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5 Reasons to visit Campeche, MX

campeche

When you think about visiting Mexico, the top destinations that come to mind are Cancun, Tulum or Puerta Vallerta. But Mexico is a huge country with so much beauty, culture and history to offer! I recently visited the state of Campeche, with no idea what to expect, it did not disappoint.

Here are 5 reasons why you should check out Campeche, MX.

1. Experience authentic Mexico

You can visit the more popular areas of Mexico and still never experience what Mexico has to offer. Many people hold the belief that Mexico is dangerous and to stick to the touristy areas, but nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, some of the most dangerous areas of Mexico are in fact the tourist destinations, where there are lots of customers.

Campeche is not a very touristic town, we we’re the second American family I saw the whole time we were there, you are enveloped in the local culture. So be prepared to find some of the best food in a hole in the wall store and to brush up on your spanish.

The people are extremely kind and do not try to overcharge you on the things you buy like the more touristy places in Mexico.

2. Rich history and architecture

One of my favorite things about Campeche is it’s architecture, attributed to it’s unique history with pirates. A tree sap was of high value to pirates back in the day and the city was under attack for decades because of it. During that time, a wall was built around the city to protect them from the pirates, a lot of the wall is still up today and is absolutely gorgeous to see. You can tour the wall and learn all about it’s past.

On top of that, Campeche has several gorgeous cathedrals and the cobblestone streets are filled with homes of so many colors. Every home is a different bright color and it is absolutely beautiful.

3. Mayan Ruins

This area of Mexico is known for it’s Mayan ruins, they are not just located in the Quintana Roo and Yucatan state. In fact, the Mayan ruins here are incredibly unique because they are much less popular and you can get the full experience of a Mayan civilization all to yourself.

4. The Gulf of Mexico

The state of Campeche is the beginning of the Gulf of Mexico and it is bountiful as well as gorgeous. If you escape the city to see the coast lines of the gulf, they are a radiant blue, booming with fish. We stayed at an Airbnb in Champoton and were able to see tons of unique fish right outside our back door in the water. I would recommend going snorkeling, without a boat or with one, a lot of the coastline stays shallow for a long while.

5. Local cenotes

We visited a gorgeous cenote while staying in Campeche, and unlike Cancun and Tulum, they are not covered in tourists here. Unfortunately there are not many near this area, there is the giant Cenote Colorado and the one we visited, San Ignacio. This one is about an hour from Campeche and is underground. The water is incredibly blue and we were surrounded by local Mexicans, which made it even more special.

We also were able to stop and see a place called IIch Ha Lol Xaan. This spot is absolutely beautiful and remote. There was not one single tourist there, we were completely alone. Although it is not very well upkept and covered in misquitos, it was still one of my favorite places we visited.

Things to keep in mind :

Because Campeche is not very touristy, I recommend either renting a car or getting a reliable taxi drivers number. We relied on the bus system the first day and it goes without saying that it is unreliable and never on time.

Have patience while visiting this city, you can easily get lost but give yourself the time to enjoy getting lots and be open to finding something amazing along the way!

A popular shopping and restaurant area is called calle 59, it is closed off to traffic, so if your having trouble finding your way around, you can keep this street in mind.

Happy Traveling!

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6 things to do in the small, beautiful town of Uvita, Costa Rica

uvita, cr

I recently was intuivitely called to visit Costa Rica for an ayahuasca ceremony. But instead of visiting the more touristic side of the Guanacaste province, I decided to check out the small town of Uvita.

Although I didn’t have much time here, it felt safe and right at home very quickly and I would recommend this area to anyone wanting to experience another area of Costa Rica that’s a little more off the beaten path.

  1. Visit the Beach, Marino Ballena National Park

Uvita is located on the south pacific coast and what keeps this particular beach so beautiful is the fact that you must pay a fee to enter. This beach area is also a national park, where you can spot plenty of wildlife on the coastline as well as whales in the ocean! I recommend early in the morning if you want to spot monkeys or sloths, and you may even catch a few crocodiles!

This area is also surrounded by parrots high in the sky and toucans, so keep an eye out!

2. Nauyaca Waterfall

ust outside of Uvita is the epic Nauyaca waterfall. This was my favorite attraction here, as I am a waterfall fanatic! If your not renting a car, you could taxi to this area. It’s about 35 minutes outside of Uvita. You can also catch a bus from Uvita to Dominical and another bus from Dominical to San Isidro and ask for them to drop you off at these waterfalls. This is what I did and it saves a whole lot of money to use the bus system.

There is a fee to enter the park and an option to pay extra to take a car down to the main trail. And believe me, you want the car. Unless you are well prepared, I wouldn’t recommend the walk as it is nearly 4 miles one way in the Costa Rican heat.

You can definitely spot wildlife along the way. I spotted many toucans and I’ve heard if your there in the morning, you can see sloths and monkeys.

The main trail to the waterfall is very short and there is an option for the overview as well as to the bottom of the waterfall. It is a double tiered, wide falls that you can swim at the bottom of or even swim accross to take a picture right under the falls. It is a powerful gust so be careful! There are plenty of rocks to hang out at during your stay and this spot will not disappoint.

