Traveling with kids abroad has been likened to taking a herd of wild animals on holiday. Whether you’re traveling with your own little ones or someone else’s brood, factoring in their needs is essential to a smooth and stress-free vacation. The good news is that Costa Rica is a nation devoted to children. In fact, it’s probably one of the most kid-friendly destinations out there, as all Ticos adore children – even the ones having temper tantrums! Heed these simple tips, which have been gleaned through hard-won experience, to make a Costa Rica family vacation with toddlers and teens a smashing success.
Keep them engaged at all times
Costa Rica is famous for being one giant outdoor playground. That equals ample opportunities for nature explorations, especially in national parks and reserves where little ones can get up close and personal with furry, scaled and winged creatures. Looking for some more kid-friendly activities? Frog ponds, butterfly gardens, wildlife rescue centers, and bat caves to the rescue. And when they’re not being enthralled by the local wildlife, be sure to have their favorite toys and games on hand. Crayons, stickers and coloring books can help pass the time during a long bus ride or car journey. And a smart phone or tablet loaded with toddler-friendly apps and games can be a lifesaver!
Anticipate your packing needs
You want to pack wisely for your kids, but don’t worry about things like disposable diapers and wipes, children’s medicine and child-size flip-flops – all of which are all available here. Use that valuable packing space to include your children’s most cherished toys and belongings, whether it’s a stuffed animal, Pixar movie or blanket. Keep in mind that depending on where you travel in Costa Rica, a sturdy stroller may be helpful for navigating more rugged terrain.
Book age appropriate tours
Local tour operators can suggest adventure and eco tours that really cater to each age group, whether you’re traveling with teenagers or those under 12. While the majority of zip-line canopy tours welcome kids age 4 and older, some of the more extreme excursions like waterfall rappelling or whitewater rafting may be better suited for an older set. Costa Rican tour guides are seasoned experts when it comes to entertaining children – just be sure to inquire about age restrictions prior to booking.
Choose kid-friendly accommodations
Costa Rica has tons of lodging choices, and while plenty of hotels and resorts are family-oriented, a private vacation rental can make a world of difference when traveling with kids. No need to dine out for every meal, or worry that your child’s meltdown will bother the neighbors. Dirty laundry is a snap with onsite appliances, and most vacation properties offer luxurious amenities like Jacuzzis and private pools, which are ideal for parents after the kids are off to bed!