Costa Rica is an ideal destination for families, and this itinerary ensures you'll experience some major highlights. On your 6-day adventure, you'll explore the Rincón de la Vieja volcano plus visit the village of Tamarindo and surf its beaches. There are plenty of kid-friendly activities along the way, including waterfall hikes and river safaris.

Highlights

  • Hike to Oropendola Waterfall, in Rincón de la Vieja National Park
  • Take a surfing lesson
  • Relax on the sun-kissed beaches of the Nicoya Peninsula

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Overview

This itinerary is designed to be family and children friendly, each of the activities mentioned can be done by children.  The itinerary has plenty of time on the beach for kids to just relax and chase the surf.  This itinerary can also be done as a self-drive adventure, you will have the option to take some side trips and explore a bit off the beaten path.  

Brief Itinerary

Day Destination Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Liberia -> Transfer to Rincón De La Vieja Rincón de la Vieja 
Day 2 Hiking in Rincón de la Vieja National Park - Oropendola Waterfall Rincón de la Vieja
Day 3 Rincón de la Vieja to Tamarindo Tamarindo
Day 4 Private Surf Lesson at Playa Tamarindo Tamarindo
Day 5 Free Day in Tamarindo Tamarindo
Day 6 Tamarindo to Liberia International Airport  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Liberia

The famous volcano of Rincón de la Vieja National Park

Welcome to Costa Rica! Liberia is the northern hub of Guanacaste Province, an area famous for both its Pacific beaches and inland mountainous regions. After touching down at Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport, you'll transfer about 40 minutes north to the edge of Rincón de la Vieja National Park, home to the massive volcano of the same name. On the drive up the Pan-American Highway, you'll be treated to beautiful scenery, including the flatlands of the Guanacaste savannah. Eventually, you'll pass the sleepy village of Curubandé before reaching the secluded eco-hotel where you'll overnight.

Day 2: Hiking in Rincón de la Vieja National Park

Hiking through Rincón de la Vieja National Park

Today you'll transfer to the outskirts of Rincón de la Vieja National Park and embark on a brisk 45-minute walk along a scenic forest trail to the entrance. Here there are premium vantage points in which to experience the Rincón de la Vieja Volcano, the largest and most active volcano in Guanacaste Province. Steaming fumaroles, mini-geysers, and bubbling volcanic mud pits are just some of the highlights as you get up close and personal with this volcano.

You will hike the Las Pailas loop trail over 2.5 miles (3.5 km) through tropical forest. Lookout points along the way feature some of the best views of the volcano as well as the wildlife that abounds nearer the trail, like various tropical birds, armadillos, collared peccaries, iguanas, white-nosed coatis, and various types of monkeys. When you finish your hike, you’ll be ready for a refreshing swim in the Oropendola Waterfall. It is located a short walk from the park entrance on a trail that winds along the Río Blanco (White River). The Oropendola Waterfall plunges an impressive 82 feet (25 meters) down to a bright turquoise pool.

Day 3: Rincón de la Vieja to Tamarindo

The surf town of Tamarindo

It's time to leave the jungle adventure behind and head to the coast for some surfing and relaxation. You will drive west past the tropical dry forest and vast savannahs of Guanacaste Province, continuing onward over paved and dirt roads towards the Nicoya Peninsula. After an hour you'll arrive at the ocean and the popular surf haven of Tamarindo. This is a small community teeming with activity, famous for its sunny beaches and world-class surf.

Day 4: Private Surf Lesson at Playa Tamarindo

Enjoy a day out on the waves

In the morning, enjoy a private surf lesson on Playa Tamarindo. You can then take the rest of the day to practice riding the waves on your own, or enjoy some well-deserved relaxation on the beach. A must-visit spot near Tamarindo for more experienced surfers is Playa Naranjo, which locals have nicknamed "Witch’s Rock." It's located in a national park, is accessible only by boat, and features big surf with both left and right breaking waves. A few miles beyond, you'll reach Ollie’s Point, another great surf locale. You could even take a yoga class at one of Tamarindo's studios, stroll through town, and/or enjoy a meal at a local café.

Day 5: Free Day in Tamarindo

Perhaps embark on a rafting adventure

Today can be as relaxing or adventurous as you like. If you've had enough of the beaches, you can drive east back to Rincón de la Vieja National Park. Here you can hike a jungle trail called Sensoria, which is part of a wildlife sanctuary featuring thermal pools and waterfalls that plunge into turquoise lagoons. Or, you can experience the rainforest from the water during a two-hour safari float down the Corobicí River, where a guide will point out a variety of animals including monkeys, bats, lizards, and even crocodiles. 

You can also choose to take a guided whitewater rafting trip down the Tenorio River. Its class III-IV rapids make it the best river in the Guanacaste area for rafting. After a challenging trip down the rapids, have lunch and head back to your hotel in time to catch one last sunset.

Day 6: Tamarindo to Liberia International Airport

Farewell, Costa Rica

It's time to say adiós to Costa Rica! After breakfast, you'll begin the hour-long drive back to Liberia and the airport, where you'll catch your return flight home. Until next time!

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Map

Map of Volcano & Pacific Beach Family Adventure - 6 Days
Map of Volcano & Pacific Beach Family Adventure - 6 Days
Alberto
Written by Alberto Molina, updated May 4, 2019