It’s that time of year when you need to decide where your next family vacation is going to be. Rather than choosing an overcrowded beach or tourism destination, why not choose an experience that will leave your entire family with an out-of the ordinary memorable vacation? Costa Rica offers just such a destination, and some excellent family package holidays are available. Here are some essential tips to consider when planning a Costa Rica Vacation:Pack lightly when traveling to Costa Rica: Travel to Costa Rica is mostly to rainforests, mountains and beaches. Chances are that your local plane or boat will limit your luggage. Plan on bringing a typical plane carry-on bag.What to pack? Bring shorts and T-shirts, a raincoat or poncho, a hat and swimsuit and a lightweight jacket. Leave your elegant clothes at home – the animals don’t care what you wear! Bring along a camera and extra batteries as there is lots to photograph in Costa Rica! Also take insect repellent and plenty of sunscreen.Costa Rica Driving: Driving in Costa Rica can be difficult – the roads are often inaccessible due to the tropical climate. Instead, short plane trips between locations a good alternative as they are inexpensive, safe and save time.Take along some good plant and wildlife books: To fully appreciate the beauty and rarity of the flora and fauna species Costa Rica features, take along some good books to identify plants and wildlife you will undoubtedly spot.Handling Money: Costa Rica’s banking system can be strange. In smaller towns and tourist areas, there is often only one ATM. Costa Rican ATM’s are known to decline cards for no reason, so if you’re heading for smaller places, take out money before leaving. If traveling to smaller towns, it is worthwhile to consider taking along travelers checks.Costa Rican Coasts: Spend time at least at one of Costa Rica’s two diversified coasts, and if possible on both – the Pacific Ocean on the west and the Caribbean Sea on the east. Both coasts host several national parks, such as Manuel Antonio National Park on the Pacific and Tortuguero National Park on the Caribbean. Both are well worth the effort.Spend enough time at each location: To get a feel for the places you are visiting, spend at least 2 – 3 nights in each location. It makes for less stress, giving families the opportunity to relax and enjoy the experience.Use the services of a guide: To really see wildlife in the wild, on its own terms, utilize the services of a naturalist guide. They will not only provide astounding knowledge but will also point out wildlife sights you would never see on your own (they have the eyes of hawks). Freelance guides are readily available for hire at the entrance of Manuel Antonio, Carara and Tortuguero national parks. If you plan on visiting a series of wildlife reserves, consider utilizing a guide for the duration of your trip.Wildlife spotting: For wildlife spotting, timing is everything. Early morning is the best time to spot the animals, followed by late afternoon. Walk quietly, stopping of ten to listen and watch. Look at all levels, from the ground up to the canopy overhead. Choose an inconspicuous spot near a clearing or stream and if possible, sit absolutely still for a half hour – you will almost surly see amazing wildlife.