San Jose, La Fortuna, Tamarindo, Manuel Antonio, Monteverde Cloud Forest
Dates are customizable for private departures.
From beautiful beaches to wondrous cloud forests, Costa Rica provides the perfect spaces to relax and play. Monkeys howl, volcanos impress, and you can lead your family on an adventure through the trees. By balancing laid-back relaxation with thrilling activities, this adventurous two-week Costa Rica tour is expertly handcrafted for families with children of all ages. This is a safe and serene place to travel together, and you will discover the best of it, including Arenal, Monteverde, Tamarindo,...
San Jose – Easing Into Costa Rica
To begin your adventure, you will touch down in San Jose, and the Costa Rican capital may feel a little different to your preconceptions. This is not a place of bustle, but it is a low-slung capital that is easy to explore on foot in addition to being very safe for families. The historic center and oldest neighborhoods of San Jose can prove extremely relaxing places to ease into Costa Rica and to make first impressions of the country. After landing at the country’s major international airport, you will be met by a local guide and transferred to a luxurious boutique hotel in the city’s center.
Your guide will discuss different options in San Jose, so you can plan the afternoon based on your energy and interests. By indulging in a stroll through the city center, you can admire wonderful 19th-century mansions and a string of plazas that have been enlivened by street traders and locals. There’s an exotic atmosphere here, and it is easy to see that you have landed in a place very different from home. San Jose is also symbolic of the country as it is safe, welcoming, and easy to feel at home. For dinner, you may want to try a restaurant that serves up traditional cuisine alongside dance and entertainment from around the country. Your guide can also lead you to a restaurant that serves more Western-style dishes.
San Jose – Standing on the Rim of an Active Volcano
Poas Volcano rises majestically outside of San Jose. It is one of the country’s most active volcanos, and its underground activity is constantly monitored. It seems inaccessible because it appears like a magnificent cone too steep or fierce to explore. On the contrary, Poas is Costa Rica’s most accessible volcano because a drivable road ascends to the summit. This means that your family can discover a very active volcanic crater in all its glory without needing to spend a full day hiking up steep slopes. After a relaxed morning, your local guide will lead you to Poas Volcano National Park for an afternoon around the summit.
Mud pools may bubble magically, gasses will hiss, and steam will likely float around the crater rim. You will be able to smell the sulfur as it seeps from the caldera. This will be an experience that highlights the grandeur of volcanos, which will impress everyone with the Earth’s raw power. Various hiking trails can lead you around or down the volcano, so there are options to hike if you wish. You can also just enjoy the summit before driving back to San Jose for another laid-back evening in the city’s old-world core.
La Fortuna – Hot Springs and Activities Next to Arenal Volcano
The highway will twist into Costa Rica’s volcano-dominated interior, and bucolic scenes stretch in all directions to coffee plantations, rainforest, and green slopes. It will be just over two hours to La Fortuna, and Arenal volcano will provide you with a compass point, guiding you into the country’s infamous destination. Once you arrive, you can check-in early to one of Costa Rica’s most iconic resorts before meeting your private guide to plan out the next three days. Arenal is known as Costa Rica’s adventure hub, but it is an extremely laid-back destination at heart, especially when you can utilize private hot springs and thermal pools at your resort.
Your next destination of Monteverde will provide you with a more wilderness type atmosphere. La Fortuna is great for families because there is a choice regarding what you can do without needing to go beyond your comfort zone. The town is packed with small restaurants and cafes, so there is also a wide variety of places to dine and things to do during the evenings. This afternoon can involve any number of activities from ziplining to wildlife walks and kayaking. It will all be up to you, and your private guide will customize daily itineraries once you are in Costa Rica.
Day 4 - 5
La Fortuna – Ziplining and Family Adventure in the Trees
Ziplining is the iconic adventure in Arenal because the area has some of the coolest and highest ziplines on the planet. Most kids love it although you should note that the minimum height for this activity is 1.20 meters. Children aged 6 to 12 are harnessed in with an instructor and go tandem ziplining. Anyone older can safely sip through the trees by themselves. Lines will lead you across green valleys and high above the treetops with a stunning volcano that rises in the distance. After a short introductory line, you can travel through the area on a series of 12 different lines, each one with a different view of the volcano and forest. A sky tram and skywalk will also be a part of your half-day experience.
Arenal is the best place in Costa Rica for family ziplining. Therefore, it is virtually a must-do during your three days in La Fortuna. The rest of the time can be relaxed or active. You should consider a visit to a wildlife sanctuary, where sloths and monkeys create excitement and enchantment. You can also go kayaking or indulge in a boat tour on Lake Arenal. Easy hiking trails can lead you to small waterfalls and a sense of forest serenity. Afterward, you can rest in the natural hot springs and feel the allure of nature’s therapeutic powers.
