Costa Rica is a no-brainer for family vacations. The beauty of Costa Rica stems not only from its
natural beauty and amazing people but from the way it has developed tourism. This is why
family vacations are so fun. It is more than a Caribbean cruise, Cancun, or Vegas type
experience. Everything done here is on a more personal level. Even visiting the most populated
tourist spots you will still find the authenticity of what makes Costa Rica a country that is coined
“no artificial ingredients”.
Having been guiding families in Costa Rica for the last 15 years and running my own travel
company, outfitter, and lodge, the one thing you learn very quickly is that a good guide, some
wildlife, and making a family feel special is the key to the perfect trip. The adventure will happen
and is a given but the other things take some work. Who doesn’t want to feel special, see a
sloth, and make a new best friend with their guide. The core of all this starts with the guide. If
you have the right guide the other two things will fall into place. Should you say something
here about how to select a guide? Recommendations, reviews, personal contact
w/guide prior to trip.
With that said, here are three places for families in Costa Rica where I actually go when on
vacation with my family.
Technically this does not count as vacation for me because I live here. But I live here for a
reason. There are still 200ft waterfalls you can visit and be the only one around. There is a
smoking volcano only a handful of people who have visited Costa Rica have seen. To add some
icing to the cake you have one of the most scenic rivers on the planet for rafting. With all this
you would think it can’t get any better but the best part is the local experience of Turrialba. Allow
your family to see the real Costa Rica and spend time with locals in the many rural tourism
projects in the area. You can do everything here that you can do in Arenal and La Fortuna with
smaller crowds. Don’t go telling everyone, we happen to enjoy our Turrialba the way it is but you
are still welcome!
Not a lot of loding to choose from which is nice in a sense but still usually space available. Take
a look at Casa Turire which happens to be one of our favorites in the area.
You have probably heard of Nosara if you are into Yoga and Surfing. When you arrive, your first
impression might be– what’s all the fuss was about. After a few days the vibe will be contagious
and you will not want to leave. Even for someone who does not surf and do yoga it is still a
place where you can spend a week and enjoy the beach for its beauty. This is a beach where you have surfer/yogis walking around, up at sunrise, drinking smoothies. You will find a lot less
bars and discos compared to other beaches in Costa Rica. If you are looking for a healthy week
of adventure and sun this is a great spot. If you like yoga and surfing don’t even bother looking
elsewhere this is your spot.
I suggest staying in Nosara for an entire week. It is a little far from other places and renting a
house and just getting the full Nosara experience takes a week to soak in all the sun and vibes.
For those that want to spend a little extra you can take a flight on a puddle jumper and be in
what all of Costa Rica was 50 years ago. Don’t worry there are some beautifully hidden hotels
that will attend to all your luxury needs. Drake Bay, the gateway of Corcovado National Park is
known for being one of the wildest places on the planet and most biodiverse. Here you can get
the full Costa Rica experience of dirt roads, plenty of wildlife, and tours and activities. The best
part about Drake Bay is that nothing will be crowded. It is likely that all your tours and activities
you will be the only group unlike many in La Fortuna, Arenal where you might feel like cattle
getting walked through your adventure.
Bring your camera the scenery is amazing, plus your dramamine as the main source of
transportation is via small boats.
Don’t take it for me. Come see these places with the family and give them the experience of a