Light upon the lake: Mexico vacation update!

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Ah yes, I managed to escape the dreary rain/cold/wind of Christmas in Vancouver Island and went to the incredibly hot, beautiful climate of Huatulco Mexico, in the Oxaca province. It was HOT!!! And so so so sunny all day, every day. The sky was this limitless blue, sky blue that went on forever, each day.

We stayed at the Dreams resort, on Tagoluna Bay. There were a few other smaller resorts in that bay, and the area is known for its 7 famous bays, all good for swimming, snorkeling and goofing off.

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It was about 30-35 degrees everyday, which meant we didn’t do a ton of walking around/exploring (sooo hot) but we did a lot of swimming, snorkeling and laying under the palapa. The resort was really nice, had 5 different swimming pools, two were adults-only which is awesome and made them much quieter.

The service at the resort was fantastic, the employees were all lovely and nice and super responsive. The food was really good too, I enjoyed sushi TWICE! And steak, ceviche, seafood salad, pasta, guacamole, crickets (yes I ate those too) and really good cotija cheese. Yum!! They also had decent sparkling wine and Baileys too, and made some good margaritas, haha.

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So, I ate, drank, swam, snorkeled, paddle-boarded and kayaked for a week. We also went into town twice, to Las Cruceitas. It was smoking hot, holy god. We didn’t last that long in town that’s for sure, it was stifling and about 40 deg. We did buy and drink two coconuts though! Yum.

For an all-inclusive, this was a fabulous option and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to folks, particularly if you’re doing what we did and meeting up with family at the resort. It’s pretty hassel-free, easy way to hang out with family and not want to kill each other by the end of the trip! (wink wink).

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Back to reality, sadly. And basically monsoon season right now too. The bright spot is that I missed Oats like CRAZY!! I couldn’t wait to get back riding. Oh and my husband, dog and bun bun too ­čśë

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Peru- the adventure of a lifetime! Step one: Lima & Radiohead

I actually put this off for a day since I’ve been back chiefly because I don’t even know where to begin! I will start by recapping my adventure from where we first landed- Lima, Peru.

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In Lima, we stayed in the Miraflores district. It’s a very safe, quite rich and fancy area in Lima. There are a lot of poorer areas, and one that is outright unsafe (at the airport, Callao, the port area). Lots of robberies, muggings, etc. But it’s easy to bypass by buying a safe bus ticket that leaves directly from the airport and it’s not an area you ‘wander in to’ by any chance.

We spent a few days in Miraflores in a very nice Air BnB that had a rooftop infinity pool, a ground floor pool and lots of sundecks. Really awesome. It was quite warm in Lima, as the sun really lazer beams down on people.

For our time in Lima, we visited the Pucllana Temple, which is right in the heart of Miraflores. It was very neat, and a cool way to learn about pre-Inca civilizations (there were so many, over 35?!).

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We then went to the historical old city part of Lima, and that was okay…It was kind of a bust tourist-wise because they just didn’t seem to be really set up for lounging at cafes or having cocktails, if you know what I mean? Just, nothing there to sit and enjoy. We did visit the San Francisco monastery, where they have very creepy catacombs. A reasonable price and a super interesting visit/tour through the catacombs. I highly recommend!

In the evening, we went to Barranco. Aside from Miraflores, people stay there. It’s really awesome- beautiful, quirky, funky, lots of people and restaurants and very safe. I loved it! There is also a brewery there, the Barranco Brewery.

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The next few days, we ran along the gorgeous Miraflores sea walk. They are very close to the South Pacific but it’s not a very friendly beachfront. There is no sand, just rocks and the highway runs right along next to it! The waves are also killer… And in the evening, we went to the Soundhearts Radiohead concert!!! WHOOP! The bus to the soccer arena was a flaming nigtmare, and I seriously wondered if I was going to get crushed to death. Yikes. I do NOT recommend taking the bus in Lima. It is a horrible experience.

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But anyways, we made it and the concert was SO GOOD. Radiohead played well to their audience, it wasn’t too crammed, and they had three encores. We left after the second, as I did not want to repeat the ‘crushed in a bus’ experience…But we still had time to listen to ‘Fake Plastic Trees’ which made it allll worthwhile….

