Rest Stop

Another question I get all the time is…to go or not to go?

If you are an avid traveler, you are probably not focused on places to avoid. You are most likely thinking about where to go next!

However, it’s understandable that parents traveling with kids would consider safety, distance and conveniences. But don’t let those considerations automatically cancel out your desire to go to exotic places. 

People often weigh in, projecting their fears onto you. When we decided to go to Costa Rica, I heard concerns and objections from others. I’m so happy we didn’t listen!

When selecting where we will travel next, I do research. But, more importantly, I trust my instincts.   If you want to go somewhere yet hear a voice in your head that says, Wait, go there without kids?, question it. Is that your voice or someone else’s? Is it your mother’s? Your neighbor’s? The media’s?  While they might question your decision based on their own concerns about location or safety, you don’t have to.  

Once you have let go of initial concerns, and you arrive…enjoy it!  Look around; no matter where you are there are likely people just like you. Kids in tow, exploring, experimenting with new adventures, and undoubtedly, creating moments and memories that will last a lifetime.

I hope you enjoy my latest blog post!


As the horses made their way up the trail, they began to display anxiousness for our first rest stop. We had arrived at a café in the middle of nowhere—which was actually somewhere, and it was lovely. The mountains surrounding us were endless, the sky blue and clear. And faintly, if you listened with patience, you could hear the rustling of animals scurrying in the trees and brush around us.

Sitting down at the cafe table, we were greeted by a colorful macaw who landed near Raegan. She squealed and grabbed my leg but quickly let go to take a closer look. Braeden stayed put and just giggled. 

Full plates of food started to arrive: pineapple and mangos, deliciously seasoned jerk chicken thighs, and home fried potatoes, followed by steaming cups of Costa Rican coffee. 

We leisurely ate amidst the animals, which now included monkeys, a sleeping sloth, and a few domestic cats that happily purred against our legs.   

After lunch, we climbed back on our horses. They also seemed refreshed and ready to take us up the harder part of the climb. Because I’d grown up with a horse, this experience quickly rose to the top of my favorites’ list. When riding I feel strong and connected to the present moment. I briefly fantasized about how I could give the kids a similar experience back home.  

My horse, Honcho, responded to my signals with only the slightest bit of prodding. Several times I stayed back or pulled ahead so I could spend a few moments galloping. The trail was uneven and rocky but Honcho handled it effortlessly. I entertained the idea that he had taken to his role as my protector. 

As I watched Sean and the kids make their way up the hill towards me, I sensed the same of theirs. What beautiful animals. 

Turning the corner on a particularly steep incline, I saw horses hitched to posts. We’d arrived at our second rest stop—the waterfalls. I  couldn’t see them, but their sound was undeniable.

Raegan and Braeden’s speed picked up, so much so I could no longer see them. By the time I arrived to the cove where the waterfall was in full view, Raegan and Braeden had swum halfway across the crystalline pool towards the cliff where a dozen people of all ages made their way up the face of the falls.

A lone rope lay against the steepest parts of the face. Braeden and Raegan made their way up, guided by the helping hands of others deep in their own sense of adventure.

In this moment, as I rested on the flat surface of a warm rock, my fears about what could happen entered. One small mis-step could land them sharp against a rock or worse, deep into the water too injured to surface alone. I fought the building of the images in my mind, visibly shaking my head to get them out. 

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I took a deep breath and became mesmerized by the scene. I watched the kids climb and jump, climb and jump, climb and jump—and while at times I grimaced, mostly I smiled, filled with awe at my kids’ courage and sense of adventure. 

As we made our way back down the rocky hill, I felt this deeper sense of knowing that my kids would be safe. It was as if the wisdom inherent in horses had been gifted to me. 

For more information on visiting Costa Rica with kids, check out this other great blog!

I look forward to hearing from you--your reactions to the post, your own adventures, and inspirations for traveling with kids!  

Renee DineenComment