Costa Rica Family Holiday

Intrepid Travel Preferred
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
4.6 . Excellent
94%
Travel Style: Array Full on
Physical Level: Walking or physical activity half to most of day - no carrying equipment. Easy
Lodging Level: Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value (3*)
10 days
From: $ 2,185 $ 219 / day
Checking price

Overview

Highlights (Bullets)

  • Go beyond a biology lesson and immerse yourself in nature, from spotting rare birds in Monteverde to listening for the evocative call of howler monkeys in Manuel Antonio National Park.
  • Harvest produce and come together to cook a rustic meal from scratch during a homestay with family in an agricultural community.
  • Get active on guided walks through forest and jungle, plus an incredible canopy walk along suspended bridges in Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve.
  • Family holidays aren’t always relaxing, but this trip offers plenty of opportunities to take it slow in thermal springs and pools and on beaches.
  • End this adventure by hitting Manuel Antonio National Park, where the evergreen forest grows right up to the long, white beaches and irresistible water.

Short Description

Discover the incredible biodiversity of Costa Rica – and the culture shaped by the tropical wilderness – with your loved ones, on a trip that’s tailored for families. Pick produce and make dinner with a local family during an agricultural homestay, look for three-toed sloths in the thickets of the Manuel Antonio National Park and walk through the canopy of Monteverde’s cloud forest on a suspended bridge. Take a break from active adventure by soaking in springs heated by Arenal Volcano and lying beneath swaying palms on pristine beaches while the kids play nearby. This adventure takes you into the wild heart of a country many visit but few truly know.

Style Small group tour
See all the highlights and popular spots on a classic tour.
Itinerary Focus Classic Highlights
Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Lodging Level Value (3*)
Flight & Transport Inclusions All internal ground transport
Start City San Jose
End City San Jose

Destinations

Costa Rica

Attractions & Cities Visited

Arenal Volcano Manuel Antonio National Park

Activities & Interests

Wildlife viewing

Age Requirement

5-99

N/A
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Itinerary

Day 1 San Jose

Welcome to subtropical San Jose! Meet your leader and fellow family travellers at a welcome meeting at 5 pm at the hotel. If you arrive early there is plenty to see in this bustling city, and as the streets are laid out in a grid pattern it’s relatively easy to navigate too. Check out a few of the optional activities below, just note that as these activities are not included, they may incur an extra charge. The Spirogyra Butterfly Garden, for example, is the perfect way to introduce kids (and adults) of all ages to Costa Rican biodiversity while getting some respite from the clamour of the city. After the meeting tonight, perhaps get a taste of ‘Tico’ food (and get to know the other families and your tour leader) with an optional dinner as a group.

Day 2 Santa Rosa de Pocosol

Fuel up on breakfast and get some books or classic car games ready for the 3-hour drive to Santa Rosa de Pocosol. The tiny agricultural community of Juanilama (pop. approximately 200) in the Santa Rosa de Pocosol area is predominantly dedicated to milk production and raising cattle. It’s the perfect place to experience life in small-town Costa Rica – you’ll even be staying with a local family! Settle in and get to know your hosts before going on an agricultural tour. During the tour the children will learn how to plant vegetables as well as gather some produce to be used in tonight’s cooking class. You will have some free time to wander around the community before coming together to create a meal with the produce collected earlier. Vamos a comer (Let’s eat)!

Day 3 Arenal

Today you’ll cross west through the north of the country to Arenal (approximately 1 hour), which lies beneath the volcano of the same name. Rising from verdant plains, Arenal Volcano shoots up 1633 metres in a perfect cone and in certain light resembles a storybook drawing. The landscape is mainly cloud forest and rainforest, cut through with rivers, lakes and -- thanks to the volcano’s inner workings -- thermal hot springs. On arrival you are free to explore the area at your own pace. Or perhaps you’d prefer to unwind by the hotel pool in view of the mighty Arenal Volcano. Your accommodation also features onsite hot springs where you can relax your muscles in preparation for an active day tomorrow.

