School’s out for the summer! If you’re a student, you’re psyched. If you’re a teacher, you’re psyched. If you’re a parent, you’re… in planning mode. Your kids are bouncing off the walls and your paid vacation time is burning a hole in your pocket.
Let me relieve some of your stress: Summer is a great time to visit Costa Rica. Family vacations are very popular here and you’re guaranteed to find something for every member of your clan, from the tiniest adventurers to college students unwinding after all-nighters and final exams. Costa Rica is very family-friendly, offering up special tours and experiences that cater to the young and young-at-heart. Even more, early summer is shoulder season in Costa Rica – low-season prices and good weather. (Think daily, hour-long rain showers, not marathon downpours.)
Now that I have your attention, you probably want to know why Costa Rica is such an awesome destination for families. I can answer that in five words: price, variety, wildlife, adventure and sustainability. Now let me explain…
You may have heard that Costa Rica expensive, but it’s a bargain when it comes to family travel. Admittedly, the country is pricier than its Central American neighbors, but you get what you pay for: Costa Rica has invested in tourism and infrastructure, from strict safety standards to the ease of getting around. Families also get special deals, like free kid hotel stays and free flights for kids. So for about half the price of a premium Disney vacation or a fraction of what you’d spend on a European extravaganza, you can treat your family to a few weeks in a tropical paradise.
The coolest thing about Costa Rica is the sheer variety of things to see & do. Though the country is smaller than West Virginia, you’ll have your choice of powdery beaches, active volcanoes, dense rainforests, roaring rivers, misty cloud forests, and so much more. So get your whole family involved in the planning process, and give everyone the chance to choose their own fantasy destination. Some of my favorites are Monteverde (a cloud forest with tons of kid-friendly nature attractions), Manuel Antonio (beachfront rainforest with gentle swimming), and Arenal (an active volcano and the “adventure capital” of Costa Rica).
Okay fine, I lied. Wildlife could also be the coolest thing about Costa Rica. The country overflows with the most amazing creatures, like monkeys, sloths, parrots, and sea turtles. Schedule a hike through a national park or hop on a tour to one of the nation’s many private, protected reserves for your chance to spot the nation’s iconic animal species. And if your kids are into snakes, bugs, bats and frogs, hold onto your hats – Costa Rica’s ranariums, serpentariums, bat jungles and other kid-friendly attractions guarantee spottings of some of the most awesome, the most dangerous, the grossest, the slimiest, and the most incredible animals known to man.
Adventure (namely, safe adventure!)
The family that plays together, stays together. You won’t want to miss Costa Rica’s top adventures, like canopy ziplines and whitewater rafting, but you might think twice about your family’s safety. No need. Costa Rica has established strict safety standards to protect you and your family, so whether you’re flying through the forest canopy or snorkeling amidst coral reefs, you’ll know that facilities are built to the highest standards and protective equipment is checked regularly.
As parents, part of our job is to lead by example, for everything from the Golden Rule to environmental stewardship. A lot of countries preach ecotourism, but Costa Rica puts it to practice. The nation’s hotels are ranked for sustainability; Nature Air is the world’s first carbon-neutral airline; more than 25% of the country is protected by national park, wildlife refuge and private reserve; and you can even book a 100% carbon-neutral vacation! Costa Rica takes its environmental responsibilities seriously, allowing you to travel sustainably while you support local communities.