Our children's prices are now up to 25% lower than the adult cost for Exodus-operated guided trips, and that goes for ages up to 16 years!

Costa Rica Family Escape

8 days
Activity level:
Trip code: 
Ways to Travel:
Family Group, Private Group Adventures
Group size:

A week's escape for all the family in vibrant Costa Rica 

Awaken your senses on a magical escape to Costa Rica full of activities that the whole family will love. Zip wire across the cloud forest, try whitewater rafting in Costa Rica's exhilarating Balsa River, swim in a waterfall and take a boat trip to see dolphins off the Pacific Coast. Stay in comfortable, well located hotels, most with swimming pools to splash about in. This action packed week will leave you refreshed and full of memories of Costa Rica's most famous saying: "Pura Vida" or "Pure Life". 


  • Adventure lovers will enjoy trying the included zip-lining and whitewater rafting excursions!
  • Join a night walk in Monteverde to see the cloud forest come alive at night
  • Relax on Carrillo beach and enjoy the Pacific coastline
  • Snorkelling and boat excursion to see dolphins 
  • Experience the beauty and vibrancy of tropical Costa Rica  

Key information

  • Travel by minibus, boat and on foot
  • Group normally 4 to 16, plus local leader
  • 7 nights comfortable hotels
  • Countries visited: Costa Rica

What's included

  • All accommodation
  • All breakfasts and 2 lunches 
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call for general departures:
056 631 8671
Call for private group trips:
056 631 8671
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 


San Jose
San Jose Airport
  • Day 1

    Start San Jose.

    The group flight usually arrives into San Jose this afternoon. Land Only clients should aim to arrive at the hotel this afternoon/evening. This evening's welcome briefing is the perfect opportunity to meet your guide and get to know your fellow travellers.

    Accommodation: Studio Hotel (or similar)

  • Day 2

    To Arenal; La Fortuna Waterfall walk.

    We drive to the area surrounding Arenal Volcano. Following a large eruption in 1968, Arenal was Costa Rica's most active volcano until recently when it entered a resting phase. There is a lot of geo-thermal activity in this area, with natural hot springs, waterfalls and Lake Arenal waiting to be discovered.

    Today we visit La Fortuna Waterfall, a 65 metre cascade of water plunging into an emerald pool below. A short trail through the rainforest brings us to a steep set of steps that we must descend to reach the waterfall and then ascend to the exit - this takes around 20-30 minutes and will be rewarded with a swim in the emerald pool. It is possible to visit the lookout point and wait for the group here if you prefer. There will be plenty of time to see what animals you can spot in the forest along the way; keep an eye out for colourful toucans in the trees!

    Accommodation: Arenal Paraiso (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    Try grade II and III whitewater rafting on the Balsa River.

    After breakfast we make our way towards the Balsa River for an exhilarating whitewater rafting excursion. The rapids here are graded II and III and have nicknames such as “Magnetic Rock” and “Dredges” – prepare to get wet and wild on this adventure which is sure to be great fun for everyone! No experience of this activity is needed as a full safety briefing and instruction is given before getting into the rafts. Tropical scenery flanks the river and we may spot monkeys, toucans or other animals in the surrounding forest. There will also be a stop for drinks and tropical fruits along the way.

    On our return to La Fortuna we stop to enjoy a delicious lunch at “Vida Campesina”, a traditional country estate that allows visitors to experience typical country life in Costa Rica. Lunch will be made with ingredients harvested on the property and prepared on a wood stove in traditional style.  

    Accommodation: Arenal Paraiso (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 4

    To Monteverde in the Tilaran Mountains; night walk to experience the cloud forest in the dark!

    From Arenal we travel to the Tilaran Mountain Range in the Central Highlands for a taste of the Costa Rican cloud forest. Reaching Monteverde involves a fast boat across Lake Arenal which is incredibly scenic and will take roughly half an hour. Our journey is then completed by private minibus as we ascend the hills towards Monteverde, a forest-cloaked region whose name literally means 'Green Mountain'. The high altitude supports a complex eco-system where plants thrive, particularly orchids of which there are some 400+ different varieties here. Our total journey time will be in the region of 3.5 hours, including the lake crossing.

