FAQ Answered: How Do You Travel SOLO

solo10As continue down my top five list of most frequently asked travel questions, we venture into the realm of solo traveling. Because many of you who read my blog also follow me on social media, you are aware that I have taken many trips near and far by myself. Because of this, I am frequently asked:  How do you travel by yourself? Aren’t you scared? Isn’t that boring?

solo-travel-quotes-streettrotter-1

The short answer is no, I’m never scared to travel by myself and no I am never bored. I absolutely enjoy solo travel and I do understand that most people are apprehensive, as they feel safer in the company of at least one other traveler. I think I can attribute my guts and enjoyment of solo travel to my military career. I began my military career at the age of 18 and found myself the day after Christmas at JFK making my way solo across the Atlantic to my first duty station in La Maddelena, Italy. A tiny Island that I have blogged about before. Additionally at the age of 18 I lived in Italy in my own apartment for 2 years, so let’s just say fast forward 15 years later, I’ve got the hang of the solo thing.

47a081b6-26d5-4a35-a37b-cd9cee5517f8

I most certainly understand the apprehension about solo travel, but I can almost guarantee you that solo travel is one of the most liberating things that you can do in your life time. Solo travel is a time of self reflection and discovery, a time of inner peace and calm, as well as a time to really have an adventure. Let go of the idea that something is going to go wrong, or even that you are going to get hurt. Do not attach those negative thoughts to solo travel because negative things can happen anywhere including your own neighborhood. Now I’, not telling you to throw caution to the wind, as you are traveling solo you do fall into a demographic to be targeted, but by exercising the same amount of caution and awareness you do in your own country, you will minimize the risk of bad things happening in a foreign country.

n-woman-eating-alone-in-restaurant-628x314

How do you truly know if you’re ready for Solo travel? Surely you do not want to buy a ticket half way across the globe only to discover that you hate the sight of your own shadow and fall into a depression about going home? Am I right? For those of you who are curious and bold about going on a journey that will transform your life, I do suggests doing a test run at home before you jump into the big leagues of solo globe trotter.

solo-7

First, things first , you must test if you are comfortable in your own company, as solo travel requires that you spend lots of time with yourself or making new friends, Many believe that the cure to solo travel is a outstanding people person personality. While that is a great attribute, it’s not a must but one must be very comfortable in their own company and that my friends is not negotiable. So, on to testing this theory.

These are some of the things I have done by myself in my own city: movies, dinner, drinks meeting new people, parks and social events to name a few. If you read any of those and said no way! Chances are you are not a good candidate for solo travel. But just to be sure I would advise anyone who is curious and think they would like to do a solo trip to first start doing things by yourself at home. Go to a local restaurant solo and order a meal, dine in by yourself. Go to a local bar order a glass of wine and sip by yourself. If the thought of this freaks you out, you’re not ready. If you do follow through and you feel uncomfortable and wish you had someone to talk to you may not be ready either. But if while having dinner you do not feel awkward, you strike up good conversation with the waiter and before you know it, you have paid your check and you’re out the door, Solo travel may be on your horizon.

cayman

What many of you who ask me if I’m not scared or bored to travel solo don’t realize is that I don’t do anything abroad that I don’t already do in my own city. I love to explore and discover new things and not having company to me is never a good excuse not to do things. If you wait on company to do things in life you will most certainly miss out on the opportunity of a new experience and possibly meeting new people. My second tip is if you have tested out doing things by yourself or you are comfortable in your own company but you wonder about the safety of being by yourself, I suggest making your first solo trip to be in the Caribbean. Go to a resort that is all-inclusive. You get to be in a safe and controlled environment where beach and drinks are at your finger tips and you don’t have to venture much into the local surroundings unless you want to.

carib

This kind of solo travel also allows for a solo traveler to easily meet others as the hotel often has tours that many other hotel guest take part in and are forced to interact with each other. A trip to the Caribbean is easy way to get rid of the jitters. As you graduate to solo Globe traveler, it becomes more complex. Being aware of your surroundings at all times and make smart decisions are key to feeling at ease overseas. The same rules apply when traveling to big cities abroad. Do your research, read up on the safety of the country, tips on what to be aware of etc., like in Paris there always an announcement about being aware of pick pockets, while I am very cautious of my wallet, I do not allow a caution to make me miss out on my travel experience. Remember that big outgoing personality I mentioned earlier? That comes in handy here. Be open to conversation. One of the best parts of solo travel is striking up a conversation with a stranger, learning you have many things in common and returning home with a lifelong friend abroad.

 

cuyana_travel_bali_003

Lastly I do not ever get bored on solo travel. I try to fill my days with many of the same activities I would have done if I was with a travel companion or a group of friends. However, I also try to get some much needed R/R on a solo vacation. I cannot tell you how many times I go on vacation I come back even more tired than when I left because my days were so action packed. Solo travel gives you the ability to cater to your own schedule, your own likes and your needs. Traveling in a group requires many compromises etc. that is a nonfactor in solo travel. Oh, by the way don’t worry about how you are going to capture that perfect picture for Instagram if you’re by yourself. This is where asking a stranger to take a picture comes in, most times it leads to making a new friend, and if all else fails travel with your selfie stick!

solo-9

Thanks for reading and I hope you got some tips on how to kick off your own solo traveling career. You may have noticed that I didn’t go the usual caution ahead, safety first, watch every bend and curve route. Use common sense, if you feel unsafe do not proceed and use your best judgement as you do at home. The idea is to get you to be comfortable in your own company and the rest will surely follow. Happy Travels!

 

FAQ Answered..How Did You Score That Deal?

Rome, Italy

If your late to the party,I recently decided to do a series of blogs based on my most frequently asked questions. If you missed the answer to my first question, no worries scroll down. While I would like to answer the extensive list of question I am asked, its impossible. Well, not impossible, but lets just say I won’t. I will cap this series at my 5 most frequently asked questions. On to question two.

The second most frequent  question I am asked is: Can you tell me what sites you use? Or what are your secrets for getting a deal?

Answer: I cannot tell you how many times I write down a website that displays deals for travel for someone and a few months later they are again asking, what’s the website again? That tells me you do not value travel as much as I do and while you would like to get a deal, you’re not willing to do the research or take the time necessary to plan a trip.  People who do all the travel plans for someone else are called travel agents and they get paid. I don’t so, while I am not opposed to sharing information be mindful that this is extensive work,so if your serious about learning take notes.

