Where do families go in Costa Rica is like asking what a family does in Orlando. The answer is pretty much everything. Having guided family vacations for the last 15 years in Costa Rica I like to break it up into three categories that families take part in. The first is adventure, second is culture/rural experiences, and the third is the beach.
Families when coming to Costa Rica know they have to keep the kids active. Costa Rica has more options for adventure in a small area than any other country I can think of. Some of the spots most visited for adventure are the famous Pacuare River for whitewater rafting and staying at the Pacuare Outdoor Center which is a river lodge in the rainforest with Tarzan swings and ziplines designed for family fun. Another adventure spot for families is the La Fortuna area and the Arenal Volcano. Here you have a menu of enough adventures to keep you busy for an entire week from ziplines, rafting, stand up paddle board, nature hikes and floats, rappelling waterfalls, mountain biking, hanging bridges and more.
Our second topic for families is rural/culture experiences. These experiences range from a homestay to visiting an organic farm or lunch at a local’s house. The entire country lends itself for this if you know and book through the right company. There are hidden gems of micro-businesses you would not know are even a business when you drive by. Many locals will give tours of their farms including chocolate tours, orchids, and of course coffee. Another experience is a dance class or visiting a local folklore presentation which you can find in many different areas of the country. Finally one of my favorite for families to visit is doing a homestay for a night or two. Costa Rican’s have opened their doors and the rural homestays in Costa Rica actually rivals the hotel industry and the food and service is amazing. If you are not up for the entire homestay maybe just stop for lunch at a local’s house or some coffee. These unique experiences for families can be found all over Costa Rica assuming you can book with the proper company.
The beach is often on a family’s to-do list, especially if they live in a land-locked area. Costa Rica is a small country but it has two long coastlines. Our family favorite beaches are Nosara, Samara, Manuel Antonio, Punta Uva, Tamarindo, just to name a few. Some are more crowded than others but all are beautiful and for the most part calm swim-able waters for families to enjoy. These beaches also offer different activities to keep the kids busy like surfing, snorkeling, para-sailing.
The options are endless of places to go and things for do for families in Costa Rica. To give you an example I have guided the same family three times on three different week-long itineraries and at the end they could not decide which of all the places they liked best.