Skip to main content

Best for Kids: Animal Adventures In Costa Rica

Sometimes, the world beckons for you and your family to step outside. Costa Rica is one of the best places to explore the unspoiled wilds.
  • Author:
  • Updated:
Baird's tapir in Corcovado National Park in Costa Rica (Flickr: Miguel Vieira)

Baird's tapir in Corcovado National Park in Costa Rica (Flickr: Miguel Vieira)

There’s a time and a place for theme parks and resorts. Sometimes, the best vacation is sitting by the pool reading a book. But sometimes, the world beckons for you and your family to step outside. Costa Rica is one of the best places to explore the unspoiled wilds.

The biodiversity in Costa Rica is possibly unmatched in the Western Hemisphere. Containing 5% of the world’s biodiversity, this tiny country has been able to almost completely eradicate deforestation and has the largest percentage of protected areas in the world. No wonder Costa Rica is a natural wonderland for families looking for something new.

Discover Turtles at Tortuguero National Park

Baby turtle in Tortuguero National Park (Flickr: Eric Fredericks)

Baby turtle in Tortuguero National Park (Flickr: Eric Fredericks)

Facing the Carribean, Tortuguero National Park is a remote park only accessible by boat. But it is worth it. Here, young naturalists can witness Sea Turtles in all stages of life. Watch Atlantic Green Turtles or Leatherback Turtles nesting or baby turtles hatching and making their way back to sea. Hawksbill Turtles also call this home. Get a guided tour at night for the best view. Most hotels and private guides offer packaged tours to show you and your family the sites.

Watch for Whales at Marino Ballena National Park

Costa Rica is a prime destination for whale watching. (Courtesy Visit Costa Rica)

Costa Rica is a prime destination for whale watching. (Courtesy Visit Costa Rica)

The other coast also offers a family-friendly destination for young explorers. Marino Ballena National Park is rife with wildlife. From turtles laying their eggs to tropical fish and dolphins, there is quite a bit to see. However, the highlight to visiting Marino Ballena National Park is the whales. There are two separate migrations of Humpback Whales so you should be able to find them coming or going most of the year with the exception of late Spring and early Summer. In-between whale and dolphin sightings, this national park offers great opportunities to snorkel. You can also go diving or kayaking.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended for You

Visit the Pacific Coast to See Dolphins

Dolphins in Costa Rica (Flickr: AlfonsoLara70)

Dolphins in Costa Rica (Flickr: AlfonsoLara70)

The other highlight of the Pacific Ocean are the plethora of bottlenose dolphins that can be found up and down the coast. Not only can you find them at the previously mentioned Marino Ballena National Park, but many other spots offer great family-friendly opportunities along the coast. Drake Bay is a great place to start where you and your family can take a day trip on a guided boat tour to see dolphins, humpback whales, and also Orcas.

Wildlife Encounters in Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve
The ocean is not the only place to visit while in Costa Rica. Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, a 3-hour trip from San José, is a must see for families visiting Costa Rica. Take a suspension bridge to see the forest top, or go on a guided natural history walk or night walk through Forest Reserve. The tours leave at specified times so plan ahead.

More Wildlife Encounters in Corcovado National Park
From Drake Bay, you can visit what many consider the crown jewel of Costa Rica’s national park system, Corcovado Park. This park has a biodiversity virtually unmatched in Costa Rica where you can not only see everything from Tapirs (known as the mountain cow), anteaters and sloths to all four species of monkeys native to Costa Rica. It also one of the only places in Central America to find the jaguar. The ecosystem is also incredibly diverse ranging from swamps and mangroves to Cloud forests. You’ll be required to hire a guide, perfect for families with young explorers in tow, whom you can hire for between $50 and $150 a day. Puerto Jimenez is a good nearby town to start your trip into Corcovado.

James Holland of Another Spur on the Road contributed this to MiniTime.

More from MiniTime:

Costa Rica's Natural Treasures to Visit with Kids

Wonderful Destinations in Costa Rica for Families

Whale Watching in the Tropics for Families


Monteverde Cloud Forest (Flickr:

Costa Rica’s Best Spots for Families Looking for Adventure

If your family thrives on exciting outdoor adventures, then Costa Rica is for you.

Alajuela, Costa Rica (Flickr: Rod Priel)

Costa Rica Health & Safety Tips for Families

A family visiting the country with kids, however, needs due preparation for everything from vaccinations to currency. Here's everything you need to know before taking your family vacation in Costa Rica.

Little Girl Big Ocean Costa Rica

Traveling with Kids to Costa Rica

Considering traveling with kids to Costa Rica? Ever left the country with your children in tow before? Wondering how to pull it off and survive? Here's my take!


Best of Hawaii with Kids

The Hawaiian Islands might be the perfect destination for a family getaway. Easy to navigate, incredibly picturesque, and filled with family-friendly activities, the islands help families create lasting memories.


Best Hotel Amenities for Kids

Here are our top picks for the best kid-friendly hotel amenities – from an old-fashioned candy man in Chicago to an eco camp in the Caribbean.

Pirates of the Caribbean

Sunny Destinations to Visit If You Love Disney World

Here are five sunny destinations you should consider if you love Disney World but are ready to spend your family vacation elsewhere.

London from St. Paul's Cathedral (Photo: Michelle Uy)

Exploring One of London's Oldest Neighborhoods with Kids

Within the City of London, one of the oldest neighborhoods, for example, historical attractions, bustling markets and awe-inspiring architecture abound. Here are some of the best ones that families can visit and explore in one day.

LINQ Promenade is one of Vegas' kid-friendly attractions for hip families. (Credit Caesars Entertainment)

7 Things Young, Hip Families Can Do In Las Vegas

Gone are the days when Las Vegas only appealed to high stake gamblers, hard partiers and adults looking to let loose. The former Sin City has been hard at work in revitalizing its image so that it can be a destination ideal for families too.