Friendship. Health. Immersion.
Sports programs in Granada, Nicaragua are a great way for young newcomers to meet other kids and have a Spanish language immersion experience. The experience of playing sports is somewhat universal, but it’s also bound to be different based on geography, culture and economics. Granada supports mostly youth soccer and baseball teams, but there is a growing interest in organizing a basketball league for tween boys, as well. Continue reading “Aiden digs the boy’s boot camp basketball training in Granada, Nicaragua”
Touring the islands of Granada, Nicaragua is a fun adventure that is easy and inexpensive to do on any given day. Enjoy the fresh breezes that blow over Lake Cocibolca as you remember how awesome it is to live in the land of lakes and volcanoes.
Put your feet up while you motor through the 365 tropical islands (one for each day of the year they quip) that were born thousands of years ago out of the last eruption from the ever vigilant Mombacho Volcano that gives grandeur to Granada’s skyline.
Check out a quick video to see what it is like to tour the islands!
You are in charge of your tour…
Continue reading “Touring Las Isletas de Granada with kids.”
Activities for rain or too much shine…
I write about weather a lot, but when you live in Granada weather is something that you will notice and you will have to form your strategies of how to keep your family comfortable and entertained despite extreme heat or a rainy day.
Many homes in Granada do not have air conditioning or residents are hesitant to use air conditioners because of exorbitant electricity costs in Nicaragua. There are also very few businesses in Granada that use air conditioning for the same reason.
So trust me, we know each business that does keep the air flowing and on a sweltering day, I can make up a good excuse to head to one of them.
A great air-conditioned destination for kids in Granada is our local crafts and school supplies store called Gonper. It’s not a huge store but it does have a lot for kids to check out. Continue reading “Kids love an air-conditioned crafts spree at Gonper in tropical Granada”
Staying cool in the hottest months
When Semana Santa (otherwise known as Spring Break) hit Granada, Nicaragua this year, I decided we needed a plan to give ourselves a rest from the constant heat. Ironically, this led us to visit a volcano. Mombacho Volcano Natural Reserve was a great solution for getting outside and recreating in nature without feeling the burn.
When you arrive to the top of Mombacho Volcano which has several craters you will appreciate that you are now in a cool, breezy, cloud forest full of tropical canopy and exotic critters. It’s like someone has suddenly turned on the air conditioning. This leads to a boost of physical productivity! Watch your kids take off down the trail….
Check out more fun on the Mombacho trail in this quick video. We did this trek with Martha and Sam of Nicaragua Immersion Tours and the boys did great hiking together the whole 1 1/2 hours around one of the craters.
Definitely bring lots of water and a lunch. There are benches along the way where you can stage a picnic on your journey. Continue reading “Hiking Mombacho Volcano with kids in Nicaragua”
Visiting families that reside inside the city of Granada often seek a recreational green space similar to something on offer at a public park back home. Publicly in Granada, the Cocibolca lakefront area called the Malecón is the most similar to that sort of recreational environment, although it really is only a strip of land that follows the lake with no wide open lawn area. The Malecón includes playground equipment, restaurants and some basketball courts. It is safe to use during the day and the city is doing a lot to make it a more attractive, maintained destination. On Sundays, it is a very popular hangout for Nicaraguan families.
Personally, we venture down to the Malecón maybe once a month to catch a fresh breeze and see the lake. For recreating, we much prefer the Cocibolca Jockey Club located at the rotunda at the entrance of the city proper. The CJC is where we go to when we need a break from the intensity of the city and especially the heat. Continue reading “The Cocibolca Jockey Club: the best green space in town for kids.”
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”
A private kid’s pottery lesson with a professional Nicaraguan potter is another awesome activity that your children can enjoy in Granada. Misael Torres is an enthusiastic and patient teacher who gives lessons in Granada and at Laguna de Apoyo. Your child takes the wheel for $5 an hour while Misael gives gentle suggestions on how to manipulate the clay into form. Continue reading “Kid’s Pottery Classes With Pro-Potter Misael Torres in Granada, Nicaragua.”
If you have read my 7 Key Ways to Help Your Kids Enjoy Granada, you already know that I advise visiting families to avoid introducing Granada to their kids during the hot summer months of March and April.
These months are hard on both parents and kids. You’ll find that the heat limits outdoor physical activities and can raise stress levels. However, if you are planning on coming this April or are already here, you are going to need some savvy local ways to stay cool during the Nicaraguan summer.
One highly recommended excursion is hanging out at Laguna de Apoyo. The laguna is a short 20 minutes drive from Granada where you can submerge yourself in some healing mineral waters that fill the crater of a 23,000 year old volcano! Continue reading “Keeping the kids cool in a Nicaragua heatwave @ Laguna de Apoyo”
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 School
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?”
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.
It was a really great choice. Continue reading “Utilizing the Granada summer camps for kids to transition into a new school”