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Family surfing, volcano tours & other cool things to do with kids in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is the perfect family-friendly vacation spot, whether you want to explore national parks, snorkel and surf, or just chill at the beach.

If you’re planning a family vacation, you probably imagine yourself sipping a cocktail by a private pool and finally reading that book you bought 6 months ago, while your kids are quietly building sandcastles. (Quietly – who am I kidding?) In reality, your teenager is bored to death and your toddler is making sand soup out of your cocktail while you’re in the pool. Oh yes, your book stays in the suitcase. You can read it on the plane back (you won’t).

Believe it or not, a beach family vacation can be an enjoyable experience if it is planned well, and Costa Rica is a top choice for families with kids of all ages. In fact, in 2023, the tourist flow to Costa Rica increased by 16.7% in comparison with the previous year, reaching almost 2.5 mln visitors – and there is a reason for this. With Costa Rica, you don’t face the tough choice between a relaxing beach vacay, a national park trip, and a holiday jam-packed with sports activities, because you can have it all. Read on to find out what activities will be fun for both kids and parents.

Go to a family surf camp

The Nicoya Peninsula is a premier location for riding the waves. The area boasts many family-friendly surf camps, where visitors can learn to surf in small groups and a safe environment under the guidance of professional instructors. Many of them also offer yoga sessions, so there is something for everyone.

Visit a real volcano for a “hot” adventure

There are 61 dormant and six active volcanos in Costa Rica, some of which have hot springs nearby as a bonus (hello to all spa lovers!). Arenal is the most popular one, known for its perfectly conical shape, biodiversity, and surrounding coffee plantations. And if you go to see the Poás Volcano, you can even look right into its crater!

Explore insects at a butterfly conservatory

There are 1500 species of butterflies in Costa Rica, some of which reach 200 mm in wing span. Many of these can be seen at the Monteverde Butterfly Gardens, the Spirogyra Butterfly Garden outside San Jose, and the Butterfly Conservatory near La Fortuna. See if you can spot the famous Monarch, the spectacular Blue Morpho, the huge Owl butterfly, or the White Angled Sulphur (spoiler – it’s impossible, because it looks exactly like a leaf). There are also arachnids, leafcutter ants, and other exotic insects.

See sloths and armadillos at a national park

If your family is the adventurous type, go for a challenging hike through one of Costa Rica’s national parks. Or – even better –zip-line through the jungle for a perfect mix of thrills and stunning scenery. Zip-lining in Costa Rica is considered safe for children as young as 4 years old. You’ll enjoy the proximity to nature and see animals that you won’t find in zoos. For example, the Cabo Blanco National Park, which is Costa Rica’s first nature reserve, has over 100 exotic species, including sloths, armadillos, anteaters, porcupines, and humpback whales, that can be seen from the beach. Another good thing about this park is that it is off-the-beaten-path, so there won’t be so many tourists as in Manuel Antonio or Corcovado.

Overall, enjoying the pura vida with kids is possible, however, it’s also important where you stay. If you have a large family, the team behind Gigi Brown Beachfront Santa Teresa, a boutique hotel, recommends booking a suite with a private pool, so you can relax in a more private setting and closely watch your children while they swim. Also, you won’t have to constantly apologize to other people because your kids jumped onto their heads in the pool or blasted them in the eye with their water gun. But even if kids do behave like, well, kids, that won’t be a problem. After all, Costa Rica is known for its laid-back lifestyle that emphasizes happiness and simplicity.

This content is provided in partnership with Gigi Brown Beachfront Santa Teresa and is intended for informational purposes only. The views, opinions, and advice expressed in this article are solely those of Gigi Brown Beachfront Santa Teresa and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of any other individual, organization, or entity.


Company Information

Name: Cenk Kinay

Organization:  Gigi Brown Beachfront Santa Teresa

Company Address:  Calle Vista de Olas Malpais Santa Teresa , Cobano, Provincia de Puntarenas 60111,

Costa Rica

Company Website: https://gigibrown.net/