Top 7 Family-Friendly Costa Rican Ecotours

Take a family-friendly ecotour in Costa Rica
Take a family-friendly ecotour in Costa Rica | © nigel FRANCIS / Alamy Stock Photo
Jenn Parker

Ecotours are a great way to experience the beauty of the world’s diverse ecosystems. In Costa Rica, you’ll find many of these tours, all of which provide educational, exhilarating and enjoyable experiences for families. From the land to the sea, we’ve rounded up the best ecotours in the country.

1. Adventure tour

Amusement Park

© Pietro Scòzzari / Alamy Stock Photo

The Combo tour at Buena Vista del Rincon provides many activities near the Rincón de la Vieja Volcano. Each person chooses from a combination of activities, making it ideal for a family with different personalities and interests among its members. The Eco Adventure Park day pass provides access to canopy zip-lining, waterfall hiking, suspension bridges, hot springs, natural mud baths, horseback riding and the longest mountain waterslide in Costa Rica. The pass also includes a delicious buffet lunch.

2. Crocodile boat tour

Natural Feature

© adrian hepworth / Alamy Stock Photo

The lower basin region of the Tempisque River is home to incredible wildlife, including caimans, crocodiles, monkeys, iguanas, bats and birds. The Palo Verde River Tour gives travelers the unique opportunity to witness some of Costa Rica’s wildlife up close with an experienced and knowledgeable naturalist. Sometimes monkeys even hop on the boat to greet travelers. It’s an especially great tour if traveling with small children or elderly family members. A traditional lunch at a family-owned restaurant is provided at the end of the excursion.

3. Set sail

Sports Center

© Christoph Lischetzki / Alamy Stock Photo

Hop on a 100ft (30m) catamaran – complete with two Jacuzzis, two giant trampolines and two waterslides – in Manuel Antonio. Catamaran Adventures offers a half-day sailing and snorkeling tour on the Pacific Ocean, with the chance to see dolphins, whales, turtles and jumping stingrays. Live music, snacks and an open bar are available on the ride. The boat also stops to let you snorkel and soak in the warm ocean water while a traditional Costa Rican lunch is prepared.

4. Safari on Sarapiquí

Natural Feature

Courtesy of Viator

A full-day safari on the Sarapiquí River is a combination tour nature lovers will enjoy. The day begins by exploring Braulio Carrillo National Park, a rainforest filled with magnificent trees, plants, flowers and animals. A private boat tour will then lead you down the Sarapiquí, where additional wildlife sightings are likely. Following the hour-and-a-half boat tour, you and your family can explore a butterfly pavilion, reptile museum and botanical gardens. A lunch buffet and local coffee are also served.

5. Island day

Natural Feature

© dpa picture alliance / Alamy Stock Photo

Isla Tortuga lies off the coast of the Nicoya Peninsula. This island tour leaves from Montezuma Beach, but shuttles are available from Mal País, Santa Teresa or Tambor. After the 45-minute boat ride, you can swim, snorkel, kayak, hike and sunbathe. For meals, local fish, chicken, vegetables, fresh fruit and refreshments are served.

6. Volunteer with animals


© Charles Wollertz / Alamy Stock Photo

The volunteer program and tour of a wildlife rescue center near La Fortuna is a heartwarming experience. This three-and-a-half-hour activity blends education, volunteer work and animal interactions. It also provides an opportunity to teach children about conservation and the importance of protecting the environment and its inhabitants.

7. Caribbean coast and chocolate

Natural Feature

The Uatsi Waterfall and Indigenous Reservation tour on Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast is a one-day educational, fun journey. The day begins with a trip to the picturesque Uatsi Waterfall, followed by a visit to an indigenous community, a quick stop at the Sixaola River – separating Costa Rica and Panama – and a chocolate tour.

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