mcfam's Passport
 

Img_8344

Member since:
27 May 2010

Icon_superoo_orangeSuperoo '12, '13, '14, '16

Icon_pictureBeen to 848 Attractions
Icon_star761 Reviews
Icon_star1479 First to Review
Icon_camera23831 Photos
Icon_thumbsup297 Helpful Votes
Compliments
About Me & My Family

My husband and I have 4 kids... 3 boys and then our girl. We homeschool them all and travel when possible. We just started letterboxing and are finding ourselves a little obsessed with it.
Our Family's Travel Personality
adventurous, curious, structured, relaxed, simple, independent, spontaneous, easy_going
We Just Got Back From
Point Magu State Beach
Our Favorite Vacation Spot
Camping in Kings Canyon or Yosemite
A Place We'd Love To Visit
The Redwoods in Northern California
Favorite Vacation Memory
Walking the meadows of Yosemite with my family. The quiet, the sparkling water, the rustling grasses, and a dip in the river made for an amazing day.
Worst Travel Moment With My Kids:
Anytime throw up is involved. Especially when one kid triggers another. And when we are in the car. And when they choose to use the box that is holding all their library books and toys.
Websites I Like:
www.atlasquest.com

Reviews & Photos

761 Reviews


December 05 2016
0 families found this helpful
El Yunque National Forest | kids travel, kids activities
El Yunque National Forest
Just outside of Parker,
Carolina,
Puerto Rico 00745
"Tropical rainforest with marked trails, waterfalls, and activities."
This is the only tropical rain forest in the United States! It's beautiful, warm, and wet! It's a must see while in Puerto Rico!

VISITOR CENTER
I recommend stopping here on a visit to El Yunke. It's the only part that requires an entrance fee but the visitor center has maps, important info, activities for kids to help them learn, a video presentation, and restrooms. The walkway through the trees was beautiful as it put us higher in the trees to see birds, butterflies, and even some breadfruit growing.

MAPS
It's very helpful to get info on where to go in El Yunke. The guide at the info station gave us a map and then gave directions very clearly on what roads to avoid, where to stop, what to see, how long the trails were, and more.

WATERFALLS AND TRAILS
There is a lookout tour right off the main road, and further up is a waterfall right off the road. These are good options for those who don't want to walk far. Other trails go along the rivers, to waterfalls you can swim in, and up to the top of the mountain. We loved the hike!!

TOURS
There are lots of tour outfits that take guests to El Yunke. I can see the benefit of not having to drive, and having someone tell you all about the various plants and the forest. But we prefer to move quickly and independently so we didn't do a tour- and I'm really glad. We saw slow tour groups on the trails and that would have frustrated us! We may have missed some important things tho!

DRIVING
We rented a car and drove ourselves to El Yunke and it was a good experience. Google maps took us to the turnoff to El Yunke although it didn't work in the hills. The road was well marked with signs of what was there, and kilometer measurements so you knew how far along the road you were. There were quite a few potholes in the village below the mountain and the road was very steep up the hill but it was fine in low gear. Driving ourselves let us stop at a roadside stand for lunch and pick the place to hike to.
 
kids travel, kids activities
kids travel, kids activities
kids travel, kids activities
View 3 photos
 
December 05 2016
0 families found this helpful
Yunke Zipline Adventure | kids travel, kids activities
Yunke Zipline Adventure
Barrio Canta Gallo,
Luquillo,
Puerto Rico
"Jungle zipline - a blast!"
5 zip lines through the jungle with impressive views of the mountains of Yunke National Forest, plus an ecological hike through the jungle, funny and friendly guides, and one thrilling rappel make for a great zipline adventure!

We followed the clear directions to the meeting point for our adventure (we rented a car- best way to get there or arrange for transportation) and Eric, one of our guides, met us at the meeting point. His laid-back and friendly demeanor set the tone for a fun day. He had phoned us individually to make sure we had good directions- and knew us all by name when we got there.

We followed his truck up a steep hill to a gated house set in the jungle. This house was where we signed our paperwork, got detailed instructions on how to zip, and got fitted up with harnesses, gloves, and helmets. There was water to drink and restrooms. We learned we would zip in the traditional "sitting position" (not superman) and we didn't need to use our handbrakes or anything. Just follow the guides instructions and they would take care of us (and they did!)

