A Guide To Costa Rica With A Toddler

A Guide To Costa Rica With A Toddler

A Guide To Costa Rica With A Toddler

John, Caroline, and (their two-year-old) Sonny Sloan recently went on their yearly trip to Costa Rica, where they explored everything from waterfalls and tide pools to yoga classes and restaurants/shopping. We asked them for all the details, and they did not disappoint!

Q: Give us an outline of your trip, where you went, where you stayed!

John: Our three favorite Surf towns, Dominical (Central Costa Rica), Santa Teresa (always our favorite! Young, exciting and eclectic), and Nosara (family-friendly, amazing surf and yoga!) We recommend Santa Teresa for backpackers, adventure seekers, and maybe even party-ers. Domincal was more family-friendly and great for nature lovers! You can quickly visit the most incredible waterfalls and protected rain forests where the flora and fauna are thriving! Even if you’re not a “bird nerd”, the toucans and monkeys will blow your mind! Nosara (actually Playa Guiones, but everyone calls it Nosara) is a must for anyone and all! Grab an Airbnb, or splurge and stay in our favorite hotel in the world, The Guilded Iguana. Grab a surf lesson to start if its your first time, or your tenth time! The waves here are super friendly as there are no rocks or reefs, and are fun for all surf levels. It’s a big beach so there's plenty of room to spread out when the ocean is crowded. Don’t forget to grab a couple cold coconuts (known as “pipas frias”) from a local vendor right off the beach to hydrate.

Next, hit a yoga class at the world famous Bodhi Tree. The instructors and views will blow your mind! After yoga, take a nap in a hammock or chill out in the pool for a few hours. 1PM – 4PM can be brutally hot while the sun is high, so take a breather and rest up for the evening! Take it back to the beach an hour and a half before sunset. Bring a couple Imperials (Costa Rican beer of choice) and a towel, maybe even catch one more sunset surf! Sunsets in Nosara are always a vibe. The whole town heads to the beach to enjoy them. After that, choose from endless options for food, but we always go to “Howlers” for the best tacos in Costa Rica. Never leave a restaurant without ordering a couple “Chile Guaros”, Costa Rica’s shot of choice! Get in bed early so you can rest up for tomorrow’s surf session!


Q: What were some essential items you packed, what could you not have lived without?

John: Two pairs of sandals (Olukai flip flops, and Chaco Z Sandals!), one pair of lightweight hiking shoes (The On Running Cloudvista is the perfect weight), minimum 3 board shorts (use your driest pair for yoga classes!), A Free Fly Elevate Hoody (good for plane, keeping sun off, and for looking chill at the bars…), a YETI M20 Hopper Backpack (Good for traveling between surf towns and taking to beach for sunsets. Use it as a carry-on pack gear in for flights to and from the States!)

Caroline: Sunbum Signature Tinted Sunscreen (50 SPF) + more but this is crucial when it water! Cortizone anti-itch (jelly fish, bugs), rashguards (we get ours from Patagonia, Vissla), sunglasses, ALOHA hip pack and mid size bags for packing, surf/wave friendly bikinis, Nomadix towels

Q: Restaurants, shopping recs:

Caroline: We didn't shop too much, but we love all the restaurants in Santa Teresa and Nosara. Standouts are: Howlers, La Luna, Coyol in Nosara Brekkie in Santa Teresa

Q: Your favorite trip highlights:

John: In Dominical, the Nuayaca waterfall! In Nosara, 6:30AM surf sessions, 11AM yoga classes, 12:30pm Acai Bowls and Cold Cocounuts, Afternoon nap, Sunset surf session at 5pm, tacos and cervesas at 7PM, bed at 8:30PM! Rinse and repeat!!

Caroline: Nauyaca Waterfall in Domincal was absolutely magical even with a toddler. It was hands-down one of the most beautiful waterfalls I've been to! Of course, go early to avoid tourists! House of Shakti Yoga in Santa Teresa is one of the best yoga shalas in the world. Nancy is incredible! Tide pools in Santa Teresa are special. Go at low tide to get out of the heat, waves, and you'll get to relax in the sun. Bring an Imperial :) In addition to the restaurants listed above in Nosara, I'd check out yoga classes in Bodhi Tree! We always go to Marck's class.

Q: What would you do differently next time, if anything?

Caroline: We said when we left that we would track down a local babysitter next year that is happy to wake up early so we can surf! I think Sonny will take lessons next year, but if John and I get in a dawn patrol surf session, we are so happy! Mornings or bust! I think I am also ready to buy my first surf board! (hint hint, John)

Thank you so much for filling us in, John & Caroline! We can't wait to hear about your next adventure.

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