Costa Rica Family Resorts – 12 Great Places

costa rica resort
about us

Hi! We’re Thomas (the German) and Sarah (the US-er).

We met in Virginia, moved to Germany, and now live in sunny Costa Rica.

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Costa Rica is a popular tourism destination for families, and for good reason. There are tons of fun things to do, it is safe, and the weather is great. What more could you want?

Staying at a Costa Rica family resort is a nice way to experience the beauty that the country has to offer with luxury amenities. 

We created this list of 12 resorts (including some Costa Rica all-inclusive family resorts) to help you find the very best place for your next vacation. 

The Springs Resort & Spa

Location

La Fortuna

The Vibe

Family-friendly large resort with a luxury jungle vibe

Amenities

On-site hot springs, spa, fitness center, adventure center on the property, kids club, complimentary breakfast, welcome drink upon arrival

On-site activities

The most popular activity is enjoying the multiple hot spring pools located throughout the property. Some are designed for kids in mind with a waterslide and some are more intimate for relaxation.

The other draw to this property is the Club Rio Adventure Center. Here you can book white water rafting, kayaking, horseback riding, rock climbing, rappelling, and river fishing.

Off site activities

La Fortuna is the perfect adventure destination. We suggest visiting the La Fortuna waterfall, going zip lining, taking a chocolate tour, and checking out the hanging bridges with an impressive view of the Arenal Volcano.

Rooms

The resort boasts multiple room options from three-bedroom suites for families to Honeymoon rooms with private plunge pools.

All rooms have a private terrace or balcony as well as a jacuzzi tub in the bathroom.

If you would like to bring a larger group, there are a few on-site villas available as well.

Dining

There are nine restaurants & bars located on the property. The most popular thing we saw people eating when we were here was sushi from the Ginger Sushi Restaurant.

Why We Suggest It for Families

This place is great because they have plenty of accommodation types to host parents with children or even huge families in houses.

There is always something to do here and the kids will love all the pool and hot spring options. 

Peace Lodge

The Peace Lodge is run by the same people who own The Springs Resort & Spa. It shares a property with the La Paz Waterfall Gardens (which all guests have free access to).

Location

Vara Blanca, Alajuela

This is about one hour from the main international airport in the country (Juan Santamaria International Airport). 

The Vibe

I would call this place cozy natural luxury. The resort is only 18 rooms and has a very clean jungle cabin type of feel. 

The best part about the Peace Lodge is definitely the full access to the La Paz Waterfall Gardens. 

However, keep in mind that the property is open to the public during the day. Resort guests have the entire property to themselves before 8am and after 5pm each day. This is also when the wildlife in the area is the most active. 

Amenities

Wifi throughout the property, free parking, spa, outdoor pool, concierge

On site activities

The whole property is one massive on-site activity. Here you can learn about Costa Rican culture, walk the multiple trails, check out the views of the cascading waterfall, see all of the rescued wildlife throughout the property, go fishing at the trout pond, and relax at the resort pool.

Off site activities

The two best activities in the area are visiting Poas volcano and going on a coffee farm tour. The staff at the Peace Lodge will happily organize these activities for you, or if you have a rental car you can easily drive to Poas Volcano and to a coffee tour on your own. 

If you would like, you can pre book your Poas Volcano tickets here.

The best nearby coffee tours are:

Doka Estates – A local coffee farm that offers tours focused on the germination, planting, and roasting of the beans. It’s a great tour that includes plenty of coffee to drink.

You can arrange your tour without transportation here

Hacienda Alsacia – This is the only Starbucks coffee farm in the world that you can actually visit. We prefer the Doka Estates tour (because it is always nice to support local businesses), but Alsacia has a really nice Starbucks with unique drinks and a waterfall view on the property. We suggest stopping here for a drink, piece of cake, and a nice view. 

If you would like to take a tour without transportation, you can book it here

Rooms

All rooms sleep two to four guests. Each room has a jacuzzi tub either in the bathroom or in a small garden area. All rooms have a balcony or small garden.

There are also two villas on the property for larger groups. Both villas can sleep up to six guests.

