Traveling with little feet & a little footprint πŸŒ±

🌎 Big Adventures πŸƒ Little Footprints πŸ‘£πŸ‘£

We have decided to make it our goal to reduce our travel footprints while biggering our adventures. Yep, We want to get leaner, greener and meaner (ok maybe not meaner, boy 123 will tell you we’ve’ already got that one perfected), but leaner in terms of waste and greener in terms of being kind to our planet.

So here are some of the ways we have found to reduce our family’s footprint while traveling.

#1. PLASTIC STRAWS SUCK! Ha, ha, no really, we find them here there and everywhere! We are on a mission to eradicate them from our life. When we’re at a restaurant, the waitstaff always asumes junior is incapable of tipping a glass for a sip, but we try to say, “No straw please.” Or “no paja por favor”.


Coconuts are another story. Heidi and I can drink from them, but the boys lose a lot, as it dribbles down their tummies. We tried making bamboo straws, but we didn’t try very hard, so we failed. We tried paper straws, but they disintegrated faster than the boys could drink. Now we’ve found the ultimate — stainless steel straws! I expected these to be too flimsy for hardcore travel, and kid use. Boy was I wrong… These suckers are tough as nails, with a super thick gauge stainless steel, relative to their size. Shove it in the backpack, purse, ditch bag, and you’re good to go.

We’ve honestly only ever used these for pipas and the occasional fresh fruit juice, so not sure how they would handle a smoothie or a milk shake. As well or better than any straw is our guess?

Stainless steel straw links:  <a target=”_blank” href=”https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00KGIANQ2/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00KGIANQ2&linkCode=as2&tag=boy123recomme-20&linkId=dd7bfa19f3e540a2e42413866f725619″>SipWell Stainless Steel Drinking Straws, Set of 4, Free Cleaning Brush Included</a><img src=”//ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?t=boy123recomme-20&l=am2&o=1&a=B00KGIANQ2″ width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” />

#2. Ditch the single use plastic water bottles.

 When Meme came to visit, she brought this nifty filter water bottle. She used it for months happily. It has a replaceable filter that takes out all the usual suspects. She nicely left it for us when she left. It was a big help in Panama where the tap water isn’t safe to drink, but sadly it isn’t toddler proof (or at least definitely not boy 3 wild animal proof), because he proceeded to bite the top off. We contacted the company and Katadyn agreed to replace the mouth piece and recommended a muzzle for our ferocious toddler.

This really does help cut down or eliminate single use plastic water bottle use. It’s great for refills on the go.
Katadyn water bottleπŸ’¦πŸŸ

<a target=”_blank” href=”https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008RT308A/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B008RT308A&linkCode=as2&tag=boy123recomme-20&linkId=d9fcd906a1bc092581a20bfa199b3940″>Katadyn – Mybottle Purifier – 24 – Blue Splash</a><img src=”//ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?t=boy123recomme-20&l=am2&o=1&a=B008RT308A” width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” />

#3 filter from your tap for safe drinking water anywhere

Culligan Tap Filter

We actually purchased this for our sailboat. It’s portable so we brought it along on our trip and we’re so happy we did. It is easy to install, so we attach it to the sink wherever we are staying, and voila! Contaminant free water! We haven’t had typhoid even once! Seriously though, this baby has brought us a lot of peace of mind and simplifies life, while eliminating the need for plastic, single use, water bottles. The mister did a lot of research before he chose this one and the Culligan was the most compact and efficient with great reviews.

<a target=”_blank” href=”https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00TA532VU/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00TA532VU&linkCode=as2&tag=boy123recomme-20&linkId=d876875a4785a1dfc483f56ba284f0f4″>Culligan FM-15RA Faucet Filter Advanced</a><img src=”//ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?t=boy123recomme-20&l=am2&o=1&a=B00TA532VU” width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” />

Our water filter that we attach to our tap to filter our water. πŸ’¦


#4. Bring your own reusable utensils

Chinese stainless steel soup spoons

We keep a couple of these spoons in our bags. They are always handy and help us avoid the single use plastic ones. Plus they are just awesome spoons. We use them at home a lot too. They are super easy for little hands and they can scoop coco meat like a ninja.

Boy 3 demonstrating his ninja like pipa eating skills.

