Belize

The Perfect Family Vacation … Belize!

If you know us, you know that we thrive on adventure and showing our little girl the world. So recently spent a week in Caye Caulker, Belize! It was the PERFECT family vacation destination! The motto of the island is “Go Slow” and that we did!

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How to Get There

The flights were great! We chose a 2 hour flight from Houston Airport. Most people get there from Miami, Atlanta or Houston. We flew into Belize City and took a water taxi to the island. We recommend the Ocean Ferry Belize ($22 USD/Person ROUND TRIP) kids at least 5 and under are free. There are other companies but we found Ocean Ferry Belize to be ON TIME and VERY reasonably priced.

United Airlines, Belize  

Where to Stay

We rented a VRBO cottage called Low Caye Cottages. This 850SqFt cottage came with a private shared pool. There are 4 cottages that share the pool but it was all ours all week. We had a 1 bed 1 bath PLUS a huge loft! The kitchen was stocked with all the items you would need!  It is located a 5 minute bike ride or a 10 minute walk from the hustle and bustle of the main street.

Belize, Low Caye Cottages

Getting Around

Because there are NO cars on Caye Caulker you have the options of foot, bike or golf cart taxi to get around. This made for a very calm experience. We definitely recommend finding the taxi driver Nick Jr on the beach at the Ferry! He will take care of you and tell you about some amazing place to eat at! Make sure you get a taxi from the ferry to the place you are staying. Its $5-$10 USD … and WORTH IT. Other wise you are dragging your suitcase down the streets.

On that note…use backpacks! Don’t bring roller bags!

Golf cart taxi, Belize
Nike Jr our Taxi Driver!

 

Make sure to rent bikes while you are there! The Low Caye Cottages had bikes to rent for the week, including a 16″ for our little one.  They are beach cruisers and rusty from the salt water but its the best way to get around!

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There are NO bike rules in Belize! Bring DUC TAPE if this makes you nervous!

Snorkeling with Hicaco Tours!

We went on 2 Snorkeling trips with Carlos at Hicaco TOURS ! Absolutely a 5 star business! Hicaco Tours offers Full Day tours, Half Day tours, Night Tours and anything in between! They are a wealth of knowledge and not just about the reefs and fish, but anything you want to know about the island. We loved our tours with Carlos and his crew! We will definitely be back to see them!

Hicaco Tours, Belize
Carlos!

 

Kissing a String Ray

 

Good-Byes are always hard!

 

Hicaco Tours!! Look for this place! its AMAZING!

 

Hicaco Tours!

 

Island Life

We fell into the island life pretty quickly. There is a nice rhythm of the island:

  • Wake up and get breakfast from the local bakery off Middle Street.

 

  • Enjoy some Snorkeling mid morning

 

  • Around lunch, grab a nice Rum Drink with your street tacos

 

  • SIESTA … its HOT in the mid afternoon and its time to a dip in the pool and a nap!

 

  • 3-7ish is Happy Hour…(who doesnt love a good drink special!?)
    • We found that many places offer 2 for 1 or 1/2 off… (same same I know, but depends of where you wander into).
    • Our favorite was the Sports Bar right off the water and Front Street.  We had a boat (literally a wooden boat) of nachos and 3 or 4 drinks each for $16 USD!! We spent 4 of our 6 nights there and met some AMAZING locals! 

 

  • After happy hour its dinner time… wander into Rosies for Fresh Grilled fish. We walked up and Isaac had metal trays on a table out front of the restaurant. That was the menu… you walked up and picked out your fish. He took it out and seasoned it and the “grill master” grilled it up for you! We had a whole lobster and a Lion Fish!

 

  • Filled to the brim with Rum and Lobster you head back to your cottage for a evening swim (watch out for the mosquitoes)!

Should You Vacation in Belize?

YES! We can’t say enough wonderful things about this place!

What kind of PARENTS take a Toddler to Nicaragua

Adventure Family in Motion

Who Brings a Toddler to a FOREIGN COUNTRY!?

What kind of parents voluntarily sign up for an overseas trip to a foreign country with a toddler…especially a country where hardly anyone can speak english?

