A Journey to Costa Rica…
Costa Rica is known for her lush jungles, glistening beaches, spectacular wildlife and innumerable adventure activities – white water rafting, hiking, biking, kayaking, surfing, waterfall rappelling … you name it, Costa Rica has it! And we love Costa Rica for all of these reasons but secretly it’s the Pura Vida attitude that won us over!
Costa Rica’s varying microclimates and landscapes alone make her a world-class destination. Imagine being able to go from Cloud Forest to Tropical Rainforest, to beautiful white and black sand beaches all in one day! But every bit as intriguing is her bio-diversity. While traveling through Costa Rica you are bound to see some of the most fascinating plants and animals found on our planet. Almost 900 different species of birds, 5000 different insects (1000 of which are types of butterflies), 212 different types of mammals and the marine life — some of the most prolific in the world! Bottom line, a trip to Costa Rica will be amongst your most memorable destinations. A true traveler’s paradise!
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Our Favorite Things to See and Do in Costa Rica
But first and foremost, a little bit about our travel philosophy. We use adventure activities like a company would use team-building exercises. We want the activity to act as the catalyst for healthy communication, collaboration and ultimately, connection. When families work as a team to accomplish a goal, it helps builds a positive family culture. Team-building exercises and adventure activities (when done together) lay the foundation for mutual understanding and respect. You get to see each other’s strengths and weaknesses and encourage each other through to meeting your desired goal. The best part, accomplishing goals and being rewarded for your efforts, releases all the happy “connecting” hormone’s AND builds self-esteem – we want more of that! When your child accomplishes his or her goal, feels great, releases those happy hormones, he or she will connect more deeply with you and other family members – it’s that simple and that’s our goal, building connections.
Butterfly Garden – Monteverde, Puntarenas Province
The Monteverde Butterfly Gardens has been consistently offering an amazing entertaining and educational tour for over 20 years; making it Monteverde’s first, and Costa Rica’s longest running Butterfly Garden. They have dozens of species of live butterflies from all over Costa Rica in 4 different enclosed gardens, making it great even on a rainy day. The fun doesn’t stop there! The well educated and hilarious guides will show you just how amazing the other insects and even the spiders of Costa Rica really are. See what leafcutter ants do underground, find out why you don’t need worry about tarantulas, and learn how the Hercules beetle got his name! If you are in the Monteverde area, this is a fun experience for families of all ages!
Trapiche Tour – – Monteverde, Puntarenas Province
The Trapiche (sugar mill) tour takes place at a farm owned by the Costa Rican Santamaria family. There is sugarcane, coffee, banana, plantain, macadamia, and oranges on this vast plantation. We’ll learn how to process sugarcane, coffee and cocoa to make all those yummy foods we eat and drink. We’ll also enjoy an oxcart ride on the plantation. But the best part of the day is that we’ll end where artisanal sugar cane candy is made. You can try to make your own if you dare!
Nauyaca Waterfalls – San Isidro, Puntarenas Province
The Nauyaca Waterfalls are located in a canyon approximately eight meters wide. One of the falls is forty-five meters high in free fall and the other, twenty meters high with a tiered fall, forming at the bottom a 1,000 square meter and six meter deep pool. There are also other smaller natural pools where visitors can seize the opportunity and enjoy the waters with their families or friends.
Nauyaca Waterfalls is the ideal place for nature and adventure lovers, where tourists can walk, swim, climb, jump, kayak and take photographs and spend a marvelous day in the warm waters of Rio Barucito, enjoying one of the most beautiful places in Costa Rica’s South Pacific. A day at the falls is a day filled with fun and adventure!
Corcovado National Park – Osa Peninsula, Puntarenas Province
Corcovado has often been described as one of the most biologically intense places on earth. The park extends over 100,000 acres on the southwest coast of Costa Rica. A guided walk will bring you into a wonderland of ancient forest dominated by gigantic trees and home to much wildlife including, scarlet macaws, toucans, parrots, all four monkey species found in the country and jaguars-although these elusive cats are rarely seen. This is some of the most spectacular lowland tropical forest in Costa Rica! Corcovado is a once in a lifetime adventure!
