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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Wilson
    Posts
    1,237

    Ongoing nsr TR: Taking the tribe across the other Americas

    Life gave us a window so my wife and I are taking our 4 and 2 year olds on a long "backpacking" trip. Chose Central and South America because we have never been there and also want to learn Spanish. Goal is to stretch severance payment received from prior employer by seeing cheaper places in the world rather than squandering around NYC. Unfortunately no uber cheap hostels or treehouses in the jungle for us due to better sense from my other half, but few if any pricy resorts either. Spent a crap load of time outfitting for 6 months living from two backpacks for four humans but damn we still have too much stuff... Nebulize this!

    We started the other day in Bay Islands, Honduras. One way flight for 12,500 United miles, NICE. Flew from EWR into Roatan and ferried over to Utila, where my wife and sis are getting their open water dive cert at UDC. Pretty cheap for that here. Heading for a week on Little Cay, can't wait to report back on this one. It's our own island for cheap. If I see bonefish near there so help us flyfishing mags.

    Internet is spotty so sorry for being light on pics tonight but I'll get them up as we travel. Want to share our journey, unsmart decisions made, and the conservation and sustainability issues I come across as that will hopefully become my new career. Also will have travel questions along the way the collective always knocks out of the park.

    Itinerary so far:
    Newark
    Utila (Mango Inn)
    Little Cay (private island)
    Roatan (Hutton House in Oak Ridge and Caribe Tesoro resort in West Bay)
    Costa Rica (Ecolodge San Luis in Monteverde and then someplace with Spanish school and daycare)
    Chile (Patagonia by early March hopefully for trout fishing and sight seeing)
    After that TBD although Galapagos is in the back of our minds
    Expect to return early July

    Lesson of the day: don't let your little girl stand on the dinner chair while trying to put on the baby sling. Man I suck, she fell and hit her head. While she is alright it is terrifying.

    Parenting win of the day: caught a gecko for my son to hold. The lizard was very slow and basically mailing it in. Released unharmed I think.

    Questions of the night: Looking for a cheapish west coast town in Costa Rica for Spanish lessons including kids or with good daycare. Thinking two weeks and hopefully a VRBO be for under $100 per so we can cook. Brief effort shows schools in Tamarindo and Nosara seem to have that. Surfing not a priority for us regrettably. Budget, proximity to wildlife, good food, and family to stuff most important. Tarpon and snook a bonus.

    Has anyone speared a Lionfish? Would you do it again? That seems big here.
    Day Man. Fighter of the Night Man. Champion of the Sun. Master of Karate and Friendship for Everyone.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Ogden
    Posts
    5,577
    NIce! What a cool experience for you and the family.

    As far as CR, I'd say Nosara (Guiones) over Tamarindo for sure. Tamarindo felt a little seedy to me after time further south. Also check out Samara a little further south of Nosara. It's a bit bigger and cheaper, and if you do decide to surf, it'll likely be smaller/easier this time of year.

    Safe travels.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Wilson
    Posts
    1,237
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    Day Man. Fighter of the Night Man. Champion of the Sun. Master of Karate and Friendship for Everyone.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    North Vancouver/Whistler
    Posts
    11,307
    Following. Nice thing to do for family. Expanding the world indeed

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Posts
    309
    Quepos and the areas around Manual Antonio National Park in CR were fun for our family. Lots of stuff to do, variety of lodging options, and a “real” experience with friendly folks. But you may be looking for a larger town/city.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Posts
    16,592
    sounds like a blast! have a great time!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Where bankers' bankers breed
    Posts
    2,337
    A 2 & 4 year old? God bless you man! You're a better father than I am.
    All the years combine
    they melt into a dream

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Wilson
    Posts
    1,237
    Quote Originally Posted by St. Jerry View Post
    A 2 & 4 year old? God bless you man! You're a better father than I am.
    Perhaps just a less employed one at the moment! No I unfortunately have not been a great father to this point. I have given them the stuff they need and taken them places but have been too self absorbed to be present with them much. Consider this my shock treatment. Last two days have been full on Daddy day care, managing tantrums, and beginning to instill some discipline with my son who really needs it right now
    Day Man. Fighter of the Night Man. Champion of the Sun. Master of Karate and Friendship for Everyone.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    11,650
    Looking forward to this thread.

