(San José, Arenal, Manuel Antonio)
Carefully created with support from luxury family travel connoisseur Amie O'Shaughnessy of Ciao Bambino, this customizable kidtastic adventure through Costa Rica is ideal for children of any age and the young at heart! Full to the brim with lush rainforests, active volcanoes, adrenaline adventures, exotic animals, and kid friendly hotels, explore the tropical utopias of San Jose, Arenal, and Manuel Antonio. Led by expert private guide and driver, travel to magnificent waterfalls, enjoy a safari excursion as you float lazily down the tranquil Lower Peñas Blancas River, stroll the white sand beaches of Manual Antonio Park looking for the endangered squirrel monkey, and zipline your way through treetop paradises full of wildlife. Keep small hands busy and growing minds learning with a visit to the traditional rancho and organic farm run by the family of Dona Mara! An eco-educational adventure disguised as just plain fun, learn about sustainable farming, Costa Rican culture and family life from this local clan as you make tortillas and join them for lunch. Enjoy a catamaran ride surrounded by playful dolphins and shy sea turtles, stopping to snorkel in the refreshing waters of a scenic jungle bay. Spend your nights in a variety of family-friendly hotels set in the heart of steamy rainforests and coffee plantations, offering spectacular views of Arenal Volcano. Featuring private expert guides, drivers and 24/7 Kensington support, this is a worry-free way to share the captivating spirit of Costa Rica with your children. Speak to a Destination Expert to learn in more detail how we can customize this tour to suit your family’s individual interests, style, schedule and budget. Pura Vida!
Upon arrival you will be greeted by our local representative, who will lead you to your private transfer.
Relax during your short, 30 minute private airport transfer in San Jose.
A welcome package with your vouchers, a country map, and any other touristic information that we deem you may find useful will be waiting for you upon your arrival at your first hotel on your trip.
Your driver-guide will meet you and travel north, towards la Fortuna and Arenal Volcano, via the mountains of the Central Valley and a visit to La Paz Waterfall Gardens. Ascend up the central valley mountain range, noticing a change in temperature and vegetation, the landscape dotted with coffee plantations, ferns, and strawberry farms.
Continue to La Paz Waterfall Garden. A local expert at the park will guide you to a spectacular waterfall in the middle of the rainforest. Inside the park, visit the serpentarium, hummingbird gallery, toucans, a butterfly garden, and a frog exhibit, where we will get an up close and personal encounter with the many animals that are housed at the La Paz rescue center and animal exhibit. Lunch is included at La Paz. After lunch, continue the trip north towards the Arenal Volcano, and the town of Arenal.(Please be checked out of your hotel and ready to depart with your luggage packed, as you will not be returning to your San Jose hotel after the La Paz Waterfall Gardens).
The Club Rio Outdoor Centre offers a wide variety of options for everyone! Choose from any of the following activities: inflatable river kayaking, river tubing, horseback, mountain biking, guided nature tour or the climbing wall and ropes challenge course, hiking trails, river pools or tour of the Jungle Cat & Wildlife Sanctuary.
Nature lovers can enjoy a 2 hour safari style float trip down the lower Penas Blancas River. The pace allows you to enjoy the tranquility of the rainforest soaking in all the sighs and sounds of this tropical setting. Expert bilingual guides will give descriptions of the plant and animal species en route while keeping an en open for monkeys, toucans, jesus christ lizards, caimans, iguanas and a wide assortment of bird species. A local family welcomes you with a tropical drink (pineapple, orange, coconut water) and they will prepare a delicious typical lunch on the rustic wood-fired stove. While lunch is cooking, try your hand at making tortillas using the ground corn masa. They will demonstrate how to flatten the dough into perfect circles ready for cooking. The tortillas are served with lunch to top off the afternoon. You will have the opportunity to practice Spanish and learn about the Costa Rican culture.
