Part of family travel is escaping without the kids every now and then. A mom recently reached out for help planning a Costa Rica surf and yoga trip, and the children are staying home with dad. First, we asked if we could come along, then we pulled together a few options that would be the perfect girls-only getaway. This mama is going to rule the waves solo, but we also ranked the kid-friendly factor at each lodge in case next trip, the niños are joining.
Option 1: Harmony Hotel, Nosara
Look up pura vida and you’ll probably find a picture of Nosara. This funky surf town isn’t easy to reach — either a two-hour drive from Liberia airport or a puddle-jumper from San Jose — but the relatively remote location has protected it from the crowds and preserved its boho spirit. The Harmony isn’t fancy, but its simple bungalows have their own style (Tulum-ites will love it) and a great surf beach is a short walk away. Yoga classes are held in two open-air studios tucked into the jungle, and eats are all local and organic.
Mom-Friendly Factor: High, unless you need Four Seasons digs.
Kid-Friendly Factor: Very welcome, but keep in mind that the overall wellness focus means that screaming toddlers may get a heavy dose of side-eye from other guests.
Option 2: Las Catalinas, Guanacaste
Part resort, part village, Las Catalinas is a new town dreamed up by travel industry vets who wanted to create a destination with a real community vibe. Houses and apartments come with hotel-style amenities (housekeeping, a house mom who cooks breakfast each morning, concierge service), and prices are a fraction of what you’d find at the big-name hotels just up the Guanacaste coast. Swing into the Pura Vida Ride shop to set up surf lessons or do a SUP tour, and call Frijoles Locos in nearby Playa Grande for surf lessons. Liberia airport is just 45 minutes from town, making transportation easy.
Mom-Friendly Factor: Thumbs up for the house sharing instead of being in separate hotel rooms, less appealing is that you’ll have to go off-site for the real surfing (a half-hour drive).
Kid-friendly Factor: The downside for mom — smaller waves in town — is an upside for kids who can’t handle rough surf and want to spend days boogie-boarding.
Tamarindo’s surf scene is famous, but recent years have brought increased development and the town isn’t as quaint as it once was. To hit the famous breaks but skip the infamous crowds, stay at Cala Luna, just outside of town. Recently renovated, Cala Luna has a similar style to Harmony, with an outdoor yoga studio and sweetly simple rooms plus a serious eco focus. Hop into town if you want a bigger night out or just chill with a sundowner on quieter Playa Langosta, in front of the lodge.
Mom-Friendly Factor: Access to nightlife, promise of quiet nights. Surf and yoga until you drop. This one works.
Kid-Friendly Factor: There are also one- to three-bedroom bungalows for traveling with groups or children.
Option 4: Lapa Rios
Lapa Rios’ claim to fame is the jungle experience, but this coastal lodge is also a 10-minute walk from three surf beaches. While most guests tend to focus on the hiking and eco-adventures, the concierge can hook you up with surf lessons, private yoga sessions and anything else you need (sunset cocktails and massages a must). Keep in mind that your arrival might be the most heart-stopping part of the trip: you’ll take a 15-minute flight on a small plane from San Jose, then it’s a 45 minute twisty drive to reach the lodge.
Mom-Friendly Factor: Lots to do, this is a perk for an active group of girls.
Kid-Friendly Factor: There’s also a farm and local school that children can visit to get a sense of the local community, and tweens and teens might hit the waterfall rappelling more than once.