Traveling with Children
Costa Rica is a children-friendly holiday destination, whether you are traveling in a group or as a family. There is so much in this country that you can explore together with your kid(s) that will give them an invaluable educational experience. The richness of nature and the abundance of wildlife provide an exciting playground and kids will enjoy learning opportunities such as a walk into the rainforest, a boat trip looking for dolphins, a horseback ride toward a waterfall, kayaking through a mangrove swamp, see a live volcano, learn to surf, etc. Hotels, national parks, theatres, museums, transport companies and many other businesses offer children’s discount; children under six years of age often get free admission.
Costa Ricans in general are nice and patient with children. Traveling with children can bring you into close contact with Costa Rican families which can be a nice cultural experience. It can also smooth the way with officials at times, who tend to be more amenable with family groups. Even thieves and pickpockets seem to keep away from families.
It is not difficult to plan a family vacation in Costa Rica because the distances between activities and attractions are never too long. You can plan your itinerary in such a way that includes a couple of excursions in the morning and have your own time to relax in the afternoon while the kids read or rest. Four nights is generally thought to be an ideal length to spend at each vacation base from where daily excursions depart.
The congenial climate makes it relatively risk-free for kids to stay out, as it is never too cold (except in the mountains) and seldom excessively hot. See Packing Tips
Food choices can be a challenge for children who are not adaptable, so pack a few familiar food items with you on long trips if you do not want to rely on meal stops along the way to feed the kids. Costa Rica is one country where you can count on a bountiful supply of fresh fruits, and you can always find a restaurant that offers buffets or children’s menus at discounted prices. In Supermarkets in the main cities, you will find almost everything you need to care for your baby or child, including powder milk, wet wipes, disposable nappies and basic medicines. Most towns and cities have a pharmacy in every street and good medical care facilities are not hard to find.
CHILDREN ON BEACHES
Children need to be supervised on beaches no matter how old they are. The younger the child the more vigilance is required on your part. If they are under 5 years old, you should never leave their presence, and always be within arms' reach. Never rely on older siblings or other children to supervise toddlers. Be aware that tides can rise rapidly and riptides can occur in very shallow waters. See Beach Safety
TRAVELING WITH KIDS
* When walking through a national park or rainforest reserve, do not let children touch any plants or animals, no matter how small or harmless they look. Animals are wild and can be unpredictably dangerous; while many flowers and plants have sharp prickles or toxin that can be painful on the skin on contact.
* Apply lots of sun block, rub and cover thoroughly, even if it is overcast.
* Keep children hydrated with plenty of drinking water, especially on beaches and hiking trails.
* Pack a basic first aid kit with medicines for common ills.
* Keeping their hands clean is a necessary prevention of illnesses; always keep a good supply of wet wipes in the car or in your day bag for this purpose.
* If your child tends to get carsick, encourage him or her to look out the window; play games that require them to focus on an object outside the car, such as the car in front or the mountain looming ahead, anything to keep their eyes on something in a distance. Looking at a hand-held game or reading a will make carsickness worse.
* Pack some card games, books and pencils to keep them busy during long flights and car journeys. Pillows are always handy to encourage that daytime snooze.
* Pack ball games and water toys for beach vacations.