Toddler Travel and Pregnant in Costa Rica

Toddler Travel

I consider myself an expert at toddler travel as Yale (my toddler) and I have been traveling extensively since she was 6 weeks old. Most recently, we just got back from one of our many trips to Costa Rica. I’ve been going to Costa Rica for over a decade, and now that my parents have a house there, we are frequenting the Pura Vida nation even more. Which is AWESOME – obviously! This time around though, there was a little extra development thrown into the mix to make things extra…interesting. I am 5 months pregnant with my second child, AND “dad” had to stay home to work so I was traveling as a single parent with my super dynamic, super hilarious, SUPER active toddler. 

Everything went pretty smoothly, so I’m not here to playback anything dramatic, but I am here to impart a few pieces of advice on toddler travel and traveling while pregnant. I’ll also give a quick rundown of some new fave spots and aspects of travelling in Costa Rica. 

toddler travel costa rica
Toddler travel: Yale holding her (my) coffee and her monkey, approx 5:30am, about to take our first flight of the day.
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Victoria, British Columbia: Eating & Resetting

Charming, outdoorsy, and full of activities.

Charm, easy-living and seaside views are some of the things Victoria, British Columbia is known for. At just 85,000 people, it seems busier than it should be, I’m guessing because of its tourist qualities bringing in and entertaining more than just the locals. 

I was recently presented with an opportunity to visit my friend who was staying there for a week and decided to take myself on a quick mom-break and planned to do very little. I ended up finding quite a few fun things to do, but still definitely on the relaxing side of things – which is exactly what my body and brain needed. We were there during Spring Break and it was clear that it’s a pretty popular area for family vacations. Victoria has a lot of family-friendly activities to do from outdoor sports like kayaking, hiking and mountain biking to a bunch of quirky museums. I would definitely take kids along as it seems it’d be pretty easy to entertain with all the options. 

View from ferry from Tsawassan (just outside downtown Vancouver) to Victoria
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Santa Teresa, Costa Rica: Beachy Heaven

Yale and I loving life on Playa Hermosa in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica.

Santa Teresa is what surf and hippie dreams are made of. It’s built up enough that you can explore a cornucopia of restaurants, bars and little nooks to hang out in, but it’s kept raw enough that the focal point is still the wild and free ocean, and during dry season, you’ll get nice and dirty from the dusty, unkept, main road. It’s relaxed enough that people from all around the world come to stay for a cheap hostel stay, but magical enough that influential and wealthy people like Giselle and Brady have a vacation home in the area. 

My baby enjoying life in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica.

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Weekend Getaway in Classic Canadian City

When one of my best friends moved to the city of Calgary, Alberta recently, I immediately made a mental note to add it to our list of travels. Only an hour flight from Abbotsford or Vancouver in British Columbia, we were able to jet off for a quick weekend getaway. The reality is, you could make this trip a quick weekend getaway from any city in North America. If you want to add skiing or snowboarding to the itinerary, you’ll want to extend your stay to at least 4 nights, but if you stay off the slopes, you can get a lot in, in a couple of nights.

On a recent Saturday, I packed up my toddler (who ate a ton of cat food and puked RIGHT before leaving for the airport – see my Insta posts for details on that one), and off we flew to YYC.

Flying into Calgary is GORGEOUS. The views actually don’t seem real. If you don’t have a wild toddler to wrangle, I suggest booking a window seat so you can take it all in.

View from our flight from Abbotsford to Calgary.

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Family travel: my favourite baby carriers for adventuring and at-home use

Yale in the Deuter pack, while sturgeon fishing.

My favourite baby carriers and backpacks for family travel, adventuring and at-home use.

It’s no secret that travel is one my most fundamental spiritual, practical and lifestyle mainstays in life. I travel for business, and I travel for pleasure and more often than not, I travel for both. Since having a baby, not much has changed, but the main shift has been literally having a small human hanging off me at most times, as I move through the world. Because of this shift, I’ve spent a considerable amount of time sorting through ideas on what kind of baby carrying devices make sense for me, as a mother, an outdoors person and a traveller.  Below, are my top four carriers or backpacks that I find useful in different situations of motherhood and family travel, that I hope you’ll find helpful too.