Day 4 Arenal

Head out for a guided morning tour of Arenal National Park with a hike around the lake. Take trails through dwarf cloud forest and listen to the birdsong of several species of hummingbird, as well as the melodious clay-coloured robin. The afternoon is then free for optional activities in the local area. Please note as these activities are not included, some incur extra cost. To get a closer view of the majestic volcano peak, you could take a hike past old lava flows on the Arenal 1968 Trail. There are two options on the 1968, including a shorter route suitable for families with younger kids. Or maybe a slow-paced soar on the Sky Tram is more your family’s speed? Chat to your leader about these and the many other options on offer today.

Day 5 Monteverde

Today is a travel day as you travel via Tilaran to Monteverde de Santa Elena (approximately 4–5 hours). Break up the journey with a snack stop for great homemade cakes and refreshments before continuing uphill to cool-climate Monteverde. In 1951 North American Quakers founded the nearby Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve, a sanctuary for the unique flora and fauna of Costa Rica. More than 2000 species of plants, 320 bird species and 100 different types of mammals call the reserve home, and over the next few days you’ll get acquainted with some of them. There may be time to make an optional visit the nearby Butterfly Garden today upon arrival (an additional cost). Otherwise, settle into your accommodation and enjoy the tranquillity of nature.

Day 6 Monteverde

See the forest from a different perspective on an included canopy walk across the suspended bridges of Monteverde. The sheer variety of bird life in Monteverde is enough to make an ornithologist out of anyone, so don’t be surprised if younger children have a new answer to the question ‘what do you want to do when you grow up?’ While you’re up among the treetops look (or listen) out for the reclusive resplendent quetzal, the blue-crowned motmot or the emerald toucanet. The rest of the day is free for you to relax or partake in some optional activities. You could visit an orchid farm or whizz through the trees on zip-lines. If conditions are right, there might be a chance to hike through the forest at dusk, a unique opportunity to see the area’s nocturnal creatures begin to stir.

Day 7 Manuel Antonio National Park

Wave adios to Monteverde and hit the Pan-American Highway for a southward journey past beaches and palm plantations to Manuel Antonio (around 6 hours). Arrive at your accommodation, located close to the national park, and spend an evening at leisure. Tomorrow you’ll have the opportunity to explore the evergreen forest and the long, white beaches it nudges up against. Tonight, maybe take the family for a traditional Costa Rican meal at a soda (local restaurant), where you can mix with locals and try some of the region’s incredible fresh produce. Please note this dinner is not included, but your leader can give you tips on where to go and what to order!

Day 8 Manuel Antonio National Park

After breakfast enjoy a 3-hour guided walk along the trails that snake through Manuel Antonio National Park. Immerse yourself in nature and learn more about the area’s diverse wild and plant life from your guide. Look and listen carefully and you may be able to spot howler monkeys, two- and three-toed sloths, iguanas and more. The afternoon is free to explore this magical area further at your family’s desired pace. Maybe you’d like to relax on one of the idyllic palm-lined bays while the kids splash in the water. Active types have the option to rent equipment to kayak, surf or fish in the glittering ocean (for an extra cost). There are no wrong choices in this balmy paradise.

Day 9 San Jose

Rise and shine for your final morning in this beachside haven. Enjoy your last hours in Manuel Antonio with some free time before making the return drive to San Jose in the mid-afternoon (approximately 3 hours). There are no activities planned on arrival at San Jose but maybe head out as a group for a final optional dinner to reminisce about your time together.

Day 10 San Jose

There are no activities planned for today. Please remember to comply with the hotel’s internal check-out times if you are leaving today. Can’t get enough of San Jose? Why not head out on a Tropical Rainforest and Chocolate Urban Adventure, which uncovers the chocolate and wildlife secrets of the jungle. Find out more at urbanadventures.com/San-Jose-tour-tropical-rainforest-and-chocolate-adventure.

