Pura Vida in Costa Rica

pura vida costa rica family beach holiday with baby


We went to Costa Rica for a month with our 7 month old baby. We spent a week on the Pacific Coast in Samara. It was a fantastic spot for families with calm, warm ocean waters. We then travelled to the Atlantic Coast, stopping to see the rainforest and “the Disneyland of hot springs” near La Fortuna, under Volcano Arenal. We ended our trip with a few weeks soaking up the rasta vibe in puerto viejo on the caribbean coast.



My partner Kevin and I went to Costa Rica for a month in February 2017 with our 7 month old baby Sylas. We spent a week on the Pacific Coast in Samara. It was a fantastic spot for families with calm, warm ocean waters. We stayed at the Tico Adventure Lodge. Sylas loved the pool! In the afternoons, we would hang out on the beach. We rented surf boards at Ticos Surf School. The person who ran the surf rental had a ten month old baby Valentina, so Sylas had a friend! We would definitely go back to Samara!

enjoying the sun in costa rica

We then spent a week travelling across Costa Rica to the Atlantic Coast, stopping in La Fortuna and Chilamate. In La Fortuna, we visited Baldi Hotsprings Resort. It was the Disneyland of hotsprings and fun for both parents and baby, with super fast waterslides for us and a kid zone for Sylas. He had a great time in the hot water and so did we!

We ended our trip with a few weeks in Puerto Viejo on the Caribbean Coast. It was a magical place with several beaches and a cool rasta vibe. After attending a daily yoga class (Kevin and I would alternate days), we would load up the stroller daily with Sylas and our beach gear and set off an adventures, exploring nearby beaches, jungle, shops and restaurants. Sylas loved swimming in the warm aquamarine water daily. In front of some of the rasta bars, there were naturally occurring ‘baby pools’. The reefs created sheltered areas that were perfect for Sylas to practice his baby swimming strokes.

We spent lots of time relaxing on the beach and swimming as a family. We also went hiking and saw lots of wildlife. We saw howler monkeys, capuchin monkeys, morpho butterflies, sloths, yellow and brown pit vipers, and hundreds of iguanas (also known as ‘tree chickens’)!

Sloth on branch in costa rica jungle

Everywhere people were very warm and receptive to our baby. Often servers in the restaurants would come up to us and ask to hold Sylas and take him for a walk. A few times he was laughing in the kitchens of the restaurants and meeting people, while we watched and ate our dinner.

I saw many women breastfeeding openly, so did not at all feel uncomfortable nursing my baby. Instead, I felt very supported being a new mom in Costa Rica. Not to be mention the joy of skipping customs and security lines at the airport because we had a baby!

The slogan of Costa Rica is “Pura Vida” (pure life), and that’s what it was. It was so wonderful to enjoy our time as a young family in Costa Rica together, with “Pura Vida”. We are already planning our next adventure!

daddy and baby on costa rica beach on family surf vacation


Sylas just started eating solids when we started on our trip, so we ate a lot of guacamole, rice and beans. These were all easy baby foods that our baby enjoyed! Our adult favourite was fried plantains, called “patacones” by the “Ticos” (Costa Ricans)!


Pacific Coast: Tico Adventure Lodge, Samara
Central Costa Rica: Hostel Arenal La Fortuna, La Fortuna
Caribbean Coast: Be My Guest Cabinas, Puerto Viejo


We flew to Costa Rica and rented a car when we moved towns. When we staying in a place for more than a few days, we didn’t have a car and walked or took local taxis. The people we met at Alamo in the Pacific and Caribbean coasts were so friendly. Driving felt quite safe and easy. We were happy we had our car seat. Roads were windy and slow going, but fun to drive!

our gear for 6 weeks in costa rica with a baby

Packing tips

A few things came in handy for our trip! A baby duck inflatable bathtub created a consistent bath time for Sylas. It also was a fun place for him to play in the shade on the beach. We’d fill it with ocean water. We also brought Phil and Ted’s “Traveller cot”. It was a great spot for Sylas to play and sleep (when he was not in our bed), and since it has mesh on all sides, it also kept out the mosquitos. We would put the DockAtot in it.

Since Sylas just started eating solids, it was also very useful to have our Gus & Guzzie Perch highchair. Especially at hostels we stayed in, there were no high chairs, so it was super useful.

We lost our Ergo baby carrier on the plane to Costa Rica. Luckily a nearby mall in downtown San Jose had an Infantino carrier for sale, that saved the day!

It was also super helpful to have our stroller, car seat, baby sunsuits, and lifejacket – and not to mention a bag of toys, baby dishes, food grinder, and more! As a result, Kevin and I brought few clothes.— which we didn’t really need anyway, given all the time we spent soaking up the sun on the beach.


Baldi Hotsprings Resort, La Fortuna
Puerto Viejo
Weather and best time to visit Costa Rica

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Tara lives with her family in Vancouver. She enjoys eating gelato or sipping coffee on The Drive. She also likes hiking in nature whenever possible.


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