With six days in Costa Rica, travelers can easily explore one or two destinations. Itineraries fun for the whole family include a trip to La Fortuna Waterfall Reserve, an excursion to Manuel Antonio National Park, a wildlife excursion around Arenal Volcano (plus a zip line adventure!), and a trip plan centered around volcanoes and beaches. Add a cultural element to the trip by spending a day exploring the historic center of San José. Read on to learn more about your options for family-friendly trips around Costa Rica.

Itinerary #1: Outdoor Family Adventures in Costa Rica

On this six-day adventure around Costa Rica's landscapes, you'll hike around the La Fortuna Waterfall Reserve, walk the famous Arenal Hanging Bridges, soak in natural hot springs, and explore Manuel Antonio National Park.

Relax in natural hot springs warmed by a volcano
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Hike to La Fortuna Waterfall La Fortuna
Day 2 Explore Arenal & Tabacon Hot Springs La Fortuna
Day 3 Transfer to Manuel Antonio National Park Manuel Antonio
Day 4 Visit a Rainforest Wildlife Sanctuary Manuel Antonio
Day 5 Discover Damas Island on a Boat Tour Manuel Antonio
Day 6 Depart Cost Rica, End of Trip  

Welcome to Costa Rica! You'll fly into San José and transfer to La Fortuna. Get out and explore the La Fortuna Waterfall Reserve on the first day, then go for an unforgettable walk along the Arenal Hanging Bridges on day two, finishing the day with a dip in the natural Tabacon Hot Springs.

On day three, you'll continue to Manuel Antonio National Park to interact with animals like sloths and monkeys during a visit to a wildlife sanctuary. Enjoy a boat tour of the Damas Island Estuary on the last full day of the trip before heading back to San José to catch a flight home. Learn more

Read the Ultimate Guide to Manuel Antonio National Park for more information.

Itinerary #2: Volcano & Pacific Beach Family Adventure

Hike around Rincón de la Vieja Volcano, swim in Oropendola Waterfall, and take a surfing lesson in the coastal village of Tamarindo on this exciting six-day trip. Try a whitewater rafting adventure or enjoy a safari-style river float to wrap up the adventure.

Learn to surf in Tamarindo
Day Destination 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 Enjoy a Free Day in Tamarindo Tamarindo
Day 6 Depart Costa Rica, End of Trip  

Arrive in Liberia and transfer to an eco-hotel where you'll spend the first evening. Go hiking in Rincón de la Vieja National Park, keeping your eyes open for tropical birds and finishing the excursion with a refreshing dip in the Oropendola Waterfall. Get some rest before traveling to the surf town of Tamarindo on day three.

Learn how to surf during a private lesson on Playa Tamarindo, then go for a walk around town, stopping for fresh-squeezed juice and seafood along the way. On the last full day of the trip, you'll have the choice to go hiking or whitewater rafting. Another option is a safari-style float down the Corobicí River—you're sure to spot plenty of wildlife along the way. Learn more

Check out this article on the best things to do in Tamarindo.

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Itinerary #3: Active Family Adventures & Wildlife Spotting Around Arenal Volcano 

On this thrilling six-day itinerary, you'll explore the unique landscapes, wildlife sanctuaries, and high-adrenaline adventure sports around Costa Rica's Arenal Volcano. Look for sloths in the wild, spot nocturnal animals on a night hike, and glide through the forest on a zip line on this family-oriented trip plan.

Enjoy a zipline adventure in the rainforest
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive, Explore Downtown San José San José
Day 2 Spot Wildlife on a Nighttime Rainforest Walk La Fortuna
Day 3 Go on a Sloth and Bird Hike & Dip in Hot Springs La Fortuna
Day 4 Soar Through the Forest on a Zip Line La Fortuna
Day 5 Hike to La Fortuna Waterfall La Fortuna
Day 6 Depart Costa Rica, End of Trip  

On your first day of this active adventure, you'll sightsee the historic center of San José. Then you'll head to La Fortuna on day two, where you'll base yourself for the rest of the trip. Activities on day two include a guided nighttime hike through the rainforest—your naturalist guide will point out a variety of flora and fauna.

Look for sloths and birds in the wild on day three and soothe weary muscles with a soak in nearby hot springs before returning to the hotel. You'll glide through the jungle treetops on a zip line adventure on day four, then enjoy a relaxing hike to La Fortuna Waterfall on the last day of the trip. Learn more

Take a look at How Many Days to Spend in Arenal for more travel planning tips.

Itinerary #4: Family Tour of Wetlands & Caribbean Beaches

Boat, hike, snorkel, and cycle around Costa Rica's beaches and wetlands on this outdoorsy 6-day adventure to Tortuguero National Park and Cahuita National Park.

Discover an underwater world while snorkeling in Costa Rica
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 Depart Costa Rica, End of Trip  

After exploring San José's cultural attractions and historical monuments, you'll move on to Tortuguero National Park on day two. Discover the region's vibrant nocturnal ecosystem—sloths, bats, porcupines!—on a guided night hike, then go for a boat ride through the park's canals amid the jungle; trek to the area's highest peak, Cerro Tortuguero, on day three.

Day four takes you to the gorgeous beaches around Puerto Viejo. Swim, sunbathe, and cycle along the coast before wrapping up the trip in Cahuita National Park. Snorkel around a coral reef or enjoy a boat ride through the park's pristine waters on the last day of the itinerary. Learn more

For more ideas, read the Ultimate Guide to Tortuguero National Park.

Itinerary #5: Family Trip to the Cloud Forests, Rivers & Beaches of Costa Rica

Boat tours, jungle hikes, and wildlife viewing await travelers on this family-oriented 6-day trip around Costa Rica. Go sightseeing in historic San José, explore the cloud forest of Monteverde, visit the country's largest butterfly garden, and enjoy a safari-style float down a jungle river to spot crocodiles in the wild.

Sail along the coast at sunset
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive, Explore Downtown San José San José
Day 2 Visit La Paz Waterfall Gardens & Children's Eternal Forest Monteverde
Day 3 Tour Monteverde Cloud Forest on a Guided Hike Monteverde
Day 4 Enjoy a Catamaran Sailing Tour at Sunset Tamarindo
Day 5 Float Down the Corobicí River on a Safari Tour Tamarindo
Day 6 Depart Costa Rica, End of Trip  

Get oriented in San José on day one of the trip with a self-guided tour around the historic city center, visiting Mercado Central and the gold and jade museums—housing Central America's largest collections of each. On day two, you'll continue to Monteverde, your home base for the next two days of the itinerary. Visit the La Paz Waterfall Gardens, home to Costa Rica's largest butterfly garden, and the largest private reserve in the country, the Children's Eternal Forest.

Spend the last part of the adventure in Tamarindo. You'll enjoy sunset views over the water during a late afternoon sailing tour. On day five, look for monkeys and tropical birds as you float down a jungle river on a safari-style boat tour. Learn more

Find out more about the Best Things to Do in Monteverde.

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 beach vacations to hit the highlights. 


Map of 6 Days in Costa Rica - 5 Family-Friendly Itinerary Ideas
Map of 6 Days in Costa Rica - 5 Family-Friendly Itinerary Ideas