How to surf while traveling alone with a 4-year old

| |

This is the place for me to be: Santa Teresa – Costa Rica. The waves are amazing, the climate is hot and dry, the camping site is only 5 dollars a night and Luísa and I are having a blast.

It´s been a week since we arrived and I surfed 4 times. In my firsts days here I met a 12 year old from New York who could babysit Luísa. But, unfortunately, our fist meeting didn´t work out and while we still don´t have another one, I had to come up with a plan B.

Plan B for surfing this time consisted in offering the owner of the camping where we are staying surf lessons in exchange of babysitting hours. We go together to the beach, he surfs for one hour with my board and I tell him all I can to help him and then he plays with Luísa for one hour while I surf.

The first day we tried this, Luísa was not keen on the idea at all. When I went for the surf, she stayed with water in her chest crying the whole time, with the guy a few meters away from her.

If I wasn´t so caught up in our little separation anxiety drama, I´d think this was funny. I paddled out, there were big waves and for a while I couldn´t see Luísa in the sand, I drifted about 50 meters with the current, and when I saw Luísa again, she was right behind me in the shore, still crying in the water. I couldn´t resist feeling bad and I got out of the water after 20 minutes.

I had prevented the guy about this sad scenario, and I also told him it would probably get better next time.

The second time, when I was getting ready to go into the water, Luísa was playing sad and not having any of it. I told her: ¨I´m going to surf now, there are two things you can do: play and have fun, or cry and be miserable while I´m out there, it´s your choice. I´d have fun if I were you.¨ She said: ¨Ok, I´ll have fun¨, and so she did.

So, this is how I´ll get to surf everyday while I´m here from now on.

Luísa had to have fun with Nico while I was catching some waves. He´s Italian and I asked him to talk only in Italian if possible, why not fit in some language tutoring in our surf trip…

Contrary to my fears, the camping site and it´s young crowd have been great. They all play with Luísa, and though she hasn´t had any play date with children, she´s had tons of fun with other people.

There´s a group of musicians who have been playing a lot with her and one of the girls is learning to surf too, so she can use my board as well, while we all hang out at the beach.

We have cold showers (couldn´t be any different with the heat and the sun) and we have Wi Fi ¨borrowed¨ from the neighbor’s.

We spend the hottest hours of the day at our camping site .

I´m queen of packing light now. My backpack was light and I managed to carry the mattress, the tent and everything in it. I have 4 clothes, and only use 2, and Luísa has 7, and she only uses 2 as well. Crazy enough, I can say that we brought too many clothes. One of the best decisions into packing light is to not bring any toys, that´s right, Luísa is still playing all day long with things, creative toys that she makes up – NICE.

Our vacation routine is really great: all morning at the beach (including my favorite thing in the world: surfing), lunch out (dinners, breakfast and snacks in the community kitchen), a movie, ice-cream and sunset by ourselves or with friends with some extra running at the beach for a sweet and easy bedtime in our comfy tent.

This must be a child´s dream, by the way, to be alone with mommy and sleep in a tent. It can´t get better than this.

This article was originally posted on Tripping Mom by Marilia Di Cesare on January 11, 2012. Republished with authorization. Click here for all other posts.


I confess: I get scared shitless of traveling alone with my kid every single time

Travel with children in Costa Rica – is it safe?


Leave a Comment