Adventure Family in Motion

WE DO!

And to top it off we are contemplating a SECOND trip! Yes, you read that correctly! Nicaragua had such an amazing impact on us, that we want to go back!

Adventure Family in Motion

Over the years we have visited many places, large towns, small towns and met eclectic people, foreign people and fun people but have never been so moved by a place that we HAD to go back…until now!

www.AdventureFamilyInMotion.com

If you tell our daughter she has a cute chin and ask her where she got it, she will tell you “NICARAGUA!”

Some mornings when I ask her what she wants to do for the day her responses will be, “Go to Nicaragua!”

The country had that great of an impact on her as well!

www.AdventureFamilyInMotion.com

We have a rare opportunity to spend 3 weeks this summer doing whatever we want. No work, no school, just us! So we are considering splitting the time between a fun weekend with family and another Nicaragua trip! The stars have aligned for us over the past few months and this seems like a very viable option for us!www.AdventureFamilyInMotion.com

 

 

Nicaragua AGAIN

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If a place is amazing the first time why not visit it a second time? This is what our crazy thoughts were when we decided to venture into Nicaragua again only 8 months after our first trip.

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After our first trip into the country, we started following some expats from Florida who live abroad with their 5 children. They run an amazing surf lodge in Popoya just north of San Juan Del Sur called Nica Vida.

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After much contemplating we reached out to them for some information on their all inclusive package. We have never been on an all inclusive vacation before so we had NO IDEA what to expect. This is also a far cry from our usual vacations. Surfing and sun bathing are not exactly the norm with us.

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One of the main reasons we booked with Nica Vida is because we were able to participate in local outreach. We chose to collect money for water filters and supply a local school with much needed school supplies. We raised $570, resulting in 19 water filters!

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We helped supply 2 small villages with the ability to drink clean water. The day was absolutely overwhelming. It was a completely humbling experience to hand over a water filter that cost $30 … (a week worth of Starbucks) to a family so desperately in need of clean drinking water.

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We also brought down a suitcase packed to the gills with school supplies! From glue sticks, to paper and pencils, to toy cars and jumpropes. We were able to leave the suitcase at the school to hold the supplies.

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A huge thank you to everyone who donated funds for water filters and those who donated school supplies. We are so grateful for your help, but the families and children who will be using these items are the ones who are eternally grateful…

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If you would still like to donate to the water filter outreach program, please go to this link:

Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” – Gustave Flaubert

 

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Vacationing in Nicaragua with a toddler

Nicaragua with a Toddler

Over the past few weeks we have been busy traveling abroad, treasure hunting and volunteering. We spent 6 days vacationing in Nicaragua with a toddler. She was such trooper.

 

We left on Christmas Day so she handed out chocolates to all the workers, flight attendants, and bus drivers we ran into.  We wanted to make sure they knew we appreciated them being there for us on Christmas. She brought a smile to everyones face that she gave candy to!

 

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She endured an extremely early wake-up call and 2 rather short flights. We found out very quickly she no longer likes to sleep on the airplane. This made it a little trying but nothing we were not expecting.

 

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Upon arriving in Nicaragua, our little princess immediately met a few little ones her age while we waited to clear customs. The line was long and the wait was longer; she was just as entertaining for them as they were for her.

 

Once we cleared customs we walked through the international arrival door looking for the little sign with our names on it. Nothing. We waited and waited. Still no one arrived. I had arranged a ride for us a week earlier. We waited nearly 2 hours at which point the little one fell asleep in the Kelty backpack. The delay was frustrating, but in the time we waited we met some expats who asked if WE were the living in Nicaragua! A great couple with 3 kids who run an ice cream shop in Matagalpa!

 

Since the driver didn’t show, or we all failed to see each other, we took a taxi. The address I had for the villa we were staying at seemed easy enough to find … if there were street signs and house numbers in Nicaragua. Since the roads are not marked, our very limited english speaking driver couldn’t find our rental. We stopped 3 times to ask for directions. It finally took a phone call to the property to find our way.