Marino Ballena National Park – Uvita, Osa Peninsula, Puntarenas Province
The Marino Ballena National Park is named after the Humpback whales that migrate here to mate or give birth to their calves. They are often seen between the months of July and October and again between December and April. The Marino Ballena National Park has 5.375 hectares of protected waters and 110 hectares of protected jungles and beaches. The main beaches of Playa Uvita and Ballena are long stretches of sand, united by protected mangroves and their rich habitat. Protecting the coast are three small islands known as Las Tres Hermanas (three sisters) and Ballena Island. Within the protected waters one may also spot dolphins, sea turtles, and large quantities of fish. If you like seeing sea life, this is an excursion that will delight the entire family!
The Sirena Ranger and Biological Station, Corcovado National Park – Osa Peninsula, Puntarenas Province
The station is the headquarters and largest of the four stations in the Corcovado National Park, providing support for academic research, park improvement and conservation activities. Located in the heart of the park within the Corcovado Basin, its remoteness provides the greatest abundance of wildlife of all types, making it the best destination to maximize viewing opportunities. Definitely worth the walk in. And most importantly, remember that doing these types of activities as a family create bonds that will never be forgotten. So go for it!!
Toucan Rescue Ranch – San Isidro, Heredia
Toucan Rescue Ranch (TRR) focuses on the care, rehabilitation and study of Costa Rican toucans and other wildlife. TRR receives and cares for confiscated, sick and injured wildlife from government agencies. They give them a loving home with the goal of providing appropriate medical treatment, rehabilitation and then, when possible, returning them to their natural environment. A moving and exciting experience for animal lovers!
Tirimbina Chocolate Tour – Sarapiqui, Hereida
The tropical origins of chocolate scarcely resemble in flavor or form the popular dessert treat most people know today. On your Tirimbina Rainforest Center Chocolate Tour in Sarapiqui you will learn about chocolate from its initial indigenous cultivation of the tangy-sweet cacao fruits and visit a plantation in the rainforest. The guided tour begins by walking on a suspension bridge above the Sarapiqui River into the forest where you may see a variety of wildlife en route to the plantation. Once at the plantation, you get to witness the artisanal process of making chocolate and best of all, you get to taste several different types of locally-made chocolate! Yummmmy!!
Nesting turtles – Tortuguero National Park, Limón Province
Located on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, Tortuguero National Park is composed of vast forests connected by rivers and canals, has abundant and diverse wildlife and is bordered by a long wilderness beach on its eastern flank. Thousands of green sea turtles lay their eggs on this beach at night during the July to October nesting season. One of our guided night tours will enable you to see the female turtle nesting above the beach’s high tide line. It’s an unforgettable adventure and the thrill of wildlife encounters are great tools for building deep family connections.
Kekoldi Indian Reserve – Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Limón Province
As we slowly climb into the mountains, our local guide will share information about the fascinating and historic Bribri Indigenous Territory. The keen observers amongst us, we’ll be able to catch a glimpse of howler and white faced monkeys, iguanas, leaf-cutter ants and spiders living in this the primary tropical forest. Our guide will take us to the highest point (approximately 220 m. above sea level) where a tower was built for observing the raptor migration. From this observation point we will see the breathtaking scenery of the Talamanca mountains, La Amistad International Park and a beautiful view of the coastal zone. This adventure is moderately physical but worth the summit spectacular views!
Sloth Sanctuary – Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Limón Province
This 2-hour adventure includes meeting Buttercup™ (the famed sloth!), seeing the Sloth Nursery and taking a guided canoe ride. You’ll get to see tropical lowland rainforest wildlife and plants from aboard a stable canoe with an experienced boatman/guide. From time to time, the river’s level changes. If it’s too low or the current is too swift, we may not be able to run this tour. We’ll let you know in advance! And we can always visit the Sloth Sancuary regardless. Who wants to miss a date with Buttercup™?
