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6 Fun Things To Do in Costa Rica with Kids


A fun family vacation creates memories to last a lifetime. Although Costa Rica is quite small you can find a huge variety of natural destinations to explore and loads of fun things to do with kids. From waterfalls to volcanos to tropical rain forests, your kids will love exploring Costa Rica. Here are 6 fun things to do with kids in Costa Rica!



6 Fun Things To Do in Costa Rica with Kids


This is the fun that vacation memories are made of! We recently visited Costa Rica with our kids and these are some of the fun things we did together. There's tons to do in Costa Rica with kids but this list features just some of our favorites. Travel on!

1. Chase Waterfalls

There are many waterfalls in Costa Rica. The mountainous terrain lends itself to a steady flow of water making its way from rainforests to the ocean. As you drive around Costa Rica you are bound to catch a glimpse of a waterfall, or two, or more. There are many beautiful waterfalls to experience in Costa Rica but not all may be ideal for kids.

During our trip to Costa Rica, we visited the waterfalls at La Paz Waterfall Gardens. Here you'll follow a safe hiking trail (perfect for kids) that will lead you to five magnificent waterfalls. There are also large platforms that provide great views from above and below too -- don't forget your camera! Consider these the most accessible waterfalls in Costa Rica with fantastic photo opportunities. Unfortunately, there is no swimming here but there is a big plus to making this the place you visit when chasing waterfalls.

While checking out La Paz Waterfalls you can also experience a super fun eco-adventure through lush gardens and tropical rain forest, visit their animal sanctuary and see exotic birds, monkeys, sloths, and jungle cats. Even visit a beautiful Butterfly Observatory and a Hummingbird Garden. This is Costa Rica's most visited Nature Park and Animal Sanctuary so you're in for a treat. Your kids will love this!

2. Eat a Copo

When in Costa Rica you have to enjoy a Costa Rican shaved ice or copo. What makes the shaved ice in Costa Rica unique or different from what you may have tasted in other destinations like Puerto Rico or Hawaii -- where shaved ice is also popular, is that this version is topped with condensed milk, in addition to the flavored syrup. There's also a version called the churchill which contains ice cream and fruit on top. Yum! Make sure to grab a copo at the beach or while strolling through your favorite pedestrian plaza in Costa Rica.

3. Visit a Volcano

Costa Rica is home to a large number of volcanos -- six active volcanoes and another 61 dormant or extinct ones, to be exact. Make sure to take this opportunity to visit a volcano with the kids!

During our family vacation to Costa Rica we visited Poas Volcano National Park. This active volcano is located in the Central Valley region and was on our way to La Paz Waterfalls. This volcano park is also one of the easiest and most accessible spots to see the cloud forest around San Jose. The panoramic views from here are great and the hike up to the volcano observatory is easy with kids. Just keep in mind that you will need to purchase tickets prior to your visit since it is a very popular tourist attraction and spots are limited.

You can purchase tickets online but since we hadn't originally planned to visit, we grabbed our tickets the morning of our visit. While driving there we pulled over at Fresas Maye (roadside souvenir shop with delicious strawberries for sale), just a couple of miles before reaching Poas Volcano. We were able to buy our tickets there before continuing on to Poas Volcano National Park.


Don't worry about crowds once you get there since only a limited amount of people are able to visit at one time and time slots are spaced out. A visit will take about 45 minutes -- 5 minutes to present your entrance ticket (remember to purchase in advance) and sign waivers, a 10 minute hike along a paved path from the parking lot to the overlook point, 20 minutes at the overlook (your scheduled ticket will only allow a 20 minute visit), and 10 minutes to walk back to the parking area. This is a quick visit but totally worth it! Start your day with a stop at Poas Volcano and then enjoy the rest of your day exploring everything else Costa Rica has to offer.

4. Explore a Rainforest

Costa Rica has three types of rainforests -- tropical rainforest, cloud forest, and tropical dry forest. While tropical rainforests are the most common habitat in Costa Rica, the cloud forest is probably the most stunning to see. Cloud Forests are located at higher elevations and are named after their constant foggy appearance -- think of it as being inside the clouds.  The Tropical Dry Forest is mostly found in the Guanacaste region of Costa Rica. Elevation here is lower and there is a lot less rainfall and precipitation. White-faced capuchin monkeys, sloths, iguanas, and quetzals live here. A Tropical Dry Forest also seems to have less vegetation than a tropical rainforest.


The Tropical Rainforest is characterized by heavy precipitation and massive canopies that allows lush vegetation to thrive on the ground. Diverse species and numerous small animals can be found here -- howler monkeys, scarlet macaws and poison dart frogs. Many places offer zip lining and other fun adventures with kids in Costa Rica. Experience the rainforest in a unique way by zip lining through the trees. Whatever you do, don't miss this opportunity to explore a rainforest during your visit to Costa Rica with kids!

5. Stay at an Eco Lodge

Another fun-tastic way to experience a rainforest during your family trip to Costa Rica is to stay at an Eco Lodge or hotel situated within a rainforest preserve. We stayed at two eco lodges during our visit to Costa Rica with kids and loved the experience.

Selva Verde was the first Eco Lodge we stayed at in Costa Rica. A private nature preserve, located just 2 hours from San Jose, Selva Verde boasts 500 acres of vibrant tropical nature (free trails and nature tours at a fee) right in the heart of Costa Rica's Sarapiquí county. A great place for adventure seekers and nature lovers, including adventurous families!

La Cusinga Lodge was the second Eco Lodge we stayed at. Located on the Southern Pacific coast of Costa Rica in Uvita, Puntarenas Province. La Cusinga is a gorgeous eco lodge that offers breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and some of the most beautiful sunsets I've ever seen. It's located literally right in the middle of the jungle so be prepared to rise early to the loud howls of howler monkeys in the trees right outside your cabin door. This is also a prime spot for whale watching and you are sure to spot a whale or two swimming by along the Pacific shoreline (in season).


Costa Rica offers a great variety of family-friendly accommodations. Learn about other family-friendly Costa Rica hotels here.

6. Eat all the Fresh Fruit

Costa Rica may be known for it's lush rainforests and beautiful landscapes, but it's also home to some of the best organic fruits you'll ever taste. Costa Rica produces an abundant variety of tropical fruit. Make sure to enjoy the wide variety of fresh fruit you'll encounter -- maracuya (passion fruit, carambola (star fruit), mamon chino (rambutan), gunabana (soursop), guayaba or guava, guaba (different from guava), mango, coconuts, manzana de agua or water apple, and tamarind -- which looks like large peanuts or bean pods and is often used in Costa Rica to make juice, syrup, and jam. However, my favorite was the pineapple -- the freshest and sweetest I've ever tasted! Costa Rica even had my picky eaters eating all the fresh fruit they refuse to eat at home. The star fruit was their favorite, of course. Fresh fruits are plentiful in Costa Rica and there's no reason not to indulge!


You can find all these delicious fruits anywhere you go, all over the country -- visit a local farmers market, pull over at a local side of the road fruit stand, or order some fruit with your next meal at your favorite restaurant in Costa Rica. Enjoy!



Have you ever visited Costa Rica? What was your favorite adventure?




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