 

After a few turns we were there … we had arrived to an absolutely beautiful guest house. We were completely blown away by the tropical oasis.

 

Stay tuned for multiple posts about our week in Nicaragua!

 

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5 Essentials to Traveling with Kiddos!

Essentials to traveling with Kiddos

Essentials to Traveling with Kiddos

When you have a long road trip ahead of you and you have a kiddo or 3, try these 5 Essentials to Traveling with Kiddos to make the ride a little smoother.

5 Essential tips to traveling with kiddos

Travel Organizer 

Travel Organizer from Tip Junkie! Take a canvas shoe bag and let the kiddo’s stuff it with their favorite items: small toys, books, snacks, glow sticks and a new toys is always a fun surprise, make sure to wrap it! Who doesn’t love to unwrap a new present!

Essentials to Traveling with Kiddos

Canvas Show Organizer – credit: Tip Junkie

BandAids

These are the BEST items to keep little ones busy. The kiddos can practice their fine motor skills by taking the backing off and sticking them on themselves and removing them. The best part is that they stick to the surface and can be removed without the gummy residue stickers leave behind. We use these on airplane rides as well! I have BOXES of fun kid BandAids. *Do not hold me to this. (we have OLD cars … 1971 VW Bug and a 1978 FJ40 Landcruiser) we DO NOT drive expensive vehicles with full leather interior. So, please test this theory before you hand over a box of BandAids to your kids and they get stuck on your nice BMW SUV leather seats.

Essentials to Traveling with Kiddos
Band-Aids = Fine Motor Skills

MUSIC

Music Unlimited by Amazon is your go to! As Prime members we just added this to our account. We get 250 Downloads a month… and they do NOT disappear after a month so they are YOURS!

Essentials to Traveling with Kiddos

BOOKS

Fun Cheap Or Free has an AWESOME idea for a book tote! Fill a tote with your child’s favorite books, and put them within arms length so they can reach them.

Essentials to Traveling with Kiddos

LAST RESORT

When all else fails….hand over the electronics. Check out this list of awesome Apps for Traveling Toddler from Media Macaroni.

Essentials to Traveling with Kiddos
What are your favorite road trip activities for the kiddos?

Let us know, we’d love to hear from you!

Hiking at the Red Rocks

With the holiday season upon us, our life is packed full of parties and obligatory functions, keeping us close to home.

Today we craved some fresh air and time with our cameras, so we head over to the Red Rocks in Morrison Colorado.  We spent the day hiking, eating snacks in the van and shooting some great photography of the Red Rocks area.  Our toddler couldn’t get enough of the Xshot Selfie stick.  Enjoy our short video below and let us know what you are doing this time of year to get some fresh air.

 

Best Gifts for Outdoor Families

Best Gifts for Outdoor Families!

Do you have an outdoorsy family on your holiday list this year? Check out our Gear List for those active families! From Luci blow up solar lantern to Bar Mitts to an ENO Picnic Blanket, this list has it all!

Luci  strider chains bar mitts water bike bag geocachefat tire bikesrock climbingdown jacket coleman candle  bike helmethiking book  eno coffee

snowshoe  snow boots

 

What have been your go-to gear items this past year? Anything you are excited about in 2016? We have used all the items above and LOVE them! We recommend this gear for all families!

adventure family

 

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Donate Clean Drinking Water for Nicaraguan Families

Clean Water Filter System

Clean water filtration system Filtron Nicaragua

This September we are making another trip to the beautiful country of Nicaragua for some well-deserved relaxation and rejuvenation on the beach. While we are visiting the country, Nica Vida Surf Lodge has graciously put together a volunteer opportunity for us to help supply some local villages with water filters, improving the health and quality of living for the local population. Clean water filtration system Filtration Nicaragua

We look forward to showing our toddler the importance of helping others that are not as fortunate as we are here in the United States. Please consider donating to the cause and we’ll be sure to capture the moment and provide pictures of your charity in action.

Skip Starbucks and DONATE

Skip one day at Starbucks and donate $5 towards part of a water filter providing clean drinking water to Nicaraguan children.

