Hi my name is Ryder Smith. I am 11 years old and I’m writing a blog for my dad’s company, AdventureSmith Explorations. I live in Lake Tahoe where it is very cold and I’m going to Costa Rica where it is very hot.

Young travelers enjoying a watermelon mocktail in Costa Rican lodge.

San Jose to Tortuguero

Today the bus had to leave early because the normal road was closed. The bus drove through the very large city of San Jose. We had to drive for five hours because the highway was closed so they could paint. We stopped at a coffee farm were there were lots of ants and rows of coffee. Then we went back into the van and drove to a water fall. I only looked for a little bit since it was raining but my friend went behind the water fall and he said behind was awesome.

After a lot of driving we stopped at a market where there was Costa Rican snacks. There were coconuts and fruits. When the van got to the river we climbed into a boat and started to look for wildlife. We finally saw a crocodile and many birds. 

Group of young travelers embarking on a river boat in Costa Rica.
Crocodile walking on a sandy shoreline of a river in Costa Rica.

The boat passed the town of Tortuguero on our way to the Tortuga Lodge. When the boat finally got to the lodge we ate lunch. Then the staff showed us to our room and we went to the pool. That was my first day in Costa Rica.

Tortuguero Boat Ride

Today I went on a mini boat ride. We were not too far into the jungle and we already saw a Toucan which is a black bird with a color full beak. Then we went deeper into the forest and saw many birds.

Toucan perched on a branch in Costa Rica.

After a while there were some monkeys. They were swinging from tree to tree. Finally one stopped and started to eat something. Than it started to rain and we went back to the lodge and had lunch. 

After siesta we also went to a village. We rode a boat over there and saw a movie about sea turtles. Then we visited the town of Tortuguero, which was small like my town.

Kayaking & Soccer

When I woke up this morning it was starting to rain. It rains a lot in Costa Rica. After breakfast the rain was down so a guide Norton asked if we wanted to go kayaking. Most of us said yes. After breakfast we climbed on a boat and went deep into a jungle to a spot where no boats were allowed only kayaks. We climbed into our kayaks and waited for everyone else.

When we were all ready we started our journey. It was pretty calm at first but then it started to rain. When it was raining we didn’t see that much animals because they were all hiding from the rain. The rain finally started to clear up and we saw some birds. Farther up the river we ran into a tree that fell down. We turned around and went up a different way which was very tight and we bumped into each other a lot. Down that river we ran into a huge tree. After that we went back to the lodge and hung out. 

A while later a little boat took us to a town called San Francisco. When we got to the town we were greeted by some kids who we were going to teach English to. We went to their school which is very small. We went in the class room, grabbed a desk and made a circle. First we would say words and they would repeat, then we would show them a object and they would say the words in English. Then they tested our Spanish. Afterwards we played soccer with the local school kids. I would recommend doing that.

Travelers in Costa Rica visiting a local elementary school in Tortugero.
Playing soccer with the local Tortugero kids and Costa Rican travelers.

Airplane Ride

Today we went straight to a boat which took us to the other side of the river were there was a little airport. I went on a small plane and we took off. We went into a storm cloud and it started to rain and the drops went through the window. I was glad when we landed.

Family getting ready to embark on a small plane in Costa Rica.

We took a small bus to a different airport than got on a bigger plane. That plane ride was not so bad. When we landed we went and sat on a bench drinking right out of coconuts.  I didn’t like the juice but many people did.  Then we went in cars to a lodge deep in the jungle. 

When we finally arrived we looked around and found our room. Then we went to a pool for a while. After the pool we went on a bird tour. At first we were deep in the jungle and did not see a lot. But after some walking we saw a baby monkey. Then after walking another mile we saw a parakeet. It was pretty cool. The hike was fun but kind of boring. It was a crazy day at our new lodge.

