This year, we started what we hope will become a tradition. Because we didn't have a lot of vacation time, we didn't want to go all the way to Europe over the holidays, since the kids' jetlag negates a lot of the benefits of a vacation. We suggested to our families to meet "in the middle" in the Caribbean. Pros: less travel, less jetlag and warm weather! Cons: nothing really, except some health concerns and the question whether everyone across our families would enjoy the vacation. We met with my parents, my in-laws and my brother in law and family. It was a first in many ways: first time with all family members, first time in the Caribbean. It turned out to be a great idea! We picked a wonderful hotel in Jamaica, the Franklyn D Resort, which I describe in detail here. It was so family-friendly that it took away any issue that could come from traveling with young kids. I have to say that I had some health concerns going to Jamaica with 2 young kids. But they proved to be completely unjustified. The hotel even had drinking tap water for Charlotte's bottles. Yes, really! No mosquitoes, clean facilities, healthy food. Really, nothing to complain about. We even got to check the quality of the medical support in Jamaica since we brought 2 sicknesses from home (I got strep throat and Charlotte had bronchitis). The doctor we met was really knowledgeable and got us back on our feet really quickly. Outside of 2 of us being sick, everyone had a great time. The grand-parents got to do tours around the island, and they saw jungle, local animals, nice beaches, etc... Daniel loved being able to swim, build sand castles and get ice-cream on demand. He had a lot of new experiences, from going down the huge water slide to taking the glass boat and taking a few first steps at swimming. Charlotte seemed to enjoy herself despite the bronchitis and being thrown into a new environment with a lot of new people. She loved splashing in the pool and learned how to clap her hands. This made her very proud. My husband and his brother went all the way to the other side of the island to check out Pelican Bar, a shack in the middle of the ocean, surrounded by diving pelicans. Very unique! As a family, we went to Dunn's Waterfall, which was fun climbing. I wish I had seen more of Jamaica, but unfortunately, my strep throat came in the way. It was still wonderful to be able to know everyone had a great time, and not to worry about the kids needing more attention.
I was recently talking to a friend about places to go in Central America, one of our favorite regions to visit. She was primarily interested in Costa Rica, which is a wonderful place, no doubt. But as I was about to write to her, I decided to do a round up of our trips in Central America. You can't go wrong with any of these destinations. They are all wonderful in their own ways, but below are our favorites to date. 1. Roatan I think the big gem of Latin America is Roatan (island in Honduras). We had the best time there: great beach, warm water, amazing snorkeling, jungle access. Flight there was convenient and affordable (red eye through El Salvador). I can’t think of any Con at this point. We are hoping to go back to Roatan later this year (which is very unusual for us to go to the same place twice, so this says something!) 2. Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica Even during the rainy season, this was a highlight for us. Tortuguero is Wow! Amazing! Great jungle; turtles (at the right