Family-friendly adventure in Costa Rica

07 Sep Family-friendly adventure in Costa Rica

Authentic Adventures for Explorers of All Ages

What kid wouldn’t love to walk through a rainforest filled with bugs of all sorts? Or paddle on a jungle canal with turtles and basilisks watching from rocks and monkeys swinging overhead? And what parent doesn’t want to share the joys of adventure with their kids? In Costa Rica, authentic adventures are close at hand and many are perfectly suitable for families with young explorers. A recent trip to Costa Rica and Rios Tropicales Pacuare Ecolodge let savvy family traveler Sarah Fazendin and her young family experience the wonders of Costa Rica up close and personal.

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Heading down the trail into the Pacuare Gorge with a Rios’ guide.

Learn all about Sarah’s family’s experience in her blog  A Week at the Beach, about their Costa Rica trip (and more). Since her kids were too small to raft to the ecolodge on the Pacuare River, a rafting mecca since 1981, they hiked right down the hillside and into the Pacuare Gorge. Their 821 steps took them through banyan trees with wildlife all around them; it’s the only other way to get to the ecolodge. Their Rios guide provided detailed information and answered all the questions thrown his way by her kids. During their stay, they played by the river, hiked a good portion of the 200-acre preserve, and took advantage of all the amenities available, including and especially the home-cooked meals made by the guides.

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Sarah and her family enjoying one of many hikes while staying at Rios Tropicales deep in the Pacuare Gorge.

Family-Friendly Adventures Include Natural Waterslides, Horseback Riding, Tree Planting

Like Sarah’s family, my sons, Tyler (11) and Tim (7), and I hiked the same trail when we did our trip to Rios Tropicales a few years ago. They, too, were filled with questions about everything, especially bugs and snakes! Our guide, Reynaldo, was as patient and competent as they come. Once we got to the lodge on a bend of the world-famous Pacuare, our trip just kept getting better. Since Ty was older, he was able to the short, fun canopy zipline tour on the property–my first one too!–and he loved it!


Little feet hiking up the nature trail from the ecolodge to the rim of the Pacuare Gorge. We stopped for pictures a lot.

Tree-Planting for Real at the Rios Tropicales Rainforest Reserve


Tim was very proud of his tree that he planted, with Rafael’s help!

We rode horseback to the rainforest restoration reserve (except Tim who was too small for the horses, he rode on the ATV with Rios Tropicales co-founder and president Rafael Gallo). There we got to plant native trees. (Rios has planted over 20,000 trees since 2008!) It was a truly memorable experience.  A fast and fun natural waterslide was a beautiful 25-minute hike from the ecolodge and it was well worth it. The boys and I went down it as many times as we could before heading back to the lodge for a well-earned meal. We all enjoyed swinging in the hammocks at the lodge and watching toucans fly across the river.


Tortuguero Is A Must-See Costa Rican Gem of Wildlife & Birds

Family Jungle Kayaking on the canals of Tortuguero!

Family Jungle Kayaking on the canals of Tortuguero! “I got this, Mom!” says Tim.

Another Costa Rican highlight for our family was the Tortuguero Jungle Kayaking trip. We left the magic and beauty of the Pacuare Basin and headed north to  paddle the canals of Tortuguero and enjoy the Mawamba Lodge. While there, we “released” gaudy-eyed tree frogs (that’s one right on my hand!), kayaked Tortuguero National Park canals with basilisks, white-faced monkeys, turtles and caiman. We even strolled the Atlantic beach breeding grounds of leatherback turtles in Tortuguero (although they weren’t there in February). All the wonders of nature were right there in front of us (actually above us, too). Like Sarah and her family, we were impressed by Costa Rica and the generous hospitality of the Rios’ team. As our kids get older, we have even more adventures available to do on land and water. We’ll definitely be back!

Learn more about Tortuguero Jungle Kayaking Trip
Learn more about the Rios Tropicales Pacuare Ecolodge
Learn more about Family Blogger Sarah Fazendin’s Costa Rica Adventure Experience with her family.
See more Costa Rica Family Adventures

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