13 Best Family Activities In Playas-del-Coco

There are a lot of fun family activities in Playas del Coco. Beach hopping, waterfalls, adventure parks, boating, and hot springs are some activities that will keep your family busy throughout the vacation. Fortunately, Playas del Coco has a lot of facilities, from accommodation options to restaurants, shops, and many more. 

One thing I discovered is that Coco has a slow nightlife. Hence, I had no worries about my kids being kept awake by the noise from the partygoers. Thankfully, we had so many fun-filled family activities that kept us busy throughout the day. I share the best fun activities for families in Playas del Coco.

Key Takeaways From This Article

Playas del Coco is in Guanacaste province, on the Pacific Coast side of Costa Rica. It is widely known for marine life and wildlife. I highlight a few key takeaways from this article.

  • Playas del Coco is a boating and fishing area. While it is ideal for swimming, you are likely to encounter a lot of boats anchored at the shores. 
  • The most suitable hotsprings for small kids are at Blue River Resort near Rincon de la Vieja National Park. 
  • You can beach hop at at least nine beaches near Playas del Coco. 
  • Sloths sleep for 20 hours daily; the most common two-toed sloth in Costa Rica is the Hoffmann sloth. 

13 Best Family Fun Activities In Playas del Coco

Considering Playas del Coco is in the north of the most busy tourist areas of Guanacaste, you can expect a fun-filled vacation for everyone. Playas del Coco is in Coco’s town, one hour from Liberia International Airport. Let’s look at the various activities you can do with your family. 


Playas del Coco is a boating town; you can expect to find all kinds of boats anchored there. There are catamarans, sailboats, and water taxis. 

One place to visit is the Palo Verde River Boat. There are many animals to see, such as monkeys, birds, lizards, and crocodiles. I recommend booking a tour with a reputable company at Playa del Coco, which will likely have a bilingual guide. 

You can book catamaran sunset cruises if your kids are older and can snorkel and swim. The tours start in the afternoon, so you have plenty of time to do other activities in the morning. But you can also watch the sunset from the balcony or the Playas del Coco. 

Rincon de la Vieja National Park

You can take your family for guided hikes along the trails of one of Costa Rica’s active volcanoes. The park is two hours away from Playas del Coco. You can choose to stay overnight to see several of the waterfalls and soak in the hot springs. 

There is a lot of wildlife and fascinating rock formations to learn about. The park has two volcanoes and 32 rivers and streams. You can explore Rincon de la Vieja National Park’s three waterfalls. Staying at Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin for the night earns you free access to the various waterfalls. 

  • Las Chorreras
  • Rio Negro Hot Springs and Waterfalls
  • Oropendola waterfall. 

I highly recommend visiting the hot springs at Blue River Resort if you have small kids. It’s on the northern side of the park. Dino Park within the resort is the most friendly kids hotspring with 20 different moving dinosaurs. 

Beach Hopping

Around Playas del Coco are several other beaches you can visit within a few days. You can book tours or rent a car to see the different beaches. Have a schedule where you can visit two different beaches in one day. 

The beaches nearest Playas del Coco are a few minutes away; take a taxi or drive. Playa Ocotal is a mere 10-minute drive, Playa Hermosa is 15 minutes, and Penca is a 45-minute drive. I highlight the various beaches you can visit from Playas del Coco. 

Beaches near Playas del CocoNorth of Playas del CocoSouth of Playas del Coco
Playa PencaPlaya IguanitaPlaya Flamingo
Playa OcotalPlaya CabayulPlaya Mina
Playa HermosaPlaya Conchal
Playa Grande

The farthest beach is Playa Mina, 45 km away, but it might take two hours to reach due to bad roads. You can use one of the map apps to see the locations of the beaches. 

Diamante Eco Adventure Park

It’s the best park for older kids, as Diamante has plenty of outdoor activities. Ziplining at the top of the forest is one of the activities teenagers will enjoy the most. Other activities at the outdoor theme park include:. 

  • Horseback riding tour: The horses are calm and will take you on the same trails as the ATV tours. 
  • ATV tours: A one-hour ride on the open road accessing the forest and mountain areas inaccessible to the car. The minimum age to ride alone is 16 years, and a ride with an adult is eight years. 
  • Rope jungle course: This course is great for the kids. Primary activities include climbing a rock wall and swinging on the monkey bars and swings. 
  • Butterfly garden: You will see owl butterflies, blue morphos, and all sorts of butterflies. Your kids get to see the stages of a butterfly’s metamorphosis. The garden has a reptile section with frogs, toads, and snakes. 
  • Wildlife sanctuary: It’s the largest in the country, and you can see animals such as toucans, monkeys, iguanas, jaguars, crocodiles, sloths, and caimans. The sanctuary has rescued animals that cannot return to the wild for one reason or another. 

You can buy the All-Day Adventure Pass for a self-guided tour where you can complete activities at your own pace. The pass allows you access to the following:

Diamante Park All-Day Adventure Pass
Whole-day access to the ParkButterfly and botanical garden
Paddleboarding, kayaking, hammocks, snorkeling.Animal sanctuary
Lunch (buffet)Coffee, fruit drinks
Tarzan swing, ziplines (5), nature trails, and hanging bridges.

Visit Cortes Waterfall

Catarata (waterfall) Llanos de Cortes is a 91-foot (228-meter) waterfall in Bagaces, 45 km from Playas del Coco. The best way to reach the waterfall is to hire a taxi if you don’t have a rental car or book a day trip. Ten minutes from the parking lot, you will come across a cement staircase to the waterfalls. 

