A very important part of planning a trip to Costa Rica with your kids is deciding where to stay.
Making your Costa Rica family vacation an adventure is important, and finding the right kind of family activities according to your children’s age is the key. Traveling to (and through) Costa Rica with toddlers is different than bringing your teenage crew!
Choosing the right lodging can be a determining factor to achieve that adventure feel that you are looking for, especially if you see the place you will be sleeping at as being much more than just a place with a bed. The right hotel, bed and breakfast, or lodge should be an active and memorable headquarters for your adventure, even if you stay at multiple places during your trip.
In Costa Rica, you can find all kinds of accommodations, from hostels to five-star hotels. If you are going to a beach lodge, the feel will be completely different than a mountain lodge, even if all you did was drive a couple of hours from one to the other.
At Costa Rica Escapes, we have done our research over many years, and we have our own private lodging relationships for the best places to stay in Costa Rica with kids, whether casual and premier accommodations, but if you are looking on your own, here are some suggestions on what to consider when deciding where to stay.
Best Places to Stay in Costa Rica with Kids
When planning your visit to Costa Rica, it is hard to decide where to go when you have so much to see and enjoy. But since you are coming with your kids, we suggest you consider choosing those places that have a great variety of activities that you can distribute in different days, are easy to move around, and choose different destinations that are relatively close to each other or that you can hop between them relatively easy.
A very important element to making the right choice for us at Costa Rica Escapes is to choose the places that will let you and your family experience the real Costa Rica. We understand the ease of choosing an all-inclusive resort, but we are certain that you can experience all of that and much more at more adventurous and unique places.
One of our favorite places to visit in Costa Rica is Arenal, in the northern plains of the country. The communities around this active volcano, like La Fortuna, rose from the ashes – literally – in the late 1960’s and built an incredible array of attractions and activities for people all ages and preferences.
Right next to Arenal is Monteverde, a mountain that welcomed a group of Quakers less than a century ago, who were looking for peace and in return protected a great amount of cloud forest and produced some of the best cheese and ice cream you can buy in Costa Rica.
Manuel Antonio & Quepos
Manuel Antonio and Quepos in the central pacific of Costa Rica are also great places to visit with your kids. Not only you can visit Manuel Antonio National Park and have close encounters with monkeys, sloths and coatimundis, but you can also enjoy amazing adventures in land and sea!
If you are looking for wild and remote, Drake Bay is the best option. Just getting there feels like an adventure, and once you are there you can either visit amazing places like Corcovado National Park or Isla del Caño, but you can also take a stroll in town to experience one of the most charming rural parts of Costa Rica.
Qualities to Look for When Staying in Costa Rica with Kids
High-Quality Family Run Lodges
There is no better feeling than feeling at home. Sometimes that feeling comes from the structure that you call home, sometimes from the people that share the structure with you. Choosing a family-run lodge or hotel in Costa Rica will do just that for you, by offering you a nice (sometimes super nice) setup and an actual family that will do everything they can to make you feel like home.
Unique Accommodations & Surroundings
A lot of the accommodations that you can find in Costa Rica pride in where they are located and therefore have been carefully designed to fit the surroundings without leaving aside comfort and safety. What comes out of that detailed process is unique lodges and hotels that enhance the beauty that surrounds them. They become part of that environment.
We have included a great example of this unique feel in The Remote Costa Rica Adventure Itinerary, where a multi-day whitewater rafting experience in one of the most beautiful rivers of Costa Rica is divided by nights at a jungle lodge designed only for those who sign up for this adventure.
We also include a lot of boutique deluxe bed and breakfasts in our itineraries. In our Costa Rica Collection Family Itinerary, you arrive in Costa Rica and that first night you travel to Monteverde, a renown mountain in the Pacific of Costa Rica, and submerge into the feel of nature from the first night on.
Getting a Local Feel
Even though Costa Rica is a very small country, it’s topography is so varied that it offers something for all types of travelers. And each one of those tucked-away corners and peaks and valleys has its own cultural feel. Try to look for those accommodations that want to share with you what their life is all about.
One of our favorite places in Costa Rica is Drake Bay, a very remote and small community in the south Pacific coast that believes (and lives) for the conservation of the biodiversity that surrounds it. That is why the accommodations in this area pride on being called “eco-lodges,” because their business model follows the community’s mission. Check out our Remote Costa Rica Adventure Itinerary if you want to consider this part of the country.
Another part of Costa Rica that we love at Costa Rica Escapes is everything that surrounds Arenal Volcano. The communities like La Fortuna are an ode to the magnificent volcano, and they want to share with visitors everything that rises out of it. Our Costa Rica Rainforest-to-Beach Family Vacation Itinerary includes the best activities and accommodations in Arenal area that make sure to give you that local feel.
Look for a Garden
Imagine enjoying a great cup of Costa Rican coffee early morning as you spot hummingbirds frantically flying from one flower to the next, or a toucan eating a banana, or a coatimundi roaming the gardens right in front of your room or your breakfast table. That is why you must choose accommodations with green spaces.
No matter how packed your trip is, you will always have those early and late hours of the day at your hotel, so you have the make the most of them to keep your kids interested and enthusiastic. And, if you have budgeted some time to relax with no activities, it’s all the more reason to make sure you will be spending that time in a place that will offer you the opportunity to discover and be amazed by them. Our Costa Rica Rainforest Family Escape Itinerary is all about that.
Safety First When Determining the Best Place(s) to Stay
We know you probably have this at the top of your list when looking for where to stay. You have probably been looking at all kinds of consumer reviews and client comments around the web. All of those approaches are always good and important.
Nonetheless, there is nothing like hands-on experience! We have handpicked the best places for your Costa Rica Family Vacation and will be honored to help you put together your next adventure.
We Make it Easy! Plan a Family Trip with Costa Rica Escapes
Contact us to put together the perfect trip for your family’s interests and needs. We can help you choose the best trip itinerary from our pre-designed Costa Rica itineraries, or customize a trip just for your family.
John Rabenau has been working in the eco-tourism & adventure travel industry in Costa Rica since 2002. He has worked in a variety of capacities from Outdoor Educator & Principle Guide to Itinerary Design Manager & Business Owner for numerous organizations. He has grown Costa Rica Escapes into one of the most reputable Costa Rica travel agencies since its creation in 2006, hosting more than 5,000 people with custom vacation itineraries.