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5 Must-Visit Destinations for a Hispanic-Focused Family Vacation

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We take every opportunity we can to get away with the family!  Even a trip to the park with my kids can really be a lovely escape from the everyday. My family is planning our summer vacation as we speak.

If you’re traveling this summer with your brood, consider these historic Latin-themed escapes. They’re all guaranteed to add some flavor to an already delicious time away with your loved ones:


 

#1 Costa Rica

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image: Getty/Ramiro Olaciregui

My husband is of Costa Rican descent, and we want to travel to the land of Pura Vida (pure living, great living) for our kids (and for me) to meet extended family and get to know more about their heritage. Aside from being picturesque, Costa Rica is the greenest country in Latin America, and one of the greenest countries in the world.

Fun, family-friendly ideas include:

  1. The Peninsula Papagayo, for its coves of isolated beaches and for the beautiful Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo and Prieta Beach Club.
  2. Manuel Antonio National Park is worth a visit for its combination of wildlife and beautiful beaches. I’d love to gather with my boys while gazing at squirrel monkeys swinging from tree to tree. Hiking is also magical here!
  3. Parque Nacional Volcan Poas (Poas Volcano National Park) and Parque Nacional Volcan Irazu (Irazu Volcano National Park) grant access to two volcanoes within an easy day trip. This is a must-see.

 

#2 Puerto Rico

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El Morro – image: Getty/Tetra Images

If you’re seeking Latin culture, Spanish language, and beautiful scenery (via a quick plane ride!) then Puerto Rico is for you and yours! This small island is easy to travel to with the family, and its beaches are super family-friendly, too. And oh, the food! If you haven’t experienced Caribbean flavor, then you must treat yourself to island cuisine, available at mom and pop restaurants and quality roadside kiosks. Five-star vacation packages are easy to find—and you don’t need a passport, nor do you need to exchange money, as the island’s currency is the US dollar.

Fun family-friendly ideas include:

  1. Kite flying, ball playing, and playing tag at El Morro 
  2. The Children’s Museum, Museo del Niño, offers three levels of totally kid-friendly exhibits, perfect for younger tots. After your visit, walk to the lovely old town square—this picturesque area is ready-made for iPhone postcards.   
  3. Water actives and swimming on the actual Gilligan’s Island—this place is perfect for a family picnic!

 

#3 Miami Beach

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Miami Beach – Collins Park Fountain – image: Getty/Jeff Greenberg

Miami Beach is my favorite tropical playground in the States. My family heritage is Cuban, so I’ve grown up traveling to Miami for years. I’ve never been to a US city that’s more welcoming of different Hispanic cultures and where Spanglish is truly the main dialect. From a cafecito on every corner, to intense games of dominoes in Little Havana, Miami feels a bit like the Old Cuba I hope to experience one day.

Fun family-friendly ideas include:

  1. On the must-do list: The Miami Seaquarium, the Vizcaya Museum & Gardens, the Zoo MiamiJungle Island, and going bananas at Monkey Jungle
  2. The Miami Beach Marina offers boat rides and is prime walking distance from the Art Deco District and South Beach
  3. Little Havana offers Calle Ocho, delicious Cuban cuisine, and the Walkway of the Stars, which honors Latin American celebrities including Gloria Estefan and Celia Cruz. 

 

#4 San Antonio

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San Antonio is a beautiful, quaint city full of culture, romance, and loads of fun things to do for the entire family. Their River Walk boasts little shops, hotels, and cafes full of Hispanic flavor and culture. Vibrant Mexican markets selling unique handmade artwork, artisan foods, and musical entertainment true to Mexican culture are nearby. San Antonio is also on our radar (for stateside travel) as they are offering nine exclusive weekend travel packages throughout summer 2015.

Fun family-friendly ideas include:

  1. Experience one-of-a-kind local exclusives like the deep-sea giants.
  2. Ride the river and stroll the River Walk with loads to do for families.
  3. Our boys love exploration: At the Natural Bridge Caverns you can experience nature, zip-line through their amazing course, or play hide and seek through their permanent outdoor mazes.

 

#5 Los Angeles

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Olivera Street –  image: Getty/Brent Winebrenner  

 Los Angeles is known for its Mediterranean climate and strong Mexican influences. Disneyland and Universal Studios offer wonderful escapes for the family, but there is also rich Hispanic history in California that’s wonderful to explore with the entire family! The Spanish influence in California is strong, with loads of culturally significant historical venues to visit. 

Fun family-friendly ideas include:

  1. The California Missions. Once a mix of spiritual and administrative centers for Spaniards, now these missions attract thousands of visitors. The picturesque missions established the Spanish architecture on the West Coast that’s still alive today. We love taking in these sites, as we have an appreciation for architecture in my family. It’s all so beautiful!
  2. Olvera Street, Los Angeles is known as LA’s first street. It is considered the original birthplace of the city La Reina de los Angeles. Today, Olvera Street is the heart of the Mexican culture of Los Angeles with monuments, restaurants, galleries, and more. I love that it’s surrounded by murals and colorful stores, and boasts a permanent fiesta atmosphere.
  3. A drive south leads you to Balboa Park, a must-see 1,200-acre park attraction in Southern California. It’s home to the famous San Diego Zoo, several theaters, museums, large green areas, paths, gift shops, and restaurants. Balboa Park frequently holds events including weekly concerts at the Spreckles Organ Pavilion, guest speakers, and annual parades and fairs.

Do you have a family-friendly Latino hotspot to add to this list? Let me know in the comments below!