Little French Key // Roatan, Honduras

Little French Key // Roatan, Honduras

So back in the beginning of 2019 my husband, our 3 kids and my mom wanted to do a Big Family Vacation that would be fun for everyone involved.   With 3 kids and Safta (grandma in Hebrew) we knew we wanted to do either an all-inclusive resort or a cruise because Mommy was not interested in being a cruise director.  I wanted someone else to be a cruise director.  So we decided on…a cruise! And we were so glad we did.  One of the best family vacations we’ve ever been on, for SO MANY REASONS.  We sailed onboard Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas, (stay tuned for future blog posts about this trip) and I could spend days on all the reasons we loved this vacation.  But just one of those reasons was our excursion to Little French Key when we stopped in Roatan, Honduras for our day at port.

King Triton, defending us vacationers from who knows what – maybe Urusla

After a couple of days at sea, our first stop was to Roatan, Honduras.  Roatan is a little island off of the mainland.  We wanted to go somewhere really special and after a lot of research decided on Little French Key.  Now you can’t book Little French Key through the cruise lines, and a lot of cruise lines will try to scare you away from booking excursions not through them.  They will frighten you with stories of people not getting back to the boat on time and yes, try searching on YouTube for “missing cruise ship at port” and you will find plenty of footage of people who for one reason or another literally…miss the boat.  Not fun and I don’t recommend it.  However the people who run Little French Key have been doing this for almost two decades and they have the process down, and that’s what makes this place so special.  The cruise ships like activities that can handle a huge volume of people, which is fine if you’re going to a big place that can handle that amount of people.  We’ve done plenty of shore excursions through the cruise ships directly and they can be great!  However this place operates more like a luxury boutique hotel and if the capacity wasn’t limited, it would ruin the experience. 

So we got ourselves breakfast on the ship, and then headed out to meet our shuttle to LFK’s little port.  As soon as you disembark from the ship, their drivers will be there waiting for your arrival outside the ship terminal. To get to their drivers from the Mahogany Bay’s Terminal,  walk outside and you see the taxi’s on your left. (If you have difficulty walking any Taxi will bring you to the outside of the gate for $2 per person – check with LFK to make sure this is still accurate), if not then please take a left and follow the main road up the hill for few minutes, until you get to the MAIN GATE OF THE PORT (this is important!).  Once you pass the   guard, keep walking down and look for the drivers on the right side. To get to your driver from the Coxen Hole Port of Roatan Terminal, When you get off the ship, exit to gate 1 for pick-up. You’ll find their representatives, who will supply you with the transportation to their private resort. Their drivers will always be wearing Frenchy’s 44 shirts with the LFK logo.

What’s up with the #44?  Click here to find out!

While we were waiting for our shuttle you will definitely see a more “real” view of Roatan ie poor.  However it was pretty clean and we didn’t feel we were in an unsafe area.  Once we got into our air conditioned shuttle van it was a 20ish minute drive to their port.  So LFK is a little island off an island and there’s a flatbed ferry to take you from one side to the other.  It’s very stable and is only about a 5 minute ride.  From there you get on the island, wait in line to pay for whatever package you decided on (we paid for the package that includes lunch, two drinks (could be alcoholic or if you are me and my mom you ask for two Diet Cokes) and for my husband and our girls we also got them a boat trip to go snorkeling, which they were crazy excited about.  LFK also includes paddleboards, kayaks and snorkel equipment (first come first serve) that my girls took advantage of before their snorkeling adventure.  My son was 5 ½ at the time and as he was too young for the snorkeling, he was more than happy to splash around in the absolute perfect water and playing in the sand.

My son’s happy place

First experience paddle-boarding!

The water!!  Oh my goodness, the water.  This was my kid’s first opportunity to experience just how warm the water is and they were like “where have you been my whole life???”  We live in the SF Bay Area and go to the beach quite often.  The water where we live, is cold.  Like I-will-stick-my-feet-in-if-I-have-to-but-it’s-really -freaking-cold and I’d be just as happy not to!  My kids will suck it up and get used to it because they love to be in the ocean but it’s NOTHING compared to the water in the Caribbean Sea.  So blue, so clean, so beautiful.  PRO-TIP:  If going with kids to LFK that aren’t strong swimmers, bring their puddle jumper!  There are spots where the water is deep enough that you need to swim, there’s fun activities like an “island jumper” that’s basically like having a bounce house in the middle of the water that’s a bouncy platform for the kids to climb on and then jump off and it would have been really nice to have his swimmy, but cie la vie.

