Best Itineraries for Costa Rica with Kids

Families looking for adventure, good food, and stunning coastlines simply must travel to Costa Rica!  This magnificent country has a lot to offer family travelers. Families will love everything from the outdoor opportunities and unique biodiversity and wildlife (think spider monkeys!) to Costa Rica’s vibrant history and culture.  Outdoor enthusiasts are sure to love hiking in Costa Rica’s Cloud Forest Reserve or learning about active volcanoes at the Arenal Volcano National Park. Aspiring artists in your family with delight in Costa Rica’s rich and diverse art and art history – from painting and drawing to pottery and photography.  No matter what is on your bucket list, you are sure to find it in Costa Rica. With so much to do, you’ll never hear ‘I’m bored’ on this vacation!  

Whether you are looking to stay in San José or travel throughout Costa Rica to experience pura vida, you won’t leave without falling in love with this amazing country and culture!  Follow our list of the best itineraries for vacationing in Costa Rica with kids to help you plan an incredible family holiday.

4 – 7 Days in Costa Rica with Kids

Costa Rica with Kids, Itinerary by Giselle on behalf of Run Wild My Child

Costa Rica with Kids, Itinerary by Giselle- web banner

Giselle, NYC mom of two, shares her wonderful 4-day itinerary on behalf of Run Wild My Child.  If you are considering a brief stay in the Papagayo peninsula area of Costa Rica, this is a great itinerary to start planning.  Day 1 has your family surfing at Playa Tamarindo – a perfect spot for beginners to learn!  Continue the adventure day 2 with ziplining. Kids will love the rush of flying through the air.  White water rafting is on the docket for day 3. If you are considering taking your kids white water rafting, Giselle offers some poignant and practical insights.  On your final day, relax and enjoy yourself. Kids won’t believe the wildlife of Costa Rica! From capuchin monkeys to crabs, kids will be in awe everywhere you go! Don’t miss Giselle’s other tips for where to stay, where to eat, and insights about the weather.  Read more here.

Costa Rica with Kids: 6-Day Itinerary, Itinerary by My Travel Obsession

Screen grab from My Travel Obesession website

Jody and her family spent 6 days focused on the La Fortuna/Arenal Volcano area and the Manuel Antonio area.  This maximized fun and limited the amount of driving needed to get from place to place. Spend day 1 in the Arenal Volcano National Park.  Kids will love this easy hike – be sure to watch for sloths and capuchin monkeys! Day 2 is all about fishing and the Proyecto Asis Wildlife Rescue Center.  Families looking for an opportunity to learn about wildlife and give back to the community should consider the Wildlife Tour + Volunteer package. Next, check out Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park and La Fortuna Waterfall.  There take a breathtaking hike (up and down) to see the gorgeous La Fortuna Waterfall. Your final days are focused on the Manuel Antonio area and beaches, including the stunning Playa Biesanz. Don’t miss Jody’s packing tips at the end.  Read more here.

One Week in Costa Rica: My Itinerary and Guide, Itinerary by Wild Junket

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Nellie, the mom behind Wild Junket, has an action-packed itinerary just for you!  On day 1, get settled in San José. Time permitting, check out the Pre-Colombian Gold Museum.  Kids will delight in the museum’s extensive collection of gold artifacts. Day 2 is all about volcanoes.  Head to the Arenal Volcano. Hike up the trails to check out the lava rocks. Adventurous families will find no shortage of activities in Arenal.  The following day, explore the area by air in a canopy zipline tour. End your day in the hot springs around La Fortuna. On day 4, head to the cloud forests near Monteverde.  Day 5 will have your family above the canopy exploring the hanging bridges. Aspiring entomologists will love taking a night tour to see nocturnal creatures – like giant tarantulas!  Spend your final days relaxing on the beach. Nellie shares recommendations for each overnight location. Read more here.

