Rafting rapids, Pacuare Lodge, Costa Rica

A Family Adventure to Costa Rica

A petite paradise packed with adventure.

  • TAILOR-MADE HOLIDAY IDEA

Duration

15 Days

Prices Start from

£4,750pp (ex. flights)

A petite paradise packed with adventure, Costa Rica checks all the boxes for a family holiday and will open your children’s eyes to the wonderful world of travel. From zip-lining over jungle canopies to exploring monkey-inhabited national parks, this is a classic Costa Rican adventure designed to provide conservation insight and fun in equal measure.

Combining activity-centric Arenal with a change of pace on the beautiful Pacific and Caribbean coasts keeps children stimulated, but not exhausted and allows parents to reconnect. Whatsmore, Costa Rica’s compact size makes it easy to travel around, so there’ll be no “are we nearly there yet” moments along the way.

Key Highlights of this Itinerary

Surfing, Costa Rica 1

Coastal Fun

Learn to surf on palm-fringed beaches, snorkel in secluded coves, or water bike through tropical mangroves.

Pacuare Lodge, Canopy Suite, Rio Pacuare, Costa Rica 2

Jungle Hideaways

Stay in private family lodges that set the highest benchmarks for service and sustainability.

Hummingbird 3

Tropical wildlife

Meet Costa Rica’s jungle wildlife, including playful monkeys, colourful birds and fascinating frog species.

Rafting rapids, Pacuare Lodge, Costa Rica 4

Rafting & Zip-Lining

Whizz through the jungle canopy along zip lines and embark on white water rafting river safaris.

Explore our suggested itinerary

Costa Rica on your wishlist? Talk to our experts about tailoring this trip for you.

  • Days 1

    San Jose (Grano de Oro)

  • Day 2

    San Jose - Tortuguero (Tortuga Lodge)

  • Day 3

    Tortuguero (Tortuga Lodge)

  • Day 4

    Tortuguero - Rio Pacuare (Pacuare Lodge)

  • Days 5-6

    Rio Pacuare (Pacuare Lodge)

  • Day 7

    Rio Pacuare - Arenal (Arenal Observatory Lodge)

  • Days 8-9

    Arenal (Arenal Observatory Lodge)

  • Day 10

    Arenal - Monteverde (Senda Monteverde Hotel)

  • Day 11

    Monteverde (Senda Monteverde Hotel)

  • Day 12

    Monteverde - Santa Teresa (Nantipa)

  • Days 13-14

    Santa Teresa (Nantipa)

  • Day 15

    Santa Teresa - Cobano Airport - San Jose

Days 1

San Jose (Grano de Oro)

On arrival, you’re met and transferred to your hotel.

Day 2

San Jose - Tortuguero (Tortuga Lodge)

Drive and then transfer by boat to Tortuguero National Park, a wetland reserve that lies on the country’s Caribbean coast. Stay at Tortuga Lodge, where iguanas roam the garden and howler monkeys hide in the trees above.

Day 3

Tortuguero (Tortuga Lodge)

Explore the wetlands from the lodge. Take a boat trip through the lagoons and a network of rivers and canals that cut through this rainforest. Home to over half of the bird and reptile species found in Costa Rica, Tortuguero is also one of the world’s major nesting sites for Atlantic green turtles.

Day 4

Tortuguero - Rio Pacuare (Pacuare Lodge)

Travel by boat and road back inland, heading towards Rio Pacuare, found in a valley of the Talamanca Mountain range. Here, jump into a raft and float to Pacuare Lodge, a jungle hideaway within a private reserve.

Days 5-6

Rio Pacuare (Pacuare Lodge)

Choose from the family activities on offer at Pacuare, including trekking, rafting, zip lining and canyoning as well as nature tours, visits to indigenous communities and culinary experiences.

Day 7

Rio Pacuare - Arenal (Arenal Observatory Lodge)

Raft out of Pacuare, navigating white water amidst spectacular scenery, then by road, head north towards the volcanoes of northern Costa Rica. Stay at the Arenal Observatory Lodge, which lies just three kilometres away from the most famous of these volcanoes, Mount Arenal.

Days 8-9

Arenal (Arenal Observatory Lodge)

With spectacular views of the volcano, this area is a hotspot for adventure. Start the first day with a zipline canopy tour, continue into the jungle in search of sloths and finish with a nighttime rainforest walk. On your second day, hike Mount Arenal for incredible views of the landscape below.

Day 10

Arenal - Monteverde (Senda Monteverde Hotel)

Transfer around three hours, crossing Lake Arenal, to the cloud forests of Monteverde, home to eight different biological zones and thousands of animal, plant and bird species. Check into a private stand-alone family bungalow at Senda Monteverde Hotel.

Day 11

Monteverde (Senda Monteverde Hotel)

Hike through some of the well-marked-trails, waterfalls, rivers and the observation areas of the park keeping an eye out for an amazing variety of flora and fauna including the quetzal, one of the most beautiful birds in the world.

