October 30, 2013

Costa Rica Time

5 Fun Family Activities for Your Next Vacation to Costa Rica

Costa Rica is great for families. Great weather, friendly locals and reasonable prices make it a very family friendly destination. Perhaps the best part is that most of Costa Rica is still unpaved. While this can lead to bumpy roads at times, it also means plenty of pristine wildlife to observe. Our recommendations are inclined toward ecotourism activities. Not only do such activities help support sustainable tourism, but they are usually more fun as well. Below are five of our favorite family activities.

turtles- rainy season activities

1. Turtle tour. Costa Rica is a critical nesting habitat for the world’s sea turtles. Green, olive ridley, hawksbill and the giant leatherback turtles all come to Costa Rica to nest at varying times of the year. Whether you experience the arribada (which is the mass arrival of thousands of olive ridley turtles at the same time to lay their eggs) or the grandeur of a solitary eight foot long 1500 pound leatherback cow coming ashore to nest, it will have a profound effect on you and your family. Most of the turtle tours are conducted in national parks. A portion of your fee will go to conservation efforts to help these magnificent but endangered species.


2. Making chocolate. Costa Rican cacao produces fine rich dark chocolate. There are varying types of tours – everything from artisan makers using century old techniques to gourmet chocolatiers offering advanced classes in the sweet art of chocolate making. Many of the tours help support indigenous populations that have adapted sustainable techniques in the cultivation and harvesting of cacao beans as part of their chocolate tourism efforts. Inquire with the concierge of your Costa Rica house rentals about which tours are available in your area.


3. Mountain Biking. Whether you rent mountain bikes as your primary transportation or enjoy specialized mountain bike tours, Costa Rica is a great place to cycle. The rainforest is a magical place and the saddle of a mountain bike is a great way to enjoy it. Mountain bike tours have sprung up organically as an offshoot of other tourism activities. The vast acreage required by canopy tours means a lot of space goes unused. Some enterprising canopy tours have added trails (these were often “cut” by local workers riding their bikes through the jungle to service the cables and platforms of the canopy tours). Therefore, you can enjoy a canopy tour in the morning and have lunch and a guided mountain bike ride in the afternoon. Dinner in your Tamarindo vacation rentals always seems to taste better after such an active day!


4. Sloth Sanctuary. Located in Penhurst, in the province of Limon, the Sloth Sanctuary is a sloth rescue and research center. Originally reluctant sloth caregivers, the Sloth Sanctuary founder’s initial kindness in caring for an orphaned three-toed sloth named Buttercup has snowballed into a center that has rescued more than 500 sloths. The Sanctuary offers a standard Buttercup tour, which involves a canoe paddle nature tour and an up close meeting with Buttercup herself. A sloth insider’s tour offers all the activities of the Buttercup tour, plus special access to the sloth nursery where you will have access to tiny baby sloths – the cutest of the bunch. It is a wonderful experience and helps support a good cause.


5. Mud baths and thermal springs. Costa Rica is a land of volcanoes. With six active volcanoes, there are plenty of opportunities to see their awesome display of natural fury. More relaxing side benefits of the volcanoes are volcanic mud baths and thermal springs. The proprietors of the mud baths and thermal springs attribute everything from medicinal benefits from bathing in the heated water to dermatological benefits from applying the volcanic mud on your skin. While we cannot vouch for these claims, we can guarantee that they are a lot of fun.

Costa Rica is an outdoors destination. The ecotourism activities listed above make it a lot of fun for families. Bring your sunscreen, quick-dry clothes, a camera and a sense of adventure. You are sure to create memories that will last long after you return home.

Horizon Pacific Management & Rentals is located in Tamarindo, Costa Rica. Offering vacation rentals, property management, long-term rentals, as well as a complete concierge service. Providing you with a local contact during your stay, Horizon Pacific is a company you can trust, with the experience you need.