Positano Travel Guide

     

Positano is so magically and potentially the most picturesque place in the world! It is a beautiful beach village with colorful buildings, jaw dropping cliffs, and incredible restaurants. Positano is known as the city of lemons! You will find lemon candy, lemoncello, lemon trees, clothing with lemons, lemon sorbet and lemon scented perfume just to name a few…. 🙂 This place holds a very special place in my heart and I hope you fall in love with Positano as much as I have.

Places to See and Activities:

  • Wander through Positano – Get lost through the winding roads full of boutique luxury hotels, charming restaurants, fantastic views and cafes.
  • Shop – Positano has many high-end fashion boutiques, ceramic shops, and art galleries. It’s a great place to buy sandals and footwear. Shoemakers can make shoes on request while you wait. Stroll along Via Cristoforo Colombo.
  • Beaches – There are several incredible beaches in and near Positano. The water is very clear, the umbrellas are colorful and there are both pebble and sand. You usually have to pay €10-20 for a chair at the beach clubs. If you go around 6pm then you will not have to pay and it is a beautiful time to relax and watch the sunset before dinner. Here are a few of my favorite beaches:
    • Spiaggia Grande – the main beach and ferry port, the hub of activity in Positano. Don’t miss it, but don’t forget there is much more to Positano. Several beach clubs and restaurants along this beach. This is where many take the “famous” Positano picture.
    • Spiaggia di Arienzo – a small, secluded, quiet beach. It is a nice 1k walk from the center of town along the road and then 270 steps from road to beach past amazing villas in the area or a 5 minute boat ride away from the main beach. Go early to reserve some chairs to ensure a spot close to water. This beach faces to the southwest so it gets the sun longer than any other beach in Positano. If you have a towel and don’t mind lying on the rounded pebble beach (not sand) you can go to the free area. Pretty swimming and great food here. Open 7am – 7pm in the summer season. Beach ran by family business. Must pay a few euros for bathroom access.
    • Spiaggia del Fornillo – another smaller, more secluded beach that is accessible either by a set of stairs from the grotto above or via a path from Spiaggia Grande. Fornillo has a more laid back atmosphere with four beach bars lining the shore and no ferry traffic.
  • Rent a Scooter – …if you are brave enough! This is a great way to see the villages. The roads are windy, narrow, and tough in a car so a scooter is a great option plus it is was easier to find parking spots!
  • Wine Tasting – there are several options and they usually include transportation to/from a local winery, tasting over a homemade lunch at a family owned restaurant, and extensive knowledge on wine in the region and wine regions across the world.
  • Hike –  Highly suggest The Path of the Gods (Sentiero degli Dei). It is a gorgeous walking trail on the Amalfi Coast that ends in Nocelle, above Positano. The path is around 5 miles but there are several options to cut it shorter by uses buses. This hike is mostly a goat trail so good sturdy shoes are recommended, and take water, hat and camera. There are lots of steps.
  • Drink Limoncello – A lemon alcoholic drink, that is popular all over the Amalfi Coast because of all the lemon trees. If you drink alcoholic then you must try this at least once! Also try an Aperol Spritz or Campari Spritz. I prefer Campari as it is a little less sweet and very refreshing.
  • Day trip to Island of Capri – Take a ferry from the main beach to Capri. Usually less than €20  and about a 35 minute ferry ride. Check out the famous Emerald Grotto and the other grottos near. Capri is full of beautiful gardens, local watering holes, and so many chic people. Highly suggest renting a scooter for the day so you can see the whole island.
  • Rent a boat – There are several great boat companies. Plan ahead and book one early or try to work out a deal on the main beach by the ferries. I suggest picking one with good reviews off of TripAdvisor and making a day of it.
  • Day trip to Amalfi – One hour bus ride, 30 minute drive or take a ferry. Similar to Positano, it is a town with dramatic steep cliffs. Have a drink or meal at Hotel Santa Caterina.
  • Cooking class – Several great options in Positano! Book ahead of time.
  • Day trip to Sorrento – About 30-40 minutes away by car or ferry. This area surprised me and I ended up loving it. The marinas are busy and the beaches are unique. The town and streets had a Rome, Italy feel to it. We ended up staying here for a night. I recommend Bellevue Syrene.
  • Late Night Dancing –  If you want to go out late at night, Music on the Rocks is your place. It is a nightclub inside a cliff, right under Rada Restaurant and on the far side of Spiaggia Grande (main beach). It is the only nightclub around and I’ve definitely had way to many tequila shots here! Also, you are partying in a cave so that is cool. Check the schedule for the various DJs and theme nights.
  • Day trip to Ravello – The drive to Ravello is  often called one of the most romantic road trips in Europe. Be careful, as the roads are tight and Italians can be a little wild with driving! Stroll through the small village and visit Villa Rufolo and Villa Cimbrone.

