Costa Rica is a great travel destination in Central America for those who want to spend quality time with their family. Planning a family trip to Costa Rica can be both exciting and overwhelming.
With so many options for adventurous activities, luxurious accommodations, and destinations, it can be challenging to know where to start. However, with some planning and preparation, you can create a memorable experience for all family members.
First, it’s essential to consider the ages and interests of each family member.
Do you have young children or teens in the group? Are some members more interested in adventure activities while others prefer to relax on the beach?
These factors can help you tailor your itinerary to ensure everyone has a good time in Costa Rica.
Next, you should consider the length of your trip. Costa Rica offers a wide range of activities and sights to see, from surfing and snorkeling to exploring national parks and visiting indigenous communities.
If you have limited time, it’s essential to prioritize what you want to see and do. If you have more time, you can plan a more relaxed itinerary and spend more time in each location.
When estimating the cost of your trip, it’s important to consider transportation, accommodations, food, fun activities, and other miscellaneous expenses. Costa Rica is known for its high living standards, so expect to spend more on daily expenses than other countries in the region.
However, there are ways to save money, such as staying in budget-friendly accommodations, traveling on public transportation, eating local street food, and avoiding indulging in expensive activities.
One of the most important things to remember while planning a family trip to Costa Rica is to look for deals and discounts. There are a variety of websites and travel agents that offer packages, discounts, and promotions for families.
Consider taking advantage of these opportunities to reduce the overall cost of your trip. Additionally, research the best time to travel to Costa Rica to take advantage of peak tourist season discounts.
On the Costa Rica vacation, don’t forget to consider the logistics of your trip, such as transportation, visas, and vaccinations. Make sure to have all the necessary documents and vaccinations before you leave, and consider hiring a local tour guide or transportation service to make your trip more comfortable and stress-free.
If you are planning family holidays in Costa Rica, here are some tips to help you get started.
#1: Figure Out Who Is Going
Costa Rica has plenty of places to enjoy vacations with your family. If you are planning to take your family members with you, plan accordingly.
Family members are your partner and children and extended family members such as cousins, uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews, and grandparents. So, keep in mind who and how many people are going so you can select the best options for accommodation and other activities according to the budget.
When planning a family trip with younger kids, it is crucial to consider their ages, interests, and energy levels. There are a lot of fun activities for children ages 5 to 10 years. They can enjoy ziplining, river float trips, and trips to Arenal Volcano.
Kids love animals, and you can take them to Manuel Antonio National Park to see different animals in their natural habitat. Howler monkeys, raccoons, sloths, spider monkeys, and reptiles are rare animals in Manuel Antonio Park that excite your child. In addition, you can take your kids to easy hiking trails especially made for families.
Manuel Antonio park has one of the best beaches in Costa Rica. Whether traveling with your children or cousins, these beaches are best for leisure time with your loved ones.
You and your family can enjoy sunbathing on mesmerizing white sand beaches. If you are fond of watching the sunset at the beach, Manuel Antonio beach is best for doing that. The stunning yellowish-red sunset light and the waves of crystal clear water are relaxing and stress-relieving for you and your family members.
Including extended family members like cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and grandparents can also bring new perspectives and interests to the trip.
For example, grandparents may be interested in visiting cultural sites and taking leisurely walks. The National Museum and National Theater of Costa Rica in San Jose are the best places for family members who want to explore Costa Rican history and local culture.
Another factor to consider is the health and mobility of family members. If there are any family members with disabilities or mobility issues, it’s essential to make sure accommodations and activities are accessible and accommodate their needs. This may involve researching disability-friendly accommodations and finding accessible activities like beach walks and boat tours.
It’s important to keep in mind the interests and personalities of each family member. Some family members may be more introverted and prefer quiet activities, while others may be more extroverted and want to participate in group activities.
Sunset sailing, private boating tour, exotic bird watching, watching sea turtles nesting, fishing, and hiking are some activities best for your family members who want to enjoy the calmness and feel relaxed.
On the other hand, zip lining, horseback riding, river rafting, canyoning, ATV tours, and scuba diving are adventurous activities for those who want to experience an adrenaline rush.
Be sure to plan activities that cater to each family member’s interests and personality so everyone has a good time.
