Visiting the Caribbean, and the aftermath

Last weekend was spent on another excursion. We’d seen the Pacific side of Costa Rica, so next on the list was a visit to the Limón province and the Caribe.

This time we wanted two separate rooms with at least 3 beds. The previous trip was fun, but the second night was pretty sleepless. It’s tough to get comfortable when a six-year-old is kicking you in the head every 20 minutes.

After scouring our options online, I settled on a place in Cahuita called El Colibrí Rojo. In English, The Red Hummingbird. It was cheap, pictures looked nice enough, and the reviews were good.

Driving to Limón

As fate would have it, the tail end of tropical storm Nate dumped a ton of rain on parts of Costa Rica. San José wasn’t really impacted, but other areas were. Mudslides closed the main highway, so we ended up having to take the long and winding road through Cartago.

But it was a beautiful drive, and I enjoyed it. The kids…not so much. By the end, they were very ready to get out of the car. Finally, we picked up pizza in Cahuita and then headed to our hotel.

Enjoying the Caribe?

Overall, the trip to the Caribbean was a mixed experience. We immediately noticed the difference in climate. Costa Rica is typically humid, but you don’t notice it much in the mountains. Limón is a different story. It’s pretty oppressive. But we knew that was coming.

Fortunately, the place had A/C. Except it didn’t start right away and the remote had to be programmed. A few hours later, the apartment we’d booked was still slowly cooling down, and I was trying to fall asleep in the heat.

The next day was fantastic except for one item: Kels was feeling really sick. The heat often gets to her. Probably makes sense now why we have vacationed in Canada 4 times in the last 2.5 years.

To give my wife a break, I took all the kids to the beach in Cahuita all morning. This was a challenge, mainly because of having to wrangle a toddler while keeping my eyes on the other two. But the fact that they enjoyed themselves immensely and that Playa Blanca at Cahuita National Park is spectacularly beautiful made up for it.

The afternoon was spent at the pool, and then we headed back for a walk through the forest in the park. We got to see some monkeys up close, nearly as close as when they were stealing my breakfast at Punta Leona. The little monsters later threw fruit at us as well.

Day two was much like the first, split between pool and beach. Kels still wasn’t feeling well, so she unfortunately opted to stay at the hotel again. We hit the beach in Manzanillo this time, which is literally the end of the road on the Caribbean side and maybe 6 kilometers from the Panamanian border. Pretty cool.

We were all sunburned, so I decided that we would take a little descanso during the middle of the day. We let the kids watch a bit of TV, which (I hope) will become a things of the past for them. Today they were complaining how we never watch TV. I had to break it to them that we don’t subscribe to this service back in the U.S. Gonna have to get used to it.

In the afternoon all of us, including mom, headed to Playa Blanca for a final visit. The next morning we were headed back to San José, this time on the main highway which was open again.

Is it really week 5?

As of today we are heading into week 5 of the trip. We realized while in Limón that we were almost certainly past the halfway point of the trip, which was encouraging. We can’t wait to come home with our kids. Costa Rica has been fun, but we are getting antsy to just wrap things up and get outta here.

After Kels’ difficulties with our second overnight outing, we’ve decided to restrict ourselves to day trips moving forward. On the list still is Volcán Irazú, and then maybe the water park in Orotina. Maybe we’ll sneak in one more weekend, all-day outing.

The rest of the time will be spent in our typical daily routine: get up, Ian work for a while, breakfast, learn English, pool time, lunch, afternoon outing (typically), play in the apartment, dinner, movie and/or more play time, then bed.

State of things

Kels and I are still feeling the strain of the constant demands of parenthood. We’re getting really close to calling in a babysitter for an afternoon. We hate to do this so early on with the kids, but we *really* need some time together. Getting even 5 minutes in our room to just say “hi” without the toddler knocking or the older kids calling for us is next to impossible.

The kids seem to be doing well. We hope bonding continues to go well here in Costa Rica. Zion had been doing better and better, but we had a rough day with him on Tuesday. Not sure what triggered it.

Today was also our first major food issue. One of the older two didn’t want to eat their lunch, and the choice given was to either finish it now or have it later before the rest of dinner. After opting for the latter, the child in question still didn’t finish said lunch, so there was no dinner, either. Thus, we had to put a hungry child to bed for the first time. Sigh. I hope we’re making the right parenting decision with this one. I guarantee we’ll feed them breakfast.

Another thing we’ve noticed is that all the kids do best 1-on-1 with us. I’m not sure if this is the experience of other parents, but this has been almost universally the case with our kids. With 2 this would be easy to pull off a lot of the time, but with 3 it gets quite a bit more tricky.


  • Go home tomorrow …how I wish
  • Receive adoption decree
  • Costa Rica Immigration appointment
  • U.S. Immigration appointment
  • Final appointment to receive their visas
  • Fly home (currently booked on 11/4)

Let’s hope we come home sooner than that.


4 Replies to “Visiting the Caribbean, and the aftermath”

  1. just remember we all make parenting mistakes. your kids will always want your attention , just remember that even after parents have a new born baby they still need some time as a couple. Ian and kelsey don’t beat yourself up, God wants you two to have your time together alone with Him and each other, this is the best thing you can do for your family. Happy parents makes for happy kids, minus the occasional tantrum! God give you peace and strength


  2. Thanks for the update and all the honesty. You all have been in my prayers. Boy, you are really going to slide sideways into Heaven, shouting, “What a ride!!” God bless you all!


  3. Kelsey, we spent the weekend in Oregon with Chris and Jule and two other friends. I showed them your family pictures They are really happy for you! Hugs from Jule!


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