Adventure Tour

#WeLoveExploring Presents:
Full Day Jaco, Costa Rica. Jungle Adventure Tour.
Adventure all day in the Jaco Jungle, horseback riding, zip lining, waterfall rappelling and ATV-ing in an 850 acre private river valley. $ 215.00 USD Full Day.

Paradise of Costa Rica

Resting in paradise
If you are looking for the ideal place to improve your mental and physical well-being, adopt healthy habits and activities into your lifestyle, liberate your soul and return like a new person, then Costa Rica could be your next travel destination.
Costa Rica is the ideal setting for detoxification from stress and the daily grind. You can experience Wellness tourism as part of a lifestyle that combines physical activity and healthy eating, while enjoying a wide range of activities to renew your mind, body and soul.
Wellness includes activities that put you in contact with nature: Trekking (low-difficulty walks), Forest baths (breathing in the fresh air of the forest), Earthing (barefoot walks on the earth/sand), high-quality healthy food, a combination of spa and lunch (splotch) and consumption of local products in a natural setting.
In Costa Rica, you can also experience innovative relaxation techniques such as body wraps, in which volcanic mud, coffee, tropical fruits and chocolate are used to moisturize your skin; hydrotherapy and hot springs are another way to harness the water resources of our country for personal renewal by letting positive energy flow throughout the body. 
These wellness features, typical of Costa Rica, have helped create one of the planet’s blue zones, or longevity areas. A 2004 study by the University of Costa Rica found that mortality among Costa Ricans of 90 years of age is 10% lower in the Nicoya Peninsula, south of Guanacaste. The calcium-rich water of this area, healthy eating, family living and the "pura vida" lifestyle are secrets to longevity. 
This is a unique lifestyle that is experienced only in Costa Rica, whose essence is Wellness

Travel Insurance


Travel insurance is something you will need on the road. It’s the MOST IMPORTANT thing you need. You never know what could happen, and most health insurance plans don’t cover you when you travel. Not only does travel insurance cover any injuries or illnesses but it also covers the stuff you take on the road, any accidents that might happen, or trip cancellations that might occur. It’s not just about being able to see a doctor on the road — it’s about making sure that if you fall into an ocean (like I did), your camera can get replaced at no cost. Here is why I never leave home without travel insurance:

It covers you when you get sick and need to see a doctor.
It covers you if you need to get helicoptered out of somewhere.
It covers you if you need to be sent home.
It covers electronics that break or stolen.
It covers if you have to cancel your trip.
It covers you if your goods are stolen.
It is affordable and offers peace of mind!
It is easy to get (and renew online).
It is a no brainer – because if something goes wrong, it saves you thousands!

For only a few dollars per day, making sure you won’t be out extra money when something goes wrong is the smart and frugal move. After all, a good budget traveler is a smart budget traveler. Don’t be penny wise and pound foolish. I once had a friend break her arm and had to pay thousands of dollars because she didn’t buy insurance. Don’t let that happen to you!

I use World Nomads for my travel insurance and have since my first trip. They’ve been there for me – and many friends and readers – multiple times over! 

Travel Insurance (Get A Price)

Sleeping in Costa Rica

Best places to stay in Costa Rica


  • Peace Lodge
  • Tree House Lodge
  • Nayara Hotel, Spa & Gardens
  • Hotel Villa Caletas
  • Caño Negro Natural Lodge
  • Canada Chill House

Boutique Hotels

  • Tamarindo Bay Boutique Hotel
  • El Castillo
  • Drake Bay Gateway Resort
  • Hotel Grano de Oro
  • Banana Azul


  • SuperTramp
  • Luz en el Cielo
  • Flutterby House
  • Hostel Pangea
  • Aracari Garden Hostel
  • Buddha House
  • Selina

Little Five of Costa Rica

Spotting Costa Rica's 'Little Five'