Overall, figuring out which family members are going on a trip to Costa Rica is an essential step in the planning process. Consider each family member’s ages, interests, budgets, health and mobility, and personalities to ensure everyone has a memorable and enjoyable experience.
By involving all family members in the planning process and ensuring everyone is on the same page, you can create a family trip to Costa Rica that everyone will cherish for years to come.
#2: Research and Plan Your Itinerary
Costa Rica is a small country; however, there is much to explore on your trip. Planning your itinerary to Costa Rica is an important step and would be an exciting process.
There are many factors to consider while planning and figuring out which activities will be on your to-do list. Moreover, you have to consider your budget during the planning phase so you and your family can easily enjoy all the exciting activities in different parts of Costa Rica.
Best Time to Visit
Before booking flights to Costa Rica, you must research the best time to travel. This country is the most popular tourist destination in the world, so you might face problems visiting in the peak season.
If you are on a low budget, try planning your tour between May and November. During this time you will find many discounts and also the prices of accommodation is low.
On the other side, December to April is the peak season to travel, and the costs of all the activities are high due to the large flux of tourists. Moreover, this is the dry season in Costa Rica, and you can enjoy the sunshine on beaches on your trip.
So, if you have a reasonable budget, choose the dry season (December to April), whereas if you have a tight budget, you can plan your family trip in May, June, September, or November.
Booking Flights and Choosing the Airport
The next important thing is to choose the airlines and at which airport you want to land. Costa Rica has two international airports, one is in San José (the capital city), and the other, Liberia Airport, is in Guanacaste province.
San Jose Airport is an ideal location where most areas are easily accessible. This international airport is near many popular tourist destinations, including La Fortuna, Arenal National Park, and Monteverde Cloud Forest.
In addition, San Jose is a big city where you can find accommodation easily. The city has many accommodation options, including luxury hotels and cheap hostels with shared dormitory rooms.
Hostels are the best option for accommodation if you are traveling with a group of cousins because they are much more affordable than private guest rooms.
If you want to explore the exquisite beaches of Guanacaste province on the Pacific coast, Liberia Airport is the best option to land in Costa Rica. After arriving at the airport, you can book private transportation for the entire family to reach your desired destination on time.
Playa Hermosa, Playa Flamingo, and Tamarindo are famous tourist destinations only 30-45 minutes drive away. Moreover, other exciting family adventure options are available at different places in this region of Costa Rica.
Choose Family-Oriented Places
It is different when traveling alone compared to traveling with a family. Costa Rica is a fantastic place for family, and there are many places where you can enjoy quality time with your family.
Moreover, most of the places in Costa Rica are family-friendly, and you can do a lot of fun activities there. We will share some of the best classes and activities for you to include in your family trip.
San Jose is the capital city of Costa Rica which can give you an extraordinary travel experience. If you and your family love the urban environment, this place will never disappoint.
Staying in the city center is the best way to explore everything San Jose has to offer. Here you will find one of the best street foods and local cuisine of Costa Rica at an affordable price.
In addition, the capital city is full of cultural and historical sites, including museums and theaters. If you love to know about Costa Rican history, visit the National Museum.
Jade museum is another great place to go back in time to explore the art and culture of indigenous people. Also, there is a Children’s Museum which is excellent for kids of all ages and adults. Young kids can enjoy the dinosaurs exhibition with two actual size dinosaur statues.
San Jose is great for enjoying the nightlife of a city. There are many restaurants and bars in the city where you can enjoy music and drinks.
If you are traveling with your adult cousins or siblings, San Jose is the best place to do a lot of parties. Overall, this city is an excellent option to explore as much as possible on a family trip.
Trip to Tamarindo Beach
Tamarindo Beach is one of the pristine beaches in Costa Rica. This is a great place to visit with your whole family.
You can plan a full-day picnic on the beach to enjoy sunbathing and watching the sunset, relaxing your mind and relieving stress. Whether you are with younger children or aged relatives, Tarminado beach is a perfect place for everyone.
Manuel Antonio is a small beach town at a 2-3 hour drive from San Jose International Airport. It is a great spot to stay with your family, with many great restaurants and hotel options.
The town is surrounded by lush rainforests with incredible Pacific ocean views. The jungle’s natural beauty and wildlife make this place a must-see destination.
