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Our family holiday to Costa Rica

The Millard family have recently returned from our Active Costa Rica adventure and Lucien (10), Gabriel (15), Phoebe (18) and Honey (12) have all been keen to share their top tips and experiences of an unforgettable family holiday.

Lucien’s top 5 tips for Active Costa Rica

  • You should carry water around with you because sometimes it can get very humid.
  • Get used to eating rice and beans at meals because they even serve it at breakfast!
  • Make sure you bring a raincoat because the climate in Costa Rica changes a lot, and sometimes you can get soaked.
  • Make sure you visit the beach in your spare time because the waves are amazing.
  • If you have the chance to go to the sloth sanctuary I do recommend it.

Gabriel’s experience

Before I went to Costa Rica I had no idea what to expect. Going with other families was good because there were a couple of boys my age (15) so I didn’t have to spend all the time with my parents. The zip wire was great because everyone could do it, I thought it would be terrifying but it was actually fine, even the one kilometre one. If you are thinking of going on this I advise you to do it as Superman.

I really liked the night walk because our guide knew everything about nature and we saw some amazing things such as a wolf spider which can really bite you and a snake sloughing off its skin. The Caribbean Sea was really warm and the first place we stayed was right on the beach so we spent a whole afternoon diving in and out of the waves. They were very strong so you could body surf on them right up to the beach. Our guide Diego was really nice, and my favourite night of all was when we stayed in these fixed tents. They were very comfortable and you woke up right in the rainforest. I really liked that. My sister saw an armadillo under her tent.

Phoebe’s experience

If you’re an older child in a large family, it can sometimes be worrying to go on one of these holidays, often (and understandably) aimed at pleasing younger children. It is often quite nerve-wracking getting to the airport, scoping out which families you can see will be joining you for the next week and a bit, imagining that you will be the only teenager or the only 18-year-old. However, our group was huge, there were 21 of us in total, so there was just about someone for everyone – I wasn’t even the oldest in the group!

Even saying that, they don’t have to be your age, the activities that we did are so universally enjoyable that you can do a zip wire with someone five years younger and still enjoy it, and I think it’s safe to say that everyone enjoys sloths. In short, there was no divide on the trip in which older kids were separated from the younger ones, you just all do it together and get on with it, which takes away the dividing of teenagers vs younger children, and as an 18-year-old, I found that much more enjoyable. Anyway, you’re too busy worrying about the one kilometer long zip wire at the end of the week (it was amazing), or being bitten by a banana spider (this did not happen) to even think about anything else.

Honey’s Travel Report

Our Costa Rican trip was exhilarating, terrifying, adventurous and amazing all at once. Highlights included seeing baby sloths in the Sloth Sanctuary Nursery, being sent off on a 1000-metre long zip wire ride above the tree tops of the rainforest at a mad speed, and interacting with all the families we were on holiday with.

I think the Night Walks and the birdwatching gave us a real taste of the inhabitants living out there in the jungle. Mosquitoes and ants were ones you have to watch out for, but there were also red-eyed tree frogs, toucans, vultures and the furry coatimundi, a strange animal with a very long tail. One morning when we were staying in tented lodges, my sister and I saw a nine-banded armadillo snouting around underneath the decking. It was so sweet! The rainforest is packed with extraordinarily special animals and birds you can’t find anywhere else.

Everyone on our trip was challenged by one thing or another. For me it was probably the horse riding. But with trusted guides showing you what to do and comic family members beside you laughing the whole way, it became so enjoyable. By the time you and your horse are trotting through the tropical rain and hot sunshine, you find yourself smiling.