Pair of blue-footed boobies
The mountains have turned peachy; the sky is pink and orange. This sunset is flat-out gorgeous. A pelican flies overhead. Flamingos swoop down.
Welcome to Laguna de Chaxa National Reserve for Flamingos, about an hour from tiny (just 4,000 people) St. Pedro,
The Atacama region (less than a two-hour flight from
I can't think of a better spot for an adventure with grown or nearly grown children -- I had my two adventure-loving daughters and my older daughter's boyfriend along with me.
They are so fun to watch. We looked up at the ring of mountains and could even see steam coming from one of the volcanoes. Isn't nature grand?
I know many of you couldn't imagine forsaking home during the Christmas holidays. It's certainly a frustrating and expensive time to travel. But for my gang, taking off during the holidays has become as much of a tradition for our interfaith family as lighting the menorah and hanging stockings over the fireplace. We've skied in
Our most memorable holiday trips, it seems, always involve getting up close and personal to nature. In the Galapagos Islands one Christmas, we hiked up steep steps that are actually the rim of an ancient volcano. The bay we anchored in --
Are we really swimming with sea lions? Posing with a giant tortoise? It's easy to see why trips to the Galapagos -- albeit expensive -- are especially popular for families, say adventure outfitters like Abercrombie and Kent (www.abercrombiekent.com),Thomson Family Adventures (www.familyadventures.com) and Wildland Adventures (www.wildland.com), which helped arrange our trip.
There's another plus to such adventures notes
There's also something to be said for taking kids -- and yourselves -- out of your comfort zone and seeing how well you manage together without the accoutrements of modern life.
We learned that another Christmas near
Scarlet macaws flew over our heads. We galloped on horseback down the beach. We hiked into the rain forest, where we watched monkeys playing in the trees and marveled at the huge butterflies and colorful birds. And then there were the baby turtles.
We watched mesmerized as palm-sized baby turtles gingerly made their way from a nest hidden at the edge of the Costa Rican rain forest across a desolate beach to the water's edge on
Seeing those tiny turtles would have been a stellar experience any time. But the fact that it was Christmas, that the locals thought all the turtles had already hatched, that we were in such an exotic locale, and, most important, that my family was together that night on that remote beach made the experience all the more special and memorable. Good thing, because none of us had a camera!
That was one time we really didn't need one, though. Eight Christmases later, we still talk about those baby turtles.
- Taking the Kids and Learning a Snow Sport
- Winter Thrills in the Alps
- The Social Network Hits the Ski Slopes
- Avoiding Nasty Winter Travel Surprises
- Taking the Kids and Remembering Stellar Trips to Get Up Close to Nature
- Cruising in 2011
- Finding a Toilet in Europe
- World's Top 10 Wild Rides
- Top 10 Artist Homes and Studios
- Air New Zealand's 777-300LR - A Look at the Future?
- Who Had the Worst Customer Service in 2010?
- Heightened TSA Security Is Necessary to Keep Us Safe
- TSA Has Its Security Priorities in the Wrong Place
- In 2010, the DOT Heard Our SOS
- AmEx Platinum: Expensive but Some Good New Extras
- Taking the Kids and Checking Out the Holiday Lights
- Christmas Trees and Manger Scenes
- Taking the Kids and Giving the Elves a Hand for the Traveling Family
- Terranea Resort Brings Mediterranean Style and Elegance
- The World's Top 10 Greatest Ceilings
- Passengers Say They Miss Luggage-Inclusive Airfares the Most
- Driving Home for the Holidays? You'll Get There -- Eventually
- The New Travelex Chip Card -- OK, But Not Great
- Plunging Into North England's Lake District
- Milan: A Big Italian Surprise
- Taking the Kids and Visiting Museums
- Taking the Kids To Puerto Rico
- New Online Destination Planning Program Tops the List
- Top 10 Unusual Things to Do at the Airport
- World's Top 10 Eccentric Constructions
- Ten Great Animal Statues
- With a Little Help From the TSA, 2011 Could Be a Flat Year for Travel
- Are Customized Prices Next for the Travel Industry
- Can't Use Your Miles? Give Them Away!
- 10 Ways to Stay Healthy During Holiday Travel
- Taking the Kids to a Ranch in Winter
- Slovakia: Booming Bratislava
- How Safe is a Cruise?
- Disney Turns to Guests to Promote Theme Parks
- World's Top 10 Ugliest Buildings
- 10 Fascinating Place Symbols
- What's Behind All Those Airline Change Fees?
- Taking the Kids and De-Stressing the Holidays
- Taking the Kids and Grabbing a Pre-Holiday Break
- Verdun, France: A Lesson About War
- Airline 'Code-Shares' Not Really 'Seamless'
- Taking the Kids to the San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park
- Taking the Kids to Kauai Hawaii
- Taking the Kids to Steamboat Springs Colorado
- Welsh Magic
- Cultural Voyeurism in Tangier
- European Restaurant Rules
- The Biggest Travel Gouge
- Online Travel Planning: For Real?