3. Corcovado

Unfortunately, my tour fell through to see this area near Uvita. Corcovado is a national park, about a 30 minute boat ride from Uvita. The region is so rugged that it is only accessable by boat and I would highly recommend a tour. This area is known to be amongst the three most diverse ecosystems in the world by National Geographic and perfect for nature and animal lovers.

I would not recommend trying to find tours online, as I did. Instead, walk around the small town and there will be many shops that offer tours.

4. Learn to surf

This area of Costa Rica is well known for surf! You can book a surf lesson in Uvita, Domincalita or Dominical (for the more experienced). I unfortunately did not get to try, but if you have a good amount of time here, I would highly recommend.

5. Slide down Uvita Waterfall

Uvita has many hidden waterfalls, Uvita is one of the more well known ones. You could definitely walk here if you’d like to save money on a cab, but if not, there are plenty of taxis that can take you. You’ll feel like a part of the jungle here. There’s a small fee of 2 mil colones (about 3 dollars usd) to get inside and then a small hike along a beautiful river with many opportunities to go for a swim.

Keep going to the end to see Uvita waterfall. It isn’t very high or wide but it is a simple gem with something special about it. Locals love it! you can actually swim up to the waterfall, climb up a ladder to the top and either jump off or slide down the waterfall into the pool at the bottom!

Of course, I had to try this and be sure to be prepared for how fast the waterfall takes you, but I highly recommend!

You can also feel free to book tours to the hidden waterfalls of Uvita. A taxi driver could probably take you to a few as well. Just tell them to take you to all the local waterfalls!

6. Visit Isle Uvita

A short boat ride from Uvita, you’ll need a tour guide to get here. This area is perfect for those who want a day on the water to snorkle the south Pacific.

If only I had more time here to experience it all… it will for sure call me back. I would say that this area of Costa Rica (Costa Rica in general) is very safe and very quiet. If you would like a more peaceful visit to CR, Uvita is perfect. Dominical for those who want to hit up a few more bars and surf.

I stayed at Casa Morpho for a budget stay while I was here and ate often as a vegetarian at El French Cafe.

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Visiting Central Colorado

When I first visited Colorado, I honestly had no idea what to expect. Landing in Denver, I didn’t expect this area of CO to be so abundant in wildlife and adventure. To anyone who plans to visit, even for a small time such as an overnight layover, there is much to see in this area of the state. None of which have any park fees (that as a Washingtonian, I was very used to.)

Here are the ones that I experienced and that I highly recommend. Though I shall caution you to not overdo yourself, as you can get easily winded due to the high elevation gain in the mile high city.

1. Red Rock Park + Amphitheater

This park is a short 30 minutes from Denver and an easy, yet beautiful exploration for a long layover that will not disappoint. There are a few different ways to explore this park, you can head up to the amphitheater and get a view of the whole park or you can use the loop trail that is about 1.5 miles roundtrip and mostly flat.

I recommend you try both to get the best experience, as it is not very difficult. Through the loop, you are walking through all the rock formations and also get some history along the way.

I was fortunate enough to see mule deer, plenty of birds in the brush and also a bobcat!

2. Garden of the Gods

This beautiful park is highly popular, so expect large crowds… but it’s for good reason that you must see for yourself. This park is located in west Colorado Springs, about an hour and 20 minutes from Denver. Simply driving into this park is nothing short of magnificent.

There are several parking areas here, so don’t feel pressured to wait around for parking at the first entrance, as this is the busiest. All parking areas allow access to all the trails. Take your time to soak in all the enormous rock formations and I recommend strolling down every trail, as they all have different things to see and other angles. Once you part from the beginning of the trail, you’ll find much less people on the back trails.

If you here during any season besides winter, beware of rattle snakes (at any park in Colorado). You can also spot prairie hawks at the tops of the rocks here. The hike itself is very easy, almost the entire loop is a wide paved walkway, although I recommend climbing up towards the tops as well.

Don’t forget to drive around the entire park! On the opposite side of the main lot is a beautiful view of all the rock formations and allows you to see them all at a new angle.

3. Rock Rock Canyon Open Space

I didn’t expect much from this place, but it over delivered by far! This area is way less touristy and truly is open wilderness. You can choose to stay on the path or crawl up into the rocks in a way that allows you to experience the rocks of Colorado in the best way you can.

This is located in west Colorado Springs as well and can be easily missed if you don’t pay attention.

There is a loop trail that allows you to see a lake in the middle that unfortunately I didn’t get to do but I highly recommend. I was able to see mule deer here as well as owls and a tremendous view of the Garden of the Gods from afar.

4. Palmer Park

My friend showed me this place to watch the sunrise and I highly recommend you do the same, as this area can have crowds during the day and it supplies the best views without the direct sunlight. Palmer Park is in Colorado Springs as well.

There are many ways to explore this area, you can go straight to the top and wander around or find a trail somewhere and experience as much of the area as you’d like.

