Exploring Costa Rica: A Family Adventure
Take your family to Costa Rica for fun and learning! Experience a mystery cloud rainforest walk in San Ramon, take surf lessons, and go birdwatching at Manuel Antonio National Park.
WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY
This was the trip of a lifetime for my daughter and me. We both were overwhelmed by the beauty of the country and the many new adventures offered to us. The zip line was a favorite. We can't say enough good things about our guides - knowledgeable, engaged, patient and fun!”
Dear Danny [guide], your positive attitude and attention to detail allowed me the rare opportunity to completely enjoy a vacation. It is always stressful to travel with kids, however, on this trip I was able to relax and watch my son grow with each of our adventures. You were so much more than a tour guide. You, my friend, are a memory maker. You and this trip will forever be in our hearts. Thank you!”
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Take your family to Costa Rica for fun and learning! Experience a mystery cloud forest walk in San Ramon, take surf lessons, and go birdwatching at Manuel Antonio National Park, and enjoy ziplining and canopy walks at Arenal Volcano. Learn about wildlife from an expert, visit a butterfly garden, and join a community service project.
Day 1 — Arrive and Transfer to Villa Blanca Cloud Forest Hotel
From Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO) in San José, transfer to Villa Blanca Cloud Forest Hotel and Nature Reserve. At Villa Blanca, comfort, heritage, and conservation co-exist in harmony reflecting a commitment to sustainable hospitality. Daily activities offered include the Kid’s Nature Club, which provides documentaries and family movies in the hotel’s own movie theater, workshops with our registered and licensed Nature Interpreters at the Jose Miguel Alfaro Research Center, and organic gardening demonstration where families will learn techniques they can incorporate into their own gardens. Enjoy dinner at El Sendero’s Cloud Forest Restaurant. (D)
Day 2 —Activities in Arenal Volcano Area
This morning, enjoy an adventure zip lining in Arenal & Hot Springs. Enjoy the beautiful vistas as you head off to Arenal Volcano for zip lining, hanging bridges, and the relaxing hot springs in La Fortuna. This afternoon, slip into Nature's own hot tub at the Eco-Termales thermal hot springs with a selection of pool temperatures ranging between 98º to 107º degrees. After your time at the hot springs, you will return to your hotel tucked in the cloud forest.
Special Evening Activities: After dinner, parents have a special evening of local cordials and dessert tasting while the kids enjoy a movie night in the private hotel theater with popcorn included! (B,L,D)
Day 3 — Sustainable Coffee Farm Tour, Cooking Class, and Evening Mystery Walk
Get an early start today to experience the rural life of Costa Rica by immersing yourself in the heartland of Costa Rica’s Central Highlands on this guided tour of sustainable local agriculture, traditions, and regional cuisine. Starting in the colorful town of Bajo Zúñiga, you’ll visit a working vegetable farm and coffee plantation. Stopping at various sections of the farm, you’ll see how the principles and practice of organic agriculture are applied with a blend of time-honored techniques and new innovations. Continuing to the Piedades Norte district, you’ll tour an authentic sugar mill operated by a local family. As part of this unique experience, you’ll sample sobados, delicious homemade candies. We will be bringing back local products to incorporate into your family cooking class at Villa Blanca, where Costa Rican cuisine will be shared as a cultural tradition through learning with a local chef and enjoying your preparations at lunch.
If you’re looking for the region’s wildest nightlife, look no further. When the sun goes down, the cloud forest transforms like no other habitat in the world. Nighttime is when the cloud forest breathes; pumping out higher concentrations of oxygen along with layers of the sweet fragrances of nocturnal plants and flowers. Then, something truly extraordinary happens—the forest is filled with the music of nature’s most spectacular symphony as the voices of millions of life forms fill the cool night air. You’ll see an important amount of nocturnal species representing the countless variety of insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals that comprise this amazing jungle. You’ll discover a world rarely seen by visitors to other parts of Costa Rica. Followed by dinner at El Sendero. (B,L,D)
Day 4 — Cloud Forest Nature Reserve and Manuel Antonio National Park
Enjoy a morning nature hike through part of the Los Angeles Cloud Forest Private Nature Reserve and spot a variety of native bird species and insects, including a rainbow of colorful butterflies. Enjoy a boxed lunch en route to our next hotel, Si Como No.
Late morning transfer to Manuel Antonio National Park and Si Como No Resort & Wildlife Refuge. At Si Como No, the same comfort, heritage, and conservation co-exist in harmony reflecting a commitment to sustainable hospitality. With a profound respect for the natural surroundings and uncompromising standards of personal service, Si Como No maintains the same level of truly exceptional Costa Rica experience as her sister hotel, Villa Blanca. The resort also holds Five Green Leaves by The Certification of Sustainable Tourism (C.S.T.), Costa Rica’s highest award for sustainable practices from hotel operations to community programs.
