The story of our temporary relocation to costa rica

For the past three winters, my family and I have relocated temporarily to Costa Rica. Why Costa Rica? Why at all and how did we do it with life and school? I wrote this article to give you a little overview of this wonderful experience. And maybe inspire you to go on your own adventure!

why did we go?

We first visited Costa Rica in winter 2021-22. We organised this trip before our oldest son turned 5, before mandatory schooling age in The Netherlands. We wanted to go on a long adventure post covid and explore a different part of the world. It was also a fabulous opportunity for us to escape winter in Amsterdam (IYKYK). 

Fast forward to winter 2023-24, we repeated this adventure for the third time and relocated to Costa Rica for 4 months. This was again an opportunity to escape winter, but also, to allow our kids to attend a different school and spend time in a totally opposite setting from our usual home.

why costa rica?

Most of the year, we live in central Amsterdam, with all its conveniences. Here were our criteria to choose a country:

  • similar social codes
  • no crazy cultural shock
  • the possibility to communicate (either we could speak the language, or english was mainstream)
  • good / exceptional weather
  • stunning nature all around
  • access to the beach
  • high level of safety 
  • a general open mind 
  • no difficult visa or administrative procedures 
  • a country we could easily visit and discover 


With this list in mind, and after long research, we landed on Costa Rica. 

what about school?

These are the questions I get from people hearing about our relocation: 

” Do you homeschool your kids” : No, I don’t want, but also, this is not allowed in the Netherlands. 

” Do your kids miss school”: No that would not be fair on them.

” Can they understand what is said at school?” Yes the school we chose is 50% english / 50% spanish. 

” Do they learn proper things” : Yes, reading, writing and counting, but also ecology, protection of nature and many other topics. 


There are more and more schools that accept what is called visiting children. The minimal period varies between 1 to 3 months. 

what did we do?

Day to day, we actually live a very normal life. Kids attend school 5 days a week between 8 and 14h. During those hours, we work. The difference is what happens after 14h.

These are the activities we were lucky to do:

  • Sunset at the beach 
  • Swimming lessons 
  • River swimming
  • Jungle walks
  • Music lessons, concerts … 

Over the weekends, we would explore the region and venture to other areas of the country. 

how do kids adapt?

Very easily. On this last edition, my kids were 5 and 7. They were very happy to find their friends from previous years. They loved walking around everywhere barefoot. They brush off mosquitoes and big temperature difference. They just embrace this life. 

There are many ways you can prepare children to this kind of relocation. They must be part of the project and involved as much as possible. 

how is the transition back?

Again, children have this capacity to jump in life wherever it is. The transition needs to be prepared, first off with the school back home, but also with friends and activities. 

We landed back during a school holiday to help with the transition with weather, clothes and food. So by the time school restarted, this was quite smooth. Expect a couple of weeks of intense tiredness, readjusting to the language and the rhythm.

En of April 2024, I am launching a full e-guide to temporary family relocation. This guide will give you all the steps to plan such an adventure with your family. The guide will include 2×45 minutes calls with me to go over all your questions. 

If you are interested and would like to be informed of the publication of the guide, email me at or subscribe to the newsletter just below. 

Marta Mikolajczyk

Marta Mikolajczyk

Your Family Travel Designer

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