Skip the week of Starbucks and purchase the entire filter for a mere $30! If nothing more, take a moment to realize how blessed we are in the United States to live the way we do.

 

Cheers!

Donald, Sarah and Abigail





Family Geocaching

Who doesn’t like to hunt for treasure! Recently we’ve been spending a ton of time #geocaching with our toddler. It is basically a worldwide treasure hunt utilizing GPS navigation to identify hidden items.

Geocaching

By either utilizing a handheld GPS unit or even better an app on your mobile device you can be hunting for treasure in no time!

The app can be downloaded. Additionally we suggest putting together a bag full of little trinkets to exchange when you find your first treasure.

Total cost is less than $30 for an infinite amount of outdoor fun… no excuses, get out and explore!

 

 

FAmily Geocaching

 

#WhatisGeocaching #ScavengerHunt #ScavengerHuntIdeas #TreasureHuntClues

Make Nicaragua Your Next Adventure

I have been delaying writing these few post about Nicaragua for about 5 months now. Why? I’m not sure. Maybe the reality of writing them and reflecting on the awesome trip we had, makes it final. And no one wants to see the end of an amazing trip.

 

Our first full day in Nicaragua started at 9:00 when our driver and tour guide picked us up; Enrique and Gerald (like Gerald Ford he told us). Gerald spoke limited English but had been told over the years that was how to say his name so Americans could understand it. It worked!

 

 

Our first stop was the Masaya Volcano. After a quick tour of the museum at the base of the volcano, we headed up to the top. With 5 Craters and 2 volcanos, “the Spanish baptized the active volcano “La Boca del Infierno” or “The Mouth of Hell”. They planted a cross, “La Cruz de Bobadilla” (named after Father Francisco Bobadilla), on the crater lip in the 16th century in order to exorcise the Devil.”

 

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Next it was lunch! We headed to the art market and had an hour to tool around and purchase souvenirs. We sat down at an outdoor snack stand and purchased a large fresh fruit ‘smoothie’, a water and a plate of watermelon for the little one. All for $3 US dollars. You wouldn’t have gotten away with that at Jamba Juice for less then $15.

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We strolled the market and purchased a hand crafted pair of leather sandals for the princess. They had flowers on then and she LOVED them. The mistake I made was not purchasing them in a size bigger and a non “thong” sandal; poor girl got blisters in between her toes.  At the market I met an older man who had been an expat in the country for nearly 10 years. He owned multiple homes in both Nicaragua and Coast Rica and couldn’t say enough amazing things about the area!

 

Our next stop was a little town over populated with tourists because of a beautiful overlook that looked out to a water filled crater. With a small band and locals selling their handmade goods, the streets were packed with people. We purchased a bunch of mini bananas for less the $1 and a handmade dress for the little one for  $7.

 

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Enrique was a pro at being a tourist and we shared with him that we love to see things that weren’t exactly on the beaten path. So he took us to a friend of his who owned a pottery school. The school and the pottery making is in  the side of the home, the shop was in the front and the family lived off the back. This was one of the best experiences we had in Nicaragua. We watched and learned how pottery was made; from spinning the wheel barefoot to etching in the designs with bicycle spokes. While we enjoyed the lesson, our little one danced and made friends with the little girl who lived there. Gerald attended as well and kept and eye on her for us.

 

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When it was time to leave, Enrique said the little girl looked very sad that we had to go. He told us that most Americans who come there, do not let their children play with these kids. The little girl who lived there was almost scared when she started to play with our princess. She had never touched or even interacted with a white child before.

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We found this was the reaction ALL the children had with our little girl. They didn’t know how to react when she would run up to them and want to dance and sing! It was great by us, but the local children were very cautious. Once they warmed up to her overflowing personality, they all seemed to have a wonderful time.

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When we returned to our villa that evening around 4…the little one was wore out! She fell asleep while carrying her to the corner market and didn’t want up until 7am the next day! I tried to wake her up twice so she wouldn’t be waking up at midnight ready to start the day, but sure enough she slept through the night. She was one tired cookie!

 

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