Costa Rica for Families

Nothing brings the family together like travel, and International Expeditions’ custom Costa Rica ecotour to the Osa Peninsula, Corcovado and Manuel Antonio is the perfect combination of nature and excitement!

Don’t want to travel with the kids? That’s okay! This comprehensive Costa Rica tour is perfect for any nature enthusiast.

What is Custom Travel? The itinerary below is only a small sample of options in Costa Rica. Every traveler can envision their ideal way to see the world. International Expeditions’ experienced Custom Travel Planners create individually tailored tours that match your style of travel, budget and timeline. Tell us the dates you wish to travel, and we’ll take care of the details.

Start planning your journey today by contacting IE's Costa Rica Travel Planners at 800-234-9620.

custom family costa rica tour  


Day 1

Arrive San Jose

Upon arrival at the Juan Santamaria International Airport, you will be met by a representative of International Expeditions. Transfer to the Hilton Garden in San José for the night.

Day 2

San Jose / Toucan Rescue Ranch / Canopy Zip Line / Tortuguero 

This morning meet your private naturalist guide and depart from San Jose to the Caribbean lowlands, enjoying activities below en route to the Tortuguero national park

Join the staff in Toucan Rescue Ranch for a full breakfast and watch the baby sloths being fed. There’re two species of sloths in Costa Rica, and they’re both present in the sanctuary. The babies need help learning how to digest the rough leaves from Guarumo trees. The owner and the staff know every bird and animal intimately and have many great stories to tell you. After breakfast, enjoy a tour of the Ranch.

Continue to the Caribbean lowlands passing through the Braulio Carrillo National Park, stop at the Rainforests Adventures for a zip line canopy tour.  The tour consists of 10 zip lines (between 80 meters and 140 meters long), with 14 platforms in between the stretches which provide a 360 degree view of the surrounding forest. Walking trails lead you deep into the rainforest floor. You will be strapped in safe top to quality gear specifically designed for this canopy tour. Built with twin cables and a double pulley system, this canopy tour is part of the Rain Forest Aerial Tram Park, which protects the rainforest and its biodiversity within a 475-hectare (1,200-acre) private reserve. A visit to the Butterfly garden and the frog pond is a must after the tour.

After lunch at Rainforest Adventures, continue for 1.5 hours to Pavona river dock, where you will board a Tortuga Lodge boat and depart for a 1 - 1.5 hour trip to Tortuguero.  You will have the opportunity to observe some of the areas wildlife during your boat ride along the creeks to reach the lodge.  Set on a private rainforest reserve bordering Tortuguero National Park, the lodge’s rooms have private baths and hot showers. A swimming pool is surrounded by botanical gardens that lead to the rainforest and river.  Spend two nights at Tortuga Lodge. (B,L,D)

Day 3

Tortuguero National Park

Originally intended to protect a major nesting beach of the Atlantic green sea turtle, Tortuguero National Park now protects 77,032 acres or 30,812 hectares, one of the last large areas of tropical rain forest in Central America. Eleven habitats are found in the park. Three species of monkeys (Spider, Howler, and White-faced), Three-toed sloths, and River otters are frequently seen along the natural inland waterways and canals. Caiman, iguanas, River turtles, Basilisk lizards, and Poison dart (Dendrobates) frogs inhabit the area, along with more than 320 species of birds including all 6 species of kingfishers found in the new world, 3 species of toucans, 8 species of parrots, and other neotropical species such as the Slaty-tailed trogon, White-collared manakin, Purple-throated fruitcrow, and White-fronted nunbird and many more species

After breakfast, leave the lodge by boat with your Tortuguero local naturalist guide on your private tour to explore the creeks of Tortuguero National Park. The morning hours are especially active in the rain forest, when the wildlife is hungry and in search of their energy source for the day. It’s not uncommon to find troops of Howler monkeys in search of tender young figs or the leaves of the Monkey Plum tree you might also encounter a River Otter hunting. The Northern Jacana is often perched on an island of Water Hyacinth looking for insects and miniature shrimp and the caiman is quietly waiting for its next meal to swim by.  This excursion is a three-hour trip into the back water lagoons and creeks of Tortuguero National Park. Your boat is equipped with an ice chest with water and if you’d like to have additional beverages in the boat you can ask your guide to stock the ice chest with your favorite drinks (at additional cost).  Return to the lodge in time for lunch.

