The Best $16 I Spent in Costa Rica

Costa RicaThe Michael W Travels family recently got back from a trip to Costa Rica.

During our visit, a few things not so surprisingly stood out- nature, wildlife and hiking.

We combined all of those things during our first full day of the trip which we spent at Manuel Antonio National Park which is located close to Quepos, Costa Rica.

Prior to heading off on our trip and while talking about Manuel Antonio NP, there was one animal that I really wanted to see in the wild in Costa Rica. I hoped to have the chance to spot a sloth!costa ricaWe got lucky and actually saw quite a few sloths in Manuel Antonio NP! Within minutes of entering the park, we spotted our first sloth high up in a tree. (Our best sloth viewing would actually take place later on during the trip…)

After Lucas saw a few sloths he had a new favorite animal. And what do almost 5 year-olds love? Toys!

Lucas asked if he could get a stuffed animal sloth when we left the park. Kim and I buy few to no souvenirs at this point during trips but we always like to get Lucas something for being a good explorer.

As we waited to get into Manuel Antonio we saw a bunch of  souvenir stores. I told Lucas that we’d check some of the stands and that if the sloth wasn’t too expensive, we’d get him one.

After a fun day in the park we headed out, tired, hungry and thirsty. I have a rule to usually never buy a souvenir or item at the first store that I look. We noticed a stuffed animal sloth at the first shop we went into and I got sticker shock. The shop wanted $20 for the toy! Ouch! We decided to look at a bunch other shops and found the sloth was $20 at all of them besides one which sold it for $19.

Kim and I decided to leave and look elsewhere during the trip. Lucas wasn’t so happy walking away empty-handed but he understood. What softened the blow was that we were heading to the awesome El Avion Restaurant for lunch!

Later that evening, we headed out for dinner. On the way back to our hotel, we stopped at a market called Super Joseth (love the name) for cold water and snacks. I walked ahead of Lucas and Kim and saw a case with some souvenirs.

I spotted one sloth stuffed animal there without a price. I headed to the register to get a price and while Kim distracted Lucas.

The sloth was still pricey at $16, but I figured we wouldn’t find it much cheaper so I decided to get it. I had the cashier stick it in a bag (she used 2) to hide it from Lucas.

I love to play tricks on Lucas and surprise him so this would be perfect!costa ricaWe got back to our hotel and I told Lucas that he should use the bathroom and wash his hands. I then set up the surprise in a perfect way.

Lucas came out of the bathroom and walked around before stopping at his bed.a boy standing in a roomHe picked up the sloth and (at first) didn’t know how to react.a boy jumping in the air with a stuffed animalJust a moment later it set in. Lucas had the stuffed animal that he so badly wanted!a boy holding a stuffed animal on his headTime for some sloth posing…

And then it was time for bed. Lucas slept with his stuffed sloth that night and each night after during the trip.a boy sleeping with a catThis has got to be the best $16 that I spent during our trip to Costa Rica!

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  3. A Visit to the Costa Rica Crocodile Bridge

8 thoughts on “The Best $16 I Spent in Costa Rica

  1. Cleo Brown- Glad you liked it. Sloths are definitely amazing and such a cool sight to see in person!

    Beth- Thank you! I’m not going to say that we don’t buy Lucas things but I wouldn’t consider him spoiled. He knows that we can’t buy everything and it’s best to choose to get things that he really wants. I love your idea of giving an allowance of some sort but at 5 years old (today) I don’t feel it is time to go there quite yet.

  2. So I think this is adorable and $16 is not crazy, especially if you’re not buying him stuff left and right. I still have a stuffed animal bought by my parents on vacation when I was four years old so I can’t agree with the commenter who said that it would quickly discarded and forgotten. It’s a great memory that I have kept for well almost 30 years and as an adult I find that items purchased in my travels are ones that I have a tendency to keep and utilize a lot more than random purchases so I think it’s a great way to give children stuff. I try to buy my nieces a small toy every time I travel and tell them the story of the place it came from. Maybe they don’t get anything out of it other than I toy but they enjoy it as do I.
    For what it’s worth, incidentally, when we went on vacations as kids(my parents did not know about miles and points so it was all within the U.S., camping/roadtriping) we were given an amount of money at the beginning of the trip(around $25 for two weeks) that we could do whatever we wanted with, but it was made clear that once it was gone, that was it. Mom and dad would say no to giving us more money for random stuff. It caused my sister and I, even at a fairly young age, to really consider what we wanted and if something was worth it. We ended up not buying lots of stuff that we would have asked our parents for because once it was our money at a finite amount it became more real.
    Not trying to criticize the way you do things by any means because it sounds like your pretty measured in your approach, but your son looks like he’s at an age where that may work.

  3. Debbie Donner- Not to be rude but is it really Debbie Downer? Lucas does have lots of toys and I guess time will tell how special the sloth will remain to be. As of now, he still loves it.

  4. If he’s like any other American kid with a room full of toys, he’ll sleep with the sloth for a couple of nights and forget all about it within a month

    1. Oh Debbie—that is terrible! All kids are not that way. And not all parents have totally overindulged their children.
      My 16 year old still loves his 1-2 precious toys growing up.

      Thanks for the sweet story and pictures!

      I want to see a sloth!

  5. Lively- LOL but it isn’t about money. It’s about doing something nice at the right time and presenting it in a special way…

    Dave- Glad you like! 🙂

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