grandparents on beach
So your ___th birthday (insert age) is coming, and for your present we’re taking you on a special trip. Just us.... and you get to pick where we go!
Imagine your pre-teen or teen hearing these magic words: no siblings to share Grandma or Grandpa’s attention, and no annoying parents to cramp their style. Does it get sweeter than that?
I first met such a duo in the Galapagos Islands a decade ago. The grandmother had already taken each of her first two grandchildren on personal dream trips for their twelfth birthdays. One was a football weekend, and the other was a shopping trip to New York City. But the youngest dreamed of getting eyeball to eyeball with blue-footed boobies and sweet, playful fur seals in the Galapagos Islands, and so they did.
Grandparent bonding trips were still a novel idea back then, and those two giggled, oohed, aahed, and photographed their way through a week of serious bonding.
Making life-long memories
I don’t have grandchildren but I was lucky enough to do this with my own kids as they were growing up. Not quite as perfect maybe, but 100% one-on-one attention is never a bad thing. The destination can be as close as a spa weekend at a Naples resort, as exotic as a cruise through Alaska’s Inside Passage, or as remote as a rainforest in Costa Rica. And it’s so easy! Just connect with the highest rated family-friendly tour operator you can find so all your energy can be spent playing, hugging, and making lifelong memories.
Among my all-time favorites is Tortuga Lodge in the Costa Rican rainforest.
Costa Rica is dream destination for adventurous kids, and top-ranked Costa Rica Expeditions orchestrates every miniscule detail, from logistics to personalized menus, for you and your lucky grandchild. They handle adventures and accommodations all over Costa Rica, but for families, I just love this one. The architecture is storybook Costa Rican-rustic, complete with wide porches and hammocks. Inside, the adorable décor includes nice linens, modern baths and amenities. There’s even a penthouse suite, if you wish.
On property are boardwalks through the rainforest, a cool swimming pool, and trees populated by three-toed sloths, howler monkeys that bellow like elephants, and outrageously colorful dart frogs. Off property, kids can help teach English to local villagers, go on private turtle nesting walks on remote beaches, or kayak on the mysterious Tortuguero River, where otters play and strange basilisk lizards walk on water. The food is yummy, with recipes from native Costa Rican grandmothers.
The customized three-day packages are a bargain at $598 to $1070 per person, transportation included.
Visit tortugalodge.com and costaricaexpeditions.com.
Karen T. Bartlett is Travel Editor of Neapolitan Family. She is the author of 11 destination travel books, and publisher of the award-winning books, A (mostly) Kids' Guide to Naples, Marco Island & The Everglades, and A (mostly) Kids' Guide to Sanibel & Captiva Islands and the Fort Myers Coast.