Availability

Checking price
Price From $ 2,185
Price Per Day: $ 219 per day
Checking price
Start DateFinish DateBase PriceAvailability 
Dec-29-2022Jan-07-2023$ 2,1858 spots left Reserve
Jan-01-2023Jan-10-2023$ 2,30016 spots left Reserve
Apr-01-2023Apr-10-2023$ 2,30016 spots left Reserve
Apr-08-2023Apr-17-2023$ 2,30016 spots left Reserve
Jul-02-2023Jul-11-2023$ 2,30014 spots left Reserve
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Jul-29-2023Aug-07-2023$ 2,30016 spots left Reserve
Jul-30-2023Aug-08-2023$ 2,30016 spots left Reserve
Aug-05-2023Aug-14-2023$ 2,30016 spots left Reserve
Dec-17-2023Dec-26-2023$ 2,30016 spots left Reserve
Dec-28-2023Jan-06-2024$ 2,30016 spots left Reserve
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3,899 Intrepid Travel Travel Reviews & Ratings

94%
4.6 out of 5 (100+ reviews)
Excellent 2,919
Great 646
Average 129
Disappointing 64
Terrible 141
Value
4.6
Guide
4.6
Activities
4.6
Lodging
4.6
Transportation
4.6
Meals
4.6

Costa Rica Family Holiday

This is an excellent jam

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
This is an excellent jam packed tour of Costa Rica & Panama. The stops are excellent, particularly Corcovado and san Gerardo de Dota. Andres is a brilliant guide and you would be extremely lucky to have him as your group leader.
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This is an excellent jam

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
This is an excellent jam packed tour of Costa Rica & Panama. The stops are excellent, particularly Corcovado and san Gerardo de Dota. Andres is a brilliant guide and you would be extremely lucky to have him as your group leader.
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Company Reviews

Logistical nightmare and boring stories

1.0
Details
Value1.0
Guide1.0
Activities1.0
Lodging1.0
Transportation1.0
Meals1.0
Turkey Encompassed tour, 2022.
I rarely bother with writing bad reviews because I like to give people the benefit of the doubt. But this is one of the worst purchase experiences in my 40 year life, so I hope this information can be helpful to you and keep you from a regretful purchase.

For a little context, we had 5 people on this tour. Two in their late 20s, one in their 30s and two in their 40s. The tour-mates made the tour bearable, but the tour itself was a disaster.

Let me list the ways this tour not only fell below expectations, but ruined an otherwise wonderful stay in a country full of warm people.

1. Hotels are below grade. They booked us in $25 a night (for two) hotels that smell like cigarette smoke, when we paid $250 a night (for two) for this tour. There were 3 nights like this out of 14. We know because we checked prices on some of these hotel rooms. Yes we know that our rate includes the bus, the guide and some of the entrance fees. By the way the tour did not include food. Taking into account the company’s margins it should still leave at least $150 a night to book us a decent room. So instead of enjoying a good night’s sleep I was taking allergy pills and wearing masks to get through the night. This is not ok.

2. We did not have a tour leader. Most tours have a tour leader who manages the logistics and a local guide who walk you through the sites. This tour tries to save money by making one person do both. This means the logistics was a nightmare, and no one took care of the tour people. Let me elaborate.

3. Time estimates are all over the place. We stopped at Troy and he said we will be there for 45 min. He started telling us historical facts in a boring way for 30 min, then we finally took a walk together and we didn’t exit until 1.5 hours later, that’s 2x the predicted time. This happened again at Ephesus, with an estimate of 3 hours without no bathroom access, in the raw 40C heat with no shade, and then it became 4 hours with such conditions. Keep in mind that the guide has been to this site at least 100 times already. To be this far off is appalling. Lunch times are unpredictable, so one day it’s at noon and the next day it’s at 3pm. And there’s no warning, so luckily we did not have diabetics on the tour. We were only 5 in the group, and it’s already chaos. I can’t imagine if it’s 10 or 12 people. I’ve never seen a tour managed so poorly.

