I have had a few friends ask about our trip to Nicaragua over spring break so thought I would do a blog post.

I mentioned in previous posts that I was working on teaching the kids to travel with our train trip last year. I definitely think it is an art in itself…at least the way my husband travels is. He has travelled extensively and being an engineer has got it down to an efficient science. I am not as experienced but have learned a thing or two from watching him…and I have the huge list of places that I want to see:). I feel the kids have an advantage to travel now with us to gain experience from Mike, hopefully insight that will help shape them from the experiences and give them the travel bug for the rest of their lives.

So when I began looking for locations I was basing it on “adventure”. My kids are not into looking at architecture and history right now but rather sports and animals. I began looking at Galapagos but found it might beyond Anna’s activity level and was beyond our budget this time. Friends had been to Nicaragua last year and loved it so that was when I started researching. Looked perfect for what we wanted to do this time – adventure items and very raw. We did stay at a resort (Rancho Santana) but it is difficult to truly explain this “resort”…it did not have a resort feel at all. It was certainly luxurious but not stuffy or tacky. I believe there were only 200 people staying there and that brought a really nice feeling with it…community-like. The resort also offered many of the things that I wanted to see and do – activities, monkeys, tide pools, close to smaller towns so we could get a feel for how people were living…and still had amazing amenities.

Since “adventure” was the theme for this trip, the rule was everyone got to choose an activity and everyone else has to participate in it. Mike chose surfing, Aidan chose deep sea fishing, Anna chose horseback riding and I chose hiking a volcano and ziplining down. It was the first time the the kids and I had surfed and ended up LOVING it. To the point that Mike got more than one time for his activity:). You will see that I enjoyed it so much, I did not come out of the water to take pictures:). The fishing turned into an amazing experience in that the beach house grill on the resort used our fish to grill up for a feast for our family and 2 other families we knew there. The horseback riding took us through a small local town so that we could get an appreciation for how people are living. My day trip to hike Mombacho and zipline was a bit messed up due to miscommunication (need to know more Spanish!!) so we did not get as much time strolling through Granada as I had hoped. The kids were pretty happy about that part though as it was hot and not where their interests lie. In the end the timing worked out fantastic because we were able to do the hike at the end of the day…gorgeous light!!

The other part of our “adventure” trip was that we could only bring a carry on. This was Mike’s idea as he felt that this would be a good test for future trips and packing light. So we all had to plan for a 10 day trip with a carry on. Clothing-wise this was not a huge issue but paring down the camera gear was a bit more difficult for me. In the end, I am so glad that we did it this way as it was really refreshing to travel so light. We did have to do some laundry in between (which is another story) but would definitely travel that light again. The other advantage was that it forced the kids to be responsible for their own bags.

It is difficult to go into all we saw but I think that one of the things that struck me was the people. They were so friendly and proud of their country. They were eager to show us the beauty of their land and the history behind it. I had only ever “known” Nicaragua for the revolution and am so happy to know a bit more about the place it is now.

In many ways I don’t feel we did this country justice as we did not get a chance to really delve into the culture, traditions, history,… as much as I would have liked to but then I remember it was an adventure trip. It was to have family time, stepping outside of our comfort zone and doing things that we would not necessarily do in support the other family members, realizing there are people that live very happy, simple lives and hopefully gaining a bit more of an appreciation for the world outside our bubble. I know that we will be going back there as well so hope to learn even more.

This is a really small snippet of pictures as I have not even gotten through narrowing them all done and many times I did not bring my big camera to keep it simple. I just needed to get this out as it has already been 3 weeks that we have been back:).

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