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.

Costa Rica is a wonderful playground for 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

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

With six days in Costa Rica, travelers can easily explore two or three 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.

Snorkeling off the Catalina Islands is fun for all ages
Map of 10 Days in Costa Rica - 6 Family-Friendly Itinerary Ideas
10 Days in Costa Rica - 6 Family-Friendly Itinerary Ideas

From natural landscapes to wildlife experiences and adventure sports, Costa Rica has much to offer families. Travelers with younger children might opt for a 10-day itinerary with easy guided hikes and visits to wildlife refuges. And those with older kids may choose a trip plan that features zip-lining, whitewater rafting, and surf lessons. Whether you focus your time around Arenal Volcano and Monteverde Cloud Forest, base yourself in the surf town of Tamarindo, or go further off the beaten path on a trip to coastal Sámara, these family-friendly itineraries offer outdoor education and thrills for all ages.

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.

Hiking in Costa Rica
Top Family Experiences in Costa Rica

Costa Rica offers adventures suitable for all ages, making it an excellent choice for a family vacation. Kids and adults alike love spotting wildlife, ziplining through cloud forests, learning how to surf, touring organic farms, and much more. The unique experiences you can enjoy in Costa Rica—a country leading the world in eco-tourism and wildlife conservation—will leave a lasting impression on the entire family for years to come.

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.

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.

Learning to surf in Costa Rica
Map of Volcano & Pacific Beach Family Adventure - 6 Days
Volcano & Pacific Beach Family Adventure - 6 Days

With cascading waterfalls, idyllic beaches, and smoking volcanoes, Costa Rica is an ideal destination for families. This exciting 6-day itinerary takes you to some of the country's major highlights. Hike around the towering Rincón de la Vieja Volcano, then go for a swim in Oropendola Waterfall. Then move on to the surf village of Tamarindo, where you'll learn to ride the waves during a private lesson. Finish the trip with a whitewater rafting adventure or a safari float before heading back to Liberia, where the journey comes to an end.

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 toward the Caribbean Coast in this adventure tour. From nature treks to river rafting to pristine beaches, this week-long itinerary is created for families who want to experience Costa Rica's splendid scenery, wildlife, and distinctly laid-back culture.

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.

The beach in Tamarindo
Map of Volcano & Pacific Beach Family Adventure - 7 Days
Volcano & Pacific Beach Family Adventure - 7 Days

Experience a range of Costa Rica's top natural highlights on this family-oriented 7-day adventure. Beginning in Liberia, you'll explore Rincón de la Vieja National Park, home to a towering volcano of the same name. Next, you'll base yourself in the surf town of Tamarindo, a great jumping-off point for visiting the sun-kissed beaches and unspoiled rainforests of the Nicoya Peninsula. There are plenty of kid-friendly activities along the way, including waterfall hikes, kayak excursions, surf lessons, and whitewater rafting.

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 in the Costa Rican rainforest
Map of Volcanoes and Pacific Beaches For Families - 8 Days
Volcanoes and Pacific Beaches For Families - 8 Days

On this family-oriented 8-day adventure, you'll explore Costa Rica's top natural attractions, from the towering Arenal Volcano and its nearby hot springs to the beautiful beaches of Guanacaste. The itinerary takes you to three distinct regions: Arenal and La Fortuna, the Monteverde cloud forest, and the pristine Gulf of Papagayo. There are plenty of kid-friendly activities along the way, including waterfall hikes, wildlife viewing tours, and a jungle canopy adventure, plus optional excursions to try kayaking and whitewater rafting.

Relax in Costa Rican hot springs with the family
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, spot monkeys in the wild, swim under a waterfall—and maybe even catch a wave.

A volcano in Costa Rica
Map of Discover Manuel Antonio National Park & La Fortuna- 7 days
Discover Manuel Antonio National Park & La Fortuna- 7 days

Natural wonders await on this refreshing weeklong journey around Costa Rica. Highlights along the 7-day trip include the beautiful beaches of Manuel Antonio National Park, the awe-inspiring Arenal Volcano and the nearby Hanging Bridges, the pristine Damas Island Estuary, and much more. Mixing wildlife viewing and outdoor adventure, this itinerary captures the essence of the Costa Rican motto — Pura Vida!

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.

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.

Take the kids to see the animals on a traditional farm in Costa Rica
Map of Costa Rica Family Fun: Culture, Wildlife & Cloud Forests - 9 Days
Costa Rica Family Fun: Culture, Wildlife & Cloud Forests - 9 Days

This 9-day family-friendly Costa Rica adventure offers more than most traditional itineraries and includes a hands-on farm experience, cooking class, and horseback riding. Geared to travelers with children, the journey starts with sightseeing in San José, then moves on to Arenal, where you'll swim at the base of La Fortuna Waterfall and spend a day on a local farm. Finish up the trip in Monteverde, touring the cloud forest and the region's famed orchid gardens before soaring above the rainforest on the longest zip-line in Latin America.

