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Costa Rica is one of the top family vacation destinations in Central America and for good reason – it offers exciting things to do for both children and adults. As you plan your next family trip to Costa Rica, here is a round-up of some of the best places to stay in Costa Rica with kids.
Related post: 7 Days in Costa Rica – With Kids!
In the bustling town of Tamarindo sits this gorgeous, lively beachfront resort that welcomes families with multiple pools, spacious rooms, and access to the magnificent Playa Tamarindo. This is one of the top surfing beaches in the country, and one of our top family beaches too.
Enjoy a free buffet breakfast at Diria, the onsite restaurant, then spend the rest of your day scuba diving, kayaking, or fishing at the beach. Children can hang out at the kiddie pool, the kids’ club, or the outdoor theater where they’ll be entertained with various shows as you indulge in a relaxing massage at the spa.
Rooms are comfortable and feature a range of amenities including air conditioning, a satellite TV, WIFI, and a refrigerator, as well as stunning views of the ocean, pools, or tropical gardens. Make sure ot ask for an oceanfront room here- the non-ocean views are located across the street from the beach.
Rafiki Safari Lodge
One of the greatest destinations for nature lovers, the Rafiki Safari Lodge, is also an amazing spot for a family vacation near Uvita, Costa Rica. Located not very far from the sloths and monkeys of the Manuel Antonio National Park, the family-owned lodge offers an array of activities to enjoy with your loved ones and an opportunity to experience Mother Nature up close.
During your stay, you’ll enjoy horseback riding to the nearby waterfalls, whitewater rafting, hiking, birdwatching, and much more. After a long day exploring the wilderness, treat yourself to the fabulous South African barbeque and other incredible cuisine served onsite.
Accommodation features luxury safari tents with fire-heated showers and large windows that let in the relaxing smells and sounds of the forest. A family tent is available and here, you’ll even find a private splash pool where the younger kids can play.
Peace Lodge and Waterfall Gardens
If you or your children are animal or nature lovers, then Peace Lodge would be a great place to spend your vacation. The lavish boutique hotel sits on the grounds of the splendid La Paz Waterfall Gardens, providing guests with all-day access to an animal sanctuary, hummingbird garden, butterfly garden, and more!
Well, you may have to pay top dollar to stay here, but you’ll certainly have an experience to talk about for years. Think stunning views of the Poás Volcano, access to up to five waterfalls, and amazing hiking trails through lush cloud forests.
What about a complimentary massage (even for the kids!)? The rooms have a private balcony with a hot tub, hammock, and rocking chairs. Sit back and relax- enjoy the views of the volcano, sip a cocktail, or even feed some hummingbirds. What’s not to like?
Located in La Fortuna just fifteen minutes from Springs Resort, Arenal Manoa is another fantastic destination for a Costa Rica family vacation. The hotel boasts modern accommodations with panoramic views of the Arenal Volcano, spa treatments, natural hot springs, a wet bar, exquisite local and international delicacies, and a plethora of activities to be enjoyed by the whole family.
The younger ones can play in the children’s pool, chill with you at the family pool, or you all can make arrangements for a complimentary trip to the property’s farm. This will be specifically fun for the little ones.
Karahé Beach Hotel
Not many hotels in Manuel Antonio have access to the beach, but Karahe is one of the few that offers that option. The property features an open-air restaurant, gorgeous tropical gardens, and a large pool that opens up to the beach. Breakfast is included at this hotel.
Accommodations are relatively simple, with different rooms offering different vibes. The hillside villas, for instance, will give you amazing ocean views and a bit of jungle privacy, while the beachfront ones will wake you with the incredible sound of the waves.
Water sports, canopy tours, and a trip to Manuel Antonio National Park can be organized by the hotel. But the outdoor pool is also a great place to relax, watch the sunset, and bond with the family.
Parents and kids alike can get the vacation of their life at the Marriott Hotel Hacienda Belen which offers guests a wealth of unrivaled services and amenities. This hotel is just minutes from the San Jose International Airport, and we generally stay here or the Adventure Inn when we arrive in Costa Rica.
Rooms are just as you expect from a Marriott Hotel – modern, spacious, and comfortable, and kids 0 to 11 years can stay free if using an existing bed. There’s also a well-equipped gym, spa and wellness center, and a couple of tennis courts.
The two outdoor pools and the kiddy pool are one of the best places to wind down on a hot afternoon, and there are free cabanas and umbrellas to provide some shade.
Later, choose from the many dining options available, and don’t forget to check out the nighttime entertainment offered onsite. There is a casino here, and a large breakfast buffet is included with the price of your room.
Nestled in the southern Nicoya Peninsula, Barcelo Tambor is one of the top all-inclusive resorts in the region, offering families stylish rooms, a unique dining experience, and a spot to unwind and savor the unparalleled beauty of the Pacific coast.
The fun begins at the beach and slowly moves to the many pools onsite, including one just for children with amazing water spray features.