Dining

There are six restaurants and bars located on the property. We suggest Vista Poas Restaurant for a nice dinner and the Big Trout Bar for lunch. Here you can catch your own Rainbow Trout from the pond and the chef will prepare it for you with delicious side dishes. 

One thing to note, no meals (not even breakfast) are included in the room rate.

Why We Suggest it for Families

It’s the perfect place to experience the wildlife and nature that Costa Rica has to offer in a very family-friendly setting.

Margaritaville

Location

Playa Flamingo

The Vibe

I guess the best word to describe this place is “fun”. You will never run out of things to do here. Everyone in the family will enjoy it. And we love that they offer an all-inclusive package option. 

Amenities

Multiple restaurants, multiple bars, tennis courts, daily scheduled activities, covered kids pool, pools, beach access, and more!

On site activities

Our favorite thing to do here is to participate in all the daily scheduled activities which are included in your stay. These activities include exercise classes, painting classes, table game tournaments, and more!

Off site activities

Flamingo is a great place to enjoy the white sand Pacific Ocean beaches. There are also many nice day trips to take from here including zip lining, fishing, snorkeling, and more.

We included some of our favorites below. 

Rooms

There are multiple accommodation options which range from sleeping two guests up to sleeping six guests in comfortable family suites. 

Dining

There are four restaurants and pool bars located on the property. It is also possible to order room service. 

It is also possible to book an all-inclusive package if you would like all your meals and drinks included. We suggest this if you plan to mostly stay within the resort property and don’t plan on doing much exploring of nearby areas.

Keep in mind that kids under the age of five also eat for free here if ordering off the children’s menu. 

Why We Suggest It

If you are traveling with kids, this place will be so much fun for the entire family. We also love that it is a new resort with a nice design and amenities.

The Westin Playa Conchal

Location

Playa Conchal (a nice beach between Tamarindo and Playa Flamingo)

The Vibe

This is a great place for the whole family. There is plenty for the kids to do (especially with the kids club). Also, the on-property golf course is a great perk for all of you golfing enthusiasts.

Amenities

This is an all-inclusive resort, so prepare to enjoy all the excellent food and drinks you would like. 

On site activities

Go golfing in the 18-hole course designed by Robert Trent Jones II, relax in one of the multiple pools, play tennis, exercise in the fitness center, enjoy a spa treatment, participate in one of the daily activities, have your children learn and enjoy the kids club experience.

Rooms

The rooms range in sleeping two to four guests in various suite options. We like that this resort has rooms for families as well as an adult-only section. 

Dining

There are 13 restaurants and bars on the property. Some of our favorites are the Manglar seafood restaurant, the Triton swim up bar, and La Sabana steakhouse.

Why We Suggest It for Families

This place is perfect for families with small children because there is so much to do which caters towards them. 

We think the Westin offers one of the best kid’s clubs of any resort in the country. 

Plus, we love that this place is all-inclusive so you don’t even have to think about meals for everyone throughout the day. All you need to do is pick your favorite restaurant option at that time. 

The downfall is that they only have accommodation options for up to four people, So, if you are a couple traveling with more than two kids this place is not a good option for you.

Rio Perdido

Location

Rio Perdido is located in a somewhat remote town called Bagaces. Although it is remote, it is only a one-hour drive from the Liberia International Airport. 

The Vibe

I would describe this place as comfortable. It is a resort and you will enjoy all the amenities of a resort, but it doesn’t feel at all pretentious.

Families are welcome. There are tons of things to do. And honestly, I’ve never had a bad review of this place. 

Amenities

Concierge, on site pools, hiking trails, option to book transportation, complimentary breakfast

On site activities

There is so much to do on the property that you really do not even need to leave to stay completely busy. Here are just some of the activities:

Explore the hiking trails, participate in daily yoga classes, go zipline, try white water rafting, enjoy a mountain biking adventure, search for wildlife, relax in the hot springs, enjoy a spa treatment. 

Off site activities

Take a day trip to Rio Celeste, visit Palo Verde national park, take a day trip to Arenal volcano.

Any activities you are interested can be arranged by the on-property concierge.

Rooms

Rio Perdido offers three accommodation options.

East Bungalows – Can sleep two guests and a child (on a roll out trundle bed). The rooms features an elevated terrace with hammock.

