Costa Rica Travel Guide For Kids

Costa Rica Travel Guide For Kids

Flag of Costa RicaWhether you love nature and animals or you are an adrenaline junky, Costa Rica is brilliant.

Costa Rica is a really cool place to go on vacation. It sits in the right in between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean which both have great beaches. The things that most people enjoy and remember about Costa Rica are the jungles and forests, the volcanoes and the wild animals which live here.

 

San Jose is the capital city of Costa Rica and is where most people fly in to. San Jose is located in a valley in the mountains. Make sure that you are on the right plane! This may sound silly but there are several cities called San Jose or something very similar and every year some people manage to end up at the wrong place.

The city is a bit of a strange place because none of the streets have names. This makes finding a hotel, a restaurant or shops a bit more difficult than where you live. Most tourist families use taxis or Uber to get around the city.

 

So, what is there to do?

In San Jose city there is not a huge amount for the kids to do, but once you venture outside there are a number of options.

What about a trip to an ancient city which was overgrown by the jungle?

Guayabo National Monument was only discovered in 1968 and the experts believe that as many as 10,000 people once lived here for more than 3,000 years. You can walk through the jungle on ancient pathways and discover tombs, and stone carvings and petroglyphs of animals. You can easily imagine Indiana Jones trying to escape bad guys with the treasure. It’s a real adventure and you will see lots of birds, leaf-cutter ants, giant grasshoppers and butterflies. If you like nature, then this a great day out!

 

What about a trip up a volcano?

Costa Rica has 6 active volcanoes plus over 60 which are now dormant. The most popular volcano for tourists to visit is the Arenal volcano which rises out of the ground like the volcanoes you see in movies. Arenal is about 3 hours away from San Jose, so most people stay in a hotel or lodge for a night or two, so that they can really enjoy the experience. For the even more adventurous, there is even a zip line which will whizz you through the trees or a canopy tour for the less brave.

 

All over Costa Rica you will find zip lines and they are great fun for all ages. You will get strapped into a special harness and then slide through the trees in stages – starting tat the highest point and working your way back down to ground level. You will probably see all kinds of monkeys and birds at the top of the trees and it is brilliant fun seeing them where they actually live in the wild.

Talking of monkeys, they live everywhere in Costa Rica. Actually you will probably hear them before you see them, especially in the mornings – really early in the morning. You will hear something similar to a lions roar even before the sun gets out of bed and this is the Howler monkeys. They make lots of noise and are kind of the alarm clock for Costa Rica.

During the day you will see Howler Monkeys and capuchin monkeys in the trees. The big Howlers tend to stay in the trees, but the small capuchin monkeys are known to climb onto balconies or come down to street level to steal food.

Other animals you will see include big tree iguanas and lots of lizards. There are quite a lot of snakes in Costa Rica some of which are dangerous, so be careful. Other things which you should look out for are crocodiles, especially in rivers.

Back to days out. There is Isla Tortuga which is a beautiful little island near the Nicoya Peninsula. Isla Tortuga means Turtle Island. It has a beautiful white sandy beach where your parents can catch the sun while you go swimming in the warm clear water. Lots of the towns in the area offer boat trips to the island, which is a real paradise.

Manuel Antonio Park is a stunning National Park and is very popular with both tourists and locals for a day at the beach. Here you can also try out white water rafting, tubing, ocean kayaking, scuba diving or just sitting on the beach and watching everyone else having loads of fun.

Another great trip is to the Tortuguero National Park in the north of the country. This is a place where you can only really get to by plane or boat because there are no roads to it. What make this place so special is that each year sea turtles come to the beach to lay their eggs. If you time it just right you will be able to go on a night safari and watch thousands of baby turtles running in to the sea.

Costa Rica is a fantastic place to go on vacation, but although the country is fairly small, getting around can take quite a long time. Most people make an itinerary, which is a kind of a list of things to do on certain days.

If you are really lucky you can fly from one place to another on small planes which carry up to about 30-50 people. These planes have a propeller and fly quite low compared to bigger planes, which means you get to look directly at the mountains and fly right over the treetops.

There are lots of tours and trips to try all over Costa Rica from bicycle tours, to quad bikes, coffee farms, monkey and jaguar protection sanctuaries. Snorkeling and scuba trips are loads of fun and the water is really warm.

And Finally Surfing!

Surfing is huge in Costa Rica and there are surf clubs, classes and gear for sale or rent up and down both the Pacific and Caribbean coasts. Every little town has surf schools which are suitable for beginners to experienced surfers. There are also a number of surf competitions which are held in Costa Rica each year, so maybe you can get to see some of the professionals in action.

 

Quick Facts:

Population: 4,955,817 (2018)

Languages Spoken: Spanish (official), Limonese creole (Mekatelyu)

Currency: Costa Rican Colón

Capital City: San Jose

National Dish : Gallo Pinto which means spotted rooster. It is a rice dish with black beans and actually tastes really nice. It is on menus all over Costa Rica. Go on, be daring and try something different. You might like it!