This area has a variety of rock formations that are mostly grey with some red as well and has a great view of the city of Colorado Springs. Great place for bird watching, morning meditations and of course… watching the sun rise.

5. Pikes Peak

Now, I did not get to experience this hike, as it is for the advanced locals that are already acclimated to the high altitude. But you can see the peak of this mountain everywhere in Colorado Springs, there is apparently many ways to experience it, but the elevation gain is about 7400 feet! Depending on how you decide to hike this trail, it’s about 5 miles each way. You can also drive it or take a railway!

6. Devil’s Head Lookout

Unfortunately it was far too snowy for us to hike this area, but Devil’s Head is a Colorado staple. About an hour from Denver, this hike goes through tree lines on a simple 3 mile round trip hike. At the end, you climb up some stairs to the lookout house, where you can see amazing views of Denver and rock formations.

This hike does close on account of snow sometimes in the winter, so be sure to check if it’s open.

I now can see why so many love Colorado. There is such beauty to experience all around you while also being within a big city that has it all. All these trails were remarkably clean and the city reminded me of the PNW in it’s design and it’s people. I hope you visit soon and give these trails a try. 🙂

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Snow Lake and Mason Lake, WA

Each state in the PNW has it’s very special places to explore and although I did consider Oregon to be my favorite, there are things Washington has that Oregon doesn’t and vice versa. The windy, moody beaches and … the many lakes in the center of mountain tops, such as the Alpine Lakes along the Snoqualmie pass.

There are many hikes in this area, but today we are going to talk about Snow Lake and Mason Lake. You do not have to travel to Alberta, Canada to see Insta famous prestine blue lake waters amonst snow filled mountains. You can find them right here in Washington, as well many other locations in Washington state.

The first time I went to hike Snow Lake, it was closed off due to snowfall (isn’t that ironic). So instead, we ventured over to Mason Lake, I say this because if you plan to hike Snow Lake, I would say the end of Octobor may be the last time before the snow hits and it closes for the winter until the snow melts, as it can be a treturous trail.

MASON LAKE, WA FACTS

Dog friendly – Yes

Distance – 6.5 miles roundtrip

Elevation Gain – 2420 ft.

Mason Lake, also called the Ira Spring Trail, is right off I-90 on Snoqualmie pass. It is a 6.5 round trip hike with an impressive 2420 ft. elevation gain, highest point being 4320 ft. This trail is dog friendly and leads to the beautiful Mason Lake, which is not nearly as large as snow lake, but still beautiful and easy to find yourself a little nook that you can have lunch before heading back down.

It was full of grey jays when we went that LOVED our granola and ate it right out of our hands, which was one of my favorite parts of this hike, honestly. Of course, this lake is crystal clear and prestine, well worth the hike. Even our chihuahua, almost made it all the way up on his own!

SNOW LAKE, WA FACTS

Dog Friendly – Yes

Distance – 7 miles roundtrip

Elevation Gain 1800ft

We did make our way to Snow Lake later that year and it was well worth the wait. This hike is a little further, about 7 miles roundtrip with an elevation gain of 1800 ft., yet the highest point was about 4400 ft. You will take the West Summit exit, at the top of Snoqualmie, this hike takes you high into the mountain.

The hike starts off very steep but goes away quickly and stays pretty moderate the rest of the way, making it not very difficult, although much of it is on slick granite stone and can be challenging to not twist your ankle… not sure if I’d recommend it for kids. It is also dog friendly and our dog loved seeing snow, which wasn’t anywhere else on Snoqualmie but we started to see some half way through the hike.

If you go when the snow is melting, which we did, you will be hiking along water most of the way which is quite beautiful. You also will hike across a few small waterfalls, really making you feel connected to nature.

When you reach the top, you can see the lake from above, then you can hike all the way down to the lake itself, crossing some meadows and other small waterfalls. The views are incredible, you are in this bowl of snow covered mountains and crystal clear waters. When we went it was overcast and lovely, but I’m sure if you go with the sun out that the water shows it’s blue beauty.

We brought a fly rod because there are rainbow trout in this lake, but if you want to fish here, be sure to bring waders, as you would have to wade about 20 feet to throw a good cast.

I highly recommend this hike before the winter or beginning of spring, so you can see some of the beautiful snow top mountains reflecting on the water. You will not be disappointed.

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A Guide to short term living in Tulum, MX

Amongst many other things, one thing I learned while temporarily living in Tulum for two months is that this place calls many travelers from all over the world to do the same thing! Whether it’s one month or one year, I had met people from every corner of the world that came to Tulum in search of themselves, adventure or healing. And I can say that it is the perfect place for it all!

Tulum is about two hours south of Cancun, MX and has become a very popular Instagram hotspot for the past several years. There are people that are guided here to take photos with the Insta famous hot spots and people that are called there with no reason besides intuition guiding them to go on a journey to heal their Soul.

I was the second option here and I can say that Tulum is an extraordinary place to dive deeper into your spiritual journey as well as experience the sacred beauty of the Riveria Maya. If you are one of the many spiritual travelers, I’d like to give you the ins and outs I learned during my two month stay here.