WHAT TO BRING: easy dry clothing (shorts & t-shirts work best), bathing suit, secure shoes (sport sandals & water shoes work best), sunscreen and hat.
Costa Rican farmers have begun to understand the value of organic and sustainable farming in the marketplace. Coffee is a major crop in Costa Rica, numerous coffee farmers offer organic beans or have started using less to no chemicals to become more sustainable.
Although you will be travelling to Manuel Antonio today, you can't leave Arenal without ziplining!
Sky Trek starts with a tour in the Sky Tram to reach the top of the Arenal reserve. Then begin a tour full of adventure and adrenaline high above the treetops, using a system of zip lines, that allow you to observe the rainforest and its landscape from a different perspective. The tour includes 8 cross-sectional cables that have a combined total length of 1.7 miles with distances from 100 to 2460 feet, and a maximum height of 660 feet. This vantage point, high above the tree tops, provides a breathtaking panoramic view of the Arenal volcano and the lake below.
Animals are at their best early in the morning, so we recommend doing this trip as early as possible.
Meet your driver for a private transfer to Manuel Antonio. Along the way stop at the "crocodile bridge" to watch the local wildlife.
Option to upgrade this transfer to a domestic flight. Flight is approximately 35 minutes, with airport transfers in each location of 30 minutes. Please ask if you'd like to inquire about the cost and details to upgrade to this option. Airlines used could be Nature Air or Sansa
Enjoy time at leisure to explore at your own pace, or relax at your hotel.
You will be warmly greeted by the driver of your private vehicle for your transfer to Manuel Antonio National Park for a private guided tour. Get ready to relax on beaches with troops of monkeys that frequent the area. The park consists of mangrove swamps, rainforests and marshy woodlands and is bordered by the clear waters of the Pacific Ocean. It is a haven for over 100 mammal species including the highly endangered squirrel monkey, or "mono titi". For your convenience, morning or afternoon departures are available. The tour will span approximately 3 fun-filled hours and a return transfer to the hotel is provided at the conclusion of the tour.
Please note: If you would like to stay within the park, on your own, to enjoy the trails and/or beaches please ensure you bring cash with you to take a return taxi to the hotel later in the day.
Manuel Antonio National Park was established in 1972 because the people of Costa Rica decided they wanted to preserve, for future generations, one of the most beautiful and bio-diverse areas in the world. Although it is the country's smallest national park, the stunning beauty and diversity of wildlife in its 683 hectares is unequaled. Manuel Antonio contains a charming combination of rain forest, beaches and coral reefs. These beaches are the most beautiful in the country, lined with lush forest, and the snorkeling is excellent too.
Enjoy time at leisure in Manuel Antonio. There are many optional activities you can choose from during your stay here. Please let us know if you wish to add any of the following optional activities (not included in tour price): white water rafting, zip canopy tour, Nauyaca Waterfalls by horseback, catamaran sunset sail, ATV rentals and more!
You will be picked up from your hotel and transferred to the tour start point. Your adventure aboard a catamaran begins as you sail down the scenic coast, past the beautiful beaches and islands of Manuel Antonio National Park. As the boat glides quietly under sail, you are likely to see dolphins which frequently swim in the boat's wake. Occasional whales and sea turtles are a special thrill, and the abundance of ever present sea birds is enjoyed on this cruise. Snorkel with the many colorful fish in Bisanz Bay. The cruise will stop in a scenic jungle bay where you can swim or snorkel in the calm, refreshing water. All snorkel gear is provided - just bring a towel and your bathing suit with you. Snacks and juice will be served onboard.
Meet your driver for a private transfer to San José.
Your Kensington Tours private guide ensures that you will have a fantastic and an unforgettable experience in Costa Rica!
Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation and Inn is an organic shade grown coffee plantation with a world class 13 room Inn located in the middle of lush colorful gardens, framed by awe inspiring views of the Central Valley below. Staying at a working coffee plantation makes for authentic glimpse into the true Costa Rica. The recipient of numerous awards and accolades for its extraordinary quality and as a global leader in responsible tourism, Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation and Inn is the perfect choice for discerning and knowledgeable travelers who want to combine the finest in exotic comfort with certified sustainability.
The Springs Resort and Spa is a 165 acre luxury boutique five star hotel in La Fortuna, Arenal, Costa Rica with the best view of the Arenal Volcano. This Costa Rica luxury resort perches one thousand feet above the Arenal Valley on a mountain ridge just six kilometers north of the active volcano but safely outside the government declared danger zone. Each Guest Room and Villa at The Springs Resort and Spa includes a private terrace with balcony and picturesque volcano view. With 18 hot springs pools spanning over 4 acres of landscaped recreational area there is plenty of room to spread out and relax. Natural hot and cold springs, four unique dining experiences, and an impressive full service Spa, The Springs Resort and Spa at Arenal promises to overwhelm you in every aspect of quality, service and design.
Located within walking distance of Manuel Antonio National Park, Arenas Del Mar is an extraordinary beachfront and rainforest resort catering to travelers looking for more than the typical luxury hotel experience. The resort is situated on a cliff with direct access to two pristine sand beaches: Espadilla Beach and Playitas Beach. This property overlooks the spectacular Manuel Antonio National Park and is located within walking distance of Costa Rica’s most visited national park. Unique among the hotels in Manuel Antonio, this carbon neutral property offers sustainable, luxurious lodging—the first Costa Rican luxury hotel to be awarded the Five Sustainability Leaf Award and a Five Star Award. Arenas Del Mar is the perfect base for exploring on your Manuel Antonio vacation.
Bob More ,
April 21, 2014
"Every detail was taken care of, and all connections were on time. We were extremely pleased, couldn't stop telling everyone about our great trip. Each room / hotel was better than the last. Wow great holiday!"
Steve Walling ,
January 20, 2014
"We are home safe and sound from the best vacation I can remember. It seemed seamless to us but I know that you worked very hard to make our experience so good.
The guides and drivers were always punctual and reliable. They were very knowledgeable, personable, and funny. They provided us with very helpful information and helped us work on expanding our Spanish. The hotel staff was friendly and helpful and the rooms were very nice.
I especially appreciate our ability to update our plans while we were in Costa Rica. The zip lines were the highlight of our trip. I hate to think we almost missed out by not including it in our original plan.
You have made a friend and supporter for life. I will certainly recommend you to anyone I know going to Costa Rica.
Merrel Bowles ,
November 07, 2013
"I would highly recommend this company for overseas travel. We had personal drivers that spoke perfect English and were also very knowledgeable in conversation pertaining to their country. Drivers were always early and eager to please. Your wish was their command!!!Every tour included educated guides who knew how to make our experience fun and exciting! I loved having personal drivers and guides, as well as many inclusive meals. We will definitely use this company for future travels."
April 09, 2013
"Our Costa Rica trip was amazing. The whole family thinks its the best we've ever taken! Kensington did an excellent job of organizing everything. The two hotels they picked were amazing.
Arenal -- The Springs Resort & Spa was almost too good since as soon as the family saw it they wanted to cancel activities so they could take full advantage of all it offered. We ultimately did cancel the safari to give us a free day to spend a day at the spa, pools and Club Rio (riding the river in innertubes!). The activities Kensington setup were excellent and very adventurous. Our favorite was canyoneering (repelling), We were all terrified at the first drop-off! It's more thrilling the zip lining (also lots of fun) and river rafting (a blast as well).
Manuel Antonio -- The Preserve at Los Altos was very nice. It was like staying in a 3 bedroom apartment at a boutique hotel (same feel as Athenum in London but nicer). The drive to get there was a bit long but worth it when our driver made a surprise stop at the the "crodillio bridge". The tour through Manuel Antonio National Park is a must do for nature lovers (3 types of monkeys, sloths, etc). Our guide was excellent. If you go MA NP, try Kapi Kapi for dinner.
