With only a few days left in Mexico, we decided it was time we checked out the very popular island of Isla Mujeres for ourselves. This little tropical hideaway, that’s just 20 minutes by ferry out of busy Cancun, is a day tripper’s delight. With miles of gorgeous white sand beaches, fantastic restaurants and tons of things to do it was sure to keep us busy.
All the kids cared about was that we were planning on renting a golf cart to get around for the day. However, we got off to a late start and nothing is ever guaranteed. Come along as we give you a rundown of how our day on Isla Mujeres went and if we’ll ever return…
Continue reading Golf Carts and Baby Turtles, a Great Day on Isla Mujeres
Like many desk-bound Canadians, I had always fantasized about finding the perfect tropical beach. A beach with the whitest sand, the clearest water, and most importantly, the fewest tourists.
In 2003, I had left a promising career on hold to explore Thailand in search of Garland’s perfect beach with Charles, who was then my boyfriend of just over a year.
The numbers themselves argued against being able to find paradise. Close to ten million tourists visit Thailand each year, with a good proportion of them hitting the touristy mainland beaches of Pattaya, and almost as many visiting the island of Phuket.
Join me as I search through sun-drenched islands in search of a paradise that may soon be lost to all of us.
Continue reading Backpacking in Search of Paradise
The Mayan Riviera has a reputation for being expensive and touristy.
There’s some truth to this, but it’s possible to check out some of the best sites in the area for not much more than the cost of decent latte.
The little beach town of Akumal wins big points for delivering one of the coolest attractions in the area for almost nothing: snorkeling with endangered green sea turtles.
Continue reading The DIY Guide to Snorkeling with Endangered Sea Turtles in Akumal Mexico
A few months back, we had the pleasure of spending time in the Hawaiian Islands with some friends. It was a hectic and fun vacation that ended much sooner than we would have liked. The day after our epic road trip around the island of Oahu, we finally got the chance to don our masks and snorkels and check out Oahu’s premiere snorkelling destination, gorgeous Hanauma Bay. With the wind in our hair and the sun overhead, we buckled the kids in tight and drove our convertible Jeep the short trip from busy Waikiki to the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve.
At the suggestion of our hotel’s tour desk, we arrived at the park around 8:30 a.m. Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve only…
Continue reading Snorkeling and the Beach at Hanauma Bay in Oahu
We love the road trip. There’s something about being on the road that makes anything seem possible. With the sun on your face, and the wind rushing past, any turn can bring a new adventure.
We rented a Jeep, rolled the top down, tossed some sunscreen and swimsuits in the back, and set out to find adventure on a family drive around Oahu.
Oahu’s coastline has crystal clear water, beaches around every turn and a backdrop of lush volcanic slopes. We spent most of our drive staring out the window going “Oooh – ahhh… look at that!” The scenery alone, which ranged from aquamarine ocean to soaring cliffs to sleepy seaside towns like Waimanalo, made our road trip…
Continue reading Rockin the Road Trip! Beaches, Fun And Sun On Our Drive Around Oahu
The island of Boracay in the Philippines is considered by many to be one of the nicest beach destinations in the world. It routinely makes it into the top 10 beach lists year after year. After a few moments walking the length of it’s three main beaches you’ll quickly understand why.
Yapak Beach (Puka Shell Beach) on the northern side is special because it’s entirely made up of white puka shells. Though this creates a slightly rougher sand compared to the famous white powder on White Beach, the color of the azure water and the quiet isolation easily make up for it.
The throngs of people that spend their waking hours walking up and down amazing White Beach or Kite Boarding on the windy Bolabog Beach rarely venture to this quiet area that is every bit as nice as it’s siblings. To get there you can…
Continue reading Travel Photo: Yapak Beach (Puka Shell Beach), Boracay, Philippines
Once we rented our car in Tamarindo, we knew it was only a matter of time before we headed out on a longer road trip. We had already enjoyed the nearby beaches and were looking for something a little different. We still had the condo for another week and a half at that point. For the amount we paid for the place we didn’t mind taking off for a few days and staying in a hotel to break things up.
The choice was either south down the Nicoya Peninsula or east to Lake Arenal and the volcano. At the last second we chose south and let me say it was a wild few days…
Continue reading A Rough Road that Shakes, Rattles and Rolls
With a need to see what Tamarindo and the Province of Guanacaste had to offer, we rented a 4×4 for a few days this week. One of the first places we checked out was the neighbouring beach, Playa Grande.
Knowing that it was one of the primary nesting grounds of the endangered Pacific leatherback sea turtle and the fact that we were right in the middle of nesting season we decided we needed to check it out. It was quite the adventure and seeing a Pacifice leatherback sea turtle on the beach in person left a lasting impression. We headed out to the Las Baulos National Park with the hopes of…
Continue reading The Endangered Leatherback Sea Turtle
One thing that we’ve discovered since getting into Tamarindo is that wildlife can sometimes surround you without actually having to search for it. We’ve also found that some monkeys can be a little intimidating. I’m not talking about their body size (though some of those male dangly bits look downright painful to have while hanging onto a 30 foot branch) but rather their sound.
The male howler monkey is known for two things out here. One is those afore mentioned dangly bits and the other is for the loud howling it does. It’s a bit of a unique sound and the closest I can approximate would be a cross between a Tarzan howl and a loud, deep guttural growl. They say that the howlers cry can reach almost 5 km’s and is one of the loudest land animals. After hearing it firsthand, I can believe it.
Now imagine this scenario. It’s five am the second morning after getting into Tamarindo. You’re feeling quite comfortable and secure in your 3rd story condo knowing that thieves or any “bad” people would need to jump the 10 foot high razor blade covered outer wall then perform a spiderman feat of climbing nearly 30 vertical feet to get to your balcony. Now imagine being woken up with superhuman loud guttural screams only feet from where you’re sleeping…
Continue reading Howler Monkeys or What The Hell Was That?
Because of the heat in this area, we’ve made it a point to stay out of the sun from 12 to 2 each day. Tamarindo is crazy hot and walking out of an air conditioned place into the afternoon sun is like walking into an oven. If you’re out and about at an earlier time and stay outdoors (preferably in the shade unless you like to punish yourself) it’s not so bad. Just like the boiled frog parable, if you slowly roast yourself you won’t realize how hot it is as the day wears on but if you jump into a boiling pot (or the rolling heat in this case) you’ll quickly realize how much folly it is.
That being said, the few times we have braved the elements at a neighboring beach club called the Langosta Beach Club and it’s about 2 blocks from our condo. It’s owned by a French company and everyone there seems to speak French, English and Spanish. They have a nice little pool, beach loungers, a few hammocks and one of the nicest stretches of beach (at least in my mind) right in front of the place. They also have a little bar and restaurant in the pool area and serve great food at somewhat reasonable (at least for this area) prices. Their bacon and avocado sandwich is quite delicious. Smoothies aren’t the cheapest we’ve seen but their strawberry one is heavenly on a warm day.
Continue reading Boogie Boarding Mishaps, Langosta Beach Club and Sweet Waves