If your base camp for the day is the capital city of San José, there are lots of kid-friendly things to do; here are a few favorites: Start the day with a traditional Costa Rican desayuno at La Criollita- the fare is wholesome and filling, and the back patio has a bird garden that kids find fascinating.Green Iguana — Photo courtesy of slamonica
The Museo de Ninos houses an entertaining collection of Costa Rica's history within castle-like walls of a former army barracks. Not far from the city, InBio Parque is a nature-themed amusement park with interactive exhibits that invites kids and adults to learn lots about the wild world of Costa Rica.
Green Caterpillar in Monteverde — Photo courtesy of justinknabb
A day in Monteverde with the kids will be full of adventure and surprises. You may not be able to refuse a zipline adventure or a horseback ride, but make sure you squeeze in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve- a wonderful way to while away the afternoon amidst the splendor a lush tropical rainforest. Kids aren't the only ones who'll get a kick out of all there is to see at the Mundo de los Insectos and the frog and reptile expo Ranario. It should be easy to get the kids to eat their greens at a farm-fresh dinner at Chimera, especially if you suggest skipping the bedtime stories and embarking instead on the eerily entertaining Hidden Valley Night Tour.
Pinky's Pancakes — Photo courtesy of slamonica
Along the Caribbean coast, slow down to a snail's pace and enjoy relaxing, exploring, and taking in the natural beauty of the region. Get the kids in the mood with a stack of Pinky's Pop-Up pancakes drizzled in maple syrup- find them at the Lizard King Resort in Puerto Viejo de Limon, where iguanas and skinks may entertain you while you wait.
Visit the easily accessible National Park in Cahuita in the morning for an easy hike beneath a canopy of howler monkeys, but look out for yellow viper snakes that like to nestle in bushes around pint-sized eye level. Consider a tour of the family-friendly Cacao Museum, or return to Puerto Viejo and head south along the road to the Jaguar Rescue Center, where sloths and monkeys are among the residents that greet visitors during twice daily tours. Pack a picnic and take the kids to Playa Chiquita, and spend the rest of the day on a beautiful beach with calm waters and stretches of soft sand perfect for castle-building.