La Paz and Todos Santos, Mexico

La Paz and Todos Santos: It was our first ever girls-only trip and five of us were determined to go somewhere…anywhere to chill, bond, and be wild. Only one condition, it had to be outside USA. To go easy for the first time, we chose Mexico…a place which was closer to our home and within short distance. After lots of going back and forth, we chose Cabo San Lucas in Mexico. After visiting around 60 countries, this was the single most memorable trip that I’ll always cherish.

A small Mexican village - El Triunfo

A small Mexican village – El Triunfo

We planned ahead for the La Paz and Todos Santos trip to get out of the city life of Cabo. If you have an extra day and are looking for an excursion from Cabo San Lucas, this would be a great option. Both of these small towns are rich in history and culture, but my personal favorite was Todos Santos. The distance from Cabo San Lucas to La Paz is about 264 km and took us about 3 hours by car. But don’t fall asleep…most portion of the journey is very scenic and roads/highways are  surrounded by Sierra Mountains that should not be missed.

Reservation for this trip was made before arriving to Cabo thru Easy Cabo Trip. It was $70 per person and paid partial amount from the total to reserve the day. Originally I chatted with Alex from Easy Cabo Trip to book the trip who was extremely helpful with our needs. Our guide/driver, Eric, was someone who I would recommend highly for anyone. He was knowledgeable, friendly, very nice, dedicated, and spoke pretty good English too. We were picked up from our resort sharp at 8am. It was about 10 hours trip from pick up to drop off. And Eric helped us all the way at every step.

Time of Travel: We were in Cabo San Lucas during the 1st week of December 2017. We kept the first couple days and the last day for Cabo itself. In between, on the 3rd day, we decided to go out of the main tourist spots and enjoy the rural parts of the town. Weather in December in Cabo is usually very pleasant. It was somewhere in the 70s and 80s most of the time.

Our Hotel: We stayed in Marina Fiesta Resort and Spa in Cabo San Lucas. Please check out my page on Cabo right side to know more about the resort.

Eating and Shopping: The morning we went to La Paz, Eric, took us to a small breakfast place because we weren’t able to start our morning without some coffee. I had a freshly made delicious beef empanada while others tried burrito and etc. The place had a small shop attached to it where a lady was selling all sorts of dry fruit pastes, spicy candies, and traditional Mexican snacks. I bought a guava paste bar (my kids loved it) and some tamarind hot candies.

Our breakfast place on our way to La Paz, Mexico

Our breakfast place on our way to La Paz, Mexico

Todos Santos is a fun place to do some souvenir hunting. Hotel California can be slightly pricey but it has some nice selections of trinkets and gift items. I bought few keyrings, a rug, and a mug from here. Other stores here sell similar items, sometimes maybe a bit cheaper than Hotel California. But for my rug, I found that Hotel California was cheaper than other stores and they carry some unique items that other stores didn’t have…but don’t forget to bargain.

Souvenirs inside Hotel California in Todos Santos, Mexico

Souvenirs inside Hotel California in Todos Santos, Mexico

Places We’ve Visited: I wish I knew how beautiful Todos Santos is, I would have planned to go there first and spend more time and then go to La Paz after lunch. We barely got a chance to roam around Todos Santos, because it was already dark when we reached there and everything was getting ready to close.

  1. Tropic of Cancer: This is where we first stopped in the morning. It’s a very simple monument in between San Jose del Cabo and La Paz, where the tropic of cancer crosses. Other than the monument itself, there is a small church and some hand-crafts shops are here too. We spent about 15-20 minutes before heading towards our breakfast venue.

    Monument for Tropic of Cancer near Cabo, Mexico

    Monument for Tropic of Cancer near Cabo, Mexico

  2. Gold and Silver Mine: This is an old and unnamed gold and silver mine. It had no sign and was hidden in the middle of a small hill and bushes. A tiny door leads to the mouth of the mine. We didn’t dare to go inside the mine itself.
  3. Iglesia de El Triunfo: Once a mining urban settlement, El Triunfo is a small town where another silver mine, El Triunfo de la Cruz, is located. In fact, it is this silver mine that gave birth to the town El Triunfo. We didn’t go to the mine here, just saw it from a distance from this church. With the Latin cross floor plan of this building with wooden structured roof, Iglesia de El Triunfo dates back to the second half of the 19th The main altar was designed elaborately in neoclassic style.