Day 12

Monteverde - Santa Teresa (Nantipa)

Travel down the Nicoya Peninsula, which juts out into the Pacific Ocean. Stay at Nantipa, located on a spectacular stretch of coastline, perfect for a private family surf lesson.

Days 13-14

Santa Teresa (Nantipa)

Spend the day swimming and snorkelling, or have a family day out zip lining high above the forest floor before taking a dip in the pools at Montezuma waterfalls.

Day 15

Santa Teresa - Cobano Airport - San Jose

Transfer to Cobano Airport for a domestic flight to San Jose before flying home.

Our travel experts can tailor this itinerary to suit you.

More Details

Canopy Walk, Arenal, Costa Rica
Canopy Walk, Arenal, Costa Rica
Biking, Rio Perdido, Costa Rica
Mountain biking, Liberia, Costa Rica

Biking & Canopy Walkways

It is difficult not to be jungle-centric when exploring Costa Rica, but this country is no one-trick pony. Whizz through the canopy along zip lines with views of Arenal Volcano, cross long suspension walkway bridges and journey on horseback to thundering waterfalls in some of the country’s most rugged terrains.

Bursting with single-track trails, Costa Rica is a mecca for mountain biking; you can embark on a full family day ride far off the beaten track with our expert guides to discover the real Costa Rica. Along the way, visit a fruit farm or take a bean-to-bar chocolate-making lesson.

Rafting, Pacuare Lodge, Costa Rica
Rafting, Pacuare Lodge, Costa Rica
Zipline, Pacuare Lodge, Costa Rica
Ziplining, Pacuare Lodge, Costa Rica
Pacuare Lodge, Canopy Suite, Rio Pacuare, Costa Rica
Pacuare Lodge, Rio Pacuare, Costa Rica

Rafting, Hiking & Costa Rican Culture

Traverse grade III and IV rapids through outstanding scenery of deep-sided gorges and dense riverside jungles to reach Pacuare Lodge. Here, stay in a private hillside family bungalow with a spring-fed stone swimming pool and wellies to borrow for exploring the surrounding rainforest. Days are filled with canyoning, tree-to-tree zip lining and hiking to freshwater spring pools. Share stories with an indigenous Costa Rican family and learn about their traditional customs, language and beliefs – offering children a firsthand experience of another culture.

Jaguar lying by log in dense undergrowth,Brazil
Jaguar
Squirrel Monkey, Costa Rica
Squirrel Monkey
Sea Turtle, Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica
Sea Turtle, Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica
Keel-Billed Toucan, Costa Rica
Keel-Billed Toucan, Costa Rica
Resplendent Quetzal in flight
Resplendent Quetzal in flight

Wildlife & Jaguar Conservation

With 12 distinctive ecological zones Costa Rica is like stepping into a real-life nature documentary. Climb “The Nest” at Arenal Observatory Lodge, a 28-metre high tower above the rainforest canopy, keeping your eyes peeled for playful monkeys, colourful toucans and other treetop creatures. See nesting turtles in Tortuguero or kayak up Tortuguero River in search of howler monkeys, colourful poison-arrow frogs and the chestnut mandible toucan. At Pacuare Lodge go on a behind-the-scenes sustainability tour and learn about their Jaguar conservation program, which has identified five individual jaguars, including a rare black jaguar – a mutation that had only been documented in one other region of Costa Rica.

How does this holiday make a positive impact?

Tortuga Lodge is committed to monitoring their consumption and implementing measures to mitigate excessive use. They have installed water metres to help analyse water consumption and have since installed high-tech toilets for the most efficient water use. Through a high-tech system of filters and ultraviolet light, they also purify local water to make it drinkable. This helped them to eliminate the use of bottled water and avoid single-use plastics as much as possible.

Pacuare Lodge has purchased 340 hectares of primary rainforest along the Pacuare River. Previously under threat from developers, this prime wildlife habitat is now strictly protected and has a ‘no-visitor’ policy in place. Pacuare Lodge gives the Jaguar Program access to this protected zone and, in addition, provides food, lodging and other support to the researchers conducting vital work on jaguar conservation in Costa Rica.

Pacuare Lodge is a firm believer that responsible tourism should benefit local communities. Their community support program works to enhance the living standards of the local community by improving infrastructure in the area, for example restoring the cable car service which local residents use to cross the river. They are also invested in providing direct and indirect employment to local communities and supporting local schools with funds to support environmental education and raise awareness of the importance of protecting the environment.

Accommodation

Below you can see some of the wonderful places we have recommended for this journey.

Grano de Oro £££££

  • Costa Rica
  • City

Grano de Oro is the most upscale hotel it the city centre providing a true oasis in the heart of the bustling capital. Converted from a Victorian mansion, this 40-room hotel maintains the warmth and comfort of a private house.

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Tortuga Lodge £££££

  • Costa Rica
  • Safari and Wildlife Lodge

Nestled along the bank of Tortuguero River, on Costa Rica’s Caribbean Coast, lies Tortuga Lodge, the only hotel in the area with a private nature reserve.