Monteverde – A Thrilling Journey over Land and Water
Traveling to Monteverde is quite an adventure by water and by road. After leaving the resort, you will travel around the volcano before taking a private boat across Lake Arenal. This journey will position you in the midst of nature with a volcano reflecting in the water and clouds hanging lazily in the forests. You will then move to the road, where you will zigzag higher into the clouds with stops to search for unusual birds and monkeys. Sometimes, Monteverde reflects its cloud forest name. It is mystical and magical, and the journey will lead you in and out of the clouds. At other times, the views will be completely clear, so you can catch glimpses of the Pacific Ocean in the distance.
La Fortuna has all the amenities and options you would expect from a popular tourist town. The experience will be different in Monteverde, where you will be staying at an all-inclusive wilderness lodge. At your lodge, there is an incredible amount of space for your kids to explore in nature. For three days, you will not see many other people as you hideaway in this untouched corner of Costa Rica. Hiking trails start directly from the lodge grounds, and you may even hear monkeys howling in the night. These three days will be an escape into Costa Rican nature and will be complete with colorful birds and mist-shrouded sunsets from your private balcony.
Day 7 - 8
Monteverde – Walking on Hanging Bridges and Intimate Wildlife Walks
Over 100 mammals and more than 200 different birds occupy Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. The trees rise high as they cling to mountain slopes, and mist sometimes swirls, adding to the enchantment. It may feel like a lost wilderness, but Monteverde is very accessible for children of all ages. Hanging bridges connect the treetops, and some of them are 800 feet in length. They are also very safe, and even toddlers can walk on them. A morning or afternoon on the hanging bridges will prove to be a unique opportunity for your family to explore and enjoy the forest. It is also an activity that is usually best done in the morning, so you can really savor the wow factor before exploring Monteverde’s details.
Your expert guide will also lead you along the forest floor in search of different monkeys and birds. Quetzals are only one of the endangered birds that can be encountered here. If you are lucky, your kids will be able to identify three different monkey species. If the skies are clear, then it will be worth taking the sky tram to the top of the forest. If it is not clear, then the wildlife walks will be an excellent option because you can usually get closer to animals when it is misty. On one of the days, you will also partake a nighttime wildlife walk, which will prove to be a surreal experience in search of nocturnal life. Aromas and sounds will guide you through the darkness, and you can never predict what you may encounter.
Tamarindo – Close-Up With Sloths and Pacific Escapism
Monteverde is a wild place. The animals are wild, and you cannot get too close. You cannot even predict what you will encounter, which is different from a wildlife sanctuary, where rehabilitated animals mean more close-up experiences and guaranteed encounters. En route to Tamarindo, you will stop at a small sloth sanctuary, which will be the ideal place to learn about these strange creatures and what can be done to ensure their survival. As they hang from trees, you can watch your children as they peer into the weird and wonderful world of an animal that is not found at home. Monkeys are other residents of the sanctuary, so if you are yet to see howlers or capuchins, this will be the morning to fill any gaps.
After lunch and tasting at an organic cacao farm, you will continue to Tamarindo, which is a pristine beach town on the Pacific coast. Your family resort is perched on the sand with barefoot access to the beach that possesses relatively calm waters. A number of other beaches and bays can be visited nearby, including some that are ideal for beginners who are learning to surf. Pacific escapism will be the essence for the next three days with lazy days on the sand and plenty of space for your children to burn some energy. The small town has some excellent dining options, and you can also dine at the resort’s restaurant, which has a very diverse and family-friendly menu.
Day 10 - 11
Tamarindo – Learning to Surf and Relaxing on the Beach
These two days will be at your leisure with the option for activities on the water. This is one of the best places in Central America for learning to surf, and you are never too old to learn, even if this may be an activity more suitable for your kids. Surf instruction programs can be two hours in the water with a private instructor or a two-day course with morning and afternoon surf sessions. Surfing may mean that you spend some quiet time reading a book on the beach, while the experienced surfers in your family paddle out to the waves in the wider Tamarindo area.
Other than the sea and the surf, there is not too much to do here, which is part of the appeal. Your local guide can lead you to beaches along the coast, so you will not be restricted to the quiet sand on your doorstep. Wildlife refuges and sanctuaries can also be found nearby, which add a little monkey magic to your experience. Three days on the coast will also complete your journey through Costa Rica’s classic landscapes. After the city, volcano, and cloud forest, you will now be bathing in the sunshine as the Pacific waves slowly lap against the shore.
Manuel Antonio National Park – Stunning Wildlife Encounters
Direct daily flights now connect Tamarindo and Manuel Antonio National Park, making this final stretch of your vacation easy and realistic. Before this flight route, it was too long of a drive to include both destinations in two weeks. Now, you can wake up this morning, enjoy a leisurely breakfast, fly 40 minutes, and find yourself surrounded by wildlife. You will touch down, and a local guide will transfer you to your beachfront resort, where you will spend the final two days enjoying similar Pacific pleasures to those in Tamarindo. The Manuel Antonio experience is not just about the coast.