    Happy travels!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    PRB
    Posts
    21,313
    Wow, I'm impressed. You have my parenting respect.

    And I'm subscribing to this thread.
    "fuck off you asshat gaper shit for brains fucktard wanker." - Jesus Christ
    "She was tossing her bean salad with the vigor of a Drunken Pop princess so I walked out of the corner and said.... "need a hand?"" - Odin

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    idaho panhandle!
    Posts
    6,938
    Amazing. Will be following. Safe travels.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    28,888
    atta boy! the lil guy could wear a dad out, patience.
    fully subscribed to your family adventure! Safe Travels
    .

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    inpdx
    Posts
    11,828

    Ongoing nsr TR: Taking the tribe across the other Americas

    Adventure comes in many forms
    Good parents give experiences
    Good job to you both and your kids!
    Last edited by acinpdx; 01-07-2019 at 08:13 AM. Reason: Grammar/spelling

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    44
    Sounds awesome!! Don't forget Argentina! It's like Chile but MUCH bigger in every sense; plus the exchange rate is incredible right now. Spent 3 weeks there in November fly fishing north of Bariloche and it was insane. Enjoy a view of things to come!

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  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Wilson
    Posts
    1,237
    In Utila. Last night was kinda rough. TMI should be the name of this thread. Somehow pee on both beds in our tiny room. Also trying to reclaim my side from the four year old. Finally managed the double on the twin bed with a sheet hung in between. Brought a bag full of hooks, command strips, projector hangers, clothes pins and cord for this to see what the best kit is for rest of trip. (Sorry Mango Inn walls). But did capture a picture hummingbird in flight on the grounds yesterday and there were some great moments with the kids. My son made some friends at the pool. Wife and sister were beaming about their diving day so that made it worth it, especially after all the fishng trips of mine she has endured. Parenting fail of the day allowing son to roughhouse near the big pool and he fell in. Very good we were all right there. Bought Global Rescue insurance last night, $880 for six months of evacuation logistics and insurance. With the near misses and normal bumps and bruises the last couple days it seems necessary. scared of the kids getting real sick somewhere remote like Corcovado.

    Today we visit the Iguana Station where they are trying to preserve the Spiny Tailed Utila Iguana which only lives in a small part of this island. Feeding time is at 2pm and they were very excited to host children.

    Also emailed the whale shark research center and Bay islands conservation association but no response.

    Tomorrow we shop at Bush's grocery store and take a boat to Little Cay for a week look our own islandClick image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by kokomas; 01-07-2019 at 09:32 AM.
    Day Man. Fighter of the Night Man. Champion of the Sun. Master of Karate and Friendship for Everyone.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Paper St. Soap Co.
    Posts
    2,320
    Awesome, good luck and safe travels!

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    bucks county pa
    Posts
    2,510
    Fully subscribed to this my friend! Super stoked for u and ur family.
    Best of luck with the youngins , my three and six year old have both had classic moments on dads watch! Be safe and enjoy
    always forward but never straight

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Montucky
    Posts
    1,105
    Utila can be a very strange place, indeed. If you have any trouble, or need some connections there, PM me. I literally have inroads to the mayor and island gov.


    Sent from my iPad using TGR Forums

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Wilson
    Posts
    1,237
    Quote Originally Posted by SUPERIOR View Post
    Utila can be a very strange place, indeed. If you have any trouble, or need some connections there, PM me. I literally have inroads to the mayor and island gov.


    Sent from my iPad using TGR Forums
    Thanks Superior, will take you up on that. So far so good. And thanks to everyone for kind words and well wishes. Off to Bush's supermarket this morning to stock up for a week here http://www.utilacaysrentals.com/little-cay.html
    Hoping it's good as I'm imagining.

