My husband and I have always been extremely active people. Prior to children, a beach vacation never actually involved relaxing on the beach. We have gone swimming with dolphins, sharks, manatees, sting rays, and sea lions. We’ve also jet skied, snorkeled, boated, hiked. We’ve always gone exploring to the extreme in whatever island or coastal country we happened to visit. So planning a toddler-friendly trip to an adventure destination proved to be a challenge.
Although, we have not put traveling on hold since becoming parents, we have put a lot of the adventurous activities on hold. As a family of three traveling together, we can’t necessarily take our toddler along on extremely strenuous or adrenaline-pumping activities.
For this reason, we have typically aimed for cultural trips during these first few years of our daughter’s life.
Last year, my parents accompanied us on a trip to Costa Rica and we actually got to go zip-lining, which I would highly recommend. But this summer, when we return to Central America, we won’t have the luxury of grandparents to help look out for our tiny traveler.
We are in the process of planning a toddler-friendly trip to Belize in June. From everything I’ve read, Belize is an adventure-lovers paradise, much like Costa Rica. While the country is known for its spelunking and cave tubing, those are tours we cannot take a toddler on. Needless to say, it is taking a bit of creative planning.
Unfortunately, there is not a lot of information out there (on the seemingly expansive world wide web) offering alternatives or advice for parents traveling to Belize with a toddler.
How to plan a toddler-friendly trip to a non-toddler-friendly destination
Our hotel was able to point me toward some easy hikes through the jungle and some dry caves like Rio Frio Cave. They also recommended excursions that are toddler-friendly, including a trek into Guatemala to visit Tikal.
Beyond that, they can usually answer any questions you may have about renting/hiring a car, driving in the country, safety, or cultural norms.
Our exact itinerary isn’t set in stone yet. But at least I have a good idea of some of the sites where we can take our daughter. (Update: You can find our itinerary and our reviews here.)
If you can’t find the information you seek online when planning a trip, it doesn’t mean you should give up and call a travel agent. Instead, reach out to those who live and work there. The locals know their country best. If they work in the hospitality industry, chances are they will be more than willing to help.