Costa Rica is one of the preferred destinations for family vacation, miles of beautiful beaches, warm weather and variety of wildlife provide the perfect playground for kids, leave behind their play station and electronic toys, there are a plenty of places where the whole family can practice adventure tourism, but if your kids are too young for zip lining and white water rafting, there are additional options.
What are some of the best places to visit in Costa Rica if you are vacationing with your kids? Here are some suggestions:
1) La Paz Waterfall Gardens: This is our number one choice because every kid loves animals. Located just a few minutes’ drive from the Poás Volcano in Alajuela, Costa Rica, this wonderful place has nature, rescued wild animals such as jaguars and toucans, and of course, waterfalls. The hummingbird gardens and the butterfly observatory are some of the preferred kids’ attractions. La Paz Waterfall Gardens offers a great restaurant and high level facilities, everything you need when you are traveling with young kids. When you are in this area, and of course after your visit to the volcano, you can also stop by Freddo Fresas restaurant, not only is the food delicious but they offer a “milk tour” that kids love.
2) Kalambu Hot Springs Water Park: La Fortuna in San Carlos is one of the obligatory stops to visit while in Costa Rica, but kids don’t see much fun on the relaxing hot springs, they get bored easily; this won’t happen at Kalambu, this water park offers different slides and play areas that kids simply love and that will keep them entertained the day long.
3) Jaguar Rescue Center: Located near Puerto Viejo in the province of Limón, the Jaguar Rescue Center is a beautiful place for kids to learn about different animals and the dangers they face. Limon also has plenty of beautiful beaches with great conditions for kids to swim. The Sloth Sanctuary is also in the area if you wish to visit them both.
4) Tortuguero Park: Also located in the Caribbean coast but in the Northern side, Tortuguero is the third-most visited National Park in Costa Rica. The name translates to “Land of Turtles”; just getting here is an adventure on itself as you can only access by boat or by taking a short plane ride. Here you can visit turtle nesting beaches, explore the canals, or simply relax and enjoy the wonderful surrounding nature.
5) Blue River Resort & Hot Springs: Located an hour by car from Liberia, Guanacaste, at the foothill of the Rincón de la Vieja National Park, this resort is located in the middle of the tropical rain forest, between waterfalls and hot springs and beautiful views. It also has a new adventure for the little ones: Dinosaur Land. These life-size, animatronic creatures in the middle of the Costa Rican jungle give kids an incredible adventure they will never forget.
6) Ponderosa Adventure Park: Formerly known as Africa Mia, is located in Liberia, Guanacaste, and it offers an African-safari like experience where kids can see giraffes, zebras, antelopes and other animals running free, they even get to feed the giraffes. The park also has waterfalls, canopy, ATV tours, hikes and kayak, plenty of alternatives for you to choose from depending on your kids’ ages and preferences.
7) Venado Caves Costa Rica: If your kids are the explorer type and they don’t mind bats and insects, this is an awesome place for them to live a unique adventure. The caves are a 45-minute drive from La Fortuna de San Carlos.
8) The Springs Resort: Also in La Fortuna, San Carlos this luxury resort offers the Club Rio Outdoor Center, where your family can enjoy inflatable kayaking, river tubing, horseback riding, guided nature tours, climbing/rappel wall. The hotel has different pools, waterfalls and of course, hot springs.
If you are going to be in the San José area, or you live in Costa Rica and you are looking for fun places to take your kids for some healthy entertainment, we leave you these recommendations:
9) Parque de Diversiones: The Costa Rica amusement park, it is not huge like some parks in the United States or other countries, but there is fun for kids all ages and they will stay busy throughout the day. Roller coasters, kiddy rides, water attractions, etc. Go for the special pass as it is more cost-effective, take sunblock and a change of clothes.
10) Jump Center: There’s one in Via Lindora, Santa Ana and another in Tibás; this is, as you may have guessed, a trampoline park and it offers hours of entertainment for kids 4 and up, adults are also allowed to jump! If you choose to go to the Via Lindora location there is a mini golf course here too, so you can make a day out of it.
11) The Toucan Rescue Ranch: In San Isidro, Heredia, this place is a wildlife sanctuary, rescue, rehabilitation and release center. They offer different tours where you can see toucans, macaws, sloths, monkeys, others, among others, some tours will even allow you to watch the staff as they feed the animals, take photos with them, or you can even tailor your own tour.
12) Charrara Park: In the province of Cartago, this place is great for a day tour, plenty of outdoor activities, including sports and water entertainment in the Cachi Lake, jet ski rental, kayak, and even flyboard during summer time.