Costa Rica abounds with wildlife and outdoor activities, setting the scene for an ideal family vacation. But you don't need to head straight to the beach—travelers flying into urban San José will find plenty to do with kids upon arrival. Interactive museums, local markets, and more are a great way to spend a day in the city.
Costa Rica Travel Insights
Manuel Antonio is a slice of paradise on Costa Rica's Pacific coast. A short flight (or four-hour drive) south of San José, the national park and surrounding area have rainforest hiking trails and lots of beaches to explore, each with its own character. Learn where to eat, stay, and play with this comprehensive guide.
While the majority of visitors to Costa Rica will head west to the Pacific, the laidback lifestyle and Afro-Caribbean culture and cuisine of Puerto Viejo beckon you to come experience life on the country's eastern coast. This guide will introduce you to the playas, towns, and wilderness areas that make up Puerto Viejo — let's get started.
Costa Rica has a culinary tradition all its own, and travelers in search of local experiences need look no further than the food. Read on for an overview of must-try delicacies, including the country's national dish, snow cones with a Costa Rican twist, and other fun specialties best tried in-country.
Costa Rica is one of the world’s most biodiverse countries, and over a quarter of its territory is protected. Use this list of recommended viewing locales for your best shot at seeing howler monkeys, humpback whales, jaguars and more.
Every year hordes of visitors descend on the tiny Costa Rican town of La Fortuna. They come for one reason and one reason alone—to experience the majesty of Costa Rica's most famous active volcano and its surrounding natural wonders. Here is our expert guide to discovering Arenal.
Costa Rica's rainforest and windswept beaches lure travelers from all over the world to practice yoga and enjoy other soul-nourishing activities while communing with nature. Some retreat centers are in the country's remote corners, while others are just outside of major cities—this list covers six of the best.
If you have just three days to spend in Costa Rica, it’s wise to prioritize one activity or region. From whitewater rafting to wildlife viewing and catching a world-class wave, here are some suggestions for how to spend a long weekend in this beautiful country.
San José offers much more than the international airport most visitors pass through—Costa Rica's capital is truly a cultural and culinary hub worth exploring. Whether you spend a day or a week in the city, this guide will help you make the most of your time.
Costa Rica is proof that big things can come in small packages. Although this Central American gem is barely the size of West Virginia, it’s the most biodiverse country on the planet—and given its extensive coastlines and varied landscapes, it is arguably one of the most beautiful. This list will help you experience the best of it.
This two-week itinerary includes almost all of Costa Rica's signature destinations. Experience zip-lining, nature hikes, and more while surrounding yourself with some of Central America's most beautiful landscapes.
With your kids in tow, get out and explore Costa Rica's capital city before making your way through the lush lowlands towards the Caribbean Coast in this adventure tour. From nature treks, to river rafting, to pristine beaches, this weeklong itinerary is created for families who want to experience Costa Rica's splendid scenery, wildlife, and distinctly laid-back culture.
Hilly nature walks are practically guaranteed while visiting the rugged terrain of Costa Rica. While some travelers prioritize beaches and water sports on either coast, many will want to save space on the itinerary to explore the vast interior and myriad of wildlife. Good news for hiking enthusiasts: The majority of Costa Rica's 27 national parks offer well-maintained trails. From volcanoes, to tropical dry forests, to remote rainforests, here’s a list of the country’s 10 best national parks for hiking.
You can have a great adventure in Costa Rica in as short as a long weekend. With only a few days to spare you will have enough time to hike through a rainforest, see an active volcano, and take a surfing lesson. Of course, a week or more is recommended so that you can take advantage of the wide range of activities and biodiversity, giving you more opportunities to explore the culture and vast natural surroundings like a local. This is a breakdown of optimal itineraries to explore Costa Rica, listed from shortest (4 days) to longer (up to 2 weeks).
On the northwestern edge of Costa Rica, Nicoya Peninsula features a spectacular beach scene attracting young expats who are spoiled for choice with year-round swells and seaside open-air yoga studios. With 10 days to explore the region by four-wheel drive, you’ll base yourself in three quintessential surf towns: Tamarindo, Nosara, and Santa Teresa.
For parents toying with the idea of an international vacation, this Latin American nation is chock-full of family experiences that will leave a lasting impression for years to come. Below, we’ve compiled five reasons why you should put Costa Rica at the top of your family's travel list.
This extensive itinerary will introduce you to all of Costa Rica's iconic experiences. Activities range from thrilling jungle adventures to relaxing trips to the beach, making this tour a great option for any traveler.
As a result of Costa Rica’s volcanoes and their geothermal activity, the country has a plethora of natural hot springs. These healing pools are a relaxing place to soak after a day’s worth of adventure activities, but not all of Costa Rica’s volcanoes hold the same praise. We’ve put together a list of the best hot springs near Arenal, Rincon de la Vieja, and lesser-known Miravalles.
Make your trip to Costa Rica one to remember! From a rafting adventure through miles of tropical scenery on the Pacuare River to an excursion in one of the country's top surf spots in Puerto Viejo, this short itinerary is jam-packed with thrilling experiences.