This afternoon enjoy a new experience in Tortuguero. Your Naturalist Guide takes you on a short boat ride to the Village of San Francisco. The hike to the “Cerro” (Hill) Tortuguero will let you enjoy the National Park from a different point of view, 390 ft. above sea level. According to scientists, Cerro Tortuguero is a dormant volcano, almost 2 million years old. A dormant volcano is considered one that hasn’t erupted in the past 10,000 years

The Cerro Tortuguero has an area of approximately 62 acres and has great biodiversity including a large number of species of trees, bromeliads, ferns, shrubs and different types of rain forest vegetation. Also, the area offers possibilities to observe 3 species of monkeys, the Capuchins, Howlers and Spider Monkeys, as well as reptiles and amphibious like the “Cherry” or Poison Dart Frogs, Iguanas, lizards and more. The bird life is also abundant in the region and there´re possibilities to observe Trogons, Toucans, parrots, Guans, and many other species of our rich tropical avifauna.

The trail features several learning opportunities, and your Nature Guide will help interpreting the surrounding natural wealth that the Rain Forest has to offer. After visiting the “Mirador”, with an unobstructed view of the Park, you will commence the descent to the small Village of San Francisco to participate in the Word Adventure. You’ll spend about one hour sharing your English knowledge and learning about the life of children from Tortuguero. With your Guide, you can explore a little more and perhaps purchase ice cream or a drink in a local “pulperia” (small grocery store). All too soon, you’ll be ready to ride our boat back to Tortuga Lodge. (B,L,D)

Day 4

Tortuguero / San  José / Poas Volcano / Monteverde Cloudforest

Cross the Tortuguero River by boat and board your 30-minute flight to San José.  Upon arrival in San Jose meet the van again and depart for Monteverde with a stop at the Poas Volcano National park

Poas Volcano is well known for its massive crater with sights of activity such as smoking fumaroles or small mud-eruptions from its volcanic lagoon from time to time. When clear, you can admire the tree fringed crater lake and birds such as the Green-crowned brilliant hummingbird, Bush-tanagers, Yellow-thighed finch, Sooty robins, Flower piercers and Sooty-capped Bush tanagers, among many more. Also, the vegetation is profuse, including myriad bromeliads, ferns, mistletoes and the iconic “poor man’s umbrella” (Gunnera sp). The poor man’s umbrella actually looks like a parasol and it is representative of mid to high elevations forests in Costa Rica (5000 – 9000 F).

Poas lies about 1 1/2 hours from San Jose through Alajuela and San Pedro de Poas. The drive is through coffee farms, nurseries where ornamental plants are grown for export, strawberry fields, and dairy farms.  The volcanic crater is not always visible due to cloud coverage. The possibilities for at least a momentary clear view decrease rapidly as the day goes on!

After the visit to Poas Volcano, continue to Monteverde, driving time is approximately 4.5 hours with a lunch stop at a local restaurant.

Monteverde is a peaceful community made up of dairy farmers, naturalists and tourism service providers who have joined together to create a model for sustainable development and protection of the environment that is known throughout the world. Founded in 1954 by a group of Quakers from Alabama searching for a peaceful place to live, it is the home of Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, the Children's Eternal Rain Forest, and the Santa Elena Reserve. Spend two nights at Monteverde Lodge. (B,L,D)

Day 5

Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve 

Originally just 4,000 acres, the Monteverde Reserve now includes a protected area of approximately 25,000 acres, comprising six different life zones. So many habitats in such a small area, along with extensive trail improvements, allow visitors to enjoy a rich diversity of flora and fauna with relatively short distance and easy walking. The Reserve was founded in 1972 and extends down both slopes of the Tilarán Mountains (elevation 2,300 to 5,600 ft.). It encompasses six different ecological life zones and is home to more than 100 species of mammals, 400 species of birds and 1,500 species of plants. From January to July, depending upon your luck and patience, you may observe the Resplendent Quetzal (occasionally a dozen or more individuals at once). Other species include the Three-wattled Bellbird, the Emerald Toucanet, and White-faced and Howler Monkeys.

