Treat your family to an adventure holiday in Costa Rica
Flights to this beautiful part of the world take roughly 11 hours, but with stunning scenery, hot temperatures and a host of outdoor pursuits to look forward to, the long haul is definitely worth it.
When it comes to choosing family-friendly resorts in Costa Rica, you certainly won’t be short on choice. Family holidays to Playa Conchal are centred around the beach and surrounding countryside, where visiting families can enjoy deep-sea boat trips, swimming and hiking excursions to nearby nature reserves and national parks.
Off the beaten path, Playa de Matapalo is all about nature, offering palm-fringed shores to relax on and the chance to explore the wonders of the nearby rainforests and mountain ranges. Here, sightseeing is best done on horse-back, biking or hiking tours and kids will no doubt relish the chance to spot fascinating wildlife, including sloths, monkeys and birds.
On Costa Rica’s westernmost shore, Playa Tamarindo is also a haven for families who prefer to stay active while on holiday. Days here can be spent surfing the gentle waves or braving wild kayak rides on the river estuary.
Best family friendly beaches
Made up of tiny crushed shells, Playa Conchal Beach has clear, warm waters with an array of tropical marine life to explore beneath the waves. Rafting and nocturnal turtle-watching tours are also popular here.
The long, sandy beach at Playa de Matapalo is another family favourite, where you can spend days relaxing on secluded sands and frolicking in the calm waves. Those who prefer something a bit more active should head to the nearby Coco Beach, where you’ll find lots of watersports, sunloungers and child-friendly restaurants.
Best family activities in Costa Rica
Costa Rica is a natural playground just waiting to be explored, with scenic locations like the Rincon de la Vieja National Park proving popular among holidaymakers. It provides rolling countryside, crashing waterfalls and nine volcanoes. Meanwhile, in Playa Tamarindo, daytime activities include surfing, snorkelling and turtle watching at Marino Las Baulas National Park, which is just a few minutes’ drive outside of the town.
Fishing trips are a popular family day out in Playa Conchal, where you’ll have the opportunity to catch your own fish and cook it on the beach. The area also offers adventure tours for adrenaline-seekers, such as a boat trip down the Tamarindo River, ziplining among howler monkeys at The Congo Trail Canopy Tour and the two and a half kilometres of tree-top walkways on the Monteverde Skywalk.
Other family holiday destinations
When it comes to booking a family holiday, Costa Rica is by no means your only choice. You may also want to look at places like Florida with its thrilling theme parks and fun attractions, or Spain, which has an abundance of Blue Flag beaches and waterparks. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a magical winter getaway, destinations like Slovenia offer fantastic skiing holidays that will appeal to active families.
If Costa Rica is still your top choice, our travel guide can help you plan a truly special getaway for you and your loved ones. Here are some of Costa Rica’s top family hotels to get you started.
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The 5* Westin Playa Conchal Hotel has been designed with families in mind. With a jungle setting, kids will love the chance to spot tropical wildlife like iguanas, monkeys and coatis during the day, and the Playa Conchal shell beach is just a few steps away. There are also eight restaurants, a lagoon-style outdoor pool, a kids' club, two playgrounds and a video games and movies room. Grown-ups get their own space in the way of an adults-only pool with a swim-up bar, a golf course, a sports bar and lounge and a peaceful spa offering a range of treatments.
The stylish Riu Palace Costa Rica Hotel offers a fantastic location and a host of family-friendly facilities. This 5* hotel has a beachfront location with a lush green hill backdrop – ideal for those who love to explore. Here, you'll find four swimming pools, an array of eating options, a gym, spa and a wide selection of activities, including volleyball, tennis, scuba diving lessons in the pool and non-motorised watersports. To keep the youngsters happy, there's a playground, a kids' pool and club tailored to a range of ages.
The Riu Guanacaste Hotel offers a secluded seafront setting, making it ideal for a family beach break in the sun. You'll find a wide range of restaurants here as well as plenty of activities to keep all ages occupied, such as a spacious swimming pool and sun terrace, tennis courts, non-motorised watersports and much more. For the little ones, there's a kids' club, playground and kids' pool. Meanwhile, adults can make use of the stylish casino, bars and spa area.