(2021) Costa Rica Family Travel: Things To Do In Costa Rica With Kids

Last updated on February 17th, 2020 at 09:19 pm EST

Latest posts by Nikki Solano (see all)
For you. For free.
Looking for tour discounts for children and students? We’ve got ’em! Our sister site Pura Vida! eh? Inc. has FREE child tour discounts and FREE student tour discounts. Con mucho gusto (you’re welcome) and pura vida!
🙂

Get the Costa Rica info you need by browsing our article’s TABLE OF CONTENTS:

Going to Costa Rica with kids?

Costa Rica lends itself well to family travel. Not only are there plenty of options for in-country transportation, accommodations, and things to do in Costa Rica with kids, but if you’re a parent, you’ll find so much for your children to learn about here, from ecosystems and volcanoes to wildlife and cultural norms.

If you’ve traveled with children before, you probably already know that just as kids say the darnedest things, they can also ask some pretty inventive questions. In Costa Rica, when we hear young voices mutter: “What does pura vida mean?” or “How does a sloth not fall from a tree when it’s sleeping?” or “Why do Costa Rican people eat rice and beans everyday?” we smile because we know parents have brought their tiny explorers to the perfect place: a country ripe with answers, opportunity, and firsthand experience that can appease the most inquisitive and fruitful minds. For every question about Costa Rica that your little one can think of, there are countless stories waiting to be told, facts able to be cited, and points eager to be made, each one a new lesson worth learning and a valuable souvenir of your travel experience.

Our experience traveling around Costa Rica with kids

As much as our business success relies on our Costa Rica travels, so too does much of our family enjoyment. Ricky and I often travel around Costa Rica with our Costa Rican niece and nephew in tow. As spring chickens, they loved the thrill of visiting waterfalls, playing in rivers and pools, swinging on Tarzan ropes, and taking nature walks. As time passed, they grew old enough to travel to more remote destinations in Costa Rica that either require long commutes or the use of a variety of transportation services (such as combined ground and boat transfer services). They also grew strong enough to handle more challenging hikes, and mature enough to develop an appreciation and patience for less-obvious rewards. As teenagers today, they love the thrill of adventure activities, complete immersion in nature, and opportunities to relax at hot springs and hidden hot spots.

They grow up so fast…

Things to do in Costa Rica with kids: General tour and activity suggestions

If you’re looking to participate in tours and activities in Costa Rica with kids, you’re in luck; Costa Rica is an incredibly family-friendly vacation destination. To give you a rough idea of the multitude of adventures in store for travelers, consider the below list of Costa Rica tours and activities that typically allow child participation.

A sample list of things to do in Costa Rica with kids (minimum age limits may apply in some cases)

Listed in alphabetical order
*Common/popular choice among children/families

  • *Aerial tram rides
  • *Animal sanctuary/refuge/center visits
  • Art gallery visits
  • ATV tours (children may participate as riders on a 2-passenger ATV driven by a licensed adult)
  • Bird-watching tours
  • *Boat tours / safari float tours
  • Canoeing tours
  • *Canopy zip-lining tours
  • *Canyoning tours / rappelling tours
  • Catamaran tours / sailing tours
  • Cave tours
  • *Chocolate tours
  • City exploration
  • Coffee plantation tours
  • Classes, lessons, and courses
  • Dolphin watching tours / whale watching tours
  • Environmental sustainability tours / organic farm tours
  • *Exhibit visits (i.e., reptile exhibits, amphibian exhibits, insect exhibits, butterfly gardens, and hummingbird gardens)
  • Fruit plantation tours
  • Garden visit tours
  • *Hanging bridge tours
  • *Hiking tours (light hikes on easy-to-moderate trails)
  • Horseback riding tours
  • *Hot spring visits
  • Indigenous reserve tours
  • Kayaking tours
  • Museum visits
  • *National park tours
  • Night tours
  • *Rafting tours (typically rivers with class II/III rapids)
  • Rock climbing walls
  • Shopping tours
  • Snorkeling tours
  • Spice tours
  • Stand-up paddling tours
  • Sugar cane mill tours / trapiche tours
  • *Surf lessons
  • Swimming hole visits
  • Theater visits
  • Tree climbing tours
  • *Tubing tours
  • *Volcano tours
  • *Waterfall tours
  • Waterslide rides