Day 6

Monteverde / Punta Islita Beach

Depart from Monteverde to Punta Islita, driving time is approximately 4 hours. Over 90% of the Hotel's employees are local men and women whom share a collective philosophy based on hospitality and ecological conservation. Hotel Punta Islita is embedded in a secluded tract of Tropical Dry Forest, a fascinating yet endangered ecosystem that is home to over 155 species of mammals, 253 species of birds, 100 species of amphibians and reptiles, unique tree species, and brilliant tropical flowers.

The Hotel has pioneered conservation initiatives that aim to secure the effective protection and long-term survival of this precious and delicate habitat. The Tropical Dry Forest is characterized by lower relative humidity, an extended dry season of bright-blue skies, and a green season of sunny mornings and sporadic afternoon showers. Due to its suitability for crops and ranching, the Tropical Dry Forest is a highly threatened ecosystem. Less than two percent of the natural habitat remains in the global arena. Spend the next five nights at Hotel Punta Islita. (B)

Days 7-10

Punta Islita Beach 

Two incredible days at leisure in Punta Islita. In Punta Islita Beach Resort, you can reserve the following complimentary activities with local guides through your Travel Planner. Activities include:

Canopy Zip-Line: Join your adventure guide for a short drive to the first “test” cable. Your guide will brief the group on the use of equipment, techniques and hints. Fly through the treetops for a birds-eye-view of the forest. A thrilling adventure for daring souls. Minimum age is 5

Macaw Rescue Mission: You´ll ride with your nature guide to a nearby property where they keep a rescue center for macaws. The Islita partners at The Ara Project are bringing back wild colors to the Guanacaste sky. Visiting the Red Macaw recovery center will be an unforgettable experience. Open to all ages

Sunset Horseback Ride: Meet your riding guide in the lobby and drive for a few minutes to the stables. Once there, your guide will instruct the group on riding Costa Rican horses. They will make sure your stirrups are at the right level and fasten your saddle. Explore the rugged coastal landscapes on horseback. From beach cantering to riding up the mountains for scenic views of the day’s closing lights. Minimum age is 5

Dusk Adventure Hike: Meet your nature guide in the lobby and start a hike in Islita trails. The day’s end wakes up many regional critters. The guides will help you spot the region’s nocturnal life. You may have some chances to spot sleeping birds, perhaps toads or frogs, insects or reptiles. Minimum age is 5

Cocktail Mixing: Mix fun tropical cocktails like a pro! Our bartenders share their libation secrets.

Golf Clinic: An all-around session for learning golf or improving your game. Open to all ages

Driving Range: Power up your game! The Golf Pro will give you pointers to improve range and accuracy. Open to all ages

Golf Short Game:
Don’t let your putting technique drag you down. The Golf Pro to the rescue. Perfect for all levels! Open to all ages

Yoga: Islita’s gorgeous natural scenery will enhance the health benefits of Pilates/Yoga. Minimum age is 5

Traditional Tico Cooking:
Learn the secrets behind Costa Rica’s favorite flavors. From rice pudding to ceviche. Open to all ages

Chorreado Coffee:
Enjoy coffee the Tico way! The “chorreado” (dripped) brewing system imbues your favorite hot beverage with incomparable flavor and aroma. Open to all ages

Candle Art: Create beautiful sand-candle pieces to take home and enjoy. Includes a fun pick-up soccer game while the candles cool off. Minimum age is 5

Beach painting: To let the imagination run wild! A special project to trigger creativity. Open to all ages

Keychain Making: The region’s seashells, pebbles, and unique seeds are perfect to create a beautiful keychain and a one-of-a-kind memento of your stay. Open to all ages

Sea Turtle Quest:
A magical celebration of life. Sea turtles lay their eggs in nearby Camaronal beach. Witness this miracle in person! Only July – November. Open to all ages

Day 11

Punta Islita Beach / San José / Home

Depart from the Hotel Punta Islita by local van for the 20-minute drive to the Islita Airstrip.   Meet your 1-hour flight from Punta Islita to San José.   Upon arrival transfer to the Juan Santamaria International Airport at least three hours prior to the departure time for your flight out of the country.  (B)