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Best of Costa Rica Family Holiday

Get off the beaten track on this two-week family holiday in Costa Rica, exploring all the best highlights and hidden secrets. Starting in subtropical San Jose, you'll explore Tortuguero National Park – home to 13 of Costa Rica’s 16 endangered mammals and the nesting ground of the green turtle. Spend some time in biodiverse Sarapiqui and maybe take on a few fun, active adventures with the kids. Stay in La Fortuna under the mighty gaze of Arenal Volcano and soak in your onsite hot springs before heading to the cloud forest in Monteverde. Learn how to cook authentic local Costa Rican food in Dominical with three generations of locals and then take a day trip to the popular Manuel Antonio National Park. After a huge adventure full of natural wonders and wildlife, meet the Indigenous community along the Terraba River and learn about their matriarchal society before ending it all back in San Jose.

14 days, from


per person


16 people max


Trip code: QCFB
Style: Original
Theme: Family


Countries Visited:  Costa Rica
Accommodation: Hotels (13 nights)
Transportation: Private vehicle , Boat , Public Transportation
Included Meals:

  • 13 breakfasts
  • 4 lunches
  • 2 dinners

Group size: Minimum 2, Max 16

  • Spend time with the Terraba community – an Indigenous group who have survived off the land for more than 500 years – and enjoy a shared lunch of local eats. The kids will love the chocolate-making lesson here!

  • Walk through the diverse forest and jungle and take an incredible canopy walk along suspended bridges in Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve – lookout for sloths and various birdlife as you go.

  • Spot Costa Rica’s endangered mammals in Tortuguero National Park – including the jaguar and various species of turtles.

  • Enjoy some family downtime in the seaside town of Dominical at your eco-hotel, surrounded by stunning beaches and a tropical jungle.

  • Look out for wildlife in the evergreen rainforest of Sarapiqui – a town known for its rich biodiversity – and enjoy some free time to maybe learn about the nocturnal creatures that dwell here.

  • By travelling on this trip, you’ll directly support our Intrepid Foundation partner, Eden Reforestation Projects. Donations help them provide local employment opportunities and tackle climate change one tree at a time as they restore forests across 10 different countries.


Show Full Itinerary

Day 1: San Jose

Bienvenidos! Welcome to Costa Rica. Your adventure starts in subtropical San Jose, with a welcome meeting at 5 pm tonight at the hotel. If you arrive early, there’s plenty to see in this bustling city. Maybe take the kids to the Spirogyra Butterfly Garden – the perfect way to introduce the family to Costa Rican biodiversity (while also getting respite from the clamour of the city). After the meeting tonight, maybe get a taste of Tico food (and get to know the other families and your trip leader) with an optional group dinner.

Day 2: Tortuguero

This morning, you’ll descend to the Caribbean lowlands on a scenic (and slightly bumpy) public bus journey that ends at the port of La Pavona – this rustic port is your entry point to Tortuguero National Park. Hop aboard a small boat and journey into the depths of the Costa Rican wilderness. Arrive in the middle of this biodiverse area, where freshwater lagoons rest under the canopy of rainforest bordering the ocean. Many animals call this place home, so look out for jaguars, various birds and turtles as you sail quietly across the water and traverse the lush jungle.

Day 3: Tortuguero

This morning, head back to Tortuguero National Park for a boat tour of the canals. This park, established in 1970, is now home to 13 of Costa Rica’s 16 endangered mammals, including manatees, ocelots and jaguars. This is also the nesting ground of the green turtle, which comes ashore between July and October to lay its eggs on the beach. The hawksbill turtle, loggerhead turtle and giant leatherback turtles also nest within the park, but at different times of the year. This afternoon, maybe wander around some of the park’s walking trails or just kick back and relax at your lodge. Tonight, you might want to head out on a turtle-watching tour – part of the cost of this optional activity will support a program to patrol the beach for poachers, keeping the turtles and their eggs safe.

