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Costa Rica for families

Costa Rica's varied and fascinating natural attractions make it a wonderful destination for family holidays with inquisitive children. The range of landscapes to explore includes mountains, rainforests, volcanoes and beaches, so whether you're travelling with toddlers or teenagers you'll find attractions and activities that are suitable for your family to enjoy together.

The country's reputation as a top place for adventure sports means it's especially well-suited to active teenagers, while the wealth of exotic wildlife will certainly capture the imaginations of younger children. The fantastic beaches on the Caribbean and Pacific coasts also mean there are plenty of opportunities for some rest and relaxation in the sun as well some pampering options for parents.

Family-friendly attractions in Costa Rica

One of the best things to do on a family holiday in Costa Rica - especially if you and your children love wildlife - is to visit some of the national parks. These cover 25 per cent of the country and give you the chance to experience Costa Rica's pristine natural environment first-hand.

Among the most exciting protected areas to visit is the Arenal National Park, home to the active volcano of the same name. What makes this place so amazing are the lava streams that can be seen flowing down some of its slopes.

Poas Volcano National Park is one of the most popular among visitors to Costa Rica and it's easy to see why - you can walk up to the rim of this active volcano and watch as vast geysers erupt from the crater floor, with some spouting water and steam up to 250 metres into the air. There are several well-maintained hiking trails within the park that will enable you to explore further.

The wildlife is another of the attractions here, with colourful birds like quetzals, emerald toucanets and hummingbirds being just a few of the species to look out for. Keep your eyes open for other animals such as marmots, frogs, squirrels and coyotes as you walk as well. The infrastructure in the Poas Volcano National Park, as well as its proximity to San Jose, makes it an excellent choice for families keen to get back to nature.

Top family activities

Another reason why Costa Rica is such a great option for a family holiday is the variety of active pursuits you can enjoy with your children here. There are activities to suit kids of all ages, allowing you to tailor your break to suit your family.

One of the most popular options for a fun-filled day out is rafting on one of Costa Rica's rivers. While some of these feature challenging rapids, there are other stretches that are better suited to youngsters, such as the Sarapiqui and Saavegre rivers, both of which are excellent for first-time rafters.

If you plan to spend some time on either the Pacific or Caribbean coasts, you can all learn to surf together, as both of these locations are fantastic for the sport. The Pacific coast is particularly well-equipped to teach surfing, with numerous schools attached to eco lodges in the area.

A canopy tour in the rainforest is likely to be another highlight for adventurous families, with several options available. For teenagers and parents with an intrepid streak, a ziplining tour that involves gliding from platform to platform between the trees is the way to go. If you've got younger children, though, an aerial tram ride may be a better option. There are two of these in Costa Rica - one on the Caribbean side of the country on the edge of the Braulio Carrillo National Park and the other on the Pacific coast on the outskirts of the Carara National Park.

Tips for planning a family tour of Costa Rica

When you start making arrangements for your family trip to Costa Rica, make sure you think carefully about where to go and what to see. As the country is reasonably small, it's possible to visit several parts of it in one holiday, but make sure you balance this with plenty of excursions and activities the kids will enjoy.

Be realistic about what you can fit into your time away and make sure you plan at least a few days of downtime at one of the beach resorts to ensure you're all refreshed before you head home. Get help from our experts when it comes to planning the finer details, as they can advise you about the best ways to travel and the top attractions to visit.

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