Travel with Children

Chances are if you’re in Costa Rica on a short vacation you’ll be headed out to the countryside fairly quickly. But if for some reason you’re going to be hanging out in San José for a day – or two or three – with your kids, know that it's not a particularly kid-friendly destination. There is lots of traffic and the sidewalks are crowded and cracked, making it difficult to push strollers or drag toddlers around. Although the city offers relatively few things specifically for children, here are a few activities they will likely enjoy.

Near Parque La Sabana, the Museo de Ciencias Naturales La Salle will impress youngsters with its astounding array of skeletons and endless cases full of stuffed animals, while the Museo de los Niños is a sure hit for children who just can’t keep their hands off the exhibits. Young nature-lovers will enjoy getting up close to butterflies at the Spirogyra Jardín de Mariposas or checking out the exotic animals at the Parque Zoológico Nacional Simón Bolívar. Just a little further afield (an easy day trip from San José) is the wonderful zoo and wildlife-rescue center Zoo Ave, where you can enjoy native birds and monkeys in a more naturalistic setting.

If you’re spending more than a week in the city, note that many Spanish-language academies offer special custom-made lessons for teens.