<a target=”_blank” href=”https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01K44NPHG/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B01K44NPHG&linkCode=as2&tag=boy123recomme-20&linkId=34906c77d912cb34be2f2097b2b71fbb”>Zebra Thai Chinese Asian Stainless Steel Rice Soup Spoon (12 Pack), Silver</a><img src=”//ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?t=boy123recomme-20&l=am2&o=1&a=B01K44NPHG” width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” />

In addition to finding ways we can reduce our waste we have figured out a clever way to make a dime (or a nickel? ) πŸ’° Aren’t we clever? Yep, these are all affiliate links, so Amazon will give us approx. Β’5 if you buy those stainless spoons. Eureka! Make us rich. I dare ya. πŸ˜‰πŸ€‘

And since we are already rolling with this full disclosure thing, I figure I should disclose that despite currently traveling in a tropical country and having three, fair skinned, tow headed children, we do not use much sunscreen. OK, settle down, I can hear you judging us, but despite this apparent negligence our children have never suffered a severe burn and don’t even resemble little cooked lobsters. We prefer good ol fashioned long sleeve sun shirts, hats, and natures best defense – shade. We tend to stay out of the direct sun during the worst sun hours (10-2), and so only wear sunscreen if it’s unavoidable. Traditional sunscreens have a lot of questionable ingredients and they can wreak havoc on the coral reefs. Good enough reason to avoid them. When sunscreen is absolutely necessary we are fans of the Badger brand. It is a mineral block and gives us that sexy glow (read: pasty white), but it doesn’t sink into our pores and play Jenga  with our hormones n stuff. That’s a scientific explanation and I got it straight from the current press secretary.

<a target=”_blank” href=”https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003II0R7M/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B003II0R7M&linkCode=as2&tag=boy123recomme-20&linkId=280dac136108e868ba55348884f888d9″>Badger SPF 35 Plus Sunscreen All Season Face Stick Unscented — 0.65 oz</a><img src=”//ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?t=boy123recomme-20&l=am2&o=1&a=B003II0R7M” width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” />

Sun shirts, hats = happy, sunny days

Sun shirts and hats, or embarrassing Disney themed fish suits that will haunt you into your college years and beyond, whatever works! Thanks Meme for the excellent future  blackmail pics!
Do you have more ideas for us? Awesome possum. Please leave them in the comments below.

Chao, besos!

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Cost of Family Travel in Costa Rica

The cost of living in Costa Rica vs. the cost of traveling in Costa Rica… 
Living in Costa Rica

We got a great question about costs that deserves a blogpost response. We are a family of 5, currently “living” in Costa Rica on about $30 a day, or under $1000 a month. That includes everything– rent (good place with pool, weekly maid service, and short walk to the beach), food (healthy, fresh, and abundant), the occasional restaurant meal, and the occasional bus trip. 
I will break things down further:

Rent — We rent a cabina. It is not fancy, but it serves our needs well, with two bedrooms, a bathroom, a dining area, and a kitchen. The kitchen is key for saving money — eating out can get expensive in Costa Rica.
Food — Stay away from imported items! You can easily spend $3 for a single avocado or mango from Mexico if you’re not paying attention. Our first day in Costa Rica we bought a small box of quinoa for $11– OUCH! We load up on fresh veggies and fruits at the local markets, and stop every fruit and vegetables truck that drives by. Eat like a local. Rice and beans are always cheap, and Ticos have many ways to create delicious and nutritious meals with these two staple items — i.e. gallo pinto and casado. Beans and rice, rice and beans, add fresh veggies, throw them in a tortilla and make a burrito, add cheese and make a quesadilla, stir fry them and call it gallo pinto. Anyway you fix them they are filling and delicious and gentle on the budget. 
Restaurants — They can be very expensive for a family of five. That said, we do occasionally go out to eat at some of our favorite spots. The “casado” is a dish which literally means “married,” and comes with rice, beans, a meat, fried plantain, salad, and a refresco (fresh fruit juice drink). It costs about $6, everyone in our family loves it, so it’s the perfect budget option. Of course we times that by 5, so our dinner out comes to about $30.
Buses — They’re very cheap. You can get all over with a few dollars. They can also be very inconvenient… We used only buses to get from Tamarindo, Costa Rica to Nicaragua, and we spent more time waiting for buses than riding buses. Now we use rental cars for big moves, and buses for smaller stuff. Rental cars are not cheap, but I’ve been successful at talking the car companies way down on price — I usually act like I haven’t decided whether I want a rental car, or I’m eager to just take the bus.
Traveling in Costa Rica