Where To Stay –

If you plan to temporarily live in Tulum, there are several different areas of the small town you can choose to stay in. The most infamous is of course, the beach road. This is the area of Tulum right on the beach with all the fancy hotels and restaurants and is also the most expensive place to stay. I wouldn’t recommend it to the long term traveler, although if you simply plan to vacation, this area is very beautiful and full of life.

The other neighborhoods of Tulum include Downtown, La Valeta, Aldea Zama and an area that I don’t think has a name that is on the other side of the main downtown road. Make sure to look up the neighborhood before booking your long term stay, but feel free to spend a few weeks in one area and try out another, as they are not too far away from one another, but all have a very different vibe.

I spent my first two weeks in downtown, this was convenient because it’s very close to a lot of restaurants, stores and markets, but it is also very busy. Most of the downtown places to stay will be right along the main downtown road so it can be hard to feel particularly homey unless you are used to such living. Downtown is also closer to the beach road, if you plan on spending a lot of time at the beach.

Aldea Zama is another region in Tulum and this area is known for having a lot of jungle around, luxury villas but not a lot of other things to do around, it is further away from most restaurants, wellness classes and cenotes but also close to the beach. This is a more expensive area of Tulum, right after the beach road.

I spent a month living in the area known as La Valeta and this area was my absolute favorite! Many long term travelers come to this area and it’s easy to make yourself at home fast. This area has much nearby, but isn’t busy. It truly feels like a neighborhood of Mexico but is well spread out. There are plenty of amazing restaurants, wellness classes and other things nearby and you will find yourself running into other travelers often as well as locals!

I stayed at a place called Little Gem and I loved this area, as it was a small hotel with only nine rooms total and a main garden area that felt like your living room. There was also free bike rentals with your stay (which you’ll end up doing all your getting around via bicycle, scooter or motorcycle while staying here long term). The staff was extremely kind and I felt right at home there.

The other neighborhood of Tulum, I don’t believe has a name, but it is on the opposite side of downtown and this region is the least expensive and most filled with the local people, yet also further away from the places that you may find most events or meetups happening in Tulum.

Getting Around –

As I had mentioned before, the best way to get around the small town of Tulum is by bicycle, scooter or motorcycle. Don’t feel obligated to go straight to a motorcycle or feel the need for a scooter either if you do not feel comfortable. I got around by bicycle the entire two months I stayed in Tulum and was perfectly content. Although if you are comfortable with a scooter or motorcycle, it is a lot more convenient to travel further with these options.

There are also taxi’s everywhere you go in Tulum, they are VERY easy to access. You can walk right outside your door and find a taxi in five minutes TOPS. With that being said, taxi’s are not necessarily cheap here. But taxi drivers can charge a variety of pesos for a ride, depending on the season, time of day and traffic. I noticed the cost of a taxi dropping dramatically after the busy season of tourism. From 300 -350 pesos from La Valeta to the beach to 200 pesos, but this is with bartering and getting to know the prices and areas.

It is smart to ask your taxi driver for the cost before you get inside or claim your price beforehand. I will give examples of cost in the next section here.

Tulum Costs –

When I arrived in Tulum, I honestly had no idea how expensive it was there. Tulum is like the L. A of Mexico, so I would recommend to prepare for it being so. Although the currency is different, it’s important to understand it so that you’re not ignorant to how much you are really spending.

My rule of thumb is to consider every 100 pesos to be 5 USD, 1,000 pesos to 50 USD. Some places accept different currency exchange, but this is an average rule of thumb that never did me wrong.

Material things are especially not cheap here, the clothing most definitely. Tulum has a very boho, flow vibe that I love very much but the clothing is extremely expensive, so if you are traveling for a while, don’t depend on not packing fully to buy clothes in Tulum, because you may disappoint yourself. With that being said, the clothing is absolutely beautiful, so if you have some extra money, go ahead and splurge on the gorgeous handmade Mexican fabrics.

Food costs can vary upon where you go. Of course, if you go to a more stylish, fancy place, you will pay more as opposed to a more local spot. There are many stylish, boho restaurants worth visiting. Me personally, I am vegan and the local Mexican cuisine was not very vegan friendly, but Tulum in general has many vegetarian and vegan friendly food. But don’t be afraid to try out other types of foods such as the Italian, Mediterranean and Turkish food in Tulum.

I recommend using a travel credit card here, as well as all places you travel, so you don’t have to pay foreign transaction fees which can add up over time. I personally recommend the United Credit Card or the Venture One Capital One card.

I also found that the best bank to get your pesos from with the least amount of ATM fees was Banco Aztec.

Experiencing the beauty of Tulum –

One of the things I think is most special about Tulum is how close it is to many sacred cenotes in Quintana Roo. There are many beautiful denotes just a bike ride away from the neighborhoods of Tulum. Cenotes are a must do in this region of Mexico, as it is the only place in the world where the rivers run underground (only place you can find cenotes).

You can easily bike to these specific cenotes in Tulum, I will start with the closest to La Valeta and work upwards before going into the cenotes worthwhile for a taxi or motorcycle ride.

