Costa Rica is known for its lush tropical setting, with the sounds and sights of wildlife surrounding guests as they make their way to the clear blue waters of the Pacific Ocean. The Central America country is home to a plethora of hotels and resorts that range from small boutique and family-owned properties to expansive resorts with multiple pools and kid-friendly programs — many of which are all-inclusive.
We”ve rounded up the best all-inclusive Costa Rica resorts for families to consider.
Written by Hilarey Wojtowicz
Guests of the Allegro Papagayo
in Costa Rica, part of the Occidental brand of all-inclusive resorts, receive access to a private beach club, plus pools with volleyball and basketball, beach soccer, a kids" club, daily and nightly entertainment and a disco for the adults (don"t worry, babysitting is available!).
Rooms and suites also feature family-friendly amenities like mini-bars with free drinks and snacks, coffeemakers, balconies and cribs or rollaway beds upon request. The resort can also set up special excursions to local attractions, such as Arenal Volcano or Palo Verde National Park.
The five-star Occidental Tamarindo
is located in Tamarindo, just over a mile from downtown, so families can enjoy a combination of city life and beach life. The hotel is located on a beach that has earned Costa Rica"s highest honors in Sustainable Tourism awards as one of the country"s safest and cleanest beaches. If that"s not enough, the resort offers all of the same great amenities you"d expect at an all-inclusive resort.
Del Mar Surf Camp
This truly unique all-inclusive resort is a surf camp for families. Teens will especially love the opportunity to hang 10 with others their age. The resort is located right on the beach and also features a yoga retreat that parents may prefer to enjoy while the kids are on the waves. Horseback riding, ATV tours and canopy tours in the jungle and more are also included.
JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa Costa Rica
The luxurious JW Marriott properties are always a pleasure for families, and JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa
is no exception. The beachfront resort features water sports, infinity and kids" pools, a kids" club, and five onsite restaurants. Rooms have DVD players and DVDs are available to borrow for in-room movie nights. While the resort technically isn"t an all-inclusive, you can reserve packages that include breakfast, dinner and other activities.
Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica
It may be difficult to tear your tykes away from the children"s pool, playground or the RiuLand kids" club during your stay at the all-inclusive Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica
(but that"s what vacation is all about, right?). Parents can enjoy their own excitement (or relaxation) at one of the four swimming pools, 11 restaurants and bars, the casino or the Renova Spa.
Water sports are also included in rates, with one free introductory scuba diving lesson available for each guest during their stay. And don"t forget about family time in the sand -- the resort is located directly on Matapalo Beach.
Hotel Riu Guanacaste
Families looking to escape the hustle and bustle will enjoy the serene setting at the all-inclusive Hotel Riu Guanacaste
, which neighbors the Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica, but nothing else. The beach is quiet and private, while the massive pool is just as refreshing, with waterfalls, swim-up bars and a volleyball net.
Kids will also enjoy RiuLand, the kids" club for ages 4 to 12, and teens will enjoy trying a new water sport, like kayaking, snorkeling or paddle boarding. And whether your clan is small or large, a family suite will do the trick with two separate bedrooms and two bathrooms, complete with a mini-fridge that is restocked daily with complimentary refreshments.
DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Central Pacific - Costa Rica
DoubleTree is conveniently located in and around most major cities, and this all-inclusive property
in Puntarenas, Costa Rica, continues the tradition with a location just 50 minutes from San Jose. Kidz Paradise is the club for children ages 4 to 12 that features games, crafts, movies, music and more. Teens have their own space in the Teens Club, which offers evening entertainment until midnight for ages 13 to 17, with unlimited non-alcoholic beverages and snacks on offer.
There are also 10 restaurants and bars for any time stomachs start to rumble, plus warm chocolate chip cookies in the lobby daily (a standard amenity at DoubleTree). To be close to all the action, book a Junior Suite, which features a separate bedroom with a queen bed for parents, and a living area with a sofa bed for the kids.
Barcelo Tambor Beach
The all-inclusive Barcelo Tambor Beach
keeps families in mind at all times, with kids" programs, entertainment, separate pools and suites that sleep up to six guests. The Barcy Club is for children ages 4 to 12, while the Teen House is for those ages 13 to 17. For parents, an amphitheater hosts a different show every night, and the spa has a multitude of treatments on offer.
The resort is also home to two swimming pools, plus one more just for tots with palm trees that spray water, as well as three tennis courts, beach volleyball, Ping Pong, a climbing wall, mini-golf and a giant chess board.
BEST WESTERN Jaco Beach Resort
The beachfront BEST WESTERN Jaco Beach Resort
offers all-inclusive rates that cover all activities, meals, beverages and entertainment for families. All accommodations come with free Wi-Fi, though families will probably remain unplugged while enjoying the various pools, with one just for kids, as well as the playground, scheduled activities and nightly music and entertainment.
The beach is just steps from the resort and families will love building sandcastles, surfing the waves or just relaxing in the sun. If looking for a little adventure, families can also set up off-property excursions to the local Carara National Park for hiking, or Herredura Bay"s Marina for a fishing trip.
Dreams Las Mareas
Costa Rica received its own Dreams resort in November 2014 and the Las Mareas property
offers all the same all-inclusive options and amenities that families will find at the chain"s resorts in Mexico and the Caribbean. With eight restaurants, there will always be time for a family meal after the kids and teens spend hours with new friends in the Explorer"s Club or the Core Zone Teens Club.
The resort"s pools are inviting and offer more fun for kids with a jungle waterslide, while the beach is just steps away with water sports and room for building sandcastles. Retreat to suites complete with tropical or oceanfront views, furnished terraces or balconies, mini-bars and free Wi-Fi.