Great Reasons to Start Planning a Costa Rica Vacation for the Whole Family
Taking your family to Costa Rica is more than just a vacation — it’s a firsthand educational experience. Contrary to travel brochures, Costa Rica is so much more than seeing picturesque beaches and ordering margaritas. Costa Rica is known as the happiest country in the world, largely due to it’s beautiful landscape and robust social programs.Below are some of the main reasons you should make Costa Rica your next family vacation destination:
Costa Rican culture is largely influenced by customs of immigrants from Spain, Jamaica, and China. While Spanish is the country’s official language, many Costa Ricans speak English, Creole, Mandarin, and Bribri. Costa Rica is a peaceful nation who hasn’t had an armed force since 1949. Public programs are a big priority, with a lot of focus on providing robust healthcare and educational opportunities for citizens.
Cultural Activities to Enjoy:
- Palmares Fiestas in January
- The International Festival of Arts during the last two weeks of March
- Dia de la Virgen del Mar in July
- Independence Day on September 15th
- Festival de la Luz in December
- Local Theatre: Costa Rica is home to the National Theater, which is not only a beautiful building but has great historical significance as well. If you can’t catch a show, you can still tour the building to learn about Costa Rica’s history of theater.
- Eating at a Soda: Don’t fall into the trap of eating at tourist traps run by foreign interests. Sodas are local mom-and-pop restaurants that typically specialize in large plates of food.
- Museums: For an in-depth learning experience, visit the pre-Columbian Gold Museum, which has Central America’s largest collection of indigenous gold jewelry. There’s also the Children’s Museum, which is full of interactive exhibits for kids.
- Music and Dance: There are tons of places to dance and enjoy Costa Rica’s exuberant music scene. Make sure you visit at least one dance club or live music show while you’re there!
Costa Rica hosts more than 5 percent of the world’s biodiversity even though its landmass only takes up .03 percent of the planet’s surface. In fact, the tropical areas of the same continent as Costa Rica contain a greater diversity of species and ecosystems than any other tropical region in the world. Over 500,000 species live in Costa Rica, 300,000 of which are insects. This is nearly 4 percent of Earth’s total species population.
Activities to Enjoy Costa Rica’s Biodiversity:
- White Water Rafting
- Sea Kayaking
- Horseback Riding
As with all outdoor adventures, you’ll want to make sure you’re well prepared. Close-toed shoes that allow you to keep your balance during steep hikes are recommended. You’ll also want to take protein-filled snacks and a quality water filter to make sure your adventure isn’t cut short by hunger and thirst. Be sure to do your research on the type of filter that is useful for the water in the area where you’ll be.
For ziplining, rafting, and other group activities, try to find a locally run company — these guides will be more knowledgeable, and your tourist funds will be flowing into the local economy instead of to outside corporations benefiting off of the local tourism industry.
One of the biggest environmental issues the earth faces today is deforestation. In 1996, Costa Rica passed a ban on the razing of mature forests, among other positive environmental changes.
You can participate in Costa Rica’s environmentally mindedness by staying in an Eco Lodge and seeking out restaurants, activities, and tours that actively practice and promote sustainability.
Costa Rica isn’t the cheapest destination in Central America, but when compared to other destinations like the Caribbean, it’s a very thrifty travel option. With tourism being an important part of the country’s economy, you’ll find several good deals on your visit. Countries like Costa Rica raise value to accommodate for the widespread tourism because it is their number one industry.
Compared to what you’re used to paying back at home, some things are relatively cheaper, like public transportation, local restaurants (sodas serve large plates of food for $5-$8), and full functioning budget hotels that run from $50-$75 per night. If you utilize some frugal traveling practices, you can definitely experience an unforgettable vacation without jeopardizing your budget.
Taking the family to Costa Rica is a history class, geography class, and a botany class all crammed into one vacation. Giving kids a new perspective by experiencing the forests and culture of Costa Rica is a hands-on experience that will stay with them forever.
About The Author: Brooke Faulkner is a writer and mom in the Pacific Northwest. She’s teaching her sons to appreciate all cultures and never fear doing something new. You can see more of her writing by following her on twitter, @faulknercreek