Restaurants:

  • La Tagliata – Lunch or Dinner, Positano. Family owned restaurant up in the mountains. The food and drinks just keep coming, usually at a fixed price. Live music is often going on from one of the family members. This is well-worth the trek and my favorite restaurant in the area. Tell MaMa I said hi!
  • Chez Black – Lunch or Dinner, Positano. A seafood spot with yummy pizza and pasta near the beach with the iconic Chez Black blue chairs and fun interior. Make sure to order a heart shaped pizza and melon with prosciutto! When coming to the restaurant, the staff will tell you it’s ”fully booked”, but moments later they’ll rush to put together a table for you. I believe they only say it to appear chic, which they do a good job of. 🙂 The best people watching is in the first few rows closest to the beach.
  • Rada – Dinner, Positano. If you would like to treat yourself to romantic, fine dining then go here. It is on the water and built into a cliff right below Hotel Marincanto. Great service, attention to detail and wonderful food.
  • Next 2 –  Dinner, Positano. Locals flock here on weekends and this place comes alive. I prefer  eating and drinking in the fun courtyard rather than the all-white dining room. Food is so delicious and very creative. During summer months they host DJs several times a week and this spot is a favorite for those looking to have a drink and relax without bumping and grinding with sweaty party-goers (at Music on the Rocks, ha-ha)
  • La Sponda at Le Sirenuse – any meal, Positano. The breakfast buffet was incredible! It was pricey at €40 so we tried to really fill up. Lunch is also a great option here. In my opinion, it has some of the most amazing views of Positano so be sure to get some pictures here for the meal price tag! You can also make a reservation at the Oyster & Champagne bar, which is also located at Le Sirenuse and offers drinks and snacks. Make sure to make a reservation as it’s super popular.
  • Franco’s – for a drink, Positano. Best happy hour. Go early. Next to Le Sirenuse.
  • Casa e Bottega – breakfast or lunch, Positano. Healthy, trendy food that is perfect the day after a really heavy meal. This place is full of options from acai bowls, green smoothies and zuccini pasta with pesto! I usually eat here 1x daily.
  • Treville Beach Club – lunch, Positano by boat or a lot of stairs! I’d go by boat. It is an experience and makes for a wonderful day eating and drinking on a beach. Warning: if the tide gets too high then boats cannot come or leave. This happened to us and we had to trek 400 stairs and 1k to make it back into town. Luckily, I drank a lot of wine so it made this very fun and laughable to me.
  • Santa Caterina – dinner, Amalfi. Highly recommend staying here, as well, if you would rather stay in Amalfi and have a pretty penny to spend.
  • Cele Restaurant – dinner, Positano. This restaurant is owned by Hotel Marincanto and it is so romantic and beautiful. Also, a great spot to snap a few photos.

Lodging:

  • My pick:
    • La Sorgente del Sol – This property is my favorite, as it is a home turned into three individual rooms available to rent out and one large villa that fits up to 8 people available to rent out. It is about a 1k walk into the centre of the Positano town which is the only downfall. This lodging has a few amazing balconies, included a rooftop hot tub! I love staying in a place that feels like home, rather than a hotel.
  • Luxury options:
    • Hotel Marincanto
    • Le Sirenuse
    • II San Pietro di Positano
    • Villa Tre Ville
  • Affordable options:
    • La Bougainville
    • Villa Rose
    • Hotel Savoia

Transportation and Orientation:

  • Getting there:
    • Fly into Naples or Rome. Naples is closer. Rent a car or hire a driver. If you rent a car, beware there is very little parking in the Amalfi Coast. You can also use public transportation to make your way to the Amalfi Coast, it will take longer with a few changes from trains to buses.
  • Transportation when you arrive:
    • If you stay in the center of Positano then the best way to get around is by foot as most of the town is a pedestrian zone. Winding stairs, called the Thousand Steps, and the main street lead down through town to the beach.
    • Use the local buses. The road to the centre of Positano town is one way only, and the small local buses go in an anti-clockwise direction that you can take up or down the hill. The charge to ride is  €1.20 if you purchase your ticket from a local shop, or €1.60 if you purchase directly from the bus driver.
    • Rent a scooter. This is a good way if you’d like to visit Amalfi, Ravello, or Sorrento during your visit to Positano.