7 Days in Costa Rica with Kids, Itinerary by The Traveling Child

Screen Grab-7 Days in Costa Rica with Kids, Itinerary by The Traveling Child

Monet and her family-focused their time near La Fortuna and Manuel Antonio.  Their itinerary is a must-read for families traveling with young kids. First, check out the Arenal Volcano and Baldi Hot Springs.  Baldi has an area dedicated to small kids – perfect for family travelers! Spend day 2 among the hanging bridges, taking a cooking class, and taking a night tour.  A cooking class is a great way to teach children about the local culture. Next, spend the day at La Fortuna Waterfall and ziplining. On day 4, embrace the wildlife of Costa Rica on a tour of Manuel Antonio National Park.  Watch for crocodiles! Your final few days will be spent on the water or exploring San José. Be sure to check out Monet’s recommendations for surf lessons. Darling family pictures accompany this blog, showcasing the best of Costa Rica with small children!  Read more here.

A 7-Day Costa Rica Itinerary for Guanacaste {plus our best travel tips}, Itinerary by Krista Gilbert

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A must-read for families traveling with teens.  A mom of teens herself, Krista created this fantastic teen-centered itinerary.  Each day includes activity expenses and a dinner recommendation. First, head to the beach.  Krista recommends Playa Conchal or Playa Flamingo. On day 2, check out Rio Celeste – a must hike in Costa Rica!  Playa Penca is your go-to for day 3. Teens will love snorkeling along the beach – be on the lookout for turtles! Take another hike on day 4 at Rincon De La Vieja.  This 2-mile hike in an active volcano area may include monkey sightings! Day 5 is all about choosing your own adventure. Let teens pick their own activity for the day.  Krista’s trip highlight was the Rincon De La Vija Adventure Pass, which included an exciting river tubing experience and ziplining. Spend your final days shopping and making more family memories!  Read more here.

8 – 11 Days in Costa Rica with Kids

The Ultimate Guide for Visiting Costa Rica with Kids, Itinerary by No Back Home

With so much packed into this blog, Karilyn truly provides the ultimate guide to Costa Rica with kids!  Karilyn, the mom behind No Back Home, shares practical tips related to getting around, health precautions, packing lists, and other topics.  Next, she shares 9 adventurous things to do with kids in Costa Rica. In the end, find her 8-day itinerary for families focused on Arenal/La Fortuna and Monteverde!  Check out the Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park. Kids will love the 2-mile trek, which includes 6 iconic hanging bridges. In Monteverde, go to Selvatura Park where families will find a variety of activities.  Birders should consider the butterfly and hummingbird garden. Birders can’t miss the Curi Cancha Reserve – where you might see the famous quetzal! The Children’s Eternal RainForest has some easy paths for novice hikers.  On your final days, enjoy some time relaxing on the beach! Read more here.

Costa Rica 10 Day Itinerary for Families (Or Anyone!), Itinerary by San Diego Family Travelers 

Image from San Diego Family Travelers website- Costa Rica 10 Day Itinerary for Families (Or Anyone!)

The Wanderlusters, Madeline and Chad, share their love for Costa Rica in this very family-friendly itinerary!  Each section shares their day-to-day itinerary, the details, accommodations, and great family pictures! Spend the first 4 days in Arenal exploring the Arenal Volcano National Park and the hanging bridges.  Families looking to enjoy the hot springs without the expense should check out the Rio Chollin (a free, public hot spring near the Tabacon Thermal Resort). Days 5 and 6 are spent in Monteverde exploring the cloud forest and enjoying a night hike.  Don’t miss ziplining and the hanging bridges at Selvatura. Next, head to Manuel Antonio to enjoy the beach. The Wanderlusters recommend Playa Biesanz. This is also a great day to do a Catamaran and snorkel tour. Don’t miss the “know before you go” tips at the end.  Very practical and helpful information for the planning stages! Read more here.

