San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Family-friendly hotels abound in Costa Rica

Semana Santa is fast approaching, and with a week’s worth of leisure time on their hands, lots of Tico families will be looking for holiday getaways that kids and parents alike will enjoy. Luckily, in Costa Rica, family-friendly accommodations abound. Here are just a few suggestions.

Many of the country’s big resorts – such as the Barceló chain’s all-inclusive Pacific beach resorts in Tamarindo and Tambor ( and Marriott’s resorts in the Central Pacific and Guanacaste ( – include some variation on the “kids’ club” theme, offering child-care services and an assortment of activities with kid appeal.

Plenty of non-megaresorts are also family-friendly. In San José, the Hotel KC Colaye (, 2231-2324) has an outdoor pool and sits just a few blocks east of La Sabana Park and the National Stadium. The park offers outdoor recreation from jogging trails to basketball courts to shady spots for a family picnic, and the National Stadium is the biggest venue in the country to take in a concert or a sporting event. Kids under 12 stay free at KC Colaye.

In Cartago, east of the capital, Hotel Río Perlas (, 2533-3341, 2533-2543) offers four ponds and two lakes for trout fishing as well as a thermally heated swimming pool, a regular swimming pool and a kids’ pool. Naturally heated, private and covered Jacuzzis are offered, too. Take the kids on a hike along the hotel’s bird-watching trails or rent bikes and go for a ride. 

Poco a Poco Hotel and Spa (www.hotel, 2645-6000) in north-central Costa Rica’s Monteverde will organize excursions for the whole family to see the area’s abundant attractions, from cloud forest tours and butterfly viewings to coffee tours, zip lines and more. The hotel features an indoor heated pool with swim-up wet bar and an adjoining kids’ pool. There’s also a “Kids’ Club” play area. All rooms have DVD players, and movie rentals from the hotel’s library run $3 per night. Kids under 11 stay free.

Kids and parents alike can enjoy the pool, luxurious rooms and spa services at Hotel Magic Mountain (www.hotelmagic, 2479-7246, 2479-7248), near the foot of famous Arenal Volcano in northern Costa Rica. Kids 10 and under stay free. For off-site adventures, Magic Mountain can organize horseback riding tours, sportfishing for guapote on Lake Arenal and hikes to the volcano. The hotel will also arrange day trips to the cloud forest of Monteverde or the Caño Negro wetlands, among other excursions.

On the central Pacific coast near Quepos, Hotel La Isla (, 2779-9016) is a beachfront getaway with plenty of open areas for playing. Beach volleyball and soccer are regular here, and ping-pong and billiards tables are available for playing, too. Enjoy lying with the family on the beach, surfing or just splashing in the pool. La Isla can also arrange snorkeling or diving tours, sportfishing charters, tours of mangrove forests and horseback riding. Kids 5 and under stay free, and kids 6-12 stay for half-rates.

In the Guanacaste province, on the northern Pacific coast, Hacienda Pinilla (, 2680-3000) offers a luxury getaway with numerous family-oriented activities. The resort’s 4,500 acres include three miles of coastline encompassing Langosta, Avellanas and Mansita beaches. Its three-story Beach Club, which sits right on the sand with a pool, bar and ocean views, features a kids’ club on the main floor. Horseback riding, nature trails and aquatic activities are available as well as golf, tennis and, of course, surfing Little Hawaii break at Playa Avellanas.

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