Thanks for adventure along!

XX-
Blonde Boarding

Barcelona Travel Guide

   

Barcelona will forever be one of my favorite cities. The good vibes, relaxed lifestyle, and exciting passion rings throughout the city. Although, this is a large city with a lot of people, I promise if you truly take in the culture then you will love it just as much as I do! I hope this guide leads you to a great trip. Enjoy!

Lodging:

I’ve visiting Barcelona five times and have always stayed in an airBnB. I enjoy being in busiest parts of the city, although it can be loud at night.  Eixample, Gothic, and El Born are my favorite areas to stay in. Check out TripAdvisor and airBnB to find the right lodging fit for your visit.

Places to See and Activities:

  • Sagrada Familia Church – This is an unfinished Roman Catholic Church and it is a must- see! Pay to go inside and go early.
  • Magic Fountain – Beautiful fountain that often has light shows.
  • Picasso Muesuem – One of the most extensive collections of artworks by the 20th century Spanish artist, Pablo Picasso.
  • Labyrinth – Historical garden with a famous maze.
  • Casa Batillo/Casa Mila – Gaudi did not like straight lines so the buildings are very trippy and cool. Both are located on Passieg de Gracia. You can go inside and on the roof of Casa Batillo. It is incredible at sunset.
  • Parc Ciudatella – Beautiful, famous park in Barcelona. Spanish for park of “cities” because it is very large. The zoo is here and you can rent row boats.  Check out the famous golden statue/fountain of Zeus inside.
  • Parc Guell – Currently under a bit of reconstruction. Still go, as this park has incredible views of Barcelona.
  • La Boqueria – Open air market on Las Ramblas. It has the freshest, most delicious food. Another cool open air market is Palo Alto.
  • Las Ramblas – A very touristy street in Barcelona, yet fun to walk down to people watch and see the street performers. Pickpocketing is common here so be aware and keep your bag in front of you.
  • Barceloneta  – The beach! This is the largest beach in Barcelona and very fun.
  • Gothic District/Passieg del Born – Explore the gothic district, especially Passieg del born. It’s a super cute area with a ton of great restaurants and stores.
  • Cathedral de Barcelona – Build in 1298, this Cathedral is truly stunning. It is in the Gothic District. Have a glass of wine on the rooftop of the hotel across the street to enjoy the views at sunset.

Meal Culture:

Get ready to switch up your typical eating schedule while in Spain. All of your meals will be pushed back a few hours (if you eat like a local) and a few may be added! In Spain, most people eat 4-5 times a day. Desayuno (breakfast) is usually a coffee at home with a pastry. Almuerzo (mid-morning snack) around 10:30am is a light meal of a bocadillo (baguette sandwhich). La Comida (lunch) around 1 or 2 pm consists of traditional tapas and wine. Often this is viewed as the main meal of the day and many restaurants offer a nice fixed 3 course menu at a very reasonable price. Merienda (afternoon snack) consisting of a light sweet snack or meat and cheese plate. La Cena (dinner) usually beginning after 9 pm and consisting of more tapas and drinks.

Restaurants:

  • Bormuth – Incredible tapas place with no-nonsense. It is an affordable, fun spot in El Born.
  • Casa Lolea – An adorable family owned Tapas restaurant in El Born. If you don’t have a reservation, they do have a community table!
  • Da Greco – Great Italian food.  I recommend the Gnocchi!
  • Barraca – If you are craving paella then this is your place!
  • Flax&Kale – For a healthy escape, go here for a meal! So many amazing vegan options, and some fish. The watermelon app is a must.
  • Cervesería Catalana – One of the best tapas restaurant in Barcelona. Very popular with the locals.
  • Bo de B – Amazing sandwich shop with fresh ingredients at a cheap price.  Make sure to get picante and pesto sauces. I recommend taking your sandwich to go and eating it on the Barcelona beach!
  • Bar Del Pla – Great tapa restaurant with so many options. You will see both tourists and locals here.
  • Chök – The chocolate kitchen. Big fan of the cronuts here. Located in the Gothic area.
  • Brunch and Cake – Amazing brunch and so cute! Go here.
  • El Nacional – A Tapas Food Hall. I’ve had great yet also so-so experiences here. It is definitely worth the visit, at least for wine and apps! Close to a lot of shopping, as well.
  • Demasié – A wonderful cake shop. Try the cinnamon rolls! In the El Born area near Arc de Triomf.

Bars:

  • Espit Chupitos – You will never forget your trip to this shot bar! It is one of the most famous bars in Barcelona with hundreds of shots, many of which the bartenders light on fire. I dare you to have a friend take the Monica Lewinsky shot!
  • George Paynes – An Irish- themed pub. Imagine buckets of beer, football games and karaoke. If that’s what you are looking for then this place is perfect.
  • La Cerveceria – Near George Paynes. Local spot with affordable drinks and cheaper food.
  • Bar Marsella – Absinthe bar that is 200 years old in El Raval. Great cocktails. You must-try the absinthe! Forewarning, it’s near the red light district so you might be hassled a little.
  • Boca Chica – Another good cocktail bar in the Eixample area.
  • Dow Jones – The famous stock market bar. The drink prices change depending on the “stock market” so if a lot of people order a certain drink then it gets more expensive. When the stock market crashes the prices are super cheap! This is a good spot to pregame at.
  • Ovella Negra – A huge beer hall in a mega warehouse (two locations). Beer towers and large wooden lunch tables. Young crowd so know what you are walking into. A really fun time if you are looking to watch some futbol games and drinks a lot of beer.
  • Dr. Stravinsky – A classy contrast from the prior. Grab a cocktails here, located in El Born.
  • Le Cyrano–  Make sure to get here early. This is a good spot to pregame at because you make your own drinks!
  • Casa Almirall – Vermouth in El Raval. Cool woodwork and atmosphere.

Clubs:

  • Opium Mar – Thursday nights. Definitely one of my favorite and nicer clubs in Barcelona. It is right on the beach.  Stays open until 6 am with good DJ’s. Stricter dress code.
  • W ECLIPSE– Lounge at the W hotel. Unreal views from the top. Definitely go here at least once, it is so worth it. Warning that it is more exclusive than other clubs and drinks are more expensive.
  • Broadbar – Great spot on Wednesday nights.
  • CDLC– Carpe Diem Lounge Club is a really nice, more mellow lounge next to Opium and Shoko. It’s a good spot to go before Opium or check it out during the day. It is fun to lay on the large opium beds while enjoying sushi and sangria. The patio is really cool and it’s on the beach.
  • Sutton – Good any night Thursday-Sunday. It is a nicer, local club full of Europeans. There is a strict dress code here and it reminds me of a Vegas or Miami club. Definitely a fun spot.
  • Loco Lunes – Monday nights. Wild, young crowd.

Overall Tips:

  • Easy to get to other cities from Barcelona. Use skyscanner.com to find a cheap option. We flew to Ibiza from Barcelona for $17.
  • Bring warm clothes for Jan, Feb, mid- March.
  • Keep your bag on you at all times, Barcelona is the pick-pocket capital of the world and if you’re not paying attention you will get pick pocketed.
  • Public transportation is easy. Use the T-10 metro passes (10 rides) or you can walk almost everywhere. Barcelona also has Uber.
  • It can be very loud at night if you are staying in the city. Bring headphones, whitenoise app, etc.

Thanks for adventure along!

XX-
Blonde Boarding

Tulum Travel Guide

Mexico is a dream. It’s quickly rising to the top of my favorite countries and without a doubt, Tulum is my favorite cities! I’ve visited Mexico 5 times in the last few months and Tulum has been included on several of those trips. I didn’t think it was fair to half-ass this list for you so I drank every spicy margarita, ate every shrimp taco, and ran up and down this town a million times to prep this guide for you. Such a tough job but someone has to do it. 😉 Cheers!