By: James Kay

Spotting Africa’s ‘Big Five’ – elephant, rhino, cape buffalo, lion and leopard – has become something of a Holy Grail for wildlife watchers. While Africa has a bit of a monopoly on the big beasts, little Costa Rica’s critter count is off the chart. This multi-faceted Central American jewel boasts more species per square kilometer than anywhere else on Earth. From a bird once worshipped as a god to the Americas’ answer to a rhino, Costa Rica’s fauna includes some of the world’s most wondrous wildlife. Here’s our admittedly subjective shortlist of the country’s ultimate creature comforts, and where to try and see them.  
Occupying the top spot on most people’s must-see lists, this endangered, elusive feline is Central America’s largest cat. Jaguars are shy and well camouflaged, so sightings are rare. They do happen, however, and the best places to hike and hope are the Parque Nacional Corcovado and Parque Nacional La Amistad. Manage your expectations, count yourself lucky if you spot a paw print or stumble upon a pile of scat, and doubly blessed if you hear a distant roar (actually, it sounds more like a cough).

Resplendent Quetzal

This flamboyantly feathered member of the trogon family of birds is a true delight. The Aztecs and Mayas were so impressed they worshipped it as a god; you’ll be just as bewitched by its green body, red breast and streaming, iridescent tail feathers. The quetzal is found in many of Costa Rica’s national parks, including the binocular-burning bonanza that is the Reserva Biologica Bosque Nuboso Monteverde. More than 400 species live here, so you won’t want for action. The nesting season between March and April is the best time to spot a quetzal.

Sea turtles, and lots of 'em

No less than four of the world’s seven species of sea turtle throng Costa Rica’s coasts. On the Pacific side, thousands of Olive Ridleys return to nest on beaches in the Parque Nacional Santa Rosa and the Refugio Nacional de Fauna Silvestre Ostional between July and November each year. But turtle obsessives won’t want to miss out on the Parque Nacional Tortuguero on the Caribbean coast, a watery wonderland where you can see nesting green turtles (mid-June to mid-September) as well as critically endangered hawksbills (February to September) and leatherbacks (March to June).

Harpy eagle

This apex predator likes nothing more than snacking on a sloth pulled from a treetop, but don’t let that sort of behavior put you off: with a wingspan of 2m, a standing height of 1.5m, and an adult weight of up to 9kg, the harpy eagle is arguably the most powerful bird of prey in the world. They’re rare, but Parque Nacional La Amistad has a healthy nesting population. Stay quiet, keep your eyes on the skies, and don’t get mistaken for a monkey, lest those giant talons end up crushing your skull like a warm Malteser. Ouch.

Baird's tapir

Spend any significant amount of time at the fabled Sirena ranger station in Parque Nacional Corcovado and you’ll probably conclude that Baird’s tapirs are ten a penny. Wrong. Distantly related to a rhino but looking more like a swarthy pig with a sawn-off trunk, these hefty herbivores have been brought to the brink of extinction thanks to hunting and habitat loss. Corcovado is one of their last strongholds and you can frequently spot them after dusk grazing beside the station’s tiny landing strip.

Bonus wildlife spotting

They may not be on the 'Little Five' list, but keep an eye out for these rare beauties of the air and sea.

Scarlet Macaw
Few canopy dwellers are as majestic as these monogamous birds, whose distinctive calls are a quick indicator to stop and look up. To maximize your chances of spotting scarlet against a backdrop of verdant green, head to Parque Nacional Carara, a famous refuge for these winged beauties.
Humpback Whale
Topping the must-see list of marine animals, humpback whales are famous for their incredible breaching displays, which are very photogenic and impossible to forget. To catch a glimpse of these gentle giants on their annual migration path add Parque Nacional Marino Ballena to your itinerary.
This article was refreshed in June 2017.

Costa Rica With Kids

Traveling Costa Rica with kids


Costa Rica is a family travel playground, specializing in big adventures guaranteed to get your kid’s heart pumping; whether you are zipping through the leafy canopy or spying a lazy sloth, this little dynamo of a country offers a plethora of fun experiences that every family member can enjoy. We've come up with a list of recommendations sure to wow both kids and parents alike.

