From May through November is considered the “Green Season” in Costa Rica, the half of the year when most of the country’s lush landscape is in amazing full bloom. The explosion of green is due to the fact that there’s simply more rain during these months. And while the Green Season is also known as the Rainy Season, that second label is a bit misleading. Most mornings start out sunny with bright blue skies and the rain that does fall is usually over a two-hour stretch in the late afternoons or during the night.
So while the chances your trip to Costa Rica will get rained out during these months is extremely low, it’s good to have a plan for the rainy patches you may encounter. So let’s get into good options for the family during intermittent showers.
Chances are you’ve got suitcases, bedcovers, pillows and an assortment of chairs and other furniture all around you. Sounds like the makings of a pretty awesome fort! Use the flashlight on your smartphone to tell stories as you enjoy the cover of your makeshift fortress. Obviously, this is an activity that’s for the younger ones. But is it? Have you ever met anyone of any age who doesn’t like hanging out in a rainy day fort?
There’s probably not a kid on the planet that doesn’t love a scavenger hunt. It’s an easy game to organize in your accommodations or even in the halls of a hotel (just don’t tell the concierge!). You’ll need a prize, maybe a treat or a toy, and some cunning in finding a good spot to hide it away. Create some ground rules, “no running” is a good one, and then assemble the clues. You can whisper the clues to each kid or write them down on small pieces of paper. Then watch the little ones scamper around in delightful searches.
Bake Some Sweet Treats
A lot of families like to stay in vacation places that have kitchens and they can be really useful when it rains. This is because most children love to bake. It gets them directly involved in the culinary creative process, fills the air with tantalizing aromas -- and the best part? Kids get to dig into treats at the end! With a quick trip to the local supermarket, you can easily pick up the ingredients for a cake, bread or cookies. Don’t worry if you’ve only got a microwave in your accommodations. While it may lack some of the visceral experience of traditional oven baking, microwaves can still turn out some awesome cookies to enjoy on a rainy day. Make sure to take a lot of pictures to post images of your fresh-baked goodies online!
True, maybe the last thing you want your kids to be doing on your adventure vacation is looking at a computer screen. But then again there are a lot of great apps out there that educate as well as entertain. Think of ones that fit in with the theme of your trip. If you’re staying by the sea maybe something like Explorium Ocean, which teaches about marine life on an undersea adventure. Or get really specific like the Costa Rica National Park Guide app so the kids will be informed for when they explore the parks in person.
For centuries a deck of cards has served as one of the best ways to pass time during downpours. It doesn’t get much easier than packing some playing cards. If your kids aren’t into card games before the trip, perhaps you can begin by introducing them to some of the classics. From Go Fish and War for the little ones to Rummy and Crazy Eights for slightly older kids, card games can be amazingly engaging to keep young minds active and entertained.
It’s a good idea to do a little research before your trip starts to see what kind of indoor options are around. Most towns have places that offer immensely more educational and interactive options than just plopping the kids in front of the TV for a few hours. Libraries are a good place to start. For example, the Jaco Library and Learning Center has a bunch of kid-friendly activities, from reading groups for children and science and art projects to a host of educational experiences.
Hotels and large resorts, such as the Los Suenos Marriott Ocean & Golf Resort, are particularly good resources. Most of the big places have a Kids Club with indoor facilities that are loaded with toys for toddlers and well-stocked and professionally staffed to engage older children with a myriad of arts and crafts. Consider staying there to always have that option at hand, but you can also get day passes for access to resort amenities. Perhaps a spa day for the parents while the young ones are cared for at the Kids Club?
While it may seem obvious, of course a movie is always a good idea on a rainy day. Most areas have a modern cinema and most of these movie theaters are usually running at least one kid-friendly flick at any given time. Search for showtimes online just before your trip begins and you’ll have that go-to spot in your back pocket as soon as you see the rain clouds start to form.
Like many a mother has quoted, “A little rain never hurt anybody!” Costa Rica’s warm weather and generally mild rains can actually make an afternoon shower a wonderfully refreshing experience. But be prepared. Travel with the right rain gear -- boots, jackets and pocket-sized collapsible umbrellas -- and you could spend a nice time tromping through the tropical landscape and having a splashing good time. If you are traveling light, you can pick up those emergency vinyl rain ponchos for super cheap. They pack ultra-small and are water-resistant enough to get you and your gang through a few showers. If rubber boots seem like a lot to bring from home, remember that flip flops dry pretty quickly and make splashing in puddles all the more enjoyable.
The beach can be an especially wonderful place to romp around when light rains are falling. Exploring tide pools for small sea creatures, watching sand crabs scurry and searching for seashells makes the little ones almost forget that they’re in the rain.
Again, don’t worry that the “Rainy Season” is literally an entire season full of rain. Your adventure trip to the Jaco Beach and Los Suenos area won’t get rained out -- but you will be ready when a few drops fall!