Family Travel Survival Guide: Costa Rica - Page 2

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White-faced Capuchin in Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica
White-faced Capuchin in Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica  (iStockphoto)

As any person with small children knows, it's important to have activities planned to keep the tykes entertained through the day. Here are some places and activities to consider while putting together your family-friendly itinerary for Costa Rica.

Manuel Antonio National Park
Manuel Antonio is where the rainforest meets the sea, and what an incredible combination that is. Hire a naturalist with a scope and reserve admission in advance—only 800 folks are allowed in the park at one time. Then get ready to see a dazzling display of white-faced and howler monkeys, sloths, lizards, and spiders in the dense foliage. Eventually, you reach a series of beaches buttressed on each side by the rocky shores. After walking through the humid rainforest, you’ll be covered in sweat and ready for a dip.

Arenal Volcano
It’s not just the perfect cone shape that many people find alluring, but the chance to see a river of red lava flowing down that cone in the night sky. Talk to the concierge at the hotel to see whether the lava is flowing and then stay up late to catch the ethereal light show. In the daytime, folks are content seeing the same view from one of the many hot springs in the region.

Monteverde National Park and the Cloud Forest
Bring a sweatshirt to Monteverde, because at an altitude of over 5,000 feet, it can get cool. Also advisable is a light rain jacket and hiking boots. Then take a hike in the Cloud Forest Reserve, a fecund terrain whose dampness creates a slick layer of moss that covers the branches and tree trunks. Thick vines drop down from towering ficus trees like dreadlocks, and clay-covered trails are laden with fallen passionfruit and the large leaves of banana ferns. Ziplining above the cloud forest canopy is a highlight of this region.

The northern beaches of the Nicoya Peninsula are where you go to swim in the waters of the Pacific and chill. Surfers also like the region for its consistent swells. This is the part of your trip where you can simply relax and not worry about seeing sights, giving the kids a chance to breathe. That’s not to say you won’t find monkeys jumping from branch to branch on your resort’s property.

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