Family holidays in Costa Rica are always captivating. How could they be anything else in the land of howler monkeys and sloths, where sea turtles come to nest in their thousands, and ‘Pura Vida’ isn’t just a saying – it’s a way of life?
Forget what you’ve heard about winter being the best time to go: summer’s significantly more peaceful ‘green season’ is just as wonderful. It also fits perfectly with UK school holidays, and everything costs less.
Technically, you can expect some rain from May to November, but locals will confirm there’s often a mini-dry season from mid-July to mid-August, too. Plus, most of the top turtle-nesting events occur from June to October, and since Costa Rica’s major attractions are all natural, they don’t close – ever.
If that doesn’t tempt you, think about direct UK flights of 11 hours or less, year-round. Then have a look at some ideas Visit Costa Rica have put together for a fantasy two-week family holiday, and prepare to be seriously tempted.
Touch down in San José and catch your breath. Costa Rica’s capital is a lively contrast to most of the rest of the country, and the centre’s fun to explore with kids, easy to walk around, and not too big: so you can see a lot, even in just a few hours.
The lush Central Valley region around San José is Costa Rica’s agricultural heartland. Easy to reach from the city centre, spend a day here, experience authentic Tico culture, and discover some of the world’s greatest coffees, at the source.
You can find Central Valley family hotels and resorts here.
If you’re on a mission to witness nesting sea turtles, Tortuguero is one of Costa Rica’s hotspots – the hint’s in the park name. Hawksbill and green sea turtles nest here, but it’s particularly known for enormous leatherbacks. You can spot turtles year-round, but March to October is prime nesting season.
You can only visit Tortuguero on guided boat tours, and access to the turtle beaches requires a permit and an authorised local guide. Which all sounds complicated, but most lodges within easy reach of the park can arrange everything for you in advance.
Find family hotels and resorts in the Caribbean area of Costa Rica.
The town of La Fortuna isn’t large, but has a huge reputation. It’s the gateway to Arenal Volcano National Park and the place for fantastic views of Costa Rica’s most famous active volcano, from every angle. Climbing Arenal itself is completely off-limits, but dozens of adventurous activities at ground level keep kids too busy to worry about minor restrictions.
Find family hotels and resorts in the Northern Plains area of Costa Rica.
Monteverde, in north-west Costa Rica, is one of the world’s most famous cloud forests. It’s a pristine environment, home to hundreds of bird species, insects and lizards, as well as spider, squirrel and capuchin monkeys, incredible butterflies, and some of the most fun ways on earth to get about.
Find family hotels and resorts in the Puntarenas area of Costa Rica.
Over 25% of Costa Rica is protected land. That’s a lot of national parks and marine reserves, but even with some of the most spectacular areas on earth as competition, Manuel Antonio is the park of parks. Packed with wildlife, it’s stunningly beautiful, the guided tours are outstanding, and the entire experience couldn’t be more magical for kids.
Find family hotels and resorts in the Central Pacific area of Costa Rica.