The Ultimate Family Adventure in Costa Rica

When it comes to family travel, it doesn’t get much better than Costa Rica. Time and again this destination receives top accolades, not only for its stunning landscape, but for its eco-friendliness and vast outdoor offerings. After all, it isn’t everywhere in the world you can zip through the rainforest on a canopy tour, surf on the azure waters of the Pacific Ocean and come face-to-face with a spider monkey on your hotel balcony, all on the same vacation.

When Recommend recently spent a few days in this Central American gem of a country, we were reminded all over again why Costa Rica is a must-visit for families looking for a little outdoor adventure.

“Costa Rica is a great family destination because there is something here for everyone,” explains Sandra Gaddu, president and CEO of CR Luxury, the company that manages Los Sueños Resort & Marina (, the property we called home during our visit. “It is also home to one of the last virgin rainforest habitats left on the planet, which means families have the chance to experience all the amazing wildlife and biodiversity that only Costa Rica can offer, in a safe, educational and fun environment.”

a dreamy oasis for families And one of the best “environments” for exploring everything that makes Costa Rica such a thrilling family vacation destination is Los Sueños Resort & Marina, situated on Herradura Bay on the Pacific Coast. It’s a 1,100-acre private luxury resort community, located just 10 minutes from the beach town of Jaco and a 2-hour scenic drive from the capital city of San Jose. For families, Los Sueños is the ultimate in luxury-meets-the-great-outdoors. The property encompasses over 10 sub-communities totaling more than 500 luxury residences, including condominiums, villas and single-family homes, as well as the Los Sueños Marriott Ocean & Golf Resort (

With a total of 201 guestrooms, Los Sueños Marriott itself is an ideal choice for smaller families or those who prefer the traditional hotel ambiance. Here you’ll find the 18-hole championship Las Iguanas Golf Course, as well as the Sibo Rainforest Spa and Retreat, offering a variety of different indulgent massages, wellness rituals and beauty services.

Los Sueños Marriott is also home to six onsite dining venues, including Nuevo Latino, serving up an array of Latin American-inspired dishes; Hoyo 19, offering an extensive menu of salads, sandwiches, fish and grilled items; and Casa de Cafe, a coffee house with over 30 different Costa Rican brew combinations, as well as pastries, sandwiches, wines and spirits.

Other onsite amenities at the Marriott property include two tennis courts, miniature golf, an outdoor pool, the Sibo Fitness Center, the Tortuga Kids’ Club and the Stellaris Casino. Agents note that all amenities at Los Sueños Marriott (including room service) are available to guests staying throughout other onsite communities (some fees may apply).

Vacationers traveling with extended family or those who simply crave a little more space have a myriad of other accommodation options to choose from.

The Del Mar Condominiums, for example, is a neighborhood of 84 attached residences, ranging from 1,670 sq. ft. to 2,000 sq. ft. Each 2- and 3-bedroom unit features an open kitchen and adjoining dining area, large great room, washer/dryer, and Italian ceramic tile flooring throughout. The Del Mar community also includes BBQ areas, picnic grounds and three free-form pools.

The Riviera and Malibu at Altamira villas, meanwhile, offer guests the privacy of their own home, complete with their own private garden and plenty of interior space. Each villa boasts three bedrooms, each with its own en-suite bath; open-concept kitchen with Costa Rican hardwood cabinetry, stainless steel appliances and walk-in pantry; 10-ft.-high ceilings; 8-ft.-high solid wood-paneled doors; private infinity-edge pool and jacuzzi and beautiful views of the ocean, resort and marina.

And with a 600-acre rainforest nature preserve right on the Los Sueños property, there’s plenty of opportunities to catch a glimpse of wildlife such as scarlet macaws, toucans, iguanas and spider monkeys.

During their stay, recommend clients also spend some time at the Marina Village, adjacent to the 200-slip Los Sueños Marina (the only government-sanctioned marina in the country). Here they can enjoy a variety of shops, boutiques and restaurants such as The Hook Up Restaurant and Sports Bar and Lanterna Italian restaurant, as well as an art gallery, ice cream shop and DVD rental store. Here’s also where they can find a car rental office, bank and the CR Luxury Diamond Concierge, the place for guests to go when planning offsite excursions. Agents, recommend guests rent a golf cart during their stay as it’s a fun and convenient way to get around this expansive property, especially during the hot (and sometimes rainy) summer months.