Costa Rica's Family-Friendly Hotels Make Traveling with the Tribe a Breeze

As more travelers choose Costa Rica for their family's vacation, a growing number of family-friendly hotels now cater to the needs of the whole tribe. The Costa Rica Mariott Hotel San Jose tops of the list of family-friendly hotels, offering all the amenities you and your kids could ask for right on-site, including two outdoor swimming pools that are practically guaranteed to keep little ones smiling day and night. At the Best Western Irazu, the whole family can let off some steam and practice serving aces on the hotel’s tennis courts, while the attached Denny’s restaurant open 24 hours is a bonus. If your family can’t live without a bathtub, you’ll find one in every room of the Balmoral Hotel in San Jose. Sometimes, it’s the  details that make all the difference, like the warm chocolate chip cookie served to each guest upon check-in at the Doubletree Cariari Hotel San Jose; a tasty touch that all ages can enjoy. This top ten list of family friendly hotels in Costa Rica will make your stay more delightful and relieve some of the stress of a group trip so you can focus on la pura vida and enjoy quality time with your loved ones.



As the name suggests, this bed and breakfast style hotel is located in a beautiful property dating back to 1915, updated with all the modern amenities that don't detract from the beautiful architecture of the time. Each of the rooms is tastefully decorated and comes with a private bathroom, cable TV and air conditioning or fan. The beautiful surroundings and internal gardens, lounges and reading areas will make you feel at home. Just 5 minutes from Juan Santamaria International Airport, Hotel 1915 is located in Alajuela city, a good base from which to navigate tourist attractions like the Poas Volcano, Arenal Volcano, waterfalls and the Butterfly Farm.

Recommended for Family-Friendly Hotels because: A charming open-air lounge is an inviting space to relax and regroup between outings.

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Beyond Puerto Viejo de Limon a few kilometers to the south, this beachfront resort hotel is quiet except for the sounds of nature: waves crashing on beautiful Playa Chiquita and howler monkeys having fun in the jungle that surrounds the grounds. Remote doesn't mean without amenities, and this place takes extra care to cater to its guests- you'll find your every need met at this romantic yet also family friendly hotel; the exquisite beachfront grounds are ideal for wedding celebrations, and the individual cabins are perfect for honeymoon escapes, although Almonds & Corals is kid-friendly, too, with plenty of on-site natural attractions to keep the little ones entertained.

Recommended for Family-Friendly Hotels because: There's hardly a need to leave the premises of this beach front hotel with plenty of on-site natural attractions.

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Hotel Santo Tomas
Photo courtesy of Sophia LaMonica

Like many a treasure in San Jose, Costa Rica, Hotel Santo Tomas lies behind an unassuming facade of steel gates, but once inside it opens into a spacious place, a French Victorian style mansion. Rooms are of varying sizes, solo travelers and small families will be right at home, and the upstairs balcony rooms enjoy a view of the heated outdoor pool and jacuzzi. There is wi-fi throughout the hotel, and a hot breakfast is included for guest. The restaurant, The Oasis, is open for happy hour and dinner, too, and it's a nice place to meet fellow travelers. Walk to the Jade Museum and many San Jose sttractions.

Recommended for Family-Friendly Hotels because: Proximity to all the city's attractions and a heated outdoor pool give this cozy hotel lots of cred.

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The name actually refers to the proximity of many of Costa Rica's adventures, but the grounds are quite peaceful and guests are also able to head into the city and visit a variety of cultural attractions, too, such as the National Theater, the National Museum, the Gold Museum, and the Jade Museum. Another bonus is that the airport is only a short taxi ride away. Each of the 34 large rooms at the Adventure Inn Hotel features air conditioning and most offer views of the nearby mountains, and access to the pool- a treat for kids of all ages. A buffet breakfast is included for all guests.

Recommended for Family-Friendly Hotels because: The cool pool and buffet breakfast win major points with kids of all ages.

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For such a modern hotel, the Doubletree Cariari by Hilton San José maintains a warmth and attractiveness that is hard to find in other full-service facilities. Thoughtful decoration incorporates colorful textiles and local art work to complement the views of the mountains and the hotel's own tropical pools. Ideal for business travelers and families, the hotel is just five minutes from Juan Santamaria International Airport and ten minutes from downtown San José, and offers a signature warm chocolate chip cookie upon check-in. Going above and beyond, this Doubletree has been awared with four leaves by the Costa Rican government on its Certificate of Sustainable Tourism, meaning your stay helps contribute to the hotel's efforts to preserve the environment.