Things to do in Costa Rica with kids: Age-specific tour and activity recommendations

A note about minimum age requirements for tour/activity participation

Although the above list of tour options showcases the variety of activity types available in Costa Rica that allow at least some degree of child participation, it is important to note that minimum age limits are routinely enforced and vary across activities and tour operators. Although some tour operators will allow children of all ages to participate in their activity offerings, others will only allow children older than a predetermined age to take part. If you are currently in the process of planning your Costa Rica trip, don’t forget to research tour operators’ minimum age limits before you place your desired tour and/or activity reservations. The last thing you want to do is show up at a tour operator’s office during your vacation and be denied access to the tour or activity your family is excited to experience due to your child(ren) not meeting the minimum age requirement for participation.

Learn which tours and activities your child(ren) can participate in according to their age at the time of travel

At Pura Vida! eh? Inc., we keep a record of many tour operators’ minimum age limits. If you’re familiar with our free Discount Database, you may already know that for travelers’ convenience we list the minimum age requirement (if applicable) with each tour we list on our website. To find a tour’s minimum age requirement (if one applies), see the “Description” -> “Minimum/maximum age/weight/height/other requirements” section of the tour’s listing page on our website.

Things to do in Costa Rica with kids: The most popular tour and activity options by age range

Learn which tours and activities tend to be the most loved by children of varying age groups

As we mentioned above when we reflected on our own personal experience traveling throughout Costa Rica with kids, a child’s interests, preferences, and abilities change as the child ages. As business professionals, we see the same lesson mirrored in the requests we receive from parent travelers, as the wants and needs of parents of older children differ from those who are parents of little ones. To help travelers understand which Costa Rica tours and activities tend to appeal—on average–to other parents with children in similar age ranges, we have compiled the list below.

The most requested Costa Rica tours and activities by parents of children within the 0-4 age range

Listed in alphabetical order
*One of the top 5 most requested tours/activities within this age range

  • Aerial tram rides
  • Animal sanctuary/refuge/center visits
  • Boat tours / safari float tours
  • Catamaran tours / sailing tours
  • Chocolate tours
  • Dolphin watching tours / whale watching tours
  • *Exhibit visits (i.e., reptile exhibits, amphibian exhibits, insect exhibits, butterfly gardens, and hummingbird gardens)
  • *Hanging bridge tours
  • Hiking tours (light hikes on easy-to-moderate trails)
  • *Hot spring visits
  • National park tours
  • Swimming hole visits
  • *Volcano tours
  • *Waterfall tours

Note: If you are wondering how it is possible for a 0 year old (a.k.a., a baby) to participate in some of the tours or activities listed above, the answer is: via the use of a child carrier. Many tour operators will allow incredibly young children to participate in tours when they are carried by a parent (in most cases, the use of a stroller is not permitted or recommended as the tour/activity terrain may not allow for it).

The most requested Costa Rica tours and activities by parents of children within the 5-7 age range

Listed in alphabetical order
*One of the top 10 most requested tours/activities within this age range

  • Aerial tram rides
  • *Animal sanctuary/refuge/center visits
  • *Boat tours / safari float tours
  • Canoeing tours
  • *Canopy zip-lining tours
  • Catamaran tours / sailing tours
  • Chocolate tours
  • City exploration
  • Dolphin watching tours / whale watching tours
  • *Exhibit visits (i.e., reptile exhibits, amphibian exhibits, insect exhibits, butterfly gardens, and hummingbird gardens)
  • *Hanging bridge tours
  • *Hiking tours (light hikes on easy-to-moderate trails)
  • *Hot spring visits
  • Indigenous reserve tours
  • *National park tours
  • Surf lessons
  • Swimming hole visits
  • Tree climbing tours
  • Tubing tours
  • *Volcano tours
  • *Waterfall tours
  • Waterslide rides

The most requested Costa Rica tours and activities by parents of children within the 8-10 age range

Listed in alphabetical order
*One of the top 10 most requested tours/activities within this age range

