Vacationing with little ones can be a challenge, especially when it comes to choosing activities they'll enjoy. No 5-year-old wants to spend a week hiking 50 miles through the wilderness or a day relaxing at a spa. If you want an exotic location with activities everyone will enjoy, put Guanacaste, Costa Rica, on the top of your list. Exotic wildlife, hot springs, beaches and water parks await in this corner of Costa Rica.
Guanacaste is known for its underground thermal activity and volcanoes. Hot springs, waterfalls and geysers abound. ThermoMania (thermomania.net) is a resort right in the middle of it all. Highlights include a kid's castle park, 14 swimming pools filled with water from volcanic springs, water slides and a thermal river. Yoko Termales (yokotermales.com) is another option with hot springs and water slides for the little ones.
If you have a little Indiana Jones, find a tour that will give him a taste of real adventure. Way to Go Tours (waytogocostarica.com) has a few expeditions that would work with 2- to 5-year-olds. The company will take you on a rafting journey down the river while you and your brood keep an eye out for wildlife. It also offers short hiking tours of volcanic areas and horseback riding journeys.
If your little ones don't mind some sand in their pants, some time at the beach may be in order. The area has numerous beaches, including family-friendly ones with calmer waters. Playa Chorotega is a white sand beach popular with families. Playa Jobo has a sheltered cove that allows your family to escape the sun's rays. Playa Avellanas offers tide pools filled with sea creatures, perfect for your little marine explorers.
Your little monkey will feel right at home with all the wildlife in Guanacaste. There are howler monkeys, turtles, toucans, parrots and all kinds of cats. For a close look without going on a jungle expedition, you can visit a wildlife refuge center or take a tour. Nosara Wildlife Rescue (nosarawildlife.com) often has orphaned baby animals for your children to see. Desafio Adventure Company (desafiocostarica.com) takes families on a turtle observation tour. It includes a safari boat ride to a beach where protected turtles live.