There are multiple websites that provide a round-up of weekly or daily airfare deals but you have to be adamant about checking these sites daily and frequesntly.Oh, you thought the travel life was just an easy glamorous thing to do? If you did you are so wrong and really in for a rude awakening when you realize how much work it takes to score a deal. Lets get into the sites I use. My go to site when in the beginning stages of planning my trip is http://www.skyscanner.com. I love skyscanner because it allows you to do an open-ended search. What I mean by that is, I can for instance put In my departure city , leave the destination blank, select entire month or options such as cheapest month for my dates, then hit search. What happens next is a traveler’s dream. Skyscanner, populates a list of every deal from, for instance from NYC in order of price, from cheapest to highest. Additionally the list is separated into U.S. and International.  In plain english, if you have ever sat in front of your computer and wondered where is the cheapest place for me to travel to, today, tomorrow or 6 months from now, skyscanner will become your favorite new website. I can go on forever about the capabilities of skyscanner so I’ll stop here. In terms of user friendliness, I will say it does take some practice to really learn how to get the most out it , but if you are dedicated to learning you’ll get the hang of it.

Just because I favor skyscanner doesn’t mean that I don’t utilize sites such as kayak, Expedia, cheap tickets etc. I hope your starting to see how exhausting finding a deal is, you must compare and contrast. You can get lost for hours on the internet searching and I sometimes do. Another  favorite site is  theflightdeal.com, this site updates daily deals and error fares. This is a site that, the minute you see a deal you have to book right away, because once the airlines realize an error fare is circulating, they close the deal down immediately. While theflightdeal is very useful it’s very complex to use for a novice, they do provide step by step guides on how to use the site, but trust me it takes lots of time to get the hang of it. That’s also another reason why travelers who are experts don’t share secrets and sites with those who ask, it turns into endless phone calls and text messages about how to navigate these sites. I don’t know about you, but this can be exhausting.

More than any site my go to secret is social media… Yes Instagram, Facebook and Twitter are the fastest ways to find d a deal. You spend hours on social media anyway, why not make it rewarding. Follow people who are all about travel, like me @chic_traveler, I know shameless plug. Follow travel groups as they often share with their followers immediately when a flight deal that can’t be missed pops up, same goes for Twitter. Keep in mind that in order to maximize the benefits of these groups on social media, you should become a member. Most of these groups are secret groups on Facebook who have a membership process so you will have to do the leg work to gain access.Two of my favorites to follow are TravelNoire and Nomadness to name a few. If you want to be about that travel life, you should be surrounding yourselves with like-minded people and becoming apart of a travel family. Once you have aligned yourself with travel friends and groups on social media, the information will begin to flow. If you take nothing else away from this blog, immediately go and follow some travel pages on social media.

There are many websites  I utilize as I eluded before and as you may start to catch on from my blog, when I repeat things continuously, I’m probably trying to emphasize a very important piece of information to you. Point here is, don’t go getting married to one site or one tip, utilize every site and leave no stones unturned when it comes to finding a deal. For those who wish to plan a trip and don’t know where to start one of the best  sites I have come across to date for trip planning, especially for a group is  www.travefy.com. It’s a place where you can really organize yourself. Some of the features includes creating an itinerary, inputting hotel and flight details, requesting payment from the group and tracking payments to name a few. My blog is only capable of discussing so much, so I encourage you to log on and explore these websites mentioned for yourself.

The last thing I will discuss when it comes to secrets is something I briefly touched on the  first blog of the series, losing your commitment to travel dates. While I do understand that not everyone has the flexibility to just go as you please  for many reason, kids, family, work etc. It is very important that you understand that the reason why you can never find a good airline ticket deal is because you are committed to set dates. Find the deal first then plan the trip. I have bought airline tickets for 6 months in advance because it was an amazing deal and I figured out the rest later. Many of you may go back to the reasons previously listed, as to why you can’t do this, but in reality you can. You are just too committed to being the perfect planner to try. My travels are dictated by the deal period. I use to be like you once. Picking a set date, requesting the vacation time,booking the hotel and airfare, then spending hundreds on dollars on a trip, that could have cost my less had I been more flexible.

My travel is sporadic and is a combination of planning and going with the flow. I cannot give you a perfect plan because I rarely ever have one. Most of my trips usually start with me calling my best friends saying hey you see that deal for ( fill in the blank), yes… you want to go .. ok ..booked. My only compass is whatever is cheap and requires the least vacation days. Sounds crazy but that’s really how 90 percent of my trips start out. After securing the flight deal, I then start looking for options for where I will sleep. Sometimes I do this months in advance if I plan to go the normal hotel route(i.e. staying at the Hilton etc), but as you can see by now, I’m rarely a normal traveler. Booking hotel and flight together work for all-inclusive, but in the art of finding a deal on airfare this isn’t so. I sometimes book my hotel  a week before I leave, or sometimes even the night before. Now if you’re not savvy with deals, I suggest you give yourself plenty of time, but  depending on destination, chances are a deal can always be found on hotels, utilizing sites like hotwire.com or priceline.com method of  blind booking. Yup blind booking, meaning you don’t see the name of hotel until after you pay. Some see it as taking a gamble but if you stick to the rule of 4 stars and above ratings, you rarely go wrong. There are many sites or apps that have last min hotel booking rates (something that would require a whole other blog to cover).

Again I’m sure your either scratching your head wondering did you miss the secret, or you were enlightened that travel is accessible to all utilizing websites that are available  via the world-wide web. I hope  you are opening your eyes to the fact that, we can all travel the world, given a little effort to find a price that works for whatever your budget is. If your shocked at my answers, I have done my job in this blog, dispelling the notions that travel is this mysterious thing only done by those who have heavily lined pockets, truth is most frequent travelers have pockets heavily  lined with information.

HOW DO YOU AFFORD TO TRAVEL SO MUCH!

img_8221
Being a frequent traveler means that I am bombarded with tons of frequently asked questions. Whether it be from close friends, family or strangers. There always seems to be a sense of admiration and mystery between those who travel often and those who do not. I thought it would be a good idea to do a series of blogs answering the most frequent questions I am asked by everyone in regards to my travel adventures. These questions are probably what draws most people to blogs and other travel related forums. I have realized that, I haven’t really shared much of my travel inside scoop with you and your probably wondering when, or have already said forget this blog. I hope it’s the latter and your still there waiting on me to share.

 

making-travel-a-priorityNow most travelers are not going to give away all their secrets and honestly it’s not because they don’t want you to get a piece of the deal too, however what happens when secrets are shared is that the secret is exposed and dried up. It’s not really for lack of wanting to share, but more so protecting the loop holes so they do not close permanently, by those who are inexperienced in handling them. My best advice to those who are interested in getting on the frequent traveler train is to align yourself with a travel group or forum or blog. They will share with you much of what they do and how they get greats deals. OK! enough of my rambling on… back to the reason at hand. I’m asked many questions, so I will answer them one at a time, so I am not overwhelming you with information or ideas.. here we go

vieques-travel-guideThis is probably the number one question anyone who has more than 2 travel photos posted on their Facebook or Instagram per year is asked. How can you afford to travel so much? Followed by comments like, you must make a lot of money, I have bills, I have fill in the blank.. the list goes on and on…throw in some judging and side eyes and you get the picture.