Day 4: Sarapiqui

This morning, say goodbye to the evergreen rainforest and make the journey to Sarapiqui – a town known for its rich biodiversity. When you arrive, settle into your hotel and then join your leader for a walk through the rainforest, crossing trails as you look out for wildlife. This evening is free to explore at your own pace – you might like to book an excursion to learn about the region’s nocturnal creatures – including sloths, howler monkeys, snakes and frogs.

Day 5: Sarapiqui

Today is a free day to explore Sarapiqui. Maybe you and your family could take a trip down the river on a float or get adventurous and go white water rafting through the rapids. Maybe you’d like to jump in a kayak and discover the lush surroundings on a more leisurely on-water experience. If you need to recharge, maybe you’d like to just relax by the pool at your accommodation.

Day 6: La Fortuna

Today, you’ll cross west through the north of the country to the Arenal volcano area, which lies beneath the volcano of the same name. Rising from verdant plains, Arenal Volcano shoots up 1633 m in a perfect cone and in certain lights, it 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. When you arrive in La Fortuna, you’re free to explore the area at your own pace. Maybe just unwind by the hotel pool in view of the mighty Arenal volcano and get the kids to practice their drawing skills. Your accommodation also features onsite hot springs where you can relax your muscles and recharge for the coming days of adventure.

Day 7: La Fortuna

Today is a free day to explore La Fortuna and all it has to offer. Maybe grab the kids and head to the La Fortuna Waterfall – at the base of the dormant Chato volcano, the waterfall is surrounded by lush tropical rainforest, and you can even swim at the base of the cascades! Maybe the kids would rather get a new perspective of Arenal Volcano from the 1968 trail, where you can also explore lava trails.

Day 8: Monteverde

Today, you’ll take the scenic route to Monteverde. 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 to your 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.

Day 9: Monteverde

See the forest from a different perspective on an included canopy walk across the suspended bridges of Monteverde this morning. The 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 quetzal, the blue-crowned motmot or the emerald toucanet. The rest of the day is free to relax or partake in some optional activities. You could visit an orchid farm or whizz through the trees on ziplines. 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 10: Dominical

Wave adios to Monteverde and hit the Pan-American Highway for a southward journey past beaches and palm plantations to the beachside town of Dominical. Along the way, you’ll stop at a local family home where you’ll have the opportunity to learn how to cook authentic local Costa Rican food. Spend some time with the three generations of Costa Ricans here and learn about their stories as you enjoy the essence of the Pura Vida lifestyle. Your accommodation while in Dominical is an eco-hotel, surrounded by lush rainforest, with all the comforts you could want.

Day 11: Dominical

Today is a free day in Dominical. Flanked by the Baru River, this town is known for its surfing beach and tropical forest hiking trails, so there are plenty of options if you and the kids want to get outdoors (and who wouldn’t when you’re in this natural paradise?).

Day 12: Manuel Antonio National Park

This morning after breakfast, you’ll take a day trip to Manuel Antonio National Park – the most popular national park in Costa Rica. When you arrive, enjoy a guided walk along the trails that snake through the park with your leader. Immerse yourself in nature and learn more about the area’s diverse flora and fauna. Look and listen carefully, and you may just be able to spot howler monkeys, two and three-toed sloths, iguanas and heaps of various birds. This afternoon, make your way back to Dominical for the night.

Day 13: San Gerardo de Dota

This morning, head for San Gerardo de Dota and visit a small Indigenous community with a rich cultural heritage – The Terraba (or Teribe). Located on approximately 34.7 square miles (9000 hectares) along the Terraba River, they have survived off the land for over 500 years. The community consider themselves matriarchal, and women are the teachers responsible for passing information down through the generations. Here, you’ll learn how to carve your own wooden mask and participate in some chocolate-making before sitting down for a shared local lunch with the community. Tonight, you’ll return to San Jose for your final night – maybe head out for a farewell dinner with the other families when you arrive.

Day 14: San Jose

There are no further activities planned for today, and your trip comes to an end. If you’d like to extend your stay, just speak to your booking agent.