Our family is growing! We are expecting our 2nd child this spring! Last year, when I found out I was pregnant, my husband and I spoke about doing a little family vacation before our new little guy arrives into our lives. We wanted a vacation to kick back and relax. However, since we were taking our 4-year-old with us, we also needed to add a bit of adventure for him. So we decided to go to Guanacaste, Costa Rica (Pacific coast)! We stayed at the JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa. This resort is super family friendly, they even have daily events for kids and a kids club with a playground.
We flew from Boston to Liberia (stopping in NY). So the first and last days of our trip were traveling days. When we landed, our transport was waiting for us right outside the airport exit. They took us to our hotel, which was about 1hr and 45 min away. On our way to the hotel, our driver spotted monkeys on the trees along the road and stopped so that we could see them. Our son was super excited to see them climbing and jumping around the branches. When we finally got to the hotel, we were received with fresh juice and live music. Absolutely everyone was very welcoming and friendly!
On day 2, we woke up super early (local time) and had an amazing buffet breakfast at Mansita Restaurant. The variety was outstanding and everything was fresh and delicious! We spent the day at the resort. My husband booked me in advance a massage at the spa for future moms and while I was at the spa, my husband and son enjoyed the pool and beach. When we met again we walked around the resort, spent time playing with Diego at the kids club, got ourselves some ice cream and had a stroll on the beach. We dine at Sabanero Steak House and then enjoyed some live music. Our son was super tired after dinner, but once he heard the music, he got energized and started dancing in the middle of the patio. A beautiful scene to watch! 😀
Right before our trip, Diego got sick and we took him to the doctor. The PA who took care of him got excited to find out we were going to Costa Rica because she has visited this country before and loved it. She shared a story of the time when she was having dinner at an open restaurant and saw a sloth slowly climbing up a tree. That story left a lasting impression on Diego, so ever since we landed in Costa Rica, he was looking for sloths (everywhere!). So of course, we couldn’t leave Costa Rica without seeing one. Since we were told that they are hard to spot in the wild (in our area), we decided to visit the animal sanctuary in Diamante Eco Adventure Park, where they have 3 sloths. We spent the entire day at the sanctuary. Diego watched the sloths getting fed and was super excited to finally see them. We also saw jaguars, toucans, snakes, ocelots, crocodiles, pumas and more. When we went to see the toucans, I was very impressed to find out what the tour guide told us. She said that it is illegal in Costa Rica to interact with the animals and that you could even get 3 months in jail if you do so!!!
Once we came back from Diamante, we went to the beach at the Resort to watch the beautiful sunset. Diego had a blast playing in the sand and collecting grass for the Three Kings’ camels, a big holiday celebration that we have as Puerto Ricans and want to keep the tradition alive for our children.
Day 4 (Three Kings Day)
Diego woke up super excited and went straight to look for the presents next to our shared bed. He found his empty box and 3 gifts with a note saying that they left more gifts back home (where he also left a box with food for the camels).
After spending most of our morning in our hotel room to let Diego play with his new toys, we went to the pool and spent the rest of our day there. We watched a little folkloric parade around the pool area and then went back to our room to get ready for our family/maternity photo-shoot.
We met with our local photographer at the Resort and she spent about an hour with us. She was super patient and great to work with. We got really lucky to have a clear sky on the horizon and the most beautiful sunset that felt like a dream.
We left our resort at around 7 AM to spend the entire day at Hacienda Buena Vista. The drive itself was an adventure. We got to see the volcano Rincón de la Vieja, and at some point, during the route, our charter bus crossed over a river to reach to the other side of the road and continue our trip. All the views along the route were very scenic. Once we arrived to the hacienda, our group got ready to zip line through the treetops of the tropical forest. At first, Diego was a bit tired from the long drive and didn’t want to join the group, but after his dad finished zip lining and he had a good snack, he felt motivated enough to give it a try. The tour guide and staff were kind enough to accommodate our ‘out-of-schedule’ zip line request for our son. Two local guides, my husband, and son went on a private zip line adventure. Our son had a blast and said he was flying like Superman and Batman! I waited for them on the hanging bridges by the last 2 zip line cables and felt so excited when I finally saw my brave 4-year-old approaching the platform I was standing on. He really enjoyed the experience. Right after that, we were transported to a beautiful terrace with a panoramic view to have lunch.
After having lunch, it was time for the horseback riding adventure towards the thermal waters. Due to my pregnancy, I couldn’t take part in any activities from the tour. So the staff took me straight to the thermal baths to wait for the group to arrive. After their arrival, my son and husband enjoyed the thermal waters while I enjoyed a book in the beautiful secluded setting.
We were all so tired after a long day out that once we got back to the resort, we ordered dinner to our room and rested.
Since our transport was picking us up at the resort by 11:30 AM, we had enough time to relax, get in-room breakfast and pack our bags to fly back home.
Our plane landed at around midnight, Diego didn’t sleep in any of the flights, but he crashed on our drive home while talking about the trip with grandma and grandpa. On the next morning, he woke up to more gifts from the Three Kings (the ones they left him at home, while we were away on this wonderful trip to Costa Rica)!
Now that we are back, it’s all about getting ready for our baby’s arrival!
For the full video 📽 of our trip, click here!