Recommended for Family-Friendly Hotels because: Chocolate chip cookies upon check-in start the stay out on a good foot.

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The Barceló San José Palacio is a 5-star hotel that caters to business travelers, with its own 1000 person capacity conference center, spacious rooms, sports facilities, and a casino. This hotel is located in close proximity to the Tobías Bolaños airport and only a few kilometers from the center of San Jose. Find all the amenities you would hope to encounter at this internationally recognized hotel brand, and, especially for such a large hotel, it's notable that it has received the Certificate of Sustainability and goes above and beyond to serve its high caliber guests as well as the environment.

Recommended for Family-Friendly Hotels because: The whole family can appreciate this 5 star hotel with all the amenities.

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Best Western Plus San Jose
Photo courtesy of Sophia LaMonica

The Best Western Irazú is a huge hotel- 325 rooms- designed to suit travelers on their way in or out of Costa Rica. Free airport shuttles in both directions, currency exchange, conference rooms, and free breakfast are just some of the amenities available. A super-size swimming pool and big Jacuzzi are bonuses, as are a tennis court and a more modest sized gym. Perhaps one of the hotel's finer points is the attached Denny's restaurant, that is open all day and night, and the La Cantina bar with its free daily happy hour. Also onsite is Casino Concorde, Costa Rica's largest 24-hour casino.

Recommended for Family-Friendly Hotels because: A gigantic swimming pool and a Denny's on-site bring smiles to faces young and old.

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Balmoral Hotel has everything one might need within its 6 stories and 112 rooms. Perfect for business travelers, this hotel has a conference rooms, banquet halls, and fitness facilities. All of the amenities are included, like air-conditioning, cable tv, hair dryers, and coffee makers, and in the superior rooms and suites- minibars and bathtubs- both rarities in Costa Rica. An on-site restaurant and sports bar are good places to unwind or warm up. Its downtown location is a ideal base for exploring the city, and the staff is helpful with arranging tours to attractions and cultural activities around the city. An airport shuttle to and from the hotel can also be arranged for a reasonable fee.

Recommended for Family-Friendly Hotels because: Bathtubs in every room make unwinding easy after a long day of sightseeing.

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Aranjuez Hotel
Photo courtesy of Sophia LaMonica

The Hotel Aranjuez is a multi-level maze of indoor and outdoor spaces, designed and laid-out to capture the experience of a real traditional Costa Rican home. Interspersed with tropical gardens and casual seating areas, this bed and breakfast is decorated with an enviable collection of art by local artists. Each room is distinctly different, but all have the gleaming wood floors and are meticulously preserved and updated with fine furnishings, hot water, satellite TV and WiFi access. For breatkfast, guests are invited to dine in the sunken garden of an inner courtyard and feast on a buffest of tables piled high with tropical fruit, homemade bread and pastries, and gallo pinto; an omelette maker will custom craft your eggs however you like.

Recommended for Family-Friendly Hotels because: The buffet breakfast with tables heaped full of fresh-baked pastries is a sure-fire crowd-pleaser.

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Not your everyday Marriott, this beautiful luxury hotel is actually a colonial hacienda set on a 30 acre coffee plantation. With its exquisite architecture, enchanting grounds, and stellar service, it is no wonder Conde Nast voted it one of the best hotels in all of Central America and Mexico. It has two outdoor pools, a golf driving range, a coffee inspired Kuo Spa, and an amazing restaurant, La Isabela, recognized for its tapas and wine. While the staff is eager to arrange tours to the nearby butterfly and orchid gardens and volcano expeditions, an on-site gym with state-of the art fitness equipment, tennis course, and jogging trails can keep you entertained without leaving the premises.

Recommended for Family-Friendly Hotels because: Two outdoor swimming pools for the kids and a coffee inspired spa for parents make this hotel a family favorite.

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Meet Sophia LaMonica

On Sophia's first trip to Costa Rica, she came face to face with white-faced monkeys, gasped at the sight of giant purple crabs, and rode horseback through plunging waterfalls. Costa Rica...  More About Sophia