    Yesterday was awesome. The page called Jade Seahorse is difficult to explain but just awesome for kids. an acre of curiosity created from concrete, Mosaic tile, glass and other my son spotted some huge black and yellow spiders. Need to identify. Then we went to the Iguana station for feeding time which is around 2pm every day, email ahead, they were very welcoming. Word to the wise, wear closed shoes and avoid the ants. Me and my daughter got been by a bunch of little black ones that hurt like hell. My kids loved feeding crabs to the Utila Spiny Tailed Iguanas. Only 200 left in the wild because they only live on this island in black mangroves. The lagers zone is being encroached on by developers west of the main town. Mostly foreigners. I asked if climate change impacted the iguanas and the staffer said cooler rainier weather in March and April was seeing the hatchlings back in that development. Check out the website and cause http://www.utila-iguana.de

    That have green turtles there, it was magical watching my daughter as they mowwed down.

    Edit: We went to utila lodge for sunset and eagle rays near the dock. Sunset was great but no rays for us unfort


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    Last edited by kokomas; 01-08-2019 at 06:51 AM.
    Day Man. Fighter of the Night Man. Champion of the Sun. Master of Karate and Friendship for Everyone.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Wilson
    Posts
    1,237
    Can anyone weigh in on Dominical vs Nosara vs Samara for our purposes? Surfing not a priority, spanish school, cheapness, wildlife opportunities more important. Thanks!
    Day Man. Fighter of the Night Man. Champion of the Sun. Master of Karate and Friendship for Everyone.

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Wasatch
    Posts
    5,870
    I don't have anything helpful to add. I haven't spent significant time in central and South America.

    But good on you for getting out and undertaking this kind of travel with the kids. Mine are 1.5 and 3.5, so I know the kind of work you're putting in. Props.

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Nashville TN
    Posts
    356
    If you have not downloaded the Global Rescue app and logged on, take the time to do so when you have decent wifi. It makes it super easy to contact them, and they are good to get back to you quickly if you just need to describe symptoms and figure out if something necessitates medical care, and, if the answer is yes, they are useful at connecting you with someone local.

    It is evac coverage though, not medical insurance, so you have the latter addressed through COBRA or something, right?

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Ogden
    Posts
    5,577
    Quote Originally Posted by kokomas View Post
    Can anyone weigh in on Dominical vs Nosara vs Samara for our purposes? Surfing not a priority, spanish school, cheapness, wildlife opportunities more important. Thanks!
    When you say Nosara do you mean the actual town of Nosara or the development around Playa Guiones? People kinda use them interchangeably but Nosara is a few miles up the road and inland. I've never been to Dominical, so no idea.

    Anyway, I've only had about a week in that area, so grain of salt here; Nosara/Pelada/Guiones is less walkable and more spread out in the jungle than Samara. Samara seemed slightly cheaper to me, and as mentioned, clustered/walkable. Wildlife wise, Nosara is fairly close to Ostional, which is the main turtle hatching beach in the area. No idea on wildlife around Samara. Nosara had the whole yoga/rich, white, hippie vibe where as Samara felt more "authentic" to me.

    Keep the photos and stories coming!

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Bozeman
    Posts
    1,190
    Good on ya! Sounds super fun (and challenging). My kids have taken a trip a year to Latin America with us since they were 3 and 1, so I can relate to all the good and bad you are experiencing. Longest we did though was 6 weeks in the Galapagos, Amazon and Ecuador.

    I'm a tour operator selling adventure trips in South America and have been to quite a few places. PM me if you want to chat about anywhere in particular.

    Re Costa Rica, I've only been a few times but my family loved Monteverde and Santa Teresa (southern tip of Nicoya Peninsula). Santa Teresa is pretty remote but awesome. I won the bad dad award when I took the kids zip lining there at 3 and 5 and let the guides strap them together and send them off alone on a few lines. They loved it, especially when the howler monkeys threw stuff at us. I don't think grandma would have approved though.

    I would like to check out Samara from what I've heard about it. Could be a good place to study Spanish.

    Quepos is a bit too developed and gringo for my taste, but it is beautiful.

    The Osa is the best. Go there.

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Wilson
    Posts
    1,237
    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Mike View Post
    If you have not downloaded the Global Rescue app and logged on, take the time to do so when you have decent wifi. It makes it super easy to contact them, and they are good to get back to you quickly if you just need to describe symptoms and figure out if something necessitates medical care, and, if the answer is yes, they are useful at connecting you with someone local.

