A trip a year keeps the babies not near.

July 8, 2012 · 21 comments

So when Girl Ninja and I went through pre-marital counseling – which I would highly recommend to any engaged couple – we obviously spent time discussing when we’d like to have kids as how many we want. Girl Ninja wants four. She is one of four. Her mom is one of four. So to her, it’s only fitting that we have four kids. I, however, am not so jazzed on four kids at this point. Every time we talk about kids I always say the same thing “You can’t ask me to have four kids, before I’ve even had my first.”

Babies are seriously foreign objects to me. I know nothing about them. They make me super nervous when they can’t even keep their head up (nervous they are going to suffocate on the ground, a blanket, my shoulder, etc). I’ve never changed a diaper in my life. I have no concept of how much a kid eats. Nor do I understand exactly how much work caring for a kid can be.

Before we married, I made a rule that we shouldn’t even consider having children until after our first anniversary and ideally we’d wait two years before we started talking about it. Next month concludes that two-year mark. So is it time to get pregnant?

HECK NO! Well, I guess theoretically we could get pregnant since abstinence is the only sure-fire way to prevent it, but you get what I mean.

In fact, I’ve wised up and learned that since GN’s baby-urge could come at any moment, it’s in my best interest to start bribing her to hold off. That’s why I’ve made the promise that for every year we DON’T have children we can go on a bigger vacation.

Since she is a teacher, the best time for us to travel is in the summer (Thanksgiving, Xmas, and Spring Break are freakin’ expensive times to sightsee). I asked GN where summer 2013 should take us and right now Costa Rica is at the top of her list.

Seeing that I know absolutely nothing about Costa Rica, and that I don’t think I want kids in the next 12 months, I need any of you that are familiar with the country to throw out some recommendations on places to stay, things to do, and pros/cons of Costa Rica in the summer.

All I know is flights will cost about $600-$800 a pop, and that’s it. I don’t even know what cities are the most popular tourist destinations, which hotels/hostels are nice, nor do I quite understand what one does on vacation in Costa Rica. If you’ve been before give me the downlow. Or if you know of another vacation destination that would be under $4,000 hook a Ninja up and let me know. I gots to keep this baby situation under control :)

1 Savvy Scot

You should check out Roatan – an Island of Honduras. My wife and I went there for our honeymoon last month and it is absolutely stunning! So quiet and naturally beautiful; best of all it is relatively untouched by touristic corporations – THERE IS NO MACDONALDS! :)
If you are considering ever learning to scuba dive, this would be an amazing opportunity!

2 Joanna

Costa Rica is awesome! My husband and I went there on our honeymoon 6 months ago and had a blast! I definitely recommend a bed and breakfast we stayed at in Tamarindo (a surf/beach town in Guanacaste) called Mirador. The guys that run it are top notch (English is their first language) and can recommend great restaurants, activities, and help you do pretty much anything you want to do. We even took a cab to a small town about an hour away to a local fiesta, which was a highlight of our trip. Just email the guys and they can help you start planning your trip! We also did some activities around the Arenal Volcano with Desafio. We did zip lining, white water rafting, and canyoneering with them and we felt completely safe and well taken care of at all times. If you want to know any more information, feel free to send me an email. Have fun planning!

3 savvyfinanciallatina

-Check the weather. Costa Rica only has two dry months: sometime between January and March.
– Don’t rent a car, fly. It’s quite horrible to get through Costa Rica driving, there are no street signs. Fly from city to city instead.
– Pack lightly, a backpack for each person.

4 savvyfinanciallatina

I got these tips from a person who had visited Costa Rica already.

I definitely want to go. I am rooting for this place for our honeymoon.

5 Larry

I’m more of a European traveller than a Caribbean one, but I did enjoy my one visit to a small part of Costa Rica. It was on a cruise that included a fascinating trip through the Panama Canal (half-way with turnaround, so we remained on the Atlantic), and stops in various other ports in Colombia, Panama, and Mexico. The most memorable stop was a visit to the Kuna Indians on the San Blas Islands off Panama. But even though Costa Rica was beautiful, it wasn’t one of my top vacation spots. Once you’ve seen one bunch of bananas, you’ve seen them all.

6 Kevin @ Thousandaire.com

I spent 10 days in Costa Rica about a year ago and I have a few tips:

1. Learn some Spanish (if you don’t know any already). You can get by with English in many places, but trying to speak Spanish will endear you more to the locals and there will be lots of people who speak no English at all.
2. If you want to sound like you know what you’re talking about say “Pura vida” for hello and goodbye. Literally translated it means “Pure Life” but it’s used in Costa Rica for hello, goodbye, to express excitement or happiness, and a few other times. Ticos (people from Costa Rica) are very laid back, and this phase pretty much sums it up.
3. Costa Rica isn’t a big country but the roads wind through mountains and forests so traveling by car takes a very long time. I recommend either staying in one general area or traveling by plane from one side of the country to the other.
4. I spent 3 days in and around San Jose (the capital and biggest city) which is a good place to go if you want to do non-beach stuff. However you’re landlocked and not really close to any beaches in San Jose.
5. I spent the rest of my time in Tamarindo, which is a touristy beach city. I liked it a lot, but most of the fun I had was staying with a host family in Santa Rosa (a village near Tamarindo). Staying with that family allowed me to practice my Spanish a lot and helped me to understand the culture of Costa Rica better. I recommend staying with a host family for at least some time if possible.
6. I hope GN doesn’t have a soft spot for dogs. Stray dogs are EVERYWHERE in Costa Rica. If homeless and malnourished dogs are going to bum her out then she’s gonna have a really terrible time.

