Costa Rica Family Holiday
Costa Rica in two weeks! Combining adventure, wildlife and R&R at the beach, and staying in great hotels, there’s something for all ages and oodles of family fun to be had throughout.
Costa Rica Family Holiday
15 days from £1,325 pp
(exc. international flights)
(based on a family of 4 sharing)
Costa Rica is the perfect family holiday destination. It’s a giant playground, with activities and adventures for all ages and thrills a-plenty. Blessed by nature there are rainforests, mountains, volcanoes and beaches, colourful birds, noisy monkeys, red-eyed frogs, sloths hanging from trees and all sorts of weird and wonderful creepies and crawlies.
Tortuguero’s canals are made for cruising. Take a seat and watch! As well as monkeys and birds in the trees, you may spy ripples on the water’s surface betraying the presence of a crocodile beneath. And then there are the turtles which nest on the beaches here, after whom the national park is named. Sometimes called the Amazon of Costa Rica, this is the perfect introduction to the diversity of Costa Rica.
Prepare for a change of perspective at Arenal where you take to the heights on the famous hanging bridge tour, maybe finding yourself face to face with wildlife in the trees. The walking is easy and the trail relatively short, ideal for children as well as adults. Pick up the pace with a canopy tour or some ziplining, soaring above the forest. It’s sure to put a grin on your face and leave you wanting more.
Wildlife and excitement are followed by beach time. The north Pacific coast is justly famous for its sandy beaches and you have several days to enjoy it to the full. Balance downtime sunbathing, swimming and snorkelling with as much activity as you want, on land and water. It’s all here and yours for the choosing.
This is a wonderful bundle of family fun and adventure, with highlight after highlight, showcasing Costa Rica’s attractions and wrapping them all up in a perfectly balanced two week holiday.
- San Jose 2 nights
- Tortuguero 2 nights
- Arenal 4 nights
- Selected beach 5 nights
- San Jose 1 night
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After landing at Juan Santamaria International Airport in San Jose and collecting your luggage you are met by a representative of our local partner. Welcome to Costa Rica! Armed with all the necessary documents for your holiday you’re driven to Hotel Presidente, your base in the heart of the capital. Nothing has been planned for the rest of the day so you can either take things easy at the hotel or, if you have the energy, you can head out and explore the city’s sites, shops and restaurants, maybe finding a venue for dinner tonight.
Costa Rica’s coffee is known around the world and today’s tour of a local coffee estate takes you from seedling to roasting room, bean to cup, for an insight into the production process plus the chance to pick up tasty souvenirs at the shop. Wildlife is another of the country’s key attractions, and a visit to the butterfly garden is a lovely introduction. How many of the 15 species will you spot? Next you enter the magical world of the rainforest at La Paz Waterfalls Garden, sure to delight with its enchanting scenery and numerous animals. Hummingbirds fly from bloom to bloom, jaguars, pumas and ocelots in the jungle and there are areas dedicated to frogs and snakes. There’s almost too much to see. After a full and fun day you are driven back to the hotel in San Jose.
You’re on the move today, to the Caribbean coast and one of Costa Rica’s best known national parks: Tortuguero. It’s an exciting drive past tumbling waterfalls and lush forest in the mountains, then descending to the warmer, more humid plains. The last part of the journey is by boat along canals flanked by jungle and echoing with birdsong and the cries of monkeys. Lunch is served on arrival at the lodge, then you visit Tortuguero village to meet local people and learn about life on the Caribbean coast. There’s the opportunity to walk back along the beach, as your guide tells you about the green, loggerhead, hawksbill and leatherback turtles (Tortuguero translates as land of turtles) which lay their eggs here each year.
Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Wildlife ahoy! Board a boat, the best way to experience this park, to catch sight of white-faced monkeys as they dart among the trees, and hear howler monkeys, the loudest of all the monkey species. You might see cartoon-like sloths, the world’s slowest mammal, who spend long hours sleeping in trees and move only up to four times a day. Be sure to watch the water around the boat where crocodiles and turtles swim. And how many of Tortuguero’s 405 bird species will you see?
Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Enjoy a last canal tour as you leave Tortuguero, followed by a drive to the northern plains with a stop for lunch en-route. You travel through towns for a taste of local life, and, weather permitting, you’ll see the unmistakable symmetrical cone of Arenal Volcano, which is the focal point for activities over the next few days. Your hotel is nearby and has gorgeously warm thermal pools fed by magma-heated subterranean springs where you can swim after your journey. Breakfast, lunch
It’s time for some adventure! Arenal has a series of no fewer than 16 hanging bridges which form the popular three kilometre trail. Crossing these you are high above the forest floor in the midst of the canopy. You might find yourself peering at a toucan or sloth and listening to the now familiar cry of your old friend the howler monkey. Your guide is on hand to help you get the best out of the trail, and all in all this is a great way to immerse yourself in the rainforest. Back at Volcano Lodge as well as the spring-fed pools, there’s a hiking trail through the gardens and a playground to keep youngsters happy.
Take it easy this morning and in the afternoon you are taken on a guided hike in the forest and to see lava fields formed from past volcanic eruptions, a reminder of the power of nature. This is also evident at your next stop, Tabacon hot springs, the largest of its kind in Costa Rica. The water is heated deep underground in the Earth’s interior, and rises to the surface taking with it minerals from subterranean rocks. Above ground the water forms a river and a number of waterfalls, a thermal slide and pools of different temperatures where you can bathe, allowing the spring water to work its magic. Feeling refreshed and re-energised you are treated to dinner at the resort before returning to your lodge.
A choice of exciting activities awaits today. If you fancy whizzing high across the forest, the canopy tour is just the ticket. Consisting of 18 platforms and 15 cables there’s ample opportunity for adrenalin-fuelled fun as you take in views of the tree-lined hills, streams and Arenal Volcano. Little surprise that this is one of the most popular activities in the area. Alternatively you can opt for the sky tram and trek adventure. Board the tram for the gentle 15 minute ride to the top of Arenal reserve. Now prepare for a change of pace as you head back down via series of ziplines, an exhilarating descent of eight cables together measuring almost 3 kilometres. What a blast! These optional activities are to be paid for locally.
After all that adventure it’s beach time. Travelling west your destination is Bahia del Sol (sunny bay) on the north Pacific coast. With its lovely beach front setting, inviting swimming pool and open air restaurant, this is your home for the next five days and the perfect setting for some rest and relaxation.
Playa Potrero is one of the most beautiful beaches on this coast, and less busy than many of its near neighbours. The warm water lends itself to swimming and snorkelling, with diving available for those who crave further exploration. Kayaking is a great way to enjoy being on the water, and back on land you can go horse riding and enjoy the sand under your feet as you walk along the beach. Choose your perfect balance of activity and rest.
Day 11 - 13
With its beach, pool and spa, Bahia del Sol has all you need to fill these days, but should you yearn for further adventure that’s no problem. Tubing, rappelling, visits to the volcanic complex of Rincon de la Vieja and canopy tours can all be arranged. Nearer at hand why not take to the sea and sail to the Catalina Islands for a swim stop, returning to Playa Potrero as you watch a majestic sunset.
Make the most of your morning on the coast before the drive back to the capital for the final night of your holiday. It’s only two weeks since you but what a lot you’ve packed into the intervening days! There’s time for some souvenir shopping and to seek out your favourite local restaurant for dinner this evening.
Finally it’s time to say your goodbyes to Costa Rica. Today you return to the airport for your homeward flight, but who knows, maybe it won’t be long before you’re back in this wonderfully rich and welcoming country.
2019 price from (pp sharing, excluding international flights): January-April £1,420. May-June and September-10 December £1,275. July-August £1,405.
Upgrade option: January-April £1,830. May-June and September-10 December £1,575. July-August £1,620.
The upgrade option uses Alta Hotel in San Jose, Mawamba Lodge in Tortuguero, Arenal Springs Hotel in Arenal and Hotel Capitan Suizo on the coast.
These prices are the total for a family of four, with two children under 12 years, sharing one room, divided by four to give the per person price
Note: Dates including festive periods such as Easter attract a supplement on the above prices.
Includes: Transfers, ground transport by land and water, 14 nights twin share accommodation, meals as specified
Tours: full day Doka coffee plantation and La Paz Waterfalls Garden tour, shared village and boat tours and entrance fees in Tortuguero, half-day Arenal hanging bridges tour including entrance fees, half-day Arenal guided hike and Tabacon Hot Springs tour including entrance fees
Excludes: International flights, departure taxes, visas, travel insurance, meals not specified as included, drinks, optional excursions and activities, personal expenses, tips
Getting there: This tour starts and ends in San Jose. Return flight prices from the UK start from around £600.
Departure dates: This is a private, tailor-made holiday and can begin on any day you choose, subject to availability.