The Top 8 Family-Friendly Attractions in Costa Rica
Well-known for its palm-fringed coastline, fabulous wildlife reserves, majestic waterfalls, and lush forests, Costa Rica is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. This wonderland of natural attractions is actually an ideal destination in Central America for a family vacation with the little ones.
Your kids can look forward to a bunch of seriously awesome activities in Costa Rica. From rainforest hikes and canopy ziplines to visiting animal sanctuaries and building sandcastles on picturesque beaches, you’ll find plenty to fill your family vacation days here in Costa Rica.
Without further ado, here is our list of the best Family-Friendly Attractions in Costa Rica for a memorable family vacation.
1. La Paz Waterfall Gardens
Kick off your family travel itinerary in Costa Rica with a visit to the magnificent La Paz Waterfall Gardens. Located just outside the city of San Jose, these gardens are a perfect place to visit with your children.
You will have an opportunity to go on a short hike through lush dense rainforest and see 5 different waterfalls. You can even stand underneath one of the 5 waterfalls and ask your kids to snap a cool photo of you.
La Paz Waterfall Gardens is home to 10 animal exhibits where travelers can see colorful birds, snakes, frogs, and even monkeys. It is also worth mentioning that marked paths at the gardens allow self-guided tours of the grounds.
2. Rescate Animal ZooAve
Taking your kids to a zoo is always gonna be fun. However, there are many zoos in the world where animals are being mistreated and abused. Fortunately, the Rescate Animal ZooAve in Costa Rica is all about rescue rehabilitation and conservation breeding.
Rescate Animal ZooAve is actually not even a zoo. It is an animal wildlife rescue center and a non-profit sanctuary that houses injured wildlife native to Costa Rica. Visitors can see more than 120 types of mammals, reptiles, birds, and other species including parrots, sloths, and monkeys.
Keep in mind that the park covers a lot of ground, so it may be difficult for the little ones to explore the entire place on foot. The good news is that the Rescate Animal ZooAve offers rental wagons for children.
3. Arenal Volcano National Park
Arenal Volcano National Park is without a doubt one of the most beloved places in Costa Rica. Expect to find everything from adventure activities to natural wonders here. Lake Arenal which sits at the base of the majestic volcano is definitely one of the main attractions at the park.
Travelers should also stop by the Tabacon Hot Springs where they will have an opportunity to see natural hot tubs with cute waterfalls and picturesque bridges.
Looking for a place to stay? The surrounding area is home to many hot spring resorts that have their own mini water parks. For instance, Baldi Hot Springs Resort And Spa has nearly 30 thermal water pools.
4. Manuel Antonio National Park
5. Children’s Museum in San Jose
San Jose is the capital and the largest city in Costa Rica. It is home to a bunch of cool attractions, but our favorite place to visit when traveling with kids is the amazing Museo de Los Ninos or the Children’s Discovery Museum.
An interesting story is that this building used to serve as a military prison. Nowadays, this museum offers many interactive exhibits and displays that focus on history and educating children on various topics such as science, humanities, performing arts, and health and physical fitness.
This museum has a great collection of things that the little ones can enjoy. There is a cool fire truck, an ambulance, a kitchen, and an amazing outdoor playground with treehouses.
6. Ziplining at Ecoglide Arenal Park
Ziplining is an adrenaline-packed activity and definitely not something for the faint-hearted. However, Ecoglide Arenal Park in Costa Rica is a place where your kids can enjoy this thrilling activity.
We were actually a bit surprised to learn that kids as young as two years old can zipline here. But, this park offers a few family-friendly ziplines where kids between 2 and 5 are accompanied by a guide while 6 years old and up can go solo.
There are a few other kid-friendly/ beginner zip lines in Costa Rica that you can visit like La Fortuna, Manuel Antonio, and Tamarindo.
7. Cahuita National Park
Cahuita is a small village in Costa Rica where you will have a chance to see some of the most beautiful natural attractions in the country. From beaches and coral reefs to a majestic national park, this place has it all.
Located just a short walk from the center of the village, Cahuita National Park is home to hundreds of indigenous species of plants, animals, and insects. This sprawling park offers a wide range of cool activities for families on vacation in Costa Rica.
You can take one of the many hiking trails to see mischievous monkeys and slow sloths along the way. Beachgoers will want to pay a visit to the white sand beach of Playa Blanca. If you wish to enjoy water activities, two shipwreck sites are easily explored during a diving trip.
8. Tortuguero National Park
Last on our list of family-friendly attractions in Costa Rica is the Tortuguero National Park. It’s not the easiest place to get to, but it’s worth the trip. This area, accessible only by boat or plane, is unique in many ways. For instance, the park is a breeding ground for the green sea turtle. Therefore, expect to see thousands of green and leatherback turtles when visiting Tortuguero National Park. It is also one of the wettest areas in Costa Rica and boasts a variety of wildlife ranging from sloths and kinkajous to lizards and monkeys.
The only downside here are the beaches. Although there are many beaches in the park, the coastal area is not suitable for water activities because of the rough and strong currents. Looking for affordable beach vacations to take with your family? Check out The Top 10 Affordable Beach Resorts in the US next.