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 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.”

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!”

Disconnecting from busy life in Granada and reconnecting with Aiden at Selva Negra in Matagalpa, Nicaragua.

Granada, Selva Negra, travel, things to do, kids, hiking, forest, recreation, trails, family

Have you ever had that feeling like you are missing your child even though they are right there under the same roof?  That time was slipping through your fingers and with it a thousand chances to reconnect with your family? Sometimes we can bridge the divide in a moment, a shared joke, game or activity and sometimes you want to do something drastic and just grab a chance to get away from it all.

Even here in Nicaragua where life moves more slowly for many and there should be more time to spend with our kids, it’s easy to slip into old distances. Projects, work, school, social networks; you can fill up a schedule anywhere if you are inclined to doing it.  And let’s face it, I know that for us, we’re kind of trained to design our lives that way.

Even here in Granada, you might sense after awhile the busyness creeping back into your lifestyle, that habit of pushing out to the edges of your daily itinerary. The rush and the stress that you wanted to leave behind can get recreated in the land of lakes and volcanoes, too.  

Continue reading “Disconnecting from busy life in Granada and reconnecting with Aiden at Selva Negra in Matagalpa, Nicaragua.”

Aiden digs the boy’s boot camp basketball training in Granada, Nicaragua

basketball, boys, kids, things to do, recreation, sports, granada, nicaragua

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”

Hiking Mombacho Volcano with kids in Nicaragua

Granada, Nicaragua, Volcano Mombacho. kids, family, recreation, hiking, nature, travel, things to do

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”

The Cocibolca Jockey Club: the best green space in town for kids.

Cocibolca Jockey Club, Granada, Nicaragua, Recreation, Kids, Sports, Pool, horses, things to do, family, kids, membership tennis, basketball, living abroad, polo, sports,

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.”

Keeping the kids cool in a Nicaragua heatwave @ Laguna de Apoyo

Laguna Beach Club, Catarina, Laguna de Apoyo, granada, nicaragua, travel, swimming, recreation, family, things to do, kids, volcanoes

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”