Things You Can Do With Kids in Costa Rica

Share this view with your kids ©Wayne Silver/Flickr
Share this view with your kids ©Wayne Silver/Flickr
Photo of Jenn Parker
13 June 2017

Costa Rica is an ideal family and kid-friendly vacation destination. There are so many exciting tours and activities that will keep both the kids and the adults smiling. With wildlife sightings, endless beaches, beginner-friendly surf zones, national parks and adventure tours, everyone is sure to be happy in Costa Rica.

Canopy zip lining

There are canopy zip lining tours offered around the entire country, as it has become one of the most popular adventure activities in Costa Rica. This totally safe and incredibly thrilling activity will likely be one of your kids’ favourite activities. What kid doesn’t want to climb up high into the tree tops and zip through the forest at high speed? Zip lining will bring out the inner-child in the adults too! This is a fun way to experience the forest from up high and have some unique wildlife encounters along the way.

Flying fun | ©Tara Joyce/Flickr

ATV tours

While children can’t drive an ATV in Costa Rica, they can certainly sit on the back of one while you speed down dirt back roads, climb up mountains trails and cruise through some local towns. This exhilarating kid-approved activity is a great way to explore your surroundings with the wind in your face and a happy child urging you to go faster!

Combo all-day adventures

Most children have shorter attention spans than adult do, so embarking on an all-day combo adventure tour is the perfect child-friendly way to spend a day in Costa Rica. There are combo tours offered around most of the national parks, such as Rincon de la Vieja, Manuel Antonio and Arenal Volcano National Park. Combo tours allow you to choose multiple activities to do throughout the day, such as zip lining, horseback riding, hot springs, mud baths, waterfall repelling, white water rafting and hiking.

Take a ride | ©Kenneth Lu/Flickr

White water rafting trip

There are some world-class, as well as some more gentle white water rafting options in Costa Rica, which has rapids ranging from class one to class five. The best rapids can be found on the Corobici river, Pacuare river, Reventazon river, Rio Toro and Sarapiqui river. Most white water rafting tours also include lunch or a tropical fruit snack break and are great opportunities to see monkeys, sloths, tropical birds, tree frogs and many other types of animals. White water rafting is a fun and adventurous way to spend the day surrounded by nature with your kids.

Run down the river | ©David Berkowitz/Flickr

Boat tours

A unique way to experience the wildlife and beautiful scenery in Costa Rica is by taking a guided boat tour. Palo Verde is one of the best boat trips in the Guanacaste area. You will set off down the lower Tempisque river basin with a knowledgeable naturalist and experience the flora and fauna rich wetland area. This particular area is teeming with wildlife – you are guaranteed to spot crocodiles, iguanas, monkeys and a fantastic variety of birds. This peaceful river boat tour is perfect for the whole family. Other great boat trips include Damas Island, Las Baulas National Park river and estuary, or a catamaran trip to Cano Island.

Explore the underwater world

Costa Rica is as beautiful and diverse underwater as it is on land. The best snorkeling spots in Costa Rica are located in the Gondoca Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge, Chuita National Park, Cano Island Biological Reserve, Catalina Island, and the Gulf of Papagayo. Snorkeling is an activity for the whole family and one that requires no prior experience or certifications. There are hundreds of species of tropical fish on both coasts, as well as four different types of sea turtles, rays, sharks, 25 different dolphins and whales and a variety of colorful coral and volcanic rock formations.

Keep your eyes open for playing whales | ©Navin Rajagopalan/Flickr

Try surfing

While Costa Rica is an experienced surfer’s paradise, there are a number of beginner-friendly surf breaks on both coasts. Most beach towns – especially Tamarindo, Nosara, and Puerto Viejo – have a great selection of surf shops, surf schools, and surf instructors to choose from. There are also surf camps that take place throughout the year in places like Santa Teresa where you can spend an entire week learning to ride the waves. Most schools and instructors can do group or private lessons. It’s amazing how quickly most young kids pick it up within the first lesson or two!

Hop on a wave or two | ©Steven Worster/Flickr

Chocolate Tour

Costa Rica is famous for its cacao and chocolate, especially on the Caribbean side of the country. What kid doesn’t love chocolate? Taking a chocolate tour is a delicious way to learn all about how chocolate is made – from growing and harvesting cacao, all the way to grounding it down to the final chocolate product. You will also learn about the history of Costa Rica’s chocolate.

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