Costa Rica Family Holiday with Teenagers
Travel DatesDepartures year round
Sale EndsDec 31, 2023
Day 1: San Jose
Welcome to subtropical San Jose! Meet your leader and fellow family travellers at a welcome meeting at 5 pm at the hotel. If you arrive early there is plenty to see in this bustling city, and as the streets are laid out in a grid pattern it’s relatively easy to navigate too. Check out a few of the optional activities below, just note that as these activities are not included, they may incur an extra charge. The Spirogyra Butterfly Garden, for example, is the perfect way to introduce kids (and adults) of all ages to Costa Rican biodiversity while getting some respite from the clamour of the city. After the meeting tonight, perhaps get a taste of ‘Tico’ food (and get to know the other families and your tour leader) with an optional dinner as a group.
Day 2: Sarapiquí
Kick off your Costa Rican adventure with a hearty breakfast before hitting the road to make our way to Poas Volcano National Park. In the park you’ll discover untouched nature, an active volcano, and have the chance to breathe fresh, cool mountain air. At the top of this volcano, 2,700 metres above sea level, you can step to the edge of a platform and look down on a smoking sleeping giant – steam can pour out around a sulphuric, bubbling, green crater lake. In the afternoon, make your way to Sarapiqui, a town known for its rich biodiversity. On arrival settle into your hotel then join your leader on a walk through the rainforest, crossing trails as you look out for wildlife. This evening is free for your own discoveries – you may like to book an excursion to learn about the region’s nocturnal creatures.
Day 3: Arenal
Today you’ll cross west through the north of the country to the Arenal volcano area (approximately 1 hour), which lies beneath the volcano of the same name. Rising from verdant plains, Arenal Volcano shoots up 1633 metres in a perfect cone and in certain light resembles a storybook drawing. The landscape is mainly cloud forest and rainforest, cut through with rivers, lakes and -- thanks to the volcano’s inner workings -- thermal hot springs. On arrival you are free to explore the area at your own pace. Or perhaps you’d prefer to unwind by the hotel pool in view of the mighty Arenal Volcano. Your accommodation also features onsite hot springs where you can relax your muscles.
Day 4: Arenal
Get and explore the lush tropical surrounds of this idyllic location with the family. For many, one of the highlights of this trip is the exhilarating fun of battling the gushing rapids of the Balsa River. The level of rafting here is very suitable for families (Class 2 to 3), but please note that the minimum age is 8 years old. After a safety briefing and getting kitted out with an orange vest, you’ll get wet and wild, working your way as a team through increasingly challenging rapids with names like ‘Magnetic Rock’, ‘Congo Loco’and ‘Dredges’.
Along the way, look out for wildlife such as sloths and Toucans – if you’re not too busy getting wet that is. When you finish and return to the hotel.
Day 5: Monteverde
Today you’ll take the scenic route to Monteverde (approximately 4 hours in total). Travel by minibus to Lake Arenal, then cross the water by boat. On the other side of the lake, re-board a minibus and continue on to our destination. In 1951 North American Quakers founded the nearby Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve, a sanctuary for the unique flora and fauna of Costa Rica. More than 2000 species of plants, 320 bird species and 100 different types of mammals call the reserve home, and over the next few days you’ll get acquainted with some of them. There may be time to make an optional visit the nearby Butterfly Garden today upon arrival (an additional cost). Otherwise, settle into your accommodation and enjoy the tranquillity of nature.
Day 6: Monteverde
See the forest from a different perspective on an included canopy walk across the suspended bridges of Monteverde. The sheer variety of bird life in Monteverde is enough to make an ornithologist out of anyone, so don’t be surprised if younger children have a new answer to the question ‘what do you want to do when you grow up?’ While you’re up among the treetops look (or listen) out for the reclusive resplendent quetzal, the blue-crowned motmot or the emerald toucanet. The rest of the day is free for you to relax or partake in some optional activities. You could visit an orchid farm or whizz through the trees on zip-lines. If conditions are right, there might be a chance to hike through the forest at dusk, a unique opportunity to see the area’s nocturnal creatures begin to stir.
Day 7: Manuel Antonio National Park
Wave adios to Monteverde and hit the Pan-American Highway for a southward journey past beaches and palm plantations to Manuel Antonio (around 6 hours). Along the way we stop a local family home where you will have the opportunity learn how to cook authentic local Costa Rican food and share time with 3 generations of Costa Ricans. Enjoying the essence of the Pura Vida. An experience you will enjoy as a family.
Enjoy a free evening to relax before exploring the park on foot tomorrow.
Day 8: Manuel Antonio National Park
After breakfast enjoy a 3-hour guided walk along the trails that snake through Manuel Antonio National Park. Immerse yourself in nature and learn more about the area’s diverse wild and plant life from your guide. Look and listen carefully and you may be able to spot howler monkeys, two- and three-toed sloths, iguanas and more. The afternoon is free to explore this magical area further at your family’s desired pace. Maybe you’d like to relax on one of the idyllic palm-lined bays while the kids splash in the water. Active types have the option to rent equipment to kayak, surf or fish in the glittering ocean (for an extra cost). There are no wrong choices in this balmy paradise.
Day 9: San Jose
Rise and shine for your final morning in this beachside haven. Enjoy your last hours in Manuel Antonio with some free time before making the return drive to San Jose in the mid-afternoon (approximately 3 hours). There are no activities planned on arrival at San Jose. If you’re flying out today, it's important to book your flight for no earlier than 6pm.
The group will be dropped back off at the starting point hotel. Note there is no accommodation included today. If you wish to stay longer in San Jose we’ll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability)..