Recently, my family and I returned to Costa Rica for vacation. The hardest thing about planning a trip to Costa Rica is deciding which amazing parts of the country to include. There are so many different and distinct regions in the country with varying landscapes, climates, wildlife, activities and remoteness. It’s not possible to see it all in a one or two week trip and I usually encourage people to do less rather than more. For our recent trip, we focused on two beautiful areas and it did not disappoint.
Days 1-3: Rio Savegre
An exciting hour drive from Quepos/Manuel Antonio National Park brought us to Rafiki Safari Lodge. As lovers of African travel, our family was thrilled with our safari tent with an ensuite bathroom and big covered deck for reading and spotting animals. The lodge offers delicious meals, a bar and relaxing seating in their common area which connects via a remarkably long and fast waterslide to the refreshing swimming pool. (Don’t worry, you can walk to the pool, too.)
Rafiki offers several excursions to choose from each day including an aqua-hike, white-water rafting and horseback riding. The excursions generally take place in the mornings so you have your afternoons to relax at the camp. Rafiki also has a rustic beach camp about an hour away so a great idea is to combine a stay at the safari lodge with a few days at the beach. We could have stayed at Rafiki longer but part 2 of our family vacation was waiting!
Days 4-8: Golfo Dulce
A comfortable and scenic 3-hour drive south brought us to the small town of Golfito on the shore of Golfo Dulce. Upon arrival there, we were met by our boat captain and began the 30 minute ride through calm waters where, for a while, we were accompanied by a group of spotted dolphins. Our accommodation was a rustic lodge with freshly prepared meals, friendly hosts, great kayaking, fishing and a true immersion in innovative environmental sustainability and conservation research. It didn’t take long to settle into the slower pace of life here—active mornings in the water and restful afternoons followed by jungle walks, stunning sunsets and early bedtimes.
This area, along with the Osa Peninsula just across the bay, are less frequently touristed than the areas of Costa Rica further north but the primary rainforest and beautiful waters, along with several choices of great lodges like Playa Cativo and Lapa Rios, make it an amazing destination for nature-loving families.
Before we even left the country, we were discussing our next trip. Costa Rica is one of my favorite family-friendly destinations. I personally feel that our family could visit Costa Rica over and over and continually find new regions, lodges and beaches that we love. My Costa Rica wishlist is long and I’d love to share it with you!