KidTripster Teen: 5 things to do with your family in Costa Rica
From the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean Sea, Costa Rica is a haven for families who appreciate nature. The country is considered one of the most bio-diverse regions in the world with 20 national parks and 8 biological reserves. Snorkel with sea turtles, spot sloths in the rainforest or zip through the trees looking for parrots. Here are my top favorite things to do in Costa Rica, specifically in Fortuna.
There are many places to zipline while in Costa Rica. All of them will likely be amazing because of Costa Rica’s beauty. However, if you're staying in Fortuna, I’d strongly recommend going with Sky Adventures at Arenal Park. The Sky Trek zipline overlooks one of the most breathtaking volcanoes in Costa Rica. While riding the zipline, you’ll experience the rainforest from a bird’s-eye view. The staff is highly-trained and will make you laugh instead of being scared. The adventure begins by riding an open-air gondola from the ground to where the zipline starts. There are seven different lines, and you move from one to another, assisted by the staff. The whole experience takes about 2-1/2 hours. You really feel like you’re flying! Cost: Youth (taller than 3-ft. 11-inches, at least 88 lbs.) $53; Student (under 25 with school ID) $64; Adult (maximum weight 300 lbs.) $77.
KidTripster Tip: Don’t forget your student ID card to get a discount.
2/Go white water rafting
I highly recommend taking a day on your trip to experience rafting down the Pacuare River with Exploradores Outdoors. This beautiful river is ranked as one of the top rafting rivers in the world. You get to see many unique animals and remarkable nature. You’re on the river from 3-1/2 to 5 hours. This trip includes a bilingual guide, breakfast, lunch, rafting equipment, changing rooms, and transportation to and from wherever you stay in San Jose. The minimum age for this trip is 12 years old (December to May) and 14 years old (June to November), due to the changing conditions on the river. If you have kids that have never been rafting before, I’m sure that they can handle this trip. I wasn’t an experienced rafter, but my whole family and I had a blast. Cost: $99.
KidTripster Tip: Come wearing your swimsuit underneath shorts and a shirt that can get wet; then bring clothes to change into after your trip. There’s a secure place to store your bags while you’re rafting.
3/Tour Manuel Antonio Park
Touring Manuel Antonio Park was one of the highlights of my trip to Costa Rica. For those who love nature and learning new things, a tour with Manuel Antonio Expeditions will be unforgettable. A guide will take you through the park, showing you many animals, including sloths, monkeys, and reptiles, while also sharing some fascinating facts. At the end of the tour, you go to a beautiful, private white sand beach. The tour includes round-trip transportation, snacks, park entrance fees, and a guide. Cost: $46; ask about child discounts.
KidTripster Tip: The park is not open on Mondays. Also the park only allows a certain number of people in the park per day, so book early online. I’d recommend bringing lots of water and sunscreen, because there is not much shade, although you’d think a rainforest would have tons!
4/Stay at Los Lagos in Fortuna
If visiting Fortuna, I recommend staying at least a few days at Los Lagos Hotel, Spa & Resort. The rooms are beautiful, clean, comfortable, and can accommodate a big family; we have six in my family! One of the highlights of this resort is the hot springs which are heated from groundwater and magma from the Arenal Volcano. Along with the hot springs, there are also cold water pools with three awesome slides. It’s a very family-friendly place with many cool features.
KidTripster Tip: There are shuttles that can take you to and from your room, the pool, the lobby, or the restaurant. While we usually walked to the pool, we used the shuttle when going back to the room, as it’s uphill.
5/Eat at Soda Viquez in Fortuna
Soda Viquez is a small restaurant in downtown Fortuna that is delicious and authentic. Just ask a taxi driver where it is; he or she will know. A local recommended this place to my family, and we loved it. It’s very reasonably priced and has good quality food. There are many options for picky eaters like me. This place is good for either lunch or dinner.
KidTripster Tip: If you like rice and chicken, I would strongly encourage you to try the arroz con pollo here. It was the best that I tasted on the trip!
Lauren Williams is a high school junior from Portland, Oregon. She enjoys baking, soccer, hiking, and outdoor activities with her three crazy sisters.