Answer: The best answer I can give to this question is I am able to afford traveling so much because it’s a priority to me, much like whatever it is you believe is an essential part of your monthly bills are to you. That includes expenses such as rent, food, utilities children, school… you get the drift. You will never be able to afford to travel the way I do if you do not hold traveling as a high priority in your life. Many of you see travel as a luxury, a reward only tapped into when you have earned it. For me traveling is an essential part of who I am and  how I  learn and grow in the world. Traveling is as important to me as education because it is a form of education to me. Yes it’s fun but I truly believe that traveling the world is the best way to break down barriers, cure ignorance and be connected to the global community.

savingThe financial aspect of travel is probably the most important piece you are interested in but to me its really not the most crucial part of frequent travel.. shocking .. I know! Here is how I approach it. I have a separate bank account for travel. I transfer a set amount or an amount I can afford to each pay period. That account is used for all things travel related and if its empty I don’t travel. If it’s low I don’t travel until its replenished. You have to make a conscious effort to set aside money for travel and in order to do so I find that creating a separate account works best.. that’s it .. that’s my secret! just messing, read on for what i view as the most essential aspects.

faq1-1Now, if you do not hold traveling to the same standards as I do, traveling will always be something far fetched for you and it shouldn’t be. Additionally, I am able to travel so much because like anything else I buy, I like a bargain. I love deals and I make it my business to know about all things travel, which includes budget traveling. Yes, there are times when I don’t mind splurging on a vacation, again this goes back to my initial statement, traveling is a priority to me,like any other expense I have. But what many of you may not believe or comprehend is that, traveling is really not as expensive as you may think. Not quite the epiphany answer you thought you were going to get right? Traveling is really a personal thing and how you view it will make all the difference in how much you do it.
everyonecantravel2

Yes there are deals out there but not the kind of deals most people think, like for instance it’s not like Macy’s where there is a 50 percent off coupon sent to your house every week, and no matter who you know that works for an airline they cannot get you a discount. They simply get you a pass to travel standby, but in no way shape or form can they affect the price of a regular ticket. See,  to be a true traveler, it takes research and education. Unfortunately most people don’t have the patience or the desire it takes to learn the necessary information, thus leaving them to believe that traveling is a luxury not for the common man.

travel-deals3 Deals come in various forms such as airline glitches.. yes a glitch meaning an error. Technology is a gift and a curse for airlines. Sometimes in rear occurrences a glitch allows a blessing of a cheap airfare to travelers.. That’s more advanced and would have to be discussed in another blog. Then there is simply seasons.. !! what? the season you say? Yes.. you know winter fall spring etc.. Much like your wardrobe travel is dictated by season. Every destination has a high and low season.. if your becoming a smart traveler this is where you make the connection to,  little money means you travel in the low season( hope you caught that nugget). The biggest tip for travel is you cannot, I repeat, you cannot book a flight based on set dates and expect the best deal. You must be flexible, find the deal first then plan the travel around it. Yes there are times when I want to go to a specific place at a specific time, however if the price is right I’m always willing to change my dates and destination.

635980110274468802-228423895_travel.jpgThe average person who plans a vacation is too committed to their dates and destination to ever really find a deal. Let go of those dates, be flexible in your destination and you will find traveling a cheaper experience. Lastly, research. On average when I am going somewhere I compare at least 5 different websites for prices. Just because you saw a flight for 400 dollars on Expedia doesn’t mean you can’t find a cheaper deal on Travelocity. You cannot buy the first ticket you see without comparing different outlets.

You must search and compare and manipulate your dates.I buy the cheapest ticket right away, airline tickets don’t ever get cheaper, they always go up so try to lock in the price you see as soon as possible, if you do not have much time for planning. You should always buy tickets at least 14 days in advance for the best price, and even that is cutting it close if you’re not an expert at finding deals.

Not quite the insight you were hoping I’m sure, but what I’m trying to drive home to you is that traveling is not a luxury and anyone can afford it according to their own budgets however it takes research, patience and flexibility.Yes, you must come up with a financial plan for doing so like opening a separate account, or hiding 5 dollars a week under the mattress.. you get my point the idea here is not to get caught up in the financial tactics of travel, but to open your mind to resources and education, that allows traveling to be just as cheap as that pair of shoes you caught on discount or that black Friday TV you camped out for.. same concept.In order to indulge in and frequently partake in travel your mentality about travel has to change and that is the key to affording travel! Trust me it didn’t all click for me overnight either, but one day it did and I became a smart traveler!

Lost In Translation !

collage-lisa

          It’s been a year since my last Blog! Its been quite an adventurous year and I’m so excited to get back to sharing my  travels with you. Where do I even begin?  Since my last blog I have visited 9 countries, earned my Masters and recently became a Chief Petty Officer in the Navy…quite a year right?

I have missed sharing my adventures with you and now that I have some free time, I plan to reminisce.  I’ll give you a quick highlight, and when i say highhlight….. that means pictures! I will follow up at a later date with the intricate details of  how to create your own future adventures in the places featured.

Lets just say this year I truly felt like Carmen Sandiego as I crisscrossed around the world. From the beautiful Caribbean to Europe and Africa. I was able to cross off many places that I have longed to visit, made a second stop in some of my favorite cities and even managed to visit a few places that weren’t quite at the top of my list.

mykonos2

Mykonos

First up was Mykonos, Greece. I am fortunate to get to Greece every year, but  was excited to finally make it to Mykonos, the party island, a reputation it most certainly lived up to.

athens

Athens

Up next was the city of Athens. Although I have visited Greece many times, my final destination has always been the island of Crete, this was the first time I was able to explore Athens for more than just a few hours on a layover. Athens was a beautiful historical experience.

london

London

A short stop in London created some amazing memories. Then I was off to Reykjavik Iceland. From the beautiful blue lagoon, the northern lights and interesting food choices this was definitely  one of my most memorable trips of 2016.

