Travel ▻ Central America / Caribbean ▻ Costa Rica8-Day Family Costa Rica Adventure
8-Day Family Costa Rica Adventure

8-Day Family Costa Rica Adventure

8 days

8-Day Family Costa Rica Adventure
from $995 USD

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Discover rainforests, wildlife, and excitement on our fun 8-day Family Costa Rica adventure! This affordable trip - that you can start any day of the year - helps you comfortably experience Costa Rica's most celebrated natural treasures whenever the timing of a trip is best for you and your family.

Wildlife enthusiasts will be delighted at the chance to explore Tortuguero National Park, one of the most important nesting sites for the green sea turtle and home to some of Costa Rica's best wildlife.

Seeing nesting sea turtles is one of the many potential highlights on this trip. The best time to see the green sea turtles nesting is between July through early October, while for the leatherback turtles, March and April are the best months.

Your adventure continues with an easy but thrilling rafting trip on the crystal-clear waters of the Sarapiqui River. After some fun time on the water, we head to magisterial Arenal Volcano.

The trip features professional bilingual local guides, an inviting variety of outdoor activities, comfortable mid-range hotels and lodges, all transportation (including private airport transfers) plus a wonderfully diverse range of habitats.

While this soft-adventure itinerary is ideal for families, it's also a wonderful trip for groups of friends, solo travelers plus couples who want to explore nature while enjoying soft-adventure activities. This trip can be customized. If any of the activities featured seem more challenging than you'd prefer, we can recommend alternatives.

It is easy to add a 2, 3 or 4 nights on the beach. Playa Manuel Antonio is within easy reach of Arenal and San Jose.

The minimum age for this trip is 4. For the youngest kids, we substitute a neat Class I Rio Pena Blancas safari float for the rafting.

*** Special Child Discount (4-9 years old): $225/child discount (maximum of 2 kids, sharing with 2 adults)


Day 1: Arrive San Jose and overnight

Welcome to Costa Rica! Arrive anytime today to the San Jose's international airport (SJO). Meet & greet by the arrivals manager at the airport and private transfer to your hotel. Overnight in San Jose.

Meals included: n/a
Mid-Range Accommodations: Crowne Plaza Corobici

Day 2: Drive to east coast, boat ride to Tortuguero, afternoon free to explore

Early in the morning you'll be picked up at your San Jose hotel for the 4-hour drive to the Atlantic coast, traveling through the verdant tropical rainforest of Braulio Carrillo National Park, which is one of the largest in the country. Banana plantations dot the highway en-route to Cano Blanco (or La Pavona), where you will take a scenic boat ride on the La Suerte River, the Tortuguero River, and onward through the Tortuguero Canals. The boat trip offers lovely views of the forest and mangroves, which are home to such exotic wildlife as sloths, howler monkeys, spider monkeys, coatimundis, raccoons, crocodiles, egrets, parrots, and jaguars among others. Arriving at Laguna Lodge, you'll enjoy lunch and have a free afternoon to relax and explore the grounds on your own. You'll be spending the next two nights at the lodge, which offers a refreshing pool plus optional tours, including nightly sea turtle-watching tours during the season (primarily July-October).

Laguna Lodge is a great property for families - the kids will love the frog pond and pool while adults appreciate the beautiful botanical gardens and the serene natural surroundings. All of the lodge rooms feature private bathroom, hot water, ceiling fan, reading lamps, and wood benches outside each room to enjoy the peace and quiet. While Laguna is one of our favorites for it's affordability and it's ideal location, if you'd like a quote on upgraded accommodations just let us know.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Luxury Accommodations: Laguna Lodge

Day 3: Morning boat tour in Tortuguero National Park

This morning join your lodge guide for a fun boat tour exploring the rainforest canals to see unique wildlife, including up to three species of monkeys, 400 species of birds, hundreds of reptiles and amphibians, such as iguanas, crocodiles, alligators, frogs, Jesus Christ lizards, turtles, fishing bats, and more. From approx. June 20 through approx. October 20, highly recommended but optional night walks are on offer to see sea turtles nesting. This is easily a top 10 natural history experience in Central America and not to be missed if you can visit during the peak time. Tortuguero has many highlights, but it is named in honor of the four species of sea turtles that nest in the region. Tortuguero's coastline is considered one of the world's most important nesting sites of the green sea turtle, which can be found by the thousands in the summer months. Between August and November you can walk to the beach - the lodge has direct access to it - to potentially see baby sea turtles emerging from their nests to scramble across the sand to the waiting waters of the Atlantic.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Luxury Accommodations: Laguna Lodge

Day 4: Boat ride and drive to Sarapiqui / La Tirimbina Reserve

Start the day off early with a boat ride back to the dock, then a 1.5 hour shared van transfer to Guapiles where you'll have lunch at a restaurant on the way. After lunch you'll take private ground transportation to Sarapiqui (2 hours away), and spend the afternoon exploring your new surroundings at the La Tirimbina Biological Reserve.