Lodging:

I highly recommend staying in Tulum Beach, rather than the Tulum town. All three options I’ve suggest below are along the Tulum Beach.

Most affordable: Villa Pescadores Tulum – Located right on the beach, these gorgeous individual villas are eco-friendly and peaceful. Friendly staff that offers welcome drinks and coffee delivered every morning to your villa. These villas are on the far end of the Tulum Beach right next to the Mayan Ruins. Each villa has a large front deck and plenty of hammocks to enjoy throughout your stay.

Mid-Range: Kai  – Located right next to Villa Pescadores Tulum, this resort is the upgraded version of the two. You will be paying for larger rooms with an additional bed, high ceilings, very cool décor and aesthetics, plus a wonderful restaurant onsite. Oh and an outdoor shower… Yes, please!

Splurge: Papaya Playa Project – I stayed in the Oceanfront Casita with Private Pool. It was truly perfection with plenty of privacy. This resort is very ecofriendly with the added perks of rooftop pools and open showers in the casitas. Overall, great amenities including free yoga every morning at 8 am and a DJ playing chill house music at the beach during the day and night. I highly recommend stopping by this resort even if you do not stay here, as it has some of the best vibes and beach parties in all of Tulum.

Day Activities… which happen to be really good picture spots:

  • Cenotes – This is a must! A cenote is a natural pit resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrock that exposes groundwater underneath… and the water is usually breathtakingly teal. Tulum is known for these. I recommend going early in the morning to beat crowds. The cost ranges from $10-25 USD. You can book a tour or explore on your own by swimming, snorkeling, diving, and enjoying the nature, etc. We hit several and Dos Ojos was my favorite. The mosquitos are bad near the cenotes so remember bug spray!
  • Rent bikes and ride around town! Most resorts have these to use for free.
  • Mayan ruins of Tulum – These are located on the far end of the Tulum Beach. The ruins are so close that it is worth the visit and they are very beautiful. I recommend going right before closing at sundown to avoid most of the crowds. Imagine a beautiful beach, coastal ruins and the blue ocean.
  • Playa Paraiso and Playa Maya – The famous leaning palm trees! Very beautiful beach spot and you can grab drinks and coconuts from the local stands.
  • Grab a drink at Coco Tulum. They have really cute swings on the beach and it’s a good place to hang out for an hour or two.
  • Hop around all the other hotels and resorts. Each one is known for something different and they rotate who is hosting events each day. For example, DJ at Papaya Playa Project, Salsa Dancing Classes at Zebra Hotel.
  • Have a boat day! You can take a boat ride out to Isla Mujeres.

      

Restaurants:

Breakfast/Brunch

  • Raw Love – My favorite breakfast spot in Tulum! Amazing smoothies and bowls in an incredible beach setting. You will NOT regret this! Get the vanilla bowl, add peanut butter. Cash only.
  • Mivida – Good spot for breakfast.
  • Zamas — Breakfast outside with a cool look out.
  • Matcha Mama – You will most likely recognize the iconic outside as a spot many people get pictures at. Snap one, and you might as well enjoy a delicious acai bowl while you are there! Cash only.

Lunch

  • Habitats – Good spot for lunch.
  • Nomade Restaurant – Awesome spot for lunch. Bohemian beach vibes mixed with Moroccan inspired dining.
  • Mateos – Good lunch spot for typical Mexican in the center of the main beach strip.

Dinner/Drinks

  • Posada Margherita — Italian. Yes, Italian in Mexico… GO! Walk in only.
  • Gitano – This Latin bar and restaurant is located on the jungle side of the Tulum beach and gives me all the good vibes! Great design, fun drinks, cool atmosphere. It’s a must. Good spot for late night drinks and socializing if you want to skip on a semi-expensive meal.
  • Casa Jaguar – Equally amazing ambiance to Gitano with more of a hipster feel. It’s located on the jungle side. Intimate dinner setting that is an experience in itself. This is the spot for a lot a late night parties, as well.
  • Hartwood – Great spot for dinner. Suggest the empanadas and grilled octopus. Cash only.
  • Kin Toh at the Azulik hotel – I would just go for drinks. I wanted to go so badly to get the amazing pictures in the huge hammocks overlooking the jungle, yet, the staff was stuffy and it was hard to enjoy the experience. If you want this picture then go but if you are just looking for a good time then skip this one. Reservation required.

