Tag Archives: fishing

Tropical Paradise

27 Aug

When I was planning our 2012 summer family adventure, I was looking for something unique.  Something a little more adventurous than the typical beach vacation and a way to expose my kids to some new experiences.  I wanted my kids to do things that were beyond anything they could have ever imagined.  Through hours of research and planning,  I finally decided on Belize.  Having already made a trip to this tiny country (minus the kids), I had a good idea of what to expect and thought that it would fit the bill for my active brood.  I was right.  The kids had a blast, enjoyed some amazing experiences, and even learned a bit along the way.  Mission accomplished!  Our adventures in Belize began in the jungle and continued with some “chillaxing” on the island of Ambergris Caye at the Coco Beach Resort.

Coco Beach was the perfect tropical family resort.  Two bedroom condos, amazing pools (with an unbelievable climbing and sliding structure), swim up bar, and a staff that loved kids (or at least faked it really well).  I will admit that Coco Beach was not the easiest place to get to.  The trip started on the mainland, included a quick puddle jumper flight over to Ambergris Caye, a taxi to the dock, and lastly a quick boat ride to the resort.  While getting to this tropical paradise was a little draining for me (ok, totally exhausting), it was all part of the adventure for the kids.  They were totally fascinated with the 12 passenger plane and the a boat doubling as a taxi was totally amazing.  The minute we arrived to Coco Beach, the torture of the long and hot day became a distant memory.  This resort is fabulous!

With my kids being so programmed to associate beach vacations with boogie boarding, Belize was quite a surprise.  To be honest, at first my kids were upset when realizing that Belize was not going to be like other beach vacations.  There are no waves, so playing in the surf and boogie boarding was off the table.  After about four thousand complaints about the no wave situation, the little monsters finally listened to all the other great things that Belize had to offer.  Swimming with sharks, petting sting rays, spear fishing, sailing, and exploring the island on bikes or a golf cart.  The kids were sold on Belize and never looked back.  We spent the days keeping active and the evenings out exploring the town of San Pedro.  Perfect combination of activity and relaxation!

Ambergris Caye (and the Coco Beach Resort) was total paradise for the whole family!  By the way, if you’re wondering…yes, that is my kid swimming with an 8 foot shark.  No lack of adventure in Belize!

Mexican Vacation…Family Style!

7 May

With summer approaching, I feel that I must share what I consider the perfect easy tropical getaway.  With my crazy busy life this past week, I’m posting a “Flashback Friday” memory on a Monday instead.  I’ll just call this one my “Magnificent Mexican Monday”, in honor of Cinco de Mayo perhaps.  Better later than never, right?  So, all you  families out there looking for that last minute summer getaway, here’s an idea for you…

A tropical vacation…sipping an ice cold fruity drink while relaxing under a palm tree.  Hot days full of adventure and warm summer nights, all while enjoying fabulous local foods.  This is the type of trip we all dream about.  But, in the reality of real life, with multiple kids, and a busy family life, making this happen can be tough.

The reality is that many tropical destinations are not easy vacations.  They can be hard to get to, get quite pricey, and some destinations even require special vaccinations.  This is especially hard when traveling with a large family.  One of my absolute favorite places for an easy and reasonable dream vacation is the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico.  Direct flights from most major cities and no special pre-travel vaccinations needed.  It is reasonably priced, has great dining, beautiful beaches, and more activities than you could imagine.  It is touristy enough that you have all the modern comforts, yet it still has the feel of a smaller fishing village.  Also, the summer is the low season, so you can really rock it on getting a great deal.

Flashing back to the peak of the recession a couple of years ago.  I was in search of finding the perfect family vacation and taking a week away from real life.  I needed the flights to be easy and staying on a budget was important.  After pricing out a few U.S. trips and realizing how expensive that option became, I started moving south.  With the help of some saved up frequent flyer miles and flexible dates, Cancun was the way to go.  Knowing that I am not a huge fan of the huge mega resorts, but still love having the option of a different restaurant every night, I decided on Playa del Carmen.  Just an hour drive from Cancun, on a beautifully constructed highway, this was the perfect first international trip for our young family.  We were able to score a great beachfront condo and were just steps from the famous 5th Avenue promenade.  We hit a local grocery store for snacks and beer, avoided the huge tourist traps, and found some great unique excursions that didn’t have to break the bank.  We visited a Mayan ruin, snorkeled in cenotes, fished, swam, and overall just relaxed.  Our tour guides treated us like friends, showed us the best the area had to offer, and were an amazing help with our kids.  It doesn’t get much better than relaxing on a boat and eating fresh guacamole while the kids are fishing their little hearts out.

The locals of Playa del Carmen were some of the most family friendly people I have ever encountered!  They catered to my family and actually seemed to enjoy my free spirited (another way of saying wild and crazy) children.  We played in the rain during a Tropical Depression (perfect opportunity to take a break from the sun and teach the kids about bar hopping).  We let the kids indulge in soda, stay up late, sing on the street corners, and run around in Mexican wrestling masks.  We totally let loose…family style!!

Red Fish Lake, Idaho

26 Mar

Better late than never, the saying goes.  I had planned on writing this post for Flashback Friday, but things got busy on the home front.  I was preparing for a quick grown-up trip over the weekend (story to come) and the preparations took over my Friday.  So, I’ll just call this one a Magnificent Monday Memory…

Red Fish Lodge, in the Sawtooth National Forest of Idaho is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been.  I can say that I had spent a fair amount of time in Idaho before this trip.  I always thought of Idaho as just a crossing point from the amazing mountains of Utah to the beauty of Montana.  I wasn’t totally convinced on making the long trek for just a weekend visit to hang out in Idaho.  Was I ever wrong!  I was in absolute in awe.  Between the natural beauty of this lake front property and the picturesque design of the resort, it was almost surreal.  Everything was built from logs, spread out, and as cute as can be.  They have a lodge and rustic individual cabins spread throughout the property.

When we arrived after a LONG day of driving, there was live music playing on the front lawn.  The grown ups were enjoying an afternoon beer, while the kids ran around eating ice cream and just being kids.  Red Fish Lodge looked like one of those camps you saw in a disney movie from a generation ago.  The kind of place that you really thought didn’t exist, except on a movie set.  I knew at that point, it was going to be an amazing weekend.  There was something for everyone.  Boating, fishing, “insane” mountain biking trails (according to my husband who had a quick lesson in how unskilled of a rider he really was), hiking, and relaxing.  There was an outdoor grill and an ice cream stand.  Perfection!  My oldest son, fished his heart out, while the youngest of the bunch spent his days carrying the tackle box and pushing the girls from the dock.  He renamed himself “Pusher-woosher” in fact.  The kids rode their bikes, played on the shallow lake and explored to their hearts content.  The kids were dirty, messy, and exhausted every night!

Red Fish Lodge is a hidden gem, high in the mountains of Idaho.  What a great find!  The only regret we had was not staying longer.

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