Family-Friendly Costa Rica Vacation: What to Do & Where to Stay

Planning a planning a family trip to Costa Rica? Welcome to the beginning of an incredible adventure! The truth is that family-friendly Costa Rica is basically all of Costa Rica: This is a very kid-friendly and even kid-welcoming country. Costa Rica loves kids and we hope your kids will love Costa Rica!

Families come in all shapes and sizes, and Costa Rica is very accommodating in that regard: While teeny tiny when measured in square miles, Costa Rica is vastly diverse – from sandy beaches and roaring waterfalls to puffing volcanoes and lush rainforests (and dry forests and cloud forests…), our small nation proudly offers something for everyone.

That’s not lip service. Yes, everyone. Whether you’re traveling with the littlest littles, inquisitive tweens, adventurous teens, or even multiple generations, you will find something (and likely, many somethings) for each and every member of your family.

Planning a Family Trip to Costa Rica

The truth is that your planning process is going to require making some decisions. Because family-friendly Costa Rica tours, attractions, activities, and things to do encompass almost everything available, it’s impossible to fit everything into one trip.

Hot Tip: Take your time! When it comes to planning, the best advice we can give is to divide your 5 to 10-day trip between no more than two locations.

We recommend this for a few reasons: For families, especially if your kids skew younger, moving around often (say 2-3 days in one place) can overwhelm your kids and take the relaxation out of the trip for you parents. If you can eke out 10+ days for vacation, you can consider three destinations… but we’d still recommend exploring fewer places on a deeper level, for a more profound and relaxing experience.

Family-Friendly Costa Rica Activities & Things to Do

kids beginner surfing Tamarindo Costa Rica

There is an entire world of things to do in Costa Rica. Honestly, the biggest challenge will always be narrowing it down!

Learn all you can. Discuss with your family. Allow everyone a bit of input on the wishlist. And, if possible, make space for everyone to pick at least one must-see or must-do; that way, everyone has something to dream about and look forward to!

And with that in mind, here’s some inspiration for perennial favorite family-friendly Costa Rica things to do:

Surfing (or Surf Lessons)

16 family activities & vacation rentals in Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Surfing is quintessential to Tamarindo. While it’s a favorite spot for surfers worldwide, it’s also welcoming to beginners and kids. There are challenging waves for the experienced and gentle waves with sandy bottoms perfect for first-timers. And, trust us – there’s nothing like seeing your child’s face light up when they catch their first wave!

Stand-Up Paddleboarding (SUP)

SUP paddle boarding Tamarindo Guanacaste 16 9

Ok, ok – if surfing isn’t your thing but you still want to get on a board, consider stand-up paddleboarding. This popular watersport is both relaxing and challenging, requiring balance and core engagement. (Heads up: Your kids might school you in this one!) Once you’re up, it’s easy paddling and offers incredible sightseeing and wildlife watching around Tamarindo Bay.

Boogie Boarding

If boards, generally, aren’t your thing, try boogie boarding for a fun alternative. The gentle waves and full-body contact make it a perfect activity for all ages. Rent a board for $10-$15/day and enjoy the kid-friendly waves in front of Hotel Capitán Suizo.


activities with kids in Costa Rica

The high-adrenaline, major-bragging-rights activity in all the books and brochures, canopy tours and hanging bridges are often at the top of family bucket lists in Costa Rica. Zip-lining, a classic Costa Rican adventure, is safe and fun for the whole family. Kids aged 4+ can enjoy flying through the trees, glimpsing wildlife up close, and experiencing nature like never before. 

Dolphin & Whale Watching

humpback whale breeching near Tamarindo

There’s nothing quite like the delight on a child’s face when they spot a breaching whale or playful dolphin. Book a whale-watching tour to experience this magic firsthand. These tours take you out to sea to spot humpback whales, various dolphin species, and, if you’re lucky, the occasional nesting sea turtle. Talk about a wildlife trifecta!



If deep-water boats don’t appeal to your family, then consider exploring Tamarindo from the water while paddling an ocean kayak. Whether you’re an early bird watcher or prefer sun-splashed scenery, kayaking offers a unique perspective. You might spot birds and monkeys in the mangroves or sea turtles and dolphins out at sea. Even without wildlife sightings, the estuaries and Pacific coastline are stunning, and a gentle paddle is always a joy.

Mud Baths & Hot Springs

There’s nothing that gets a family giggling more than getting muddy together! Spend a day at nearby Rincón de la Vieja National Park, where you can explore volcanic fumaroles, bubbling mud pools, and steam vents. Afterward, soak in the hot springs and treat your skin to rejuvenating volcanic mud. The kids will love laughing at the stink and the adults will enjoy relaxing for a change!