 

iceland

Geyser, Iceland

Then came my usual birthday celebration where I chose to go solo to the beautiful Cayman islands. I was shown the island in a day by a cousin I met for the first time while there!

cayman

7 Mile Beach, Cayman Islands

However the real highlight of my travels this year was my graduation celebration.  Myself and  4 of my friends decided to do an epic euro trip titled #lsummer16.  This was by far my best travel venture to date.

milan

Duomo, Milan

venice.jpg

Venice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

morocco

Morocco

 

 

We started  our trip in Milan, made a day out of Venice, then caught a redeye to Morocco where we spent my best friend’s birthday getting a true taste of Morocco culture. Redeye’s seemed to be an every other day occurrence, as  we were off to Barcelona where we ate tapas and explored the amazing architecture… and you     guessed it found ourselves on  another redeye back to

 

paris

Paris

rome

ROME

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Milan for a one night affair. We then caught an afternoon flight to Paris. Paris,  one  of my favorite cities, second to my hometown of New York, was amazing as always and after a beautiful time spent there, we ventured to Rome for a day, then  back  to Milan before heading home. Sounds like an exhausting adventure? your right it was, but it was more

spain

Barcelona

than worth it! I came back just in time to find out I was selected to become a Chief  in the Navy, and cried when I realized I had to give up my entire summer to get through the selection process. But, oh  how  sweet it was,to get through the process and jump on a flight to Curacao,  for some well needed relaxation in the sun.

 

curacao

Curacao

I am happy to be back and I cannot wait to fill you in on my crazy world wind adventures of 2016!

Cabo San Lucas

IMG_9750

I’ve been away for a little while. Between Grad school and work I haven’t been able to be as committed to updating my blog as frequently as I would like to and I promise to do better, so with the pleasantries out of the way lets talk about, Cabo San Lucas.

As I’ve  mentioned in my blogs my friends  and I live for traveling. We celebrate everything and anything that gives us a reason to  pack our bags and board a plane. On this occasion we were celebrating my best friend graduating with her masters. Any one that has been through a graduate program knows its a tremendous amount of sacrifice that leaves you exhausted. My best friend  did not want a trip that would involve her spending her days  being too active. We were looking for an escape that was relaxing, tranquil, included lots of drinks and Cabo  San Lucas was the perfect destination! It has also always been on my list of places to go.

Graduate,Masters Class of 2015,

Graduate,Masters Class of 2015,

As much as I have traveled I have never been to Mexico and I was always curious about the fabulous city of Cabo. This blog will be short and sweet as I spent most of my days lazily by the pool with a drink in my hand and I can’t see you being that interested in the different color bikini’s I wore.Lets Dive into the details

The Logistics:

Now one of the things that you must keep in mind in the logistical stages of your trip planning is that you must leave no rock unturned when it comes to getting a good deal. Just because you got a good deal last time from a certain website doesn’t mean this time it’s the best deal. You have to be committed to dedicating a few hours of your time to researching a variety of sites and options. If and when you come across a deal that you believe is a great deal book it right away! You will always regret not doing so.

Hotel & Flight:

Riu Santa Fe

Riu Santa Fe

This trip was booked through cheaptickects.com. We wanted to do an all-inclusive package something I’m not really a big fan of but figured it was not a bad idea since we planned to spend most of our time at the resort relaxing( the reason I’m not a fan of all-inclusive is the food is never great and the drinks are never strong).

IMG_9322

We settled with a really great deal for the Rui Santa Fe. It was a beautiful resort with an amazing  infinity pool with a view. The hospitality of the hotel was great and the rooms were a good size and nicely furnished. The hotel is about a 45 minutes ride from the airport and a 15 minutes ride from the town center. There are plenty of taxi’s at the airport to take you to your hotel but if you are  particular planner like myself, you will want to have it all pre arranged. I booked my transport to and from the airport via Viator.com. A few of my friends needed to book at the airport and it was sill quite simple. The cost was around $17.00 each way. Yes U.S. dollars.

We flew American Airlines as that was included in the package.(American is not one of my favorites by the way but a deal is a deal). One of the issues you will run into if you are flying from the North East to Cabo is that there are no direct flights to Cabo and depending on your connections, what should be a 4 hours trip can easily turn into 13hours. Fortunately I was able to get a connection through Chicago that was only a one hour layover for both departure and return legs of my flights.

Friends

Friends

Because we were doing all inclusive and I knew I would literally have an endless amount of food and drinks I didn’t do my usual ritual of changing my currency prior to leaving instead I just carried American dollars with me as it’s widely accepted and used in Mexico but keep in mind you will get Peso as your change.

Tips:

I know everyone hear all inclusive and assume they are going to get  a serious buzz  all day from the unlimited drinks..wrong! The drinks at an  all inclusive resorts are usually bottom self non premium liquor and therefore not as impactful. The drinks are also usually very sweet and melt within two seconds. Now I’m not saying all resorts have terrible drinks but most do when its free. Do yourself a favor and take advantage of duty free liquor. Get yourself some premium liquor because unless you pay for it or go to a non resort bar that is not what you will be getting at the resort.

The food, lets just say its  better looking than it taste. While the food wasn’t disgusting we found ourselves picking through our food to find a particular thing we really liked. Breakfast was most certainly the best meal of the day.

Sipping and Lounging

Sipping and Lounging

Most all inclusive resorts do have specialty restaurants  but you must make reservations for the week in advance. Do it at check in or you will have a tough time getting into the place you would really like to try.

Dinner

Dinner

We did venture into the town   to eat and shop with the locals while there. There are plenty of small markets that you can buy souvenirs and plenty of local restaurants. There is also a really big high end mall in the downtown area. Please do not buy the first thing you see. They are very receptive to you bargaining for a good price and someone is always willing to sell  the same thing for a cheaper price. We ate at a small taco shop and the tacos were ok but not quite the Mexican food moment I expected but what’s the point of travel if you don’t venture out to see the people, eat the food and partake in the culture.

Taco Tasting ,Town Center Cabo

Taco Tasting ,Town Center Cabo

IMG_9739

People watching

People Watching

If you have ever been to Mexico and even if you have not beware and make sure that you keep your wits about you. Although Cabo is a really luxurious part of Mexico there is always a potential for danger. Do not accept anything from anyone and be mindful that because Mexico has a huge illegal drugs market you may get approached and offered the opportunity to buy and do such things.

Resort Beach Los Cabos

Resort Beach Los Cabos

Overall I had a very relaxing trip and I would recommend Cabo to anyone looking for a good group getaway especially if you are looking for a luxurious relaxing trip. There are clubs and plenty of action in Cabo but I wasn’t there for that kind of scene so I cannot give too much details on the night life! It was a fun experience but was a welcomed departure from my usual active and adventurous trips I usually partake in.

As always thanks for reading and see you on my next adventure!

