Top Sun Safety Tips for Traveling

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There’s nothing much more exciting than going on a tropical island vacation.  But your excitement could soon turn to agony if you end up with a nasty sunburn.  We’re all for enjoying the sun, the sea and the sand, but we like to do it intelligently.  In an effort to help you do the same we’ve come up with a list of top sun safety tips for traveling.

Sunscreens Aren’t All Made The Same

Most people are aware that the higher the SPF (Sun Protection Factor) the longer you can stay in the sun, but they may not be aware that there’s a limit to the effectiveness of high SPFs.  It’s been found that anything over SPF 50 doesn’t get any more effective at protecting your skin. Be sure to use reef friendly sunscreen!

Sunscreen Expiry

Another thing that many people may not be aware of is that, like many foods, sunscreen has a best before date.  In the US, sunscreens are required by the FDA to remain effective for at least 3 years after being opened.  To remind you how long your sunscreen is still good, write the date you bought it in indelible ink on the container.

Cover Your Head

The worst way to find out you have a bald spot is by getting a sunburn on your head.  Prevent this rude awakening by wearing a hat when out and about.  If a hat doesn’t work for you, try a spray on sunscreen lotion.

The Best Sun Protection

Avoiding the sun completely is the most effective protection.  Of course this probably defeats the purpose of an island vacation.  So if you do want to take in some rays, the safest time to do so is outside the hours of 10am to 4pm.  Consider taking in some shade during these high UV periods.

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How to Have the Perfect Friends Getaway in Roatan

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Friends getaways are a great way to thoroughly catch up with old acquaintances without having to worry about time constraints, day to day responsibilities or other familial and occupational obligations.  With cheaper flights becoming more common, more and more people are adding a friends vacation to their list of annual holidays.  To help those who are planning such a trip we’ve come up with some tips on how to have the perfect friends getaway in Roatan.

Get A Vacation Rental

Vacation rentals are perfect for friends getaways.  Unlike a hotel everyone will always be together yet still have enough privacy to feel comfortable.  You’ll have your own living and lounging spaces, you can cook and eat together and you won’t have to worry about always appearing appropriate in front of other hotel guests.  You’ll be able to feel natural while you relax together in a home away from home.

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Plan In Advance

As we get older and further entrenched in our day to day lives, it gets much harder to make plans with friends.  For this reason, the farther in advance that you start your planning the more likely the vacation will go off without any scheduling conflicts or other frictions.  It’s also easier to book things for larger groups well in advance than it is at the last minute.  The farther out that you pencil in the dates of your vacation the easier it will be for it to take priority over other plans

Choose The Right Vacation

Know the types of things will make the ideal vacation for you and your friends and book accordingly.  Is your group the type that loves the sea and the sand?  Or maybe they’re more about shopping and dining in fancy restaurants.  Focus your vacation on the things that will make your group feel happy and easygoing.

Tips For Splitting Your Roatan Family Vacation Cost

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It’s taken many years of talking about it and several months of actual planning, but you’ve finally nailed down a family vacation on a warm, tropical island – congratulations!  But as you might have realized, working things out with a large group is very different than planning your own vacation.  A big point of contention is how much each person pays – especially when it comes to food.  To help sort that out, we’ve come up with some tips for splitting your Roatan family vacation cost when buying food.

The Communal Grocery Pot

One way to split food costs in large groups is to have everyone put a certain amount of money into a pot that’s used to buy communal groceries.  When the pot runs out of money everyone adds more.  If there’s money leftover at the end of the vacation, that can be divvied back to everyone who contributed.

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Each To Their Own

Another way is have everyone buy their own groceries.  Although this will cut out any arguments over what’s being bought or who’s eating too much, it’s not really conducive to bringing the family together at meal time.  You can alter this slightly by combining this method with one the above by creating a pot of grocery money for some planned shared meals.

The Best Chefs Competition

One way to get around worrying about food costs is to create a competition to find out who the best chefs in the family are.  Split up into teams and have each team take care of menu planning, grocery shopping and cooking on a specific day.  All the other teams vote on how much they enjoyed the day’s meals and at the end of the vacation the votes are tallied up to determine the top chefs.  What typically happens is that teams focus more on creating great meals than worrying about actual costs.  And everyone benefits!

3 Ways to Make Your Travel Memories Last Forever

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On our recent trip to Honduras, we booked a great Roatan rentals oceanfront property.  I took a load of photos, collected a bunch of souvenirs and went on a bunch of interesting excursions.  But beyond the typical loading of photos onto Instagram and Facebook, I wondered how I could make my travel memories last forever.  After a bit of brainstorming I came up with the following ideas.

Travel Container – One of the things that I bought on my travels was a box of cigars.  The cigars are all gone, but I’m still left with a pretty fancy box.  I’ve used this box to hold my leftover Honduras coins, a few matchbooks I picked up, some interesting rocks I found, along with some other small souvenirs I bought along the way.  The cigar box is perfect for three dimensional items and it’s easily handed to my friends who come over and allows them to dig through it as much as they’re interested.