    It is evac coverage though, not medical insurance, so you have the latter addressed through COBRA or something, right?
    Thanks for this, I would not have taken the step of downloading the app without your note. Nifty app. And yes, I have COBRA coverage for health which seems to cover 80% of out of network bills even if they are overseas.

    Quote Originally Posted by zion zig zag View Post
    When you say Nosara do you mean the actual town of Nosara or the development around Playa Guiones? People kinda use them interchangeably but Nosara is a few miles up the road and inland. I've never been to Dominical, so no idea.

    Anyway, I've only had about a week in that area, so grain of salt here; Nosara/Pelada/Guiones is less walkable and more spread out in the jungle than Samara. Samara seemed slightly cheaper to me, and as mentioned, clustered/walkable. Nosara had the whole yoga/rich, white, hippie vibe where as Samara felt more "authentic" to me.
    Thanks, we went with Samara from Jan 28 to Feb 6, can't wait! i'm on an off week schedule but may see about taking some semi-private Spanish lessons while there. got a nice vrbo for half the time and staying at casa del mar motel the other days. seems really cheap, $105 with breakfast and right across from beach, sign me up.

    Quote Originally Posted by WMD View Post
    Good on ya! Sounds super fun (and challenging). My kids have taken a trip a year to Latin America with us since they were 3 and 1, so I can relate to all the good and bad you are experiencing. Longest we did though was 6 weeks in the Galapagos, Amazon and Ecuador.

    Re Costa Rica, I've only been a few times but my family loved Monteverde and Santa Teresa (southern tip of Nicoya Peninsula). Santa Teresa is pretty remote but awesome. I won the bad dad award when I took the kids zip lining there at 3 and 5 and let the guides strap them together and send them off alone on a few lines. They loved it, especially when the howler monkeys threw stuff at us. I don't think grandma would have approved though.

    I would like to check out Samara from what I've heard about it. Could be a good place to study Spanish.

    The Osa is the best. Go there.
    Thanks WMD and everyone, the wife put the kaibosh on the Osa Penninsula with young kids after 9/10 trip advisor people said not to do it. I am a pretty stupid man and have been picking fights with her about stuff since being layed off 4 months ago. My excuse is that I used to argue/debate a lot in my finance position. But really I've been a big douche for some time. Probably the main thing I want to get out of this trip is to be less of that!

    we have rounded out our CR itinerary like this: fly into sjo tomorrow, two days in san jose then public bus to Monteverde where we are staying at the UGA San Luis eco lodge for five nights. Kind of a splurge but i'm interested in geeking out on conservation stuff for a while. Then we are taking a bus or shuttle to Samara for 8 days, first in a vrbo then at Casa de la Mar. Hopefully this place is alright because its cheap and right on the beach. From there we rent an SUV and drive to pick up my mom at San Jose and head to Domincal for a week. Trying to finalize an Airbnb in town there. I think my wife and I may get a day or two to explore and I hear there is a day trip by boat to Corcovado, so that will be my best bet at Osa on this trip. Then we all drive back to SJO.

    From there we want to get to southern Patagonia in Chile before it gets too cold, likely Punto Arenas in Chilean Patagonia. Its looking like we will take a direct flight to Lima Peru and spend 5 or 6 days there. We are hesitant to take the kids to altitude at Machu Picchu so maybe Lake Titicaca? Going to consult a tour operator on this one I think. If you have other suggestions for short excursions around Lima that would be cool. Then Punto Arenas via Santiago to see Tierra del Fuego, Cape Horn, Isle de Magellan. Thinking we might possibly skip Puerto Natales and Torres del Paine because i'm not sure we can trek with the little ones and don't know if its worth it to visit the park otherwise? Then hopefully up to Coyhaique for March and part of April to do some settling in and fly fishing.

    Pics and review of Little Cay, Utila and Roatan (Oak Ridge and West Bay) next post
    Anyway that's the plan. By the way, we really like Honduras! Plan to return to Bay Islands for sure. Not expensive yet.
    Day Man. Fighter of the Night Man. Champion of the Sun. Master of Karate and Friendship for Everyone.

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