finally, you'll go on a snorkeling excursion around the Catalina Islands on day six. Keep your eyes open for giant manta rays! Learn more

Itinerary #6: Discover the Volcanoes, Waterfalls & Coral Reefs of Costa Rica

Venture to dramatic mountainscapes and the ocean's depths on this action-packed 7-day trip plan around Costa Rica's spectacular natural attractions, including Papagayo Bay and Rincón de la Vieja National Park.

Hot springs in Costa Rica
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Soak in the Río Negro Hot Springs Rincón de la Vieja
Day 2 Hike in Rincón de la Vieja National Park Rincón de la Vieja
Day 3 Guided Rainforest Hike Rincón de la Vieja
Day 4 Sail on the Gulf of Papagayo at Sunset  Gulf of Papagayo
Day 5 Explore Tamarindo Mangrove & Estuary  Gulf of Papagayo
Day 6 Snorkel Around the Catalina Islands Gulf of Papagayo
Day 7 Depart Costa Rica  


The adventure begins with a relaxing experience soaking in the Río Negro Hot Springs, a series of thermal pools heated by the nearby Rincón de la Vieja Volcano. You'll set out on a hike in the national park on day two, finishing with a refreshing swim in a waterfall. Take in the stunning blue hues of the Río Celeste as you hike in Tenorio Volcano National Park on day three.

Spend the second part of the trip exploring the Gulf of Papagayo and its surroundings. You'll begin with a sailing trip at sunset on day four, then cruise around the Tamarindo Estuary on day five. An underwater world awaits you on the last day of the trip when you go snorkeling off the volcanic island chain known as the Catalina islands. Learn more

More Great Costa Rica Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Costa Rica? Check out these other Costa Rica itineraries, with outdoor adventures, family-friendly trips, and best-of tours to hit the highlights. 

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Map of 1 Week in Costa Rica - 6 Family-Friendly Itinerary Ideas
Map of 1 Week in Costa Rica - 6 Family-Friendly Itinerary Ideas