Packing for Water Fun and Safety with Kids in Nicaragua

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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.

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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”

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.”

Parents, you need to learn how to play Pokémon. It is way more than a trading card game for kids.

Why I Play Pokémon

A confession.

I love playing Pokémon with my son, Aiden. The Pokémon trading card game may have been created with kids like Aiden in mind, but it’s roped me into his world too and that’s a good thing.  Because my second confession is that even though I am a stay-at-home mom and homeschooled Aiden for his first 4 grades, this also made me a reluctant multitasker. And if I am honest with myself about being a multitasker, it can mean that I am not giving my full attention to any one person or activity exclusively, including being with my son. Continue reading “Parents, you need to learn how to play Pokémon. It is way more than a trading card game for kids.”

Navigating smooth arrivals at the MGA Airport in Managua, Nicaragua with kids

MGA Airport Arrivals with Kids 2
Arriving by Nicaragua by air to Managua with kids is an easy, safe, transparent process that should go quite smoothly for you and your family. Read on for some tips for what to expect for your air arrival into the land of lakes and volcanoes.

When you land at Augusto C. Sandino International Airport (MGA) you will quickly surmise that Nicaragua’s main international airport is not very big at all. In fact, MGA only has 7 gates which are rarely all in use at the same time. So when you arrive to the airport know that each area you need to finish your arrival process is easily within reach. Continue reading “Navigating smooth arrivals at the MGA Airport in Managua, Nicaragua with kids”

This digital reader life hack gets you free library books anywhere you travel.

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We bought this great book before we knew we could borrow it instead.

One of the problems that I faced in my first year of living in Nicaragua was that I acutely felt the loss of not living near a world-class library system. We had brought our own physical library of books but as you know with kids, they consume books like paper towels when they love to read and we found that ordering books from organizations like Better World Books didn’t work for Nicaragua, they were simply stolen from out of the mail.

We began to rely more heavily on our Kindle Paperwhite digital reader for purchasing new titles. Aiden was at that time just starting to read chapter books but he could get through them so quickly! Books were becoming a frequent purchase and there was always a need for more titles- not only for Aiden but for me, too. Continue reading “This digital reader life hack gets you free library books anywhere you travel.”

Mom, here is what you need to pack for your new life in Granada, Nicaragua.

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As moms, we prioritize securing all the important articles to pack for the kids to make sure they have everything they need away from home and sometimes we can leave our own necessities to the last minute.

However, because of the limited shopping here in Nicaragua, I encourage you to plan ahead and bring what you will need from home, so that you are also at your best in your new life here in Granada.  It is worth it to pay $25-40 for an extra piece of luggage on your flight over to shop for what you need in your own country at leisure, with a greater variety of choices at more competitive prices.

What to bring in your suitcase

Continue reading “Mom, here is what you need to pack for your new life in Granada, Nicaragua.”

How to protect kids and family living with mosquitoes in the tropics

Mosquito Insecticide Spray Granada Nicaragua

In every season, dry or rainy, Nicaragua faces a plague of mosquitoes that is either merely a nuisance or downright dangerous depending on the mosquito. Most mosquitoes that enter our home might pester us at night or have us searching for the ultimate remedy to relieve the itchiness but these mosquitoes are nothing worse than what we might encounter in Charlotte, North Carolina on a summer night or during a camping expedition.

However in Nicaragua, there are other varieties of mosquitoes that are carriers of serious viruses that can make you very sick.  Having had dengue fever twice, I can tell you that it is no war story from your travels with which you will regale your friends lightheartedly.  The same could be said of malaria or the Chikungunya virus.  On the other hand, both Aiden and I had the Zika virus like most everyone else last year and it was not too terrible: I dread much more having the common flu.

Thankfully, the city of Granada and the Ministry of Health (MINSA) do actively campaign against mosquitoes.  Health workers will regularly pass by your house to do an inspection of your yard (you must let them in but you can demand to see identification).  They will advise you of areas that may shelter mosquito larva due to standing water and will place sandwich bags of insecticide (these look like small baggies of sand and are called abate) inside those areas in question. Continue reading “How to protect kids and family living with mosquitoes in the tropics”

Where will the kids go to bilingual school in Granada, Nicaragua?

