At the risk of resorting to clichés, Costa Rica is really one place that has something for everyone in the family. It has lush rainforests replete with screeching parakeet, howler monkeys and innumerable other native wildlife species. Adventure sports activities, traversing through forest canopies, viewing up close and personal the underwater life treasures along with dormant volcanoes, balmy while sand beaches, gorgeous natural tide pools, waterfalls and natural phenomenon such as turtles nesting, Costa Rica has it all covered for the family travelers. An ecologically conscious and informed country, Costa Rica keenly preserves over 25 percent of its land as parks, refuges and reserves.
Getting around in Montezuma is fairly easy because it is a small community. All the major town attractions, eateries and beaches are within walking distance from most resorts. However for day trips to the surrounding regions, it is best to rent transport for easy access and convenience. It is easy to rent a vehicle from the airport and might be worth the expense if you are planning on covering a fairly larger distance. Though driving here can be a bit of challenge since there are no addresses as such, there are plenty of landmarks to help families navigate their way in and around Montezuma. For families traveling with kids, do not forget to carry their car seats. Car seat laws are as stringent here as in the U.S and the driving roads can get really rough and rocky at some places.
Important Costa Rica Family Travel Pointers
A must carry on the packing list here should be hats, swim shirts, light clothing, strong shoes and sunscreen. The sun’s dazzling rays can heat up the atmosphere more easily here than in other areas of the earth making the place really warm and sultry at times. This means you the sunburn will be more prominent in a lesser duration of time unless travelers take sufficient precautions. Since there are plenty of hiking, walking trails in and around Montezuma (that are not always all smooth and easy and can be quite patchy and rocky in some regions) that can be covered only by foot, it is necessary to carry a solid pair of footwear that won’t give off easily. Also, light cotton and natural fiber clothing ensures your skin can breathe in a tropical climate.
Family Travel Resort Packages
There are several all-inclusive comfortably priced resorts where families can engage in adventure activities without venturing too far from the property. These family packages include everything from the stay to meals and an itinerary of action packed adventure and restful wellness activities for the entire family in and around Montezuma. If you can get a villa/room with an ocean view and the pricing is in your budget, it’s worth staying in an ocean front room to enjoy spectacular vistas of the sea although not all the resorts here are known to have swanky amenities.
The more adventure and actions struck families can head to the Guanacaste Province that features everything from speedy flowing rivers, picturesque volcanoes and a breathtaking mountainside. Families can enjoy rafting on the Corobicí River along the tropical dry forest, while feasting on the sights of monkeys, reptiles and large birds. If the more intimidating wild cats are what you are after, spot them at the Las Pumas Rescue Center.
The Corobici River at Canas Guanacaste provides a laid back and fascinating float trip, after mid-day when the river virtually comes to life with storks and other creatures. You will go past bamboo and other plantations.
The Peninsula Papagayo, an area still virtually untouched by frenzied development harbors several coves of secluded beaches that are perfect for swimming. The gentle ones are those at the Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo and beach at the peninsula’s Prieta Beach Club. In the early mornings and late afternoons, you can spot a troop of howler monkeys frolicking in the sand. The Peninsula Discovery Program operating from the Prieta Beach Club conducts beach tours, snorkeling, canoeing and surfing. When the sea is composed enough for surfing the Discovery Program conducts stand-up paddling on surf boards where one can master the art of balancing on a surfboard.
Arenal Hanging Bridges
Other family attractions spread across this small and charming country include the Arenal Hanging Bridges. This is more suitable for families who like to explore places by walking. The star attractions here is a naturalist guide conducted Arenal Hanging Bridges tour. Visitors walk up the almost two-mile path that comprises many suspended bridges. Not only does this add to the rainforest enjoyment, you can stand on tree tops and spot the howler monkeys swinging from branches. While here, families can also head to Arenal Volcano National Park.
Arenal is still Costa Rica’s most active volcano and is capable of erupting anytime. The most imposing vistas here are that of the dramatic red lava, seeping down slopes. At daytime, the park’s trail can take families to a spot from where the spectacular flow of lava is clearly visible. The more sporty teens can enjoy exploring the dirt roads at the volcano base on thrilling mountain bike rides. Guided tours are and rides mountain back rentals are available and can be booked in advance.
Manuel Antonio National Park
The Manuel Antonio National Park is worth taking the kids to for its sheer variety of wildlife and striking cerulean beaches. The white-throated capuchin monkeys are often spotted swaying from the trees and sloths are quietly seeing cozy lying on branches. If you are looking for more untouched beaches, head to Playa Espadilla Sur and Playa Puerto Escondido which are less frenzied by tourist activity than the Playa Manuel Antonio.
Tortuguero National Park
The Tortuguero National Park is another nice family destination, especially for the wildlife loving families. Children can watch a sea turtle coming ashore or meticulously dig a nest to lay scores of eggs, cover the nest and scamper down the beach to melt into the sea. On the more than 20 mile beaches stretch, hundreds of Green, Hawksbill and Loggerhead sea turtles lay eggs from July to October. Leatherbacks, the planet’s largest sea turtles, nest in Tortuguero from February through July. Turtle-watching tours are conducted by experienced local guides at night.
National Biodiversity Institute
Another family travel highlight in Costa Rica is the National Biodiversity Institute a private research center that conducts a two-hour guided tour. At the wildlife stations, kids can spot poisonous frogs, reptiles, tarantulas and ants. The trails at the La Paz Waterfall Gardens lead to five scenic waterfalls. Along the way, you can halt at the Hummingbird Garden to see the small green birds and at the Butterfly Garden, one of the biggest in the country, to witness the evolution of a butterfly from a caterpillar.
Monteverde Cloud Forest
The Monteverde Cloud Forest At 26,000-acre translates into a hike through misty woods, lush ferns and orchids that are suspended from trees. Famed for its spectacular biodiversity, Monteverde houses more than 400 species of birds, as well as jaguars, ocelots and other cats. You are also likely to hear a huge variety of bird sounds, though not all birds will be visible. Take a guided hike while you watch indigenous flora along the way on a path that leads directly to an idyllic waterfall.
This versatile attraction features lush walking paths and hanging walkways adjacent to several gorgeous and untamed jungle waterfalls. Children in particular will appreciate the vibrant aura of the various attractions here, from the native birds to the dramatic waterfalls.
Playa De Jaco
On the central Pacific coast, Playa De Jaco is one of the country’s most vibrant and most progressive beach towns. The streets are lined with souvenir stores, ice-cream stands, and moderately priced eateries whipping up a variety of local and global cuisine. Older kids can rent the equipment and go surfing or boogie boarding.
My new favorite restaurant, Clandestina is not to be missed by food lovers staying anywhere near to Montezuma. Established in March 2015, Clandestina is the new kid on the block. The Oregon/Tico collaboration is a winner among locals and travelers alike, with artisan craft beers, made onsite by Butterfly Brewing Co. and delicious, exciting […]