I can fly!

My husband and our girls jumped off the ledge, me and our son…not so much

There’s a great spot to jump off a platform into the water and my son would have felt much more confident had we brought his swimmy.  It’s not like a water park where there are life vests all over the place, you need to bring your own.  Oh well, live and learn.  Still, we all loved the water and exploring the part of the island we were on, there’s benches over the water you can swim/walk to, swim up bars, over the water hammocks to lounge around on, even see-saws in the water.  Fun!

I tried to convince my kids to pose for Instagram but they were too busy swimming

That water – unbelivable

While my husband took the girls on their snorkeling adventure, my mom and I stayed back to relax on the chaise lounges – I mean supervise my son.  Our waiter was just amazing and took such great care of us.  Once my husband and our girls got back from snorkeling (which I was told was AMAZING!  We saw so many FISH!!  I was like a MERMAID!!!) everyone was hungry and we got our lunch, which was beyond delicious.  We got a combo plate with chicken, rice, fries and plantains.  If you are gluten free or vegetarian/vegan not to worry, just tell your awesome waiter and he or she will take care of you.  While you are visiting, of course there are souvenirs to buy.  I had a friend who had gone on a trip to Israel and brought me back a hamsa refrigerator magnet (I have a collection of hamsas) so I of course needed to find her just the perfect refrigerator magnet, which you can see here for yourself:

Tell me you wouldn’t want someone to bring you home this

 This is what your kids look like after a day at the beach

LFK has easy to spot signs that show the island time vs ship time and what time you MUST leave to get back in time for the ship.  We could have stayed longer than we did but we wanted to play it safe.  So after a day of enjoying paradise we knew we needed to pack it in and head back to the boat. 

We really can’t wait to go back.  (Although at the time of this writing we’ve been stuck at home because of Covid for 3 months so I’d be happy to go literally anywhere at this point, but I digress).  They have actual scuba diving, horseback riding, an animal sanctuary, swimming with the pigs and more.  I would highly recommend LFK if you want to enjoy a day of paradise with everything you could want for the day.  LFK is probably not the cheapest excursion you could do on Roatan but we felt it was great value for our money and we will definitely return for more time in paradise. 

What’s your favorite thing to do at the beach?  Swimming in the ocean?  Lounging on a chaise?  Kayaking?  Tell me in the comments below?  What would you see yourself doing at Little French Key?

Are you stressing out planning your honeymoon or just that perfect vacation?  Well you are in luck because my specialty is helping couples and families, just like you plan their ideal honeymoon or vacation of their dreams.   Click here for a FREE 30 minute consultation.  I can’t wait to hear from you!

3 Great Tips to Help You Navigate your Post-Covid Destination Wedding Plans  Without Causing Even More Stress and Worry

3 Great Tips to Help You Navigate your Post-Covid Destination Wedding Plans Without Causing Even More Stress and Worry

You’re newly engaged.  Congratulations!  What a crazy time to start planning a wedding, am I right??  Perhaps you’re even thinking,  we really want to have a destination wedding, how is this going to happen?  Perhaps you’ve set a wedding date or close to picking a date, and now you find yourself social distancing, staying home, and anxiously trying to make decisions about when, where, and how to start planning your wedding as the world grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic. To say these are uncertain times is the understatement of a lifetime. But… you have a lifetime ahead of you, and God willing, you get to spend it with your newly betrothed. That’s something to celebrate and think of what you’ll tell your grandkids someday!  And I firmly believe that when we’re all on the other side of this, there will be no more meaningful experience than a social celebration. So here’s my advice. Start planning! Here’s how… 

 

 

Tip #1: Pick a wedding date (or dates)

