Traveling in Central America with kids

Mexico’s tombs and temples are incredible, but it was swimming in the surreal swimming holes, or cenotes, that our children couldn’t get enough of.
These are countries where children are treasured, so cast your net wide when traveling in Central America with kids. Costa Rica has a well-established tourism set up, with English speaking guides to lead you into Monteverde’s cloud forest or to see the turtles of Tortuguero. Older kids will go ballistic white water rafting on the Sarapiquí River. Similarly, Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula is far from yucky, with the likes of Uxmal for ancient culture (Chichen Itza gets really packed) and too cool for school cenotes, or natural swimming pools for pure fun.

Family adventurers- be amazed by the welcome you get off the beaten track in Nicaragua, surfing and seeing turtles one day, climbing volcanoes the next. The whole region has a Caribbean vibe, with what feels like one big party out on the streets, and children are always given center stage.

Activities for families in Central America

Feasts & festivals

What family doesn’t love Mexican food? Foodie itineraries are all the rage, with taco trails in Mexico City, market tours in Oaxaca, and yummy Yucatan seafood at every turn. Nicaraguan grub is not as famous, but with a passion for food plus festivals that revolve around it, you never go hungry. Rosquillas, the local doughnuts, are a total treat.

Go feral

Central America is like Bear Grylls, David Attenborough and Blue Peter adventures all rolled into one. See whales, go surfing. Kayak through jungle, sleep in a treehouse. See turtles, go river rafting. Climb volcanoes, meet indigenous tribes. Zipline through rainforest, snorkel along reefs. It’s cool. Until you see the volcano throw out mega sparks. ’Cause that is hot.

Indigenous people

There’s a focus on ancient history here, but the ethnic groups are living history. Meet, for example, the Bribri of Costa Rica’s Talamanca Mountains, Creole-speaking communities of African origin on the Caribbean coast, Guatemalan Mayans and 60 indigenous groups in Mexico, the most prolific being Nahuatl, Yucatec (Maya), Zapotec and Mixtec.

Our top Central America family Vacation

Costa Rica family tour, 11 days

Costa Rica family tour, 11 days

Head into nature and explore Costa Rica's highlights

From £1800 11 days ex flights
Tailor made:
Everything is tweak-able, giving you the freedom to build a unique and personal trip for your chosen date. Upgrade your accommodation for all - or just part - of your trip, slow down the pace with few extra nights here and there or add a few more active adventures along the way
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Central America or need help finding a vacation to suit you we're very happy to help.

Traveling in Central America with kids

Jessica Schugel from our Nicaraguan specialist, Buen Viaje Tours:
“Nicaraguan culture is all about the family so people love kids. They are welcome everywhere, and relatively speaking for Central America, it is safe, comfortable and an easy to get around. Transportation is everywhere, and if you need help with something, there is always someone around to help, especially when there are kids around. It’s almost as if you have a support system of strangers.”
Daniel Pawlyn from our supplier The Family Adventure Company is an expert in traveling in Central America with kids: “What an exciting yet safe destination Costa Rica is for active families. The excitement is in the activities (rafting, zip-wiring, hiking, river boat trips, swimming), wildlife (turtles, sloth, snakes, monkeys, tucans) and environment (tropical rainforests, warm seas, mountains etc). The safety is in the high quality infrastructure, Western-style food, service provision.”
Written by Catherine Mack
Photo credits: [Page banner: DeLoyd Huenink] [Intro: eric molina] [Feasts & festivals: wnhsl] [Jessica Schugel Quote: Marina Kuperman Villatoro]