On the Move and Having Fun, Nov. 2015 - April 2016

We've been on the move...a lot. So much that we haven't taken the time to post much. Where have we been? We've been all over! From Nicaragua to Honduras (the towns of Roatan and Copan). Then a quick visit with friends back in Panajachel, Guatemala, followed by some longer stays in Southern Mexico in San Cristobal de las Casas and Oaxaca. And we're currently on the move exploring the Yucatan Peninsula. Here's a quick summary of what's to come as we catch up on the blog. 

Nicaragua - In early November, we decided we were done with Nicaragua. We didn't love the mountain town of Esteli enough to stay another month. This was a rather last-minute decision, and we even surprised ourselves. Since we hadn't paid rent or renewed the car permit, we weren't financially invested in staying another month. While we had some great experiences, we were ready to move. 

The mountain town of Esteli, Nicaragua is world-reknown for it's cigars. Many Cubans immigrated to Esteli and took seeds with them. They are essentially growing cuban plants and making cuban cigars in Esteli. The kids and I took a tour of one of the factories, and we learned a lot. 

The mountain town of Esteli, Nicaragua is world-reknown for it's cigars. Many Cubans immigrated to Esteli and took seeds with them. They are essentially growing cuban plants and making cuban cigars in Esteli. The kids and I took a tour of one of the factories, and we learned a lot. 

Where would we go? We still had another 30 days before our visas for Honduras/Guatemala/Nicaragua/El Salvador were up. 

Honduras - We left Esteli and drove straight to La Ceiba, Honduras where we spent one night. The following morning, we hopped on a ferry (nicknamed the Vomit Comet for obvious reasons) to Roatan Island. Roatan is one of the Bay Islands off the Caribbean Coast of Honduras. We spent a glorious 18 days and left hoping to return for a longer trip in 2016.

The kids and I also spent a day at Gumbalimba Park playing with monkeys and Scarlet Macaws. 

The kids and I also spent a day at Gumbalimba Park playing with monkeys and Scarlet Macaws. 

After Roatan, we drove to Copan, Honduras, and spent a day visiting with good friends. We explored the Copan Ruins which were spectacular, but even more so because of the recently revived Scarlet Macaw population. 

Tag is overlooking the former residences of the highest hierarchy at the Copan Ruins.

Tag is overlooking the former residences of the highest hierarchy at the Copan Ruins.

Next, we drove to Panajachel, Guatemala returning for one week to say hola to more friends. It was a whirlwind week, and our daughter spent a lot of time away from us. We even hosted an impromptu pool party with most of the girls from our class last year. 

Austin Powers, the girls and I crossed the lake to San Pedro where we went on a horseback riding adventure. Lucky for us, our friends were able to skip school one day! Some might say we're a bad influence, but I think any day off for a bit of fun and outdoors is worth it.

Austin Powers, the girls and I crossed the lake to San Pedro where we went on a horseback riding adventure. Lucky for us, our friends were able to skip school one day! Some might say we're a bad influence, but I think any day off for a bit of fun and outdoors is worth it.

Finally, we drove to San Cristobal de las Casas, in the southern part of Mexico, 7000 feet high in the mountains. It's a magical town with a lot of unique charm. We planned to settle there for up to 6 months, but we didn't. Overall it's a lovely town, but cold. We acquired temporary warm clothes and enjoyed many evenings playing games in front of the fire. One high and low point was waiting in the boiling sun for 2 hours for the Pope and his entourage to pass.  

We discovered caves, stalactites, stalagmites, and pools of water underground in San Cristobal. This led to the kids watching YouTube videos about fascinating caves around the world. Now, they want to go to Brazil. 

We discovered caves, stalactites, stalagmites, and pools of water underground in San Cristobal. This led to the kids watching YouTube videos about fascinating caves around the world. Now, they want to go to Brazil. 

In the middle of our San Cristobal stay, we couldn't find accommodations over the Christmas and New Years holiday. We had a total of 3 weeks without a place to stay. What to do? We headed to Oaxaca for the holidays staying in a fabulous apartment 40 feet from the Zocalo, the center of town. There we spent many late evenings playing with big balloon like creations and glow-in-the-dark rubber band toys with several Mexican friends. For the first time in over a year, the kids drooled over new Legos and Monster High Dolls at big BIG toy stores. 

New Years in Oaxaca's zocalo! Giant sparklers, eggshells filled with rice or confetti and hundreds of people celebrating along with us.

New Years in Oaxaca's zocalo! Giant sparklers, eggshells filled with rice or confetti and hundreds of people celebrating along with us.

Currently, we're exploring the Yucatan Peninsula and enjoying weather in the 80s and 90s. We fed manatees in Palenque and walked the old wall, originally built to keep out pirates, in Campeche. We restocked our clothes, sunscreen and bug spray in Merida. And we spent a day swimming in the Gulf of Mexico in Progresso

The manatee were fun to feed, but they had awful breath!

The manatee were fun to feed, but they had awful breath!

It hasn't all been easy. Ken and I spent several weeks battling stomach amoebas and a compromised immune system. We've been to the dentist where everyone in the waiting room heard our daughter screaming several times. But, the little downs can't take away our joy of exploring this part of the world. 

We're super excited to meet friends on the other side of the Yucatan Peninsula in Cancun. Then, we'll begin a long journey south. How far south will we go? Even we're not sure. 

Stay tuned for details of our journey. We look forward to catching up.