Afternoon at your leisure to relax poolside or visit the stunning beaches of Manuel Antonio or visit the resort’s adjacent Wildlife Refuge with free passes to the Butterfly Gardens plus nature park tour exhibits, including crocodile lagoons and amphibian gardens. The resort features Greentique’s Kid’s Nature Club, including documentaries and family movies in the resort’s own movie theater, workshops with our registered and licensed Nature Interpreters in the adjacent Manuel Antonio Nature Park at the Butterfly Garden Atrium and Reptile Lagoons. Plus, nature and cultural classes are offered at the new Rancho Rico Tico Family Pool. Wrap up the day with dinner at the Rico Tico Tex-Mex Grille. (B,L,D)
Day 5 — Manuel Antonio Park Tour and Surfing Lessons
This morning, spend the day in Manuel Antonio with a guided tour of Manuel Antonio National Park. Established in 1972, Manuel Antonio was created to preserve one of the most beautiful and bio-diverse areas of Costa Rica. Although it is the country's smallest national park, the stunning beauty and diversity of wildlife in its 683 hectares is unequaled—featuring a charming combination of rain forest, beaches, and coral reefs. Lined with lush forest, these beaches are amongst the most beautiful in the country. The coastal forest is home to sloths, iguanas, rare and adorable squirrel monkeys and colorful little crabs. Attend lunch at a local restaurant near the beach. Afterward, glide along the waves during an “Introduction to Surfing” lesson. Great for adults too so get ready to “Hang Ten". Later, enjoy dinner at the Claro Que Seafood Restaurant (B,L,D)
Day 6 —Vanilla Spice Tour
This morning, visit Villa Vanilla where you'll learn about the world’s most popular flavor, vanilla. Just 10 miles east of Quepos, the plantation features 27 acres of agriculture land and 125 acres of primary and secondary rainforest. Native to Central America and Mexico, vanilla is also the second most expensive flavoring agent. The reason for its high cost is the labor-intensive nature of vanilla cultivation and processing. Each vanilla orchid is carefully fertilized by hand and during pollination season, visitors learn how to pollinate vanilla flowers. Vanilla is the only edible member of the orchid family, the largest plant family on the planet. The grounds also feature Ceylon cinnamon, cocoa, black pepper, allspice, turmeric, and a variety of exotic fruits and essential oils. You’ll also see an extraordinary collection of epiphytes (air plants) including orchids and bromeliads. The tour begins in the post-harvest warehouse where spices are dried, processed, and packaged and is followed by a beautiful walk through a dedicated “Epiphyte Trail” winding through the plantation. You will then pass by the fishpond on the way to the viewpoint, where in addition to enjoying the vistas, you will experience a special “Flavors of the World” tasting. All items are made fresh on the farm from scratch and use as many ingredients from the plantation as possible. Come taste the flavors of the rainforest and get inspired to try a little cooking and baking at home with some fresh organic spices! The last stop is at the famous “Spice Shoppe", where visitors and chefs alike stock up on vanilla beans and extract, ceylon cinnamon, savory chile-infused hot chocolate and other products grown on the farm to give as gifts or try in their own recipes! Help to select spices to be used in the community-based cooking demonstration held during your Santa Juana Rural Mountain Adventure!
Later, take the afternoon at your leisure. (B,L,D)
Day 7 — Santa Juana Rural Mountain Adventure Tour and Community Service
After breakfast, we will depart for the Fila Chonta mountains. There, you’ll experience a precious part of Costa Rican rural heritage on a tour of the village of Santa Juana and its important conservation programs supporting the region’s spectacular biodiversity. This unique family adventure is a guided nature, conservation, and cultural expedition that take you along the lush, jungle-shrouded slopes of the Salamanca Mountain Corridor to the farm village of Santa Juana and its panoramic views of the coastline of Manuel Antonio National Park. Visit the tiny farm village and enjoy an authentic “Campesino” style lunch in a traditional rancho, co-hosted by members of the local community who will offer a cooking demonstration of a typical recipe. There’s also an educational workshop with a licensed nature interpreter who will explain biodiversity and sustainable life in Costa Rica and how families can make a difference in their own communities.
You’ll complete the day by adopting “family” trees for planting in our reforestation program. Return mid-afternoon to enjoy the resort or beaches. Festive farewell dinner will be held at Si Como No, celebrating your adventures in Costa Rica and contribution to wildlife, local communities, and the planet. (B,L,D)
Day 8 — Departure
Private transfer from Si Como No to From Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO) in San José for your return flight. (B)