From natural landscapes to wildlife experiences and adventure sports, Costa Rica has much to offer families. Travelers with younger children might opt for a 10-day itinerary with easy guided hikes and visits to wildlife refuges. And those with older kids may choose a trip plan that features zip-lining, whitewater rafting, and surf lessons. Whether you focus your time around Arenal Volcano and Monteverde Cloud Forest, base yourself in the surf town of Tamarindo, or go further off the beaten path on a trip to coastal Sámara, these family-friendly itineraries offer outdoor education and thrills for all ages.

Itinerary #1: Costa Rica for Families: Outdoor Adventures & Wildlife 

See Costa Rica's waterfalls, rainforests, and wildlife habitats on this 10-day tour that's perfect for families. Explore Arenal, the Monteverde Cloud Forest, Manuel Antonio National Park, Damas Island Estuary, and more.

Crocodiles on the banks of the Tárcoles River 
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Explore Downtown San José San José
Day 2 Walk in the Rainforest After Dark La Fortuna
Day 3 Enjoy a Sloth and Bird Hike & Dip in Hot Springs La Fortuna
Day 4 Tour a Wildlife Rehabilitation Center  Monteverde
Day 5 Discover the Children's Eternal Forest Monteverde
Day 6 Tour Monteverde Cloud Forest on a Guided Hike Monteverde
Day 7 Travel to Manuel Antonio National Park Manuel Antonio
Day 8 Hike, Sail & Snorkel in the Park Manuel Antonio
Day 9 Boat Around Damas Island Estuary Manuel Antonio
Day 10 Depart Costa Rica  


Welcome to Costa Rica! Spend a day sightseeing in San José, then transfer to La Fortuna for a nocturnal rainforest hike, a dip in natural hot springs, and the chance to see sloths in the wild. Continue to the Monteverde Cloud Forest. You'll get up close with animals at a wildlife rehabilitation center, then tour the cloud forest as well as the Children's Eternal Forest on guided hikes.

Spend the last part of the trip in Manuel Antonio National Park, where you'll stop at a lookout point to view large crocodiles along the journey. Then tour the coastline on a catamaran cruise, stopping for snorkeling if the gang desires. Explore a mangrove ecosystem at that Damas Island Estuary during another boating trip on day nine before your family adventure comes to an end. Learn more

Itinerary #2: Family Trip to Costa Rica's Volcanoes, Waterfalls & Coral Reefs 

From crocodile spotting to playing in volcanic mud, this family-oriented 10-day trip features thrilling adventures in Rincón de la Vieja National Park, the Gulf of Papagayo, and the Werner Sauter Biological Reserve.

Boys trekking in the jungle to waterfalls
Trek with the kids to jungle waterfalls
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 Go on a Guided Rainforest Hike Rincón de la Vieja
Day 4 Experience Pacific Green Turtles Nesting Gulf of Papagayo
Day 5 Explore the Beaches of Guanacaste Gulf of Papagayo
Day 6 Snorkel Around the Catalina Islands Gulf of Papagayo
Day 7 Visit a Coffee Farm & Indigenous Community Sámara
Day 8 Tour a Scarlet Macaw Refuge and Breeding Center Sámara
Day 9 Hike in the Werner Sauter Biological Reserve Sámara
Day 10 Depart Costa Rica   


After landing in Liberia, travel to Rincón de la Vieja National Park and go for a dip in the Río Negro Hot Springs. On day two, hike to a waterfall then explore Tenorio Volcano National Park, walking along the bright blue Río Celeste river. Watch hundreds of green sea turtles come ashore to lay their eggs near the Gulf of Papagayo on a guided tour.

Spend a day relaxing on the beaches of Guanacaste before going on a snorkeling adventure off the Catalina Islands, where you'll spot tropical fish while swimming around a coral reef. Learn about indigenous culture and how coffee is made, tour a scarlet macaw refuge center, and hike in a forested biological reserve to finish up the adventure. Learn more

Itinerary #3: Family Adventure in Costa Rica: Wetlands, Volcanoes & Caribbean Beaches 

On this adventurous 10-day trip designed for families, you'll swim in waterfall pools, boat in Tortuguero National Park, enjoy the beautiful beaches of Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, and hike around Arenal Volcano.  

La Fortuna Waterfall
La Fortuna Waterfall
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Explore San José's Food Scene San José
Day 2 Spot Wildlife on a Night Hike in Tortuguero Tortuguero
Day 3 Boat Along the Tortuguero Canals Tortuguero
Day 4 Travel to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
Day 5 Visit a Jaguar Rescue Center Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
Day 6 Discover the Beaches Around Puerto Viejo Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
Day 7 Hike to La Fortuna Waterfall La Fortuna
Day 8 Go on a Sloth and Bird Hike & Dip in Hot Springs La Fortuna
Day 9 Embark on a Safari Float & Visit a Chocolate Farm La Fortuna
Day 10 Depart Costa Rica  


Wander around the colorful marketplaces and landmarks of San José on a food-focused tour of the city on day one. You'll continue to Tortuguero National Park to look for spiders, frogs, bats, sloths, porcupines, and more in their natural habitat. Then on day three, you'll go boating in the national park before continuing to the beautiful beaches of Puerto Viejo de Talamanca to splash around.