    Iglesia de El Triunfo in Cabo, Mexico

    Iglesia de El Triunfo in Cabo, Mexico

  4. Playa Ballandra: Playa Ballandra is a calm beach with a beautiful landscape. We spent about an hour walking along the water and taking pictures. It was not overly crowded but was lively.

    Playa Ballandra in Cabo, Mexico

    Playa Ballandra in Cabo, Mexico

  5. Playa Tecolote: This is where we had our lunch. It’s a small private-like beach, didn’t see anything nearby, except for the restaurant which was almost packed with tourists and locals.

    Playa Tecolote in Cabo, Mexico

    Playa Tecolote in Cabo, Mexico

  6. La Paz Downtown: La Paz is an old Mexican port and still maintains that feel and vibe. The corner stone of Cathedral of La Paz was laid in 1861.

    Cathedral of La Paz

    Cathedral of La Paz

  7. Todos Santos: Located in north of Cabo, Todos Santos is one of the small cities of Baja California on the Pacific side. It took about 1 ½ hours from La Paz to Todos Santos and we got here when it was already dark. It would have been ideal if we came to Todos Santos in the morning and stayed until lunch. We could have spent more time and enjoyed the inspirational characteristic of this Mexican town.

Even if you can’t do La Paz, I would highly recommend taking a day trip to Todos Santos…this is almost a must-see when you are visiting Cabo and makes perfect day trip from Cabo. Its tiny community is filled with old colonial style arts and architecture which take you few centuries back. Here are some places we managed to see in Todos Santos.

  1. Mission of Santa Rosa de Todos Santos: This century old monastery is at the heart of this town. The original building goes back to early 18th We could make it to the cathedral right before its closing and there is no charge to visit. It has a simple interior with elegant altar and grand exterior.
  2. Hotel California: The iconic colonial style red building of Todos Santos is the Hotel California. This is located only 2 minutes’ walk from the cathedral. Inside of the hotel is more beautiful than the outside. So make sure to go inside and check out the hotel lobby, bar, café, and shop.
Inside Hotel California in Todos Santos, Mexico

Inside Hotel California in Todos Santos, Mexico

 

 

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How Safe Is Cozumel?

How Safe Is Cozumel?

Recently a travel advisory was issued about Cozumel. But how safe is Cozumel? Safest Place in Mexico. According to Dailene Erickson who has been a resident of the town for the past 17years, the travel advisory is not only unwarranted but taints a false and negative picture of a wonderful town.

She first arrived in the town for scuba diving in the year 1993 and immediately fell in love with the town. The culture and the scenery were some of her prime attractions. After making Cozumel her home in 2001 she has been able to work in various places and has even fortunate enough to raise her daughter.

Her view of the town

Knowing just basic Spanish when she moved to the town, she has been able to climb the ladder from a single lady looking for a job to a successful entrepreneur in Cozumel. Her previous jobs as a dive master and bartender have made her understand life in the town. This makes her opinion on town safety very reliable.

Cozumel is a hub of sporting activities. There are various sports such as windsurfing, paddle boarding, and even triathlons. The climate around the shores makes it very conducive to enjoy these games. The town has a 40mile bike track that snakes its way around the island. This is the prime spot for undertaking sporting activities such as bike riding or even hiking.

The town is rich in biodiversity. There is a lot of marine life that one gets to see. If one is lucky you even get to see an Eco-race when swimming in the cool ocean waters along the shore.

Safety. Being a person who loves running, Dalaine has been able to engage in the hobby at any time may it be day or night. Being a lady, she always takes the necessary precautions every time she hits the road. Over the years, she has however not experienced any form of insecurity.

What other people think of the town

Her love for sports has made her interact with quite a number of people who are curious about how safe it is for her to run around the town all by her self-considering she is a lady. From her experience, there is nothing to fear. If she has been able to even raise her daughter in Cozumel, there should be nothing stopping anyone else from enjoying a peaceful and fulfilling life in the town.

Get your facts right

If one relies on the news alone, you may get the wrong impression of Cozumel but in today’s world we are inundated with fake news that distorts the truth and this is being down by tourism centers trying to take business away from Cozumel by putting out fake news to say it isn’t safe when it clearly is. There are various Facebook posts that paint a very positive picture of the town. Very many tourists visit the island each year and have been able to establish how wonderful the place is not only as a tourist destination but a place to start a home.

