If you’re planning a family vacation, jot these destinations down!

A couple walking in the park in Zarcero


Zarcero is a typical Costa Rican town that won’t make onto many travel lists, but Costa Rican and tourist families alike enjoy the park in front of the church.

This park contains a beautiful hedge garden with bushes in the shape of dinosaurs, birds, and more! Kids love to find their own special spot in the hedge garden. Your family can walk around and enjoy some ice cream, an empanada, or churros, just like a local family!

Zarcero can be a good stop on your way to or from the Poas Volcano…a chance for kids to stretch their legs.

Crater of Poas Volcano, Courtesy Unsplash

Poas Volcano

This volcano features learning experience for children and adults alike. Go in the morning for the best chance to see the crater clearly!

On your way to Poas, you will pass vendors selling local cheeses, strawberries, and coffee. Coupled with a stop in Zarcero, you and your kids can have a magical day filled with nature, learning, and local foods.

However, make sure you reserve your ticket to Poas in advance, as there are limited spots, and sometimes the volcano is closed to visitors for research or precautionary reasons. Be sure to listen to rangers and obey signs for your own safety!

You might need a light jacket and dry clothes in the mountains.

View of mountains in Monteverde


Monteverde is alive with nature! Night tours are great for spotting sloths and creepy crawlers.

If insects aren’t your thing, try out the hanging bridges. Zip lines are also available for more adventurous children and parents.

Monteverde can be cool and wet, so this is a good place to bring windbreakers, bug spray, and a dry pair of socks!

Ponchos are a VERY popular accessory in Monteverde.

Courtesy El Museo de Los Niños: http://museo.museocr.org/?page_id=3193

Children’s Museum In San Jose

If you find yourself in the nation’s capital of San José, you and your kids can enjoy the Children’s Museum! El Museo de Los Niños features interactive rooms where kids can learn about dinosaurs, human anatomy, nature, and Costa Rican culture and history.

With 40 interactive rooms, the Children’s Museum is a fun place for children to learn while playing. It can be a good spot on a rainy day or if you’re traveling through San José!

Many destinations in Costa Rica can involve driving through the capital, and this could be a good pit stop.

View of Arenal Volcano at Dawn


The town of Fortuna sits in the shadow of the Arenal Volcano. Unlike Poas, which is a crater, Arenal is the type of pointy volcano your kids may have drawn! This town has adventure sports like rafting, and also relaxing adventures like spas and natural hot springs.

Not only is this a great town for kids, but mom and dad might be able to relax with a massage and a dip in the hot tub as well!

Take coffee tours, hike, raft, or simply relax in the water heated by the volcano. If you wake up early, you can spot coati or agouti running around.

Agouti are relatives of the now internet-famous capybara, and kids notice that the two animals look very similar!

Beach in Manuel Antonio National Park

Manuel Antonio

Of course, a trip to Costa Rica would not be complete without the beach! Costa Rica has beautiful beaches and residents care deeply about nature. Manuel Antonio is a great place for families and kids to experience pristine beaches and see wildlife in their natural habitat!

Manuel Antonio National Park is home to many monkeys, sloths, crabs, and so much more. Note that you cannot bring snacks into the park! Be sure to listen to guides and rangers when it comes to not feeding these animals.

Visitors usually go for a hike around the park, then cool off with a dip in the water…but we understand if you jump in as soon as you see the beach!

Get your ticket and be sure to check if the park is open, and bring your bathing suit.

If you’re feeling adventurous, drive further south to Uvita to spot whales, or visit the iconic Whale Tale at low tide. It’s like you’re walking on water!

A baby three-toed sloth practices hanging from a branch.

Rescate Wildlife Rescue Center

When animals in Costa Rica need help, Rescate Wildlife Rescue Center is there for them! As one of the oldest and most respected sanctuaries in the country, Rescate Wildlife Rescue Center’s mission is to rehabilitate animals so they can live as nature intended.

When families visit Rescate, they can learn how animals like sloths, macaws, monkeys, jaguars, and more are healed, helped, and re-released! The sanctuary also features a mini-farm and dinosaur statues that kids love.

Located close to the SJO Juan Santamaria airport in a town called La Garita, Rescate is a great stop if you just landed in Costa Rica, or if your vacation is almost over.

Book your tickets here!

Costa Rica is a great place for families to visit!

With plenty of outdoor adventures, learning opportunities, and hands-on experiences, Costa Rica is bound to be an unforgettable vacation for you and your whole family!

Written by volunteer Lisa Martens: Lisa.snetram@gmail.com

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