“Pura vida” is a common saying in Costa Rica, and it means “pure life.” It is more than just words. It’s a way of life, similar to “aloha” in Hawaii. When we spent two summers in the jungle of Playa Hermosa and Santa Teresa, Costa Rica, my 3-year-old son showed a very literal interpretation of the pure life, shedding his clothes permanently!
The trip to this beautiful country can be a haul, so be prepared to take a few planes and a long car ride on unpaved roads. Try to stay as close to the beach as you can and skip hotels unless you can’t live without a restaurant outside your door. Pack light and don’t forget the mosquito repellent … and the itch cream.
There are so many fun things to do with kids in Costa Rica. We passed many days shelling, finding bugs, exploring nature on and off the beach, having sunset picnics, and just playing in the ocean for hours. There are also options to zip-line over the jungle, ride horses down the beach or along the mountains, rent ATVs, or take surf lessons with a goofy Aussie and an awesome Kiwi who will have you laughing while riding waves—as we did. This duo took us on an adventure through the jungle to hard to find surf spots, cross crocodile rivers (in a truck, of course!), and stop at a local Tico (native) bar to drink Imperial, a Costa Rican beer. And if you really want to get in touch with the Pura Vida attitude, release your inner yogi and take a class at Pranamar.
“It is not uncommon to lose power for hours here, and you’ll probably have to wash dishes by hand and candlelight if you’re renting a house. But if you’re lucky you might be lulled to sleep by a family of howler monkeys or a rainstorm.”
There are a lot of ex-pats in this area, which has inspired eclectic dining choices. You can’t miss Mafra’s, an Italian-run bakery—their bombolones will change your life. Koji’s is a Japanese sushi restaurant is a must-do-repeatedly kind of place. If you want to celebrate a special occasion, arrange a babysitter through the property manager of your hotel and enjoy a memorable farm-to-table dinner, literally on a farm overlooking the Costa Rican coastline..
It is not uncommon to lose power for hours here, and you’ll probably have to wash dishes by hand and candlelight if you’re renting a house. But if you’re lucky you might be lulled to sleep by a family of howler monkeys or a rainstorm. A trip to Costa Rica is so worth it. To this day, when I put my children to bed, back here in the U.S., they will say, “Remember that time in Costa Rica when we …”