If you haven’t already, it’s time to determine when you’d like to be married. And then you need to select a few alternative dates. Now more than ever, flexibility is critical. Even if you’re planning an intimate celebration of less than 50 people, you may very well confront a shortage of available Saturdays in 2021. In many wedding markets, Saturday venue availability can be hard to come by in normal circumstances. That’s particularly true in coveted wedding destinations. That hardship may be amplified in 2021 because so many 2020 weddings have already had to postpone and reschedule into new 2021 dates. Take a deep breath, and remind yourself of the following:

  • The day of the week does not change the value, purpose, or meaning of your marriage, or of the way that you celebrate that marriage.  In fact, if you’re planning a destination wedding, depending on where you want to have it, might very well end up on a day that is most advantageous to your travel plans.  For example, you decided on a cruise and you’d love a beautiful beach wedding while you are at port.  Well if your ship is at that particular port on a Tuesday then your wedding will be on a Tuesday!
  • When we all emerge from our current reality, the world will be very different. Like you, your guests will also be craving meaningful social celebration. If they can make it happen, they will be there to celebrate you… on a Friday, a Sunday, or maybe even a Thursday.  The great thing about a Destination Wedding is that if everyone is there to celebrate your wedding, they are also there on vacation and that doesn’t mean confining yourself to a weekend in the slightest.  

Tip #2: Decide when you want to be married (as in married married, legally)

Do you want to be legally married this year?  That’s the first and most important question, and there is no right or wrong answer.  If the answer is yes, you want to be married, no matter what, there are several ways to approach this:  You can choose to forge ahead with your current wedding plans and prepare for how you might react if you are restricted to a smaller or different style event.  Or…You can decide to take a proactive approach and postpone your big party to next year. This is a good option if you find yourself obsessing over the news or constantly worrying “what if.”  This approach has been a popular choice among couples, as there are still a lot of unknowns – stress has no place in your engagement season!  With this option, you can still create an intimate wedding ceremony this year with a delayed reception in 2021, and something really amazing to look forward to!  Even if you are married in a small ceremony this year, you can still share a ceremonial exchange of your vows in front of your larger group of guests at your delayed reception in 2021.  And if you want permission to wear your dress twice, you have all our blessings!   If you’ve decided it’s safest (and less stressful) to postpone your original wedding plan (ceremony, party, and all) to a new date in 2021, an extra year of engagement may just mean extra joy on your wedding day!

Tip #3: Hire a Destination Wedding planner

This is the step that most mainstream wedding media articles will skip over. After all, it’s a luxury to hire a wedding planner, right? Yes it is. It’s also a luxury to hire a photographer, caterer, band, hair and makeup artist… and the list goes on. Have you ever heard the saying “Failing to plan, is planning to fail”? Well, it’s time to take that to heart.

Since quarantine measures were put in place, destination wedding planners have seen a steep rise in the number of couples reaching out, frantically seeking advice. Many couples have been forced to navigate uncharted territory of decision-making, contingency-planning, rescheduling, contract negotiations, cancellations, and extreme anxiety on their own. This is happening for couples of all budgets.

The bottom line is this: couples who have a full-service wedding planner have found themselves in a much better position. The rescheduling process has been smoother, more efficient, and grounded in expertise. Couples who do not have a planner have had to fend for themselves – or they’ve had to scramble to find someone to hire who can help them.

There are ample reasons to hire a destination wedding planner, but most people think the reasons to do so are just so that the wedding will be “organized”, “beautiful”, or “stress-free”. This is especially important when you are dealing with locations that are unfamiliar to you and you might not even see (or at most see once) before your big day.  In addition to your destination wedding planner being able to help you coordinate all the details for the actual ceremony and reception, she also can coordinate not only your travel needs, but also those of your guests so you are getting the most value for your (and their) budget.

We understand that a successful destination wedding or honeymoon, doesn’t just depend on a beautiful location, but also must have impeccable service, great restaurants, romantic suites and rooms, plus make your wedding and honeymoon a priority. That’s why every single destination wedding and honeymoon we design is perfectly matched to a resort and location that is based on your unique personality, dreams and vision as a couple. There are no cookie cutter experiences with us, and that is why we have a 100% success rate at giving our couples what they want.  Click here to request a free 30 minute consultation with me to discuss the destination wedding and honeymoon of your dreams without the stress and worry.  I can’t wait to hear from you!

XOXO,

Arielle