Costa Rica Family Adventure

Trip Length 8 Days
Group Size 4?16
Difficulty
Starting from
$3,999 for REI Members
$4,399 for non-members
Departures Dec 2019-Dec 2020
Mon���Fri 7am���5pm PT

Tropical rainforests, zip lines, monkey sightings and waterfall swims make for the most unforgettable vacation?and photos.

Abundance abounds in Costa Rica: beautiful beaches, friendly people and endless adventures to embark upon. We dabble in it all with a family-friendly itinerary that will get everyone?s heart pumping. Jump right in to adventure life in Costa Rica at Arenal Volcano where we zip along the treetops, get a glimpse of rural Tico life on a local farm, rappel down a canyon waterfall that lies deep in the tropical rainforest, and soak in thermal hot springs.

Journey south, crossing Lake Arenal by boat, and dive deep into the Monteverde cloud forest. Your hotel is located in the reserve, home to eight different biological zones and thousands of plants and animals. Keep your eyes peeled for monkeys and quetzals during the day and embark on night walks with your guide to experience a whole different world after dark. Spend a unique day exploring the forest giants from the ground up?climbing up specially outfitted trees and then exploring the forest on foot with your naturalist guide.

After getting your fill of jungle life, journey on to the Gulf of Papagayo on Costa Rica?s Pacific coast. Miles of white sand beaches are the perfect base from which to snorkel, stand up paddle board or relax in the sun. Return each evening to comfortable lodging and an intimate understanding of what it means to live the "pura vida."

REI Flash 18 Pack

Kids get an REI day pack?Kids traveling on our Family Adventures will receive an REI day pack for their adventure! Kids age 8?17 will receive the REI Flash 18 Pack (while quantities last, colors may vary). Learn more about REI Family Adventures.

See more trips in Costa Rica.

Open trip gallery
See all trip photos

Trip Highlights

  • Enjoy an active family tour with zip lines, hiking, tree climbing and more
  • Visit farmers, soak in soothing hot springs and enjoy local foods
  • Swim in waterfalls, make tortillas and search for squirrel monkeys
  • Follow an itinerary designed with the whole family in mind
  • Stay at comfortable lodges that give you a true taste of "pura vida"

Activities

This trip is rated Easy Active [2], although the day of canyoning tends towards a Moderate [3]. All participants should be in good physical condition. The itinerary contains a variety of activities: canyoning, stand up paddle boarding���and hiking. Upon arrival to Costa Rica, you should be able to hike 3?5 hours without major discomfort over uneven terrain including some scrambling (on the day of canyoning). An REI Adventures trip specialist may contact you regarding your physical preparedness and conditioning for this adventure.

  • Hiking
  • Zip lining

What's Included

All accommodations; meals as noted in the daily itinerary; transportation within Costa Rica during the trip; airport transfers on first and last days of trip; all gear needed to participate in stated activities; guided canopy and canyoning tour; entrance to national parks and reserves; stand up paddle lessons and related gear; local English-speaking guides throughout and specialist activity guides as required.

Accommodations

Hotels/lodges, 7 nights

Your Adventure Itinerary

Day 1

Arrive in Liberia and greet your fellow adventurers.

Our trip begins today in Liberia, Costa Rica. Depart your home city for Liberia, arriving no later than 4pm today. A group orientation is held at approximately 6pm in the hotel lobby. Meals on your own.

Day 2

Make tortillas then swim in a jungle waterfall and thermal hot springs.

This morning we depart Liberia for Arenal Volcano. Along the way we have lunch at a locally owned farm and learn a bit about the life of the resident people. Here we milk cows and make hot tortillas in the local tradition. Continue on towards Arenal, stopping to visit La Fortuna Waterfall. The 200' waterfall receives its cool clear waters from the pristine forested mountains of Arenal Volcano National Park. The waterfall is located in a small canyon surrounded by lush forest?the idyllic lagoon at the base of the falls is perfect to jump into! Top off this adventure filled day with a visit to the nearby hot springs for a final relaxing soak.

We then continue to our lodging at Arenal where we spend the next two nights. Arenal is an active volcano that has experienced eruptions since 1968, and daily rumblings are not unusual. Enjoy a dip in the pool before dinner. All meals included.

Hiking: 1 hour, including 500 steps down and back. Driving: 3 hours.

Day 3

Rappel down a canyon waterfall, zip lining through its canopy.