Sacuanjoche International School Granada Nicaragua

Choosing where your kids go to school, whether it be for one week, six months or a year is probably one of the most important decisions you will make about your stay in Granada.  It is a universal worry that every parent wants to get right.  Honestly, I understand that having a child in tears every morning before an eight o’clock bell is traumatic for the whole family.  When the children are happy at school with new friends, everything else in the move flows more easily.

We chose Sacuanjoche International SchoolSacuanjoche at a glance

My son, Aiden, is a fifth grader at Sacuanjoche International School and I myself have spent a good deal of time volunteering in various areas of the school.  I feel that we are very fortunate to have discovered Sacuanjoche in our move to Granada.  The bilingual, educational experience has been invaluable and it has also introduced us to a diverse community of families from all over the world that share similar values and goals for our kids.

When I recommend Sacuanjoche International School to newcomers, I do so with the sincere belief that I am recommending a healthy, vibrant, caring atmosphere that has the interests of your child’s well-being and future at heart.  But it is more than that.  The Sacuanjoche school community also cares and is conscious about the kind of world that all our kids will be living in. Continue reading “Where will the kids go to bilingual school in Granada, Nicaragua?”

Utilizing the Granada summer camps for kids to transition into a new school

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Our Approach to Granada

Before our family moved to Granada, we were already living in the north of Nicaragua, well into our third year.  We were homeschooling at the time, partly because we always had homeschooled and also because we lacked a viable alternative in that area.

In Granada, I wanted Aiden to have the chance to meet some of the local kids and the experience of going to 5th grade at a bilingual school, but I first scheduled some transitional months in Granada for him to acclimate at his own pace before the school year began.

We arrived to Granada in May and booked a beautiful vacation home with a backyard and a pool on a quiet street.  I wanted to create a positive, no pressure first impression.  Instead of jumping right into anything, we played tourist to get a feel for what Granada was all about and reconnect as a family.

This vacation time was well spent.  We explored, ate out, swam every day for a month and overall felt healthy and reinvigorated building up positive memories to fall back on when we needed them.

In June, we moved to another amazing, colonial vacation home with a pool (keeping up morale!).  And for this month, we introduced Aiden to Sacuanjoche International School by enrolling him in their week long summer camps to meet other kids and have a peek inside a local, bilingual school.

summer camp, Sacuanjoche International School, Granada, Nicaragua, kids, travel, bilingual school, Spanish, English, immersion, familyIt was a really great choice.  Continue reading “Utilizing the Granada summer camps for kids to transition into a new school”

Packing for the kids to head to Granada, Nicaragua!

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Moms and dads are always pondering about what to pack for a long term stay in Granada.  It’s hard to know what can be easily picked up when you arrive and what really requires some preplanning to have ready to go in the suitcase.

Most everything can be purchased in Nicaragua in some form or another.  However, it is often not at the price you wanted to pay or the quality that you hoped to find.  Shopping is also not the enjoyable experience that it is at home and there is no online retail to be had in Nicaragua.

For those reasons, I highly recommend doing any necessary shopping before you leave home and pay the extra luggage costs for additional baggage.  Those fees will seem cheap in comparison to the time and money you will fork out if you wait to find it when you arrive to Nicaragua.

Here is my list of helpful items to purchase before you leave home:

Toys

What to Bring Toys
Legos are super expensive in Nicaragua so bring a few bags with you. And don’t forget your Pokémon cards if you are a fan!

No matter how many days you are staying in Nicaragua, please bring some favorite familiar toys for your kids.  The same toys they like back home, they will like here, if not more.

When in doubt and it could reasonably go along with you, bring it.  Pack your trading cards games, bags of Legos, dolls and action figures, water toys, and anything else that you feel would help them relax and engage playing on their own or with other kids they meet.

Daily clothes, shoes and school uniforms

Stock up on your kid’s daily wear before you leave. Clothes wear out quickly in Nicaragua and are not easily replaced.  Continue reading “Packing for the kids to head to Granada, Nicaragua!”