Your family vacation in Costa Rica can be as entertaining and fun as it can be simply miserable if you are not prepared. Please read these ten ideas that can help you save the family vacation, Costa Rica.
Your family vacation in Costa Rica will be enjoyable and a great memory to behold for the rest of your life, but let’s be honest about it. Any parent knows that traveling with kids can be as satisfactory and joyful as it can be exhausting. At first, because kids’ energy seems to be infinite. And, second, because you are in a double or triple alert mood looking after the children.
So, allow us to give you some ideas that will make your family vacation in Costa Rica easier:
Get your children involved in the planning, yes. But also, create an interest in the places he or she is about to see:
It is handy to do some research on what is that you expect to see on the trip. From the colorful and tiny poison-dart frogs to the dynamic spider monkeys, you can find a lot of information on the Internet.
Sloths, toucans, monkeys, and frogs are some of the favorite ones, but not the only ones. You may also see coatimundis and agoutis. Look them up!
And show your children the images, the documentaries. It will create an exciting atmosphere that will allow your children to enjoy the trip much more.
Prepare your family vacation in Costa Rica with a local travel agent
No, we are not only saying this to sell our company.
Seriously, the difference between having a local travel agency is that if anything comes up on your Costa Rica family vacation, anything! A lost reservation or a broken leg, you have someone on your side that speaks Spanish, knows the system, the rates and, probably, have contacts in the right places.
A travel agent can tell you which hotels are more convenient because we know them. A travel agent will tell you why to take that tour instead of the other (And believe us, in both, we gain a commission)
And maybe you would think that you would find out through Trip Advisor or similar sites about those things… Yes and no. However, Trip Advisor won’t tell you the name and number of a good pediatrician that speaks English.
When you are traveling with children having a local on your side, from the planning to the way back home, makes it easier, cleaner and more entertaining, by far.
Bring your first aid kit
You will always find that the tour buses and the tour guides carry their first aid kits. However, you will never see a single pill in any of them. Because of the danger of being sued, none carries them anymore (Sounds familiar uh?).
It is essential for you to check with your pediatrician which are the recommended medicines to take on a trip to Costa Rica. And bring them.
Medical services are very efficient here, and pharmacies sometimes are easier to find than groceries, but! Why take the risk of not finding what your kid might need? Please bring it with you.
When you think about the children baggage, think about disposable clothes, especially socks.
Costa Rica is all about nature, adventure, wildlife! And these mean that, sometimes, you get in a trail and a pouring rain will come over your heads. Or the path might be offensively muddy… But the monkeys are right behind the mud! Or, you are rappelling, exploring a cave, or kayaking in a mangrove. Clothes will quickly get very dirty or soaking wet during your family vacation in Costa Rica.
And you might be in places where getting a dryer is almost impossible.
And then we all know what happens! The wet clothes are put in a plastic bag and carried around until you find a place with a laundry service that has a dryer. Or quit and simply leave them behind!
It is so much easier to bring last year school clothes and two pairs of socks per day (One to throw away) and be in peace.
Important: When in the rainforest it will be better not to wear bright colors, sometimes they attract hummingbirds (And that is great!), but also wasps and bees (And that is not so convenient).
Look for the minimum ages or weight when choosing the activities
This is key for your family vacation! You may think that where you are going to do the zip lining, they will let your five-year-old because somewhere else they do. No.
Although Costa Rican safety laws are applying to all tour operators in the country, you will also find that they might be different from one to the next. Can be because one owner is more cautious than the other. Or maybe they have longer cables. Or a different topography.
In some tours, it might be a matter of weight and size, and in others, it might be of age.
Just make sure your kid can go. So that the whole family can enjoy every day during your family vacation in Costa Rica.
When it comes to rules, and because of the consequences, tour operators, in general, are quite inflexible. So, forget about thinking that once here you will convince anyone of letting your kid go. It won’t happen.
If your child has any dietary limitations, please warn your travel consultant before your vacation in Costa Rica starts.
Some of the hotels and lodges in Costa Rica are in isolated places. Spots where to go to the supermarket they must take a boat for an hour or two to buy milk or eggs.
When they know in advance that someone who cannot digest lactose or gluten, or that is allergic to tomatoes is coming, they will go the distance to create a menu specially designed for your family.
But let them know beforehand.
Regarding food, your child may starve before eating a weird looking vegetable or fruit
When we are kids, anything edible that is strange is distrusting, and weird looking means distasteful. And rather go for a burger daily than to try a delicious tropical fruit or new vegetable.
It is important to negotiate with them and let them know that during your family vacation in Costa Rica they may be able to find pasta, burgers, hot dogs and pizza in Costa Rica.
But there will also be rice and beans for breakfast, weird looking delicious fruits, and tortillas stuffed with chopped chayote (Also called in English Vegetable Pear) or fresh cheese.
If the two parents are coming, leave some activities only with mom and some only with dad during your family vacation in Costa Rica
Vacations are for the whole family. A great idea that works fantastically well is to hire a tutor to be with you throughout the trip. That way, the entire family can enjoy the vacation. (link to form)
The bilingual tutors are a vital figure for tours where the kids might get bored or cannot come because of age or weight, or for night tours that might end late (Turtle nesting for instance).
The other option is to find out if the hotels offer the babysitting service for specific days or nights that you may want to go on a tour or even a romantic night out in a restaurant.
However, if for any reason you don’t want to have a tutor or babysitter for your children, it might be important to create a balance for mom to stay in the hotel spa while dad goes hiking with the children, or for dad to watch the game at the hotel sports bar while mom goes out kayaking with the kids.
Just create space to rest yourselves.
A word on WIFI in Costa Rica
WIFI. Magical words for any kid or teenager. They will be on their phones if they have a Wi-Fi signal to cling to.
However, Costa Rica is not the place where to walk with your head down. There are so many things to see, and sometimes all you get is a quick glimpse. From a Baird’s Tapir to a Morpho butterfly, the appearance may be so fast that by the time they raise their eyes all they see it’s you saying, “Didn’t you see it?”
It is essential to make them realize this, and that almost all hotels have Wi-Fi areas but not in all they will find a signal in their rooms or even in the restaurant.
Costa Rica is a child-friendly country.
In general, kids are very welcome, and people are willing to talk to them and help you with them in any possible way. Using your common sense of course but allow your children to enjoy the endless smiles and even gifts (Generally fruit or candy) that people will give them.
In banks, government offices and even in the grocery, a person with a small child usually comes first. And everyone is willing to see your children smile.
Know about it and enjoy it. It is quite nice.