There are also kids’ clubs that keep both younger children and teens enthralled with fun activities. Check yours into their respective club and enjoy some alone time at the spa, fitness center, or pool bar.
Mawamba Lodge, Tortuguero
With direct access to the beach, a river, and the slow-moving canals of the Tortuguero National Park on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica, Mawamba Lodge is one of the best family resorts for those seeking to explore the park and delight in a variety of water sports and nearby activities.
Some of the best things to do here during the day include canoeing, kayaking, turtle nesting observations, bird watching, hikes through the lush rainforest, or relaxing at the beach.
In the evening head to the Katonga floating restaurant for a unique dining experience before hitting the hay in one of the large, cozy rooms.
The huge advantage to this hotel is that you have access to both the river and the ocean from the property- it’s the only lodge that offers that amenity in Tortuguero.
My favorite spot in Costa Rica is La Fortuna, and this is my favorite hotel for families with kids in La Fortuna. Book a junior suite that comes with both cable tv and your own hot spring hot tub. Kids watch tv while the parents soak!
Add a delicious on-site restaurant that is locally owned and operated, this is a perfect place to try some traditional Costa Rican food. The hot springs pools around the property are amazing- complete with a swim-up bar and kid’s swimming pool.
Kalambu hot springs is right next door. To top it all off, there is an outdoor playground next to the bar and restaurant. You’ll love it!
If you are looking for a lush hot springs hotel- especially for teens, then Baldi is the place for you. This Canadian-owned hotel reveals its opulence from the moment you arrive.
Large hot springs waterfalls, myriad pools (yes, there is a kids’ pool!) water slides, and on-site buffets make this hotel a lot of fun to visit when you are in the Arenal area.
Not wanting to stay on-site? Book a day pass with the buffet lunch to dinner and enjoy the hot springs only. Perfect after a day of family adventure!
Tucked up north in the Bijagua region of Costa Rica, this family farm is a hidden gem next to the Rio Celeste Waterfall.
You’ll stay in wooden cabins with mosquito nets and candles for light. During the day, plan to visit the national park, swim in the river, fish, milk cows and feed pigs.
All the food is made right on the property and the price of the lodge includes three family-style meals per day. This is some of the best traditional food you’ll find in the country.
Plan to horseback ride, hike in the national park, visit the largest tree in Costa Rica, or enjoy other outdoor activities on site.
If sleeping the night away sans electricity if not for you, then try Casitas Tenorio, also in the Bijuagua region. This little bed and breakfast is also a working farm. Plan to stay in your own tiny rainforest house here- complete with hammocks on the porch for birdwatching.
Each morning head to the main lodge for more wildlife viewing while you are served a traditional Costa Rican breakfast. This is a great spot for young children as the owner, Pippa, has kids of her own who help run the business. One of our very favorite places to stay in the whole country.
Ont he way back to Liberia, make sure to stop at Centro El Rescate Las Pumas wildlife rescue center.
Burbi Lake Lodge
If you are looking for a homey hotel with breakfast included at a great price, look no further than Burbi Lake Lodge. Located in Monteverde, this hotel is off the beaten path, making it the perfect respite after a day at the Monteverde Cloud Forest.
The hotel is Costa Rican-owned and rooms are bright and airy. The onsite pond and hiking trails are a great way for families to spend time together outdoors without having to leave the property. This is our favorite of the accommodations offered in Monteverde.
This is our favorite of the all-inclusive family resorts in Costa Rica. Rebranded just a few years ago, this hotel has everything you want in a luxury all-inclusive– and at a fraction of the cost if you book it through Costco Travel!
We love the 24-hour room service, which means we can lounge around in our room before heading to the pool. The kid’s club is great for all ages- little ones can swim supervised in the kids’ pool while teens can play as many video games as they want.
The hotel is located about an hour away from the Liberia International Airport on the Papagayo Peninsula. It’s near the hidden beaches of Playa Cabuyal and also our favorite- Playa Nacazcolo (one of the most beautiful beaches in the country).
Also about an hour from the international airport is the Margaritaveilla Report. This hotel is right on the beach, which can be rare in Costa Rica.
Young kids will love the report because there is a covered pool to keep them from getting burned. Adults will love the cocktails and beachfront massages.
What we love about this hotel is that there are several package options as far as all-inclusive is concerned. You can do no meals, breakfast only, or a total all-inclusive package for the family.
Casa Las Golondrinas
Located in the sleepy town of San Ramon, I recommend this gorgeous Airbnb to anyone looking for an authentic Costa Rican experience. Ringing in at just $50 a night, you’ll find the proximity to the capital city of San Jose and La Fortuna enticing.
If you are looking for advice on planning your trip to Costa Rica, I would love to help. We can customize the perfect plan for you- all through a phone call or video chat. Just reach out to me here– no sales, just advice.
Welcome! I’m Christa, a former high school teacher married to a handsome Costa Rican and mother of two bilingual daughters. I love all things Spanish and bi-cultural, (especially travel and food!) and you’ll find my observations on life here. Thanks for stopping by