The changing stalls and bathrooms are in the parking area, and none are down the waterfalls. If you plan to spend the whole day, I recommend carrying snacks, drinks, and lunch, as there are no stands. 

Apart from seeing all the fantastic waterfalls, your kids get to swim and wade in the pool at the bottom. The charges are $7 for adults; kids under six can see the waterfalls for free, and kids between 6 and 12 pay $4. Those are the charges as of May 2024. 

You will see howler monkeys, boa constrictors, iguanas, morpho butterflies, and white-face monkeys in the trees around the waterfalls. A guide can take you to the top of the waterfalls to peek down, but I recommend leaving the kids down. 

Discover Sloths

Sloths are plentiful in Costa Rican forests but are challenging to see as they hide in the bushes. They can sleep 20 hours daily, making it even more difficult for untrained eyes to see them. Sloths have algae that sticks to their hair, helping them camouflage. 

The most common place to see sloths is in the rainforest between Mirravalles and Tenorio volcanoes. There are two types of sloths in Costa Rican lush vegetation. 

  • Two-toed Hoffmann sloths: There are two species of two-toed sloths. The one most common in Costa Rica is the Hoffmann. The Hoffmann ( named after Karl Hoffmann) are nocturnal and have two claws on each foot. They have big eyes and light coloring and are more significant than the three-toed sloths. 
  • Three-toed sloths: There are four types of three-toed species, with the brown three-toed sloths being the most common in Costa Rica. They are smaller than the two-toed sloths and have black markings around their eyes. The three-toed sloth has three claws on each foot. 

Book a tour to get a knowledgeable guide about the flora and fauna in these habitats. Other animals you are likely to see include frogs and toucans. 

Surfing Lessons

While Plays del Coco is not ideal for surfing due to its small waves, it’s the best place for beginners. If you have kids interested in surfing, enroll them in surfing lessons at the various surf camps in Playas del Coco. You can then take the new learners to Playa Tamarindo, which has the best beginner surf spots. 

Some of the surf schools that I recommend include. 


Marine life is plentiful in Playa del Coco. Snorkeling is the best way for your family to experience all this. Ideally, the best way is to book tours for snorkeling trips. But with small kids, I recommend snorkeling near the beach. Playa Hermosa, Playa Boruca, and Playa Ocotal are the best beaches for nearshore snorkeling. 

The best time to go snorkeling is in the early morning, as it is less windy. 

Vandara Hot Springs Adventure Park

The drive to Vandara Hotsprings should take about one hour and 15 minutes. Their ziplining and horseback riding activities are ideal for first-timers. Horse riding is only for 30 minutes before heading to the ziplining area. 

Next is the cultural experience, where you’ll learn more about Costa Rica’s rich agricultural history and culture. But the water slide at 1300 feet (400 meters) is the day’s highlight. After the waterslide, head to the hot springs and apply some volcanic mud before soaking in the warm waters. 

Enjoy your lunch, which includes traditional Costa Rican foods or international cuisine. They also have vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options. You only need to inform them about your diet restrictions when checking in. 

Nicaragua Day Tour

Why not visit another Nicaragua while staying in Playa del Coco? I recommend booking with a tour company so that they can take care of immigration, transportation, border fees, and the itinerary. They will also advise on all the necessary requirements. 

The tours start early, so you must get your family ready quickly. Some of the activities you can do in Nicaragua in one day include the following: 

  • Visiting Granada City for its rich colonial heritage.
  • Lake Nicaragua has a restaurant where you will primarily take breakfast and pictures of the Ometepe Volcano. 
  • Masaya Volcano National Park is an active volcano that you can drive to from the center. 
  • Laguna de Apoyo is a volcanic lake in Catarina, Masaya. 
  • Masaya Market is one of the most famous souvenir stores in Central America. 


You can book private boat tours to take your family fishing. Catch snappers, mahi mahi, black tunas, bonitas, and wahoo can be your daily catch. The best time to fish mahi mahi is during the rainy season (May to December). 

The benefits of booking a private fishing tour for your family are as follows:

  • You can go to the beach of your choice and stay as long as you want. If you prefer something else, the boat captain takes you elsewhere.
  • The day’s schedule will be yours to plan. You can go to as many places as possible if the weather permits. 
  • When you come across humpback whales or dolphins, you can request that the boat captain stop so your kids can enjoy them. 
  • Your family can move around the boat as much as you can since it’s not crowded. 

Scuba Diving

Playas del Coco is the best place for kids to learn scuba diving. There are several scuba diving schools, most of which take three days. If your kids are not beginners, they can go for the open water diver certification. 

Several local dive sites in Playas del Coco are ideal for beginners or intermediate divers.

Ponderosa Adventure Park 

I have yet to find a kid who doesn’t love seeing wild animals in their natural habitat. With over 300+ animals, Ponderosa Adventure Park brings all the animals they read about or watch to life. The park in El Salto city near Liberia has zebras, giraffes, goats, sheep, crocodiles, African cattle, and ostrich. 

Guests visiting the park can be close to the animals and even have the chance to feed them. The animals are in large spaces where they roam freely. At the park gate, you can buy carrots to feed the animals. There is a tram that will take you around. 

A waterfall at the park, La Perla, has a quiet view. 


Plays del Coco has enough activities to keep you and your family busy. Create an excellent schedule to cover as many activities as possible. When vacationing with your kids, I recommend renting a car to get around more easily. 

When you visited Playas del Coco with your family, how many activities were you able to do? Please share your experience. 

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Born in California, Michelle traveled extensively through the USA and Europe before moving to South Florida during the pandemic. Her career in Marketing has taken her all across the world. Her favorite country is France but she'll never turn down a beach vacation!

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