10 Day Costa Rica Itinerary for Families, Itinerary by the Wandering Daughter 

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Families will love Astrid’s encouraging account of Costa Rica with young kids.   Astrid shares everything you need to consider before traveling to Costa Rica. In San José go to the Mercado Central and Avenida Central.  Kids will love exploring the vendor stalls and speaking with locals. On day 2, drive to Manuel Antonio. There, visit the Crocodile Bridge, do a canopy tour, and do some hiking.  While in Manuel Antonio National Park, hire a guide to maximize your animal sightings! On day 5, head to La Fortuna. Kids won’t want to miss the chocolate workshops at ChocoMuseo.  The Arenal Observatory Tour is your line-up for day 6. On day 7, take a river float (a lighter version of white water rafting). Spend your final days relaxing in the hot springs and exploring San José.  Don’t miss Museo Nacional De Costa Rica to learn about the country’s history. Read more here.

The Best of Costa Rica Itinerary: 10 Days | Costa Rica Trip Planner, Itinerary by Pack More Into Life

Families looking for a step by step itinerary will love this one!  Chelsea, the mom behind Pack More Into Life, provides a detailed itinerary, as well as helpful planning tips.  From breakfast to dinner, this itinerary has you covered. Start in Manuel Antonio with a Catamaran and beach time.  Delight kids with dinner on a converted train car at El Wagon. After visiting the Manuel Antonio National Park, go parasailing nearby.  On day 3, head to Monteverde for ziplining, tree climbing, and a night hike. Head to Curi Cancha to explore the cloud forest and search for the quetzal bird.  You will drive to Arenal on day 6. There, explore the areas stunning waterfalls and the famous blue river at Rio Celeste Waterfall. In Arenal, you will get to try waterfall rappelling and a chocolate tour.  Don’t miss the Proyecto Asis animal sanctuary, which offers volunteer opportunities. Read more here.

A family friendly Costa Rican Itinerary, Itinerary by The Roaming Family

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Melissa provides a brief look at what makes Costa Rica so wonderful.  This itinerary is perfect for anyone looking for options but ultimately wants to design their own travel plan.  Melissa shares recommendations for what to do near the beach and in the rainforest. At the beach, consider visiting the SIBU Wildlife Center, a garden reserve and wildlife sanctuary.  Or maybe hanging out on the beach, surfing and boogie boarding is more your style. In the rainforest, head to the hot springs and watch the monkeys hop around. Adventurous families will love ziplining or hiking among the hanging bridges.  Each section also includes accommodation recommendations as you travel about Costa Rica. At the end of the blog, Melissa provides a sample 11-day itinerary as a starting place to build your own! Read more here.

2 Weeks in Costa Rica with Kids

Family Vacation in Costa Rica: Our 2 Week Travel Itinerary, Itinerary by the Big To-Do List

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If you are traveling with a toddler, this is a great itinerary to read!  Hannah celebrated her daughter’s 3rd birthday in Costa Rica. Start your travels in San José.  Next, take the scenic route to La Fortuna. Take a jungle trek and mountain tram, where you might see more than 45 species of wildlife.  Hannah recommends the hot springs at Termales Los Laureles. Kids will love the mini-pools, water slides, and grassy areas to relax and play.  Spend 2 nights in Tarcoles. Take a Crocodile Riverboat Tour – kids will delight in spotting birds and crocodiles! The last week will be spent in Manuel Antonio/Quepos.  Playa Biesanz is perfect for small children. Families will love the Villa Vanilla Spice Plantation Tour – a great place to learn about Costa Rican history and culture. Fantastic family pictures and videos share the true magic of Costa Rica with toddlers.  Read more here.

No matter what tops your bucket-list, Costa Rica has it all!  From amazing wildlife to pristine beaches to an amazing culture and people, Costa Rica is a destination unlike any other.  Families are sure to fall in love with Costa Rica’s world-renowned approach to life – pura vida.  Use this list of the best itineraries for vacationing in Costa Rica with kids to start planning your own family adventures! 

If you’re a blogger who would like to be included in this post or write a guest post for Families Love Travel, please email us at!

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The Families Love Travel Team has a zest for life and an even bigger passion for globetrotting! Comprised of real-life travel professionals, we work hard behind the scenes to provide dynamic solutions for adventuring with children. Our enthusiastic team understands the challenges that often accompany traveling with kids and is committed to making Families Love Travel an inclusive space to convey these experiences.