Cristol and Esconidos – You pay entry for both cenotes, (about 200 pesos) right across from one another. Not very popular, which makes them special for not having many people.

Mayan Blue – This one is super not well-known, when I went I had this whole place in the jungle to myself. 100 pesos entry (5 dollars)

Corazon – This may be my favorite cenote in Tulum. With crystal blue water, lots of underwater plants, fish and I even caught a little crocodile swimming along the grass lines (they are perfectly harmless). What made this cenote extra special is that it is not super popular either, so you get this place without all the tourists. I think this entry was 150 pesos (7.50 dollars).

Calavera – This cenote is extra special for it’s little holes that you can jump into the cenote through. there is a main giant hole you can climb into through a ladder or jump into, as well as smaller holes above you can step into and fall inside. It has hammocks, some music and sells beers nearby as well. This is a little more touristy, but worthwhile. 200 pesos entry (10 dollars).

Gran Cenote – This is the infamous Tulum cenote, to be honest, the tourism here makes it less enjoyable than it could be otherwise and for that reason it is probably my third favorite. But it is unique and pretty big. There are lots of turtles here to seeand caves to go through with lots of bats. This cenote is also very blue! Entry is 300 pesos (15 dollars).

Tankah Bay and cenote – I would say this is the limit for bike riding, as it was about a 30-35 minute bike ride on the highway. If you wanted you could definitely take a motorcycle or taxi here as well. The cenote is very small but not very popular so is very tranquil. The beach area here has a natural ocean swimming area made my rocks that create a gorgeous, bright blue swimming area!. 300 pesos for entry of it all (15 dollars).

Santa Cruz – This cenote is probably my second favorite. The brightest blue of all the cenotes I had seen, that is what makes this so special. There is also turtles here and a small restaurant that serves. This is about a 30 minute bike ride, I shared a taxi with a friend and was charged about 600 pesos for one way (30 dollars.) I can’t remember the entry for this cenote unfortunately.

Carwash – Another of my top cenotes, this one is about 10 minutes further than Santa Cruz, we also took a taxi here. I find this place unique because of the wildlife, because the people working were so connecting with the nature of this place. We had a guy show us where some birds were nesting and took us to where the crocodile sleeps, where bigger fish were, let us feed them and were just such amazing people. Also cannot remember the entry for this one.

Casa Tortuga – This is another beautiful cenote well known for diving. If you want to book a diving session, this would be the place. If your not diving, you do have to book a tour through the four different cenotes, half under caves and half open. This place is definitely unique for it’s caves but also very busy and a different experience within doing a tour. 450 pesos entry (22.50 dollars).

Dos Ojos – Dos Ojos is a full park of multiple cenotes (not all currently open due to the virus) We were able to visit dos palmas, the first eye and second eye cenote and cenote jaguar. Although there are many more. Cenote Jaguar is fun, with many places to jump off and a zip line to go across the large cenote as well.

Dos Palmas is a quaint little cenote with many lily pads and surrounded by nature, with not many people.

The first eye and second eye are the main cenotes of this park, both under caves and a unique dark blue color, these cenotes are definitely beautiful, although they are required to wear a life jacket in them. You can swim through these caves or you can book a diving experience here. For this park you can pay per cenote or a full pass for all of them for I believe 600 pesos (30 dollars, which I highly recommend.) You would need to taxi to this park.

Muyil Ruins – Muyil is a unique Mayan ruin experience, well preserved in the jungle of Quintana Roo. These ruins are honestly so beautiful, with the main attraction being El Castillo. What makes this place so unique is the surrounding jungle and the lack of tourism. Lots of the ruins in Tulum, such as the Tulum ruins, Coba and Chichen Itza are full of tourists and yet both times I came here there may have only been one family in the whole space. Only 50 pesos for entry (2.50 dollars).

Tulum Ruins – The Tulum ruins are unique to Tulum, right on the cliffs of the Caribbean. These ruins are in the open sun, so if you visit, do so on an overcast day or early in the morning.

Chichen Itza – I had visited these ruins in the past and I can tell you that they are my favorite, although very touristy and in the open sun, these ruins are truly unique, with the main attraction being the physical form of the Mayan calendar built by the Mayans that people today cannot explain. This is a must do, although I recommend VERY early in the morning doing so.

Coba – I never had the chance to visit Coba, about 45 minute drive from Tulum, it is becoming very popular and definitely would be worth while if you are in the area.

Laguna Kaan Luum – This lagoon is absolutely stunning, towards the way to Muyil, this lagoon is shallow most of the way, except for a large deep blue sink hole in the center that you are not allowed to enter. It is a gorgeous blue, with a large deck and area that sells snacks and beers, you may find locals brining coolers and hanging out here for the day. There are also hammocks and swings at this lagoon for your epic Insta shots!

My Favorites –

Now time to tell you the other places that that became my favorite hangout spots while living in Tulum for two months. These vary from restaurants, wellness and hangout spots.

