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Costa Rica

Costa Rica

Traveling through Costa Rica with kids, it's a treasure trove of animal life, volcanoes and rain forests. Animal life includes not just crowd-pleasers such as turtles, boa constrictors, toucans and macaws. One friend says, "Kids love the insects. There is such a diversity of life growing on the jungle floor. My girls sat for hours watching leaf-cutter ants or a snake eat a frog (it was a slow process)."

Tip for Costa Rica with kids: Don't miss our top picks for children's books, see below.

    Central Valley
    Caribbean Zone
    Around Arenal
    Monteverde
    Pacific Coast
family tours costa rica

Costa Rica is a fantastic nature experience for families, but if you're among the majority of us who can't see a camouflaged iguana right under our feet, or spot a sleeping sloth in the trees, having a naturalist guide is a real advantage.

Here's our editors' choice for Costa Rica family tours, with itineraries that offer travel with other families, and a kid-friendly balance of organized activities and the freedom to explore. Whether it's a night time walk in the rainforest, sharing a lunch with school children, hiking on a volcano, or whitewater rafting and kayaking in the jungle, these tour companies will arrange an unforgettable trip to Costa Rica:

    Wildland Adventures Family Travel
    Classic Journeys
    Journey for Families
    South American Family Vacations
    Quivertree Family Expeditions
    Thomson Family Adventures
kids books costa rica
     
The Umbrella children nature costa rica  
The Umbrella
Jan Brett

In the cloud forest, a tree frog drops into a leafy green umbrella, then a toucan leaps in, followed by a kinkajou, baby tapir, and quetzal bird. And what happens when an impulsive monkey tosses the umbrella in the river? An absolutely delightful Costa Rica rain forest story, fabulously illustrated.
(Picture book)

 

     

Discover the butterflies, ants and other insects of the Costa Rican cloud forests – giant Hercules beetles, tiny metalmark moths, leaf-cutter ants, mantids, damselflies, jewel scarabs, thorn treehoppers, and brilliant blue morpho butterflies. Assemble each insect and set them up in a stunning diorama! (Activity book)

 

 
The Field Guide to Insects costa rica wildlife kids
     
Over in the Jungle picture book costa rica  
Over in the Jungle
Marianne Berkes, Jeanette Canyon

A rhyming story with gorgeous collages takes you into the tropical rainforest. “Over in the jungle, wearing wings of shiny blue, lived a morpho butterfly, and her little morphos two.” (Picture book)

 

     
Wake Up, Sloth!
Anouck Boisrobert, Louis Rigaud

We saw three-toed sloths sleeping in the forest in Costa Rica. What happens when the trees are uprooted by bulldozers? This is a marvelous pop-up story of a forest destroyed, the sloth swinging from one remaining tree ... but when the forest is re-planted, once more the sloth gently sways in the treetops. (Pop-up book)

 

 
Wake Up Sloth costa rica wildlife conservation kids
     
The Parrot Tico Tango picture book rainforest costa rica  

A greedy parrot snatches fruit from his friends – a dreamy sloth, quizzical monkey, sharp-eyed snake, timid frog, cozy jaguar, and watchful iguana – but his big beak gets him in trouble. A rhyming story with bright collages, fun for little ones. (Picture book)

 

     
Rain, Rain, Rain Forest
Brenda Z. Guiberson, Steve Jenkins

As the rain splashes down in the rain forest, a sloth slowly makes his way through the branches, howler monkeys roar, a poison dart frog tucks her tadpoles inside a bromeliad. Gorgeous collage illustrations. (Picture book)

 

 
costa rica wildlife picture book kids Rain, Rain, Rain Forest
     
Red-Eyed Tree Frog nature kids costa rica  
Red-Eyed Tree Frog
Joy Cowley, Nic Bishop

A bright green frog looks for his dinner – will it be an iguana, katydid, or boa snake (whoops, the frog is nearly a snack for the snake), but a nice crunchy moth is tasty. Stunning photographs. (Picture book

 

     
Morpha
Michael Tennyson, Jennifer H. Yoswa

Morpha, a shiny new butterfly, gets advice from an older wiser butterfly about how to survive in the rain forest. While looking for her favorite food, Morpha runs into friends from her caterpillar days, the leaf-cutter ants give her tips on camouflage techniques.
(Picture book)

 

 
Morpha wildlife costa rica kids
     
Fernando's Gift conservation rain forest  kids costa rica  

Bi-lingual story (English and Spanish) of Fernando and his family, living in the Costa Rican rain forest. When his friend Carmina's favorite climbing tree, an old cristobal tree, is cut down, Fernando finds a secret place for a new tree. (Picture book)

 

     
The Forever Forest
Kristin Joy Pratt-Serafini, Rachel Crandell

Take a walk through the Bosque Eterno de los Ninos (Children's Eternal Rainforest), filled with howler monkeys, tent-making bats, two-toed sloths, jaguars, leaf-cutter ants and more. This rain forest in Costa Rica is preserved by the efforts of children worldwide.

 

 
children costa rica The Forever Forest
     
Green Eyed Monster mystery kids costa rica
 
Green-Eyed Monster (Nancy Drew)
Green With Envy
Carolyn Keene

In two new mysteries, Nancy Drew is back in Costa Rica, staying in Casa Verde, an eco-friendly resort with white water rafting, snorkeling and a nature reserve. But all is not fine when someone is playing dangerous pranks and a dead sea turtle ends up in the lobby. (Chapter books)

And the first Costa Rica mystery: The Scarlet Macaw Scandal

 

     
Tortillas and Lullabies:
Tortillas y cancionitas

Lynn Reiser, Corazones Valientes

Fabulous paintings by six Costa Rican women ("Corazones Valientes") tell a story of generations of families, making tortillas, gathering tropical flowers, washing clothes and singing songs at bedtime. In English and Spanish. (Picture book)

 

 
costa rica english spanish kids Tortillas and Lullabies
     
Costa Rica country facts kids books  
Costa Rica (Countries Around the World)
Elizabeth Raum

Get to know the people and landscape of Costa Rica – history, regions, amazing wildlife, rain forests and volcanoes, school, sports, food, plus Spanish vocabulary. (Illustrated chapter book)

For younger kids: A Visit to Costa Rica

 

(More children's books on other Costa Rica pages)
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