What do kids want? An adventure, of course! If you’re struggling with choosing the right place to go on a family holiday – look no more. Costa Rica offers many activities that will make you and your kids happy and content. Ranked as the happiest country in the world, it will help you get back in touch with nature, enjoy tasty local cuisines, and get to know the mindset of “pura vida”. This is, by far, the healthiest environment you can opt for, for a family trip. The hospitality of the locals will sweep you off your feet, and the mesmerizing nature will make you forget the concrete jungle of your city. Here is why Costa Rica is a perfect destination for families.
Exploring the wildlife
Costa Rica holds a number one rank when it comes to biodiversity density. It is home to around half a million species! Consider going on a boat trip, or even exploring the vast ocean with Costa Rica fishing charters for an unforgettable family bonding experience. Most of them have an English guide and lunch included in the price. Tortuguero National Park is perhaps the most famous destination for wildlife watching, as it can be reached only by boat. The packages usually include a transfer from San Jose (being the most popular tourist city), two or more nights lodging, and watching tours. Kids will certainly enjoy watching turtles and spotting other animals from the boat. Turtles nesting seasons are between March and October, but they may vary. Another great option includes hiking through the national parks. It is advisable to go on a guided hiking tour, since you will hear many interesting stories and the guide will show you where to look for animals. This applies especially for the species that tend to camouflage or blend in with their surroundings because of their colors (e.g. sloths and iguanas). Considering nature’s natural rhythm, it is best to go on a hiking tour early in the morning or in the late afternoon. Great experiences are offered by parks such as Manuel Antonio, Cahuita National Parks, and Palo Verde, where you can see sloths, monkeys, iguanas, crocodiles, egrets, bats, etc. Opt for hiking or a boat trip and enjoy one of the 26 Costa Rica’s national parks.
Water sports and amazing beaches
You can experience anything from river rafting, surfing, and kayaking, to paddle boarding, snorkeling and scuba diving. Even children (six year-olds and up) can enjoy river rafting: there are river rapids that are mild and completely safe. Kayaking is especially exciting since you can discover the unapproachable nature. Scuba diving is another great way to discover the marine wildlife. Scuba diving teachers are very skillful and detail-orientated when it comes to instructions. It is a unique experience usually older children enjoy. Surfing lessons are available for children who are five years old and up. As for the beaches, beautiful white sand and amazingly clear, turquoise water are waiting for you no matter what location in Costa Rica you opt for.
Zip-lining is maybe the best-known adrenaline activity in Costa Rica. Not all can provide rides for children under seven years, but there are many that do (e.g. Monteverde Theme Park or Selvatura). You don’t need to worry about your kids’ safety, since they can zip-line with an instructor. There are horseback rides you can enjoy all over the country. You can also experience coffee tours and learn more about permaculture farming while tasting the amazing coffee, or visit some of the amazing museums (e.g. the award-winning Precolumbian Gold Museum).
In addition to exploring the wildlife, you can also enjoy the beautiful waterfalls and volcanoes of Costa Rica. There are many waterfall trails tours you can try out that aren’t expensive (usually around $10 per person) and aren’t exhausting for inpatient children. There are different lengths of trails, depending on the waterfall you want to visit. Some are only about 2km long. Bathing under a waterfall is an amazing experience you’ll remember for the rest of your life. It is relaxing and purifying. These hiking routes are perfect for preschoolers and children that have a lot of energy. When you finally reach the waterfall, they will be tired in just the right amount, so they’ll enjoy swimming and soak in all the surrounding nature. As for volcanoes, Costa Rica is home to six active volcanoes and 61 dormant ones. Arenal was the country’s most active volcano in the past years. Along with volcanoes, you and your kids can enjoy hot springs: the most beautiful ones are around La Fortuna.
It is affordable
Sure, Costa Rica is a country that is well aware of its touristic potentials. It can be expensive if you’re not smart with your money. Local food is pretty affordable if you don’t eat at fancy restaurants. Tap water is safe for drinking, so that’s a plus. Public transport is affordable, but renting a car is a good option if your family is eager to explore the country independently. Try staying at places that aren’t touristy, like San Jose. Keep in mind that even San Jose can offer you affordable accommodation, but smaller locations can give you a much more authentic experience of Costa Rica. Choose Puntarenas, Montezuma (on the Nicoya Peninsula), Limón or Punta Uva. Discuss with your family if they are ready for a true adventure. Instead of choosing an all-inclusive hotel, why don’t you stay at bungalows? This will truly make your trip worthwhile. Many people fall in love with Costa Rica by spontaneously adapting their “pura vida” way of life, and they even consider moving there. They usually give up on this thought and go back to their grayish fast-paced cities, because they think it is too difficult to buy property in Costa Rica, even though it truly isn’t a complicated process. You don’t have to be an official resident of Costa Rica in order to purchase a home, although there are other formalities you need to take care of (e.g. you need a visa that proves you’re in the country legally). The process of buying a home isn’t more complex than the one you’re familiar with, in your own country. There are some regulations you should ask around for, but it is very much doable.
Costa Rica truly rocks for families! You will most certainly enjoy your stay and if you’re not careful – it just might steal your heart.