Holistika – I. LOVE. THIS. PLACE. Holistika is at the end of La Valeta and is a restaurant, hotel and wellness center in the jungle of Tulum. It serves vegetarian and vegan cuisine that never disappoints. As well as this, there is a pool that you can hang out nearby in and a wellness schedule with regular meditation, yoga, breath work, sound healing and ceremonies going on daily. If you are staying long term, I recommend following them on Instagram so you can check out and sign up for their daily classes.

Sonido Del Mar – Another restaurant in La Valeta, this place is beautiful with an amazing vibe and also has daily yoga classes.

Ahau – This is a beautiful restaurant on the beach strip, this place is honestly so beautiful and has free salsa lessons on Thursday nights followed by amazing music. I love the vibe of this place.

Ikal – I spent much time at this place, a restaurant, hotel and wellness place on the beach. This place has amazing daily classes and ceremonies by the beach. If you come here to hang out for the day, you can grab a day bed, enjoy their menu and the beach!

Raw Love – If your looking for raw vegan food, this is the perfect place to get your health food fix. There are two Raw Love’s in Tulum, one right on the beach that is famous for it’s Instagrammable entrance and one downtown that is far less busy but just as delicious.

Botanica Garden – Another delicious restaurant, similar to Raw Love located in downtown

Canova – This place was very close to were I was staying, so I may be bias here, but this place is relatively inexpensive and delicious Italian food and wine.

Wrap Up –

Your personal favorites may differ from mine, depending on where you are staying in Tulum as well. But this place has much adventure, delicious food and amazing wellness classes all around. So if you stay open for some adventuring, you will find yourself right at home here quickly.

Don’t be afraid to travel out on your own, as I traveled solo when I came here, it highly challenges what you love and what priorities you have for yourself. Wondering around alone is the best way to discover Tulum and discover yourself. You are surrounded by beauty here, amazing people, food and spiritual growth experiences.

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Connect with the Mexican jungle and your Spirit at Azul Nomeolvides ~ Bacalar

I recently spent a full two months in Quintana Roo, Mexico and ended it in Bacalar. Bacalar is an up-and-coming touristic town, 3 hours south of Tulum, along the Bacalar lagoon, also known as the lagoon of seven colors. It stays true to its name, with many different colors of blues and greens and deep cenotes along the rim.

If you plan to visit this soon-to-be popular town in Mexico, there is no better place to stay than at Azul Nomeolvides. These beautiful eco-cabana’s are right on the Bacalar Lagoon, deep inside the Mexican jungle, down a bumpy dirt road, way off the beaten path.

These 6 luxury cabanas are fully operated by solar power and truly allow you to be one with nature. With an outdoor bathroom and no television or high electric items of any kind; this serene stay prizes the connection with its jungle.

Our time spent here was truly tranquil. We woke up each morning to the sounds of the birds and walked out onto our private patio to read our books, facing the magnificent view of the Bacalar lagoon, listening to its soft waves.

Azul Nomeolvides is just fifteen minutes from the town of Bacalar. Delicious Mexican food and activities are not far away. Although at this unique spot, kayaks are included for you to use during your stay and you can launch them off right in front of your cabana.

Another perk within staying in this beautiful spot is they provide their own organic sunscreen, aloe vera, lotion, bug repellent, hand soap, body soap and shampoo. So if you plan to come to stay here, no need to fill your baggage up with these goods, and they smell like coconut!

There is also a little kitchen with the sweetest staff and a small yet delicious menu for breakfast, lunch, dinner, cocktails, beer and wineYou can choose to take your meal to your room or eat it in the small dining area, surrounded by books and games and two sweet dogs of the owners, Clementina and Tabatha!

Nothing could top the sound of the Mexican jungle in the night, it was the most perfect sound to fall asleep to each night. We were lucky enough to catch a few thunderstorms that we had prime seating to, as the entire front half of the cabana is all windows.

Staying here is like making a whole new home away from home on the beautiful lagoon of seven colors in Bacalar, MX that was difficult to leave and I highly recommend it to anyone who plans to visit this beautiful town of Bacalar.

Click here to book your stay here.

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Wandering Yellowstone

You know when you hear so much about a place that it loses your interest? Well, that’s what I thought about Yellowstone… until I step foot there and let me tell you… it is other worldly!

Yellowstone is America’s First National Park, sitting on top of the world’s most active volcanic platform! As soon as you enter this massive park, it’s not uncommon to have slow traffic due to herds of elk, bison on the road or other wildlife surprises. When the park opens up, you immediately see steam seeping from the ground and it’s hard to make the decision as to which direction to head first.

What I love about this park is that it is very spacious and spread out. There isn’t much of an issue finding parking or hitting any form of traffic like you may in some other National Parks and you can get around very easily. So, don’t stress that you wont have enough time to see the whole park, as you could easily do so in about 3-4 days.

Keep your eyes out and ears open for wildlife at all times. We were fortunate enough to see a National Geographic status bull amongst 100+ elk during the rut season! As well as a bull chasing a female that was something that no one else got to catch, because we stopped and heard the bull’s call.

We also a heard of bison (not uncommon if you look ) and spotted a mountain goat and her two babies, which started a massive crowd of people to come in and observe as well!