Waterfall Hike

Today I slept in even though the rest of my family was up early. They say that the sun comes up very early there. When I did get up my dad was waiting for me. After breakfast I went to do homework. When I was done I went to the pool and played around. 

Young travelers enjoying a day at the pool.

We went on a hike to a water fall. I swam in the water fall and took a shower under it. It was very refreshing. Then we hiked for a very long time. We finally got to a little swimming hole with a bridge. It was very deep. We jumped in for a long time. Then we went to the last swimming hole where there was another water fall. There was a high part that we climbed up and jumped off. We started to do tricks. Then we ate lunch which we ordered right before we left. Then we jumped a little more and went back to the lodge.

After hanging out a little we went on a night hike when it started to get dark. First we saw some kids dancing. Then we went on the hike. The guides gave us all flashlights. At first we walked around near the lodge. Then we went deep into the forest. It started to get a little scary. My friend’s mom made us turn off our flashlights and it got very scary. The little kids started to freak out. We finally tuned our lights on and went to a small pond. At the pond we saw a cat eye snake. The snake went into the water and we watched the snake swim around in the pond. Then we went back to the lodge to eat dinner. My friends and brother were very tired at dinner. I did not like the night hike that much. I was not that tired since I sleeped in so I stayed up for dessert. It was a very tiring day.

Lapa Rios

Everyone wanted to go to the water fall so we decided to go on our own without a guide. We walked to the water fall and took off our clothes. The water fall was really fun part of Lapa Rios.

Then we climbed up a little part under the water fall to where it was like 10 feet and we jumped off and sometimes did tricks. Then we went to a swimming hole. There was a bridge that we jumped off into the swimming hole. Then a group with a guide came and we walked back to the lodge. At the lodge we rested a little then we went in the pool. After the pool we went and got ready to go on a hike to the beach.

Monkey walking across a branch in Costa Rica.

When we were ready for the hike we went to the area were you meet your guide. Our guide was waiting for us. We started to walk on the road which was all downhill and dirt. At the bottom of the hill there was squirrel monkeys which are small and cute. After looking at them for a long time we went to a rocky beach. The waves at that beach were huge. If you like surfing you would like it here, the waves brake and go for a long time. My dad says that if it was in California there would be a hundred guys. Then it started to rain and we had to go back. When we arrived at the next beach it had a rip current so you can’t go in unless you are surfing. It was a fun day.

Matapalo Surf spot in Costa Rica with surfers.

Ridge Hike

It was a pretty slow morning we ate breakfast. After we went to the pool and played and ordered a smoothie that was really good. 

The hike started by getting into a little truck and driving up a hill. At the top of the hill the hike started. We saw a giant ant hill that was really big. The hill could fit 8 million ants in it. The trail was the ant’s highway. My friend said he saw a weasel that no one else saw but no one believed him.

Leaf cutter ants walking in a parade carry small bits of leaves on the top of their bodies.

At the end of the hike we went to the water fall that we always go to. Like always we climbed up and jumped off sometimes doing tricks. My dad jumped and did a cannon ball and it made a huge splash. We didn’t get out until some other people got in. It was a fun last day.

Return Home

The last day we flew back to San Jose then back home to California. I think that overall this was a very fun trip and I would recommend the trip to you. My favorite part was the Tortuga lodge. I liked it best because it is all close in and the other lodge is spread apart. I would like to go back to Costa Rica.

A Note from AdventureSmith

As AdventureSmith Explorations Founder, President and proud dad, I would like to thank my son, an incredible 11-year-old kid with a wonderful heart. I am sure that kids who want to travel to Costa Rica will benefit from your thoughtful and well-written travel journal. You are a joy to travel with, and I look forward to many more adventures together. -Todd Smith

Costa Rican traveling family holding the Adventuresmith Explorations flag on the deck overlooking jungle and ocean in Lapa Rios.

Find more information on our Costa Rica Family AdventureCosta Rica Cruises & Toursor contact our Costa Rica family travel experts.