When planning a Costa Rica family vacation, there are a few iconic experiences that must be included in every itinerary; a guided tour of Manuel Antonio National Park, hiking to and swimming under a waterfall, zip lining through the jungle canopy, and of course, enjoying a soak in a thermal pool.
Costa Rica is home to six active volcanoes and another 61 dormant or extinct ones. The country is incredibly diverse above ground, and there is a lot happening below ground as well! And as a result, the country is home to some of the world’s best thermal pools. Costa Ricans have perfected the art of the thermal pool experience.
While Arenal is where you will find the vast majority of the country’s thermal pools, they can get crowded. If you’re looking for a more private, relaxed experience, and especially if you’re traveling with teen children, a boutique hotel called Rio Perdido is the way to go, here’s why.
Location, Location, Location
Rio Perdido (or “the hidden river”) is located about 90 minutes from the Liberia airport in northern Costa Rica. This is much closer than heading all the way to Arenal, and the perfect stop for the first 2 nights on your Costa Rica adventure.
And while Rio Perdido is closer to the Liberia airport than Arenal and La Fortuna, you will feel miles away from civilization – because you are! Turn off the main road and drive past small homes, cattle grazing, and small plots of agriculture. As you approach Rio Perdido, the forest becomes thicker. Here, there are no crowds and you have a magical space nearly to yourself!
Soak in a thermal RIVER
That’s right, in addition to 3 amazing thermal pools, you can ALSO have a soak in your own private thermal river just steps away from your bed. Journey down the path towards the river. Here, the crystal clear water is about 95 degrees. Relax in the river, and look up for a spectacular view of the forest canopy above.
If your skin needs a little love, consider painting yourself with volcanic mud (literally you paint it on with a paintbrush!) and let it dry for a few moments before washing it off in the river. The mud clarifies and tones your skin, a nice way to prep your skin for the beach!
Amazing On-Site Activities
Rio Perdido started as an experience-only property. Ziplining, rafting and the thermal pools came first, it was only a few years ago that a few sleeping rooms were added.
In addition to the thermal pools and river, here you can also check zip-lining an river tubing off your list! The zipline here is thrilling and one of the best I’ve experienced, and at only $40 per person offers great value for money. You’ll have the “paparazzi” following you throughout and for another $30 you can purchase tons of photos and video of your entire family’s zipline experience!
Then, head out with a guide to tube down the river, or for experienced riders, rent a bike and explore the amazing mountain bike course right on property!
The resort design and construction is a perfect blend of clean, modern lines and warm, authentic Costa Rican atmosphere. In the dining room you feel like you’re sitting in the forest canopy, and in the cozy rooms it’s as if you’re in a (really nice!) treehouse. The resort isn’t stuffy or formal, yet the service is amazing, food is delicious and great attention to detail throughout.
In the coming months, they are going to be finishing construction on a few new large rooms – perfect for families! These rooms will be located away from the existing rooms and feature more private, open space. The perfect option for families traveling with younger children!
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