Being the safest place in Mexico is an honor and there’s so many great resorts like this one from Royal Holiday Vacation Club the world’s best travel company according to Trip Advisor. Cozumel is an island that is worth paying a visit. There is a lot in store for you when it comes to sports and beautiful scenery. It is a safe place and you are bound to enjoy the experience.

Have the Perfect Year in California With These Seasonal Destinations

People insist that California doesn’t experience all four seasons, but that’s silly. The weather is different, but each season is beautifully represented in typical West Coast style. Visit California in spring, summer, fall, and winter to see for yourself.

Watch the Wildflowers Blossom in Spring

Head inland in the springtime, away from the coast. Later in spring, wildflowers pop up along California’s sandy coastline, but as the season gets going, the greenery struggling to bloom again craves warmer temperatures. It’s cooler near the water, even in sunny California. During March and April, springtime explodes. There’s less fog, the hotel rates are lower, and the crowds are thin.

Yosemite is one of the best places to watch the flowers return to the landscape. Head to the north of San Diego and let the Carlsbad Flower Fields steal away your breath. In Huntington Garden, camellias reign supreme. Check out Mendocino, as well. The rhododendrons in the Coast Botanical Garden will make you feel brand new.

Welcome Sea Life in Summer

Along the coast of California, marine life joins the tourists in flocking to the shores in the summertime, although many of them come from the opposite direction. Along the beaches of La Jolla, the leopard sharks are the most welcomed guests. In spite of the name, these sharks are harmless. The big, brightly colored critters are personally responsible for drawing divers, kayakers, and snorkelers to La Jolla every summer. Their visit almost always begins in June, but they tend to hang around in July and August, as well. Consider taking a swim with them this year. Dive down and say hi.

Experience the Perfect Fall in SoCal

Southern California puts on a spectacular show every autumn. Visitors never expect it because the stereotype is that California has no seasons, but residents of LA know better. The air doesn’t have the same crisp nip you experience on the East Coast, and you can still swim as you bob for apples and plan your Halloween costume, but multiple fall-friendly activities are on offer.

Just as you can in nearly any New England town, you can go apple picking around Oak Glen. You can spend an hour or two in a pumpkin patch picking out the perfect jack-o-lantern. Lose your way in a corn maze, or desperately find your way out of a haunted house. A drive through Los Angeles will even reveal breathtaking fall foliage. Keep your eyes pointed toward the mountains, or peep at the gardens throughout the city.

Spend Winter in Big Bear Lake

Believe it or not, California is home to some exceptional skiing. It’s such a hot destination that you need to make reservations well ahead of time. Check out HotelPlanner to find Big Bear Lake hotels in November, December, or January. In addition to skiing, snowboarding, and sipping cocoa at the lodge, you can play in the powder, make snowmen, and experience winter in an entirely new climate.

Have you ever thought of taking a seasonal vacation? Where would you go?

What to Do in the Poconos in Every Season

The Poconos region spans 2,400 square miles and is known for its mountainous peaks, abundant forests, waterfalls, wildlife, and ample opportunities to get out and explore the countryside. Indeed, one of the best things about this area is that you can visit any time of year and find something fun to do. Here’s a small fraction of what you can look forward to during each season in the Poconos.

Spring

poc1

Image via Flickr by Alexander Day

Between the lows of winter and the highs of summer, spring is one of the best times to get outdoors and go hiking or biking in the Pocono Mountains. Plan a trip to one of these areas:

  • Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area
  • Bushkill Falls
  • Dingmans Falls

You’ll find dozens of locations and trails to explore, but each of these will give you a look at the area’s best waterfalls. The tallest one at Bushkill towers at over 100 feet high.

One of the best things about exploring the state parks and nature areas in the Poconos is that the mountain range is a popular spot for discount hotels, luxury accommodations, and everything in between. Check out a Poconos hotel room from Hotel Planner in the area to enjoy proximity to these natural spots and all the other local attractions.

Summer

Summer in the Poconos is ideal for swimming and water sports. A visit to one of the waterfalls will cool you down, but you can also go swimming or camping at Worthington State Forest or Beltzville State Park. You’ll find beach areas at Delaware Water Gap Recreation Area and Gouldsboro State Park as well.

