Our family travel conversations start innocently enough. “Oh, let’s go,” I say to my husband, as I pull out my phone and start searching my favorite travel apps for flight prices and hotels. Once I get airfare and hotel prices budgeted, my husband adds a certain amount each day for food, beverages and “extras” such as entertainment and activities for our family of four. While this amount can vary greatly depending on the destination, we know these little daily expenses can make or break our vacation budget. This is one reason why I love all-inclusive resorts.

One destination that has some great all-inclusive resorts is Costa Rica. If you are planning a getaway to Costa Rica, consider these all-inclusive resorts for your next family trip:

Hilton Papagayo, Costa Rica Resort & Spa 

The Hilton Papagayo Costa Rica Resort & Spa is just a 20-minute drive from Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport (LIR) in Liberia, on the Pacific Ocean side of Papagayo, Guanacaste. Spend lazy family days at the resort taking in the spectacular views, swimming in the multilevel infinity pool, or hike trails in the lush Costa Rica rainforest.

Viewfinder tip: Be sure to read the fine print on what is “included” in an all-inclusive hotel so there are no surprises at check-out.

You won’t find any wristbands here for all-inclusive dining; the resort prides itself on a personalized (but still all-inclusive) dining experience. The property has four restaurants, two bars and local Costa Rica farm-to-table dining at El Dorado restaurant. You can even grab a cool poolside drink at the Pool Bar, Fuente de Vida. The Hilton Papagayo’s Kidz Paradise Club offers bilingual childcare staff, an indoor/outdoor play area for the kids, and the club’s very own slide “volcano,” a grassy mountain with steps and a top that opens up to slides on either side.

The Hilton Papagayo also has family suites with separate bedrooms and private plunge pools. When calculating your budget for an all-inclusive vacation, be sure to read the fine print on the extras for families. The Hilton charges a daily fee of $49 for each child between the ages of 4-12, and full adult rate for those 13 and over. Kids under 3 stay and eat free.


Villas Sol Hotel and Beach Resort, Playa Hermosa Guanacaste

Villas Sol Hotel and Beach Resort is an all-inclusive resort in Playa Hermosa, on the Northwestern Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, approximately 25 minutes from LIR and four hours from Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) in San Jose. The property offers 54 standard rooms (some connecting) and 106 one-, two- and three-bedroom villas with full kitchens that sleep up to six people. Many villas have views of the Gulf of Papagayo and 50 of them have private pools. Nearby Hermosa Beach, said to be one of the best preserved beaches in Costa Rica, offers families ample beach time to enjoy kayaking, diving, swimming, and other water activities with the family.

The Westin Golf Resort & Spa, Playa Conchal

The Westin Golf Resort & Spa, Playa Conchal is about 45 minutes from LIR and is a luxurious, all-inclusive resort with many of the perks of a Starwood Hotels & Resorts property. Kids eat free with the SPG Kids Pass, and families have access to and certified childcare at the Westin Kids Club (the club serves children ages 4-12). The Westin has Family Junior Suites that include complimentary access to the Family Club Lounge, where you can hang out and enjoy kid-sized furniture and activities geared toward families. During your stay, your family will feel like VIPs, with a dedicated Family Concierge to help you plan tours and excursions. In addition, 24-hour room service, and non-motorized water sports and games are also included in your stay.

What are your favorite amenities at an all-inclusive resort?