Costa Rica Vacation Itineraries

A Classic Family Adventure in Costa Rica

Traveling to Costa Rica with children? There are so many destinations to visit and activities to do that it’s hard to decide where to start. That’s why we put together this itinerary that we call the Classic Family Adventure. This seven-day trip will take you to active volcanoes, hot springs, and gorgeous beaches. On top of that, we offer educational and adventure activities, all punctuated with plenty of relaxation. Here’s how it breaks down.

family rain forest
Exploring the Costa Rican rain forest at Arenal/La Fortuna. Photo: Andrés Madrigal

Classic Family Adventure

Day 1: Arrival. On this tour, we’re skipping the hustle and bustle of San José and heading straight for the splendor of La Fortuna. This little town sits at the foot of Arenal Volcano, a conical geothermal hotspot that heads the dozens of natural hot springs in the area.

Transportation: Private transfer to Arenal Springs Resort with an English-speaking driver

Recommended hotel: Arenal Springs Resort.

arenal springs resort room pool
Arenal Springs Resort at Arenal/La Fortuna. Photos courtesy of Arenal Springs Resort.

Day 2: Ziplining through the rainforest. Known as a “canopy tour,” these zip lines will whisk you between platforms high up in the rainforest canopy. Of course, flying above the forest floor is an adrenaline-pumping endeavor, but it’s also an educational one. The vast majority of life in the rainforests is found in the canopy, so you’ll see birds, colorful flowers that are hidden from the ground, monkeys, and more as you explore the landscape from a bird’s eye perspective.

ziplining Costa Rica
One of the tours you must experience during your first trip to Costa Rica: Ziplining. Photos courtesy of Arenal Springs Resort.

Day 3: Whatever you want. The Arenal area offers a wide range of activities, including whitewater rafting, water sports on Lake Arenal, or a tranquil safari boat ride. But you don’t have to go anywhere if you don’t want to: Arenal Springs Resort has a great pool area and some natural thermal springs on site: kids and adults alike love it.

Stand up paddling at lake Arenal. Photo courtesy of Desafio Adventure Co.

Day 4: Head to the beach! It’s time to say goodbye to the volcano and hello to Manuel Antonio, which is Costa Rica’s most famous beach. The drive between these destinations will take you past coffee and banana plantations, small company towns, and the verdant countryside that makes even traffic jams in Costa Rica a pleasant experience.

Recommended hotel: Si Como No. This is a gorgeous family-friendly hotel that has great views, a swimming pool with waterslide and waterfall, a movie theater, and spacious rooms.

si como no hotel rooms pool
Si Como No Hotel at Manuel Antonio. Photos courtesy of Si Como No Hotel.

Day 5: Explore Manuel Antonio National Park. You’ll want to spend plenty of time on this white-sand beach (the third beach is our favorite for swimming and families). Go with a guide and you’ll see the forest come alive. Your guide will have a high-powered telescope so you can see birds, monkeys, iguanas, and other tropical creatures up close, and their expert eyes will certainly find many things that our untrained eyes would miss.

Manuel Antonio National Park. Photo: Andrés Madrigal

Days 6 and 7: Relax at the hotel and beach. Take full advantage of your stay at Si Como No. There is a family pool that has been built into the jungle and overlooks the Pacific Ocean and has its own water slide. Outside of the hotel’s grounds, there are hundreds of little shops, restaurants, nature exhibits, and other activities to keep you busy and engaged.  

There are also dozens of beautiful beaches right outside your front door. Go out for a walk, explore the beaches, and find your own little piece of paradise.

Day 8: Head home. You’ll take a private shuttle back to San José for your flight back home. Maybe this would be a good day for you to start planning your next Costa Rica vacation!

Notes: Of course, you can change out any activity of lodging option; these are just our suggestions. Let us know what you want and we’ll make it happen.

Costa Rica Traveler does not receive a commission if you book one of these tours. Due to popular demand, our writers are putting together a series of itineraries for all kinds of travelers. We have selected Costa Rica Vacations as our partner travel agency because we know their business and love their service and tours.

Rate per adult from* $1,610

Number of nights: 7

Package Includes:

  • Exclusive airport “Meet and Greet” service—we’ll greet you as you get off the plane and guide you through customs
  • Private transfer to Arenal Springs Resort with an English-speaking driver
  • 3 nights lodging at Arenal Springs—including breakfast
  • Canopy tour
  • Private transfer to Si Como No Resort & Spa with English-speaking driver
  • 4 nights lodging at Si Como No—including breakfast
  • Access to the Butterfly Botanical Atrium, crocodile lagoon and amphibian jungle via self-guided tour
  • Manuel Antonio National Park guided tour
  • Private transfer back to San José Airport

*Family pricing based on two adults and two children; additional price per child $313. Price for Si Como No.

Are you interested in this tour? Fill out this form to get started!

Capuchin monkey
One of Manuel Antonio’s national park denizens. Manuel Antonio National Park. Photo: Andrés Madrigal
Enjoying the beach at Manuel Antonio National Park. Photo: Andrés Madrigal
One of La Fortuna’s main attractions. Photo: Andrés Madrigal
Keel-billed toucan
Keel-billed toucan. Photo: Andrés Madrigal
manuel antonio costa rica
Manuel Antonio National Park, where the rainforest meets the ocean. Photo: Andrés Madrigal


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