Cruise and Beach Destinations
in the Caribbean, Mexico & Beyond
Costa Rica

Costa Rica Family Vacations

A great Costa Rica combines adventure, education, relaxation and of course a nice play to stay.

This Central American country attracts more than 1.5 million cruise and stopover visits each year for some good reasons.

Spectacular Natural Reserves
Costa Rica family vacations
Costa Rica family vacations can include whitewater
rafting;© Costa Rica Tourism Board

Costa Rica is a tropical paradise. The country is bordered by Nicaragua, Panama, the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea and surrounded by lush rain forests, rugged mountains and crystal clear waters.

It is famous for its abundance of natural attractions—20 national parks, eight biological reserves, coastal plains, rugged mountains and 100 volcanic cones.

Extreme Adventure

Hiking. Some of the best hiking can be found in Cahuita National Park, Rincón de la Vieja National Park, Arenal National Park and Monteverde Biological Cloud Forest Reserve.

Sport fishing. Take on the challenge of sport fishing for Wahoo, Roosterfish, Sailfish, Dorado, Snook and Mackerel in the Barra del Colorado National Wild Life Refuge.

Canopying. One of the most popular family adventures in Costa Rica is canopying, also called zip lining.

Visitors can take an aerial tram or zip line from tree to tree 100 feet in the air.

Snorkeling and Diving. In southern Costa Rica, there is excellent snorkeling and diving in the Cahuita National Park and sites south of Limon for easy access filled with coral reefs and exotic marine life.

Surfing. Peurto Viejo is the place for surfers. Enjoy the surfing and follow up a day with surf shops, boutiques, restaurants and bars.

White water rafting. Whitewater rafting is one of the more exciting family adventures.

Choose from Class II-V rapids on the Pacuare, Reventazon, Corobici, Sarapiqui, Naranjo and Savegre rivers.

Rappelling. An even more adventurous family vacation is rappelling with different degrees of difficult.

Visitors can not only rappel from cliffs and mountains but also trees and waterfalls. Skilled tour operators provide adventure packages for this experience.

Laid-Back Adventure

If you like adventure of the tamer sort, Costa Rica provides for that too. These attractions let you safely see the sights of this tropical paradise at a more leisurely pace.

Lankester Botanical Gardens. Relish the cool and quiet while you view exotic species of orchids and other native botanicals on this beautifully landscaped preserve.

Volcanos. With 100 volcanic cones in Costa Rica, visitors can take your pick of which volcano to tour.

Poas Volcano National Park is a favorite for viewing a live volcanic crater as a guide leads to the summit.

For a little more volcanic action, families can watch at a safe distance and see the Arenal Volcano erupt.

The red, glowing lava is especially spectacular at night.

National Parks and Forest Reserves. Costa Rica’s many national parks and forest reserves gives visitors the opportunity to see the rain forests and wild life up close and personal while at a safe distance.

Stroll through the cool forests and learn about the history, fauna and flora from trained guides.

Squirrel and white-faced monkeys, sloths, parrots, toucans, iguanas, bats, and wild cats are just a small sample of this attraction.

Costa Rica photo
Puerto Viejo beach; © Costa Rica Tourist Board

Anyone who is all about relaxing and dream of going to a truly tropical beach for a vacation, the Costa Rica beaches is the answer.

Imagine beaches with pepper-colored sand backed up by groves of coconut palms.

The best beaches on the Caribbean coast in Costa Rica are found south of the port city of Limon near such communities as Cahuita, Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, and Manzanillo.

Leading the list are the beaches of Cahuita National Park, which are a veritable tropical paradise with their white sand, warm water, coral reefs, and rain forests.

Black Beach is a long, mostly deserted stretch of sand that links Cahuita with Puerto Viejo and is ideal for beach-combing and quiet walks,

In and near Puerto Viejo, Playa Cocles is a great spot to watch surfers in action, Playa Chiquita is a beautiful, hidden stretch of sand, and the calm, warm waters of Punta Uva beach are perfect for swimming and snorkeling.

All Inclusive Resorts

Most of the major resorts on the Costa Rica Caribbean coast are concentrated in three areas especially on the southern coast: Puerto Viejo de Talamanca to the south of Limon, Cahuita between Puerto Viejo and Limon, and Tortuguero on the northern coast.

Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

  • Cariblue Bungalows
  • Hotel Cariblue
  • La Kukula Lodge
  • Le Cameleon
  • Perla Negra
  • Samasati Nature Retreat
  • Shawandha Lodge
  • Totem Hotel Resort
  • VIP Hotel Playa Negra


  • Atlantida Lodge
  • Cabinas Caribe Luna
  • Ciudad Perdida Ecolodge
  • Siatami Lodge
  • Suizo Loco Lodge


  • Manatus Hotel
  • Pachira Lodge

Costa Rica weather isn’t like that of the United States. Because it is near the equator, you won’t find a change of seasons—only rainy season and dry.

Dry season is from December to April and rainy season is May to November.

You’ll enjoy mild tropical weather year round with highs in the mid 80s and lows in the low 70s.

If the mild, even-keel weather is too predictable for you, add some variety with a trip to the mountains.

At higher elevations, you will have cooler temps with more frequent rainfall.

The reserves, adventure, relaxation and weather are just a few of the reasons why a Costa Rica family vacation is a favorite the world over.

Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas. He is the author of four books about cruising in the Caribbean, Alaska and Mexican Riviera.
February 17, 2020

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