Minnesota family stranded in Costa Rica after dream vacation turns into nightmare

They're trying to fundraise the money to get them home.
Publish date:

It took just 24 hours for a Minnesota family's dream vacation to turn into a nightmare.

Emmee and Celso Lopez had waited for years to visit Costa Rica, but when it finally happened they were almost immediately beset by bad luck that has left them stranded in Central America.

The family-of-four from Lake City had plans to hit the beaches, national parks, museums and more, but last Wednesday, July 11 – a day after they landed – their 3-year-old son Axel fell while playing and broke his femur.

He was rushed to hospital, where they waited for six hours for an operation, and is now in a cast, forced to lie flat all day as he recovers from his injury.

Because he's unable to sit up, that also means that he's not able to travel on a commercial flight, and with his cast not due to come off until mid-August at the earliest, it's left the family stuck in Costa Rica.

Emmee, Celso, Axel and their 1-year-old son Giovanni are staying with friends Lopez met while studying abroad, but their costs are mounting and they're also missing work.

They've looked into a medical air transport to get them home, but that would cost them $42,000 and, since they didn't get travel insurance, it has led Lopez to create a GoFundMe page in an effort to raise enough money to allow them to fly home as soon as possible.

Follow Bring Me The News on Instagram.

As of Wednesday, the page has raised more than $18,000 towards the $42,000 target with Emmee telling BMTN she has been overwhelmed by the response.

"I just want to say from the bottom of our hearts to all the wonderful people," she said.

"We are doing okay ... very tired," she said on Wednesday morning. "We're having to provide constant 24/7 care with Axel. He doesn’t want me to leave the room. Plus with an almost 2 year old we are very cooped up.

"We have been inside this small house for a week now, no air, hot and just really want to go home."

You can help the family out by visiting their GoFundMe page here.

Next Up


DirecTV subscribers could lose KARE 11 on Tuesday

A new contract needs to be agreed upon by 6 p.m. Tuesday.

prison, Rush City cell block

Inmate from Rush City prison dies after COVID-19 diagnosis

The man is the fifth incarcerated person in Minnesota to die from COVID-19.


Belle Plaine man dies after duck boat capsizes on lake

One man was found sitting on the overturned boat while another man was in the water.

Screen Shot 2020-11-29 at 4.59.51 PM

Watch: Adam Thielen watches end of Vikings/Panthers just like all of us

The Vikings receiver looked like a true fan on Sunday afternoon.

Chad Beebe

Chad Beebe's roller-coaster fourth-quarter keeps Vikings playoff hopes alive

A muffed punt and a game-winning touchdown helped defeat the Panthers on Sunday afternoon.


West-central MN cops warn kids to stay off ice, or 'Santa won't come'

This comes amid repeated ice warnings across the state.

covid-19, coronavirus, PPE

Nov. 29 COVID-19 update: 57 deaths, nearly 9,000 more cases

Nearly 100,000 tests were included in Sunday's report.

jim ramstad

Watch former Rep. Jim Ramstad's memorial service online

The ceremony will be live-streamed for the public on Sunday.


How high can Rashod Bateman go in the 2021 NFL Draft?

The Gophers star receiver has plenty of praise heading into next April.

TCF Bank Stadium

15 more from Gopher football team test positive for COVID-19

That brings the total number of cases from this outbreak to 40.

Teddy Bridgewater

5 questions for Vikings-Panthers Week 12 NFC battle

The Vikings welcome Teddy Bridgewater back to U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday.

police lights

Man, 21, in custody after Albert Lea police officer shot in the chest

The officer was able to drive to an emergency room.