I can write about our amazing adventures, rafting down the Peñas Blancas River, hiking around Arenal, kayaking in the Papagayo Peninsula, etc. but that could get boring. Instead, here are recommendations and stories that my children would want to share.
Explore the tide pools. You’ll find crabs of all sizes and colors. You’ll also find sea slugs, hermit crabs, tiny fish, and sometimes a stingray swimming nearby. Our kids built a little beach habitat for the crabs, watched them crawl around, then put them back into the tide pools. You’ll see pure delight in their eyes.
Find a waterfall. Swim under, around them or just sit right on top or under them. They’re just so cool.
Build a miniature habitat. Our kids found a friendly gecko near our room who seemed to enjoy being around people. They built a little home from leaves, rocks, and water hoping the little lizard would stay or, at least, visit often. It did but mostly stayed on the wall. Nevertheless, collecting all the material around the grounds was a fun project.
Meet little rainforest dwellers. A lot of ooohs & ahhhs filled the air when the kids saw a Blue Morpho Butterfly land on their dad’s arm. The same happened when a guide pulled out a banana leaf with a Red Dart Frog resting on top. And, another frog was in our raft while floating down a river. Truly magical.
Don’t feed the iguanas. We have pigeons, Costa Rica has iguanas. Not all iguanas are herbivores as we mistakenly thought. The darker colored ones enjoy meat too, while the green iguanas remain leaf eaters. Our large beach friend finally left after realizing my daughter likes hamburgers more than it.
Visit the Wildlife Preserve. We were fortunate enough to stand inches away from ocelots, monkeys, and a puma at the Spring’s Wildlife Preserve in Arenal. It was a remarkable experience being so physically close to these animals. The highlight for the kids was holding food in their hands and watching capuchin monkeys use their tales to take it.
Forget the shark tooth, bring home a crab claw. This was not an intentional souvenir. My son found a couple of crabs in the pool. As he tried to rescue one by placing it back into the grassy area, it pinched his finger quite hard. We heard a loud scream, then saw a claw still attached, dangling from his hand. Ouch. At least he’ll always have a good story from our holiday and a claw to go with it.