4. The guide did not care about the health of the group. I understand the the guide is not the tour doctor, but it’s really basic human decency to check in, especially as a leader. Every person had tummy problems once or more during the trip. And people will say so out loud too, and obviously looked unwell at meals. But he never asked about it, or checked in on anyone afterwards. For all the talk of “hospitality” in the Turkish culture, I am amazed at this lack of care.

5. The stories are boring, we Google’d the info instead. When you get only one local guide for two weeks and you get a great one, awesome. But if you get a bad one, prepared to be bored out of your mind. This guy had credentials. Graduated four years from guiding school in Turkey and 15 years of actual guiding experience. But man, the stories, if you can even call them that, are boring. Lists of dates and facts is not a story. A 2 min story takes 30 minutes to tell. You might as well watch a YouTube video instead and learn more. An interesting aside, when the tour started, we had a kick-off meeting at the hotel. The travel company’s branch manager was there along with the guide to observe the kick-off meeting. The manager told us this tour guide is “one of their best.” Oh my. If this is the best they have then you have no hope of getting a good tour guide with this company my friend. Stay away.

6. You get no information, logistically speaking. This is the kicker. We booked a tour so we didn’t have to research what’s around the corner. The point of a guide is to guide you. To give you heads-up about where we’re visiting, how long it’ll be, where the good picture spot is, on-site conditions so you can be prepared for rough terrain, heat etc. you get the idea. But no. Nothing. In fact, I had to ask every-single-day for even the basic itinerary the next day. There was one day in Cappadokia when the guide took us for a one hour walk near the rock formations. The “walk” turned out to be a real bush-wacking experience, scaling slippery gravel, dropping into dry river beds between small canyon rocks, and exposed to bare sun in 100F heat for the entire “walk”. I would at least call that a hike and tell people to put on hiking shoes. I actually had hiking shoes that stayed useless in my suitcase while I scaled the steep gravel in unsuitable footwear. Luckily nobody got hurt. But this tour is rated for any age, as in a 65 year old can join, and I don’t know what could’ve happened then. It was a one-way walk so there was no turning back either
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I traveled with Intrepid on a 2-week…

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
I traveled with Intrepid on a 2-week trip to Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Armenian. The trip leader, Kesenia, escorted us to all the highlights these countries had to offer. We were met along the way by local guides who explained the history of the places we were visiting. Everyday was an adventure where we enjoyed great food, breathtaking scenery, and meeting local people. Spring is a great time to go and see mountains still covered in snow and trees starting to bloom.
All dedicated travelers should go to the Caucuses.
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I am a fairly experienced traveler: the worst trip ever

1.0
Details
Value1.0
Guide1.0
Activities1.0
Lodging1.0
Transportation1.0
Meals1.0
I am a fairly experienced traveler and have used several travel companies similar to Intrepid and consistently had great experiences. As a single mother, I wanted to give a memorable summer vacation to my 14-year old daughter, so based on the descriptions of the company’s Alaska Summer Family Vacation tour, I decided to pay close to $5,000 for both of us for this tour plus more than $2,000 for the air fare to do so.
I don’t even know where to begin. The guide was very short with me, rude to my daughter (several times he completely ignored her questions and attempt to having conversations with him) throughout the trip.

The native heritage center we were scheduled to visit on the first full day was closed (the business hours are CLEARLY stated on their website), so the guide took us to the Anchorage museum and just left us there for 4 hours - thank goodness I brought some snacks with us! When I asked the guide if there was any cafe at the museum, he, without a pause, immediately said “it’s closed”. As we walked through the museum, there it was, a nice cafe selling food. Finally, after 4 hours of killing time there, he took us to a lunch place PAST 3. Then the rest of the day was free. Basically it went on like this for the entire course of the tour, aside from a 6-hour cruise to glaciers (provided by a third party). In Seward, we had a lot of free time and we wanted to try and hike up the very popular Mount Marathon (we are both experienced hikers), so I asked him if the trail was open. He never got back to me until the last day, and he said it would take full 4 hours (a lie - only 2 hours per it’s website) to do the hike and it’s very, very steep (true), so we decided not to do it when we got some time in the afternoon. We were so upset when we found out it would take only 2 hours - we would certainly have done this popular trail but thanks to him who clearly couldn’t be bothered to provide accurate information, we missed this opportunity.

