Costa Rica
Photo by David Gordillo
By Andrew Kolasinski

There’s no doubt about it —  your family will love Costa Rica, especially the kids. This beautiful and safe country has a family-oriented culture and welcomes the niños with plenty of kid-friendly attractions.

In the capital, San Jose’s Museo de los Ninos, Children’s Museum is a fun place to start your family vacation. An old prison (painted bright yellow) now has hands-on exhibits to teach kids about the nation’s history, culture, and nature. Interactive displays include a robot astronaut, a working farm, and displays about the cruelty of prison life. The Museum is near downtown on Calle 4, at Avendida 9. Admission is $5 for adults, $1.50 for children, telephone 506-2258-4929.

Paque Nacional de Deversiones and Pueblo Antiguo, San Jose’s only amusement park has over 80 thrilling rides, and Pueblo Antiguo (Old Town) is a history theme park. Telephone (506) 22 42 92 00.

Outside of San Jose, Costa Rica’s natural attractions include beaches, jungles, volcanoes, and cloud forests. For seaside fun, try a surf camp. At Nosara on the Pacific Coast, Safari Surf Kids Camp offers lessons for children and families. The waves at Nosara are just right for beginners. Telephone 866-433-3355

Near Jaco, Del Mar Surfing Academy also specializes in surf lessons for kids and teens. Their lengthier camps will take the kids overnight. Telephone 1-855-8-DEL-MAR

Children who like reptiles and other critters love Costa Rica. Colorful iguanas roam the coastal areas, but to can get the full experience go to Fundacion Pro Iguana Verde’s Iguana Park near Puntarenas. Kids can interact with Iguanas in walk-in cages. The restaurant serves Iguana meals, including burgers, and the shop sells Iguana leather goods. The Park is also a resource where farmers learn to become Iguana ranchers. Website: http://www.cocori.com/library/eco/igprk.htm.

The highway bridge over the Rio Tarcoles is a good place to spot wild crocodiles, but jungle boat tours are the best way to view them; you’ll get much closer, and also see exotic birds, monkeys and other jungle creatures. Expert wranglers get thrillingly close to hand-feed the ferocious crocodiles. An informative lecture is always part of the ride. A few tour operators are Jungle Crocodile Safari, telephone 888-456-3212; Jose’s Crocodile River Tour, telephone 506-2637-0795; and Crocodile Man Tour, telephone 506-2637-0771.

Most kids agree there’s nothing cooler than molten lava bubbling from the earth’s core and gushing out of a volcano. Costa Rica has lots of volcanic action. The most accessible is Volcan Poás an hour from San Jose in the Parque Nacional Volcán Poás. Tours from Alajuela or San Jose are easily arranged at any hotel for $60 – $80.

Families love La Paz Waterfall Gardens and Peace Lodge, a cloud forest ecological reserve. You’ll see exotic orchids, butterflies, hummingbirds, snakes, a bug collection, frog house, jungle cats, birds, and lots of monkeys, plus a pioneer homestead where kids can ride an old timey ox cart. This little paradise is an hour from the Airport. Families can stay overnight at the beautiful Peace Lodge. Luxurious suites have Jacuzzis, fireplaces and terraces with views of the waterfalls way down in La Paz valley. Admission to the gardens is $35 for adults, $20 for children, telephone 506-224 12409.

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https://greatfamilyvacationdestinations.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/costa rica.jpghttps://greatfamilyvacationdestinations.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/costa rica-150x150.jpggreatfamilySouth America Travelcosta rica,fun,kidsBy Andrew Kolasinski There’s no doubt about it --  your family will love Costa Rica, especially the kids. This beautiful and safe country has a family-oriented culture and welcomes the niños with plenty of kid-friendly attractions. In the capital, San Jose’s Museo de los Ninos, Children’s Museum...Family Travel Ideas and Deals