Costa Rica has long been known as one of the most amazing, exotic and pristine eco-adventure destinations in the world. From beaches to volcanic mountains, from misty cloud forests to tropical rain forests, it offers families a matchless natural destination for adventure. Here are five fun-filled family activities on Nat Hab’s Family Costa Rica Adventure, all of which exemplify the Costa Rican saying of pura vida, or “pure life!”

Whitewater rafting Sarapiqui River Costa Rica

A family enjoys a rafting excursion on Costa Rica’s Sarapiqui River. (Image credit:

1. Wildlife Rafting

No, we’re not suggesting that you’ll be in the raft with a bunch of monkeys (other than possibly your own children!), but a lazy raft ride down the Sarapiqui River is a refreshing way to spend the day among nature. Located just a couple of hours outside of San Jose, you’ll feel like you’re a world away as you explore the rain forest and keep your eyes and ears open for monkeys, sloths, frogs and tropical birds.

Monkey climbing in Costa Rican rainforest La Selva Biological Station

A monkey hangs on to a tree in the rain forest at La Selva Biological Station. (Image credit: Jenna Bonnello)

2. La Selva Jungle Walk

La Selva is an internationally known rain forest research and conservation station that offers educational wildlife-viewing walks through the local jungle. Learn about global efforts to conserve rain forests on a guided walk through La Selva, while keeping an eye out for a variety of rain forest wildlife including butterflies and up to 400 different kinds of birds!

Arenal Volcano smoking above the Costa Rican rainforest

Arenal Volcano lets off steam above the rain forest canopy. (Image credit:


3. Live Volcanoes! That’s right, Costa Rica has numerous active volcanoes, which helps to provide some of the country’s renewable geothermal energy. It also makes for a great relaxing dip into the natural hot springs after an incredible cloud forest wildlife-viewing hike! Perhaps the most well known of them all is Arenal Volcano, where you can explore the local forest canopy and visit the observatory lodge.

Zipline Sky Trek adventure through the rainforest canopy

Whooshing through the rain forest canopy by zipline. (Image credit: Peter D. Krahenbul)

4. Whoop whoop!

Oh wait, I didn’t explain exactly how you may be exploring Arenal. For a taste of flying high in the sky, try the Sky Trek canopy zip line tour, where you can zing down a series of cables between the trees and mountains. Interestingly, did you know that the modern zipline tour—one of the most exhilarating ways to fly across a forest canopy or even an entire canyon—was invented in Costa Rica? That’s right, although ziplines in earlier forms go back as far as the 1800’s, modern canopy tours were invented in the 1970’s when biology graduate students/rock climbers clipped their carabiners onto a belay line to ascend a tree (instead of a granite face) in Costa Rica. This helped them to better explore the rain and cloud forest canopies and significantly improve their study of botany, zoology, entomology and ecology. To this day rain forest canopies remain the final frontier of discovering nature.

But don’t worry, if zipping down a mountain on a cable isn’t your speed, then you can always take a more relaxing return trip from the forest canopy via the tram.

Beach relaxation in Costa Rica with a view

The perfect beach lounger beside the white sands and blue waters of Costa Rica’s Guanacaste Coast. (© Natural Habitat Adventures)

5. Sun, Sand and Sea

A great way to relax and wind down (or wind up!) any Costa Rican adventure is with a bit of seaside activity. This is particularly true at Tamarindo beach, located on Costa Rica’s Guanacaste Coast. In addition to swimming, surfing, sea kayaking and snorkeling, you can also relax and enjoy a nice sunset cruise or catamaran excursion.

Or if you’re more of a landlubber, there’s plenty on offer inland, from visiting nearby national parks and wildlife refuges, to hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding, or just playing a leisurely game of tennis or golf.

Whatever flavor of adventure you and your family prefer, the land of pura vida is waiting for you and it is sure to please. Take your children or grandchildren on Nat Hab’s awesome Costa Rica family itinerary and you are bound to leave with a lifetime of fond memories!