Insight /

Costa Rica

Ultimate outdoor playground Costa Rica

Costa Rica is the ultimate family adventure holiday. This beautiful chunk of Central America is an outdoor playground of volcanoes, rainforests, peaks and peninsulas. With as great a biodiversity as the whole of the USA, it’s also paradise for wildlife lovers. Throw in fantastic beaches, eco-hotels galore and direct UK flights, and you’ve got a crowd-pleaser that’s guaranteed to wow the whole family.

The Lowdown

  • Getting there:

    BA offer direct flights to San Jose, which take 11 hours.

  • Ideal for:

    Nature lovers & Eco-adventurers.

  • Top Tip:

    Our winter is peak season, but don’t discount travel over the country’s summer ‘Green Season’. Glistening jungles are at their lush best, turtles are nesting and there’s also sparser crowds and lower hotel rates.

Action & Adventure

If it’s family action you want, you’ve come to the right place. From kayaking through mangrove swamps to ziplining beside active volcanoes, there’s almost nothing you can’t get up to in Costa Rica.

Try your hand at white water rafting on the Pacuare River’s class III rapids or go canoeing around Caño Negro’s protected wetlands while looking out for exotic birds and river turtles.

Other waterborne adventures include stand up paddle boarding, canoeing and swimming in geothermal pools. There’s excellent riding opportunities all over the country. At Manuel Antonio National Park, it’s possible to rent horses from a ranch and traverse rainforests and rivers, before swimming under spectacular waterfalls.

You can go hiking through the cloud forest of Monteverde or at Arenal volcano, whose looming presence you’ll notice from miles around. For a less-crowded alternative to ascending Arenal, try the six-hour trek up its neighbour, fellow (and dormant) volcano Cerro Chato. Inside you’ll find an emerald green lagoon in which you can bathe as reward for your efforts.

    Wildlife Wonders

    Home to over 500,000 individual species, Costa Rica is home to a treasure trove of wildlife. Sharp-eyed children will delight in spotting red-eyed tree frogs, brightly plumed birds and sedentary sloths among its teeming national parks.

    The northern Caribbean coast is one of the world’s prime turtle-nesting hubs. Each year the reptiles return to the same beaches where they were born in order to produce another generation of eggs. Literally translated as ‘Land of the Turtles’, Tortuguero National Park’s beaches are the best place for you to witness this spectacle.

    Keep your eyes peeled for monkeys, sloth and large caimans while gliding silently along the park’s canals and lagoons by boat. It’s the only way to get up close to resident wildlife such as the Jesus Christ lizard – nicknamed for their uncanny ability to run on water.

    Our local naturalist guides are masters at spotting even the most carefully camouflaged creatures, so you’re all sure to return home having glimpsed animals you’ve never seen before.

    Coast to Coast

    Costa Rica isn’t really a stay-in-one spot for two weeks kind of place so that’s a bonus for families who may want different things from their trip.

    If you want to flop on the beach, you’ve got a choice of Pacific and Caribbean coastlines. Lazy days spent swimming and snorkelling are the perfect complement to all those active adventures.

    But even beach time feels adventurous in Costa Rica. There are numerous prime surf spots on both coasts, and we can arrange for you to learn how to ride the waves with a family surf lesson. You’ll find humpback whales on the Pacific side during winter, while pods of dolphin patrol both coasts year-round.

    Costa Rica is the same size as Wales, which means travel distances are small so you needn’t worry about the kids being cooped up in the car for long periods. It’s also incredibly easy to get around, whether by domestic flight or private road transfer. And if you want to be more independent, we can also arrange self-drive family holidays.