That’s “living” in Costa Rica. Traveling is a much different beast, with so many variables. Sometimes we feel like we’re bleeding money. We have been successfully traveling on a $100 a day average. Here are some tips:
Accommodations — We check the websites “Booking” and “Trip Advisor” first to get an idea about prices. FlipKey and Airbnb are also resources. We avoid Homeaway due to a negative experience. We also always check the reviews! Trust us, we learned this the hard way! Read the reviews! Then we contact the hotels/rentals we’re interested in directly for discounts. We’ve done well by cutting out the middleman. Also time your travel to avoid peak season. Prices can double or triple when demand is high.
Food — There is a variety of well priced quick food available at “sodas,” when you’re on the move. Our kids enjoy enyucados, tamales, and empanadas. They are about $1 each. We hate to buy bottled water for so many reasons, so we travel with a filter bottle, reusable water bottles, and a Culligan filter that we can attach to a spigot or a hotel sink. The system has served us well, saved us a bundle, and helped preserve the environment.
Location — We had our hearts set on Nosara when we left the US. It seemed to have everything we were looking for surf, jungle, and great schools. We made two trips there to try to find accommodations, and realized we would need a small fortune and a car if we wanted to stay there. Combine that with the fact that it just didn’t live up to our expectations… Tamarindo was also expensive, but walkable, so we spent a month in that area living for the surf. We arrived in September and the rental prices all doubled or tripled for the months of December and January. That is when we decided to check out the less touristy Caribbean side. We found much better prices for accommodations, and fresh food more affordable and widely available. We do love the Caribbean side at this point!

Cauhita ❀️a perfect little Pueblo

Cauhita So Sweeeetah!!

 

Most of you, our loyal fans, ok just kidding, our parents and other poor suckers that our parents talked into reading this blog, know that we have been chillin like villains for the past 5 months in a little town called Cauhita. 

Cauhita is on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica and has a beautiful National Park.

stop right here and practice with me. Cow-Wheat-Ahh. Don’t sound like a dweeb (and by “dweeb” I mean us) and say Cah-heat-uh.  

Nope. It’s cow, like the animal, wheat, like the plant and Ahhh, like well, ahh. 

Now when you come to visit us, you will sound so cool, and people won’t look at you like you’re from another planet (speaking from experience here). Speaking of visitors, we’ve had Meme, twice. She grew to love Cauhita as much as us, and in March Pop pop came. 

Poor Pop Pop never did get it, despite repeated Tutorials over FaceTime. Nevertheless, he persisted πŸ˜‰ on pronouncing it Cow-heat-uh. But the local shuttle driver took pity on him and he made it all the way here for a fun filled visit! More on that later!

  

Cauhita has so much that we love. Unlimited coconuts, a plethora of wildlife and friendly locals. We are renting a small house walking/biking distance to everything. We have fruit trees galore and neighbor kids to play with. Boy 1 and 2 are attending the local, public elementary school and improving daily in their Spanish.

Here is a short video The Mister put together of our school experience:

 

 

I mentioned before about all the fruit trees around our house, we have plaintains, bananas, oranges, star fruit, mango and cacao fruit (did you know chcolate was a fruit?! Told you it was healthy!). But for other food needs we have some nice local shops and our local veggie/fruit truck and egg truck!  

Thanks to the Mister who has has been getting pretty crafty, and made this clever little video of grocery shopping, Cauhita style.

This past week was Semana Santa, a big holiday here in Latin America. Boy 1 and 2 had a whole week off of school, which for normal kids, would mean they were doing the happy, happy dance, but our weirdos were totally bummed and did the mopey, mopey dance. 

We celebrated Easter by coloring rocks and having Easter rock hunts with the neighbor girls, and as a first for us, we set a goal to have a zero waste Easter. We made (and by “we” I mean the mister) palm frond baskets and then we sent a serious ultimatum to the Easter Bunny, asking for no plastic or waste in our baskets, or else! And he complied! Total zero waste, zero melt down Easter. Okay, the zero melt down was a lie, but there were zero uncontrollable, “I didn’t get enough crap” crying fits. Total win! 

This was a small step in our larger quest to be greener, cleaner, less wasteful adventurers! 

More on that later! 

Here is some pre-Easter prep pics:

 

Palm frond fashions “savage is the new black”

 

 And here is our master weaver at work

The talented Palm frond basket weaver at work

  And the early (so, so early 😩) Easter Basket reveal with boy 123 and two very tired parents.

Messyhairdontcare Easter morning!

 

 

And because I’m nice here is some footage of a zombie apocalypse Pop pop’s visit. He really, really, enjoyed body surfing.