The main lodge offers 18 rooms each with A/C, private bathroom, hot water, wifi and a small, private terrace with rocking chairs and view of the gardens. Here you can observe a variety of colorful birds, including the rare and beautiful Black-crested Coquette hummingbird. One option this afternoon is to enjoy a self-guided walk in the hotel's private rainforest reserve. 9 kilometers of maintained trails meander through the reserve's 750-acre mid-elevation tropical forest. On the walk, you will traverse rustic trails and cross suspension bridges to discover the rainforest at your own pace. You'll receive a trail map which outlines all the trails and their distances along with important safety instructions regarding walking solo in the forest. Don't forget to ask the front desk for the brief natural history booklet with information about a few of the trails and the forest itself. Open hours for self-guided walks are between 7 am and 5 pm. No prior reservations required. Let us know in advance if you have any interest in joining other tours at the reserve, since they require advance reservation (at extra cost). These include a 6 am bird walk plus unique evening tours that include a frog tour (7:30 pm), a naturalist guided night walk (7:30 pm), and a bat program (7:30 pm). There is also a naturalist led guided hike offered at 3 PM. The reserve also offers an educational chocolate tour on request, both during the day and at night.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch
Luxury Accommodations: La Tirimbina Lodge

Day 5: Half-day Sarapiqui River Rafting, afternoon drive to Arenal

This morning enjoy some classic river rafting on a seven-and-a-half-mile stretch of the clear waters of the Sarapiqui River. You'll begin in the small community of La Virgen, and raft through exciting class II and III rapids like Hueco Gringo, Confusion, Superman, Montana Rusa y Fuerza Aerea, among others. The rapids alternate with crystal clear still-water pools, where you'll have the chance to stop for a refreshing swim and a tropical snack, savoring whatever delicious fruits are in season. You'll then continue your rafting trip, fully enjoying the wonders of the landscape with the help of your naturalist rafting guides. You'll exit the river at the tiny community of Chilamate. From here, you'll be transferred to Arenal volcano, with the rest of the day free to relax.

*** Note: if you have very young children, we can adjust the program. For more thrill seekers, we can also arrange the river trip to be on the Rio Pacuare instead of Sarapiqui.

Minimum ages for the water trips:

For the Sarapiqui River:

  • Rafting - Class III - minimum age: 9 years
  • Safari Float - Easy Class I-II - Sarapiqui river, minimum age: 6 years 

For the Pacuare River:

  • Minimum age: 12 years

Penas Blancas River Float:

  • Minumum age: 5 years

Meals included: Breakfast
Luxury Accommodations: Hotel Lomas Del Volcan

Day 6: Morning guided hike to Arenal Volcano, free afternoon

Today you visit Costa Rica's celebrated Arenal Volcano, beginning with a 90-minute walk along El Silencio Trail. As you move through the forest, watch out for howler monkeys, bright tropical toucans, and listen to the rumbling sounds of the distant volcano. The walk ends with a magnificent view of Arenal, once one of the most active volcanoes in the world. Enjoy the rest of the afternoon and evening free in the area. We can arrange optional activities at your request including an afternoon zip line trip, canyoning, a horse ride to La Fortuna waterfall, or an evening excursion to a nearby hot spring and enjoy a delicious buffet dinner.

Meals included: Breakfast
Luxury Accommodations: Hotel Lomas Del Volcan

Day 7: Free morning, afternoon transfer to San Jose (or a beach)

This morning you are free to relax or book an optional tour at extra cost (for example the Sky Trek & Sky Tram zipline or canyoning with Pure Trek).

This afternoon transfer back to San Jose (about 3 1/2 hours away) unless your departure flight out tomorrow is scheduled around 2pm or later - in that case, we'd recommend spending tonight in Arenal and we'll get you to the airport tomorrow in time for your flight out.

 *** Option: if you'd like to enjoy 2 or 3 nights on the beach, just let us know and from Arenal we'll arrange transportation to Samara, Manuel Antonio or Tamarindo, all of which are great Pacific beach areas with lots of interesting activities on offer (sea kayaking, surfing classes, snorkel and dolphin cruises, and more). If interested, please contact us for an extension plan and a quote.

Meals included: Breakfast
Mid-Range Accommodations: Crowne Plaza Corobici

Day 8: Depart San Jose

Private transfer from your San Jose hotel to Juan Santamaroa Airport (SJO) in time for your flight back home.

Meals included: Breakfast


8-Day Family Costa Rica Adventure
from $995 USD
*** Contact Us for other itinerary and lodging options! ***

NOTE: Prices are per person in U.S. dollars based on double/triple occupancy. All quotations are based on the current rates of park fees, VAT, other government taxes, and current exchange rates. Should any of these be increased or a new tax introduced, these increases will be added on even if your trip has already been paid for.

  • All accommodations per itinerary
  • All meals per itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
  • All tours and entrance fees per itinerary (unless listed as excluded)
  • All transportation and transfers per itinerary
  • International and domestic flights
  • Meals not listed
  • Beverages and alcohol
  • Tips for guides, drivers, hotel staff
  • Optional tours
  • Single room supplement
  • Personal expenses (visas, airport taxes, Internet, etc.)
  • Late hotel check-out or early check-in
  • Holiday season supplements (Christmas/New Years/Easter time frames)

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