Costa Rica is the perfect vacation destination for all ages with a diverse mix of activities for every member of the family. Whether your family is interested in wildlife, adventure, culture, rainforest, volcano, beach or a mix of everything, we’ve got you covered. Below are the six best family hotels in Costa Rica’s most popular destinations around the country. Once you tell us more about your family’s travel style and we’ll customize a complete package from scratch, including private transfers, the best tours in the country, and 24/7 in-country support!
1) MANUEL ANTONIO (Central Pacific): Si Como No Hotel & Wildlife Refuge ($$)
Manuel Antonio is an excellent Costa Rica family beach destination since it perfectly blends beach, rainforest, wildlife, and a small town. Si Como No is located on 10 acres of rainforest in the middle of Manuel Antonio with stunning ocean views. While there are no TVs in this 58 room hotel, an on-site movie cinema plays nightly family-friendly movies. Other hotel features include a family pool with waterslide, an adult pool, two restaurants, a spa (for mom and dad), and a complimentary shuttle service down to Manuel Antonio National Park. As an added bonus, Si Como No Hotel guests receive complimentary admission to their butterfly atrium. Other guided tours are available within their 24-acre wildlife refuge (at a small cost) and include a crocodile lagoon tour, amphibian garden tour, or the popular jungle night walk.
Runner-up: Buena Vista Villas & Tulemar Bungalows ($$$)
Located just up the road from Si Como No, these villas and bungalows offer a home-away-from-home feel with direct beach access from the property. Complimentary kayaks, boogie boards, and snorkel gear are available on the beach as well as beachside food and beverage service.
2) ARENAL VOLCANO: The Springs Resort & Spa ($$$)
Delivering some serious “wow-factor”, The Springs Resort & Spa offers a bit of everything on their 165-acre, 5-star property. One distinguishing feature and the namesake for the hotel are their on-site mineral hot spring pools ranging from 83˚F to 103˚F (one even features a waterslide!). These hot springs are the perfect family retreat after a day of adventure at their on-site activity center, Club Rio, featuring something for everyone: rock climbing, river tubing, horseback riding, nature walks, mountain biking, and a wildlife preserve. While mom or dad are being pampered in the 14,000 sq. ft. spa, the rest of the family can hang out in the Game Lounge, complete with table tennis, foosball, board games, and various gaming consoles with the latest games. Other resort features include 8 different restaurants and bars, a fully equipped gym, and some of the best volcano views in the region!
Runner-up: Arenal Manoa ($)
A moderate hotel closer to the town of La Fortuna, Arenal Manoa is a wonderful family hotel with excellent volcano views, a fully functioning farm (complimentary tours for guests), two pools, two spring-fed Jacuzzis, a restaurant, and full-service spa. Most of the rooms come with two queen beds and a handful of rooms come with one king bed and a connecting feature to a room with two queen beds.
3) GUANACASTE (North Pacific): Cala Luna Hotel & Villas ($$)
Located just outside of Tamarindo, Cala Luna offers the tranquility of an off-the-beaten-path hotel with easy access to a happening beach town full of restaurants and boutique shops. Cala Luna features a boutique hotel of 29 Deluxe rooms and brand new 1-bedroom suites with one king and two queens. To keep bigger families together under one roof they also feature two-and-three bedroom villas featuring a private patio with your own private pool as well as a fully-equipped kitchen. Spend your days by the pool, taking surf lessons from their on-site clinic or exploring nearby beaches. There are two restaurants at Cala Luna and plenty of restaurants within a short walk, bike-ride (complimentary bikes) or taxi ride away. Other features include an open-air spa, complimentary yoga offered three times per week, and complimentary sunset cocktails (for mom and dad).
Runner-up: Andaz Peninsula Papagayo Resort ($$$)
Andaz is a 5-star resort located on the privileged Papagayo Peninsula. The resort offers amenities and services for the whole family, including two cascading pools (one for families and one for adults), direct beach access with food and beverage service, Kids’ Club and babysitting services, complimentary use of snorkel gear, kayaks, and paddleboards, and (best of all) a rotating activity resort schedule with classes for all interests and age levels. Other features include a luxurious spa, championship golf course, 24-hour room service, and complimentary shuttle service around the peninsula (including to the Four Seasons’ restaurants).
