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Andy's 11 top tips for travelling in Costa Rica with your family

Taking the kids to Costa Rica in Central America, is something many parents (and grandparents) would love to do. Exploring a magical world filled wi... Read more
 Andy's 11 top tips for travelling in Costa Rica with your family

Taking the kids to Costa Rica in Central America, is something many parents (and grandparents) would love to do. Exploring a magical world filled with exotic and rare wildlife, walking over impressive hanging bridges, visiting the national parks, taking boat trips, relaxing on the beaches, going on the famous zip-lines - the list goes on and on. Costa Rica is packed full of fun activities and exciting adventures.

KE's Andy Watson, joined our Costa Rica Family Adventure holiday with his wife and two daughters in April 2023 and has a bunch of top tips to share to help make your family experience an even more fantastic adventure.

Check them out...


1. Be Brave 

Don't miss out, even if you are a little bit apprehensive. There are some incredible activities on this trip that the whole family can do. Rafting was one of the most exhilarating and walking across the high bridges through cloud forest, plus the optional activities which included the zip wires, all lend themselves to big boy/girl pants and reward with white knuckle rides and incredible views and experiences. Check out this little clip of Grace on the Zipline.



2. Enjoy the wildlife walks  

There is no need to be scared. There are animals of all shapes and sizes everywhere. Some of these are cute and cuddly, others may be perceived as hairy and scary perhaps, but worry not. You’ll always be with one of the excellent guides that will not only help you to feel comfortable with the various bugs, and reptiles, but also help bring them to life by explaining why they’re there, how they are adapted to their surroundings and what makes them such cool creatures to look at and experience in the first place.



3. Bring your binoculars



Wildlife is literally everywhere, but not always close up. One of the best things we did was take binoculars, although Grace stole mine all the time. I definitely recommend taking a few pairs. I am an avid wildlife lover and the difference it made being able to see the animals up close was amazing. 



4. Sit mats for the boats in Tortuguero

We didn’t bring one of these, but it would have been perfect as there is some fairly standard wooden bum-numbing seating on the tourist boats which you spend quite a few hours in on in the first few days of the trip. To clarify, there were no complaints from the kids, this was purely a grumpy dad moment! 



5. Wet your buffs or take a cool towel

It's pretty hot and sweaty in the rainforest and one of the best ways we found to stay cool in the heat was to wear a pre-soaked cold wet buff or small towel around our necks. We took a bunch of buffs with us, and we’re glad we did. The guides on the river tour in Tortuguero used them as sun and fly protection and then later in the trip, our guide Randall would soak it in the river then put it round his neck to keep him cool.

They are incredibly versatile and effective. The girls insisted on doing the same for the rest of the trip and it really helped. Lu used hers over her head like a hairband, and Grace kept one round her neck. Whenever they started to dry out, just find another clear water stream and give them a soak! Another suggestion is the cool towel. A waffle mesh towel that once wet stays incredibly cool especially with a quick waft. Really useful in hot countries.


6. Bring lots of layers 

The climate is very varied on this trip, ranging from hot and wet on the Caribbean coast, to cool and breezy in the mountains, and then dry and hot on the Pacific side of the country. You’ll start the trip in a single layer with the occasional raincoat to hand, but maybe need a fleece and leggings in the cloud forest.  At the end of the trip you'll simply need your beachwear...of course the perfect way to end your adventure.



7. Spice Lovers tip; always ask for Chilero

The national dish of rice and beans and often accompanied by chicken pieces low and slow cooked in a broth is totally tasty (and kiddy beige diet perfection), but not spicy. Costa Ricans leave the spice on the side to allow you to make it as spicy as you like, and the homemade stuff is always best. Sometimes proudly presented to us from the chilli grower, showing us the plants he’d harvested the chillis from. 



8. Snacks: It's worth packing a few favourite extras

The food supplied on trip was really varied and plentiful and we didn’t feel the need to be constantly snacking, but to help boost the kids energy and motivation towards the end of the day we found a favourite home snack went down a treat. Our friends carried bags of trail mix and corn snacks and we found that a faithful packet of Haribo was just the ticket and tied the girls over until our next meal. 



9. Read up about the wildlife before you go


Costa Rica has a neotropical climate and over 500,000 species of wildlife. These range from the cuddly sloths hanging around in the trees to tucans, frogs, snakes, lizards, finches, hummingbirds, gophers, mice, cichlids, gobies among many many more. Before we left we read up a little on what we could expect to see and the book we used was called The Wildlife of Costa Rica: A Field Guide by Fiona A. Reid, which gave us a great introduction to the country's amazing diversity of wildlife.



10. Read up about the rainforests, people and culture 

If you want to find our more about the mysterious and fascinating ways in which animals and plants-and people-interact with one another in the rainforests of Costa Rica, our friends read the excellent: Monkeys are made of Chocolate by Jack Ewing. A collection of stories where Jack Ewing shares a wealth of observations and experiences, gathered from more than three decades of living in southwestern Costa Rica.



11. Pineapple and watermelon picnics

This is a tip that we have brought home with us. We had a riverside picnic with our rafting guides that we will now be using all summer long. Cutting both the watermelon and pineapple into lengthways quarters then slicing up to make perfect juicy tasty triangles of delight!  

Pura Vida!


Want to find out more about KE holidays, then give us a call on 01768 773966 or USA/Canada toll-free 1888 630 4415. You can email; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we can also organise a face-to-face zoom meeting on request. We offer trusted holidays with financial protection and flexible booking conditions.  

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