The area is also home to a couple of water parks that the whole family will love. Visit Camelbeach Waterpark, which features indoor and outdoor pools and slides, or go to Aquatopia, which has water slides, water rides, and a swim-up bar where you can order a cocktail and some bar food.

Fall

poc2

Image via Flickr by Ravi_Shah

Poconos is in a northeastern part of the United States that ignites with color every fall. From September through November, you can visit locations throughout the states to see the changing leaves. If your priority is to see the rich fall foliage deep in the mountains, keep an eye on the color forecast throughout the year in order to plan a successful vacation. The color zones run through the Poconos, so you should have several weeks in the fall when you can visit and see this phenomenon.

Fall is also a popular season for festivals in the Poconos. If you’re visiting this time of year, attend the Apple Harvest & Timber Festivals, Black Bear Film Festival, or Pocono Food Truck & Art on the Mountain event.

Winter

The area’s many ski resorts open their lifts and trails in the winter. These are a few of the areas where you can take the family for lessons, equipment rentals, and skiing and snowboarding fun:

  • Big Boulder Ski Area
  • Blue Mountain Resort
  • Camelback Mountain
  • Jack Frost Mountain
  • Shawnee Mountain Ski Area

Poconos promises tons of outdoor fun regardless of when you visit. Add these activities to your itinerary to make the most of your time in the Pennsylvania mountains.

 

Where to Enjoy a Great Meal With a Fabulous View on Jekyll Island

The proximity of the Atlantic Ocean and numerous small creeks make Jekyll Island an ideal spot for enjoying a tasty meal with a waterfront view. Whether you’re looking for a casual family spot or an upscale restaurant for date night, you’ll find the perfect place on Jekyll Island.

Beach House Restaurant and Tap Room

Eateries along Beachview Drive North offer waterfront views with tables mere feet from the beach. One local favorite, Beach House Restaurant and Tap Room, welcomes customers with outdoor oceanfront dining on a spacious patio. Tables include large umbrellas so you can enjoy eating near the beach on sunny days. The Beach House menu offers moderately priced options like sandwiches and pricier plates featuring fresh scallops, salmon, and marinated steaks. Pair your meal with a glass of wine or one of over 20 beers on tap daily.

The Reserve

jekyll

Image via Flickr by BSC Photography

 

Located in the Westin Hotel on the beach, The Reserve is an elegant restaurant with two outdoor dining options. Start your day with brunch or stop by for dinner and enjoy the sunset from a patio table. Enjoy the upscale atmosphere and a high-end meal like delectable fresh seafood or steak. After dinner, head up to Harry’s Lounge and watch the sunset from the rooftop deck. There are plenty of hotels to choose from on Beachview Drive, too. It’s easy to find a hotel convenient to restaurants featuring waterfront dining, especially if you use Hotel Planner to search for Jekyll Island hotels.

Tortuga Jacks

For family-friendly meals that will fit almost any travel budget, visit Tortuga Jacks. Kids will love this casual Mexican eatery. Choose from traditional beach tacos and burritos or beach-inspired fare including shrimp fajitas and fish tacos. Choose a table at the outdoor tiki bar to enjoy the sea air while you listen to live music from local bands.

The Wharf

Located on the Jekyll Island Historic Pier, The Wharf offers waterfront views along the serene Fancy Bluff Creek. Enjoy beautiful scenery in the dining room or out on the patio. The menu offers Southern favorites including shrimp and grits, fried chicken, and blackened swordfish. Expect to pay a little more to enjoy good food at this waterfront location. You can also listen to live music out on the deck every day of the week.

Zachry’s Riverhouse

There are plenty of burgers, sandwiches, and salads on the menu at Zachry’s Riverhouse. The restaurant offers a kids’ menu, too. Lunch or dinner can be easy on your wallet at this casual waterfront eatery. You can also spend a little extra on complete meals including crab cakes and fresh fish. You’ll find the restaurant is on Harbor Road. Dine inside or outside on the deck overlooking Fancy Bluff Creek.

When you visit Jekyll Island, make sure to visit a few restaurants with gorgeous views of the water. Several restaurants offer options fro breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Savor your meal while you enjoy ocean breezes, or views of the wildlife along the scenic local creeks.

 

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