I'd highly recommend using Kensington (Brandi was our rep) for a Costa Rica trip. Thanks for hooking us up with them.
L Huber ,
April 03, 2013
We returned yesterday from our wonderful Costa Rican vacation and I wanted to let you know how much we enjoyed it. We loved staying at the El Silencio (the kids would have liked to stay even longer so we could have taken some of the nature hikes). Being surrounded by the cloud forest was an amazing sensation that really helped us to feel that we were in a completely different world and was a perfect way to begin the trip. Maria Lucia was a very kind tour guide and showed us the all sites in a huge day (the waterfalls, Poas volcano, the coffee plantation & Sarchi). The staff at El Silencio was wonderful and Jeff and I very much enjoyed the food and the very elaborate wine tasting there.
In La Fortuna the activities ruled. We loved everything, the exhilarating waterfall rappelling, the zip lining (& tiger swing - the kids LOVED IT) the volcano hike and we had a FANTASTIC time on the river safari with Gerald and his friend Tom. Gerald was a great guide and was able to share many stories while letting us see the wildlife. We saw a spectacular Toucan flock and of course the monkeys were a huge hit. Ending up at the farm was a fun end note to the trip. Of course we enjoyed the hot springs at the Tabacon - they are pretty amazing. Jeff and I had a chance to have a massage at the Tabacon spa and it was spectacular. The service at the hotel was lovely and our room did have a beautiful view of the volcano. I think the hot springs & spa are far superior at the Tabacon.
Alex drove us from both El Silencio to La Fortuna and then from La Fortuna to Punta Islita (that is a lot of driving and he did a great job - he was so friendly and made the travelling very enjoyable). On the way to La Fortuna he made a point of showing us the Iguana restaurant and it was a great wayside stop for everyone.
Punta Islita was stunning. Our villa Ilan Ilan was ideal, the view and the setting were spectacular. The kids loved the pool (when they weren't swimming & playing in the ocean), Jeff loved being able to finally drive around a bit like a native (the villa came with a small 4 wheel car), and I enjoyed waking up every morning to see the sunrise over the cliffs at the ocean's edge, and hear the incredible variety of birds (and on the last day even the howler monkeys). We enjoyed so many of the activities the hotel had to offer. Andrey & Hector and the whole staff were so warm and hospitable. They really worked hard and made every effort to make our stay so much fun. Hector helped us plan some more zip lining, surf lessons, a dolphin sighting/fishing boat trip and a sunset horseback ride which was the perfect way to wrap up the trip.
Ronald picked us up and got us to the airport in plenty of time. Ronald was very interested in showing us the wildlife as we drove through the different areas and we really enjoyed that.
Everywhere we went the people were absolutely wonderful, kind, and proud to show us their country and it made our trip spectacular.
Erika, thank you for all you did to help make the trip such a huge success.
Brian Blades ,
April 24, 2013
"Very prompt at getting information back to us and very helpful with any changes we wanted.
This trip was as good as the last trip we did with Kensington, could'nt have been any better. Our guides were excellent, especially Gerald.
Stephen Strom ,
April 22, 2013
"The transfers went flawlessly; the guides were all superb (knowledgable; thoughtful; sensitive; responsive to our needs). The recommended hotels were, with one exception (see below), also first rate and well matched to our needs and temperaments.
Our thanks for providing 3 wonderful guides: Gary Ortiz (Antigua); Carlos Antonio Lopez (Tikal and Yaxha); and Israel Canto (Belize). All of them understood that we have ‘peculiar’ tastes (for example: photographing lichen covered tree trunks while the magnificent structures at Tikal were but meters away!). It is really critical that guides not try to make sure that we see every ‘important’ thing, but recognize instead that ‘importance’ is very much a personal thing.
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