Keeping Kids Busy in Costa Rica
Costa Rica always has something for the kids
Imagine the look on any youngster’s face the first time they see a sloth or hear a howler monkey. Think about how thrilled kids are when they’re able to stand up and surf a breaking wave all the way to shore. Envision the wide-eyed excitement they experience navigating a zip line through the jungle canopy at Hacienda Baru.
We’ve seen the looks on those faces, and it’s pure stoke.
The area near Dominical, in particular, has some great activities for kids. There are many wonderful beaches within a half-hour drive of our luxury vacation rentals. Two of these beaches, Dominical and Playa Hermosa to the south, have full-time lifeguards on duty. Hiking trails and waterfalls are abundant, and there are a few neat places with animals and reptiles that welcome visitors. In no particular order, here are some of our favourite local spots to take the kids while visiting Costa Rica’s southern Pacific zone:
Hacienda Baru Wildlife Refuge: The location is ideal for quick travel — it’s about 2 miles north of the Dominical town entrance — and there are a ton of cool things to do. Hacienda Baru offers a Monkey Challenge obstacle course, an EcoTram, a bird-watching tower, a whole bunch of guided nature tours, and a zip line that’s more suited for young kids than some of the other ziplines around the region.
Parque Reptilandia: This tropical reptile park is an awesome place for an educational family outing. There are more than 70 terrarium-style enclosures at the facility where kids can push their palms to the glass and check out some colorful creatures, many of which are native to Costa Rica. Parque Reptilandia is located about 10 minutes east of Dominical on the road toward Platanillo. It’s close to the entrance to Nauyaca Waterfall, which is another fun place to visit with the family.
Villa Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary: If you have children that are really into learning about animals and how the live, then Villa Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary is the call. But a warning, this is a rescue and rehabilitation center and not all of the these animals’ stories are positive, so prepare to hear things that can be a bit unsettling. As they say, the truth hurts sometimes. The employees and volunteers at this facility do an incredible job, both working with the animals as well as the daily human visitors. They’ve had so many success stories over the years, with rescues of baby sloths, ocelots, toucans, monkeys and the list goes on. Villa Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary is located between the towns of Dominical and Uvita, just a short distance off the coastal highway.
Surfing Lessons in Dominical: Odds are, you’re far more afraid of trying to surf than your kids are. We’ve seen it a thousand times — a 6-year-old is on her feet riding forever while dad crashes and burns on takeoff. It happens, and it’s humbling. But that life in the ocean. Surfing lessons are a great bonding experience. The failures and triumphs. The fist pumps and pats on the back. The sand in your hair. The photos. These moments last a lifetime. So put on your surf gear, lather up with sunblock and get out there. You have nothing to lose other than a tiny bit of pride. The kids will love you for it (and the pride will return around happy hour). Email us at [email protected], for more information.
- Happy Feet Ballet & Performance Art: Stop by during your stay to see what kids’ classes and workshops are on offer, and check out their theatrical performance schedule as well. Happy Feet offers instruction in everything from classical ballet to break dancing. Their company puts on some quality performance art, too. The studio is located above Patron’s restaurant in the middle of Dominical town. According to Happy Feet’s website, the age range to participate starts at 2 years old.