Dubai..City of Gold Part I

IMG_6863

Dubai was on my short top ten list of places to visit. My good fortune of career choice allowed me to visit Dubai several times before this journey. I feel somewhat blessed to have had a front row seat to the development and transformation that took place and has resulted in Dubai being one of the top places to visit in the world. My first visit to Dubai was around 2004. It was still in the development stages and buildings were being built faster than an ant cartoon.I distinctly remember being in taxi’s and the taxi driver would say” Do you see that?” pointing some new project, “do you know Disney World?, well its going to be ten times larger than Disney world”. Dubai’s mission has always been to have everything larger than what the current world record was.

Continue reading

St.Maarten, The Friendly Island

St. Marteen

St. Marteen

My friends and I welcome any opportunity we get to travel to a new place. One of the ways I justify constantly being on a plane is by celebrating everything and I do mean everything. I celebrate my birthday, friends birthdays , graduations and the list goes on. I think you get the picture I use every event and occasion as a reason to get away.  So in the spirit of celebrations I decided to celebrate my 31st Birthday in St.Marteen. I went into this trip not quite sure of what my expectation should be. As someone who frequently visits the Caribbean I think its fair to say I expect beautiful beaches and unique cuisines, but as I dug into doing research on things to do in St.Marteen I realized was in for a very different experience.

The Logistics:

Before going to St. Marteen beware that the Island is separated into two sides. St. Marteen( dutch side) St. Martin( French side).

As I begin to share more of my travel experiences I realize I am revealing bits and pieces of who I am. At the time of the trip I was a Jetblue employee so fortunately for me I only paid the taxes for getting to St. Marteen. The flight is about 3 and half hours from JFK.

Hotel: I booked my hotel through hotwire.com blind booking where the hotel is not revealed until after payment. Hotwire is one of my go to places for getting a great deal on beautiful hotel properties around the world. I have used it for a very long time and I have never been disappointed with my selections(granted I do stick to 4 and 5 star selections only).

For St. Marteen I chose an hotel on the dutch side because rom my research prior to my trip its was heavily documented that the Dutch side had more activities  and the French side had the best food. My hotwire hotel revealed The Flamingo Resort on the Dutch side. It was a beautiful hotel right on the beach front and was a suite set up with kitchenette and lots of space.

Flamingo Resort, St. Marteen

Flamingo  Beach Resort, St. Marteen

Flamingo Beach Resort

Flamingo Beach Resort

As always the best deals are in off peak travel months. I went in April and happen to be there during their Carnival celebration. Being there during that time was good but may be a little less entertaining if you are not into the carnival scene. St. Marteen is a really small island and while there the entire island is at the Carnival celebrations. depending on what you are into that may be a good or bad thing for you doing local things in April.

Arrival:

The airport was easy to navigate. Its typical small island airport. Taxis were readily available to take us to the hotel and the min we stepped foot outside the airport the beauty and friendliness of this island was noticeable.

The Good:

St. Marteen is a beautiful place the people are extremely friendly more so than any other island I have been to thus for,  in fact that is their motto. My friends and I spent our entire trip wondering if it was an act or reality and I have to say i left convinced that they were genuinely nice people. They were so eager and happy to help you every step of the way.  Our hotel was located on the beach in close proximity to a few other resorts . The road that lead to the hotel was was quite the trip walking. It was very steep so while going down was easy coming back up was a slight calf workout, but I was pleased with the central location.

Flamingo Beach Resort

Flamingo Beach Resort

After our  journey to the hotel we were starving and the first thing we did while waiting on our room to be ready was head over to the hotel restaurant Toppers! Toppers was by far one of the best places we ate on the island. The staff is extremely friendly, the vibe is down to earth and the view is breath taking.

10256103_10152333218076405_3788462332976724862_n

IMG_6010

We did lots of research retaining to  things to do while there and as I stated we were on the island during their Carnival celebration. Our mission was to at least partake in one of the carnival activity while there. Our first night we decided to check out the night life and then head over to the Carnival (jouvert) celebration that we were told kicked off around 4 am to 9am. Yes 4am to 9am!

IMG_5404

While we did make it out to the club apparently we did not take the people of  St. Marteen seriously when they said everyone on the island will be at Carnival! The club, well lets just say they could have used a few more patrons but we made the best of it and had a good time none the less. We then headed over to  park that the Carnival kickoff was happening and yes thats where everyone in St. Marten was hiding. The entire island was there. If your from NYC or places like Miami that have a Carnival it was more of the same vibe but on a smaller scale. Great food, good music and lots of fun people having a good time.

Night life

Night life

Jourvet , Carnival st. Marteen

Jouvert , Carnival St.  Marteen

St. Marteen Carnival 2014

St. Marteen Carnival 2014

From the first day we stepped foot on our resort we made friends with the staff. Overtime we would say hey what is there to do today? How far is it? How do we get there? They would always say its not that far, its right down the hill, just go down the hill and catch the bus. We would look at each other and say nope lets take a taxi thats too far to walk and the bus? unfortunately the transportation system in most islands is not their strong point so we were very leary.  Well my Golden nugget is I wish we would have listened to them from day 1. We would have saved ourselves tons in taxi fees which is quite expensive by the way because the taxi fees change based on the time of day. The night time was very expensive.  After not taking their advice for days we were at Mullet Bay  and we could not get a taxi, so we decided to take the local bus!!! the best thing we discovered. It was cheap, clean and very very easy to use. We would have saved 100’s. So word to the wise seek out the bus that runs  frequently in the day and goes between both sides of the island.

Mullet Bay Beach

Mullet Bay Beach

Mullet Bay Beach

Mullet Bay Beach

IMG_6312

Mullet Bay Beach

Mullet Bay Beach

The Best:

We are extreme planners. We knew that while there we could take a ferry from the French side of the Island Port Margot and head over to  St. Barts, Anguilla or St. Johns. The ferries run frequently during the day about every hour and not so frequent during the evenings. Like most islands if you miss the last ferry you are stuck. They have a public ferry and private Ferries. The public ferry was 10.00US dollars and the private ferries varied based on if you were doing a charter for a small group or large group etc.  We wanted to take advantage of going to both St. Barts and Anguilla but due to time constraints we could only do one. We chose Anguilla. (please check out my blog about Anguilla for a more detailed rundown of my trip.)Anguilla was stunning! Breath taxingly beautiful and less over ruined with tourist.

Little Bay Beach,Anguilla

Little Bay Beach,Anguilla

Overall I had an amazing time in St. Marteen and it was a very memorable birthday!!! My only regret is that I did not spend enough time on the French side outside of catching the Ferry there. I heard great things about the food on the French side.

