Raising Kids in Costa Rica

From the moment you see the double pink lines on the pregnancy test it becomes the most important life change you will ever experience. Filled with emotions of having your first child, it is the most exciting and nerve racking process in life.

Over 7 years ago, my girlfriend at the time, along with 6 filled suitcases and our dog decided to make the move to Costa Rica. Originally from Toronto, Canada we were drawn to a warmer climate, a slower pace of life and a country that was filled with smiling and waving people.

It took some time in adapting to new living conditions, from power outages to gecko’s on the wall. We had made roots in Costa Rica and were ready for more. Getting married here was the first step followed by the birth of our first child. As I stated having a baby is a roller coaster ride, especially the first. We were a little nervous at the beginning, having little Spanish in our vocabulary and not being familiar with the hospitals.

The best way to get answers is to start asking questions. Our adventure of preparing for kids began with finding a hospital. Having toured all the major hospitals in Costa Rica, we decided that the CIMA was the best fit for us. We would have our own room during birth and were given our own nurse to help us through. To our friends in Canada having babies during the same time we would explain our nice quiet room with a mountain view and ordering room service. They would tell us the woman beside them hasn’t stop talking. The hospital was our best experience and the service from doctors and nurses helped keep our roller coaster ride manageable.

Once we had our little girl we were introduced to Dra. Castro. She had come highly recommended by every person we spoke to. Once we meet her we could see why. She was full of love not only for the children she treated but also you could tell she truly loved her job. Her office is filled with painted farm animals on the walls and toys all over the room. Even giving a needle to our scarred little girl was a piece of cake. Again, she would take the time in answering every question and concern we had.

At one point my daughter was bit by a strange bug and in only a couple hours her finger became very swollen. With one phone call we were in to see our pediatrician and then off to a specialist within 20 minutes. The care and service we received would make us come back to Costa Rica to have a child if we ever decided to leave.

We live in the Pacific Coast beach town of Jaco. Here there are 2 excellent private schools to choose from. After touring the schools, interviewing the teachers and speaking with other parents in the community, we decided to send out daughter to Falcon. This school has American credited standards, has classes to teach kids Mandarin, and has been able to keep their teachers each year. From introducing Spanish, Mandarin and English our child is leaps ahead of others her age. They also have computer classes, music classes and most important art class. I have a number of friends back in Canada that are teachers now, when I tell them what our kids are doing in comparison they are shocked. The classrooms usually have 6-9 students with all teachers on first name basis with all students. Having this attention to detail and personal learning we feel our child will have a better education then what we would have received at home.

LIFE IN COSTA RICA WITH KIDS

In my first paragraph I said how having kids is a roller coaster ride no matter where you are. But, here in Costa Rica you actually are able to spend time with your kids. Yes, quality time has become the most important aspect of life in Costa Rica.

I am able to spend every breakfast, lunch and dinner with my family. I don’t have to spend hours a day commuting to work or getting frustrated sitting in rush hour traffic. We are able to go for walks on the beach with our dogs and being able to have 350 days a year for swimming lessons; our daughter has become half fish. When you see the smile on your child’s face when they find a seashell or when they swim with no help for the first time, you remember how good life is. Seeing monkeys and macaw’s daily or having fresh tropical flowers everyday is just a cherry on top.

We have been able to have a nanny that has been with us for 4 years now and has become part of our family. The cost of our Nanny monthly would be equal to a week in Canada. She loves our kids as her own and shows how the Costa Rican people are very kind, genuine and happy.

Yes we miss some experiences in Canada but would not trade a day.

The only wish we have is for our kids health and happiness; living in Costa Rica we are more involved in their everyday life and are able to appreciate every moment with them.

We have said “goodbye” to snow and “ hello” to Pura Vida.

Paul Sanson, Vista Las Palmas Jaco Beach Costa Rica