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Travel Scrapbook – For all the bits of paper such as receipts, ticket stubs and my boarding passes, I pasted them into a scrapbook.  I figure I can continue to do this with other paper scraps that I get on upcoming trips and it will eventually become an interesting document of all my travels.

A Postcard – I typically still send postcards to friends when I’m travelling.  Yes, I know I’m old fashioned!  But this time I included my own address to the postcard list.  Not only did I end up with a personal reminder of my stay at the Roatan rentals oceanfront property, but I ended up with a local postage stamp as well.

Arch’s Iguana And Marine Park – Lalizeroatan.com

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Also known as the “chicken of the trees,” the Roatan iguana was traditionally hunted for its meat which was used to make a popular island stew.  Decades of overhunting caused the iguana to almost become extinct. Arch’s Iguana And Marine Park was established as a response to this environmental near-catastrophe and provides a natural habitat for thousands of iguanas to exist without being hunted.  Beyond maintaining a safe place for iguanas to live, Arch’s Iguana And Marine Park acts as a tourist attraction, an educational centre for local students and a meeting place for island conservation groups.

The sanctuary sits on 12 acres of land in French Cay on the south side of Roatan.  Founded in the late 1990s, it features jungle forest, nature paths, a marine reserve and access to the ocean.  Visitors are encouraged to touch, hold and feed the 4000 iguanas that live on the property. Every year a number of the iguanas are released to help maintain the wild population.  Visitors are also able to observe and feed tarpon and other fish in the marine reserve. Other animals found in the park include white faced, monkeys, white nosed coatis and land turtles.

The reserve allows local teachers and students to enter the park for free and provides introductory courses related to the indigenous plants and animals.  Agroforestry, reforestation and conservation practices are also taught to the students in hopes of furthering their interest in protecting the island’s environment.  The park also runs the Roatan Recycling Program which seeks to repurpose plastic water jugs for use in construction and plant propagation.

Lionfish Hunting in Roatan

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Since 1985 the Bay Islands’ reefs and fish populations have been under attack by the lionfish.  A native of the waters surrounding Indonesia, it’s not known how the fish became introduced to the West Atlantic.  It may have been a hitchhiker on an international vessel or it may have been let loose by an aquarium enthusiast.  Regardless of its origin, it’s causing havoc in the waters near our Roatan guest houses.

The lionfish is not only a fierce predator and voracious eater, it reproduces much faster than native species.  The female spawns every month and releases millions of eggs every year.  There have been studies directed at understanding the fish’s reproductive methods in hopes of curtailing larvae maturation, but it’s been found the most effective way to curb the population is to encourage lionfish hunting.

In 2011 the first lionfish derby was held and resulted in the capture of 1200 fish.  The Roatan Marine Park has since begun issuing spearfishing licenses to specifically target lionfish  No other fish species can be hunted in the park.  The license costs $50 which includes a workshop, an in-water skills assessment and a registered fishing spear.

Luckily, lionfish makes for good eating once properly prepared.  It’s white flesh is dense, but has a delicate buttery flavor.  It contains high concentrations of omega-3 oils and low concentrations of metals such as mercury and lead.  Lionfish and chips is a very popular dish in the areas around the Roatan guest houses, although the fish also lends itself well to baking, frying and other recipes.

The Benefits of Taking a Roatan Vacation

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Although you might be feeling guilty for surreptitiously checking out Roatan vacation rentals during work hours, you can hardly be blamed!  There are many benefits of taking a Roatan vacation and one of the biggest beneficiaries of your vacation (other than yourself, of course!) is your workplace.  It may sound counterintuitive, but it’s true.  Taking time off work will benefit your workplace.  Here’s why:

You’ll Come Back Happier : No one likes working with a grump.  By taking some time off in a warm and sunny environment you’ll be able to relax, unwind and come back with a fresh perspective.  This will not only benefit you by making you happier but also give your coworkers a smiley, relaxed, new you to work with.

You’ll Become More Productive : Vacations are an antidote to job burnout.  By getting away from the day-to-day routine you’ll be able to return with a new perspective and a renewed sense of mission.  Recharge your batteries by taking some time off to enjoy your Roatan vacation rentals and take a break from the daily grind.

You’ll Be More Healthy : Vacations are the ultimate stress reliever.  Stress increases your blood pressure, your heart rate and the production of the stress hormone, cortisol.  Stop these destructive processes in their tracks by going on a holiday.  Allow yourself time to relax, catch up on your sleep and let your immune system recharge.

Your Family Will Love You For It: Spending time with your family on vacation is one of the ideal ways to improve your relationships.  By taking yourselves out of the familiar, you’ll see each other in a new light and from a different angle.  Add some more context to your relationships by enjoying Roatan together.