   

Logistics and Other Tips:

  • Fly into Cancun. Tulum is a little over an hour from Cancun so either rent a car or book a driver to take you. I rented a car through Easy Way both trips and did not have any issues. For 3 of us for 4 days it was about $75 a person including gas. To get a ride from the airport to Tulum it is about $75 each way. It is cheaper, yet riskier to rent a car… your call.
  • Always have some cash on hand (USD works most places but you will get a better deal with Pesos). Some restaurants only accept cash, same with local fruit stands, parking, etc.
  • If you want to save some money then go to the local store, Chedraui, to stock up on snacks, water, alcohol, bug spray, etc.
  • Always keep a copy of your passport and backup money or credit card in a separate bag.
  • Have fun!!

All photos were taken by myself, Emma Johnson, and John O’Nelio. 

Thanks for adventuring along!

XX-

Blonde Boarding

Costa Rica, featuring Guanacaste Province and Puntarenas Province

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Costa Rica is like being in a dream where you are surrounded by lush jungles, stunning waterfalls, scenic views and find new animals around every corner. The locals are friendly, relaxed, and excited to share their country and culture. The motto in Costa Rica is “Pura Vida” meaning “Pure Life” or “Simple Life” which truly encompasses the way of life. Costa Ricans live pure and strive to be stress-free, adopt a slow-pace and practice gratitude for what they have, rather than to focus on what they do not. Costa Rica is one of the happiest countries I have visited and I am excited to share it with you!

Costa Rica consists of seven provinces, which makes it difficult to cover in one trip. I visited two provinces, Guanacaste Province and Puntarenas Province, and provided my favorite lodging, activities, restaurants, and addition landmarks to hit.

Lodging

    • Andaz Papagayo is in the Guanacaste Province on Papagayo Peninsula. The Guanacaste Province is known for its beaches, some of the best surfing in the world, and the unique dry tropical forest. Papagayo Peninsula specializes in luxury resorts and is home to one of the best in the world, Andaz Papagayo. The resort has won Travel + Leisure’s award for one of the 20 best getaways for adults, TripAdvisor’s Traveler’s Choice Award and Conde Nast Traveler’s Best Resorts in Central and South America. Our room was spacious and clean with incredible perks including fresh fruit, a large outdoor deck, and take-home fedora hats and flip-flops. The resort was large and offered 2 pools, 2 beaches, and 3 restaurants. It also offers beautiful massage rooms overlooking the ocean and an amazing fitness center with a multiple saunas. The staff was spectacular, helpful and gracious and would drive you around via golfcart anytime you would like to get somewhere.
  • Oxygen Jungle Villas is in the Puntarenas Province which covers most of Costa Rica’s Pacific Ocean coast and the western part of the country. Puntarenas Province is home to 14 national parks, dense moist tropical rain forests, and incredible “party” beaches for surfers and visitors. I stayed at Oxygen Jungle Villas in Uvita and could have cried tears of joy the entire time. Their glass villas exceeded any lodging expectation I could have dreamed of and allowed me to knock off a top item on my bucket list. It is no surprise this resort landed as on Tripadvisor’s Travelers’ Choice Awards, Yahoo! Travel Top 20 World’s Best Boutique Hotels, and made it on Conde Nast Traveler: Hot List Hotel. This environmentally friendly and luxurious resort is made up of 12 Balinese inspired private villas each with gorgeous four poster beds, rain showers, and access to animals outside the glass walls. (I saw my first white-nosed coati—they are so adorable!) The property has a fantastic restaurant, on-site spa, ocean-view infinity swimming pool, a private jungle reserve trail with a waterfall and some of the best cocktails we drank the entire trip.

