How to Enjoy Traveling with Kids AND Stay Sane: A Family Guide to Costa Rica’s Southern Nicoya Region!
Having kids means making sacrifices; we know this.
But, unlike previous generations, we dare to dream a little bit more, and push the boundaries to see where they might go. And in doing so, we begin to wonder where we might go… like, as a family…where might we go? Because traveling is for everyone, and when they finally call ‘game on’ again and let us out of the house…
well, just try to stop us from seeking some adventure for real!
As hoteliers in Costa Rica’s sunny southern-Nicoya peninsula, we hope your taste for adventure leads you right to our door. But, as a young family who ended up in this business because of our own lust for life and travel, we’d like to share a few tips with you on how to travel as a family, and come home just as sane as when you headed out the door. (We make no assumptions about what came before that!) Here are a few things to be mindful of, complete with a couple of useful life hacks, and an invitation to bring your family to our region, because it has a lot to offer to families traveling with young children!
Getting around Costa Rica is definitely part of the adventure. That’s not a euphemism for dangerous roads and poor service; traveling from place to place not only comes with a whole range of safety-conscious options to choose from, but passing from city to pueblo, seaside to volcano country, or just from beach town to beach town is guaranteed to provide you with something worth looking at! And it can all be done to suit the particular needs of your family, and your budget.
First thing, transportation services for tourists in Costa Rica are widely available, professional, and very modern in terms of comfort and convenience. Why not save a bit of money and a lot of stress, and leave the driving to one of Costa Rica’s numerous professional shuttle companies?
Tropical Tours for example, offers direct shuttles around the country, including both international airports, the popular Monteverde area, and the beach towns of the Nicoya, including Montezuma, Cabuya, and Santa Teresa, and all points in between. With service in English, super comfortable and well maintained vehicles, and the ability to contact you via Whatsapp before and upon arrival, this service is hard to beat. We are affiliated in no way with this company; they’re just great for families. You can arrange directly and personally (in advance) for car seats, or choose to have smaller kids sit on your lap.
Also, if the kids have just had enough, and can’t manage to hold it together for a van ride, every vehicle is equipped with sturdy roof racks and tie down straps. WE’RE JUST KIDDING… they only put luggage up there!
Of course, you could also consider a rental car, which might be a better deal than you think! Costa Rican roads vary, but most places you’ll want to go will be well serviced, paved, and will work perfectly with GPS technology and apps such as Waze, that can direct you right where you want to go as a family unit! Rental service is widely available and affordable, although we do recommend selecting a 4×4 model, as Costa Rican roads can be a bit rough for the standard family compact! Regardless, this option provides the kind of independence you may want to see as much as you can on your vacation. It also adds a sense of family unity to the whole
experience, as everyone is a part of the adventure and decision making, even between places!
Costa Rican food in general is not overly spicey or exotic, and tends to please most pallets. If you’re looking for something Chef Ramsey would die for, you might be hard-pressed in most locations, but for feeding a family with kids, you’ll be pleased to find that most menus are very family friendly.
Costa Ricans love kids and family in general, so you’re going to feel more than welcome anywhere you go, and to find something on the menu for everyone.
There’s nothing to do in Costa Rica.
Well, unless you like… white water rafting, canopy tours, ziplines, waterfall hikes, snorkeling, turtle tours, wildlife watching, butterfly gardens, sugar plantation tours, chocolate making, surfing/paddle boarding, volcanoes and hot springs… unless you like those things, this place is pretty quiet! Oh you DO like those things? Okay then, well, you’re in luck. Because these are just some of what’s available right here in the southern Nicoya, never mind anywhere else in this fun-packed nation! And again, they’re all kid-friendly, at the very least!
Kids love staying in new places as a family, and in this sense, Costa Rica can also treat you and your family very well. There are traditional hotels, if that’s your sort of thing, but there are also an endless array of smaller, family-run places ready to provide something unique, like say, sleeping in a treehouse.
Besides meals and a bit of novelty to the surroundings however, the best thing any accommodation can offer your family is likely a nice, clean swimming pool. It’s hot here, and there’s often nothing better than a dunk in the pool.
For families it can be perfect, as it keeps kids busy for a long time, often allowing them to make friends, and there’s usually someone to bring drinks and snacks to the hardworking parents who are paying for it all!
This is one of our favorite things about inviting families to the Calala Lodge, by the way, and your kids will be welcome to hang out with ours, toys and all!
When you do decide to
set your dates and pick your locations, let us know if there’s anything we can do to help. Whether your plans bring you to the Calala Lodge or not, we’re a young family who also love life, adventure, and our kids. Reach out with any questions you may have… we’re happy to do our best!