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GIRLS TRIP IN PALM SPRINGS

We booked our girls trip in Palm Springs because we wanted to feel our skin sun kissed, and let’s be honest, a little crispy, from those rays. What we ended up getting was next-level heat. We experienced a heat wave with highs of 105 farenheit and thankfully our itinerary allowed (mostly) for this kind of heat and we had a pool with our AirBnb house. The following are suggestions for any time of the year in this weirdly sleepy yet simultaneously somewhat trendy area.

The famous Joshua Tree National Park.

Day 1 …

Like on most travel days, we were craving substantial nutrients upon arrival. Thankfully we found a place to deliver on that, right away. Palm Greens Cafe is in a nondescript plaza (like many things in Palm Springs) and is perfect for a casual lunch where you want to load up on your vitamins and minerals. They offer super healthy bowls, salads, wraps and smoothies and juices. The service is pretty relaxed (read: slow) so go in with a true vacation mentality.

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Food Guide for the Windy City

Chicago. To most, a coveted city full of fascinating and powerful people – former presidents, TV and media moguls, world class athletes. To me – up until my latest visit – just another American city, often compared to Toronto, my hometown. Because of this latter bit, I have to confess I didn’t feel the curiosity I usually feel for places I don’t know much about – if it’s always being compared to my hometown city, why bother exploring it? Well, as I discovered recently, there’s a lot to be admired about the Windy City. And yes – it does remind me of the place I grew up in, but in really fantastic ways: the people are friendly, the shopping and food is world class, and it’s a relatively clean place for being such a large metropolis. We were there in the heart of the winter so our focus was on food, with a little shopping and health and wellness mixed in. Herewith, my food guide –

Shared platters at Girl and the Goat in the West Loop, Chicago.

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Whistler in the Winter: Part Two

On top of the world in Whistler!

You know a travel destination is a true gem when you can easily write not one, not two, but three blogs on the same location! I’ve written a blog on Whistler in the winter, and Whistler in the summer, but I still feel compelled to share my experiences once again as I’ve come across another round of great finds.

For a list of my favourite hotels in Whistler, see my first piece (January 2016)

If you’re looking for more of a livable space, with a kitchen and laundry, Evolution in the Creekside Village is a fantastic option. We stayed in a two bedroom, two bathroom condo. The building has two large hot tubs, a heated pool, steam room and sauna and it was never overly busy. Possibly the biggest plus to this accommodation is that it’s ski in/ski out. There’s a small grocery store in the same complex and a gas station and pizza place serving super delicious food across the street. Since it’s ski in/ski out, you won’t need to head to the main Whistler village much, but when you do, it’s only a 5 minute drive (or approximately a 45 minute walk on the Valley Trail with stunning views).

The Valley Trail connect’s all of Whistler’s neighbourhoods. So good!

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Vegas Again and Again…

The Wynn/Encore sister hotels on the North end of the Vegas strip have been my go-to accommodations when staying in Sin City, dating back to seven years now and they ALWAYS deliver. For this reason, I figured I would write a blog highlighting only them. There is so much to do in Vegas, in addition to Wynn and Encore (like the burlesque/ballet show that is Crazy Horse – sooooo good!) but for this blog’s purpose, I’ll stick to the sister hotels. I’ve been there a handful of times and overall, I highly recommend them, so here it goes:

First of all, let’s establish that these two hotels are side by side, owned by the same company and essentially run as one large hotel, so for simplicity sake, just assume I’m talking about one or the other, or both, unless I specifically note otherwise.

Here are my observations on ….

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Whistler in the Spring

Big Sky Golf in Pemberton, twenty minutes outside Whistler.

The charming ski village Whistler, in British Columbia, Canada, is one of my favourite places in the world. It’s most well known for its epic winter season with its world class mountainous ski terrain, and that’s definitely my number one reason to go there. That said, it’s also become a year round destination with many attractions to suit most needs. I’ve blogged about Whistler before, but today I’m going to focus on springtime in this loveliest of towns.

Let me begin by making clear that skiing/snowboarding in Whistler in early spring is still alive and well, and can sometimes be the best time to go because the lineups disappear and the hot weather comes out to play. If you can get time off during a weekday, it’s especially glorious, as you will often come across runs that are all to yourself.

One of the many runs we had all to ourselves during our April Whistler trip.

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