St. Marteen

St. Marteen

Best Friends And I , Flamingo Beach Resort

Best Friends And I , Flamingo Beach Resort

31st Birthday, St. Marteen

31st Birthday, St. Marteen

Tantra Night Club

Tantra Night Club

Tantra Night club

Tantra Night club

Last Day  St. Marteen

Last Day St. Marteen

So if you have never been to St. Marteen… make sure you make a space on your list for the beautiful small island treasure.

Dear Anguilla…

Anguilla

Anguilla

I initially started writing this blog detailing my trip to St. Marteen (I will still do so) But as I got to the best section,  I realized I was drumming on and on about the beautiful experience I had in Anguilla. I realized that in order for me to truly give both destinations the attention they deserve I have to separate them into individual experiences. So here it is, my beautiful experience in Anguilla.

The Logistics: 

I got to Anguilla via my trip to St. Marteen, we used the ferry  from the French side of St. Martin (Port Marigot) to get to Anguilla. The ferry was approximately $10.00 and the length of the ride was approx. 30 minutes.

Passports are needed to board the ferry and there is also an additional fee for entering Anguilla that is paid on the ferry.(the exact cost escapes me but I don’t believe its more than 7 bucks).

There are public and private ferries. The private ferries can be chartered and are more costly.

I used the public  bus to get to Port Marigot from the Dutch side in St. Marteen. The ride was approx. 45 minutes and we did have to transfer along the way to a second bus so be alert and ask questions if you choose to use this route. The people are friendly and helpful so you will be fine. They do speak english and french so if someone does not answer, that may be the reason. Leave early in the morning to catch the first ferry if you plan to make it a day trip.

The ferry was large enough to accommodate people and luggage. Many of the tourist onboard used the ferry vs. an airplane to get to Anguilla because it was much cheaper.

The Ferry runs quite frequently in the day on the hour but is less available during the evening so plan accordingly because you may get stuck if you miss the last ferry of the evening.

Ferry To Anguilla

Ferry To Anguilla

The Best:

Before we left for St. Marteen we did tons of research. We are extreme planners. We knew that while there we could take a ferry from the French side of the Island (Port Marigot) and head over to St. Bart’s, Anguilla or St. Johns.  We wanted to take advantage of going to both St. Bart’s and Anguilla but due to time constraints we could only do one. We chose Anguilla. Luckily for us one of my best friends that was on the trip had a family member who connected us to his cousin who lived in Anguilla. We woke up early and took the bus from the dutch side to Port Marigot(about $2.00).

IMG_5723

Anguilla was stunning! Breath taking kind of beautiful and less populated  with tourist. Once we stepped foot on land we were on a mission to see Anguilla in about 5 hours before the ferry departed.

Thank the Lucky stars for my best friend’s connection he was the best tour guide because he knew all the best places to take us and all the great places to eat. As always our first stop was food. We ate a local seaside restaurant and the food was delicious but the view was the selling point for sure.

On Da Rocks, Anguilla

On Da Rocks, Anguilla

On Da Rocks

On Da Rocks

On Da Rocks, Anguilla

On Da Rocks, Anguilla

He then took us to a secluded island called Scilly Cay where the rum punch was the talk of the town. The island could only be accessed by a free small fisher man type boat. It was absolutely worth the trip and the rum punch was the best. Be careful though ,one too many and you will be in the water.

Scilly Cay, Anguilla

Scilly Cay, Anguilla

Scilly Cay Rum Punch

Scilly Cay
Rum Punch

Rum Punch # 2

Rum Punch # 2

BestFriends & I , Scilly Cay Island

Best Friends & I , Scilly Cay Island

It was a shame that we were on such a tight constraint because i would have loved to relax on that island for the day. After about a half and hour we were off to our next adventure which was the Shoal Bay Beach. One of the most beautiful beaches in the world. It was ranked in the top 10 beaches and it did not fall short.

Shoal Bay Beach, Anguilla

Shoal Bay Beach, Anguilla

Shoal Bay Beach, Anguilla

Shoal Bay Beach, Anguilla

The water was pristine the sand was white and we really had it to ourselves mainly do to not many tourist being on the anguilla side.

Shoal Bay Beach

Shoal Bay Beach

Shoal Bay Beach, Anguilla

Shoal Bay Beach, Anguilla

After leaving Shoal beach we dashed off to a secured beach called Little Bay Beach that our tour guide said was one of the best beach in Anguilla.

Our Wonderful personal Guide

Our Wonderful personal Guide

He kept eluding to the fact that this place could only be accessed by boat, jumping off a cliff into the water or climbing down a cliff via a rope. We were leery because none of us found any of this options enticing. We got to the location and he was serious there was no way down except the 3 he mentioned.

Little Bay Beach

Little Bay Beach

Little Bay Beach

Little Bay Beach

The boat was out because we were not near a pick up point so that left climbing or jumping. My two best friends said no way they were doing it but me being the adventurous lady said i would climb the ropes down!!

Making my way down the cliff via rope, Little Bay Beach

Making my way down the cliff via rope, Little Bay Beach

Climbing down to Little Bay Beach

Climbing down to Little Bay Beach

What the heck was I thinking. I was so nervous and hoped like hell that he would catch me if anything went wrong. There I was climbing down a flimsy rope to paradise or death!.. Thankfully it was paradise but I was so happy I did it one of the most adventurous things I have done.

Made it down to the beach

Made it down to the beach

Taking it all in Little Bay Beach

Taking it all in Little Bay Beach

After seeing me on the beach my  best friend decided to go the jumping route to come down. I was shocked but she did it and we had an awesome time and were glad we put our fears aside.

Us in the water after our adventure down

Us in the water after our adventure down

Famous vacation home seen in RHOA, Little Bay Beach

Famous vacation home seen in RHOA, Little Bay Beach

My best friend took all these amazing picture of us while we went down the cliff, so thankful someone was there to capture the moment.  After hanging out at the secluded beach we realized we had too much fun and had to make a mad dash back to the ferry to make it back to outside. what a day! we made it back by the skin of our teeth but what a memorable experience. even though i went to visit St. Marteen I think Anguilla was the highlight of our trip for sure!!

Shoal Bay Beach

Shoal Bay Beach

Anguilla was amazing! I have to admit that it was never really on my list of places to visit and Im so glad that we went. It was a hidden paradise that I hope to return to one day with more than 5 hours to spear! Hope I have peaked your interest to visit one day!

OH! La Maddalena, Italy

tour_img-163766-21

Once Upon a time there was a 18 Year old Lisa that lived on a beautiful Island in Italy called La Maddalena, or La Madd the short way my shipmates and I referred to it. I was just getting started in the military in 2001 and on a cold December day after Christmas  I found my self on a solo venture across the Atlantic to Italy. During the boot camp stages of the Navy I was presented with a paper called a dream sheet. See a dream sheet was a list of your desired places to be stationed in the Navy, but as legend goes the dream sheet was a lustful list that had nothing to do with where you got stationed.