A day of high adventure awaits us: We?re off for a morning of "canyoning"! We head to a canyon that lies deep in the tropical rainforest and is best explored through a series of rappels and short hikes. Our hike along these canyon trails leads to some of the most spectacular waterfalls in Costa Rica?ones not frequently visited by the casual traveler. After a thorough introduction to technique and equipment, we rappel down several waterfalls into crystal clear, knee-deep pools. Tropical birds, monkeys and thousands of different plants and colorful flowers abound. This is truly a magical experience for the whole family?it's a kid-friendly activity; no experience is required.

After lunch we take a 20-minute tram ride to the highest point within the Arenal Reserve for a zip lining tour. We fly above the treetops on a series of zip lines, roughly 1.7 miles of cable that criss-cross from platform to platform. While the ride is thrilling, it also provides a panoramic view of the scenery for which Costa Rica is renowned. Overnight back at Arenal. All meals included.

Canyoning: 2.5 hours, some hiking included over rolling terrain with some elevation gain; Sky tram/zip line: 2 hours. Driving: 3 hours.

Day 4

Explore a volcano with lava landscaping then cross a cloud forest.

Get up close and personal with Arenal Volcano this morning, heading out on a lava hike with your guide. Explore the area around the volcano, learn about its fascinating history, and check out crazy lava formations left behind by the last eruption.

After lunch, transfer to Lake Arenal where you will board a boat to cross the southern end of the lake. Meet your 4x4 at the landing and continue your journey overland through the Monteverde cloud forest to your lodge. After settling in, head out on a night walk with your guide to explore the area around the hotel and experience life in the forest after dark. All meals included.

Day 5

Traipse along sky bridges spotting toucans, monkeys and quetzals.

This morning we rise early for an optional birding tour at the grounds of the hotel. Then, we?re off to explore the cloud forest from the bottom up! Starting from the forest floor, you?ll scale some of these forest giants, allowing you to view the trees like never before while learning about the intricate systems of the trees and the forest around you. After lunch, ascend into the canopy for a different perspective on jungle life and take off on a walk across Monteverde?s hanging sky bridges. These bridges allow you to experience life in the canopy so make sure you keep a sharp eye out for toucans, monkeys, and quetzals! Head back to the lodge for dinner. All meals included.

Tree climbing: 2 hours; Hanging bridges: 2 hours. Driving: 1 hour.

Day 6

Drive along sandy Pacific beaches, playing soccer and dining at sunset.

Today we say goodbye to the jungle of Costa Rica and travel to Playa Hermosa. We drive through the countryside until we reach the Pacific Ocean. Along the way, we make several stops to stretch our legs and take in the views. Our lunch stop is at a family-friendly locale. Once we arrive at our hotel overlooking the Pacific, you?ll see why Playa Hermosa, "beautiful beach" in Spanish, was given that name. The two-kilometer long sandy beach is encircled by tropical forests and ridges of volcanic rock and is an idyllic spot to spend the next two nights. After settling in, we?ll gather the group for a pick-up game of Costa Rica?s favorite sport?soccer!?before settling down on the beach for a quintessential Pacific Coast sunset. Dinner is at the hotel tonight. All meals included.

Driving: 4 hours.

Day 7

Glide the gulf stand up paddle boarding then explore Coco beach shops.

Today you head out on the water to tour the magical Gulf of Papagayo on stand up paddle boards. We?ll learn the basics of SUP before embarking on our exploration of the gulf, considered one of Costa Rica?s most stunning bays. Glide the clear inlets and get an aerial view of the busy marine world that lives under the surface. Continue on to a well deserved lunch, full of local flavor and a true Guanacaste experience. This afternoon is free. Join a visit to Coco beach local town to experience local life and shop or choose to relax by the beach. All meals included.

Stand up paddle boarding: 2.5 hours.

Day 8

Say "hasta luego" to new family friends and paradise itself.

Morning transfer to the international airport for flights home. Breakfast included.

Gear List

The key to staying comfortable while on an active trip is layering.��� To get maximum comfort with minimum weight, you need versatile layers that mix and match to create the right amount of insulation, ventilation and weather protection. This gear list has been created to help you in choosing your equipment for the trip.���Try to bring only what is necessary, this will help you and the field staff.

What to pack

You might also consider

Travel documents

  • Airline Tickets (Confirmation and Itinerary)
  • Final Bulletin (Emailed Prior to Departure Date)
  • Travel Documents for Minors
  • Valid Passport

Contact Us

Feel free to give us a call at 800-622-2236 should you have any questions regarding the gear list. The staff at our stores and Direct Sales (800-426-4840) will also be happy to help you with gear questions. Or check out REI Expert Advice , which has great information to help you prepare for your trip.