10 Things to Do in Costa Rica for Families

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Costa Rica is a great vacation destination for families, with dozens of activities that parents and kids alike can enjoy. While some adventures have minimum age requirements, you’d be surprised how many are open to even small children. 

Here are our nominations for some of the top things to do in Costa Rica for families.


Go to the beach

Did you ever see a kid who didn’t like the beach? From digging in the sand to frolicking in the waves, the beach is a perfect place for a family to spend their time in Costa Rica. Just keep a close eye on little ones and beware of heavy surf.

This just in: Kids love the beach!


 Go ziplining

You may be surprised to learn that most zipline operations allow children as young as 6. There may also be minimum weight requirements. And you might find that children sometimes overcome the “fear factor” better than adults.

Coming in hot! Ziplining is a great activity for kids.


Take a surfing lesson

 Kids as young as 4 or 5 can learn to surf, and in fact the young ones often get the “hang” of it faster than their parents.


Take a hike

If a child can walk, a child can hike. Of course, small children may not be up for climbing Mount Chirripó, but you can find hikes anywhere appropriate for your kids’ ages. Manuel Antonio National Park even has a short, paved trail where you can push a baby in a stroller.

You can’t climb the iconic Volcán Arenal, but there is lots of hiking all around this magnificent landmark.


Take a night hike

With a good guide, you’d be amazed how many spiders, snakes, frogs and other creepy-crawlies you can see at night. Kids love these hikes.


Go to an animal rescue center

What kid wouldn’t want to see jaguars, monkeys and sloths up close and personal? You’ll find zoos and animal rescue centers all over Costa Rica, typically featuring animals rescued from the pet trade or being rehabilitated from injury or illness.

Did you ever meet a kid who didn’t want to see a monkey?


Take a sunset cruise. 

Anyone who comes to Costa Rica should plan on getting on some kind of boat. One great option is a sunset cruise on a catamaran or sailboat, which typically include snorkeling, dinner and (for Mom and Dad) an open bar.

Sunset cruises can be a huge treat for the whole family.


Go rafting or tubing

Most operators have minimum ages of 12 or 13, but if your kids are old enough, they’ll love this adventure. Helmets and life jackets will be supplied.

Take the tweens rafting! They will love it.


Go kayaking or canoeing

 Smaller kids can share a canoe or a two-person kayak with a parent, preferably in a slow-moving river, and of course with a life jacket.

“Don’t rock the boat, baby, and where is your life vest?”


Hit the pool

This may be a no-brainer, but kids can entertain themselves for hours in a swimming pool, and any self-respecting hotel will have one.

“Climb a volcano? Thanks, Mom, but we’ll be fine swimming in the pool.”

The most common injury to children in Costa Rica is sunburn, so don’t forget the sunscreen. Also, never underestimate the power of the ocean, and keep a close eye on kids at the beach. Check with tour operators on appropriate ages and inquire about any safety risks

But generally speaking, your worries should be few. A trip to Costa Rica with your family is an unforgettable adventure, and it’s likely to be remembered by your kids as their most awesome vacation ever.

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