Map of Costa Rica Family Holiday with Teenagers including Costa Rica

Make memories among the evergreen forest, towering volcanos and pristine beaches of Costa Rica

Discover the incredible biodiversity of Costa Rica – and the culture shaped by the tropical wilderness – with your loved ones, on a trip that’s tailored for families. Pick produce and make dinner with a local family during an agricultural homestay, look for three-toed sloths in the thickets of the Manuel Antonio National Park and walk through the canopy of Monteverde’s cloud forest on a suspended bridge. Take a break from active adventure by soaking in springs heated by Arenal Volcano and lying beneath swaying palms on pristine beaches while the kids play nearby. This adventure takes you into the wild heart of a country many visit but few truly know.


Start
San Jose, Costa Rica
Finish
San Jose, Costa Rica
Destination
Costa Rica
Style
Original
Theme
Family, Wildlife
Code
QCFS
Physical rating
Ages
Min 10
Group size
Min 2, Max 16

Why you'll love this trip

  • Go beyond a biology lesson and immerse yourself in nature, from spotting rare birds in Monteverde to listening for the evocative call of howler monkeys in Manuel Antonio National Park.

  • Harvest produce and come together to cook a rustic meal from scratch during a homestay with family in an agricultural community.

  • Get active on guided walks through forest and jungle, plus an incredible canopy walk along suspended bridges in Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve.

  • End this adventure by hitting Manuel Antonio National Park, where the evergreen forest grows right up to the long, white beaches and irresistible water.

Is this trip right for you?

  • Make sure you pack some sturdy and comfortable shoes as you’ll be walking around cities and towns and through forests and jungles on this trip.

  • There are a few days of long travel on this trip as you’ll be covering a lot of Costa Rican ground. These drives are along smooth roads in new and comfortable vehicles, and are great for games, chats and scenery spotting. You’ll also make interesting stops along the way to break up the longer drives.

  • Is it hot in here? You’re in tropical Central America so it can get very humid. Carry plenty of water, dress in light clothing and we’ll give you every opportunity to cool off with a swim.

  • It’s a good idea to try and brush up on as many Spanish words as you can. Costa Ricans have a reputation for being welcoming but somewhat reserved, so knowing some local lingo is a great way to break the ice and show you care about them and their culture.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 Jan 2023 to 31 Dec 2023.
View the 2020 itinerary
Welcome to subtropical San Jose! Meet your leader and fellow family travellers at a welcome meeting at 5 pm at the hotel. If you arrive early there is plenty to see in this bustling city, and as the streets are laid out in a grid pattern it’s relatively easy to navigate too. Check out a few of the optional activities below, just note that as these activities are not included, they may incur an extra charge. The Spirogyra Butterfly Garden, for example, is the perfect way to introduce kids (and adults) of all ages to Costa Rican biodiversity while getting some respite from the clamour of the city. After the meeting tonight, perhaps get a taste of ‘Tico’ food (and get to know the other families and your tour leader) with an optional dinner as a group.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Auténtico or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information for each member of your family. If you are going to be late please let your travel agent or hotel reception know. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.
Kick off your Costa Rican adventure with a hearty breakfast, fuelling up for an leader led walk around San Jose. We then hit the road making our way to Poas Volcano National Park. In the park you’ll discover untouched nature, an active volcano, and have the chance to breathe fresh, cool mountain air. At the top of this volcano, 2,700 metres above sea level, you can step to the edge of a platform and look down on a smoking sleeping giant – steam can pour out around a sulphuric, bubbling, green crater lake. In the afternoon, make your way to Sarapiqui, a town known for its rich biodiversity. On arrival settle into your hotel then join your leader on a walk through the rainforest, crossing trails as you look out for wildlife. This evening is free for your own discoveries – you may like to book an excursion to learn about the region’s nocturnal creatures.
Accommodation
  • Tirimbina Rainforest Lodge and Hotel or Similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • San Jose - Leader-led walking tour
  • Sarapiquí – leader led rainforest walk
  • San Jose - Poas Volcano National Park
Optional Activities
  • Sarapiquí – Night Bat Program - USD23
  • Sarapiquí – Night Hike - USD25
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Today you’ll cross west through the north of the country to Arenal (approximately 1 hour), which lies beneath the volcano of the same name. Rising from verdant plains, Arenal Volcano shoots up 1633 metres in a perfect cone and in certain light resembles a storybook drawing. The landscape is mainly cloud forest and rainforest, cut through with rivers, lakes and -- thanks to the volcano’s inner workings -- thermal hot springs. On arrival you are free to explore the area at your own pace. Or perhaps you’d prefer to unwind by the hotel pool in view of the mighty Arenal Volcano. Your accommodation also features onsite hot springs where you can relax your muscles in preparation for an active day tomorrow.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Magic Mountain or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Arenal - Hot Springs (Entrance Fee)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Head out for a guided morning tour of Arenal National Park with a hike around the lake. Take trails through dwarf cloud forest and listen to the birdsong of several species of hummingbird, as well as the melodious clay-coloured robin. The afternoon is then free for optional activities in the local area. Please note as these activities are not included, some incur extra cost. To get a closer view of the majestic volcano peak, you could take a hike past old lava flows on the Arenal 1968 Trail. There are two options on the 1968, including a shorter route suitable for families with younger kids. Or maybe a slow-paced soar on the Sky Tram is more your family’s speed? Chat to your leader about these and the many other options on offer today.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Magic Mountain or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Whitewater Rafting
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today you’ll take the scenic route to Monteverde (approximately 4 hours in total). Travel by minibus to Lake Arenal, then cross the water by boat. On the other side of the lake, re-board a minibus and continue on to our destination. In 1951 North American Quakers founded the nearby Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve, a sanctuary for the unique flora and fauna of Costa Rica. More than 2000 species of plants, 320 bird species and 100 different types of mammals call the reserve home, and over the next few days you’ll get acquainted with some of them. There may be time to make an optional visit the nearby Butterfly Garden today upon arrival (an additional cost). Otherwise, settle into your accommodation and enjoy the tranquillity of nature.
Accommodation
  • Villa Lodge and Hotel or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
See the forest from a different perspective on an included canopy walk across the suspended bridges of Monteverde. The sheer variety of bird life in Monteverde is enough to make an ornithologist out of anyone, so don’t be surprised if younger children have a new answer to the question ‘what do you want to do when you grow up?’ While you’re up among the treetops look (or listen) out for the reclusive resplendent quetzal, the blue-crowned motmot or the emerald toucanet. The rest of the day is free for you to relax or partake in some optional activities. You could visit an orchid farm or whizz through the trees on zip-lines. If conditions are right, there might be a chance to hike through the forest at dusk, a unique opportunity to see the area’s nocturnal creatures begin to stir.
Accommodation
  • Villa Lodge and Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Monteverde - Sky Walk (Entrance Fee)
Optional Activities
  • Monteverde - Canopy Zip Lining (Entrance, Equipment & Transport) - USD50
  • Monteverde - Night walk through Cloud Forest - USD35
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Wave adios to Monteverde and hit the Pan-American Highway for a southward journey past beaches and palm plantations to Manuel Antonio (around 6 hours). Along the way we stop a local family home where you  will have the opportunity learn how to cook authentic local Costa Rican food and share time with 3 generations of Costa Ricans. Enjoying the essence of the Pura Vida. An experience you will enjoy as a family.
Enjoy a free evening to relax before exploring the park on foot tomorrow.

