fun to do kids caribbean costa rica   Travel for Kids
Costa Rica
   
     
   

Costa Rica - Caribbean Zone

Tortuguero
The Costa Rica Caribbean zone is warm, rainy-and-sunny, with thick lowland vegetation and a variety of microclimates. Start at the coast on a white sand beach and a few hours later, find yourself in the misty coastal divide, surrounded by extra-large tropical plants and waterfalls cascading from the hillsides. Kids will get a kick out of the quick changes in weather and locale.
  Tortuguero National Park (Parque Nacional Tortuguero) – Each year hundreds of turtles come to the beach at Tortuguero to lay their eggs. At night, the female green sea turtles lumber up the beach to dig a hole in the sand, lay the eggs, then cover them up with huge flippers. The sight of these primeval creatures, vestiges of the dinosaur age, is unique. The best time to see the green sea turtles nesting is July - September.
      Tip: The 22 mile beach in the national park is a long, lovely deserted beach. Kids can spend hours beachcombing, but no swimming.
Tortuguero
    Turtles aside, Tortuguero National Park is a wondrous natural habitat. Follow trails through the tropical rain forest, filled with spider or howler monkeys high in the trees (don't wear orange, they might pee on you), bats hiding in the palm leaves, or leaf cutter ants and colorful frogs in the undergrowth.
    Or take a boat trip in a shallow-bottomed launch through the network of canals and creeks that crisscross the palm swamps and forests. Bring your binoculars and sharp eyes to spot tiny little Jesus Christ iguanas (they can skip over the surface of the water), a caiman (only his eyes poking above the water), or a boa constrictor coiled on a branch, perfectly camouflaged. You might even catch a fleeting glimpse of a manatee or a jaguar. You're sure to see the busy white-faced capuchin monkeys or colorful butterflies in the forest. The water in the canals is warm, but you won't be swimming (crocodiles also live in the rivers).
Tortuguero
    The tiny town of Tortuguero has a Visitor Center where can find out more information about the habits of sea turtles and the conservation efforts. At the souvenir shops, pick up a "Tortuguero Field Guide," a laminated sheet with pictures of the common animals found in the area. Wander over to the colorful children's playground to see where the local kids play.
Tortuguero
    There are no cars in Tortuguero. To get to Tortuguero, fly into the small airport or take a 2 hours boat ride up the Rio Tortuguero, an adventure in itself as the skillful boat pilots navigate the shallow waters, snags and sandbars. Lodges in Tortuguero can arrange for your transportation, as well as accommodations in Tortuguero.
Cahuita National Park – Very uncrowded, Cahuita National Park has 14km of beaches with mangroves and a protected coral reef. Plenty of wildlife here, from shore birds to toucans, macaws, howler monkeys, and iguanas.
  Ride the Rainforest Aerial Tram (Braulio Carrillo National Park) – The Rainforest Aerial Tram takes you through the canopy for an up-close view of animals that live in the upper regions of the rainforest. This is a must-see (think how much fun your kids will have with their rainforest report in school). Kids under 5 can ride – special seats are provided for them for a safe and comfortable ride.
      Tip: On the Caribbean coast, it's warm and humid. Even in the dry season, it rains. Bring a light rain poncho or jacket, water shoes or sandals, and mosquito repellent and sun screen for kids. A waterproof camera is also handy.
family tours tortuguero costa rica

Do your kids want to take a jungle boat expedition in Tortuguero, kayak through rain forest waterways, spot howler monkeys, toucans and caimans in the wild, go whitewater rafting, zoom through the trees on a zip line? Book a tour that specializes in multi-sport trips for families and they'll provide everything your need for a great trip:

    Thomson Family Adventures
kids books caribbean coast costa rica
     
Sea Turtles nature costa rica kids books  
Sea Turtles
Gail Gibbons

Before you go looking for green sea turtles or leatherback turtles, read up on these fascinating creatures. E.g. green sea turtles are green because they eat only plants, the biggest sea turtles are leatherbacks, sea turtles don't have teeth, they just tear their food. (Picture book)

 

     
Manatees
Kathy Feeney

Fun facts about the irresistible, "gentle giants" of the sea. Manatees eat plants only (favorite foods are sea lettuces and water hyacinths). Manatees greet each other by pressing their noses together, and sometimes they sleep upside down! (Chapter book, photographs)

 

 
Manatees kids books marine life costa rica
     
The Sea, the Storm, and the Mangrove Tangle costa rica childrens books ecology  

In the Caribbean sea, a mangrove grows from a sprouting seed to a singular tree, a home to crabs in its roots, hummingbirds in its branches, fish in its waters, and shelter for all in a fierce hurricane. Wonderfully detailed illustrations. (Picture book)

 

(More children's books on other Costa Rica pages)
travel for kids | costa rica | caribbean zone
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