We took 2 thrilling but short zips through this trees and then was back at the house to get anything we needed. Then another longer zip, one more, then a hike through the jungle.

This hike was muddy. Very muddy! It had rained a couple of inches that afternoon so the ground was soaked. Still- it was fun! We climbed some steep and slippery areas and there were ropes to hold onto. Eric told us about the native trees, local fruits, and showed us the huge snails. We loved his and Jorge's humor as they talked about Puerto Rican culture, where fruits and coffee originated, and why the jungle smells so sweet.

Our last zip was the longest at about 1000 feet. Such an amazing view! A huge iguana sat on a tree at the top of the canopy below our zip which was awesome to see!

After this last zip which was onto a platform high in a giant tree, we rappelled down about 75 feet to the ground below. The guides made our descent slow and easy. Then a short hike led back to the blue house.

There are a bunch of different zip line companies to choose from but we found this as a recommendation from Choice Hotels and we loved it!

Tips:
* Reserve a spot online before coming. It's easiest to pay that way with a credit card and include tip. If you pay there, you must use cash.
* Follow exact directions from the guides to get there. It worked!
* Wear closed toe shoes and be ready to hike and get muddy.
* You can take a backpack with you on the zips or a clipped on water bottle. Or leave things in the car or in the blue house where the guides secure it.

Disclosure: Choice Hotels provided compensation for my activities. I was not asked to present a particular point of view and all opinions are my own.
 
kids travel, kids activities
kids travel, kids activities
kids travel, kids activities
kids travel, kids activities
kids travel, kids activities
View 10 photos
 
December 05 2016
0 families found this helpful
VIP Adventures Puerto Rico | kids travel, kids activities
VIP Adventures Puerto Rico
936, 860 Ashford Avenue,
San Juan,
Puerto Rico
"Easy and beautiful place to paddle board or kayak"
Condado lagoon is a perfect place to enjoy SUP, kayaking, and even snorkeling. We enjoyed SUP with beautiful views of the city all around, a section of the fort near the entrance to the lagoon, and the ocean beyond. The waters were calm although it was a bit windy. We went under the bridge towards the ocean where the waves were coming in a bit which gave us some challenge before we headed back to calm water.

On the west side of the lagoon is a roped off swimming area. We floated gently in, beached our SUPs and enjoyed the water a bit. Lots of shells were on the sand and I gathered some to take home.

There are several paddle boarding and kayaking companies all stationed on the east side of the bridge. I was given the recommendation for one company, but a staff person from VIP Adventures was waiting at the sidewalk to catch tourists like us. He knocked down the price for his rental from what I was planning on paying. It must be flexible I guess! I was pleased to pay $12 an hour instead of the $25 I was planning on paying. Since we weren't taking a tour I figured it didn't matter which company. And it seemed fine.

There was a beautiful area under the trees by the water where the SUPs were tethered. We left our shoes there and could have left clothes, but I'm not sure about other personal things. We left them all at our hotel and walked down the street so we didn't need to worry about those.

Disclosure: Choice Hotels provided compensation for my activities. I was not asked to present a particular point of view and all opinions are my own.
 
kids travel, kids activities
kids travel, kids activities
kids travel, kids activities
kids travel, kids activities
kids travel, kids activities
View 5 photos
 
December 05 2016
0 families found this helpful
Yokahu Kayak Trips
Route 987 Las Croabas,
Fajardo,
Puerto Rico
"Night time kayaking? Thrilling!"
Kayaking to a bioluminescent bay sounds fantastic. To see water glowing from microorganisms? Yes! We love kayaking and being on the water so we made sure to make a reservation for this trip.

What I didn't realize was that we would be kayaking in a large group through a grove of mangrove trees in the PITCH DARK! It was intense, thrilling, and scary in a good way. I will never forget it. The kayaking in the trees was more fantastic than the bioluminescence!

KAYAK TRAINING
Our guides gathered us in 2 groups- one English, one Spanish. Several people had never kayaked before. I don't recommend this for your first time, but he was a good teacher! Life jackets were given (mandatory to wear) and then he gave instructions on how to paddle. He made it very clear how to go straight, turn, and what to do if you hit a tree (oh geez! I might flip over!) Then they loaded us group by group into the kayaks on the shore. We floated out on the calm water to wait for the group and stared at the beautiful stars!

