What’s New in Family Travel: 3 Hot Destinations
We love the annual New York Times Travel Show. In the dead of winter we sample food and performances from around the world, check out new travel products and put together a mental bucket list of trips we’d love to take. Here are three destinations we discovered this year:
Costa Rica with Little Kids
We all know Costa Rica is a great place to take adventure vacations with your teens (here’s our take on Costa Rica adventure travel), but parents often want to know what this tropical destination offers for little kids.
Alberto Montoya at Green World Adventures recommends soft adventures such as safari rafting. “It’s the same rafts you use for white-water rafting but the water is calm,” and there is a chance of spotting animals and birds on shore.
Animal rescue centers such as Tree of Life on the Caribbean Coast are another kid pleaser. And of course, there is the beach. Montoya recommends finding a smaller resort along the central Pacific coast, where the beach backs up against protected jungle. Families can mix their sand-and-surf time with easy nature walks.
Belize for all ages
Families looking for something more laid back and varied than the Riviera Maya, might look a little further down the coast to tiny Belize, where upgraded roads have made getting around more realistic for families than it would have been just a few years ago.
Fly into Belize City and head 2 hours inland to San Ignacio for horseback riding, easy cave exploring and an impressive collection of Mayan Ruins. The moderately priced Lodge at Chaa Creek is a good base for these activities.
A short drive south brings you to the Jaguar Reserve at Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Reserve. Further on you can spend the day or an overnight in an authentic Mayan Village; learn to make tortillas by hand and to farm and cook with local produce.
Then take a puddle jumper to any of several small islands for laid back beaches and amazing SCUBA diving and snorkeling along protected reefs. (Here’s what we have to say about family friendly Ambergris Caye).
Europe on a Budget in Croatia
Europeans have long headed to Croatia for inexpensive beach getaways. Now travel agents are urging Americans to try this non-Euro-zone country as a cheaper alternative to Western Europe.
Zagreb offers plenty in the way of food, history and culture. But the real draw is Adriatic coast with its clear azure waters and historic towns like Istra and Dubrovnik. Sibenik has a children’s festival in June and July with performances, games, workshops and more both by and for children.
For a unique cultural experience, head north to the historic town of Varazdin. During a street performer festival at summer’s end, the squares abound with free entertainment. Look for food and drink specials then, too, to lure you in off the streets.