Many first-time parents have this question in mind – Will we be able to travel the same way we used to before having a kid? The question is valid and remains one of the biggest concerns to date.
Though traveling with kids has its own set of challenges, life doesn’t have to get hard after having kids. In fact, it should be more joyful and cherishable. And, traveling is one of the best ways of bonding with your kids, and understanding each other.
And what better destination than Costa Rica to travel to with your kids? With amazing national parks, waterfalls, volcanoes, hot springs, beaches, and wildlife watching, Costa Rica has no dearth of activities to do with kids and is one of the most visited countries by families.
So, how do you make travel more pleasant and enjoyable for your whole family? The answer lies in thorough research, bulletproof planning, and organized packing. And hence the tips below!
8 Tips For Traveling With Kids In Costa Rica
1. Do not keep a tight itinerary
Traveling from one destination to another in Costa Rica can take somewhere between 2-4 hours. If you plan too many destinations in your itinerary, you may find yourself on the road most of the time. The kids will get tired and annoyed, and may even start to create a fuss. You will have to take more stops with kids and the journey of 3 hours may end up taking 4-5 hours (taking into account traffic and bad condition of the roads).
Therefore, plan an easy itinerary and spend a considerable amount of time (2-3 nights) at one destination. The focus of the trip should be rejuvenation and not on covering the maximum number of destinations.
2. Choose destinations wisely
When choosing destinations, pick places that aren’t far from each other. One of the most popular combinations is La Fortuna & Monteverde. Also, do not pick remote and rural places. With kids, you want to be close to all amenities, have a stable mobile network, and enjoy good facilities at the hotel. Many rural or remote destinations may fail to provide these amenities.
3. Rent a car or hire a private taxi
Public transport in Costa Rica is a bit weary. There is no single bus company, and buses are not owned by the government. In fact, each bus company has its own bus station. They even take much longer than private transportation. The other option is booking a private shuttle which may cost around 60$-100$ per person. You sure do not want to spend that much on transportation.
Therefore, renting a private car is the most convenient way of getting around in Costa Rica. You can even hire a private taxi but it may cost more than renting a car. By renting a car, you have the liberty of stopping whenever and wherever you want. The kids get a bathroom break, get to fill their tummies, and are recharged for another leg of the journey. You can’t do that in a bus or a shuttle.
4. Look for all-inclusive resorts
All-inclusive resorts are a great option when traveling with kids. There are many amazing all-inclusive resorts in Costa Rica like JW Marriott Guanacaste, Westin Playa Conchal, Planet Hollywood, Hotel Riu Guanacaste, Occidental Langosta, and Four Seasons.
These all-inclusive resorts have more kid-friendly facilities and services, and you are bound to have a smooth experience coordinating rooms, food, and tours. Most of the time they even have trails, waterfalls, and outdoor activities like horse riding, ziplining, rappelling, etc. So you do not even need to step out of the resort during your stay. Kids will be more relaxed and will enjoy the stay more.
5. Exercise extra caution in case of food allergies or health conditions
If your kid is allergic to a certain product or has a health condition, you need to be extra careful when traveling to a new country. Especially when there is a language barrier.
It is advised to know the name of the allergy in Spanish. Better to write it down on paper, so that you can show that to the waiter or the concerned person and be clear about what you don’t want the food to have.
If your kid has a health condition, ensure that you have enough supply of medicines. Write the condition in Spanish and bring the prescription along. The names of medicines are in Spanish here. So also write the names of the active ingredients of the medicines in case you have to visit a pharmacy in Costa Rica during an emergency.
6. Check for kids’ age limits with tour companies
Some tour companies may have a minimum age for kids while some zipline tour companies have a minimum weight limit. So, if you are planning to go for adventure activities like rafting, ziplining, canyoning, etc., it is important to check with the tour company for the age, weight, and height limits for kids. If at the last moment, your kid is denied entry, either one of the parents will have to stay back with the kid. This may spoil the fun and thrill of the tour.
7. Check with the hotel/resort for babysitting services
If you are planning to go for an activity that your kid can’t do or is not allowed to do, or if you are looking to spend some quality time with your partner, babysitting services come in handy. Enquire with your hotel or resort if they provide such services, or you can even check for nanny services in the town you are visiting.
In case you are not able to find any such services, you will have to plan accordingly. Either one of you stays back with the kid and goes for the activity the next day or you cancel your plans for that activity.
8. Do not solely rely on wifi
When traveling with kids, it is important that you have a calling facility at all times. If you have not purchased a local SIM and are relying solely on wifi, you will find yourself in a tough situation in case you need to call for an emergency. Therefore, it is advised that you purchase a local SIM as soon as you land in Costa Rica.