Costa Rica Family Trips & Itineraries

Costa Rica is perfect for families who seek a more genuine and adventurous family holiday. Parents can rest easy as Costa Rica is wild and exotic, but at the same time safe, accessible and perfect for kids of all ages.

There are few places in Costa Rica that are not well suited to families. Visit a wildlife rescue center, get to know Manuel Antonio National Park, cross suspension bridges in the jungles of Arenal Volcano or the Monteverde Could Forest, and explore the canals of Tortuguero National Park. With careful planning, driving times between regions can be broken up with fun nature excursions to keep the kids entertained. 

Read more about why Costa Rica is great for families and check out our family-friendly itinerary ideas below.

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Planning your family trip to Costa Rica

Explore Costa Rica's wildlife with your family
Why Costa Rica is Great for Families

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.

6 Family-Friendly Activities in San José
6 Family-Friendly Activities in San José

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 family-friendly itineraries

Arenal Volcano
Map of Family-Friendly Arenal and Manuel Antonio National Park- 9 Days
Family-Friendly Arenal and Manuel Antonio National Park- 9 Days

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.

Guanacaste has surf breaks for all ages and skill levels
Map of Volcano & Pacific Beach Family Adventure - 6 Days
Volcano & Pacific Beach Family Adventure - 6 Days

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.

Snorkel with the family along Costa Rica's Caribbean Coast
Map of Family Fun on the Caribbean Side - 7 Days
Family Fun on the Caribbean Side - 7 Days

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.

End the trip with a drive to the Pacific coast for some beach time
Map of Highlights of Costa Rica: Arenal, Monteverde, & Playa Sámara - 10 Days
Highlights of Costa Rica: Arenal, Monteverde, & Playa Sámara - 10 Days

Costa Rica offers an array of adventures, from city to cloud forest to sea. This ten-day itinerary includes hiking near an active volcano, some of the world’s best bird-watching, and snorkeling with sea turtles. Travelers will get to know the culture of local villages as well as that of San José, Costa Rica’s dynamic capital.

Surfing in Tamarindo
Map of Costa Rica Pacific Coast Road Trip - 7 Days
Costa Rica Pacific Coast Road Trip - 7 Days

This 7-day itinerary is perfect for travelers who want a comprehensive beach holiday. You'll arrive in Liberia, the hub of Costa Rica's Guanacaste Province. From the airport, head south to Playa Sámara, a coastal village on the Nicoya Peninsula. Then, make the drive back north to the popular surf town of Tamarindo, where you'll spend your days riding the waves and taking part in nature excursions—you might even get to see nesting sea turtles, a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

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

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.

End the trip with a visit to the Pacific coast for some beach time
Map of Costa Rica Highlights: Arenal, Monteverde, and Manuel Antonio - 9 Days
Costa Rica Highlights: Arenal, Monteverde, and Manuel Antonio - 9 Days

The jewel of Central America, Costa Rica offers everything—cities, beaches, and many unique ecosystems to explore. This itinerary encompasses the country’s most spectacular landscapes, plus an opportunity to savor the culture of local villages and capital city. Hike near a volcano, experience world-class bird-watching, snorkel with sea turtles, and more.

Baby squirrel monkey and mother
Map of Volcanoes and Pacific Beaches For Families - 8 Days
Volcanoes and Pacific Beaches For Families - 8 Days

Costa Rica is an ideal destination for families and this itinerary ensures you'll experience the best the country has to offer. On your 8-day adventure, you'll explore the towering Arenal Volcano, visit the beaches of Guanacaste, and have time to relax in volcanic hot springs. There are plenty of kid-friendly activities along the way, from waterfall hikes to crossing suspension bridges above the trees.

Coast-to-Coast Family Adventure - 11 Days
Map of Coast-to-Coast Family Adventure - 11 Days
Coast-to-Coast Family Adventure - 11 Days

Experience the best Costa Rica has to offer on this family-friendly 11-day adventure. You'll watch sea turtles on the Caribbean beaches of Tortuguero National Park, hike around Arenal Volcano, zip-line through the cloud forest of Monteverde, and finally relax on the remote, Pacific beaches of Guanacaste. Along the way, you'll make your own hot chocolate and coffee from bean to cup, swim under a waterfall—and maybe even catch a wave.

The Guanacaste region on the Pacific Coast is known for its arid landscape and beautiful beaches
Map of Relaxed Costa Rica Family Adventure - 10 Days
Relaxed Costa Rica Family Adventure - 10 Days

Costa Rica is a favorite destination for all ages. This 10-day adventure allows your family to experience the highlights of the country from the towering Arenal Volcano, to the spectacular, remote beaches of Guanacaste. There are plenty of kid-friendly activities along the way, from sampling locally produced chocolate, to zip lining through the trees, to surf lessons in the Pacific.

A baby white-faced capuchin in Corcovado National Park
Map of Family Adventure: Jungles, Beaches, and Volcanoes - 16 Days
Family Adventure: Jungles, Beaches, and Volcanoes - 16 Days

This itinerary is designed for families who want a nature excursion with plenty of adventure mixed in. Your first adventurous destination is the remote Osa Peninsula, where you'll indulge in beaches and rainforest hikes. From here, you'll head inland to pay a visit to Arenal Volcano and the Monteverde Cloud Forest, where you'll hike among the treetops via suspension bridges and enjoy even more natural wonders. Finally, make your way to The Gulf of Papagayo to spend three days relaxing on pristine beaches.

La Fortuna Waterfall
Map of Manuel Antonio & Arenal For Families - 7 days
Manuel Antonio & Arenal For Families - 7 days

With the awe-inspiring Arenal volcano, an exciting rafting trip, visiting the jungle in Manuel Antonio, and just some time to relax on the beach in Manuel Antonio, this trip captures the essence of the Costa Rican motto - Pura Vida!

Snorkel among coral reefs in the Pacific
Map of Costa Rica Coastal Family Adventure - 15 Days
Costa Rica Coastal Family Adventure - 15 Days

This 15-day adventure allows you to experience the country from both coasts and is designed from start to finish with kids in mind. You'll visit the bustling capital of San José, the rainforest of Tortuguero National Park, the towering Arenal Volcano, the cloud forest of Monteverde and the spectacular beaches of Guanacaste. There are plenty of family-friendly activities along the way, from watching sea turtles hatch on a Caribbean beach to sampling locally produced chocolate to snorkeling in the Pacific.

Turtle hatchling on the beach in Tortuguero
Map of Coast to Coast Adventure For Families - 13 Days
Coast to Coast Adventure For Families - 13 Days

This 13-day adventure allows you to experience the country from both coasts. It includes a visit to the bustling capital of San José, the lush rainforest of Tortuguero National Park, the towering Arenal Volcano, the cloud forest of Monteverde and the spectacular, remote beaches of Guanacaste. There are plenty of kid-friendly activities along the way, from watching sea turtles hatch on a Caribbean beach to sampling locally produced chocolate to surf lessons in the Pacific.