Spaghetti Boat cruise, La Maddalena

Spaghetti Boat cruise, La Maddalena

There I was , young and ready to see the world, after all that was the reason I joined the Navy. I sat down with my dream sheet checking off in order of most desirable to least desirable, my top 5 places to be stationed. Italy was at the top of my list. I filled out my dream sheet turned it in and forgot about it. Low and behold my boot camp journey came to an end and it was time to head off, my name was called I was given my paperwork and what do you know..Dear Seaman Lisa you will report to La Maddalena, Italy ……. My mind drifted because I was not as excited as I thought I would have been. The panic of leaving my family to live half way across the world had set in.

La Madd,  Italy

La Madd, Italy

Living in La Maddalena was a long time ago for me. I was 18  and as much I would like to say I remember every detail of that journey,   age and distant memories have kicked in, however I did think it was imperative that  I  introduce you to the beautiful gem of an island in the Mediterranean Sea.

La Maddalena

La Maddalena

The Logistics:

My visit to La Madd was more of a staycation than a vacation. Due to my career choice(yes that career choice again) I Lived in La Madd for 2 years. Unfortunately I was too young to realize the value of where I was and I spent most of  my time there complaining or counting down the days until I would be back in America.  created so many memories and adventures throughout my time there but I could have done so much more.

Getting to La Maddalena unfortunately is a journey which may be a part of the reason it isn’t over ran with tourist. Getting to La Madd requires flying into Rome(main land) then getting on a smaller plane to the island of Palau where a ferry is pretty much your way into La Madd. La Madd is located in Sardinia, Italy the very tip of the  boot. There is unfortunately no easy way to get there,  but once you are there you will appreciate the journey.

Ferry To La Maddalena

Ferry To La Maddalena

Hotels:

It has been awhile since I have been to La Madelana so I am quite sure there have been new additions and renovations to the hotels since the early 2000’s .  While I was there  the hotels were typical small European old school hotels. They were well-kept but without the luxuries that most travelers have become accustom to these days. The summer is the busiest season like all European islands. Because it is such a small island if your planning to visit in the summer book early. La Madd experiences various weather changes as well, not as cold as NYC in the winter but it can become quite cold and extremely hot during the summer.

The Good:

While living in Italy I did have an apartment amongst the locals and  for the most part we all got along quite well. Back then the Italian Lira had just changed over to the Euro and the dollar had a leg up so living in Italy was fairly reasonable. My days after work consisted of meeting my friends in the Piazza for dinner, drinks(I did not drink back then but my friends did )  and nightlife( the good old days). Now keep in mind I have stressed over and over that La Madd is a really small island,  it is realistic to walk from one end of the island to the other quite easily. It is everything old school Italy. While some of the locals do speak english most of them do not, so get your Italian ready.  

Piazza La Maddalena

Piazza La Maddalena

Cafe in the Pizza La Maddalena

Cafe in the Pizza La Maddalena

Businesses are  closed from 2pm to 6pm for riposo (siesta). During the evenings the Piazza is filled with everyone both old and young lazily lounging on benches, kids playing and laughing and everyone having dinner at one of the small restaurants, or idly people watching at one of the cafe. My friends and I had our favorite places such as crystal Bar. A place famous for its  Panini. On the weekends the best part of La Madd is visiting its many beaches. If you  cannot tell by now from reading about my travels I am all about the beaches. (I’m an island girl). The beaches in la Madd are crystal clear and the backdrop is usually a very rocky outline. Depending on which beach you visit they may be a little crowded as the island is small and the beach is a past time of everyone there.

Spatamore Beach, La Maddalena circa 2002

Spatamore Beach, La Maddalena circa 2002

The Better:

The beauty of living in La Madd was that it was authentic Italian living. The cobbled stoned streets and narrow pathways became apart of my everyday routine. If you  saw someone around the island enough they would start calling you “my friend”. Although there was a language barrier they met me halfway in trying to figure out what I meant. Dinners were a four-hour process in La Madd. They literally served an 8 coarse meal. So if you think you’re grabbing a quick bite think again. I will not say I was crazy about the food. It was a hit or miss for me. Because I lived there I was able to cook at home but whenever I ate out I was a fan of the many different Panini’s. This can probably be blamed on the fact that I was too young to have such a vast pallet back then to appreciate the authenticity of Italian food.

Narrow cobbled street in La Maddalena

Narrow cobbled street in La Maddalena

My Favorite part of living in Italy was that I had easy access to the Island of Porto Cervo.  I did not know the value of this place back then. I was obsessed with shopping and fashion.  I would research for days on end for places to go shopping. The gift and the curse of living on an island in Italy is that it is very isolated from the mainland. Getting to Rome was about a 6 hour trek, so I had to find shopping options that were more accessible. A friend of mind introduced me to Porto Cervo and I was hooked. While everyone would have plans to relax or visit friends on their weekends off from work,  I would be up at the crack of dawn making my way via the ferry and a bus to Porto Cervo to go shopping. As I mentioned before I lived in Italy at a time where the Lira still existed and the dollar had an upper hand. I would roam around all day to stores like Gucci, Prada, Versace and many other top designers. I was in shoppers heaven. It wasn’t until about a year ago I heard the name Porto Cervo being mentioned again in an article about Rhianna and her best friend shopping on the swanky island of Porto Cervo. Back then I wasn’t even aware that it was a big deal to be in Porto  Cervo. Outside of Shopping Porto Cervo. has many beautiful beaches and is the playground for the wealthy.

Porto Cervo, Italy

Porto Cervo, Italy

 

Porto Cervo

Porto Cervo

Rihanna in Porto Cervo

Rihanna in Porto Cervo

The Best:

I like to keep my destination blogs short and simple and La Maddalena is just simply a place that I cannot do it justice in a short blog. I would not have enough time in a blog to describe or recall all the fun things I did on the 2 year adventure. It is a really beautiful island that is probably as authentic and old school Italy you will encounter. If you are up for this kind of exploration then La Maddalena should most certainly be on your list.  I plan to take a trip to La Maddalena again one of these days and hopefully I will be able to recreate an even more beautiful picture that will entice you to take a visit to the special island gem.

My friends and I circa 2002 La Maddalena

My friends and I circa 2002 La Maddalena

The Greek Gods Shine Upon Santorini, Greece

Overlooking Oia

Overlooking Oia

There are certain places that you see in a picture or on a postcard and though beautiful, you attribute its beauty to the photographer taking a perfectly staged picture at just the right angle. This pristine image captivates you and peeks your curiosity as to whether or not this place is really this beautiful, so you set out on a mission to get to this place before the end of time, for me this place was Santorini.