THROUGH THE TREES
A small tidal channel runs through a thick grove of mangrove trees along the shore. As we approached, it looked like a cliff covered with bushes, then we went inside! It was super dark! We stayed in a single file line, following the kayak ahead that had a green light on the back of a small glow stick circle. Our guide shouted directions from the front like, "turn right!" or, "low branches on your left!" Then we passed down the instructions along the row of about 20 kayaks. There were times we hit the kayak ahead, hit our paddles on the branches above, or saw someone run into a tree. Then, as if it wasn't intense enough, another large group of kayaks came the other way in the channel from the bay. We all stayed on the right like a street. It took about 20 minutes to kayak to the bay.

THE BAY
When we got into the bay, the light increased from the stars and nearby town. We grouped together to hear the guide talk about the bioluminescent organisms that glow when the water is agitated. We put our hands in the water up to our wrist and shook them. Small sparks appeared for a quick glow. We learned that these only appear in 5 places in the world- 3 of them in Puerto Rico. The most active time for seeing sparks is in May- and not after a heavy rain. We were there in December and it had rained hard that day. We were all underwhelmed with the bioluminescence but it was still cool. Then we learned they were stronger in the channel and we really saw sparks there!!

THE WAY BACK
The only way back was the way we came- thorough the pitch black tunnel. I learned to relax and enjoy the dark. It was weird to only see the lights glowing in front. All around us the coqui sang his song along with other insects (and mosquitos.) Its a relief to know there are no dangerous mammals watching us, no poisonous snakes, and nothing in the water that's dangerous to us. Coming out to the open ocean was like drinking fresh water after the dark.

I recommend this adventure- especially with teens who can help you paddle and will appreciate the thrill. Not for younger kids!

Tips:
* There are quite a few kayak companies there along the water. They are probably mostly the same quality. Pick one but it's best to get a reservation.
* Wear clothes that can get wet. Swimsuits are great. It's not cold.
* There was a lockbox on a pickup truck guarded by someone in the tour company. We out our keys, phone, and any belongings there.
* They recommended that we hide personal things in our car. Theft usually isn't a problem but it's better to keep valuables hidden.
* Only use a phone or camera if it has a secure strap to your body and if it is waterproof. We took our GoPro but there wasn't enough light for a picture.
* I wish they said "no flash photography! People in front of us kept taking pics and it killed our eyes! Then they used the flashlight- which was great to see where we were, but kinda ruined the experience.


Disclosure: Choice Hotels provided compensation for my activities. I was not asked to present a particular point of view and all opinions are my own.
 
 
December 05 2016
0 families found this helpful
Serafina | kids travel, kids activities
Serafina
1077 ASHFORD AVENUE,
San Juan,
Puerto Rico
"Lovely patio- amazing drinks- kid friendly!"
This Italian restaurant is located near La Concha Hotel in the Metro area of Condado. It is a beautiful restaurant with a large patio area enclosed with plants, a veranda, cheerful colors, and a bar. Indoor seating is available as well.

Children are more than welcome here and the manager told me they can "run around the patio" as there is only one entrance. I wouldn't love that as a diner- but that's the relaxed Puerto Rican way. A children's menu with games and mazes is a nice way to help them enjoy the experience.

Cocktails here are created with love and passion for colors, flavors, and a flair for presentation. I was convinced to try the fresh sangria and it's probably the best I have tasted! Worthy of a photo- the layers of the drink can be seen in the glass before stirring and tasting. The fresh juices and delicious rum made for an incredible rich combination of flavors.

My son and I enjoyed a late dinner on the patio with the chorus of coqui frogs all around. He was hungry for a pepperoni pizza from home and the waitress assured him it could be made. I enjoyed a rich linguine pasta with pesto, pine nuts, and small pieces of potato. I wasn't convinced from the menu that potatoes went with pasta, but it was a good flavor and added texture.

I highly recommend this restaurant for a delicious dinner that is beautiful, relaxing, and tasty, and is kid friendly too!

Disclosure: Choice Hotels provided compensation for my meal. I was not asked to present a particular point of view and all opinions are my own.
 
kids travel, kids activities
kids travel, kids activities
kids travel, kids activities
kids travel, kids activities
kids travel, kids activities
View 6 photos