On top of wildlife and volcanic action, there are several GORGEOUS waterfalls in this park as well, so if you have the chance to do a short hike to one, don’t hesitate.

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Something I wish we would have paid attention to is what eruptions may happen each day, as some geysers will go off every week, every month, once a year, once every ten years… whatever it is, it’s good to know and try to catch! Old Faithful is popular for it’s consistency, but their are plenty of other AMAZING geysers in the park.

Everywhere you visit in this park is mind boggling, so although you may want to rush towards the most popular Old Faithful and Mammoth Springs, I honestly think these are not the most beautiful in this park. Just take every turn you can to see something and it will not disappoint!


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Exploring Glacier National Park

Glacier has become quiet a popular and Instagrammable area! And guys, it’s with good reason! This spot gets packed by like 11AM every single day and it was worth waiting around 4 hours to get inside.

Glacier National Park is also known as the ‘Crown of the Continent’, located in beautiful Montana at the top of the U. S and on into Canada. This area is also the second most populated area for grizzly bears, right after Alaska!

It is known for it’s mountains, glaciers, amazing hikes and incredibly blue water. The most popular attraction here is the ‘Going To The Sun Road.’ This road goes WAY UP into the mountain tops, a road that seems impossible to even exist and brings you to insane scenic views of valleys, glaciers, mountains and wildlife.

Going To The Sun Road

You can spot bighorn sheep, grizzly’s and mountain goats, amongst other animals of course, in this area. We were fortunate enough to see a grizzly, just 80 yards or so from us, right off of a short trail located near the summit of the ‘Going To The Sun Road!’

Lake McDonald is one of Glacier’s most Instagrammed locations and is one of the first beautiful sites right inside the west entrance to the park. It is known for it’s bright blue waters and colorful rocks. You can also kayak in this lake!

Lake McDonald
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If you plan on heading here, I would highly recommend planning ahead for hiking. Many of the hikes are very long, including several backpacking trips to see some amazing locations, such as Iceberg Lake. Many hikes lead to the iconic blue waters tucked in a valley of mountains.

There are some shorter hikes as well. I highly recommend Avalanche Lake, this leads to the same iconic view of Glacier, with only a 5 mile round trip hike. Avalanche Lake is absolutely breath taking and being in the middle of massive mountains, with giant waterfalls running through them is a feeling you have to experience.

Avalanche Lake

Glacier has a few easy turn offs as well, such as a few waterfalls, scenic viewpoints, blue pools and wild life viewing areas. But anywhere you can marvel at it’s massive mountains, it just makes you feel so expansive!

As I said before, plan ahead. This park is open 24/7, but camp grounds and hotels nearby sell out FAST. I recommend getting into the park no later than 9AM. To keep nature thriving, there is minimal parking in this incredible place, and entrances after McDonald Lodge often get shut down sooner due to parking.

Glacier is definitely all it’s worked up to be, so get there and get there soon!! 🙂

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Exploring Bali – What To See and Do

Monkey Sanctuary, Ubud

You can’t come to Bali and not go to the Monkey Sanctuary! This place is located in Ubud, the center of the island and is COVERED with monkeys. These monkeys do not seem to care how close you get to them and will come right up on you even. They are very laid back animals, even in other places of the island.

They are quiet adorable and fun to go see up close. Be careful to not bring any plastic bags, as they will FOR SURE, go for them. They went for mine and tore my bag.

Also, do not look at a monkey directly in the eye, as it is a sign of aggression. I made that mistake before I knew of this and a monkey chased after me relentlessly, and it was quiet scary. They have large teeth, though they are not usually aggressive to humans unless bothered.

Waterfalls

Bali is abundant in waterfalls. The most popular being Sekumpul, NungNung, Banyumala Twin, Tegenungan, Air Terjun Tibumana and SingSing. I saw two of these…. Now that I think of that alone, all of them are so beautiful I MUST come back! 🙂 They are very scattered throughout the island. These are Air Terjun Tibumana and SingSing.

Rice Terraces

Most of the large, beautiful rice terraces are located near Ubud, in the center of the island. Though, don’t be fooled. You can find some pretty amazing rice terraces literally right off the streets of Bali! There can be an open field somewhere off the road and you’ll find one, or one between a gas station and a food mart. They are quiet unexpected.

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Temples

The temples in Bali are stunning and you do not have to travel far to see them. Though the most popular are Uluwatu Temple, Tirta Empul, Tanah Lot Temple, Ulun Danu Beratan Temple, Taman Ayun Temple and Goa Lawah Temple.

Unfortunately, I did not see any of these temples (gives me a reason to come back!) I did see a few that I do not remember the names of. But in Bali, you will find temples everywhere!
It is a Bali law that if you build a home, farm or anything in between, you must build a temple for it as well, to pray for and bless the place.

For this reason you will see them right off the streets and they are all beautiful, though private. There are plenty of large temples that are public as well.

To enter a temple, you must wear a sarong and women that are on their periods are unable to enter. There are usually a place where you can use a sarong to enter the temple nearby, but not always.

