After my husband and I were brave enough to take our toddler with us on an international trip in the summer to Costa Rica, we soon realized that there is no such thing as a vacation with children. Trips yes, but not a vacation.
Let me me make a clear distinction here for those that do not have kids. A vacation is a temporary period in a person’s life where you completely surrender to yourself and your own needs. You focus on what YOU would like to explore during this period in time and you relax. You wonder around or you simply do nothing. You enjoy a meal for as long as you would like and you sunbathe, sleep in, and lounge around for as long as you would like.
This simply does not happen when you travel with children. Sure, you can explore but you have to do it with caution. Sure, you can have a drink, but be ready to down it quickly in case someone decides they no longer want to be in the room or place where they reside at the moment. You may also be able to check out a beach and catch some rays but you will do it while building sand castles and such.
Alas, we booked our official “vacation” in 2+ years and although it wasn’t easy leaving the little one for an entire week but did make it easier with FaceTime. We are also lucky enough to have a pair of extra hands and who else can best replace a parent, than a grandparent.
Overall, the experience was incredible. We met so many interesting people and explored so much that I am not sure if this qualifies as a relaxing vacation that we intended to have. You will not see a lot of people hanging around the resorts on this island because there is just too much to do.
We also didn’t expect to see such an international crowd. We met Americans, Europeans, South Americans, and those we could not even really identify. I expected to hear a “Jamaican” type accent but it was a dialect I could not understand when heard spoken amongst the natives. They are lovely people and we hope to return one day and bring our son with us.