Choosing The Right Adventure Tours In Costa Rica For Your Family

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One of the draws of Costa Rica is its natural landscapes and wildlife. Despite only covering a small percentage of the earth’s landmass, the country has almost 5% of the earth’s biodiversity. And the landscape in the country is a mix of jungles, mountains, canyons, and rivers. As a result, adventure tours in Costa Rica are quite popular. People come to Costa Rica to take advantage of all the fun activities you can do out in nature.

We’ve been in Costa Rica with kids for about two weeks, and already we’ve done ziplining and hikes in the rainforest, along with hanging out on the beach! Our kids are loving this time in nature. Even I’ve been enjoying all the adventure tours in Costa Rica that our family has been experiencing. We were recently invited to take a river float near the town of La Fortuna with a company called Desafio Adventure Company. We had a great time spotting animals with our kids while floating down a river.

Getting ready for our river float (March 2019)

Visiting La Fortuna with kids

There are many cities and towns in Costa Rica that families can visit. For our family, we decided to spend some time in La Fortuna. The town is located at the base of the Arenal Volcano in the north central province of Alajuela. Visiting La Fortuna with kids is relatively easy to do, as the drive is only a few hours from San Jose, if you’re taking a private car. Alternatively, you can get to La Fortuna via a shuttle or a public bus.

La Fortuna is so named because of the fertile lands that the town sits on. No doubt this is a product of being so close to the volcano. If you’re coming to La Fortuna with kids, you’ll be able to find a number of hotels and Airbnbs where you can stay with your family.

adventure tours in Costa Rica
The Arenal Volcano near La Fortuna (March 2019)

Doing activities in La Fortuna

Once you’re here, there are plenty of activities in La Fortuna. Many of the activities center around visiting the volcano, exploring the surrounding farmlands, or taking advantage of the rivers and hot springs that flow through the area. When you first get to La Fortuna with kids, head to Fortuna Park. There, you will find a number of tour companies offering activities in La Fortuna, all centered around the park. You can also walk along Route 142 and find additional companies that offer adventure tours in Costa Rica.

For one of our activities in La Fortuna, we chose to do a river float along the Peñas Blancas River with Desafio Adventure Company. It was the perfect thing to do in La Fortuna with kids because it didn’t require too much skill or activity. We simply had to put on the life vests provided to us, and sit in the raft and float along the river. My husband and the other two guests in our tour did some paddling, along with our guide, but the kids and I had it easy! We just had to look out into the river and see all the beautiful wildlife that live in the gallery forest.

Walking by Fortuna Park in La Fortuna (March 2019)

Choosing the right adventure tours in Costa Rica for your family

When you’re coming to Costa Rica with kids, it’s important that you choose the right adventure tours in Costa Rica. Not all adventure tours are created equal. One thing I’ve learned while being here in Costa Rica is that there are many companies simply looking to cash in on the tourism money, with minimal concern for safety or environmental impact

For families traveling to Costa Rica with kids, the safety of our family is important, and plays a big role in our decision making. If you’re not sure how to go about choosing the right adventure tours in Costa Rica for your family, here are a couple of my suggestions.

Our river float with Desafio Adventure Company (March 2019)

Choose established tour providers

My first suggestion is to choose established tour providers for your adventure tours in Costa Rica. Companies that have been in business for a long are more likely to be familiar and compliant with the tourism rules and regulations in Costa Rica. They also will likely have internal policies and procedures in place to make sure their guests are safe. When we were looking for tour companies in La Fortuna, we chose Desafio Adventure Company because they’ve been around since 1992.

adventure tours in Costa Rica
Raft from Desafio Adventure Company (March 2019)

Take a look at their reviews

Another suggestion is to read the reviews of the company on sites like Trip Advisor. Take a look at what other travelers are saying about the company. Keep in mind that you’re still only reading people’s opinions. They are undoubtedly influenced by their own personal biases. But looking at multiple reviews and finding consistent themes can help you get a big picture view of what a particular company is like. Desafio Adventure Company was rated 5 stars out of over 3,000 reviews, so we were pretty comfortable with going with them for our adventure tours in Costa Rica.

Enjoying our river float (March 2019)

Read up on their safety standards

Safety is important to us as parents, and we want to make sure the companies we select have standards in place to keep their guests safe. We have precious cargo, after all! When choosing a tour company, look at their website and see what they have to say about safety. When we were browsing through Desafio Adventure Company, we were glad to see that “Be Safe” was one of their two operating rules for their company (the other rule is “Have Fun,” in case you’re curious). They maintain and revise their equipment annually, and all their guides are trained. Knowing this helped ease our mind when we went on our tour with them.

The guides at Desafio Adventure Company (March 2019)

Select age appropriate activities

When you’re traveling to Costa Rica with kids, you know that not every activity or tour will be appropriate for your kids’ ages or skills. Many of the adventure tours in Costa Rica may be too advanced for young kids or toddlers. But that doesn’t mean that you have to rule them all out completely. Take a look at the selection of tours offered by companies in Costa Rica. In our case, out of the over 30 adventure tours in Costa Rica that Desafio Adventure Company offered, about half of them were fairly family friendly. We worked with the company to decide which tour would be best for our young family.

adventure tours in Costa Rica for families
Walking down to the river (March 2019)

Consider their environmental philosophy

A final thing to think about when choosing the right adventure tours in Costa Rica to take with your family is to consider their environmental philosophy. Sustainable tourism is important in Costa Rica, and choosing companies that make that part of their mission is ultimately a good thing for the environment. One of the things I learned about Desafio Adventure Company when researching them for our tour was the activities they do as a company towards sustainable tourism. The company has programs that help with reforestation and river clean ups. And they support projects within the community that benefit youth and seniors.

adventure tours in Costa Rica
Floating along the river (March 2019)

Enjoying Costa Rica with kids

It’s so easy to enjoy Costa Rica with kids. Between the nature and the activities that abound here, it’s hard to imagine an easier place to enjoy a family vacation! We’ve been savoring our time here, and enjoying all the adventure tours in Costa Rica that we’ve been experiencing. There is so much that this country has to offer!

Have you done some adventure tours in Costa Rica? What are your suggestions for picking the right one?

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. We received a hosted tour from Desafio Adventure Company in exchange for this post. However, the views expressed in this post are completely my own.

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The Wandering Daughter

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10 Responses

  1. I did that exact river ride from La Fortuna with Desafio about 15 years ago! At the time I was in Arenal hobnobbing with the official Costa Rica National Futbol team. Costa Rica is my first travel love so I’ve enjoyed revisiting through your posts recently. Hoping we’ll get our family there next year.

    1. That’s great! It’s good to hear that they’re still offering the same types of activities that they did years ago.

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