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If you are considering traveling to Costa Rica with kids, first of all, congratulations, it is indeed a great choice! In this article, you will find helpful information that will assist in making your trip smoother.
Everybody knows that traveling alone or with adults is far less challenging than traveling with kids. Age is a significant factor, but in general, children are usually more vulnerable, less tolerant, absent-minded, and some require constant supervision.
When traveling with your family, the main goal is to create lovely memories, enjoy to the fullest, and prevent any hiccups.
Choosing a vacation spot where everybody has fun is critical. In this regard, Costa Rica is indeed a great destination for every member of the family, including your kids. They will experience outstanding natural settings, see amazing animals, explore different plants, flowers and insects that they had never imagined, participate in fun adventurous activities, eat delicious food, and much more.
The listed tips below are meant to ensure that your next trip traveling with your little ones to Costa Rica becomes an easy-going experience.
Train your kids well in case any emergency comes up
Teaching your kids a protocol to follow in case of an emergency can be lifesaving. You never know when an unplanned situation may arise, particularly if you are out of your country. For example, if they get lost, if a sibling or parent needs medical attention, to name a few scenarios.
It is always a good practice to keep your kids aware of important information (if they are in a reasonable age range, of course), that way, they can be of great help.
By important information, we mean:
- Full names of the entire family members traveling.
- A contact phone number or email belonging to the parents. This is important in case kids get temporarily lost and their parents need to be located.
- Own blood type as well as the family members’ blood type.
- Basic knowledge of their own or any family member’s allergies or particular health condition.
- An emergency contact located back home (name, phone, and email).
A good habit to have is to expect the best but be prepared anyway, just in case!
Take weather into account
Costa Rica generally has perfect weather, which makes it pleasant to visit at any time of the year, as temperatures tend to remain stable. Although it is a small country, it has a wide variety of microclimates and landscapes. The only factor to truly consider is rain. The rainy season goes from May to mid-November. This should not be a reason to turn back since it is not a bothersome rain, and it also gives special colors to the vegetation. However, if you can choose, it might be better to travel during the dry season or summer, which is from December to April.
Make sure your kids have basic vaccines
Every parent knows that kids need mandatory vaccines depending on their age. However, when traveling, you should also be up to date on any particular immunization required to visit a country. In Costa Rica’s case, there isn’t any mandatory vaccine for kids. Still, there are recommended immunizations, especially for small kids, as they are more vulnerable due to a not fully developed immune system.
Some of the recommended vaccines are:
- Chickenpox (Varicella)
- Flu (influenza)
- Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR)
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
For more information, please read the CDC’s website.
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Dealing with sickness while away
Make sure you bring any special pills or medication your kids may need, or research in advance if you can get such medication in Costa Rica.
Several drugstores have WhatsApp or online consultations so that you can find out prices, available products, and more.
Some of these drugstores are Fishel, FamaValue, and Farmacia La Bomba, to name a few.
We also recommend that if you need to get medications in Costa Rica, you do so in the main cities, as once you head to remote locations, where the best natural spots are, it might be more challenging to find a drugstore.
Make a list of items to bring
An aspect that can enhance the full enjoyment of your trip includes having the appropriate attire and unique items. You wouldn’t want to skip a fun activity due to a lack of the right outfit. This may seem obvious; however, sometimes, we forget certain items that may be relevant to the place we are visiting or the activity we will be doing.
Make sure you make a packing list to check, that is always a good practice. For example, don’t forget to pack bathing suits, caps, sunblock, sandals, insect repellant, comfy shoes, a warm sweater, rain jacket, and pants in case you want to visit a cloud forest.
Depending on where you go and what you will be doing, you can check if any particular item is needed or recommended to bring, if that will be given at the place you will stay, or if the agency you hired for a specific tour already handles all that.
Be wise and take precautions
Costa Rica has so much biodiversity that, depending on where you go, it could be like putting everything you have seen in natural science books into practice.
If you visit a controlled environment like a natural sanctuary, any potentially dangerous or poisonous species won’t represent any threat to you or your kids. However, if you are outdoors, ensure your kids don’t eat anything or touch any plant, insect, or animal without supervision, especially if you know nothing about it. An allergic reaction could be experienced. You never know, and it is undoubtedly better to prevent such probability.
Rent a car
Transportation in Costa Rica is reliable and cheap. Nonetheless, some buses can get crowded depending on the route, and a few may not have air conditioning. Getting to destinations may take longer than expected due to traffic, road conditions, weather, and stops that bus companies always program.
Most children are usually impatient, and they may need you to stop to use the toilet at random times, you may need to get their diapers changed, or simply take a break to stretch their legs. You may spot a cool place or animal on the road that you would like to check, or you would like to stop to take photos or buy something you may need. For these reasons and many more, it is undoubtedly better to rent a car and have the freedom, flexibility, and comfort to go at your own pace and take as more or less time as you want or need to reach your chosen destination. In the end, it is your trip to enjoy every step of the way.
Be prepared for the following potential challenges
- Some roads in Costa Rica aren’t as smooth as you may be used to, especially in the most secluded and spectacular places. This may translate into driving slower and taking more time to reach your destination.
- Increased budget. Traveling with children is more expensive, you already know that I am sure, but it doesn’t harm to list it and bring extra money, just in case.
- Dealing with sibling rivalry. We all know that siblings always have their moments of jealousy, fights over nothing, pranks, etc. We may be used to bearing with that at home, but when that happens while being in a different country, in different weather and surroundings, out of the usual routine, etc., it can add extra stress, so be aware of that.d. The boredom and whining. Some kids are like walking angels. As much as we love them, others can be pretty challenging under certain circumstances. Kids are super honest, and sometimes fatigue, hunger, lack of sleep, and more, can make them extra whiny.
- Dealing with jetlag. Jetlag can be pretty significant depending on how far you are traveling. Adults are more tolerant to jetlag, but it can be rough on kids, so remember to be empathetic and take that into account if it has an effect on your kids’ mood or temporary health condition.
Make Google translate your best friend
You would be surprised by how many Costa Ricans speak English. However, in remote locations, that not necessarily be the case. It doesn’t hurt to have Google translate handy if you come across someone who only speaks Spanish and you need assistance. Costa Ricans are always willing to help, but you must tell them how you need them to help you.
Consult ingredients of unknown dishes in advance
We all love trying new food and flavors, but is that your kids’ case? You are the only one who can answer that. However, it doesn’t hurt to be fully informed about the ingredients of unknown dishes before ordering them. Some dishes may have an ingredient your kids are allergic to or ingredients you know for sure they hate. Most dishes are fully described on the menu, but others may not so don’t be afraid to ask the waiter/waitress. Costa Ricans are kind, friendly, and always willing to help and make your stay enjoyable.
Costa Rica is an idyllic destination that you and your kids will truly enjoy, have no doubts about it. We know that traveling with kids can be overwhelming, so we hope the light shared in this article will be helpful if you plan on bringing your children with you.
Safe and happy travels!