Costa Rica is perfect for families, and yours will experience the highlights on this 7-day coastal adventure. You'll explore the Rincón de la Vieja volcano plus visit the sun-kissed beaches and unspoiled rainforests of the Nicoya Peninsula. There are plenty of kid-friendly activities along the way, too, 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 pristine beaches of the Nicoya Peninsula

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Liberia -> Transfer to Rincón De La Vieja Rincon de la Vieja
Day 2 Hiking in Rincon de la Vieja National Park - Oropendola Waterfall Rincon de la Vieja
Day 3 Rincon de la Vieja to Tamarindo Tamarindo
Day 4 Private Surf Lesson at Playa Tamarindo Tamarindo
Day 5 Kayak Tamarindo Tamarindo
Day 6 Free Day in Tamarindo Tamarindo
Day 7 Tamarindo to Liberia International Airport  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Liberia -> Transfer to Rincón De La Vieja

View of the valley, Guanacaste, Costa Rica

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. 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 Hacienda Guachipelin, the secluded eco-hotel where you'll overnight.

Day 2: Hiking in Rincon de la Vieja National Park - Oropendola Waterfall

A hidden waterfall in 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 Las Pailas entrance. Las Pailas, which means “the cauldrons” in Spanish, offers 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. The park is home to more than 300 bird species, and other animals, like armadillos, collared peccaries, iguanas, white-nosed coatis, and various types of monkeys, also call it home. 

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 national 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 jungle adventure behind and head to the coast for some surfing and relaxation. You'll 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

Spend a day on the waves

In the morning, enjoy a private surf lesson on Playa Tamarindo. 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 can also take a yoga class at one of Tamarindo's studios, stroll through town, and/or enjoy a meal at a local café.

Day 5: Kayak Tamarindo

Time for some kayaking

On the agenda today is some kayaking around Tamarindo Bay. Not only that but you'll also be paddling out to Capitán Island, located a couple hundred meters offshore (about a 20-minute trip). As you paddle over the azure waters near Playa Tamarindo you'll eventually reach the crystalline waters and white-sand beaches of the island.

Here you'll have an opportunity to do some snorkeling and observe the underwater coral reef, which abounds with exotic fish. This tour is perfect to enjoy with the entire family (snorkeling equipment and drinking water included). Be sure to bring sunscreen.

Day 6: Free Day in Tamarindo

Relax on the beaches of Tamarindo

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 7: 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!

Map

Map of Volcano & Pacific Beach Family Adventure - 7 Days
Map of Volcano & Pacific Beach Family Adventure - 7 Days