01/29/2015 05:04 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Costa Rica Family Adventures

Most travel stories of Costa Rica consist of young, adventurous backpackers excited to discover the natural beauty of the one of the world's most eco-friendly travel destinations.

What is not often talked about is how much this Central American country has to offer outdoor-loving traveling families as well, and what an enriching experience it can be for little ones.

There are a lot of ways to experience Costa Rica. It can be as active or as relaxed as you want it be. But if you are looking for a unique family adventure, the best approach is to be open to everything. Costa Ricans, or Ticos, call this Pura Vida, which means to enjoy life to the fullest. There are so many ways for travelers with kids to do this as well.

Don't stay in one place. One of the best ways to explore Costa Rica is by traveling from one end to the other. Whether you travel from coast to mountain to jungle, planning a trip where you move around helps give a better sense of the beautiful diversity in landscape. Don't expect to see it all, and definitely don't rush. The slow-paced lifestyle in Costa Rica is a perfect opportunity to enjoy the moment and de-stress.

We found that crossing from the Northern coast to the Southern part of the country required travel by jeep, small plane, and a boat. This allows for different experiences, because you'll get to see how diverse the landscape is from region to region. Each area offers different activities as well, such as hikes through the jungle or surfing on the beach. You also get a chance to get closer to the wildlife, such as howler monkeys, giant golden orb web spiders (no, really, they are huge!) and colorful frogs, all of which are beautiful to look at but should never be touched.

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There are a lot of resorts to choose from. Some have more amenities than others, so make sure to research carefully. A family favorite is Lapa Rios in Puerto Jimenez, nestled in the rainforest of Southern Costa Rica and overlooking the Pacific Ocean. This all-inclusive resort has a menu that varies depending on what is available on any given day. The food is delicious, but don't expect to find chicken fingers and hot dogs here. Fresh fruit, fish, and other locally sourced items are prepared in a way that is simple, fresh, and authentic to the area. They also offer a list of excursions led by local guides who highlight the biodiversity of the area. From night walks to bird watching, there is plenty to do and see.

A must: the guided hike through the rain forest in search of waterfalls. We have kid-tested it and agree that this experience is the one that your family will remember forever.

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Let the adventurer in you shine through.
The best place to do this is in Monterverde's Selvatura Park. Here you can select from a few activities, such as a nature hike, a zip-line excursion through the cloud forest, or jumping from the Tarzan swings.

One thing you won't easily find is WiFi. This is the case for most of the spots you will visit, making it the perfect vacation to disconnect from the world and bond as a family.

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Kids will find that Costa Rica is a like having a huge outdoor playground to themselves. This is the one place where getting dirty is part of the fun and where they can view wildlife in its most natural environment. Adults, in turn, will rediscover the kid in themselves.

So don't be afraid to take the kids on the adventure to Costa Rica. Just pack up some eco-friendly bug spray and some comfy hiking shoes and take in the Pura Vida.

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