4) ALL-INCLUSIVE: Westin Playa Conchal Resort ($$ – $$$)
The Westin Playa Conchal is, hands-down, Costa Rica’s best all-inclusive hotel. It is located on one of Costa Rica’s most cherished beaches, Playa Conchal, with pink sand calm emerald blue waters. A kids’ club with childcare service is available from 9am-5pm and is included with your stay (potty-trained children ages 4-12). The resort offers something for everyone in your family with daily resort activities, par-71 golf course, tennis courts, kayaks, Hobie cats, bicycles, an award-winning spa, 8 restaurants, 5 bars, and nightly entertainment. Upgrade to their Family Junior Suite categories for priority restaurant reservations, top-shelf alcohol, spa discounts, and more.
Runner-up: Flamingo Beach Resort ($ – $$)
Flamingo Beach Resort is an excellent beachfront family resort option with an all-inclusive feature at a moderate price point. Flamingo Beach Resort is a smaller resort (1/4 the size of The Westin) located on another beautiful Guanacaste beach, Playa Flamingo. Flamingo Beach Resort features a children’s pool, playground, babysitting services, and game room with pool tables, foosball, and movie theater. Other amenities include a spa, gym, small casino, tennis court, and dive center.
5) CLOUD FOREST: El Silencio Lodge & Spa ($$)
El Silencio Lodge and Spa is an award-winning retreat located in the mountains 90 minutes outside of San Jose. Their 2-bedroom Master Suites and Private Villas are perfect for families looking to enjoy the wonders of the cloud forest along with unique on-site and off-site cultural and nature activities. The hotel is located on 500-acres of cloud forest with numerous trail systems to a series of waterfalls to explore either on your own or with a guided nature walk. Another iconic waterfall, Del Toro, is just a short drive away from the hotel and makes a wonderful half-day family tour. Other activities available include zip-lining, horseback riding, exploring a local market, oxcart painting, chocolate and coffee tours, and birding. Delicious, organic dining is offered at the lodge’s family restaurant, Hierbabuena.
Runner-up: Peace Lodge ($$$)
Peace Lodge is located just over an hour from San Jose and features a private nature park and animal sanctuary along with the popular La Paz Waterfall Gardens. It’s a wonderful opportunity for families with younger children to experience up-close wildlife encounters through various interactive exhibits (jungle cats, butterflies, frogs, monkeys, birds, and more). Visiting both the wildlife exhibits and waterfalls is complimentary for Peace Lodge guests, but they can also be enjoyed as a half-day activity in route from San Jose to Arenal Volcano (ask us how and we’ll make it happen!).
6) UNIQUE WILDLIFE ENCOUNTERS: Lapa Rios ($$$)
For those families that prefer to venture off-the-beaten-path, there’s no better place than the Osa Peninsula! The Osa Peninsula is Costa Rica’s gem and our personal favorite destination. The Osa has been described by National Geographic as the “most biologically intense place on the planet”. A stay at Lapa Rios Ecolodge will grant your family wildlife encounters at nearly every turn – monkeys, sloths, toucans, frogs, butterflies, macaws, and so much more. Plus, all your meals and on-site tours are included with your stay – birding, waterfall hike, medicine tour, starfish beach walk, various rainforest hikes, night walk, and a sustainability tour to name a few. Lapa Rios in the Osa Peninsula is an incredibly unique experience for your family to see the wild-side of Costa Rica within the middle of the rainforest.
Runner-up: Evergreen Lodge Tortuguero ($ – $$)
Tortuguero is located opposite The Osa in the northeast corner of the country. This is another off-the-beaten-path destination that is well known for its wildlife viewing but also its turtle nesting. Four different species of sea turtles nest along these Caribbean shores, offering visitors seasonal turtle nesting and/or turtle hatching tours. All your family’s meals are included with your stay at Evergreen Lodge along with a mini-tour of Tortuguero’s town, the Turtle Museum, water canals, and a guided tour of Tortuguero National Park.