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If you're planning on bringing the kids along for your vacation to Costa Rica, picking a good place to stay is among the first decisions you'll make when booking your trip. However, the types of accommodations you'll find and the scenery you'll have in the background largely depends on which part of the country you visit.
The Pacific Coast—near the Manuel Antonio National Park or the beach towns of Quepos, Jaco, and Puntarenas—has white sandy beaches, tropical rainforests, and an abundance of wildlife including sloths, monkeys, and exotic birds. Likewise, the Cartago Province between Limon and San Jose features tropical rainforests, the Irazu Volcano, cloud forests, and mountain ranges. Meanwhile, you'll find the Arenal Volcano and its many hot springs and the Poas Volcano in the Alajuela region as well as waterfalls and whitewater rafting adventures.
If you're looking to stay in an all-inclusive resort during your trip, you'll find them all over Costa Rica. However, while not all of the resorts are kid-friendly, these nine roll out the red carpet for families with special amenities for guests of all ages.
Made famous by "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" and featured as the host hotel for ABC's "The Bachelor in Costa Rica," the Springs Resort & Spa is more family-friendly than the shows let on.
With its hot springs, fine dining, and spectacular views of the Arenal Volcano, this gorgeous inland resort is an upscale, relaxing home base for a family adventure. You don't need to leave the property for excursions that include river tubing and horseback riding, and there's also an on-property animal sanctuary that is home to big cats, monkeys, sloths, and more.
In the town of Quepos on the fringe of Manuel Antonio National Park, the boutique-style Arenas Del Mar Beachfront & Rainforest Resort offers suites overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
Other amenities include two pools, a nice beachfront, and a knowledgeable staff that can set you up with a local zip line tour or an expert guide to lead a hike through Manuel Antonio. Also, guests can choose from two on-site gourmet restaurants—Playitas Beachfront or Mirador Oceanview—for dock-to-dish dining options the whole family can enjoy.
The Si Como No Resort and Wildlife Refuge offers guests the perfect combination of beach access and rainforest immersion. Get the best of both worlds at this mid-sized boutique hotel, which is located just outside the Manuel Antonio National Park.
Featuring a great pool, private cinema, butterfly garden, complimentary beach shuttle, and beautiful views of the surrounding rainforest wildlife as well as the nearby Pacific Ocean, Si Como No is a great destination for the whole family. Nearby activities include zip-lining and mangrove tours for all ages along with whitewater rafting for older kids and adults.
If you and your family truly want to get away from it all without sacrificing comfort or safety during your trip to Costa Rica, consider staying at the Rafiki Safari Lodge. This upscale eco-lodge is located on an 843-acre private reserve just 30 kilometers from Manuel Antonio along the Savegre River, which makes it great for a wildlife-rich glamping vacation.
Toucans and monkeys can be spied on the property, and there's a pool with a water slide plus rafting and kayaking nearby. Accommodations are luxury safari tents (with plumbing), and meals are included in the rate.
Home to the largest swimming pool in Central America, the JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort and Spa is an upscale resort located just off the beach of Playa Mansita, south of Tamarindo and west of El Guapote.
Both parents and kids can get the kind of vacation they want at the JW Marriott, which offers guests access to a beach club, biking and jogging trails, an 18-hole golf course, a children's club, a luxurious spa, and a slew of recreational activities perfect for the whole family—including your pets!
As you might expect from this brand of luxury hotels and resorts, the Four Seasons Costa Rica offers plush accommodations among a prime section of the 2,300-acre Peninsula Papagayo in Costa Rica's northwestern Guanacaste Province.
Constructed on a hillside overlooking the Pacific Ocean, accommodation options at the Four Seasons include guest rooms, suites, and villas. For entertainment appropriate for the whole family, there are multiple pools, tennis courts, a golf course, a nice beach, and a complimentary children's program for kids ages 4 to 12.
The all-inclusive Barcelo Tambor Beach Resort is one of the larger hotels in Costa Rica, offering 402 rooms and suites that all feature balconies and television sets.
It also provides guests with access to a mini-golf course, a lovely beach, water sports, tennis courts, a climbing wall, and multiple pools, including one just for little kids that has water spray feature. If you're looking for a way to get away from the kids for a while during your vacation, you can also enroll them in a kids club for ages 4 to 12 or a teen club for ages 13 to 17.
The perfect "home away from home" resort in Costa Rica, where you can kick back and relax with your family for an entire week, might just be the Tulemar Resort. This plush resort offers spacious octagonal villas for rent called Buena Vista Villas that feature full kitchens and laundry machines as well as access to a private beach and multiple pools.
Set among the rainforest on the 33-acre Tulemar Gardens property, the Tulemar Resort provides a tranquil escape the whole family can enjoy, though it doesn't have nearly as many kid-friendly attractions as some other destinations.
Located just five minutes from Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO), the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Cariari San Jose offers a convenient and comfortable stay on your first or last night in Costa Rica with your family.
Standard guest rooms have two queen beds, but you can also book suites ranging in size from oversized queen rooms to those with two bedrooms, a living room, and two bathrooms. Families staying in suites also have access to the executive lounge, which serves complimentary breakfast and afternoon appetizers every day of the year.