Activities

  • Rio Celeste — This waterfall and river is one of the most turquoise in the world! I highly suggest going on this hike and taking pictures; the contrast of dark green jungle and turquoise water is unmatched! This river is located in the Tenorio Volcano National Park and several hot springs are nearby. Also, within a few hours you have other well-known landmarks, included the Arenal Volcano.
  • Any and all waterfalls. This country is covered with them, some well-known and some hidden.
  • Horseback riding to the Nauyaca Waterfalls — This was one of my favorite activities of the trip! The adventure takes about 6 hours total with a few hours on the horse and an incredible day of swimming, jumping, climbing and taking pictures at two different waterfalls. One waterfall drops into a pool that you can swim in. Locals love this area and often hike to it with a picnic to enjoy after swimming. It is possible to either hike or horseback ride to this destination.
  • Manuel Antonio National Park — The smallest of Costa Rica’s protected green spaces that boosts more than any other! Walk around and spot iguanas, sloths, monkeys, rare birds and more. This National Park is full of untamed beaches, secluded coves, thick rainforest, and hiking trails. You can also go on a catamaran or yacht from the Manuel Antonio marina.
  • Relax at the many beaches or pools. It is easy to get excited and book a lot of activities, but remember, you are on vacation so it’s important to just CHILL once in a while. (Something I have to constantly remind myself).
  • Hike Corcovado National Park – National Geographic described this place as the most biologically intense place on Earth!
  • Snorkeling Cano Island — This is one of the best places to snorkel in Costa Rica due to the vibrant coral reef, crystal clear water and plentiful of fish. Seeing whales and dolphins is common.
  • Other activities available throughout Costa Rica– Waterfall Rappelling, White Water Rafting, Zip lining, Cliff jumping, Scuba Diving, Hiking, Surfing, Stand Up Paddle Boarding.

Restaurants

  • Ostra (Located on Papagayo Peninsula at Andaz) – Upscale Seafood in a beautiful outdoor restaurant overlooking the ocean. The restaurant welcomes you with a delicious cocktail as you enter. I highly recommend the ceviche and the local Costa Rican food. The flavor is incredible.
  • Rio Bhongo (Located on Papagayo Peninsula at Andaz) – This restaurant is the most casual and largest restaurant on the Andaz property. The breakfast buffet was incredible and we were able to watch monkeys swing from the trees while enjoying made-to-order omelets, fresh local fruits and cheeses, as well as a variety of pastries and Costa Rican coffee! I also ordered a baked sweet plantain with palmetto cheese and cinnamon and it was incredible. You can opt for the buffet or al carte.
  • Chao Pescao (Located on Papagayo Peninsula at Andaz) – Chao Pescao is a tapas and cocktail bar with live music. I was very impressed with the cocktails. My favorite was a spicy egg white margarita.  Next time I definitely want to take the mixology class and try some tapas!
  • Father Rooster’s (Guancaste Provience on Ocotal Beach near Coco Beach) – Great outdoor restaurant on the beach filled with locals. Sit at tables on the sand under mango trees (maybe not right under a mango!), drink house-made margaritas, and enjoy coconut shrimp, plantains, and local dishes.
  • TacoBar (Puntarenas Province on Jaco Beach) – If you find yourself in Jaco, one of the best surfing and party cities, then TacoBar is a must. Sit in swings while sipping out of mason jars and enjoying some of the best food we ate all trip. Stand in line to order your “core” dish then fill your plate with the fixings from the constantly fresh small buffet.
  • The O2 Restaurant (Puntarenas Province at Oxygen Jungle Villas) – Simple, elegant and fresh dishes with an incredible serving staff. We sampled several of the drink items from the menu and loved every single one. Highly suggest the jungle colada and fresh fish!

Other Landmarks to See

  • Arenal Volcano
  • San Jose (the capital)
  • Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve
  • Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
  • Jaco
  • La Paz Waterfall Gardens
  • Tabacon Hot Springs
  • Tortuguero National Park

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Thanks for adventuring along! I hope you enjoy the Pura Vida life as much I do. On to the next….

XX-

Blonde Boarding

Yountville, featuring Hotel Yountville

There is a reason people flock to Yountville year-round and I can’t wait for you to fall in love with this foodie and wine paradise as much as I have.

The perfect trip to Napa Valley must include walkability from your hotel to wineries, tasting rooms, local shops and nationally recognized restaurants. If you’re a foodie, many of the restaurants you’ll want to try are located in the small eclectic town of Yountville. If you want luxury accommodations with some of the best access to what Yountville has to offer, Hotel Yountville is the spot. Hotel Yountville epitomizes luxury. As soon as you walk onto the property, you’re greeted by hosts who are focused on getting you into vacation mode as soon as possible.  On the private outdoor walk to your room, you feel like you are walking around a sprawling estate with guest villas tucked among beautify mature oak trees and well-manicured vegetation.  In the spring time there’s even a small creek that trickles through the back of the property.