Cooking class – Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Limón Province
One of our favorites … this 2 hour class includes instruction for all ages and of course, you get to eat the wholesome food you prepare! Using fruits and veggies typical to Coastal Talamanca, you will learn to cook in the traditional Caribbean way. This is also an opportunity to spend some time with one of the mothers from the community, Puerto Viejo. Here the Afro-Caribbean folks speak what known as Patios; some refer to it as a local dialect of English, and others call it “Make I tell you” because many phrases starts with “Make I tell you” or “Let me tell you” what is happening. This is a day filled with laughter and food love. Not to be missed if you plan to go to the Caribbean coast!
Tree Canopy Tour – Nicoya Pennisula, Guanacaste Province
This adventure park is located in Jaco Beach on the central Pacific coast. The project is designed not only as an extreme adventure, but as a way to enjoy nature without harming the environment. The property boasts spectacular views of the Herradura Bay and Island, as well as the Gulf of Nicoya. Within the property, you may have the opportunity to view scarlet macaws, chestnut mandible toucans and white-face monkeys. The property rests on 80 acres of land… and about 50% of this land is protected by the Costa Rican government. This is not an adventure for the faint of heart but if you will step outside your comfort zone, it’s an exciting and fun filled day of adventure that is bound to creating lasting connections!
Arenal Hanging Bridges, La Fortuna de San Carlos
Arenal Hanging Bridges is a complex of suspension bridges and trails through unforgettable rain-forest. The terrain literally undulates with activity as the trails cross ravines with small waterfalls, bypassing bridges with panoramic vistas, over and through treetops and on a clear day, includes spectacular views of Arenal Volcano. As you walk you may encounter wildlife including toucans; poison dart frogs; howling, spider and white-faced capuchin monkeys. The 1.5 mile trail is an easy walk for people in good condition but will leave you breathless with wonder!
Rainforest Aerial Tram – Braulio Carillo National Park, San José
Your journey to the tram will pass through mountains and the majestic beauty of the 100,000 acre forested wilderness of Braulio Carillo National Park. Before the tram ride, there is an guided introductory walk through the rainforest so you understand the flora and fuana of this area. The 6-person tramcars travel on a 1.3 km aerial excursion over and through the forest, stopping to pick up other passengers a few times. But when you’re in the air, there is nothing like it!
What families are saying about working with Motherland Travel:
“As a well seasoned traveling family I feel we are qualified to answer this: our trip was perfect. There was a great mix of education and culture, outdoor activities and time to explore on our own. The guide we had was very knowledgeable and interesting. He never stopped guiding us – even at the end of our trip as we approached our final hotel, he was explaining things to us. When we did have a little issue with something, Bambi was on it quickly and took care of it. Service was outstanding. Accommodations were beautiful. We cannot wait to return!” — Maney FamilyBill
The trip transformed all of my fears of NOT being able to do a trip like this into joy and success. The people, pacing, activities, accommodations, and scope of the trip was a perfect fit for our family.
I feel like Bambi asked insightful questions during the initial consultation, helping me articulate my goals for this trip. I appreciate the family bonding/adventure travel information she provided, as well as the general information about Guatemala. Bambi targeted our budget and made the most of every experience, given our financial restraints. The itinerary proposal and final itinerary were thorough, detailed, and very clear. I so valued the personal details about possible triggers for my son, visiting his birth country.
We are so grateful for the effort, service, time, and thought Motherland Travel put into planning this trip for us. We have been transformed by the travel. Eddy exudes a pride and joy when he talks about our trip, and talks about Guatemala. A few days after we returned, his teacher had him present to his class about how the ecosystems in Guatemala affect the culture and way of life. As I watched him present to his peers, he shared details and experiences that revealed how much this trip was profoundly imprinted on his heart and his identity. Our family benefited so much from being out of our comfort zone – we learned so much about our son’s birth country, about human resilience, and even more about our family. I can’t choose one favorite moment, or even pick out a single least favorite moment. The days were unique, yet perfectly balanced, creating a gorgeous tapestry of experiences.
The Wall Family