Accommodation
  • Hotel Divisamar or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Manuel Antonio – Cooking Class & Lunch
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
After breakfast enjoy a 3-hour guided walk along the trails that snake through Manuel Antonio National Park. Immerse yourself in nature and learn more about the area’s diverse wild and plant life from your guide. Look and listen carefully and you may be able to spot howler monkeys, two- and three-toed sloths, iguanas and more. The afternoon is free to explore this magical area further at your family’s desired pace. Maybe you’d like to relax on one of the idyllic palm-lined bays while the kids splash in the water. Active types have the option to rent equipment to kayak, surf or fish in the glittering ocean (for an extra cost). There are no wrong choices in this balmy paradise.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Divisamar or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Manuel Antonio National Park - (Entrance fee)
  • Manuel Antonio National Park Guided Hike
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Rise and shine for your final morning in this beachside haven. Enjoy your last hours in Manuel Antonio with some free time before making the return drive to San Jose in the mid-afternoon (approximately 3 hours). There are no activities planned on arrival at San Jose. If you’re flying out today, it's important to book your flight for no earlier than 6pm.
The group will be dropped back off at the starting point hotel. Note there is no accommodation included today. If you wish to stay longer in San Jose we’ll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability)..
Accommodation
  • Hotel Auténtico or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

8 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

Transport

Private vehicle, Boat, Public Transportation

Accommodation

Hotels (8 nights), Homestay (1 night)

Included activities

  • San Jose - Leader-led walking tour
  • Sarapiquí – leader led rainforest walk
  • San Jose - Poas Volcano National Park
  • Arenal - Hot Springs (Entrance Fee)
  • Whitewater Rafting
  • Monteverde - Sky Walk (Entrance Fee)
  • Manuel Antonio – Cooking Class & Lunch
  • Manuel Antonio National Park - (Entrance fee)
  • Manuel Antonio National Park Guided Hike

Dates & availability

Trip departures are unavailable.

There are currently no scheduled departures on our Costa Rica Family Holiday with Teenagers trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.

Prices may go up, so secure your trip today!
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Important notes

Travellers on Intrepid trips that start on or before 31 December 2022 are required to produce proof of full vaccination against COVID-19. Learn more about Intrepid’s COVID-19 policy.

FAMILY TRIPS: Please note that these trips are for adults and children travelling together and there must be at least one child under 18 with you.
AGE: Minimum age for children on this trip is 10 years old.
DISCOUNT:  A discount of 10% applies on this trip to children 17 years and under at time of travel.
SINGLE SUPPLEMENT:  A single supplement is available on this trip with exception of Day 2 at the homestay
CLIMATE: Costa Rica is a tropical country so rain can be excepted at any time. The rainy season in Costa Rica runs from May – November. While July and some of August does experience dry spells, families need to be prepared for the rain. Rain does usually come in the afternoons and it can pour. So you will need to be prepared with wet weather gear. Hurricane season in this region is June to November, when landslides, mudslides, flooding and disruptions to essential services can occur. Intrepid monitors any situations that arise, and may need to change itineraries or activities in response to these natural weather occurrences.
HOTELS: Many hotels outside of San Jose have been built further out from the centre of town so travellers can enjoy the countryside, rainforests and views, where people can wake up to birds not cars. Many of the hotels we use are in such locations.
FOOD: Costa Rican food is known for being fairly mild, with high reliance on fresh fruit and vegetables. Rice and black beans are a staple of most traditional Costa Rican meals. Meals in Costa Rican are more expensive than its neighbouring countries.
Travel is always an adventure and, as destinations reopen, there are a few challenges as everyone gets back up to speed and adjusts to the new normal. Our leaders are experts when it comes to dealing with anything unexpected along the journey, so pack your understanding and flexibility, sit back and relax while they take care of the rest.

Essential trip information

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