Horseback Riding

Fulfill your dream of riding down the beach at sunset or through the surf. Our local horseback riding tours offer this idyllic experience, blending fantasy with a touch of local culture. And because our province of Guanacaste is known for its cattle ranches, cowboys, and horses, adding real authenticity to your time in Costa Rica. 

Sunset Sailing

Tamarindo vacation outdoor activities sunset sailing

For families with older kids or those who enjoy a good swim followed by a tranquil sunset, a sunset sail epitomizes family-friendly Costa Rica. This afternoon tour takes you to a secluded cove for snorkeling and swimming, followed by a breathtaking sunset view over the Pacific Ocean. The kids can enjoy the catamaran hammocks while the adults toast to a beautiful day!

ATV Off-Roading

Ever thought of exploring Costa Rica’s backroads and hillsides via ATV? These all-terrain vehicles can take you to places that are otherwise hard to reach, providing views and experiences that are unforgettable. And the thrill of riding an ATV and the joy on your kids’ faces as they feel the wind in their hair makes this one a family favorite.

Waterfall Adventures


For a refreshing and memorable experience, hike to and swim beneath one of Guanacaste’s beautiful waterfalls. With cool, mountain-fed swimming holes below, these waterfalls offer a perfect day trip. (Remember to check safety guidelines before swimming.)

Secluded Beaches

There’s a reason why so many Costa Rica digital nomads flock to the coast. Here’s one of them!

Discover secluded beaches and turn your family vacation into forever memories! Spend a day exploring off-the-beaten-path sands. Ask us for recommendations and find everything from tiny strips of sand to vast, almost private beaches.

Sport Fishing

Tamarindo is renowned for its inshore and offshore sportfishing, offering everything from billfish to yellowfin tuna and mahi-mahi. This can be a memorable family experience, teaching kids to reel in their first catch.



Slow down and enjoy a family hike, creating new memories and taking in the natural beauty. Hike through lush landscapes, watch monkey troops pass by, or spot your first wild sloth. Sometimes, the simplest activities are the most rewarding. 

Where to Stay

Nothing screams “family-friendly Costa Rica” more than these family-friendly vacation homes, which make you feel at home – if home were as sunny, as wild, and as scenic as Tamarindo!

Casa de Luz

8 Beds | 6.5 Baths | Sleeps 23

Casa de Luz vacation rental for weddings Tamarindo

Casa de Luz is truly extraordinary, and ideal for hosting your family in Costa Rica. This tropical getaway features magnificent Pacific Ocean views, a main villa with separate sleeping spaces, two independent courtyard casitas – ideal if you’re traveling as a multigenerational group – a private pool, and the grand Pacific Ocean as your backyard. The soft sands and gentle waves invite you to step outside and enjoy the natural beauty.

Casa de Luz, meaning “The Light House,” is aptly named not only for its abundant natural sunlight but also for being one of Tamarindo’s few solar-powered luxury homes. Enjoy guilt-free luxury with clean energy, biodegradable cleaning products, and ozone sanitation systems in the pool and laundry that reduce the need for chlorine and cleaning products by 90%.

The amenities at Casa de Luz are designed to delight. The property boasts exuberant tropical gardens and a private pool, creating a serene backdrop with the soothing sounds of lapping waves and calling birds. A private gate also provides direct beach access for on-the-sand activities.

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Casa Howler

4 Beds | 4 Baths | Sleeps 8

Casa Howler vacation rental Tamarindo Costa Rica

Impeccably designed to leave a lasting impression, Casa Howler stands as a luxurious vacation haven nestled within Tamarindo Park—a captivating new community gracing the hills around downtown Tamarindo.

In this idyllic setting where nature’s marvels unfold just beyond your doorstep, and every facet radiates the essence of modern tropical living, Casa Howler positions itself just a short 10-minute stroll from all the places you long to explore, from Playa Tamarindo itself to the town’s diverse array of restaurants, nightlife, tours, attractions, and more.

Step inside Casa Howler, where the allure of floor-to-ceiling glass beckons you to embrace forest views from every corner, seamlessly blending the indoors with Costa Rica’s exotic flora. Alternatively, bask in sun-drenched afternoons by your private pool, craft culinary delights in your chef’s kitchen, or unwind in the generously appointed king-sized bedrooms. Casa Howler delivers everything you desire and more for an opulent family retreat in the heart of Costa Rica.

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Ready to Plan a Family-Friendly Costa Rica Vacation? 

Whether you’re traveling with just the kids or are planning a huge family reunion, our vacation rentals in Tamarindo, Costa Rica can more than accommodate! We offer everything from cozy two-bedroom condos to 8+ bedroom private resorts equipped with ocean-view infinity pools, daily meals, and so much more.

Can you imagine a 2022 family vacation in Costa Rica? We sure can! Get in touch.