The Four Seasons resorts remain one of the few chains that still offer complimentary programs for children. At the Costa Rica property, the Kids for All Seasons (KFAS) program offers daily, supervised activities for ages 4 to 12 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Kids learn some Spanish, get their faces painted, create puppets, go on nature walks, build sandcastles and play pool games in the one foot-deep KFAS pool, good-sized at 540-square feet. The colorful welcome packet that children receive when they arrive features information about Costa Rica combined with pencil mazes and a map of Costa Rica to color.
Light streams in the facility through the glass doors. The outdoor covered patio has a Foosball game and a mini-basketball hoop, as well as colorful child-sized chairs. Inside the two-room facility, toy cars, trucks, Barbie dolls, books and board games line the shelves; there are computer terminals and, of course, a Nintendo Wii. As with many children's programs, this one attracts more kids in the 4 to 9-year-old range. Unless other 10- and 11-year-olds registered, kids this age may feel uncomfortable being grouped with younger children.
Children under 4 years old are welcome to use the facility, including the children's pool, with a parent or a nanny supervising. Kids may borrow the board games, toys and movies for free as long as these are returned the next day.
Tuanis, the teen center, although oddly placed at the end of a service driveway, is well-thought out. The facility is open 1:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. when the resort does not have many teens in-house and stays open until 10 p.m .or sometimes midnight during busy times. It affords those hard-to-please 12- to 16 year-olds a separate space to hang out and to meet. There are couches for slouching, and tall tables for enjoying the complimentary snacks, juice and ice tea, as well as chess and Chinese checkers set out on tables. Along with free Internet at the three computers, teens can play Ninetendo Wii, X-Box and other computer games. The modular chairs provide trendy, outdoor seating. In high season, a "facilitator" assists teens with activities and Tuanis hosts movies on the lawn, a disco and other themed parties every night.
Of course, it may be difficult to get your kids off the sandy beaches. Playa Virador, on the ocean facing Monkey's Head, a popular snorkel spot, is used more for lounging while Playa Culebra on the bay hosts complimentary boogie boarding, sea kayaking and other watersports.
We really liked sitting under the Tamarind trees on Playa Virador and swimming in the blue Pacific. But if you want to do more, Guanacaste province offers several interesting attractions.
Get your adrenaline going at Witch's Rock located near the entrance to Peninsula Papagayo. On the canopy tour, hooked into a harness on a cable, you jump off platforms suspended up to 75 feet above the ground and glide, Tarzan style, through the treetops. We've seen kids as young as 5 enjoy the adventure, taken across in harnesses with the guide. Ask ahead.
In under two hours from the resort, you can explore steaming fumaroles and see monkeys in the treetops on a walk along the flanks of the Rincon de la Viejo volcano and float along the Corobici River in search of crocodiles and egrets.
On property, you can play tennis and golf with your kids; however, neither the tennis facility nor the Arnold Palmer designed Bella Vista golf course offer special programs for juniors or rates for families. Private lessons are available for kids and for adults in golf as well as tennis.