Center Bungalow King – A beautiful modern room with a king bed and a large balcony. Two twins can be added for kids

Center Bungalow Queen – A large modern room with a balcony. This room features two queen beds. 

Dining

There is one large open-air restaurant on the property. If you would like a more secluded experience it is possible to reserve a private dinner on a floating platform.

Breakfast is included in your stay. 

Why We Suggest It For Families

This is not the best option if you are traveling with smaller kids, but kids that are a bit older will love this place for all the adventure options.  

Planet Hollywood

Location

Papagayo Peninsula

The Vibe

If you are traveling with kids, this place will be so much fun for the entire family. We also love that it is a new resort with top-notch design and amenities. It’s just an all around fun vibe.

Amenities

Multiple restaurants, multiple bars, a kids club, several swimming pools, beach access, STARS kids club, splash kids zone, disco, daily and nightly entertainment, and more!

On site activities

You will never run out of things to do here. We suggest participating in the daily or evening entertainment, relaxing at the pools, enjoy a spa treatment, visit the beaches, etc. 

Off site activities

Papagayo Peninsula is a great jumping-off point for tons of adventure. For a fun day trip, we suggest a catamaran tour with snorkeling or a visit up to Rincon de la Vieja. 

Rooms

They offer rooms and suites which can sleep up to eight guests. In other words, if you are a small family there are options for you, or if you would like to travel with another family there are two-bedroom suites with pool table, balcony, and hot tub. 

Dining

There are seven restaurants on the property. These include a Guy Fieri burger joint, gourmet food buffet, sushi restaurant, Tex-Mex restaurant, steakhouse, Italian trattoria, and a sports bar.

There are six bars on the property including two swim-up bars, a coffee house, and a premier bar. 

Why We Suggest It for Families

This place has the typical large resort feel including having a kids club that is open every day between 10am and 5pm. The kids club includes tons of Hollywood-themed activities including songwriting classes, scavenger hunts, and a wardrobe room. 

In other words, families can rest assured that kids of all ages will find something to entertain them at Planet Hollywood.

JW Marriott

Location

Hacienda Pinilla (south of Tamarindo and just north of Playa Avellanas)

The Vibe

This is a large resort property which consists of private villas as well as the room style accommodations. In my opinion, this has a typical resort vibe which it makes it great for families who want to enjoy the on-site experience with occasional day tours.

Amenities

Spa, beach access, pools, fitness center, game room, kid’s activities, 24 hour room service

On site activities

Take an exercise class, relax in the pool, enjoy a spa treatment, explore the beach, work out in the fitness center

Off site activities

We suggest trying your hand at surfing. This area is great for catching waves. Also, taking a day or sunset catamaran tour with snorkeling is always a fun option.

Rooms

This resort offers a wide variety of room options which sleep up to 4 guests. If you would like to rent a villa on the property, that is possible as well through Marriott Homes & Villas

We suggest this if traveling with more than one family. 

Dining

There are nine restaurants and bars located on the property. These include a steakhouse, an Asian-fusion restaurant, and Italian restaurant, and swim up bar. 

Why We Suggest It for Families

We like this spot for families because it is relatively easy to get to from the Liberia International Airport, it is possible to rent a large villa for large groups, and there is a daily kids club for children between 3 and 12 years of age.

El Silencio

Location

Bajos del Toro, Costa Rica

The Vibe

El Silencio is one of the nicest resorts in the country. This place is perfect for all of you that are interested in nature and want to enjoy activities like bird watching or hiking but would like a luxurious experience. 

Amenities

Access to all on-property trails, wifi throughout the property, daily free yoga class, use of mountain bikes, and breakfast.

On-site activities

Birdwatching, horseback riding, hiking to a waterfall, planting a tree, rum tasting, cooking classes, mountain biking, river fishing, wine tasting, yoga, spa treatments, archery

Off-site activities

White water rafting, cultural tours, chocolate production tours, and day trips to Arenal Volcano. 

All off-site activities can be arranged through reception. 

Rooms

The rooms range from two-person deluxe suites to three-bedroom villas that can host up to six guests.