- Onboard Internet: Lots More Coming
- A La Carte Pricing: Coming to Cruises?
- Do They Hate Us?
- Are Travelers Overloaded By Social Media?
- Paying Up Front for Rental Car Nicks and Scratches
- Prague: Castle Scenes and Ice Cream Dreams
- Florence: The Cultural Capital of Europe
- Taking the Kids: Meeting Up with Some Ghosts and Goblins
- Taking the Kids: When Grown-ups Go Out to Play in the Fall
- Planning a Green Vacation
- How to Find Airline Seats for a Family Group
- Are Travelers Frill-Seekers? No, But Here's What They Really Want
- Tarmac-Delay Rules Give Travelers More Respect
- New Airline Tie-Ups: What Consumers Need to Know
- Southwest and AirTran Airlines: Six Things You Need to Know
- How to Fall Into a Real Travel Bargain This Year
- The Travel Industry Still Cares About You
- Save Your Money or Your Trip?
- Fall and Winter Travel Senior Discounts: Where the Deals Are
- Walking Tours Bring Europe's Cities to Life
- Taking the Kids to Oahu Beyond Waikiki
- Taking the Kids and Flying Safely with Young Children
- Travel Essential: Suitcase Guide
- Are Loyalty Programs Worth It?
- Big Exhibit? Avoid Lines and Hassle
- The Continental - United Merger: What's New
- Munich: Metropolis with Small-Town Charm
- Grown Ups Have as Much Fun Aboard Disney Magic as Kids
- Coping with Europe's 'Season of Strikes'
- 'Private Sale' Sites: Deals on Luxury Hotels and Cruises
- 7 Clauses to Beware of in Your Cruise Contract
- Glamour Camping
- Flying? Get on the Web
- Glamour Camping
- Spain: Parties and Processions in Andalucia
- London: Taming London in a Week
- Taking the Kids to Mesa Verde National Park
- Fall Vacation Travel: A Great Season
- Airfare Searches: Know the Right Places
- 'Tax Free' Airport Stores: Bargain or Hype?
- Organize a Tour and Travel for 'Free' But with Strings
- Oh No You Didn't! 5 Ways Travelers Have Lost Their Manners
- Travel Complaints That Fail: 5 Kinds of Emails You Should Never Write
- Air Travelers Let Your Voices Be Heard
- Car Rentals: You Missed the Scratch on the Roof
- Hey, What Happened to My Internet Connection?
- Taking the Kids RVing in Colorado
- Taking the Kids to Nantucket
- Praying and Partying in the Streets of Istanbul
- Revenge of the Hotel Clerks: Things They Do to Difficult Guests
- Sorry We Forgot About That $500 Change Fee
- Beware of Tour Operator 'Savings' Claims
- New Vacation Rental and Hotel Options
- Steven Slater Airline Meltdown Hardly a Surprise
- Taking the Kids to Boston Time Traveling Back in History in Boston
- Stockholm's Island Getaways
- Shorter Vacations? Tighter Budgets? Welcome to the New 'Normal' in Travel
- Do You Really Want to Take Your Pets Along?
- Travel Taxes: Bad, Getting Worse
- What to Pack for a Weekend Getaway
- Naughty No More: New York's 42nd Street
- Taking the Kids to NYC for the First Time
- Taking the Kids: Grandparents and Kids Take on the Big Apple with Elderhostel
- The World's Top Architecture Museums
- Taking the Kids: Seeing More Than the Typical Sites in New York City
- Rambling Through the Ruins of Europe's Castles
- Taking the Kids to NYC for the First Time
- Eco-Friendly Camping is About Putting Nature First
- Take a Magical History Tour
- Fall Travel Bargains Will Abound and Here's Where to Find Them
- If It's Called Secure Flight, Why Do I Feel So Insecure?
- Using Opaque Travel Web Sites Effectively
- Eldergadget: Creative or Condescending?
It's vacation and the teens are awake and ready to roll before 8 a.m.! The 22-year-old White has come down to Grand Cayman, his parents and sister in tow, to inaugurate Skate Cayman an 11-week summer program
Taking the Kids Camping & the Great Outdoors
Just being in a tent is an adventure for young kids, says Nancy Ritger, an Appalachian Mountain Club naturalist who has camped with her three teens since they were bab
Whether you want to learn to dive with your tween or snorkel with your kindergartner, teach your grade-schooler to sail or fly on a trapeze, you'll find plenty of opportunities at Caribbean resorts -- at prices that are surprisingly affordable.
Kids on a Plane! 5 Fixes for Unruly Junior Passengers
Kids on a plane. No four words incite more acrimonious debate among air travelers. On one side, you have childless customers who just want a little civility while they're locked inside a pressurized aluminum tube. Talk about oil and water.
Children in First Class: 3 Suggestions for the Kids 'Up Front'
The overwhelming number of travelers I spoke with said kids should be able to fly in first class if their parents could afford to pay the freight. But they were quick to add that they expected the children to behave.
(c) 2009 EILEEN OGINTZ DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.
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