I was beginning to be concerned towards the end about how uneventful, literally lame and inactive this tour had been and how unhelpful the guide had been. My daughter started to complain about how incredibly “un-Alaskan” its been. Not a single hike contrary to the tour descriptions. Its been very wet, but that’s why we were all told to bring rain gear and be ready and we were ready. But nothing happened and our precious and very expensive time kept on flying by.

The worst came when we were driving back from Seward to Anchorage. The guide told us we could hike to see the Portage Glacier but “weather permitting”. Once we got to the information center, he outright told us “we have 2 options: 1. we hang out at the information center due to rain (?!?); or 2. we keep on going to Anchorage”. See, hiking was not an option we were given! There was another family with us and we all went to the visitor center to “hang out”, only viewing the glacier fr the distance. At this point, it was simply ridiculous and asked the guide why hiking was not an option. He very sharply, and intensely dismissively responded “it’s raining and it’s all about safety”. ???? I told him then why the trail was open and people have been going on the trail. He repeated it’s a matter of safety. He told us we could hang out at the center and watch a 20-minute “movie”. I asked the other family in the tour and one of them said she invested more than $400 for rain gear and its been completely wasted, and they were thinking also how underwhelming the tour had been. Then the heritage center we arrived. He told us we had 4 hours there. 4 HOURS in such a small, very compact place!!! My daughter and I essentially went around and around and around to kill 4 hours of our precious time. At that point, I realized my $5,000 I saved up was completely wasted, and asked the guide this was not worth the money, he could not keep doing this. You know what he said after a while? He said he’s been in touch with Intrepid about me complaining!!! I was super polite, never, ever complained up to this point, and he threatened me for “complaining”???? Looking back, I never once saw him wearing a rain jacket, not once. He just did not want to get wet!! I later called the office of the Portage glacier office on the same day and asked if the rain in the morning posed ANY danger. The person on the phone was very confused about why the rain could possibly be considered dangerous, and said “ well the trail has been open”. When I emailed BEFORE the trip was over to Intrepid about how the trip went and his incredibly bad behaviors, the email said I should have brought the concerns to the guide. When asked where $5,000 was spent for, complete silence. Stay away from this company. As soon as I brought up the financial worth, they just went silent. All the glorious “mission” of the company they put out, I guess the quality of the tour is not their interest. Money is.
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I lost my holiday money with intrepid

1.0
Details
Value1.0
Guide1.0
Activities1.0
Lodging1.0
Transportation1.0
Meals1.0
I booked a trip with Intrepid and paid for it. About a week later they told me they could not give me place on the trip, but they have not refunded money so I can't afford to book anything else. I cant get through to them on the phone and after two weeks I fear I will never get mt money back.

I have now incurred bank charges for the cost of a holiday I didn't get. I will be complaining to ABTA about the appalling practice of charging for non-existent holidays. Intrepid must be making a fortune from holding everyone's money for a month.
Read more

Details

Flight & Transport Inclusions

All internal ground transport Private Minivan

Group Size

Small Group - 24 max

Maximum Number of People in Group: 16

Accommodations

Hotels (8 nights),Homestay (1 night)

Guides

All Intrepid Family trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to assist your family to take the hassle out of your travels and help you have the best trip possible. Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for fun things to do and see - for both kids and parents, recommend great local eating venues that will even get the kids trying new things, and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. Our leaders are not babysitters on this trip - we leave that to you (the experts), but they will make sure that group members of all ages are able to explore their destination safely and with as much fun as possible. Our group leaders are not responsible for looking after children at any time and children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at all times throughout this itinerary.

Age Notes :

Min. Age: 5

Max Age: 99

Additional Information

Finish point

  • Autentico Hotel
  • Calle 40 with the corner of Avenida 5
  • San Jose
  • 10101
  • COSTA RICA
  • Phone: +506 22225266

Trip ID#:

intrepid-QCFM

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