The rooms all have a modern rustic feel to them. 

Dining

There are two on-site restaurants and a private dining area. 

The menus are always designed around what is in season and growing in their on-site greenhouse at that time.

Keep in mind that breakfast is included in the room rate, but lunch and dinner are not included. 

Why We Suggest It For Families

If you have kids who love adventure and nature, but you don’t want the whole big resort vibe, this place is perfect.

Just note, I suggest it for a family vacation with slightly older children who can participate in adventure activities.

Lapa Rios Eco Lodge

Location

Puerto Jimenez

The Vibe

Lapa Rios is located on a 1,000 acre nature preserve. If you are looking for a luxurious eco lodge filled with wildlife, near a beach, and near Corcovado National Park, this is a great option.

Just note that only children over the age of six are welcome here. 

Amenities

– Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are included daily. 

– Guided property tours

– Access to the pool and property

On site activities

Relax in the pool, get an in room spa treatment, explore the property on your own or with a guided tour, go birdwatching, take a night tour, learn about medicinal plants in the area. So much to do!

The beach is located just below the property. You can easily walk there (but the hike back up is a bit much) or they will happily drive you down and set up beach chairs for you. 

Off site activities

There are tons of things to do nearby from exploring the Corcovado National Park to sport fishing. The wonderful staff at Lapa Rios will be happy to set up any tours for you. 

Rooms

This is a small lodge with only 17 rooms.

There are three types of bungalows available at Lapa Rios:

Deluxe Bungalows- Sleep up to 4 guests. The bungalow has a nice outdoor deck with great views. Not that these bungalows do not have AC.

Premier Villas – Large space with bed, living room area, indoor/outdoor bathroom, and large deck. This option can accommodate five people.

Lapa Villas – The most luxurious option, this villa has a bedroom, living room, large deck with small infinity pool, and indoor/outdoor bathroom. This option can accommodate five people.

Just note that the internet is accessible in all rooms by fiber optic cable, but wifi is available in the main building of the resort.

Dining

There is one restaurant located on the property where breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served daily. This is included in the room rate. Alcoholic beverages can be purchased.

The restaurant is happy to accommodate any allergies or health requests.

It is also possible to attend food demonstrations or organize a private romantic poolside dinner.

Why We Suggest It for Families

It is a great spot for families for several reason; their accommodation options include villas which can accommodate up to five people, this place is a great mix of jungle adventure and relaxation for all ages, and we love that meals are included in the room rate making this almost an all-inclusive resort.

Dreams Las Mareas

Location

North of Liberia airport, not far from Nicaragua border

The Vibe

This is a relatively new resort (we visited while they were finishing construction and I believ that was in 2017) so everything is really modern. We like that it is a larger resort with many amenities but it somehow doesn’t feel overwhelmingly huge. 

Amenities

Restaurants, fitness center, nightclub, multiple pools, kid’s club, beach access, and more!

On site activities

There is so much to do here. Some of our favorites are; enjoying the daily entertainment with activities such as shows and cooking classes, relaxing by the multiple pools or beach, kayaking, enjoying a spa experience. 

Rooms

There are a variety of room options accommodating up to four guests.

Dreams Las Mareas is a Hyatt hotel, so Hyatt Prefferred members have access to elevated room experiences.

Dining

There are 16 restaurant and bar options on the property. Yes, you read that correctly….16! So, you can literally try out new places on every single day of your vacation. 

Why we Suggest it for Families

There is a kid’s club on the property which is divided into an Explorers Club For Kids ages 3-12 during the day and a Core Zone Teens Club for ages 13-17 in the evenings. Plus there is always something going on which people of all ages will enjoy.

RIU Guanacaste

Location

Papagayo Peninsula

The Vibe

This is one of the most popular and largest resorts in the country. If you want the full all-inclusive family resorts in Costa Rica vibe, this is the perfect option. We find it a bit too big for us, but with an active family who wants to all do different things, we think this is a good pick. 

RIU has two resorts right next to each other. The RIU Palace and the RIU Guanacaste are both large resorts. However, the RIU Guanacaste is a bit more family-friendly. For couples or families that want a calmer experience, I suggest RIU Palace.