Taking it all in! Oia Santorini

Taking it all in! Oia Santorini

While Santorini may have been a top destination for Europeans it’s truly within the last few years that rest of the world has began flocking to this majestic place. The blue top churches and white washed buildings have intrigued many travelers. Not to mention  a topography that’s sits high above the seas, creating views that only God could have sculpted. Santorini was the most beautiful place I have laid my very own eyes on. There was so much to do and see I find it impossible for me to cover to entirety  in this post, but I will do my best to cover the highlights of memories that bring a smile to my lips and longing to my traveling heart.

Oia, Santorini

Oia, Santorini

The Logistics: Luckily for me I was already in Greece via my assignment to Crete. My only logistics was figuring out where and when to catch the ferry as well as booking a hotel. My mission was to get to Santorini Saturday morning,  spend the day and head back sunday afternoon right on time for work  duties on Monday.  I booked my ferry via a ferry agency  along with the hotel. Because Santorini is a heavily visited tourist destination in the summer finding a hotel was quite challenging. The travel agent literally spent an hour  individually calling hotels for openings. After a long search she connected us with a boutique hotel in the  capital city of Fira. Oia is the most popular city, easily recognizable by its blue top churches. If your goal is to stay in Oia you must book early as it is popular and more expensive. Fira is cheaper to stay and is about a 20 min ride to Oia. The ferry was approx. 60 euros each roundtrip. Due to limited seating availability for our group of 5, we had to book business class ferry tickets. The ferry is really nice and is broken up in first class, business and coach just like an airplane. There is no order to boarding so be prepared to be herded in like cattle along with cars , trucks and luggage. The ride to Santorini is a bout an hour and a half. Be alert that the ferry does stop at the other Islands including Mykonos , so do not get off at the wrong island.

Boutique Hotel, Fira Santorini

Boutique Hotel, Fira Santorini

 

 

Once you disembark the ferry be prepared for the same herding style disembarking as other passengers are waiting to get on the ferry to their destinations. Upon arrival you will be hounded by  everyone from the car rental, the hotel, the tours to the uphill donkey ride(yes I said donkey ride)! fortunately for us our booking agent arranged for the hotel manager to pick us up for an extra fee and take us to the hotel. Our hotel manager was a really nice guy, very relaxed, not a care in the world(who would living in Santorini? ). IMG_8524

The drive from the pier to the hotel! hang on if you are afraid of heights. If you have seen pictures of Santorini I’m sure you are aware that the reason Santorini is such a beauty is because the entire city  exist at the top of the steepest mountains,  the  result of a devastating volcano in Santorini( quick history lesson). After what was about an 30 to 45 min ride we made it to the top and to our hotel. We arranged to rent a car because if we wanted to cover a lot of ground during our short stay our hotel manager said that was best. you will also have the option of renting quads which I kind of wish we would have done instead. Also as a nugget to get to and from the main pier landing to Fira in Santorini they have a cable car system (more to come later on that) or a donkey ride (yes that is real). It’s pretty easy to get around Santorini but my best advice is rent a car or the Quads. Its simple and will save you tons on taxis which will cost more than a car. The streets are narrow and if you are a spooked by heights there are many curves on the edge of a mountain. IMG_8531 The Good:  My motivation outside of the beauty to get to Santorini was for my best friends birthday. I convinced her to buy a plane ticket to Greece while myself and another friend of ours were there for work.Like all best friends that love to travel she said ok and we were off.  Santorini is  the most beautiful place I have been to date! Again I repeat Santorini is the most beautiful place to date.  It lives up to every cliché, every review and everything your imagination was capable of imagining. It was exactly like all those post cards you see on the internet, it was quite a surreal experience. Every moment felt as if I was creating my own post card. IMG_9149 Upon initially getting to Santorini we  signed up for a tour, again through our hotel manager. The cruise covered taking us to the volcano, dinner, time for swimming off the side of the boat( passed on the swimming, black woman not wanting to get her hair wet) and ended with a sunset in Oia. Can I just tell you that the sunset was so beautiful. It was definitely a romantic moment but since I was there with friends  we just stood there while couples hugged each other. The cruise is a must do!  The people of Santorini are friendly and laid back but did not speak a lot of English in the town of Fira, so practice your Greek.

Sunset Cruise, Oia

Sunset Cruise, Oia

Volcano Tour

Volcano Tour

IMG_9163 We spent the rest of the day getting ready to explore the nightlife which there were plenty of clubs  and bars that had no cover. We ended up bouncing down the stone and cobbled streets with narrow pathways going from bar to bar leaving as the music no longer peaked our interest. We ultimately ended up at a club that was semi upscale with an inside and outside vibe. The crowd was  tourist from all over the world lost in the beauty and music of Santorini. We partied until the wee hours of the morning and made our way back to our hotel for a good night’s rest. IMG_8380

Cobbled street, Fira

Cobbled street, Fira

Our second day in Santorini was our last and we made our way to Oia  in search of the blue top churches and postcard pictures that lowered us there to begin with. When we finally discovered them we were in awe and like all the tourist who venture to Santorini we went picture crazy! IMG_8514 The Better: Day 2 for us was action packed. We were on a race against time to see it all before we missed our ferry ride back to Crete.  We zoomed along narrow cliffs, bends and sharp turns gasping at how close the other cars were to the edge. Between tourist stopping or slowing to take pictures and quads on the road it was a rat race to make it from town to town. After leaving Oia, we were on the hunt for the black sand and red sand beaches that were heard were a must see. A few wrong turns later we arrived! what a sight to behold a beach with charcoal black sand and pebbles.(attributed to the volcanic ashes). The beach was stunning and upscale filled with umbrella clad beach chairs. Unfortunately we were unable to explore the black sand beach like we wanted to due to  our fear of missing our ferry ride. That also meant no red sand beach for us either. We did however still manage to run though over 500 pictures that told a tale that we were at the beach for a day rather than an hour.

Kamari Black Sand Beach, Santorini

Kamari Black Sand Beach, Santorini

The Best: Overall the best part of Santorini is the views! They are beyond stunning. Because the cities are  on a mountain top every angle provides a picture perfect view.  We rented a car upon arriving at our hotel and our last mission was to return the car down the enormous mountain to the pier. Remember I stated that when we arrived  our hotel manager took us up the hill so we were all quite terrified as to who was going to do the honor of being the brave driver going down the mountain.  The view going down was breath-taking and it was surely one of the most memorable moments especially since we were now leaving that beautiful paradise behind! IMG_8612 If you shall  leave this earth and you have not been to Santorini you have missed out on LIFE! IMG_9304