Best overnight beach trips with kids from Granada, Nicaragua: Playa Marsella vs Playa Masachapa

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One of the great perks of living in Granada, Nicaragua is being able to effortlessly head out to a beautiful, family beach for the day (or more luxuriously for the entire weekend) without going out of your way to do so. When volcanoes and their swimming holes just won’t do and you need fresh seafood, beachcombing and surfable waves, in a few hours drive Granadinos can be entertaining the family all day long in the warm, healing waves of the Pacific Ocean.

Most travelers will want to head to San Juan del Sur at least once to see why it is always at the top of the tourist billboard. San Juan is known for its brilliant, blue bay with fantastic eclectic restaurants, all manner of hotels and spectacular beach home rentals. I also have loved San Juan de Sur for those very same reasons through the years, but there is a lot more out there to see along the Pacific coast that can provide a more intimate, Nicaraguan immersion experience for families in the water.

Playa Marsella

Continue reading “Best overnight beach trips with kids from Granada, Nicaragua: Playa Marsella vs Playa Masachapa”

My dearest Granadinos, you have my heart completely.

Iglesia La Merced

When I first arrived to Granada, I would take early exploring walks through my neighborhood before the summer heat would begin to hover heavily over the day’s movements. On one such morning, I fell into one of those easy spontaneous exchanges, that Nicaraguans so freely initiate throughout their day, with an older man (in his third age, as they kindly say here) sitting on his porch. He saw me admiring his pretty street and eagerly wanted to know what I thought of his city. I did’t have to embellish the truth.

Granada is surely the most beautiful city in Nicaragua, I said.

He shook his head and smiled at me almost paternally. No, he calmly corrected me. Granada is the most beautiful city in Central America.

Ahh, there it was. That wonderfully compelling Granadino pride. Continue reading “My dearest Granadinos, you have my heart completely.”

Let’s ready our Granada homes and families for an emergency (because you live here now)

Disaster Prepping, Granada, Nicaragua, Water

Granada Family Living Disaster Prepping Series: Part 1, Prepping for Clean Water Access.

This article is the first in a series that will be published over the next few months to bring attention to the steps that households can take to better prepare themselves for disasters and emergencies. Comments, suggestions and sharing will improve these articles as a community resource and are very much welcomed.

This week, in light of the hurricanes that had been taking place up north, I wanted to put my attention towards thinking about our own vulnerability in Nicaragua to any number of natural disasters that could happen here or really anywhere in the world: in paradise, on or off vacation, any country, at any time.

By the way, I don’t worry about disasters much at all; I prefer to have certain basic response systems in place so that I don’t have to worry about them. I like the freedom in the feeling of readiness. It alleviates anxious energy so I can enjoy what I really want to be doing. But this week, when I personally took time out to assess our family’s level of readiness, I was dismayed to find that I had been ignoring some basic precautionary steps that would greatly increase our chance of survival here in Granada. Continue reading “Let’s ready our Granada homes and families for an emergency (because you live here now)”

Will I be a better parent in Nicaragua?

Parenting Granada Nicaragua

When you imagine your new life with your family in Nicaragua, what does it look like? More family harmony, more peace and adventure- more happiness? I remember envisioning all of these things before we left the States.

A parent’s dream to move to Nicaragua is often fueled by desires to create a different life for busy, maybe disconnected families who ponder what it would be like to slow down, grow closer together and possibly dedicate some freed-up hours to a meaningful volunteer experience.

To achieve that dream of a closer family life abroad will take some careful mental planning that starts before you get on the plane to Managua. Continue reading “Will I be a better parent in Nicaragua?”

Top 10 reasons Granada, Nicaragua is the best place for traveling with kids and extended family stays.

family travel

I love to write about all that Granada has to offer visiting families searching for safe adventures abroad. Granada is a unique city that consistently hosts positive immersion experiences for both kids and adults alike. As we parents know, a foreign trip or temporary move abroad is only going to be successful if everyone involved can relax and enjoy themselves in a new environment. An important attraction of Granada Nicaragua is that a family can create a safe comfortable base here that balances well with the daily new experiences and challenges of a different culture, language and way of doing things.

With children’s happiness in mind (and therefor all of our happiness) these are my essential reasons why Granada should be on your radar for your family’s best travel experience abroad. Continue reading “Top 10 reasons Granada, Nicaragua is the best place for traveling with kids and extended family stays.”

