We were lucky enough to spend the month of November in Costa Rica and Panama with our family. My husbands family lives in Costa Rica, they have an Eco-lodge and a Beach camp in the Central Pacific coast. My boys were both born in Panama, and have dual citizenship...and we still have an apartment and a little slice of paradise in Panama as well. All that being said, international travel with niños is always a challenge.
November is the Rainy Season in Central America. And I mean rainy. Do yourself and the kids a favor, bring raincoats for everyone and stash a few collapsible umbrellas around. Always check with a local about the weather, as forecasts and radars can be misleading.
Put all the clothes you think you want to bring ( especially for the kiddos) together, and then take half of them. Seriously...it is way better to wash and even buy something then haul oversized luggage, car seats and kids! Pack half the clothes and twice the money ;)
We flew from Bozeman to San Jose Costa Rica, which was great with 2 connecting flights and an overnight in Houston. We always try to break up longer travel with an overnight so we feel ready for adventure when we get there.
What! Uber is now in Costa Rica and Panama! We easily picked up an uber from the airport to meet the cousins at a Bike Pump Track Birthday Party. -- make sure uber is installed and then you will also have to convert from the local currency to USD.
Phones / Data:
Verizon has a $10 a day travel pass, which is great for short trips, but add it to 2 phone lines and an iPad ...that gets expensive. We pick up a local SIM card ( Movistar ) and get a prepaid card and we are good to go! Much cheaper and you can call and receive local calls. WhatsApp is a great app in Central America, free calls and messaging with most providers.
Rafiki Safari Lodge:
Do your family a favor and go stay at this Jungle Eco-Resort. Built for families, and run by our family. The Boshoff's are from South Africa, and brought a bit of that Safari style to the jungle. The imported African tents are for "glamping"- with a proper wood floor and bathroom attached. You go to sleep to the sounds of the rainforest and wake to the parrots leaving their roost. A wonderful pool and fastest waterslide in Costa Rica, waterfalls, hiking, birding and horseback riding keeps everyone busy. And then their is the rafting. Their is a part of the river for everyone's ability. Cam went on his first white water rafting trip with the cousins when he was 6, and with your Uncle Lautjie as the guide...it makes for an unforgettable experience. Dining is world class, with all local sourced food and the Lekker bar serves up divine cocktails and mocktails for the littles. Rafiki means friend in Swahili, and you will meet many friends here, from toucans to tapirs.
Rafiki Beach Camp:
After a stint in the jungle is it necessary to get your beach time in. The tents open up to Matapalo Beach, with a magical pool and miles of uncrowded beach. Breakfast is included, and you have the option of cooking in the outdoor kitchen or heading to one of the local favorites down the road. The mangrove kayak tour is a must, maneuvering through the tangled roots and ending up at the Pacific Ocean is a wonderful experience for all ages and abilities!