August 18, 2017

Kayaking in Puerto Rico: Perfect Date Night or Missed Learning Opportunity?

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Kayaking Laguna Grande in Puerto Rico

When I started to plan our recent trip to Puerto Rico I knew that I wanted to kayak in one of the mysterious bioluminescent bays. Puerto Rico is home to three of these “bio bays” that glow with a bluish light when the water is agitated. Lucky for us, Laguna Grande was in Fajardo, not ten minutes away from our rental condo.

You need to kayak after dark in order to see the bioluminescence, so an evening with the guides of Kayaking Puerto Rico turned out to be the perfect date night (for me and my husband, not for me and the guides!). We kayaked through a mangrove channel, met another couple from the DC area and paddled our way into the bay.

Once we got to Laguna Grande, the guides shared more on the ecology of the surrounding nature reserve and we learned some of the history of Puerto Rico. We also had the opportunity to see the glowing blue light for ourselves, which while not as bright as I was expecting, was still an incredible experience.

The kayaking was amazing. The mangroves were amazing. The bioluminescence was amazing. Then I wondered whether I was selfish in keeping this experience from my daughter, Clare, who is eight years old. But would she have been able to keep up with the paddling? Would she have been afraid of the dark?

Pre-Kayaking with My Husband

Our kayak excursion departed around 7 p.m., so it was neither too late nor too dark when we got our start on the water (on the way back, however, it was very dark in the mangrove channel). There was one child close to Clare’s age in our kayaking group and my guess is she was around 10 or 11 years old. I saw her at the end of the tour and it was obvious that she struggled a little bit with the paddling.

I was just on the REI website and found this great article called Kayaking with Kids written by a woman who has been kayaking with her daughter since she was four months old, and then proceeds to offer various kayaking tips. The writer noted that by the time children reach age eight, they should be ready to paddle the bow of a two-person kayak.

So maybe Clare was ready? I may never know. I love to give my kids experiences, but I can’t get hung up on one missed adventure. Date nights are just as important as learning experiences, don’t you think?

Have you ever missed out on a fun, travel-related learning experience? Or, on the flip side, have you taken your kids out kayaking or on a zip line, for example, and quickly realized that bringing them along was a huge mistake? Let me know in the comments section below.

Comments

  1. Definite missed opportunity. We took our 8 & 10 year old kids on this trip – it was one of their trip highlights. We adults did most of the paddling, but the amazement of them seeing the dinoflaggelates was priceless.

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