Share in a Costa Rica sunset with the kids
Map of  Family Adventure in Costa Rica: Wetlands, Volcanoes & Caribbean Beaches - 10 Days
Family Adventure in Costa Rica: Wetlands, Volcanoes & Caribbean Beaches - 10 Days

On this fun 10-day adventure created for families, you'll swim in waterfall pools, spot sloths in the trees, and sample homemade chocolate while learning how it's made. The itinerary takes you from the bustling streets of San José to the rainforest of Tortuguero National Park, then onward to the beautiful beaches of Puerto Viejo de Talamanca and the rivers, volcanoes, and hot springs of Arenal. Highlights include a safari-style boat ride, a nighttime jungle hike, and a visit to a jaguar rescue center.

Take a dip with the kids in the jungle
Map of Family Adventure in Costa Rica: Wetlands, Volcanoes & Caribbean Beaches - 9 Days
Family Adventure in Costa Rica: Wetlands, Volcanoes & Caribbean Beaches - 9 Days

This family-friendly tour introduces travelers to a diverse range of Costa Rican landscapes, from white sand Caribbean beaches to smoking volcanoes and quiet estuaries teeming with wildlife. Base yourself in three different locations—Tortuguero National Park, Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, and Arenal—as you explore wildlife habitats, soak in hot springs, and hike around volcanoes. You'll also visit a jaguar rehabilitation center, observe the jungle after dark during a guided night hike, and trek to waterfalls for a refreshing dip.

Siblings paint themselves in mud from a Costa Rican hot spring
Map of Costa Rica Family Trip: Volcanoes, Waterfalls & Coral Reefs - 9 Days
Costa Rica Family Trip: Volcanoes, Waterfalls & Coral Reefs - 9 Days

From the heights of smoking volcanoes to the depths of a coral reef, this exciting 9-day tour leads the whole family around Costa Rica's most spectacular natural attractions. While exploring Rincón de la Vieja National Park, the Gulf of Papagayo, and the beautiful beaches of Sámara, you'll have plenty of opportunities to hike in the rainforest, splash in waterfalls, soak in hot springs, spot monkeys in the wild, and snorkel with tropical fish.

Take the family to Costa Rica for fun on the beach (photo courtesy of Adrian Eriksson)
Map of Costa Rica for Families: Outdoor Adventures & Wildlife - 9 Days
Costa Rica for Families: Outdoor Adventures & Wildlife - 9 Days

Designed for families and perfect for outdoor enthusiasts, this 9-day adventure takes you to many of Costa Rica's most beautiful natural landscapes, including Arenal Volcano, the Monteverde Cloud Forest, and Manuel Antonio National Park. This action-packed trip also takes you off the beaten path to the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve—a haven for wildlife viewing—and the spectacular Isla del Caño Biological Reserve, where you'll dive or snorkel in a colorful underwater ecosystem.

Snap pics of the Quespos wildlife during a boat tour in the Damas Island Mangrove forest and water canals
Map of Costa Rica for Families: Outdoor Adventures & Wildlife - 10 Days
Costa Rica for Families: Outdoor Adventures & Wildlife - 10 Days

Discover Costa Rica's rushing waterfalls, colorful rainforests, and vibrant wildlife habitats on this 10-day tour that's perfect for families. After sightseeing in San José, you'll continue to Arenal to spot sloths in the wild and soak in natural hot springs. Then explore the Monteverde Cloud Forest and visit a wildlife rehabilitation center. Finish up the adventure in Manuel Antonio National Park, where you'll hike, snorkel, sail, and at the Damas Island Estuary, explore mangroves on a boat tour.

Take the kids to splash around the Catalina Islands of Costa Rica
Map of Active Family Adventure in Costa Rica - 10 Days
Active Family Adventure in Costa Rica - 10 Days

Offering an exciting mix of rainforest expeditions, wildlife encounters, and underwater adventures, this active 10-day trip around Costa Rica is popular with families. Explore the volcanoes and waterfalls of Arenal before heading off to the surf town of Tamarindo for a boat trip around an estuary and snorkeling with tropical fish offshore. After spotting sloths, monkeys, and exotic frogs in the wild, you'll learn about wildlife conservation at a scarlet macaw rehabilitation center in Sámara.

Take the family for a sunset sailing outing
Map of Costa Rica for Families: Outdoor Adventures & Wildlife - 11 Days
Costa Rica for Families: Outdoor Adventures & Wildlife - 11 Days

This family-oriented journey around Costa Rica leads you around the country's beautiful waterfalls, lush rainforests, and vibrant wildlife habitats. Do some cultural sightseeing in San José before moving on to Arenal to hike around a volcano, look for sloths in the wild, and go for a dip in hot springs. Learn how chocolate is made from bean to bar before exploring Monteverde Cloud Forest. The adventure culminates in Manuel Antonio National Park with a sailing and snorkeling trip.