Besides other rare animals, you can watch various exotic birds while hiking through the rainforest. Moreover, adult people can take surf lessons at Manuel Antonio Surf School to improve their surfing skills.
Take Coffee Plantations Tours
Costa Rican coffee is famous worldwide for its purity and incredible taste. You can take a guided tour of a coffee plantation with your family anywhere in Costa Rica.
On a coffee tour, you will learn how coffee is produced by local farmers. Moreover, you can buy packets of fresh coffee beans as souvenirs and enjoy Costa Rican coffee with your family.
Visit Arenal Volcano, National Park
If you love volcanoes, visit Arenal Volcano park, where you will find one of the most active volcanoes, Arenal Volcano, in Costa Rica. This park is surrounded by a tropical rainforest with plenty of natural hot springs.
Los Lagos Spa & Resort is a fantastic place to enjoy the beauty of the Arenal region with your family. You can book a family room in the resort to relish the incredible view of Arenal Volcano and relax in hot water springs.
Moreover, you can walk on Arenal hanging bridges while enjoying the forest’s wildlife.
Go Surfing and Whitewater Rafting
Costa Rica will be their dream place if your family members love the adrenaline rush while doing adventurous activities. The beaches of Costa Rica are not only famous for their beauty but also for water sports. You can go surfing on the beaches of Manuel Antonio, Taramindo, Hermosa, and many more.
Also, there are rivers in Costa Rica where you can do whitewater rafting. The spring season, May to June, is the best time to go river rafting with your family members. Pacuare River is an excellent option for enjoying exciting rafting and kayaking activities.
Remember to research while planning a family tour to Costa Rica. Also, consider the interests and abilities of each family member, the best times of year to visit, and the availability of activities and attractions. Be sure to allow flexibility in planning your itinerary to enjoy everything this beautiful country offers.
#3: Estimate the Cost
It’s also important to consider the budget when figuring out which family members are going on the trip. Some family members may have limited budgets and cannot afford more expensive activities and accommodation options.
In these cases, it may be necessary to find more budget-friendly options or to involve family members in fundraising efforts to help cover the cost of the trip.
A significant portion of your budget will be spent on air tickets. There are many airline options to travel to Costa Rica.
Round-trip flights from the United States to Costa Rica cost anywhere from $350 to $1,000 per person. This price can vary depending on the time of year, availability, and the airline you choose.
Hotel accommodations in Costa Rica can range from budget-friendly hostels to luxury resorts. Hostel dormitory rooms are the best option if you are traveling with a group of cousins because they are affordable, and you will also meet other tourists from different parts of the world.
Airbnb private apartments are a good choice for a whole family to have some privacy. Book an exclusive resort or hotel if you have enough budget to afford the luxury. A mid-range hotel can cost around $80 to $150 per night. However, prices can go up significantly for luxury options.
Meals are another significant cost factor. A basic meal in a local restaurant can cost around $10 to $15, while dining in a high-end restaurant can cost upwards of $50 per person. Moreover, for saving some money, local street food is a great option which you get for even $3-$5.
Tours and activities are a must in Costa Rica. And there are plenty of options, such as zip lining, kayaking, hiking, and wildlife watching. Prices for tours can range from $50 to $200 per person.
For example, an entrance ticket to Manuel Antonio park is around $18 for adults and $5 for children. However, it varies and can be higher in peak seasons.
Another portion of budget spending takes the local moving. Though Costa Rica is a small country, the mountainous terrain and first roads make it difficult to reach the tourist spots.
Every option is available, from private rental cars to public transport. If you are tight on budget, public buses and shuttle service is the best option.
It may cost you around $15 to $60 per person. However, hiring a private driver with a rental car can cost you a minimum of $150, which may increase in peak season.
Overall, it’s possible to estimate the cost of a family trip to Costa Rica to be around $2,000 to $4,000 per person for a one-week trip, depending on the level of luxury and the number of activities planned. However, this estimate can be adjusted based on personal preferences and the specific itinerary.
A family trip to Costa Rica can be a great adventure and a chance to bond, but it is essential to consider the cost factors and plan ahead to ensure a successful trip.
#4: Look for Deals and Discounts
There are many opportunities to find deals and discounts on flights, hotels, and activities. To get the most bang for your buck, it’s essential to plan ahead and do your research.
