Travel boosts, restores, and expands not just the mind, but also our bodies. This is particularly important for people with young families. Increasingly parents are making the choice to skip over the two-week beach vacation and opt for an active destination. All of the experiences below have an element of interactive education and/or include a fun outdoor physical activity. For those on a quest to restore work-life balance and take care of their well-being, Costa Rica is the ultimate destination.
Editor’s note: These spots are all taken directly from travelstoke®, a new app from Matador that connects you with fellow travelers and locals, and helps you build trip itineraries with spots that integrate seamlessly into Google Maps and Uber. Download the app to add any of the spots below directly to your future trips.
Learn to surf at Costa Rica Surf Camp.
Hike through a wildlife refuge and meet sloths, Hacienda Barú Lodge.
Hacienda Barú LodgeSavegre, Costa RicaZip lining is fun — but the hike through the preservation is better. Along the trail, your chances of encountering sloth, monkeys, iguanas, and other wild critters are high. The trail ends at a turtle hatchery and a private beach. #hiking
Learn about traditional medicine at The Botanical Gardens, Turrialba.
Botanical GardenTurrialba, Costa RicaI wasn’t that excited for the botanical gardens at first, but I left stoked on all the local plant knowledge and their medicinal uses. It’s a beautiful place and super interesting.
Take a picnic to Irazú Volcano, Cartago.
Irazú VolcanoCartago, Costa RicaNot the most famous volcano in San Jose but there was no one here – Epic views and cloud drama. Good place for a picnic and a nap – don’t come here to hike though, very few trails.
Gather a tropical fruit harvest at Feria del Agricultor de Heredia, Heredia.
Feria del Agricultor de HerediaHeredia, Costa Rica#freshproduce #cheap #herediacentro #feria
A truly Tico experience with bustling crowds, fresh fruits and vegetables, meat, pastries, local snacks and unexpected knick knacks all for very reasonable prices. A good place to practice your haggling skills and get a good bargain. It’s only on Saturdays from 5 a.m. to noon.
Take a river boat cruise and spot the crocodiles, Río Sarapiquí, Sarapiquí.
Río SarapiquíSarapiquí, Costa RicaThe Sarapiqui River is abundant with wildlife. You’ll see several bird and reptile species from a river boat cruise. You’ll also see crocodiles on the rare occasion because they’re a bit more shy in this river. Howler monkeys can also be seen. Make sure to bring a camera with a telephoto lens to photograph the wildlife. #wildlifephotography
Blow your kid’s minds at Poás Volcano, Poás.
Poás VolcanoPoás, Costa RicaWhat can I say, it’s one cool volcano to check out and it’s not too far from the San Jose capital. The wind is a bit chilly up there so you may need a sweater or jacket. #volcano I was lucky to see this place on Christmas Day
Take a colorful cruise through the Golfo de Nicoya on Ferry Playa Naranjo.
Ferry Playa NaranjoProvincia de Puntarenas, Costa RicaThere are several ways to get to the Nicoya Peninsula but only one that serves cheap drinks, pumps reggaeton and offers a scenic 1.5hr cruise through the Golfo de Nicoya. If you get the chance, opt for the ferry crossing.
Go horseback riding and zip line at Pura Aventura, Guanacaste.
Munch tacos on the beach on Playa Grande.
Hotel Las TortugasPlaya Grande, Costa RicaHotel right on the beach in low key playa grande- the quieter cousin of tamarindo. There’s a tiny taco shack with tasty smoothies and Tex Mexico style tacos. Weird when you’re in Costa Rica but hits the spot after a long beach day and served up with a smiley expat from…you guessed it…Texas.
Walk through the forest canopy at Selvatura Adventure Park, Monteverde.
Selvatura Adventure ParkMonteverde, Costa RicaSeriously loved the Selvatura Treetop Walkway. Did the self guided walk, 8 suspension bridges and great views and walks through the jungle in between. #hiking
Take a guided night walk at Kinkajou Night Walk, Provincia de Guanacaste. Watch out for the creepy crawlies
Kinkajou Night WalkProvincia de Guanacaste, Costa RicaOur guide showed us frogs, sloths, snakes, tarantulas, and more as we strolled through the dark misty jungle by flashlight and poncho. Awesome experience! #hiking #nature #wildlife
Paddle down the river and learn about local wildlife with Canoa Aventura.
Canoa AventuraZeta trece, Costa RicaVery peaceful paddle down the river. Guide was so good at spotting wildlife like monkeys, sloths, tucans, and lizards and very knowledgable about each species. Totally worth it! #kayaksafari #paddling
Join a ATV tour with Hotel la Pradera del Arena, Zeta Trece.
Rockpool at Playa El Jobo.
Enjoy a slow pace hike to the waterfall Río Celeste.
Río CelesteGuatuso, Costa RicaA hidden gem deep inside Costa Rica and my favourite place in this beautiful country: Río Celeste gets its aqua-blue water from 2 colourless rivers. One of the clear rivers gets minerals from a volcano. When the rivers meet and combine upstream, the color changes to aqua-blue. You can even trek to the spot where the 2 rivers meet. #unbelievable #hiking
Make bathtime fun at the hot springs at Volcan Miravalles, Bagaces.
Volcan MiravallesBagaces, Costa RicaYou really need a guide to hike this volcano, so don’t just show up and expect to DIY it ( because we did and boy were we wrong!)
You can however, drive around and hot spring hop in the area. According to the locals, the hot springs in this area are cheap compare to the other volcanos.
Regardless, the views are amazing and free. So drive around and take it all in!