Hi, I just came across your site and it is so helpful! We are thinking of taking a month long vacation this summer with a 13 month old and are considering Costa Rica. We do not have a big budget and would like to stay somewhere where there are calm swimmable beaches and it is easy to walk to local markets etc., and hopefully see some wildlife (not at zoos). Our concerns with CR though are mosquitos (dengue, malaria, zika etc), the rainy season, and if it is too hot for our child as we have never been there. Do you think these are a concern and can you recommend any areas of CR that would fit what we are looking for if we do go. Thank you very much!
You should definitely check out our posts about Traveling with a Baby and our Packing List (for baby) to help answer some of your questions if you haven’t already. The rainy season is generally cooler here, although still hot and depending on what you are used to. It isn’t always a washout either and can be a really nice time to visit. Our weather post has info about what months and areas get the most rain. Of course mosquitoes are definitely a concern, not only for your little one but for the whole family. They can be bad but if you used repellent and wear the proper clothes (suggestions in the packing post) you can drastically limit the amount of bites that you get. We also have a mosquito post that will give more info about those concerns.
As for where to visit, really calm beaches that are good for swimming, especially ones that are safe for kids, are fairly rare. Costa Rica is better known for its surfing and good waves so it might be good to look for hotels that have a pool. But there are some calmer coves of course. One place that comes to mind that has some calmer swimming spots and lots of wildlife is Manuel Antonio. The beaches that are inside the park are ideal for kids and it is one place where you are guaranteed to see monkeys and maybe a sloth too! Hope this helps narrow your search. If you’d like some more help with your itinerary, we offer services on our Itinerary Help Page and would love to help you out!