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Corvina ceviche

And then it was up at 4am to catch a flight to our next adventure- Iquitos and the Amazon jungle. Stay tuned…

 

Back from holidays! (nothing was the same)

A week away feels so much longer, particularly when I was coming down from several months of extreme stress, pressure and sickness.

And WOW it was worth it. Such a great holiday, such a great time.

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Greetings from sunny Sayulita!

We visited Sayulita in Mexico, close to Puerto Vallarta – roughly an hour away. An easy place to get to, and an easy place to like. Eternal summer.

We did┬áeverything. Horseback riding on the beach, hanging out with friends, boogie boarding at the main beach, swimming in the ocean every day, snorkeling, stand up paddleboarding, hiking, I went on one run, and a boat trip to the Marietas Islands (more on that later…).

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We even got to gallop on the beach!

I miss it. I feel sad to be back.

The food was so great, we cooked/ate a lot of meals at our VRBO rental- which was great, by the way. The only downside was the shared plunge pool that ended up being not-so-shared as our neighbour unit had a large family and kind of ended up occupying it. Oh well!

What did we eat? Octopus! Shrimps! So many shrimps, I felt sick. Shrimped out!

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Cooked my first whole octopus

We made fresh salads with avocado, queso fresco, salt and lime. That’s all you need for seasoning, as we found out. We drank Coronas (me) Pacifico (Ian) and then later, Agua fresca ┬áJamaica for me (when I was off booze).

Restaurants? We did that too! We ate at La Esperanza, pricier than the other joints but SO high quality- I had tuna steaks in hibiscus sauce on mashed plantains, and it was AMAZING. So much tuna I gave some to Ian because I was full and still kind of reeling from my hangover.

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Souvenir beach bag I bought for my sister.

We also did an entire night of street foot- we started with tacos el Ivan and got eight – ocho-tacos al pastor for super cheap, $100 pesos? Next we had hot churros, and then a beef tamale, and then corn in a cup. It was all so good! In the beginning of our trip, we ate ceviche from a street vendor and it was excellent and fresh. So much good food!

The only tragedy was our boat trip to the Marietas Islands. I was excited for it, and the boat ride out was really nice, we saw dolphins and blue-footed booby birds and their chicks at the islands!

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Ill fated boat trip, oh against my better judgement

We snorkeled a bit but I was freezing- the water was cold and kind of silty so it wasn’t great snorkeling so I swam back to the boat and hopped on a stand-up paddleboard. It was tough and tippy!

On our way back, we swam some more, had lunch and plentiful snacks, and ….my ultimate downfall, copious amounts of free flowing booze like pina coladas, margaritas, tropical drinks and shots. Jesus.

Anyways, you can see where this is going…I drank WAY too much, encouraged by the atmosphere and fun and I completely lost control. The minute I stepped off the boat and onto the bus to head back to Sayulita, I was throwing up uncontrollably. Ian gave me a water bottle and it fell uselessly out of my hands because I couldn’t even clutch anything.

Threw up out the window the whole way back, and we staggered to the plaza- we stopped there so Ian could go to the bathroom, and I proceeded to throw up over the back of the park bench in the middle of the day, bright sunlight. YUCK.

We staggered back to our place, and I was so sick I couldn’t even make it to the bathroom (yes puking in a bucket, please and thank you)…

Passed out apparently with my eyes open, creepily.

Threw up at night again.

Rinse, repeat.

So, Thursday was not a great day after but I rallied and we went to the beach and got a Chocobanana (great!) and I managed to eat some stuff later on. I wasn’t feeling too miserable, because I guess passing out at 5pm the day before gives you plenty of time to stew in your misery before getting it over with.

So, yeah I am kind of off booze for now, giving my poor liver and brain a break plus GAG.

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The endless summer of San Pancho

But, I LOVED Sayulita and San Pancho and would definitely go back. Love Mexico!

Brazil Journey Phase 2: Sao Paulo de Morro!

After landing in Salvador, we hopped the ferry boat to Sao Paulo de Morro (St. Paul’s Hill) a super touristy little island that is for people-only, no cars!