Canopy tours

Costa Rica's rainforests are some of the most stunning in the world, but sometimes navigating it on foot just doesn't do the trick – get a bird’s-eye view instead. The country’s first zip-line, the Original Canopy Tour, is in Monteverde, but nowadays there are canopy tours all over the country. Not all zip-lines can accommodate small children (under 120 cm or six years old), but many do (SelvaturaMonteverde Theme ParkArenal Paraíso Canopy Tour). Kids can zip across the cables while attached to a guide, so they don’t have to worry about controlling their own speed.

Some people, no matter what age, are a little wary of zooming over the forest at high speeds and high altitudes while suspended from a wire – go figure. In that case, hanging bridges are a better option for exploring the canopy at one's own pace (Sky AdventuresSelvatura and Misticohave bridge options). Again, some facilities are better suited for very small children: you may want to inquire if there is a gap between the walkway and the guardrail on the bridges.

River rafting

Have a little adrenaline junkie in the family? Kids as young as six or seven years old can ride river rapids, and even smaller children can get out on the river on a 'safari float’. These gentle river rides coast over Class I and II rapids and allow time for a swim and snack break; both Aventuras del Sarapiquí near La Virgen or Safaris Corobicí near Cañasoffer kid-friendly rafting experiences. Or, if the grown-ups are itching to ride some wild rapids on their own, book a room at the Hotel Interamericano in Turrialba; this hotel actually provides childcare while parents are out running the river.


There’s something about bathing under a waterfall that’s good for body and soul. If you have kids in tow, the trick is to find a cascade that is safe to swim and does not require too strenuous of a hike to reach. The well-maintained waterfall trail behind the Arenal Observatory Lodge is an easy 2 km hike, though it’s not always safe to take a dip if water levels are high. Near BagacesLlanos de Cortés is another easily accessible and spectacularly beautiful waterfall with a picture-perfect swimming hole. More adventurous (or slightly older) kids might be up for the Montezuma Waterfalls or the Cataract Río Fortuna.

Wildlife watching

Wildlife watching can be tricky with kids, as you never know what you will (or won’t) see. We recommend taking a wildlife cruise because a boat ride is a little adventure in itself, even if the animals are feeling shy that day. Take a boat tour at Caño Negro Wildlife Reserve, follow the Ruta Los Héroes on the Río Sarapiquí or cruise the canals in the Parque Nacional Tortuguero. And you will see something – birds, iguanas, monkeys, sloths or even a few caimans.

If your timing is right, you might witness a mother turtle hauling herself up on the beach to lay her eggs, an incredible experience for travelers of all ages. The arribada (mass arrival) of olive ridleys at Playa Ostional is especially impressive, though turtle tours are on offer up and down both coasts. These animals are endangered, so be sure to book tours with responsible service providers with licensed guides.
If you are looking for a fail-safe option to see wildlife, visit a rescue center. Many offer up-close animal interaction, including the Jaguar Centro de Rescate south of Puerto Viejo de TalamancaProyecto Asis in Ciudad Quesada (San Carlos) and Alturas Animal Sanctuary in Dominical.


Most surf schools give lessons to children as young as age five. Some places cater especially to families, including Safari Surf in NosaraMatos Surf Shop in Tamarindo or Playa Grande, and One Love Surf School in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca. Alternatively, skip the lessons and rent a boogie board on the beach at Playa Sámara and your kids will be riding the waves on their bellies in no time.

Volcanoes and hot springs

Budding geologists will get a kick out of peering into the crater of a volcano at Parque Nacional Volcán Poas (which is wheelchair accessible, so it is also stroller accessible). You can see other volcanic activity – bubbling mud pots and such – at the Pailas Sector of Parque Nacional Rincon de la Vieja or at Las Hornillas near Volcán Miravalles.

