A comfortable lodge between the lagoon and the ocean
In this peaceful Central American country, the Ticos, the nickname the Costa Ricans have given themselves, take a lighter approach to life. Their warm humanity and family focused way of life promise an attentive welcome. To avoid over long journeys, confine your trip to the Caribbean coast and its waters which are calmer than those of the Pacific.
From the capital San José, fly into the national park of Tortuguero, on the coast of Limón province, in the north-east of the country. Through the window, you spy a strip of land set between the ocean and a lagoon, whose canals are embedded in the green of a tropical forest. A rapid transfer in a little motorboat and here you are at Laguna lodge. You will feel safe in this enchanting refuge which, if you should need it, can provide you with medical assistance. You take possession of your wooden bungalow set in the middle of a fabulous tropical garden, equipped, on your request, with a cot. Indulge in a restorative siesta with your child in the hammock on your terrace. Then, take advantage of the vast pool surrounded by majestic trees. Remember to protect your baby from the sun, which is very powerful in these latitudes. A toucan clacks its oversized beak at the top of a palm tree, while an iguana casually crosses the lawn. These scenes of life in the wild give you a foretaste of the surrounding biodiversity.
Tortuguero, a family ecotourism paradise
With your tot safely installed in their pushchair, you set off to explore the area around the hotel. A sandy path along the Caribbean leads you to the turtle conservation and protection centre, two kilometres distant. From July to October, Tortuguero beach becomes one of the largest green turtle nesting sites on the planet.
You continue your walk along the sandy streets of the village, where an entire community makes their living from ecotourism. The population of 1,800 souls, mostly Afro-Caribbean, built the pretty colourful buildings you are gazing at, with its own hands, around 1950. Here, electricity has only been installed for 30 years. You share a moment of complicity with the Ticos, touched by the babbling of your little one. Refreshed by some coconut water, cut on request, you return to the hotel in a fast boat. The setting sun makes the lagoon sparkle. A table set up by the water awaits you for a buffet dinner. With your baby protected by a mosquito net, you spend a delightful night that is interrupted by the breaking dawn. A small private craft with a protective roof awaits to take you on a waterborne adventure through the still sleeping national park. As you travel up the Harold canal, you have the impression that this is the first morning of the world, when suddenly the strident cries of howler monkeys resonate through the canopy and a flight of colourful macaws fills the sky. From your boat, you observe the primary forest with its myriad shades of green reflected in the mysterious waters. A caiman emerges from the surface, and your child's curiosity is aroused by the Capuchin monkeys in the trees. You find every appearance of animal life fascinating.
Animals and beaches to dream of
You continue your Costa Rican adventure with a trip to the small seaside town of Cahuita, located 200 kilometres to the south. After stocking up on mineral water, baby food and nappies in a grocery store, you head out along an asphalt road in perfect condition. After a deep nap, your child wakes up three hours later in the garden of the Suizo Loco Lodge, inhabited by birds and squirrels. You will find inner peace in this magical oasis of beauty where you are spending the night, a location you can enjoy in complete serenity. With hats, flasks and swimsuits in your backpack, you begin to explore the Cahuita national park in the early morning.
Keep your eyes open as you traverse the shady path through the jungle on the edge of the sea. Sloths hanging in the trees, raccoons and green ibis provide quite a show. Hypnotised by the blue Caribbean, you tread the fine sand of the Playa Blanca. Slap on some sun cream before taking a dip with the family in the superb waters. Further back from the beach, place your baby on a towel in the shade of the trees and enjoy this dream landscape. A yearning for some fresh fish leads you to another picture postcard beach a few kilometres away: Punta Uva. Submerged amidst tall coconut palms, Selvin's restaurant tempts you with its menu of grilled fish and Caribbean specialities such as seafood soup and fried chicken, all accompanied by delicious fresh fruit smoothies. Lulled by the rustling of the wind in the trees, this lunch leaves you in a state of exhilaration.
In the afternoon, you have a date at the Jaguar Rescue Centre, near the seaside resort of Puerto Viejo, three kilometres away from Punta Uva. A team of devoted volunteers takes you around this wild animal rescue centre. Your little one is excited by the sight of multi-coloured toucans and baby sloths, sleepy little tree-dwelling mammals, being fed with a baby's bottle. Impressed with the centre's projects, you even decide to symbolically adopt one of these animals, with the hope that your child can still see this life of the wild when they are older.
Suizo Loco Lodge
Main Road to Punta Uva
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
+506 2750 0664
Jaguar Rescue Centre