Nusa Penida

This is an island off the coast of Bali, but still considered Bali. The roads are still undeveloped at this point and are very, very bumpy, but well worth the view points that they lead to! They are in the process of making new roads. There are also hardly any shops and restaurants, unlike the main island. But you can still find a place to eat during your visit.

You have to pay to use the bathroom at most places, unless your in a restaurant, and the bathrooms are NOT CLEANLY!

But above all else, you can see some spectacular view points, some monkeys and beautiful blue waters here. If you go to Bali, you must visit here!

Bali Healing Ritual

We went to Ubud for a Bali healing ritual and it was incredible, truly an experience I will never forget.

A healer will meet with you to do a palm reading then a ceremony with holy water and flowers to cleanse your spirit of negative energies and bring power.

After wards you will learn the prayers that the Hindu participate in every morning and in the temples to bring balance and harmony to your life. To read all about it and see more photos, I have a whole blog dedicated to the amazing experience here.

Coffee Plantation

Bali is home to the best coffee in the world, made when an animal called a Luwak, poops out the best coffee beans that it ate. They are then cleaned thoroughly and roasted to make the world’s best coffee. The Luwak only eats the best coffee beans and it’s digestive tract make the coffee beans germinate.

This is the most expensive coffee in the world, so it is a must see! When you go to the coffee plantation, you can walk the grounds where the coffee beans and other plants are grown. See the luwaks and get the whole explanation of the process.

You then can taste Bali coffee, a number of other coffee’s and teas made from the farm and try the luwak coffee as well. All while being in the quiet jungle with an incredible view. It was one of my favorite spots.

This coffee is hardly exported, as they do not have enough to supply high demand.

Bali is full of so much beautiful destinations and culture, I can’t wait to go back and experience more and tell you all about it. 🙂

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Hindu Cleansing Ceremony Experience – Bali, Indonesia

Bali Healing Ritual

I recently traveled to Bali, Indonesia, which currently is a sought out destination, but it is the religion and culture that most intrigued me about coming to this beautiful island.

About 60 percent of the country of Indonesia is Hindu, a lot of Muslim and a little Buddhist. I had the wonderful opportunity to partake in a traditional Bali Healing Ritual with a healer in Bali and it was a exceptional experience to cleanse the spirit and to learn more about the Hindu religion.

A strong Hindu belief is that water is cleansing, for this reason, I was completely drenched in holy water and flowers by the end of this experience.

Dried Flowers + Herbs

Before the healing experience, we met with the Balinese healer, her name was Desak, to do a palm reading, she sensed our emotions of our past and what we needed to do moving forward in our current life.

After this, we walked to an extended deck over a river, where I sat criss-crossed across a bunch of flowers. Desak poured holy water and flowers over me, to wash away negative energies and let them drop down to the river and flow all the way to the ocean to cleanse my spirit. This ceremony is called a melukat ceremony.

During the holy water being poured, she was saying ancient Hindu mantras in a deep voice, like you would when you meditate and say you’re “OM’s.” These mantras were based around cleansing the spirit, banishing negative energies and for protection.

As soon as the water started to hit me, emotions came to me that I couldn’t even explain. I started to cry and I wasn’t even really sure why, but the healer wanted me to let them out, to yell, to cry, to weep, to express myself and let go of these emotions, to rid them with the water all the way to the ocean.

She hugged me and knew exactly how to help me let my emotions go, she knew exactly what to say, even though I did not tell her why I had these emotions.

She guided my breathing in a way to let energy flow, bad energy out, good energies in.

Something stuck with me this day, she said, “never keep this in again.” It’s strange that even if you don’t have a dramatic experience during the time of this ritual, it brings out feelings you didn’t know you even had, but it may only be because you never truly let it go, just buried it.

After the cleansing was done, it was time to bring the power. Desak then poured more holy water and flowers on me, and each time she did, she blessed me with the power of wisdom, the power of knowledge, the power of love and the power of harmony.

With holy water, she blessed my hands and my knees, she blessed my feet, for everywhere I walk, the Universe supports me.

Mala Beads

This experience was like no other, at one point my whole body was tingling and I almost felt like I was going to pass out, it’s something that I cannot explain.

By the end of this healing session, I was sitting criss-cross for probably over twenty minutes without really feeling it, it took about five more minutes of help to start walking again.

After this, they handed us our offerings for our blessings.

Everywhere in Bali, you’ll see offerings, in front of doorsteps, on the streets, on the counters, literally everywhere! There will be rice, incense, fruit, flowers and a number of other things.

This is an offering to the God’s and is put there every morning for people to pray to the God’s and The Universe. We were able to have our own offerings specific to cleansing.

The purpose of a Bali blessing is to bring more harmony between yourself and the universe, balance the chakras, release karma from past lives that might still plague you, and encourage prime health, happiness, safety, finances and a bright future.

We did this by following Desak’s prayers to the God’s, drinking holy water three times, blessing our offerings with holy water, placing rice on our third eye’s and our throat chakras.

We ended the ritual by Desak putting a small bracelet of black, red and white around