    Around 6pm we have a night walk to experience the forest in the dark. This gives an entirely new perspective on the habitat of the cloud forest, with many pairs of eyes staring back at you! We may see sloths, armadillos, porcupines, possums and coatis and will surely hear a cacophony of insects and amphibians.  

    Accommodation: Monteverde Country Lodge (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    Zip-line adventure through the tree tops; visit the hanging bridges and butterfly garden.

    Today we visit Selvatura Park which has 850 acres of protected land dedicated to nature and adventure. We begin with the hanging bridges excursion, which is a system of treetop walkways through the forest designed to let you experience the beauty of the cloud forest and observe its many inhabitants. We’ll also visit the butterfly garden which has one of the largest exhibitions of butterflies in the world, and the hummingbird garden where more than 14 species of hummingbird will amaze you with their aerial manoeuvres. After this it’s time to try out some aerial manoeuvres of our own on a zip line adventure through the tree tops! Before you fly down the zip-lines, guides will teach you the proper technique, including how to position yourself and hold the cable correctly, enabling you to safely embark on this adrenaline pumping adventure suspended above the trees.

    Accommodation: Monteverde Country Lodge (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 6

    To the Pacific Coast; afternoon at leisure to enjoy Carrillo beach.

    We travel to the region of Samara on the Pacific Coast, one of the best kept secrets in Costa Rica! The broad, shady bay is backed by coconut palms and the water is calm and safe for swimming thanks to a coral reef just out to sea on which the normally large, Pacific waves break before reaching the beach. There are plenty of facilities in this area but there's a noticeable absense of big resort hotels, which makes for a nice atmosphere. Our hotel faces onto Carrillo beach in the neighbouring bay to Samara. We have a free afternoon here to enjoy the facilities and discover the area.

    Accommodation: Nammbu Hotel (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Boat trip to see dolphins offshore from Carrillo beach; have a go at snorkelling.

    Today we take a private boat trip around 2 – 10 nautical miles offshore from Carrillo beach in search of dolphins. You could be lucky enough to see Spotted dolphins, Central American Spinner dolphins or Common Bottlenose dolphins which all inhabit this area year around. Feel the ocean breeze and enjoy the scenery of the coastline as we search for these playful animals who love to swim in the bow wave of the boat! As we make our way back along the coast, we will anchor near the shores of Isla Chora, a delightful white sand beach full of hermit crabs and iguanas. This is a great spot for a refreshing swim and a chance to observe the underwater world by wearing a mask and snorkel. Beneath the surface teems a lively world with huge marine diversity. In total today’s excursion will last around 4 hours, with the rest of your time at leisure to enjoy the area.

    Accommodation: Nammbu Hotel (or similar)

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    To San Jose; end San Jose.

    A four hour journey takes us back to San Jose, where those on group flights will be transferred to the airport in time for their return flight. Land only clients end in San Jose and are advised not to book a flight leaving San Jose before 4pm today, as arrival at the airport will be timed to co-incide with the group flight.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info


Costa Rica

Holders of British, US, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand and most EU passports can enter Costa Rica for a stay of 90 days without a visa. Proof of onward travel may be required when entering Costa Rica - we suggest you take a print out of your flight details in case officials ask to see them. All passengers flying via the USA will have to clear immigration during transit. Prior to travel you must apply for an Electronic Travel Authority (USD14) under the Visa Waiver Programme. Please see here for more information. The same applies to travel via Canada which also requires an Electronic Travel Authority. If you are not a UK citizen please check with your local U.S. Embassy. 


Costa Rica

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements, however, if you have travelled to a country at risk of Yellow Fever prior to arriving in Costa Rica you will be required to have a valid Yellow Fever Certificate with you. Recommended vaccinations are: Hepatitis A.

The risk of malaria is slight but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice.

Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Zika fever is a mosquito‐borne viral disease and a known risk in places visited on this trip. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available, we therefore strongly recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. 

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts and 2 lunches are included in the price of the tour, allowing you plenty of flexibility for non-included meals to be taken as a family or with the group. 

Costa Rican specialities include 'Gallo Pinto', a black bean and rice dish considered to be a staple part of the local diet. Soups, stews and fresh fish are also common, and most hotels offer International menu's as well. There is a lot of fresh fruit in the tropics - you may need to share your bananas with monkey's from the hotel gardens!  

Please inform us before departure of any special dietary requests, vegetarians can usually be well catered for. 


Costa Rica is located 10º north of the equator and has an almost perfect tropical climate. The average temperature is 12ºC – 22ºC in the highlands, and from 22ºC - 27ºC in the lowlands. There is a rainy season from May to November when there are daily downpours, though these are usually quite short and there is still plenty of bright sunshine, so the midsummer is not necessarily a bad time to go. December to April is the driest time of the year but you should still expect some rain. Many areas visited on the trip are hot and humid throughout the year.

Is this trip for you?

Activity Level: 2 (Leisurely/Moderate)

This holiday has been designed for teenagers aged 13 - 16, but is also suitable for children aged 9 - 12. 

Our family activity levels are aimed at children in the primary or ‘Designed for’ age group. We are confident it is also suitable for those in the ‘Also for’ age range, however please note if your child is in this secondary category they may find it a little tougher. Please see the family activity levels on our website for further information. When grading our trips we consider multiple factors, the pace — how busy an itinerary is — and the level of activity involved. Then there’s the amount of time a family will spend travelling and the weather is an important factor too.

Reaching Costa Rica will involve approximately 11 hours of air travel (or 14+ if you travel on indirect flights) and when you get there it can be hot and humid, which can be tiring.

This holiday aims to show you the best of Costa Rica using a mixture of buses and boats. Whilst the driving distances are not huge and most roads are good, some sections are of poor quality/pot holed, which can result in slower driving times. Most drives are not longer than 4 hours and all drives will be broken up with regular stops. On some travel days we depart early in the morning to ensure we optimise the time at our next destination.

There are some dangerous insects and snakes present in the jungle, although incidents are extremely rare. Advice from the guide must be heeded at all times – it is the responsibility of parents to ensure that children listen to the guide and don’t stray from paths.

The trip involves a walk to reach La Fortuna Waterfall that has some steep steps. There are also several included activities, such as whitewater rafting and a zip wire canopy tour: experience of these activities is not required as a full safety briefing will be covered at the start, and all necessary equipment will be provided. Please be aware that some activities may be changed as a result of the weather. 

All of the accommodation is comfortable with private bathrooms and everywhere has air conditioning apart from the lodge in Monteverde. For further details please see the accommodation section below.

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Call for general departures:
056 631 8671
Call for private group trips:
056 631 8671
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.


Hotels in Costa Rica

We stay in four comfortable hotels during this tour for a total of 7 nights; 

In San Jose we stay at the modern 4* Studio Hotel, conveniently located near the airport for an easy arrival transfer at the start of the holiday. 

In Arenal, our accommodation will normally be the Arenal Paraiso Hotel. This property is close to Arenal Volcano and has large natural grounds with wonderful views of Arenal Volcano. Rooms are comfortable and well equipped. There are several natural pools fed by spring water to relax in. 

In Monteverde, we stay at the Monteverde Country Lodge, a 3* star property providing cosy, comfortable and warm accommodation. This property doesn't have a swimming pool or air conditioning as it's in an area of Costa Rica that is typically much cooler. 

By the Pacific Coast we stay at the 3* Nammbu Hotel, a beachfront property overlooking Carrillo beach. This family run property has large rooms, wonderful ocean views and a lovely swimming pool. 

Call for general departures:
056 631 8671
Call for private group trips:
056 631 8671
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Call for general departures:
056 631 8671
Call for private group trips:
056 631 8671
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed September 2019
    Catherine and Andy White

    A trip of a lifetime!