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Pacuare Lodge £££££

  • Costa Rica
  • Wilderness

Pacuare Lodge is a stunning jungle hideaway that combines exquisite luxury with thrilling adventure in the most discreet way. The accommodation at Pacuare Lodge includes five categories of room, from delightful garden bungalows and river-view suites to the outstanding Jaguar Villa with 350 square metres of jungle luxury.

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Arenal Observatory Lodge £££££

  • Costa Rica
  • B&B, Motel and Guesthouse

Perched on a ridge, Arenal Observatory Lodge is situated in a private nature reserve, less than two miles from Arenal volcano. It offers a safe vantage point from which to study the volcano and miles of trails on the doorstep to explore.

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Senda Monteverde Hotel £££££

  • Costa Rica
  • B&B, Motel and Guesthouse

Featuring 24 contemporary and spacious bungalows with open-air porches overlooking lush gardens, Senda Monteverde hotel offers a range of upscale duplexes and individual rooms. Light and airy yet warmed by the delightful wooden interiors, the aim is to provide a luxury stay whilst interacting with nature and experiencing general mountain living.

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Nantipa £££££

  • Costa Rica
  • Beach and Island Escapes

Nantipa is one of Santa Teresa’s most recent and luxurious beach resorts. In the heart of downtown, with a prime beachfront location. There are 15 rooms in total comprising of four Nanku Bungalows to each of the eight units.

View Property

Meet our experts

A passion for travel runs right through every one of our experts - meaning they're always ready with first-hand insight about their specialist countries.

John Faithfull

Costa Rica is simply the best spot in Central America for nature lovers, and is always John’s top recommendation for those wishing to hike, swim, zip, raft, ride or float through outstanding scenery and rich biodiversity.

Talk with our experts
  • 01285 880 980

Paul Bird

It wasn’t part of the script, career plans were quite different but after four global trips visiting such exciting destinations, travel became a passion that eventually led to me entering the industry. The more I have travelled the greater the desire has been to see and do more.

Talk with our experts
  • 01285 880 980

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A note on price

This price is based on a family of four with two children under the age of 18, staying in family rooms throughout.

Prices will vary depending on the time of year you are travelling. Prices do not include international flights. Please ask one of our Travel Experts for an accurate quote. Flights purchased through Steppes Travel departing from the UK are ATOL protected.

This Itinerary
Price
From £4,750 Per person

When to travel

Costa Rica in January

January to April generally has the lowest rainfall throughout the year, though showers can still be expected in such a tropical climate. One of the most popular times of year to visit, with fantastic opportunities to view wildlife, explore the jungle, and relax on white sandy beaches. The ideal time to visit the Pacific Coast.

Costa Rica in February

January to April generally has the lowest rainfall throughout the year, though showers can still be expected in such a tropical climate. One of the most popular times of year to visit, with fantastic opportunities to view wildlife, explore the jungle, and relax on white sandy beaches. The ideal time to visit the Pacific Coast.

Costa Rica in March

January to April generally has the lowest rainfall throughout the year, though showers can still be expected in such a tropical climate. One of the most popular times of year to visit, with fantastic opportunities to view wildlife, explore the jungle, and relax on white sandy beaches. The ideal time to visit the Pacific Coast.

Costa Rica in April

January to April generally has the lowest rainfall throughout the year, though showers can still be expected in such a tropical climate. One of the most popular times of year to visit, with fantastic opportunities to view wildlife, explore the jungle, and relax on white sandy beaches. The ideal time to visit the Pacific Coast.

Costa Rica in May

May and June mark the beginning of the ‘green season’. Rainfall increases a little, but with that means fewer visitors and quieter national parks. The flora and fauna return to its lushest state and makes for beautiful photography opportunities.

Costa Rica in June

May and June mark the beginning of the ‘green season’. Rainfall increases a little, but with that means fewer visitors and quieter national parks. The flora and fauna return to its lushest state and makes for beautiful photography opportunities.

Costa Rica in July

July and August is green season, but there is a brief little summer or ‘veranillo’, which breaks up the rain in July. A great time to enjoy water sports in the country, although sun-seekers can still enjoy the beaches on the far northern Pacific coast.

Costa Rica in August

July and August is green season, but there is a brief little summer or ‘veranillo’, which breaks up the rain in July. A great time to enjoy water sports in the country, although sun-seekers can still enjoy the beaches on the far northern Pacific coast.

Costa Rica in September

While travel is not recommended on the Pacific side in September and October, as it is the peak of the wet season, it is the ideal time to visit the Caribbean coast.

Costa Rica in October

While travel is not recommended on the Pacific side in September and October, as it is the peak of the wet season, it is the ideal time to visit the Caribbean coast.

Costa Rica in November

November and December see the country start to dry up, although the exact timing of the end of the green season varies. By Christmas and New Year, it is getting busy again so it is worth booking accommodation in advance.

Costa Rica in December

November and December see the country start to dry up, although the exact timing of the end of the green season varies. By Christmas and New Year, it is getting busy again so it is worth booking accommodation in advance.

Holiday Inspiration

Our experts have created and curated these tailor-made holiday ideas to get you started. Take the time to search through them and find something that is the spark for your unique adventure.

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