Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Caribbean
Toes in the Sand...Drinks in your Hand

We recently did a 2 week cruise to the Caribbean stopping in:

San Juan, Puerto Rico
*Explore Old San Juan - I love the cobblestone streets
*Visit the forts - amazing views
*Get out of the city - Great Hiking!

St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands
*Magens Bay is so-so... I suggest exploring other beaches like Koki
*If you like to shop - shop!!
*Very commercialized.... if you are looking for seclusion - go to St. John for the day!
*Go have a drink at Johnny's Bar - he makes a killer Rum Punch!

Tortola, British Virgin Islands
*Have a drink at Village Cay overlooking the marina
*Easy trip to neighboring islands
*Very secluded & laid back

Virgin Gorda
*Use Tortola as your hub to get to Virgin Gorda
*Find a guy named Dion - he will take you to Virgin Gorda for $50 a person
*Go to Virgin Gorda early... we went at 9am and beat all the crowds
*Explore the caves and climb the boulders - AMAZING!

Saint John's, Antigua
*Very underdeveloped roads - but I still recommend renting a car and exploring
*Visit the donkey sanctuary - make a donation - see a famous donkey
*Skip Nelson's Dockyard - not worth it!!
*Visit Devils Bridge
*Have a drink at Harbor View Bar & Cafe and watch the cruise ships (Have a Wadadli - local beer)

Roseau, Dominica
*One of my most favorite places EVER!!!
*Nature Lovers Paradise
*Visit Emerald Pool (go early beat the crowds)
*Titou Gorge is absolutely amazing (a scene from Pirates of the Caribbean 2 was filmed here)
*Trafalgar Falls (as seen below) hot water, cold water and 2 spectacular waterfalls
*Have a Kubuli (Local Beer)

Bridgetown, Barbados
*Go to Blue Monkey Beach - take your snorkel gear with you and you can shore snorkel out to the sea turtles
*Snorkeling with the sea turtles in their natural environment was one of the coolest things I have ever done!  Don't forget a water camera - you won't want to miss these pics!
*Negotiate beach chairs - you shouldn't pay more than $10 for 2 chairs
*Check out Harbor Lights Beach Bar - rent chairs and snorkel with more sea turtles and an awesome ship wreck

St. Maarten
*Topless to the left, Nude to the Right - Very European = Very Nude
*Rent a Jeep
*Go to the Butterfly Farm - it's nice to do things you never get to do - so why not??
*Orient Beach - rent beach chairs and sit back for some interesting people watching! - enough said!
*Bring your own water chair and sit back and enjoy view like the one below....

St. Lucia
*Climb the Gros Piton - a difficult but worthy climb to the top!
*Beware of winding roads - car sickness is not fun!  I know!  Take a boat rather than a van to the Pitons - 1.5 hours away from the cruise ship dock one way.

*The island of SPICE!  Don't leave without taking the tastes of the island home with you!
*The beach is close by the cruise ship... Catch a water taxi and enjoy the day!

Kralendijk, Bonaire
*Dive, Snorkel... do either, do both - just do it! 
*I would live here!  This place is gorgeous! 
*Take a water taxi to No Name Beach - take your snorkel gear with you and drift snorkel straight from the shore.  There is NOTHING on this beach - just leave your stuff and walk down the beach and enter the water at one of the entry points. 
*Best Snorkeling EVER!
*Watch the sunset a Karel's Beach Bar - a great place to grab a drink and some food right on the water.

Oranjestad, Aruba
*Rent a four wheeler or motorcycle
*Explore the island from top to bottom - from the lighthouse to the wildlife park, to the caves to Baby Beach... Lots to see and do!
Eat Funchi - a local dish in Aruba - cornmeal fried with melted cheese on top.... Drink Balashi and Balashi Chill... locally brewed beer in Aruba
*The sand bar at Baby Beach is amazing...

I totally recommend this cruise via Princess Cruise Line.  Its 2 weeks of new islands every day and only 2 sea days.  If you want a great way to see as much of the Caribbean as possible in a short period of time...this is for you.  Nothing beats waking up every morning on a different island....going all day... and coming back to the ship a night for great entertainment and an awesome dinner.  We loved our trip and I would be happy to answer any questions on any of these message me! 
Bon Voyage and keep traveling my friends!!

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Keys.... to a Great Trip! Key West FL!

Ahhh - The Florida Keys! 
What is a trip to Key West without a stop in Key Largo!  And what's a worth the stop in Key Largo... Jimmy Johnson's Big Chill.  This waterfront bar/restaurant is an awesome place to stop for a "Painkiller" and some yummy appetizers.  I was sad I missed Jimmy by one day....He tweeted the next day that he was stopping in.  Bummer! 

Key West! 

One of my most favorite places to go.  I would call Key West a casual/tropical cross between Austin, Texas (Keeping Austin Weird) and New Orleans.  Or maybe it's because you can drink on the streets... I don't know!  I have only ever stayed on the water in Key West and I do believe it is the only way to go.  Waking up to the sounds of water kissing the sides of the boat, seagulls flying above and the crisp morning air greeting you is the best. 

The marinas are top notch -especially Conch Harbor!  With showers, bars and restaurants right at your fingertips, it makes staying on the water very easy.  Regardless of where you stay, an evening sunset stroll through the marina is not to be missed. 

Some of my favorites places to go and eat in Key West:
Bagatelle is a higher end restaurant on Duval Street in Old Key West.  Grab a table on the patio of this old converted home (built in 1884), order a great bottle of wine (they have one of the most extensive fine wine menus in the Keys) and sit back for a very enjoyable evening (watching the parade of people stroll by). 

Santiago's Bodega is absolutely amazing!  This tapas restaurant is not to be missed.  Especially during happy hour from 5-7pm.  $5 tapas and 1/2 price wine - cant beat it.  Reservations are strongly recommended as this hidden gem is growing in popularity.  Not a touristy place and slightly off the beaten path (aka - not on Duval Street).  I loved stepping out of the cab to the sounds of chickens that were residents in the neighborhood. 
A fan favorite - Sloppy Joe's!  We spent every night here dancing the night away... and people watching here was amazing.  There is a reason this place has live web cams!  So if you are in Key West... stop in for a night you will probably forget. 

And for those keeping it not so classy... don't miss Hog's Breath Saloon!  Great bar food, live bands and they have a great BAR!  I mean where else can you find a hog's ass hanging on a a wall???
Be sure to grab a few drinks and make some fun memories here!  I'll drink to that!  Everyone put your glasses up! 
Key West is a place where you can let your hair down, relax and party as little or as much as you want.  What is for sure that this magical place is never short of a good time!