La Fortuna Waterfall Costa Rica

Our Costa Rica Family Vacation Itinerary

This summer my family will be embarking on an epic journey through Central America. After a LOT of research, we’ve put together an itinerary that satisfies everyone in our family.

I want to dig my toes into the sand at a pristine beach, my hubby can’t wait to view sloths and howler monkeys in the jungle, and my kids are excited to practice their Spanish with some new Costa Rican friends.

Well, because there is SO much to see and do across Costa Rica, narrowing it down into a 2-week itinerary has not been easy. My friends over at Costa Rica Vacations have been amazing in helping me plan this family adventure.

So without further ado, here is our Costa Rica family vacation itinerary.

Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

Our adventure in Central America will begin with my kids’ first overnight flight, so it’s likely we’ll arrive exhausted and disheveled. Which is why we’ve selected Puerto Viejo as our first stop.

This small town located on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica is the beginning of a chain of villages and beaches that stretch south towards Panama. Considered to be some of the best beaches in Costa Rica, we’ll head here first for a few days of beachside R&R.

Specifically, we’ll be staying in an area called Punta Uva. Located about 5 miles from the main Puerto Viejo town, this neighborhood is home to locals as well as expat families and is filled with open-air organic cafes and coffee shops.

punta uva costa rica

But perhaps most importantly, the swimming at Punta Uva beach is calm and perfect for kids. Many of the beaches in this area have dangerous undertows, making them dangerous for swimming during certain times of the year.

Arenal Volcano National Park

My little guy, like many young boys around the world, is really into volcanoes at the moment. So he’s super excited about our next stop at Arenal Volcano National Park, located in northern Costa Rica.

Arenal Volcano National park

Home to the most active volcano in the Americas, we’ll explore lava fields and view of toucans and howler monkeys in the surrounding jungle from a series of hanging bridges.

Then to wrap up a day of exploration we’ll jump in a hot springs! Thanks to all the geothermal activity in the area, there are several natural hot springs in the area. Many of these hot springs have built up around the natural hot springs, and include water slides, man-made pools and even swim up bars and restaurants in some cases!

We’ll also try to fit in a visit to La Fortuna Waterfall in Arenal, considered one of the best waterfalls in Costa Rica.

Guanacaste Province

We’ll then head west to the region of Guanacaste. En route to our hotel, located on the Pacific coast, we’ll pass through Liberia, the capital of the state of Guanacaste. One of the oldest cities in Costa Rica, I’m told the town is Costa Rica’s version of a Wild West cowboy town.

Once at the coast, I’m excited to get the whole family on surfboards for the first time! Tamarindo, a coastal city in Guanacaste, is a well-known surf mecca in Costa Rica. The water here is warm year-round, and the waves are consistently ideal for all levels of surfers.

Tamarindo Costa Rica Surfing

We’ll also take a day to explore nearby Rincon de la Vieja National Park, and are excited to have a chance to see some of Costa Rica’s famous mammals including pumas, jaguar, sloths, and tapirs.

Manual Antonio Park

Finally, our last stop is further south along the Pacific coast; Manual Antonio Park. This is our best chance at spotting the Brown-throated three-toed sloth, Hoffman’s two-toed sloth and a few different species of monkey.

This park is also considered one of the most beautiful in Costa Rica. The mountains and lush forests meet the ocean in the form of a massive mangrove forest. This can be explored by kayak or boat.

I’m looking forward to making a stop at a rural village to spend the day learning about this community’s way of life. Communities here subsist on sugar cane and coffee bean agriculture and live as they have for hundreds of years.

And that’s our Costa Rica family vacation itinerary! In just under two weeks in total on the ground in Costa Rica, we’re covering lot of ground and have adventures planned to please every member of the family. 

Have you been to Costa Rica? I’d love to hear your thoughts and advice in the comments below!

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