Finally, here’s some geothermal activity that everyone can get excited about: hot springs. You’ll find soaking springs near Miravalles (Río PerdidoTermales El Guayacán) and Rincón de la Vieja (Canyon de la ViejaHot Springs Río Negro), but the most elaborate thermal pools are around La Fortuna, including fancy set-ups like The Springs or more understated environs like Eco Termales.
NOTE: At the time of update (June 2017), the Parque Nacional Volcán Poas was closed due to volcanic eruption. Please check the safety status of the park before attempting to visit.

Where to sleep

Even your lodging is an opportunity for adventure in Costa Rica. Beach resorts and jungle lodges abound, not to mention these unique ways to spend the night:

Stay on a farm

Agrotourism allows guests to experience authentic, rural Tico life: kids can help take care of farm animals, observe the sugar cane harvest and learn about sustainable farming practices. The eco-forward Finca Terra Viva ( and their neighbors at Capulín Cabinas & Farmare excellent choices near Santa Elena. The Río Celeste area also offers many options for farm living, including La Carolina Lodge (, Finca Verde Lodge and Casitas Tenorio. Horseback riding is a specialty at Rancho Margot in El Castillo and Rancho Amalia ( near Zarcero. Other great, budget-friendly farmsteads include Finca La Flor near Cartago, Punta Mona ( south of Manzanillo, and the truly special Albergue el Socorro near San Miguel.

Sleep in a tent

Some call it 'glamping’ while others just call it sustainable tourism, as these heavy-duty tents offer (almost) all the comforts of a permanent structure, without the same environmental impact. Feel the breeze and hear the noises of the jungle from the comfort of your bed! Rafiki Safari Lodge in Playa Matapalo and Pozo Azul ( near La Virgen are surrounded by rainforest and river; while Corcovado Adventure Tent Camp near Drake Bay and La Leona Eco Lodge near Carate have prime beachfront locations on the edge of Parque Nacional Corcovado.

Climb into a tree house

Do you ever think your kids are part monkey? They’ll be in their element in these awesome treetop hideaways. Birds, monkeys, and other tree-climbing creatures come calling at the Tree Houses Hotel ( near San Carlos and the Tree House Lodge near Puerto Viejo de Talamanca. There’s all sorts of family-friendly accommodations, including tree houses, at Posada Andrea Cristina ( in Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí and Flutterby House ( in Uvita.

What to eat

There are only three words you need to know to keep your kid well fed in Costa Rica: rice and beans.

Gallo pinto

The national dish of Costa Rica is, you guessed it, rice and beans. It’s actually a breakfast item, served alongside eggs or cheese. And if your child wants to eat it every day, they won’t be alone.


This typical set lunch consists of meat or chicken, salad and, you guessed it, rice and beans. It’s simple, tasty and filling. If your child is really lucky, there might be a sweet, fried plantain on the side.


Batidos, or jugos naturales, are fresh fruit smoothies, made with banana, mango, pineapple, papaya, watermelon, or just about any other fruit. One batido guarantees a day’s worth of Vitamin C – ask for it made con leche (with milk) and you’ve got your kid’s calcium intake covered too.

Tips & resources

  • Children under the age of 12 get a 25% discount on internal air travel while children under two fly free (provided they sit on an adult’s lap). Kids age three and up pay full fare on buses.
  • Car rental agencies offer children’s car seats, but their condition cannot be guaranteed, so it’s recommended to bring your own.
  • Specialty items like disposable diapers, baby creams, baby aspirin and thermometers are not generally available in remote places, though you’ll find them for sale in towns and tourist hubs.
  • Tap water is safe to drink throughout the country, though bottled water is also readily available if you want to be more cautious with infants.
For inspiration on how to keep your young explorers entertained whilst on the road – or at home – sign up to the Lonely Planet Kids newsletter.
This article was originally published in April 2016 and refreshed in June 2017.