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Way out in the tidal flats

Well that was the plan, except it is winter and the Atlantic was so rough we had to cut sideways to a closer island, hop into vans and drive for two hours, to get into another boat to get to the island. It took closer to 3.5 hours than 2 on the open ocean! Argh!

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Boat ride #2

Once we were on the island, everything was so close. We walked to our hotel, and it was super nice, a boutique hotel. Things on the island are NOT cheap- quite pricey compared with Salvador. It was much quieter than we anticipated, apparently the island as ┬áreputation for being quite wild, a real party town in tourist months. We had our pick of restaurants- there are like a zillion, and they seem to offer a lot of Italian food for some reason hahah. We had lobster two days in a row! Can’t complain about that!

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View from our hotel…Amazing.

The draw there is the beach- it is enormous, there are three of them and we had the beach right outside our room. There is also a big zipline, which I didn’t do because I am quite frankly afraid of heights!

Swimming was fun- because it is winter, the rainy season also happened and it was hot and sunny, then pouring rain, then hot and sunny, then pouring rain. Made for an interesting day!

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The town square.

We ate acai (yum!!) frozen gelato, chips and bought beers and generally just had a fabulous time. It’s very easy to like the island Sao Paulo de Morro, I can say that! We even waded out to a tide pool that has a ton of very friendly fish- it’s like snorkeling except you don’t even have to snorkel, haha.

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I loved the breakfast our hotel had- it was AMAZING. Best spread of the stay I think! I would definitely recommend visiting the island- the trip out can be a bit of a pain in the butt, but you it’s worth it.

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Tranquil.

Hit the ground running

Yup that’s me! Back from my fabulous trip to the Hawaiian island of Kauai.

To spare anyone a tedious recap, I’ll bullet point it. In short, it was SO NICE. Weather could be a bit iffy, depending on where you were- rainy/windy, or sunny but quite windy. Overall average between 25-27 deg, sun was HOT when it was out, so had to reapply lots of sunscreen.

Ocean was chilly but swimmable, I’m a bit of a chicken there so others might find it easier!

  • Do go trail riding. We went to CJM, which does kind of quiet/boring walk-only rides but the length- 2 hours, and scenery is amazing. AMAZING!
Trail riding at CJM

Trail riding at CJM

  • Go to the Nepali coast. We did the hike, and the beach there (Ke’e) and bought coconuts off some young guys truck.
Hiking at Nepali

Hiking at Nepali

  • Go to the brewery (Kauai brewery in Port Allen) smart friendly owners. Their Lillikoi beer if amazing!
  • Go to the rum tasting at Koloa Rum. It’s in the Gaylord Plantation, friendly and fun!
  • Snorkel at Poipei. It was super windy but we saw TONS of fish really easily. Busy but because it’s one of the best spots…
Sea turtle at Poipei beach

Sea turtle at Poipei beach

  • Buy fish from the grocery store- I had king crab meat for $7 bucks, and we bought huge ahi tuna steaks for like less than $8.
  • Don’t buy bread- it costs more than the fish!
  • Go swimming at any beach- there are zillions! We liked the beach at Kaap’a that had the Andy Irons memorial.
Beach time!

Beach time!

  • Buy a taro pie at McDonalds. It looks super bizarre (purple?) but so tasty!
  • Stay at two places. We stayed in a super creepy, crumbling resort (the Aston Aloha) for a few days and wow, did it ever feel like its heyday was 20 years ago- creepy but cool. Then we stayed at a jungle lodge off the beach and out of town for a few days. Got the best of both worlds!
  • Eat fruit from everywhere! We got mangoes off a tree (well, from a crazy looking but nice Hawaiian dude who┬ábeckoned┬áus over to give us some he had been busy collecting off the ground..) SO GOOOD.
Starfruit

Starfruit

  • Apple bananas, pineapple, citrus- any kind, mangoes, starfruit. Try them!
  • Do a luau at least once. We liked the Smith’s Garden Luau.
Smith's Garden Luau

Smith’s Garden Luau

  • Understand that going to see Waimea Canyon is a crapshoot. We ended up with this: after a hair-raising stomach-churning 10 miles of driving…
Waimea Canyon disappointment...

Waimea Canyon disappointment…