Costa Rica is amazing. It's the perfect place for a family vacation, when your kids are old enough to enjoy very active outdoor activities. My Nathan chose Costa Rica as a destination after learning about it at school. He said that he really wanted to go see animals in a rain forest. What a fabulous idea! So we did!
Costa Rica can be a bit intimidating, because there's so much to do and see! I did some research, talked to people who had been there, and quickly became overwhelmed. I didn't want to spend too much time traveling between locations, especially since my family is plagued by motion sickness. I wanted to see and experience the country, but I also wanted the vacation to feel like a vacation.
As we try to do with each of our trips, we prioritized by identifying activities that were most important for each of us. Nathan wanted to see animals in the rain forest. Aaron was most excited about river tubing. Kevin wanted to not go zip-lining. I really wanted to try surfing.
We found our balance by spending four days at a resort in the rain forest, near the Arenal volcano; and four days at the beach. And it was fabulous. There is a lot we didn't see, but I loved this trip so much. We have all declared it our best trip ever - even better than Disneyworld! I told the boys that perhaps we'll go back in a few years, once they've learned some Spanish.
Some highlights below...
We toured a wildlife sanctuary with a fabulous guide, who told us the personal stories of each of the animals. I was proud that my boys knew almost as much as he did about the animals - yay for Wild Kratts!
Rock climbing was hard and really fun!
The boys spent a lot of time at the end of the river, swimming and playing in the strong current. River tubing was so much fun that we did it twice! Another highlight was a night walk we took through the forest - a guide walked us through the forest at night, and we found frogs and spiders and listened to the sounds of the howler monkeys nearby. Sooooo cool.
The hanging bridges were a highlight for sure. With a guide, we saw a lot of really cool animals, and the bridges themselves were very neat.
La Fortuna Waterfall was lovely. Unfortunately, we walked the 500 steps down to it after spending the morning at the hanging bridges, and Nathan was wiped! A tired Nathan is not a happy Nathan. I especially loved the lunch that we earned that day. We ate at a wonderful local restaurant with our guide and driver, and saw sloths in the trees while we ate!
Our resort had many hot springs (from warm to really hot), and there was a water slide too. We spent some time here each day.
After spending a day at the hotel pool, we spent a day at a nearby beach. There was a really nice restaurant right on the beach, and we rented bodyboards and played all day. Here, Nathan is watching a group of guys play soccer on the beach. A beautiful day!
As I said, surfing was my priority, and it did not disappoint! I had always wanted to try surfing but never had. I didn't have any expectations about it or about how the boys would enjoy it - it was my choice, not theirs. Thankfully, it was fantastic! We had two instructors for the four of us and an entire beach to ourselves. So much fun!
I'm so grateful we had the opportunity to visit this beautiful country!