I hope that helps.

7 StackingCash

I think you should get started on producing those babies :)

8 Julia

I’ve been to Costa Rica a few times now. Some of the highlights from my trips were visiting Tortuguero (most well known for seeing those giant turtles laying eggs but the whole area is very beautiful and you can rent boats and paddle around) and Montezuma (a beach on the Nicoya Peninsula but there was also a waterfall you could jump within a short hiking distance that was also beautiful). I took buses everywhere once I flew into San Jose and that wasn’t a problem. I certainly wouldn’t want to be the one driving on some of those roads though… However be careful with your stuff if you go that route as there are plenty of pick-pocketers, especially on the more touristy routes.

9 Laura

We went to Jaco and Manuel Antonio (got engaged there actually) and we loved those areas. We actually rented a car and didn’t have too many issues. We only got lost once in 2 weeks, but we stayed mostly on the major roads. Manuel Antonio has some beautiful beaches! We hung out at Manuel Antonio for 2 days, then we also did an ATV tour, a zipline, went fishing, hung at the beach, went to a spa, and did some shopping for therest of our trip. We loved it.

10 AlaynaGT

I lived in Costa Rica for a summer, so I have lots of advice.

During the summer, you need to go to the Caribbean side if you want to see beaches. Summer is rainy season on the Pacific (touristy) side. The Caribbean side is very much more like the Caribbean islands, and everyone there speaks English. It is more relaxed than the Pacific beaches, too.

You can get to the Pacific pretty easily on buses, but you will need to know some spanish for that.

What to do? Most of the stuff to do is outdoors – surfing, biking, hiking, rafting, etc. There are also the volcanoes to see, which are pretty awesome.

A lot of people stay in all-inclusive resorts, but I would recommend going to a smaller town (Puerto Viejo, Cahuita, or Manzanillo) and staying at a small hotel, then renting bicycles or a car and driving yourself around. Then you could shop or hang out on the beach or go to the national parks.

11 krantcents

Definitely get to know each other rel well before the babies come along. My wife and I waited 5 years before we started having children..

12 justsome dude

Have kids if you wife wants them. We waited for the right time and the right time must have passed us by because now we aren’t able to have them and all the travelling in the world doesn’t make up for it. There will always time to make money – believe me I was kicking ass at your age too and put off having kids and now its the thing I regret more than anything. A few extra commas in the bank account balance will never be able to heal that wound. Put life first.

13 Chris

Ninja,

You can’t avoid children forever. Do the smart thing and read up on some of your concerns (particularly the financial ones). The data is available on the Internet. If the problem is the things you feel you don’t know, then find out! Read, talk to parents your age, etc. Stop being a wimp about being a dad! Yeah I said it.

Being a dad is one of the greatest things ever. The poopy diapers won’t be around forever, but your relationship with your kids will be.

14 Emily @ evolvingPF

I love your poem! My husband and I just passed our 2-year wedding anniversary as well, and in my ideal world we would wait until 5 years at least to have our first child, while my husband would rather start right when we’re finishing grad school (1-2 years from now). I wish I could bribe him with expensive vacations but we’re spending all our money on obligation travel!

15 Jesort415

We went to Puerto Rico for a week for $1250 for both of us with airfare. We were looking at CR too but I was too lazy to get my passport plus I have family in PR.

16 Jenni

Arenal and Monteverde are nice places as well, although the volcano isn’t active anymore last I heard.

Manuel Antonio is gorgeous, and there are some neat hikes. There’s a bar there, I think it’s called the Barba Roja that’s a little above the city, and it’s a must visit for the view. Go in time for a sunset, you won’t regret it.

17 LittleFrugalista

Like others have said, Manuel Antonio is a must-see for its amazing beaches and rain forests. The definition of paradise. Another must-see for me is Tortuguero. We stayed at this resort and it was fantastic: http://www.turtlebeachlodge.com/

Also go ziplining in the Monteverde cloud forest! I couldn’t recommend Costa Rica enough.

18 Money Madwoman

I think it’s great that you guys are traveling and having fun! You’re young and have a few years before you have to get too serious about doing what you “should” do instead of what you feel like doing. DH and I married young and got unexpectedly pregnant five months out of the marriage shute and it does put a damper on the fun… but it just becomes a different kind of fun. That said, I look forward to the days when we can travel carefree again. Kids grow fast, so that day will be here before we know it.

19 Jeffrey Mitchell

I recommend Puerto Limon. There is so much to do and the people are really friendly. You can explore the beach, go zip lining in the jungle or tour banana plantations. My wife and I did a tour of the Caribbean and this was out favorite spot!

20 linda

dude, calm down. babies are awesome, and while i cant confirm GN’s preference for 4 kids (I wanted 4, my husband had a vasectomy after #2), you will love it. In fact no-one ever DOESN’T love it. babies are cute, and they are made by you and your true love, what could be more awesome than that? Have 20, i dare ya…….

21 Karawynn @ Pocketmint

I’m late to the party here; don’t know whether you’ve already made plans … however, we happened to be in Costa Rica just last month. I would be happy to tell you about our experience and make recommendations if you haven’t nailed things down yet. Drop me an email if you want!

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