Raft with the family on the Balsa River
Map of Family Adventure in Costa Rica: Volcanoes, Cloud Forests & the Ocean - 11 Days
Family Adventure in Costa Rica: Volcanoes, Cloud Forests & the Ocean - 11 Days

See the best of Costa Rica on this family-oriented itinerary featuring a mix of outdoor adventures, wildlife viewing, and hands-on experiences. After a hike through a sloth habitat, kids can try whitewater rafting and learn how to milk a cow while visiting a local farm. Continue to the Monteverde Cloud Forest for jungle hikes, zip-lining, and horseback riding. The trip ends in Tamarindo with surf lessons, a snorkeling excursion, a lively cruise down a jungle river, and the chance to witness sea turtles nesting.

Join a guided horseback riding tour (photo courtesy of Nat Fernández)
Map of Family Adventure in Costa Rica: Volcanoes, Cloud Forests & the Ocean - 10 Days
Family Adventure in Costa Rica: Volcanoes, Cloud Forests & the Ocean - 10 Days

Featuring thrilling outdoor activities, vibrant wildlife viewing, and hands-on experiences, this 10-day itinerary through Costa Rica is tailor-made for families. Kick off the trip with a hike through a sloth habitat and a visit to a local farm. Then move on to the Monteverde Cloud Forest for jungle hikes, zip-lining adventures, and horseback riding. Finish up in Tamarindo, where kids can learn to surf, witness sea turtles hatching their eggs, snorkel with tropical fish, and cruise down a jungle river.

Take the kids to a macaw rescue center
Map of Family Trip to Costa Rica's Volcanoes, Waterfalls & Coral Reefs - 11 Days
Family Trip to Costa Rica's Volcanoes, Waterfalls & Coral Reefs - 11 Days

Featuring outdoor adventures and abundant opportunities to spot monkeys, sloths, and toucans in the wild, this family-friendly 11-day trip around Costa Rica is fun for all ages. Start by hiking to waterfalls and soaking in hot springs in Rincón de la Vieja National Park, then continue to the Gulf of Papagayo to snorkel around a coral reef and tour a coffee farm. Visit a scarlet macaw refuge before wrapping up the trip with a day of hiking and wildlife viewing in the Werner Sauter Biological Reserve.

Boys trekking in the jungle to waterfalls
Map of Family Trip to Costa Rica's Volcanoes, Waterfalls & Coral Reefs - 10 Days
Family Trip to Costa Rica's Volcanoes, Waterfalls & Coral Reefs - 10 Days

From crocodile spotting to frolicking in volcanic mud, this family-oriented 10-day trip features thrilling adventures for kids and adults alike. Start by hiking to waterfalls and spotting wildlife in Rincón de la Vieja National Park. Then move on to the Gulf of Papagayo, where you and the kids will witness sea turtles nesting, snorkel around a coral reef, and visit a working coffee farm. Get up close with vibrantly colored birds at a scarlet macaw refuge, then finish the trip with a day of hiking in the Werner Sauter Biological Reserve.

Exploring wetlands on a boat tour with the little ones
Map of Family Adventure in Costa Rica: Wetlands, Volcanoes & Caribbean Beaches - 11 Days
Family Adventure in Costa Rica: Wetlands, Volcanoes & Caribbean Beaches - 11 Days

Look for monkeys in the trees, go whitewater rafting, and swim in waterfall pools on this exciting 11-day adventure perfect for families. You'll start the trip in colorful San José, then explore the rainforest of Tortuguero National Park. Enjoy the beautiful beaches of Puerto Viejo de Talamanca and the volcanoes, hot springs, and rushing rivers of Arenal. Along the way, you'll go on a safari-style boat ride, visit a jaguar rescue center, and learn how chocolate is made at a cocoa bean farm.

Relax in hot springs with the family
Map of Family Trip to Costa Rica's Mountains, Volcanoes & the Gulf of Papagayo - 11 Days
Family Trip to Costa Rica's Mountains, Volcanoes & the Gulf of Papagayo - 11 Days

Learn to surf, go whitewater rafting, and spot sloths in the wild on this action-packed 11-day trip around Costa Rica. Created for families, the itinerary is full of outdoor adventures. Start with zip-lining and a dip in hot springs in Rincón de la Vieja National Park, then brave the river rapids in Arenal before moving on to coastal Tamarindo for surf lessons and beach time. Wrap up the itinerary on the beautiful Gulf of Papagayo, where you'll enjoy a sunset cruise and a mangrove boat tour.

Teach the little ones to surf in Tamarindo
Map of Family Trip to Costa Rica's Mountains, Volcanoes & the Gulf of Papagayo - 10 Days
Family Trip to Costa Rica's Mountains, Volcanoes & the Gulf of Papagayo - 10 Days

Surf lessons, whitewater rafting, river tubing, and nighttime jungle hikes are on the agenda for this active 10-day trip around Costa Rica. Designed with families in mind, this itinerary features a wide range of exciting outdoor activities to entertain travelers of all ages. Frolic in the mud at the Río Negro Hot Springs, brave the rapids of the Río Balsa, learn to catch a wave in Tamarindo, and cruise around the Gulf of Papagayo at sunset—it's all part of the fun on this family-friendly adventure!