Tour a jaguar rescue center, then visit with an indigenous family and learn how to make chocolate on day five. You'll have some time to relax on the beach before traveling to La Fortuna for an exciting waterfall hike and a walk through a sloth habitat. Soak in the Tabacon Hot Springs, enjoy a safari-style float down a jungle river seeking out wildlife from a new perspective, and indulge your sweet tooth with local chocolates to finish up the adventure. Learn more

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Itinerary #4: Active Family Adventure in Costa Rica

Offering a mix of rainforest hikes, wildlife encounters, and underwater adventures, this active 10-day trip around Costa Rica is popular with families. In addition to boating, snorkeling, and spotting sloths in the wild, you'll learn about wildlife conservation.

family snorkeling
Splash around the Catalina Islands of Costa Rica
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Explore the Rainforest After Dark La Fortuna
Day 2 Go on a Guided Rainforest Hike La Fortuna
Day 3 Enjoy a Sloth and Bird Hike & Dip in Hot Springs La Fortuna
Day 4 Go on a Catamaran Sailing Tour at Sunset Tamarindo
Day 5 Boat Around Tamarindo Mangrove & Estuary  Tamarindo
Day 6 Snorkel Around the Catalina Islands  Tamarindo
Day 7 Relax on the Beach in Sámara Sámara
Day 8 Visit a Scarlet Macaw Refuge and Breeding Center Sámara
Day 9 Hike in the Werner Sauter Biological Reserve Sámara
Day 10 Depart Costa Rica  


On this itinerary, you'll spend the first few days of the trip exploring the volcanoes, hot springs, bird habitats, and waterfalls of Arenal. Move on to the surf hub of Tamarindo next, where you'll enjoy a catamaran tour at sunset, a boat tour around the Tamarindo Mangrove and Estuary, and a snorkeling excursion off the shore of the Catalina Islands.

Transfer to Sámara for the last part of the trip. First, you'll have some time to relax on the white, golden, and black sand beaches for which the region is famous. Then you'll tour a scarlet macaw refuge and breeding center and go for a hike in the Werner Sauter Biological Reserve to wrap up the trip. Learn more

Itinerary #5: Family Adventure in Costa Rica: Volcanoes, Cloud Forests & the Ocean 

This lively 10-day itinerary through Costa Rica is tailor-made for families, featuring a visit to a local farm, zip-lining adventures, a jungle cruise, surf lessons, and horseback riding. 

A relaxing horseback ride through the forest
A relaxing horseback ride through the forest
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Spot Sloths in the Wild La Fortuna
Day 2 Visit a Local Farm & Arenal Hanging Bridges La Fortuna
Day 3 Tour a Wildlife Rehabilitation Center La Fortuna
Day 4 Explore a Coffee Farm & Go on a Nighttime Nature Walk Monteverde
Day 5 Have Fun at the Sky Adventures Park Monteverde
Day 6 Go Horseback Riding in the Jungle Monteverde
Day 7 Experience Pacific Green Turtles Nesting Tamarindo
Day 8 Boat Around Palo Verde National Park  Tamarindo
Day 9 Explore Beaches & Snorkel Offshore Tamarindo
Day 10 Depart Costa Rica  


Kick off the trip with a nighttime tour of a sloth habitat near La Fortuna, known as one of the country's primary hotspots for these slow-moving creatures. Kids will enjoy a hands-on farm experience on day two, where they'll have a chance to milk a cow before heading off to the Arenal Hanging Bridges for views of the volcano. Then, you'll get up close with snakes, monkeys, and parrots during a tour of a wildlife rehabilitation center.

Tour a coffee farm, and enjoy a full day of fun at the Sky Adventures Park, offering a variety of zip-lining thrills. Go horseback riding along a jungle river, stopping for a picnic and a quick swim in a natural pool. Then witness green turtles laying their eggs on the beach. The trip ends with a boat excursion around Palo Verde National Park and a chance to snorkel or surf at one of the area's most beautiful beaches, Playa Conchal. Learn more

Itinerary #6: Family Trip to Costa Rica's Mountains, Volcanoes & the Gulf of Papagayo

Surf lessons, whitewater rafting, river tubing, and nighttime jungle hikes await families on this active 10-day trip around Costa Rica that offers a wide range of exciting outdoor activities to entertain travelers of all ages. 

Tubing River
Tubing on the river
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Soak in the Río Negro Hot Springs Rincón de la Vieja
Day 2 Enjoy a Day of Adventure in Hacienda Guachipelin Rincón de la Vieja
Day 3 Explore the Rainforest After Dark La Fortuna
Day 4 Go on a Sloth and Bird Hike & Dip in Hot Springs La Fortuna
Day 5 Try Whitewater Rafting on the Balsa River La Fortuna
Day 6 Sail on the Gulf of Papagayo at Sunset  Gulf of Papagayo
Day 7 Free Day in Papagayo Gulf of Papagayo
Day 8 Discover the Beaches of Guanacaste  Gulf of Papagayo
Day 9 Explore Tamarindo Mangrove & Estuary  Gulf of Papagayo
Day 10 Depart Costa Rica  


Take it easy on day one with a dip in the Río Negro Hot Springs. Kids will love frolicking in the mineral-rich mud! On day two, you'll have the chance to try zip-lining, repelling, river tubing, horseback riding, and more at Hacienda Guachipelin. Look for exotic frogs during a nighttime jungle tour, then hike along the Sloth Trail to look for sloths in the wild.

Go whitewater rafting on the Río Balsa river, then relax during a sunset cruise on the Gulf of Papagayo. You'll have the option to try more whitewater rafting, SUP (stand-up paddleboarding), or a safari-style river float on day seven. Take a surf lesson at Tamarindo Beach and finish the trip with a boat tour of Tamarindo Mangrove and Estuary. Learn more

More Great 10-Day Costa Rica Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Costa Rica? Check out these other 10-day Costa Rica itineraries, with outdoor adventures, family-friendly trips, and best-of tours to hit the highlights. 

Map

Map of 10 Days in Costa Rica - 6 Family-Friendly Itinerary Ideas
Map of 10 Days in Costa Rica - 6 Family-Friendly Itinerary Ideas