We went on this trip over Easter and I can’t recommend it enough. We had the most amazing holiday. Well when I say holiday, it’s more of an expedition, Explore aren’t kidding when they say it’s full on! It’s nonstop, but that’s what we like; a packed itinerary. Wildlife, adventure, culture, fun and even a taste of chilling. It’s a beautiful country with lots of natural environments from forests to rivers to volcanoes, waterfalls and beaches. We managed to see quite a bit of the country but none of the bus journeys seemed too long.
Going with other families is a huge bonus, in my opinion. We’ve done two family holidays with Explore and both times we’ve really enjoyed everyone’s company. On this trip there were 10 of us. My son Ollie is 12 and there were three other boys aged 10, 12 and 15. They all had an obsession with football and so instantly bonded. Without doubt, it made the holiday more fun for Ollie. Explore attract like-minded, adventure seeking people, so the chances are you’ll meet a great bunch.
Here are my highlights of the trip.
The big beautiful animals are very difficult to see- pumas, jaguars, tapirs, ocelots, you’d have to be really lucky to spot them - but howler monkeys, capuchins, armadillos, opossums, sloths, agoutis are all fairly easy. As for the birds, there are around 900 species and some of them are outrageously colourful. Ollie isn’t particularly into birding, but when you’re looking for characters like Toucans, Scarlet Macaws, the stunning Resplendent Quetzal, Hummingbirds and Kingfishers, even the slightly disinterested can’t help but get swept along with the excitement and challenge of the find.
Costa Rica has a progressive attitude to conservation and many areas are protected. It is one of the most bio-diverse countries in the world. The tour visits lots of national parks, all of them are different and all are stunning.
There’s plenty of adventure on offer too and I would strongly recommend budgeting for lots of the optional activities and tours. Our highlight was the white-water rafting, it was absolutely brilliant and we all loved it. For thrill seekers the zip-lining is a must; whizzing above the canopy of the forest, screaming with pure joy and a tiny bit of terror!
The hot springs are definitely worth doing and a great chance to sip cocktails whilst chilling in steaming forest pools. The waterfall at Fortuna was picture perfect and beautifully refreshing after the 500 steps down to it. It was the wrong season for turtle watching, but if we’d been there at the right time, that would’ve been high up on my list.
The Explore Leader
Having a tour leader on the trip is a huge bonus. It means you can switch off from the logistics and concentrate on all the positive experiences. Our leader, Jose, was outstanding. His knowledge, enthusiasm, patience and spiritual attitude to life taught us so much and hugely enhanced our tour.
The cultural side of the trip was also great, the coffee plantation, the chocolate tour and the cookery lesson. Even the museum and church at the beginning of the tour in San Jose were interesting for all.
The first two hotels in San Jose are very practical but the next two in the jungle, are really special. Evergreen Lodge in Tortuguero is absolutely stunning and we could’ve spent at least a couple more days there. We also loved Selva Verde Lodge. When you spot an armadillo, an opossum, lots of iguanas, toads and frogs just on the way to dinner, you know you’re in a fabulous place.
If you fancy a holiday that connects your kids to the natural world, ignites their thirst for adventure, enriches their lives and gives them little time to go onto their iPads and phones then this is the holiday for you. You may not come back rested but you’ll definitely come back rejuvenated, refreshed and with a camera full of amazing memories.
Discover more about our Family Rainforest Adventure. https://www.explore.co.uk/holidays/rainforest-adventure-a-family-holiday-in-costa-rica