When traveling with your family in Costa Rica, there is so much to do, and you want to do it all. It’s like hitting every ride at Disney, but the only difference is the 13,000ft mountains and volcanos between each car ride in Costa Rica make running around to every attraction in just a couple of days difficult to accomplish. Even in a week, it is simply not possible. The real answer is that there are so many must do’s in Costa Rica you can really plan three separate trips and visit multiple must do’s everytime. But if we had to really try and advise on something that you and the family should make an effort to do on your first trip then it would be to join in on what makes Costa Rica so special.
You are probably thinking I will say raft the Pacuare River or go ziplining or learn to surf. Costa Rica you can find some of the best rafting in the world and not to mention the most scenic. You also have two very long beautiful coastlines on the Caribbean and the Pacific that are home to great waves for experts and beginner surfers. You can find over 70 different ziplines in Costa Rica from the side of volcanoes, through cloudforest, and along coastal mountain ridges. Costa Rica is also a mecca for Mountain Biking offering some of the most strenuous and adventurous trails you will find anywhere. The list goes on with regards for things you must do from stand up paddleboarding, kayaking, experience the amazing wildlife, bird-watching, hotsprings, and more and more. I know what you are thinking, which one of those is the must do?!
Well, I think all those are a must, but the one thing that has to be done is the main reason we all should travel in the first place. This “must do” will put on smile on your face and is the dividing factor of what makes us fall in love with a country. This “must do” will have you as excited as any of the events I mentioned above but on a more personal level. If you havent figured it out, the best part about Costa Rica is its people. The Costa Rican people or “Ticos” as they are called are what have made Costa Rica the popular tourist destination it has become. It is a real contagious energy they give off and having the chance to enjoy their company and their view on life is as beneficial as any rafting trip.
What Makes the Tico’s So Great?
The Costa Rican people in general (full disclosure there are always a few sour apples) see life differently than what we are use to. They have a lot going for them for the last 60 years such as not having an army so they have always been regarded as the country of peace, they also have been a stable democracy, they have health-care, and each Tico can pretty easily get their own home without going into major debt. In most rural areas they are also surrounded by family and have amazing natural beauties. This is not to say that Costa Rica does not have improvements to do but they have a solid base of what many studies now a days can relate to being happy or having a high level of well-being.
In closing I would say that during a family vacation to Costa Rica you need to spend some time with the locals. It is really easy and you can just sign up for any day tour and chances are you will have a fun Tico guide as 80% of guides in the tourism industry are fun and what most tour companies in other countries would dream of having. If you really want to deeper experience with the people and the culture then maybe look into a homestay or talk to your travel organizer about some more authentic experiences. Costa Rica has an entire cottage industry of their tourism market that is just based on promoting rural tourism. Pretty cool and just that fact that they have that means they too know that their most precious asset for tourism is actually their people.