Costa Rica is famous for its beaches, eco-tours and adventure excursions, sustainability and green practices, and of course its biodiverse and exquisitely beautiful rainforests. With 25% of the country protected by national parks and reserves, the rainforests of Costa Rica are pristine and teeming with life. You cannot come to Costa Rica without stepping foot in at least one of its many rainforests. Here’s what you and your family need to know.
What to Bring and Wear
As the name implies, the rainforest is a wet place. If you don’t experience a rain shower while in the rainforest, you will definitely still feel the dense moisture in the air, the wetness of the earth, and dewdrop-covered foliage. Bring a rain jacket. The ground is typically uneven and oftentimes slippery, muddy, and dotted with rocks, fallen tree debris, and other hazards, so closed-toed shoes with traction are an absolute must. There are also thousands of species of insects, including ants, spiders, and mosquitos, that you will want to protect your skin from, so lightweight long pants and long sleeves are needed.
Everyone in the family should always be wearing bug repellent. Also make sure that each member of the family has their own bottle of water (please use a reusable water bottle, and avoid single-use plastics), as Costa Rica is very hot and staying hydrated is crucial. And don’t forget your camera and binoculars! A waterproof bag is also recommended to keep your electronics and other belongings safe and dry.
There are so many rainforests in Costa Rica! If you only have time to explore one, make sure you and your family check out Manuel Antonio National Park, Corcovado National Park, Arenal National Park, Monteverde, or the Tortuguero National Park. There are rainforests on both coasts and inland in Costa Rica, so regardless of where you are staying, access to the rainforest is never too far away. The above parks are ideal for families because there are many different types of tours and activities available. Some of the more remote parks, like La Amistad International Park, aren’t very kid-friendly because they require a lot more treacherous hiking.
What to Do
Aside from just marveling in wonderment while, there are quite a few kid-approved and family-friendly activities and tours to take in the rainforest. Some of the most popular activities are canopy zip lining, waterfall repelling, bird watching, guided nature walks, guided nighttime nature walks, self-guided hiking, walking along the hanging bridges, horseback riding, river boat tours, and swimming in the natural springs and in the ocean. The best way to experience the rainforest and have the best opportunity to see the most wildlife is with an expert naturalist. This option is available in all of the rainforests; indeed, some rainforests, such as in the Corcovado National Park, require visitors to have a guide with them at all times.
What to Look for
Costa Rica is home to 5% of the world’s biodiversity. There are hundreds of species of birds, thousands of inspects, over 200 species of mammals, over 200 species of reptiles, and over 200 species of amphibians. Many of these animals live in the rainforest. Some of the most famous rainforest species are the monkeys (four species), wildcats (six species), sloths (two species), scarlet macaws, resplendent quetzals, poison-dart and red-eyed tree frogs, blue morpho butterflies, and toucans. An expert naturalist and guide will be able to point out creatures that the untrained eye would totally miss. Experiencing the rainforest and all the incredible wildlife with your children is an experienced unmatched by any other!
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.