Mother hiking with girl

Fun for Everyone: Family Tips in San José


Costa Rica boasts impressive cloud and rain forests, colourful wildlife and a typical Caribbean atmosphere. There’s something for everyone in the capital San José and its surroundings, making your family holiday a guaranteed success. It’s up to you (and your children) whether you prefer to climb one of the largest craters, visit lemurs at a rescue centre or learn about traditional chocolate making. We have a few ideas to please everybody. 

La Paz Waterfall Garden
Wild cat

Water-seeking Ways: La Paz Waterfall Gardens

Luxurious tropical rainforest, splashing waterfalls, jungle cats, hummingbirds and monkeys, La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park has all this to offer. Picturesque hiking trails lead to five waterfalls that are regarded as among the most beautiful in Costa Rica. The park also includes the largest animal rescue centre in the country with over a hundred species. You should plan a whole day for a trip here, because there’s so much to see. If you’d like to stay longer, you can stay at Peace Lodge, a five-star boutique hotel with views of the Poás volcano and the valley of La Paz. 

Local food

Enjoyment for Every Taste: Jardín de Lolita

The remedy for demanding eaters: a food hall with a bit of everything. Jardín de Lolita is a mix of restaurants located in a green-planted hall close to the National Museum in the Barrio Escalante district. The communal benches and other group seating make it easy for families to get a table and taste all kinds of delicacies, from Caribbean specialities to pizza and ice cream. Every visitor will find something to suit them here!

Sloth hanging in tree

Good Deeds for Animals: Animal Rescue Center

The Costa Rica Animal Rescue Center is located in the small village of Cebadilla not far from San José, surrounded by small rivers, green hills and large fruit trees. Animals that have been rescued from illegal animal trafficking or that can no longer survive in the wild alone live there. The dedicated team of volunteers and a resident vet take care of the wellbeing of indigenous animals, including sloths, monkeys and parrots. Tours are offered daily, where the animals can be viewed up close and you can learn something about their stories and the exciting wildlife of Costa Rica. 

Museo de los ninos

Small Researchers: Museo de los Niños

At the children’s museum “Museo de los Niños” children can enhance their creativity and curiosity in interactive exhibitions and explore a wide range of topics through play. The forty museum galleries tell the story of Costa Rica's history and coffee and chocolate cultivation. It also has a playful dentist's practice, a marine area, a dinosaur exhibition and an earthquake simulation. The museum is the perfect excursion destination, especially in bad weather.


Lots of Fluttering at the Butterfly Garden

A green oasis in the centre of San Jose: you can relax, promenade and browse through a book undisturbed in the Butterfly Garden, surrounded by green plants and brightly coloured butterflies. The garden is one of the last remaining naturally forested areas in the city, and over twenty different butterfly species and flower plants are reared here in an ecologically sustainable way. The garden is just ten minutes from the centre and is located next to the Simón Bolívar Zoo. 

Man making demonstration

Sweet Dreams: The Sibö Chocolate Factory

It’s all about chocolate here. During an hour-long tasting Sibö’s master chocolatiers let you sample the taste of fresh cocoa fruits, roasted beans, traditional hot chocolate and chocolates. You’ll learn everything about the development of the flavour of chocolate and its role as a sacred ceremonial drink for the original inhabitants of Costa Rica. The tastings take place just outside the picturesque village of San Isidro, about 30 minutes north of San José city centre. 

Volcanic crater
Beautiful forest

Bubbling Beauty: Poás Volcano National Park

Costa Rica is also known for its impressive volcanoes. One of the largest craters can be found in the Poás National Park. In the park an asphalted road leads directly to the edge of the crater, so you can approach and admire the aquamarine blue and lively bubbling crater lagoon. The National Park offers hiking trails through cloud forest landscapes, interesting viewing points and a museum that traces the history of the park. Poás is about an hour and a half’s drive from San José and can therefore be reached more quickly than the equally popular and extremely active Arenal Volcano. 

Historic museum
Butterflies in exhibition

Flora, Fauna and Imagination: The La Salle Natural Sciences Museum

The La Salle Natural Sciences Museum has an extensive collection of animal specimens from Costa Rica and other areas around the world. A tour of the museum will reveal lifelike tigers, colourful birds, butterflies, fish and a wide variety of minerals. The perfect opportunity to learn about Costa Rica’s natural heritage. Children in particular will love this place, and not just because of the impressive dinosaurs! 

Photo Credits