Costa Rica has nearly 300 beaches on the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea. This ruggedly beautiful nation tempts travelers who want to explore white, black, and pink sands, along with water activities and spectacular natural scenery. Here is a breakdown of the best beaches in Costa Rica divided by region.
With ample mountains and rainforests, Costa Rica’s fortunate topography is a breeding ground for rivers and streams that turn into rushing waterfalls. Climbing these picturesque cascades will reward you with stunning views from the top and refreshing pools below. (In other words, pack a swimsuit and towel.) Here’s a list of the country’s best waterfall hikes ranging in difficulty for young and old alike.
Fun for the whole family, this itinerary covers two of Costa Rica's most famous areas. Arenal and Manuel Antonio are some of the best representations of Costa Rica; Arenal area features one of the most famous volcanos in the country, surrounded by lush tropical rainforest, while Manuel Antonio National Park is renown for its white sandy beaches and vast diversity of tropical plants and wildlife.
More than a quarter of Costa Rica’s total area is made up of national parks and protected rainforests making it a popular travel destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Below, we’ve put together a list of adventure activities to consider when visiting the nation of “pura vida” (pure life).
This tour includes 4 of Costa Rica's best national parks and includes a variety of nature tours and activities. For those who want to experience the country to the fullest extent, this is the way to do it.
Explore Costa Rica's capital city and Caribbean Coast in this weeklong tour. From nature treks to pristine beaches, this itinerary offers something for everyone who wants to experience Costa Rica's splendid scenery, with a laid-back feel.
Osa Peninsula is located at the remote edge of Costa Rica, featuring well-preserved forests brimming with wildlife. In just under a week, get to fully explore this gem of biodiversity through hiking, scuba diving, and participating in various other activities.
This itinerary is one of the shortest, yet action-packed option, for travelers looking for a compact Costa Rica experience. Zip-line, rappel and horseback ride your way throughout the Arenal region and enjoy some of the best natural views the country has to offer.
Explore Costa Rica's culture from city to Caribbean Sea, starting with its contemporary art scene and ending with soul food and sea turtles. Leaving San José behind, the rain-nourished, undulating landscape of country's center gives way to Costa Rica's distinctly Caribbean coast.
Costa Rica certainly lives up to its name (literally 'Rich Coast'), blessed as it is with miles of beaches on both its Pacific and Caribbean coasts. The country has long recognized the value of preserving its stunning environmental assets, making this relatively diminutive nation a leader in conservation. As one of the happy consequences, Costa Rica's rivers, lakes, and seas provide abundant opportunity for endless outdoor adventures.
This 12-day Costa Rica adventure takes you to the nation’s top biodiversity hotspots. Along the way, you’ll dip your feet in cold rivers, track resplendent quetzals at dawn, and listen for the calls of howler monkeys set to a backdrop of smoking volcanoes, thick jungle and sandy beaches.
This is experience is a must for any serious adventurer, a coast to coast crossing totally powered on human muscle - no motorized vehicles! Starting at the Pacific coast of Costa Rica and ending on the Caribbean coast. Bike, hike, and raft past hundreds of miles of scenery that define Costa Rica as the world's premier destination for eco-tourism, all while challenging yourself like never before.
Volcanos define the landscape of Costa Rica, these volcanos created the fertile valleys and diverse ecosystems of the country. If you want to truly experience Costa Rica's nature at its core, visiting these stunning volcanoes is a great way to start.
Explore Costa Rica's amazing natural scenery through a thrilling series of activities including whitewater rafting, kayaking, zip-lining, and more. This tour will take you to a wide range of coasts, jungles, and rivers, all while keeping your adrenaline pumping.
In this two-week tour, you can experience Costa Rica's main attractions as well as its lesser-known marvels. Drive along coasts, rainforest roads, and hills to discover the natural sights that make Costa Rica the most visited country in Central America.
With a mix of rugged jungles, active volcanoes and world-class beaches, Costa Rica offers some of the best natural sights and experiences in the world, all conveniently packed into one territory. Almost a quarter of the land is preserved within national parks, allowing a wide range of animals and plants to flourish, making Costa Rica an ideal destination for ecotourism. With this itinerary, you'll discover the best attractions Costa Rica has to offer in just a week.
Taking a road trip through Costa Rica gives you the freedom and flexibility to explore where you want. You'll pass through stunning natural scenery — from lush cloud forests to picturesque beaches — in seven days of scenic driving. This tour can be extended or shortened depending on how much time you have.
Costa Rica's most common outdoor destinations are so sought-after for a reason: they truly are beautiful landmarks. But, for every popular attraction, there are plenty of lesser-known must-sees that'll treat open-minded explorers to an incredibly fulfilling and memorable adventure.
Anyone seeking a diverse travel experience should put Costa Rica at the top of their list. Coastal panoramas and lush jungle scenes, mountainous destinations and quiet villages all offer authentic settings to explore.
Traveling with your family is a great way to create wonderful memories. In Costa Rica, you and your children will have a wonderful time doing adventurous activities together. All the activities have been selected to be family and kid-friendly.