Costa Rica is one of the world’s most diverse family vacation destinations, thanks to its curious wildlife, massive volcanoes, and gorgeous beaches. These Costa Rica family travel tips will help you and your family make the most of your special trip.
Take it Easy.
When planning your family’s vacation it can be tempting to schedule everything down to the minute because you think it will simplify your trip. Plan more now and worry less while you travel, right? While that works to an extent, over-planning can backfire. Picture it: you’re 6 days into your trip with 2 more to go. You’ve taken a scheduled tour every day and now the kids just want to swim. You could probably use some downtime, too, but you’ve already scheduled a full day of whitewater rafting. Now you’ve got a raft full of cranky kiddos who refuse to paddle.
It’s important to build in a bit of “burnout” time. It’s easy to be enthusiastic and full of energy at the beginning of the trip, but travel is tiring by nature! Leave some room in your itinerary for downtime and everyone will be happy, all the way to the last day.
All-inclusive Resorts Aren’t Always Better.
All-inclusive resorts are a nice option for families because it takes the hassle and worry out of finding dining options. Parents also like knowing they can relax with the kids nearby on the property.
But this can be limiting in Costa Rica, where you’ll almost certainly want to spend time off of the hotel property and in the rainforest, or out on the ocean. Costa Rica is an ‘active’ country, so unless you plan on having a lazy beach vacation an all-inclusive might not be worth it. Costa Rica’s specialties are eco lodges and boutique hotels, which will give your family the most memorable experience possible. Don’t worry about dining, either. Most hotels have at least one great restaurant, if not more. Local restaurants are also an excellent choice. Considering the variety offered at local restaurants, it would be almost criminal to limit yourself to the resort buffet.
Embrace Green Season.
Christmas and Spring Break are popular times for families to get away, but they’re not for every family. Prices tend to be higher and hotel availability sells out far in advance. Traveling May-September can mean big savings and fewer travelers to compete with for the best hotels.
Get Travel Insurance.
Always. Some things are beyond your control: weather, emergencies, illness, injury being just a few. When you’ve spent enough money to take your family on an international trip it is absolutely important to protect your investment.
Don’t Expect Perfection.
They key to a great Costa Rica family vacation is having realistic expectations. Accepting in advance that there will likely be a few hiccups during your trip will alleviate a lot of self-imposed pressure. Travel is frustrating. Traveling with your family, though ultimately rewarding, can be stressful. Packing, airports, keeping track of passports, getting everyone ready and out the door on time for tours, picky eaters, and other various hiccups can bog you down if you let them. Just remember, you can’t make everyone happy all the time! Set yourself up for success: know that there will be blips and resolve to roll with the punches.
Private Tours Will Give Your Kids a More Personal Experience.
You can take a guided hike of the rainforest and learn a lot, but when it comes to spotting wildlife time is of the essence. Say you’re hiking through Manuel Antonio National Park and your guide spots a monkey. The guide will do his best to give every person on your group tour a chance to view it, but monkeys are fast! Animals have their own agenda, and if you’re on a tour with 8 other people your kids might not be quick enough to catch a glimpse. A private tour ensures the guide is focused on you, and you won’t have to miss out.
These Costa Rica family vacation tips are the basics of enjoying your dream trip, whether you’re staying in a rainforest bungalow or a hot springs resort. Simply relax, go with the flow, and have fun!
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