  • Aerial tram rides
  • Animal sanctuary/refuge/center visits
  • Boat tours / safari float tours
  • Canoeing tours
  • *Canopy zip-lining tours
  • *Canyoning tours / rappelling tours
  • Catamaran tours / sailing tours
  • *Cave tours
  • Chocolate tours
  • City exploration
  • Dolphin watching tours / whale watching tours
  • Exhibit visits (i.e., reptile exhibits, amphibian exhibits, insect exhibits, butterfly gardens, and hummingbird gardens)
  • Fruit plantation tours
  • *Hanging bridge tours
  • *Hiking tours (light hikes on easy-to-moderate trails)
  • Horseback riding tours
  • *Hot spring visits
  • Indigenous reserve tours
  • Kayaking tours
  • *National park tours
  • *Rafting tours (typically rivers with class II/III rapids)
  • Rock climbing walls
  • Snorkeling tours
  • Surf lessons
  • Swimming hole visits
  • Tree climbing tours
  • Tubing tours
  • *Volcano tours
  • *Waterfall tours
  • Waterslide rides

The most requested Costa Rica tours and activities by parents of children within the 11-12 age range

Listed in alphabetical order
*One of the top 10 most requested tours/activities within this age range

  • Aerial tram rides
  • Animal sanctuary/refuge/center visits
  • ATV tours (children may participate as riders on a 2-passenger ATV driven by a licensed adult)
  • Boat tours / safari float tours
  • Canoeing tours
  • *Canopy zip-lining tours
  • *Canyoning tours / rappelling tours
  • Catamaran tours / sailing tours
  • *Cave tours
  • Chocolate tours
  • City exploration
  • Coffee plantation tours
  • Dolphin watching tours / whale watching tours
  • Exhibit visits (i.e., reptile exhibits, amphibian exhibits, insect exhibits, butterfly gardens, and hummingbird gardens)
  • Fruit plantation tours
  • *Hanging bridge tours
  • *Hiking tours (light hikes on easy-to-moderate trails)
  • Horseback riding tours
  • *Hot spring visits
  • Indigenous reserve tours
  • Kayaking tours
  • *National park tours
  • Night tours
  • *Rafting tours (typically rivers with class II/III rapids)
  • Rock climbing walls
  • Snorkeling tours
  • Stand-up paddling tours
  • Sugar cane mill tours / trapiche tours
  • Surf lessons
  • Swimming hole visits
  • Tree climbing tours
  • Tubing tours
  • *Volcano tours
  • *Waterfall tours
  • Waterslide rides

Free access to child discounts for Costa Rica tours and activities

Are you a parent or guardian who plans to travel to Costa Rica with kids? To help you save as much money on your vacation as possible, we have categorized many Costa Rica day tour options according to whether or not the activity’s tour operator offers a child rate separate from the regular adult rate. Feel free to use the link below to learn for which Costa Rica tours and activities child discounts are available.

Looking for child discounts? We’ve got ’em! Use the links below to determine which tour and activity options offer savings for children:

Tours and activities that offer child discounts (i.e., a child rate)

Free access to student discounts for Costa Rica tours and activities

Are you a parent or guardian who plans to travel to Costa Rica with students? Although many tour operators cap their child rates at a particular age (typically around the 10-12 age mark, depending on the tour operator), some offer special student rates that allow for additional savings (note that in many cases, maximum student age limits apply, and in most cases, proof of current student enrollment must be presented to the tour operator). To help you save as much money on your vacation as possible, we have categorized many Costa Rica day tour options according to whether or not the activity’s tour operator offers a student rate separate from the regular adult rate and/or any available child rate. Feel free to use the link below to learn for which Costa Rica tours and activities student discounts are available.

Looking for student discounts? We’ve got ’em! Use the links below to determine which tour and activity options offer savings for students:

Tours and activities that offer student discounts (i.e., a student rate)

QUESTION TO COMMENT ON: Have you been to Costa Rica with kids? What did your family choose to participate in and/or what did your child(ren) love the most?

Pura vida!

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Summary

Costa Rica Family Travel: Things To Do In Costa Rica With Kids

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Costa Rica Family Travel: Things To Do In Costa Rica With Kids

Description

Plan to travel to Costa Rica with kids? We outline things to do, discuss min. age limits, and offer free child and student discounts!

Author

Nikki Solano

Publisher Name

The Official Costa Rica Travel Blog

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