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Journey to Cuba

Anna Maria Island

Welcome back to the second leg of our adventure!  By starting off if you have never visited Anna Maria Island then I must say, YOU NEED TO!!  It is one of the most beautiful and serene places on the coast of Florida!  I know there is beauty everywhere, but if you are looking for a quiet place that the kids can play in the water while you relax on the beach, then this is it!  Also, it is surprisingly very affordable! (If you do your due diligence in saving as much money as you can…)

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We actually stayed in a little cottage on Bradenton Beach which is really about 2 miles south of the point of Anna Maria.  We found that it was much more cost effective to stay here as opposed to the point of the island.  Plus it was just as beautiful and even less crowded!  If you are searching for places to stay on the island don’t let the poor images on Expedia discourage you from trying it out.  I was completely surprised!  To be honest I was a little worried because the pictures of where were planning on staying were really dated and looked like a dive.  But when we arrived we were struck by the quaint beauty of our cottage.

We stayed right across from the water in a 1 bedroom cottage that was very well kept and cleaned for about $180/night!  Which may sound like a lot but it really isn’t compared to $300 – $400 / night at other places.  Plus you could save money on shopping at the grocery store and just cooking at the cottage! It was stocked with pots, pans, dishes, etc.   There was a pull out couch for the kids and a whole kitchen and living room.  Realistically we could have stayed here a week and still not wanted to leave.  If your thinking about going for the best vacation ever then check out the Tradewinds Beach Resort in Bradenton!  It was heaven!

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White Sands and Fun!

We woke up early to get to the beach and walked down the road to a restaurant that served breakfast on the beach!    If you get to Anna Maria Island check out the Gulf Drive Cafe!  We couldn’t have been happier with the scenery service and food!

Eating breakfast and watching the waves crash on the beach only made us more excited to get out on the water. So we ran back to the house and grabbed some beach toys.  Yes, they have a full selection of boogie boards, rafts, buckets, shovels, and everything you need for a beautiful day at the beach.

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Jelly Fish

The kids immediately jumped in the water and Oliver kept trying to catch a good wave to body surf on.  Which if you have ever been to the Gulf side of FL might be a little challenging.  But he had fun trying anyways!  Heidi and I laid out on the pristine white sands and relaxed for a minute.  Really, it was proabably only about a minute because we wanted to have fun too!

So Heidi heads into the water and call out to me, “Um… I think I got stung by a Jelly Fish!”  So I ran over and took a look and sure enough she had a rash from the sting.  So, I told her to get back in the water and try to scrape whatever was left over off.  BTW… DO NOT PEE ON JELLY FISH STINGS!! The salt water helps reduce the pain and the acid in urine increases it.

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Mermaids and Chipi Chipi’s

After Heidi calmed down we decided to play in the sand.  Of course, as per family ritual the kids get buried!  We made the traditional mermaids with the kids.  Oliver was not too impressed with the “boobies” he got placed on him!  But it was still fun and laughs.

While digging one of the holes I was able to introduce my kids and wife to bean clams, or as my Aunt from Venezuela calls them chipi chipi’s. When we were kids she would gather hundreds of these tiny clams and make a soup out of them that is pretty delicious!

They are pretty cool little sea creatures and fun to watch.  If you dig a little hole and let the tide wash into it you can see all of these little clams wiggle their way back down into the sand.  The kids though that was pretty amazing.  So of course we dug a big enough hole that Oliver could sit down in and covered him up to his neck with sand.  When the tide washed over him he started screaming that he could feel the Chipi Chipi’s crawling down his pants.  We pulled him out… Eventually!

Watch Ollie become a Mermaid below!

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On to Miami!

We stayed at the beach for quite a while and honestly did not want to leave.  But we did have to be at our hotel in Miami in the morning so we packed up and piled back into the car for our 3 hr drive.  We stopped along the way and tried to find some Alligators along Alligator Alley in the middle lower part of Florida.  However, we had no luck.  It was still pretty beautiful though!

We made it to Miami and of course it was storming.  Not just a little rain.  I love sitting on the beach while its raining.  This was winds pelting sand in your face and waves so big that even I did not want to venture out into a pounding of my face into the sand.  But really we were just there to sleep and get to Cuba!

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Thank you!

Thank you for letting me talk about how much fun we had!  If your following along, be sure to keep reading on the next post!  You will get to see Cuba and maybe a little too much drinking because the Cruise ship we were on had free drinks!  So… Who can say no to unlimited margarita’s?  We know I can’t!

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