From September 2020 to January 2021 our kids went to in-person school in Ottawa. The school board did a fantastic job keeping cohorts separate! Our daughter had one positive covid case at her public school. The bus route and class for that student were cancelled for two weeks, which successfully stopped any spread into the school population. Our son’s high school had quite a few positive cases but was also successful in preventing any outbreaks at the school! Excellent! Both kids adapted well to virtual school when the region went into lockdown during the second wave.
In addition, Ottawa Public Health has done an excellent job communicating effectively to the community. They have been working with the local hospitals to monitor the city waste water as a secondary way to assess Covid rates in the community. Fascinating!
Following our last post in October, we eventually settled on a possible scenario. Rather than travelling around the world as a family for 10 months and visit 24 countries, we would instead pivot into “Canadian snow bird” mode and visit one country long-term.
Costa Rica quickly become the front-runner for us. Thailand and Vietnam were also excellent options due to their robust Covid action plans. In the end, we chose Costa Rica as we had been there before and therefore knew what to expect.
Costa Rica opened its borders in August 2020, then removed testing and quarantining restrictions for international travellers in October 2020. Even with the reduced restrictions, their Covid rates remained at a plateau from October onward. We monitored the rates for the weeks following the Christmas break and also found them the same. From what we could tell, most American and Canadian travellers who were looking to go somewhere warm for Christmas opted for Mexico. Almost one million in Cancún alone over the Christmas break?!
Costa Rica has a helpful break-down of entry requirements here.
Since health insurance from Ontario Blue Cross or other international companies like World Nomad did not fulfill the country’s lodging requirements, we used one of the suggested Costa Rican companies instead.
We rented a car from Adobe (a local company) via the travel blog My Tan Feet in order to benefit from their discount. A rental car with 4-wheel drive was essential for our remote location.
We found a home for rent via VRBO which sits on the edge of the Pacific Ocean!
We packed light and flew to Costa Rica in January, returning to Canada in the summer.
Our family goals are to practice our Spanish, to be outside in the sun and fresh air daily, and to learn as much as we can about nature. Our daughter is pretty obsessed with reptiles at present! We have questions about the tides, astronomy, and the flora and fauna.
We also know that the Canadian government has made changes in regards to re-entry. The government has worked with the Canadian airlines to cancel all flights to “sun destinations.” This means the most popular Canadian destinations of Mexico and the Caribbean. However, it applies to Costa Rica as well. We knew that we would have to present a negative Covid test for our return to Canada. Now we will also have to quarantine in a hotel upon arrival rather than at home. Makes sense, this is what many other countries do as well!
Unfortunately, this blog will not be used for its intended purpose. Man, that trip was going to be epic! Instead, this blog will just be us living, maybe documenting what we have been learning, and hopefully still “having fun right now.”