One of the best ways to save money on flights is to book in advance. Many airlines offer discounts for early bookings, so keep an eye out for these deals and book your flights as soon as possible.
Another option is to look for package deals that include flights and accommodations. These packages can be a great way to save money, especially for families traveling together.
Hotel accommodations in Costa Rica can also be expensive, but there are many ways to save. Look for deals on websites such as Expedia or Booking.com, and be flexible with travel dates.
Prices can vary greatly depending on the time of year, so it pays to do your research. Additionally, consider staying in a hostel or Airbnb, which can be much more affordable than a hotel.
Costa Rica offers many opportunities to save money on tours and activities. Look for discounts for families on websites such as Groupon or LivingSocial, or book tours through a local tour operator. It is also a good idea to check with your hotel or hostel, as many offer discounts or packages for their guests.
#5: Obtain the Necessary Documents
Traveling to a foreign country like Costa Rica requires careful preparation and attention to detail, especially when obtaining the necessary documents. Here are some important things to remember when preparing for your family trip to Costa Rica.
First and foremost, ensure that everyone in your family group has a valid passport. Passports should have at least six months of validity remaining, and it’s a good idea to check for any updates or renewals before your trip.
If you need a visa to enter Costa Rica, apply for one. Citizens of many countries, including the United States, do not need a visa for stays of up to 90 days. However, it’s always a good idea to check with the Costa Rican embassy to confirm the requirements for your specific situation.
Make sure to check for any vaccine requirements for travel to Costa Rica. Some countries may require proof of certain vaccinations before entering, so you must check with a healthcare provider before your trip. Moreover, remember to bring your travel insurance proof in case of any emergency situation.
Keeping the necessary documents with you for a family trip to Costa Rica is an essential step in the planning process. By ensuring you have the correct passport, visa, and other necessary documents, you can avoid potential roadblocks and have a smooth and enjoyable trip.
#6: Pack Early
After booking your flights to your planned destination in Costa Rica, the next step is to start packing. Remember that most of the time weather in Costa Rica is unpredictable.
In rainy seasons, you will need umbrellas and waterproof luggage covers to protect your belongings from water. Also, in some areas, the temperature goes down to 15˚C, so keep warm clothes with you. However, in beach towns, the weather is hot and humid, so you need t-shirts and shorts to keep yourself calm.
If you are traveling with babies, don’t forget to bring all the necessary items, including a crib, diapers, a changing pad, milk bottles, baby sunscreen, and all other baby gear. Moreover, you must carry mosquito repellent because there are a lot of mosquitoes in Costa Rica during the rainy season.
Traveling to remote areas or participating in outdoor activities? You should bring a portable water bottle, a small backpack, and a flashlight.
If you traveling with any aged family member, like your parents, remember to bring any prescription medications they take regularly and keep them in their original containers. If you have any questions about the availability of certain medications in Costa Rica, you should check with a healthcare provider or pharmacist before you leave.
Proper packing and preparation can help ensure a safe and comfortable trip to Costa Rica. You can enjoy your trip without worrying about unexpected issues or problems by bringing the necessary items and medications.
Check out our must-haves list on Amazon:
- Compact, Windproof Umbrella
- Waterproof Backpack Rain Cover
- Baby Beach Tent
- Pill Bottle Organizer Storage Bag
- Folding Collapsible Travel Hiking Walking Trekking Pole
#7: Head to the Airport at Least 3 Hours Early
Heading to the airport at least three hours before the flight ensures a seamless start to your family trip to Costa Rica. This extra time allows for unforeseen circumstances, such as heavy traffic or long security lines.
It provides ample opportunity to quickly check-in, drop off luggage, and go through security. In addition, arriving early gives you a chance to relax, grab a bite to eat before your flight, and shop for any last-minute travel essentials or gifts. Remember that some airlines have strict check-in and baggage drop-off deadlines, so check the policies for your specific flight and plan accordingly.
In conclusion, giving yourself plenty of time before your flight can ensure a smooth and relaxed start to your trip to Costa Rica. So, head to the airport three hours early to avoid unnecessary stress or delays.
I hope these tips help you plan your family trip to Costa Rica. Have a fantastic time!