Packing for Water Fun and Safety with Kids in Nicaragua

Family, Recreation, Water Sports, Swimming, kayaking, Life Vests, Overtons youth nylon life vest

Nicaragua is definitively the land of lakes and volcanoes, but it also hosts fantastic mineral watering holes, impressive rivers you can navigate by boat and infinite miles of coastal beaches along the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. Unless we are visiting the higher altitudes of a volcano or mountain range, Nicaragua provides constant tropical weather that enables us to submerge in water year round on any given day.

Personally, we primarily recreate during the week in pools and in the healing waters of Laguna de Apoyo, an ancient crater lake 20 minutes out of Granada. But we also swim in the cleaner areas of Lake Cocibolca or in the Pacific Ocean at any number of beaches as far down as Guanacaste, Costa Rica.  For all these activities, I have always had to proactively consider Aiden’s water safety because I can never be sure what safety gear will be available on site when we arrive.

amily, Recreation, Water Sports, Swimming, Life Vests, Overtons youth nylon life vest, kayaking
This practice run at Laguna de Apoyo was near the shoreline but once out in the center of the lake it is a long haul back to the beach.

Kayaking and swimming at Laguna de Apoyo make for a great family day out, but the lagoon has but a few feet of beach entry before it drops into the crater’s deep abyss, the depths of which no one seems to have calculated. Continue reading “Packing for Water Fun and Safety with Kids in Nicaragua”

Taking the kids to a country swimming hole under the shadow of Volcán Mombacho at Aguas Agrias, Nicaragua.

Granada, Family, Recreation, Mombacho, things to do,

Nicaragua is full of unique destinations off the beaten path that you can scope out if you want to avoid the main tourist attractions. When you are ready to head down a dirt road with little to no signage, you will find a very pure side of Nicaragua that is best known only to the Nicaraguans, themselves.

We visited Aguas Agrias located at the base of the south side of Volcán Mombacho to give the kids a chance to cool off in a fresh, mineral spring. I had heard that the spring was very clean and clear which ended up being a very accurate description of the water quality. The water bubbles up from an underground source and calmly pools enough mineral water to create a luxurious swimming hole before slowly running off into an adjoining river. Continue reading “Taking the kids to a country swimming hole under the shadow of Volcán Mombacho at Aguas Agrias, Nicaragua.”

Parasites in Paradise! What to do when your kids get sick traveling in Nicaragua.

What to do when kids have parasites in Nicaragua, family travel, stay healthy (1)

There may come a time during your travels in Nicaragua when you become aware that your child has developed an uncomfortable digestive condition or you merely wonder if he might have picked up parasites somewhere because of all the adventuring that your family has been doing outside of your home country. Continue reading “Parasites in Paradise! What to do when your kids get sick traveling in Nicaragua.”

Shipping Vitacost care packages to Granada, Nicaragua to stay well.

Vitamins, Supplements, Probiotics, Toiletries, Travel, Family, Kids, Well-being,

I wanted to share with you that if you live abroad and are missing your favorite health and beauty products from North America or Europe, there is a great US based company called Vitacost that supplies online customers all over the world with the best brands in vitamin, supplements and healthy foods at discounted online prices.

I discovered Vitacost.com when I lived in the US six years ago, and have since then purchased all my favorite vitamins, beauty care, probiotics and numerous other essential personal care items on their site. The savings at Vitacost are huge. If you walk down the aisles of your local health food store and then compare the prices of those same brand names at Vitacost and you will see what I mean.  

Now that I live outside of the United States in Nicaragua, I also greatly prize their other unique service: $9.99 DHL worldwide shipping.* Continue reading “Shipping Vitacost care packages to Granada, Nicaragua to stay well.”

The easy, encouraging parent tutorial on how to play Pokémon with your kids! You can do this!

Pokémon Tutorial Feature Image

Picture you and your child one-on-one, blocking out the crazy world around you for some quality family time that you get credit for because you are playing the Pokémon Trading Card Game and that means in kid world that YOU CARE.*

If you totally focus and read through this tutorial you can learn how to play Pokémon in less than 15 minutes.

*If you want to know why I feel strongly enough about the Pokémon Trading Card Game to write an online tutorial, start with this post Why I Play Pokémon, but if you are already ready to learn keep reading! Continue reading “The easy, encouraging parent tutorial on how to play Pokémon with your kids! You can do this!”