How well-equipped is this city for those raising infants/toddlers? Specifically, are there public places to change diapers, maintained playgrounds, etc?
You will find many parks and playgrounds around the city. Many of the private residential condominiums have playgrounds and pools for children. It is a very safe place to let your children play with other Costa Rican children.
Where can I get a list of reliable childcare providers/nannies?
Please contact your Human Resources director or Crown's office to get more information on reliable childcare providers and/or nannies. Also, your neighbors and co-workers are good sources and will most likely be able to provide you with some good tips and point you in the right direction.
Discuss any safety issues for children in this city.
Children should always be accompanied and supervised by an adult and should never talk to strangers. Also, there are no bike trails in the city so allowing them to ride their bikes on the streets unsupervised is not recommended.
As for teenagers, they love to go dancing on the weekends to enjoy music and socializing. Parents should be aware that although there is a minimum drinking age of 18, it is rarely enforced.
What are the most popular kid-friendly attractions in the area?
Museo de los ninos: This museum offers exhibits about children's culture and rights in Costa Rica, and also has exhibitions about science, music and geography, all planned for the younger visitor. This museum is recommended for those travelers with children up to 12 years of age.
Parque Nacional de Diversiones: Costa Rica's only amusement park is located in La Uruca, 2km west of the Hospital Mexico. The 44.2-acre park offers over 80 different games and attractions. There's something for everyone. Smaller children can take a ride on a real Costa Rican oxcart, glide through a replica of Tortuguero Canals, travel back in time to Pueblo Antiguo or enjoy the water slides, electric train, go-karts or miniature antique car replicas. Older children and adults can enjoy rides with a little more zing, like the Cyclone, the Hurricane and the Skymaster. All proceeds benefit the state Children's Hospital.
What are the most popular activities for kids after school or on weekends?
Kids in Costa Rica are involved in after-school activities and sports. They enjoy going to the movies, museums, parks and shopping with friends. A few minutes outside the city, horseback riding and trout fishing are popular things to do on the weekends. And, they like to just hang out with their friends at each other's homes.
What's it like to be a teenager in this city? Are there any particular challenges I should be aware of as a parent?
Being a teenager in Costa Rica is similar to other places. As mentioned above, they love to spend time with their friends and do fun things.
Are there any organizations/social groups in the area that cater exclusively to young people ages 12-17?
Local schools and churches are good sources for getting all youth group and activity information for your area. Many schools offer after-school activities, sport clubs, dance clubs and band clubs, to name just a few.
I want my child to get the most out of our stay in this country. Are there any specific opportunities to teach young people about the local culture?
There are many Spanish schools that offer not only Spanish classes, but also culture classes like dance and cooking. They also organize short trips all around the country.
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