Forty Shades of Green
One international adventure outfit has your family’s next eco-adventure wrapped and ready to go.
Written byCorry Cook
Photographed byScott Dunn
For budding eco explorers, a trip to Costa Rica is ecotourism at its finest and a chance to enjoy quality family time in one of the “greenest” countries in the world. From up-close-and-personal encounters with exotic wildlife to its endless adrenaline-fueled activities, boredom is not an option. Full immersion in nature is an exquisite rite of passage that should be experienced by the young, and young at heart, at least once, if not regularly.
Thankfully, renowned experts in the region, including global bespoke tour operator Scott Dunn, have mastered this tropical paradise for wildlife-lovers, nature-goers, and thrill-seekers of all ages. By crafting private journeys around the world for more than 30 years, the Scott Dunn team operates with a passion for understanding what each unique traveler desires and needs. So whether you’re taking a vacation with very young children, adolescents, or a mixture of the two, Scott Dunn’s Costa Rica guides and gurus ensure this wild and wonderful country comes alive.
The wildlife viewing in Costa Rica is world class. Giant sea turtles haul themselves onto remote shores to lay eggs and dolphin pods play in the waves, while inland the quiet forest is home to sloths and rare quetzals. Explore lush green rainforest teeming with exotic bird-life and colorful flora and fauna. Tortuguero National Park hosts the country’s best wildlife, including nesting leatherback turtles, howler monkeys, frogs, and more. We recommend Tortuga Lodge here; it’s rustic and ideal for families.
If your kids want less talk and more action, there are tons of pulse-pounding activities to keep them entertained. Central Costa Rica is home to the country’s most active volcano, and the Arenal Nayara Lodge is close to all the action surrounding the Arenal volcano, not to mention the longest zip line and highest canopy walkway in the country. It’s a paradise for an active family with whitewater rafting, trekking, horseback riding, quadbike roaming, volcano hiking, canyoning, and rappelling.
Watersports abound in Costa Rica. Make sure to explore the Papagayo Peninsula, the Golfo Dulce, Manual Antonio, and Santa Teresa, where pristine beaches give way to surfing, snorkeling, and kayaking. For inland water sports, the Pacuare River offers some of the finest whitewater in Latin America, winding through rugged canyons deep inside the rainforest and leading travelers to the beautiful Pacuare Lodge. This remote jungle hideaway is also a magical place for visiting some of the local indigenous Cabecar Indian communities. No roads lead to Pacuare Lodge, so raft in to arrive in style.
You can further quench your thirst for adventure by exploring the volcanic slopes of Ricón de la Vieja National Park. Seek out the Pilas de Barro (mud pots), where boiling mud explodes in belching bubbles and the superheated, mineral-rich pools are tinged with a rainbow of colors. Or head to Las Hornillas, where vapor geysers spit up odoriferous steam and gases. This geothermal area is also world-famous for its natural hot springs. And you might say that the family that soaks together, stays together.