Amenities

24 hour a day all-inclusive, three swimming pools, a water park, daily entertainment, volleyball courts, tennis courts, fitness center, spa, beach access, free diving lesson in the pool, kayaks to use

Rooms

Rooms range from basic rooms to two-bedrrom suites which can sleep up to six guests. 

Dining

This is an all-inclusive resort which means all meals, snack and drinks are included in your stay. There are multiple on-site restaurants and dining experiences you can choose from.

Why We Suggest It for Families

We love an all-inclusive option for a family trip, plus this place has activities for everyone. And, your kids will definitely love the waterpark. RIU Guanacaste is also a bit more budget friendly than some of the other resorts in the country.

Los Suenos Resort & Spa

Location

Playa Herradura (near Jaco)

The Vibe

This place has a big resort vibe to it. The property is huge and besides the resort there are also several villas that can be rented out on the property to accommodate larger groups. 

Amenities

If you stay at the Marriott resort the amenities include access to the 18 hole golf course, pool access, daily fitness classes, spa access, kid’s pool access, beach access. 

Off site activities

We suggest going fishing, enjoying a catamaran tour, and zip lining. You can reserve these activities with transportation from Los Suenos below. 

Rooms

The resort offers a wide variety of rooms which can accommodate up to four guests. 

If you would like a larger space we suggest renting a villa. This can be done through Marriott’s Homes and Villas website

Dining

There are six restaurants and bars on the property. 

Why We Suggest It for Families

We mostly suggest this resort for its convenience. You can easily get here within 1.5 hours from the San Jose International Airport. The property is located in an area with plenty of nearby activities.

We also like that there are villa rentals on-site. This makes it perfect for larger groups.

Our Advice for Family Friendly Resorts

PACKING

Rain jacket, bug spray, nice clothes for dinner, swimsuit, sunscreen, small backpack for day trips, sandals, hiking shoes, everyday shoes, fast-drying clothing.

Keep in mind that things have a tendency to get wet here and just never dry. It is always a good idea to pack some extra clothes for you and your kiddos.

BEST SEASON

The dry season in Costa Rica runs from late December until late April. This is also the busiest and most expensive time of year to visit.

From May until the end of July, resort prices tend to go down a bit. You will likely experience afternoon rainstorms for an hour or two, but besides that, the weather should be decent. 

From August to early December the weather is more difficult to predict. You might have some days that are complete washouts. However, you will have your choice of any resort you want.

For families looking to save a bit of money, we suggest visiting in July. The weather should be pretty good, there aren’t too many tourists, and prices are a bit lower.

SAFETY

You should feel very safe in resorts in Costa Rica. However, keep a close eye on your belongings while out and about. We have never had any issues, but petty theft sometimes happens.

OTHER THINGS TO NOTE

– We strongly suggest staying at a beach resort for a few nights and then checking out a jungle destination. Costa Rica is beautiful and has so much to offer. It is always nice to get a taste of the country besides being in a resort.

BOOK YOUR COSTA RICA RENTAL CAR AND SAVE 10%

The Adobe Rent-A-Car discount includes…..

– A 10% DISCOUNT  

– FREE SECOND DRIVER 

– FREE ROOF RACKS TO USE 

– 0% DEDUCTIBLE ON LIABILITY PROTECTION

– DISCOUNTED SMARTPHONE USAGE WITH UNLIMITED DATA

– Credit cards are accepted everywhere. Costa Rican colones is the main currency in the country, but US dollars are also widely accepted (especially in resorts).

– The main motto for life in Costa Rica is “Pura Vida”. This directly translates to “pure life” and in Costa Rica it is used to mean “everything is good. Life is great.” 

I’m telling you this because I hope everything at your resort stay goes perfectly, but keep in mind that sometimes you just need to relax and enjoy this different culture. People here live in a more relaxed time frame than you may be used to. 

– If you would like more resort options, check out our guide to all resorts in Costa Rica. Here you can see all the best honeymoon resorts, jungle resorts, all-inclusive resorts, and more!

Map of Family Friendly Resorts

Are you considering a stay at a family friendly Costa Rica resort? If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to leave them in the comment section below. We are always happy to help you out!

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