This is Costa Rica’s smallest yet most biodiverse national park, and it is home to a staggering variety of flora and fauna. It is remarkable how much coexists in such a small and accessible space, which is something that you will discover when your private guide leads you along the forest trails. Monkey troops will swing by, causing you to stop and gasp, sloths will cling onto the trees, and bizarre iguanas will walk across the trails. You can spend two hours immersed in it all, and suddenly, the trail will open to the beach for a completely different kind of bliss.
Manuel Antonio National Park – Sailing into the Sunset
In Manuel Antonio, you can usually witness more wildlife in a smaller space than in other Costa Rican national parks. It is very much a destination for hopping between highlights, so it is ideal as a final stop after you have experienced the wildlife and wilderness of the rest of the country. Your children can still be excited by the encounters, and you will not need to spend hours searching through the forest. You should note that the park does get busy with other visitors, so it does not have the same feel as elsewhere in the country.
Today will be completely flexible, so you can venture on a self-guided walk in the national park or stick to the Pacific coastline for a final day in the sun. Around the late afternoon, you will set sail onto the ocean to enjoy a Costa Rican sunset with sundowners. With the wind whizzing past, it will be an idyllic way to culminate your vacation and complete your two weeks in Costa Rica. Your captain will provide your children with the opportunity to steer the boat and can teach them about sails and knots. Regardless, you can all relax on this private cruise and wait for the ocean’s colors to change and impress.
Manuel Antonio National Park – Departure
After an easy morning, you will fly back to San Jose and meet with your international departure.
- Soothe your body and mind by lounging in natural hot springs beside Arenal Volcano
- Experience the thrill of the treetops by walking with your kids on Monteverde’s hanging bridges
- Venture up-close with sloths and monkeys during two days of wildlife explorations in Manuel Antonio National Park
- Stand on the rim of an active volcano and experience the sheer power of nature
- Relax on beautiful Pacific beaches, especially with three days in Tamarindo
- Indulge in a ziplining adventure through the Monteverde forest and search for unusual animals on a nighttime walk
- Explore the best of San Jose, which is a low-slung city that is easy and safe to traverse as a family
- Sail into the sunset and go snorkeling on Pacific reefs, which are both perfect activities for culminating your two weeks in Costa Rica
Costa Rica can mold to your mood. You can lounge in hot springs and spend lazy hours on pristine beaches. You can also walk across hanging bridges and zipline through the treetops. One day can be dominated by soothing water and relaxed scenes, while another day can bring the thrill of watching your kids come face to face with wild monkeys and sloths. With nature providing the settings, Costa Rica will be the destination where you can get active or completely relax. It is also an incredibly safe and easy place to travel, especially when you are on a private tour.
Two weeks is ideal for a Costa Rica family vacation. It allows enough time for you to visit different destinations, so you can enjoy the classic combination of city, volcano, cloud forest, and beach. This is one of the world’s most biodiverse countries, and nature will encourage you to slow down and appreciate the details, especially unusual and rare wildlife. With two weeks, there is more than enough for your children to do without getting bored, and you will be able to find time to truly relax. Everything is customizable on this tour, so you can take each day as it comes, mixing up the adventure and downtime.
Over two weeks, you will follow an iconic route through Costa Rica, visiting five of the country’s most enchanting destinations. You will begin in San Jose, which is a charming capital city where you can spend a day getting used to a new country. The following day, you will safely explore an active volcano. La Fortuna basks in the shadow of Arenal volcano and is an idyllic place to combine outdoor adventure with comfortable hours in hot springs. You will have three nights at a luxury lodge that has its own thermal pools and springs. A private guide will customize your daily itinerary, so the hours can be active or laid-back, depending on the interests of your family.
From La Fortuna, you will travel across the water for three nights in Monteverde, which is a breathtaking cloud forest, where you will be walking on hanging bridges and admiring an incredible variety of wildlife. Again, with three nights, you can take your time, try different activities, and tailor daily trips that suit your moods and interests. You will conclude your vacation with five nights on the Pacific coastline: first, in Tamarindo, then in Manuel Antonio National Park. Tamarindo is a classic beach town, where your kids can try surfing and the sand provides serenity. Manuel Antonio will combine wild monkey encounters with sunset sailing and more pristine beaches and bays. Flying between these destinations will mean that you see more of Costa Rica while preserving the laid-back atmosphere of this family vacation.
$2,515 per person (excluding international flights)
Your Zicasso trip is fully customizable, and this sample itinerary is a starting place for your travel plans. Actual costs are dynamic, and your selection of accommodations and activities, your season of travel, and other such variables will bring this budget guideline up or down. Throughout your planning experience with your Zicasso specialist, your itinerary is designed around your budget. You can book your trip when you are satisfied with every detail. Planning your trip with a Zicasso travel specialist is a free service.
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.
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