Considering Costa Rica travel? Costa Rica may not be one of the most obvious tourist destinations for your family holidays this summer, but it’s certainly worth considering if you want to teach your children about the importance of the world’s lush rain forests and let them play in clear blue seas. (In fact, recently a blogging friend and her entire family moved to Costa Rica to live. We’ll be following her experience as it’s posted.) The Central American country has more than its share of beautiful beaches and vibrant scenery, and the culture is very family oriented too – many people will spend their whole lives surrounded by parents, cousins, grandparents, aunts and uncles, meaning the locals are very welcoming towards children.
Here’s a quick look at some of the natural traits that make Costa Rica a worthy candidate for your travel itinerary, a wish list made all the more possible by a wide range of cheap holidays to Costa Rica in 2013.
As befits a country that has both an Atlantic and a Pacific coastline (Costa Rica is only just north of the Panama Canal), this Central American location has a range of beautiful beaches that offer everything from crystal-clear calm waters to world-famous surf spots. Increasingly, the global community is recognizing the natural beauty of the Costa Rican beaches, and in 2011 the country was named one of the world’s most beautiful beach destinations by Forbes magazine.
What is truly unique in Costa Rica is that the beaches are designated as national parks, and many of them sit directly adjacent to dense rainforests that give the ocean-side jungle scene a truly tropical look and feel. For the kids, try Playa Hermosa or Punta Uva, which have protected waters meaning it’s safe for swimming, or if you have teenagers Playa Tamarindo is an excellent stretch of sand for beginners learning how to surf.
Costa Rica’s unique geography also means that a range of species thrive in a variety of natural habitats here, from sea turtles and jaguars to silky anteaters and spider monkeys. To get closer to some of these creatures within a safe, child-friendly environment, a visit to some of the local sanctuaries is a must.
Cahuita, which lies close to the beach at Punta Uva, houses a sloth rescue centre (the only one in the world) where you can see different types of sloth that have been endangered either through the destruction of their habitat or the loss of their parents. See sloths in the hospital, take a canoe ride on the river to spot wild sloths and enjoy the cute babies at the end of your tour (the kids will adore these). Alternatively the Cahuita National Park is great for snorkelling not far from the shore, where 500 species of fish thrive amid beautiful corals.
One of the main reasons why Costa Rica has grown as a tourist destination in recent years is that they have been active in promoting ecotourism. At both public and private levels, the citizens of Costa Rica have worked hard to promote an ethical agenda in their tourist industry providing a fantastic opportunity to educate your children about the importance of looking after the planet.
A number of hotels are able to promote their green credentials, meaning that you can enjoy a beach holiday without worrying about your impact on the environment. Costa Rica has become one of the top global ethical tourist destinations, which has greatly improved the tourist infrastructure in the country. Family-friendly accommodations include: Arenal Observatory Lodge, El Sapo Dorado and the Hilton’s Doubletree Cariari.
So, if you are planning a trip to Costa Rica, then make sure to pack your beach wear and a keen sense of adventure. Even if you’ve never considered it before, Costa Rica is a destination that is only going to become more popular with families. Why not head there while it’s still a bit of an undiscovered gem? With a number of affordable holiday travel options, it’s also one of the most cost-effective tropical tourism destinations around.
Photo credit: David Berkowitz
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