    We originally looked at booking the longer Costa Rica Family Adventure as we thought the Family Escape (at 7 nights) may be too much of a whirlwind. However, we liked the fact that there were less distances to travel (as the Family Escape does not include a visit to the Caribbean coast), and that there were more activities included, plus, on enquiry, we found out that on the dates we wished to travel the families booked onto this trip had children of similar ages to our own (16 and 12). We are so pleased we went for this option! From being met at the airport by our wonderful guide, Eduardo, and driver, Cesar, to being waved off as we boarded our transfer on the last day, we enjoyed every minute of our holiday! Costa Rica is an incredible country and this trip gives you a sense of its diverstiy - from the volcanic landscape around Arenal, to the Cloud Forest at Monteverde, and the tropical beaches of Carillo. The mix of activities is great - from the high adrenaline rafting and zip wire course at Monteverde, to fascinating nature walks and wildlife spotting. The itinery is quite pacy - there are activities most days, however, you get at least 2 nights at each hotel (apart from in San Jose) so you do get chance to unpack a little and enjoy some downtime. The hotels all offer something different: Los Lagos at La Fortuna is set in lush tropical gardens with its own resident crocodile and butterfly and insect houses. Plus, it has its own hot springs complete with water slides which our children loved. The Country Lodge at Monteverde is a little more basic, but charming, whilst the Nammbu Beachfront Bungalows are super stylish with spacious rooms and a stunning pool area.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were so many.... from waking up to the sound of howler monkeys outside your room, being surrounded by hummingbirds and having them land on your outstretched hand at Selvatura Park, conquering your fear of heights on the hanging bridges and zip wires above the forest canopy at Monteverde, seeing a sloth being rescued from overheard cables by the local fire service, hearing the sounds of the cloud forest at night as fireflies flit around around you, seeing a humpback whale for the first time, watching the sun set over the Pacific Ocean at Carillo Beach.... the list goes on!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    From the moment we arrived at San Jose Airport, our group leader, Eduardo, made us feel incredibly welcome in his country. Knowedgeable and passionate about the history, culture and nature of Costa Rica, Eduardo soon shared his love of his country with us all. Within minutes of meeting us, Eduardo had memorised all our names and, refering to us "family", he ensured we got the best possible experience we could - asking us to write down our wishlist of things we wanted to do and see whilst we were in his beautiful country. Eduardo was an exceptional group leader: great with the children in the group, imparting his extensive knowledge with enthusiasm, sharing his photos with us on the WhatsApp group he created for us, treating us to chocolate and ice-cream on a daily basis and instilling in all of us a sense of the "Pura Vida"! We must not forget our driver, Cesar, either. He made sure we were safe on the roads and waited patiently for us after every excursion, always greeting us with courtesy and a smile.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    We decided to book a 3 night beach extension - staying on at Nammbu hotel at the end of the trip - which Exodus organised, along with a private transfer back to San Jose airport. We were definitely ready for some rest and relaxation after a packed schedule, so this was really worth doing, plus it gave us a chance to do some additional activies - such as scuba diving (at Samara) and turtle watching at the nearby Camaronal Wildlife Refuge.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This is the first holiday we have booked with Exodus, and having never been on a small group holiday before, we were a little apprehensive.... how would the group dynamics work? We need not have worried! We were very lucky to be travelling with 3 lovely families alongside Vicky from Exodus (a bonus to have the Product Manager of this particular trip accompanying us!) Everyone got on really well, the children made firm friends, and the balance between time together as a group and time on our own worked fine. Overall, this was a truly wonderful family holiday in a beautiful country and we have many happy memories along with far too many photos!

Dates & Prices

Please provide as much information as possible below so we can best help with your holiday requirements.

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Please call one of our experts to discuss your private group requirements on +44 (0)20 8772 3874, or fill out the form below and we will give you a call back.

Please provide as much information as possible below so we can best help with your holiday requirements.

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An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.


What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.


2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.


3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.


 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 


Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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