Costa Rica may be small, but it is jam-packed with high-adrenaline fun, furry friends, colorful birds and
cool teeny-tiny dart frogs to explore. Costa Rica is one of the most bio-diverse places on earth, with
beaches, mountains, volcanos, rivers, lakes, rainforests, cloud forests and dry forests. With so many
different animals like sloths, monkeys, Baird’s Tapir, three kinds of anteaters and tons of cool things to
see, you can introduce little ones and teens to tons of different wildlife. Kids LOVE Costa Rica!
Sloths, Monkeys and Colorful Frogs
What kid at any age – or even a 92-year-old kid at heart – doesn’t want to see sloths, monkeys and cute
little colorful frogs? Sloths are the number one thing that tourists to Costa Rica want to see, and there
are several regions in the country where you can see them. Several species of rubbery dart frogs can be
found if you are looking – green and black frogs, the nocturnal ruby-eyed tree frog and the red bodied
“blue jean” frog. Who doesn’t like a frog that wears blue jeans?
Surfs Up, Dude
Local surf gurus can have your kids up ages 5 and up surfing in less than an hour or they will refund your
money. It will probably take parents a little longer to get the hang of it than their children, but if they
want to take a lesson, cowabunga, just do it Nike! Most families find this to be a great shared
experience. Your kids will eat dinner without complaint this night, completely tuckered out and ready to
hit the sack early. Bonus for the parents!
Zip-line Tree Top Canopy Tour
Whee! Soaring from tree to tree on sturdy cables is just plain fun and super exhilarating. The very young
child or timid kids can go tandem with an experienced canopy guide. And the more extroverted kids who
want to get a little zany can zip along upside down or do the “look ma, no hands” superman pose when
zipping tandem with a guide. Your kids will experience pure joy as they travel from platform to platform
looking for monkeys and birds along the way. The smile just might become permanent!
Canyon Rappelling Tour
What could be more fun than learning to rappel down the side of a canyon or through a refreshing
waterfall? Bet that is something your kids haven’t done where they live. With beautiful settings and
guides who pull out surprises, your family is sure to find this experience one of the highlights of their
trip. They won’t forget this one for years to come.
White Water Rafting
Wet and wild fun as you navigate through a beautiful tropical setting. This is a great way to teach your
kids about the importance of listening to instructions given by their experienced guide and working as a
team. It takes grit and heart to paddle your way through thrilling, white-water rapids. River guides flip
the rafts onto the bank during the break and this makeshift table is quickly put to use to serve tasty
fresh fruit snacks while you and your kids jump off the river bank into the invigorating water. At the end
of the tour there is plenty to celebrate with “high-five” paddle slaps all around for the guide and crew.
Bond-building and strengthening – the family that rafts together, stays together!
Costa Rica’s oceans are bustling with life! With more than 80 current IFGA world records, it is really hard
to get skunked. It’s a whole lot more fun for kids when they are catching something, and boy is there a
lot to catch. Along the Pacific coast you can angle for rooster fish, tuna, wahoo, dorado (mahi-mahi) and
billfish (marlin, sailfish and swordfish). On the northern Atlantic coast record-setting tarpon fishing is the
game, and there is some pretty good snook fishing to be found too. If you are in Arenal, you can catch
machaca and guapote – a bump-head bass. Throw out a line and see what you catch while you are in
Whale Watching, Snorkeling, Scuba Diving
Just riding on the boat seeing the sights in Costa Rica is an experience you won’t forget. As you ride
along the coast, you will see Costa Rica from a vantage point you just can’t get on land. Spinner dolphin
love to leap and frolic in the wake behind boats. If you like whales – and who doesn’t – there are two
migrations of humpback whales that come to Costa Rica to breed and give birth to their young along the
Pacific Coast (Jan-Feb and July-Aug).
If your kid is at least 10 years old, they can learn to Scuba Dive. There is a one day, Discover Scuba Diving
(DSD) experience if you want have never tried diving and want to check it out. With tons of shallow dive
sites, and year-round diving conditions along the NW Pacific Coast, it is easy and fun to get their Open
Water Diver scuba diving certification completed. And they will see massive schools of grunts so thick
they can swim through them, tons of eagle rays, puffer fish, eels and lots of other critters. Identifying all
that marine life might just them on their trek to becoming a marine biologist! Stranger things have
Turtles, Turtles, Turtles
From November to August there are many spots around Costa Rica where you and your family can have
a once in a lifetime experience to see turtles lumber up the beach to nest with each female turtle laying
300-400 eggs! It is a lot of hard work for the turtles, but easy for you to join one of the park rangers in a
small group and witness this up close. It is a moving encounter that families will never forget. Turtle
hatchlings can be seen in later months working their way back to the ocean under the light of the full
moon. Turtles return to the same beaches year after year, it is definitely something all families should
try to experience.
Hiking to a Celestial Blue River
Never have I ever…that is what you and your family will say when they hike to the Rio Celeste and see
this ethereal sky blue water for yourselves. It is like being in a dream when you see this unbelievably
beautiful shade of blue water. After a hike through breathtakingly gorgeous scenery, you can swim at
the base of the waterfall. There is just nothing quite like it anywhere.
Cloud Forests & Hummingbird Gardens
Costa Rica has some amazing cloud forests, and Monteverde is one of the best. You and your family can
do an easy hike in the Cloud Forest Preserve with an experienced birding guide who will show you some
amazing birds through his high-powered spotting scope. Why go with a guide? Well, you probably don’t
know where the birds nest, the sound of their song or which trees bear the fruits they like to eat. One of
the birds residing here is considered the most beautiful bird in the world – the Resplendent Quetzal –
with an emerald green head, enormous garnet breast and fine, long plumage. Without a guide, you
might miss this amazing site, even though it is directly over your head! There are also self-guided trails
along the Continental Divide – and while it is not often clear enough to see this view (after all it is in the
Cloud Forest) – there are days when you can see both coasts after reaching the top. And the hike is so
peaceful and serene, it is impossible not to enjoy, if you love nature. Hummingbird Gardens house
dozens of feeders, and if you stand very still, these exquisite little birds will flit and fly all around you.
Video of your kids doing this is priceless!