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ROOMS

Rooms (especially suites) have quick access from parking and have individual entrances from the outside.  This is nice when you don’t want to visit with everyone in the lobby the morning after a day of wine tasting. The rooms have high, gorgeous vaulted ceilings with four poster beds and more than enough space.  The extra space is nice as you’re able to tuck your luggage out of sight.  There are gas fireplaces, private outdoor spaces to relax with chairs and massive (well designed) bathrooms that include a deep bathtub with a Jacuzzi and a steam shower.  I’ve never experienced a steam shower before and it was heaven. Hotel Yountville pays attention to the details. The decorations are classy, clean, and fresh. The dark wood mixed with the whites and creams give off a romantic, vineyard cabin feel.  The storage space was nice for folding and hanging clothes, as well as robes and slippers for guests to use! The bed was so comfortable; honestly I wanted to take it home with me. The weather was so nice that I slept with the doors open.

STAFF

The staff was very well trained, helpful and friendly. Several employees at the front desk are extremely knowledgeable and well connected with the wine community! If you need help getting a private tasting at one of the exclusive boutique tasting rooms, they’ll take care of you.  You can tell they enjoy helping you plan your day to find the right wineries to fit what you are looking for. Every night, they came by to offer more bottled water and local dark chocolate.  I turned the chocolate down, never…..

DINING

I cannot say enough about the breakfast. Absolutely gourmet and the best breakfast I found in the surrounding area. They have all the classics and a nice selection of specialties that I highly suggest you check out. The benedict, French toast, and homemade croissants with jam made daily by the chef were my favorites.. So, so amazing and I’m getting hungry writing this!  Oh, I almost forgot.  The coffee throughout the whole resort is delicious. It’s a dark roast with really great flavor and I drank quite a bit every day. 

SPA

I had the chance to enjoy a signature massage with hot stones on a cool rainy day and it was incredible. It was 75 minutes and so relaxing. My masseuse asked several times about the pressure and never rushed the process.  The aesthetics in the spa are ultra-relaxing.  There’s a lounge area that walks out to the pool.  This would be a really fun spot for a girls retreat. I hear tipsy massages are good?!

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LUXURIOUS FACILITIES

There are plenty of amazing spots to hang out around the property if you want a break. Hotel Yountville  has a stunning, heated pool, as well as a large hot tub outside.  The pool area is packed with little spots to disappear for a few hours.  In the lobby, you’ll immediately see a charming bar, as well as large indoor and outdoor fireplaces with plenty of comfortable seating. If you want to veg by the fire one night, make sure you get there early to claim your spot. The hotel has bikes for guests to take and ride around for free.  It’s a great way to get around the wineries, catch some fresh air and exercise at the same time!

LOCATION

This hotel is in the absolute best location in Yountville and the Napa Valley for that matter. It’s truly walking distance to some of the most incredible Michelin Star restaurants in the USA from The French Laundry, Bouchon, Ad Hoc, Bistro Jeantry and Redd. It is also within walking and/or biking distance of 8-10 wineries. This was really nice as I arrived at 3 pm and was still able to fit in a tasting (most close at 4-5 pm) right across the street.. even better it was a SPARKLING flight! I can always find a reason to celebrate. 🙂

WINERIES

The wine experience in the Napa Valley is obviously incredible.  The Napa Valley only produces 8% of the wine in California, but is on the high end of the quality spectrum due to some of the best growing environments in the world.  There are 14 microclimates in the valley and even more soil combinations which result in complexity and variation.  I learned all of this from a private, intimate cabernet focused tasting at Handwritten Wines.  These guys are super knowledgeable, fun and thoughtful.  It was such a great experience.  Handwritten can only be purchased from the company and it has very limited quantities making it a boutique, artisan winery.  The wine was all outstanding and since I love cabernet, Handwritten is now one of my favorites.  Next, I visited Stewart Cellars. They have a really well designed space that includes outdoor seating and several private tasting rooms.  I found myself forgoing the comfortable leather chairs to get extra cozy by a fireplace tasting excellent wines and craft chocolates while the host fielded all of my silly questions. It was a fun experience and I loved tasting the chocolates along side the delicious variety of wines.  I was also able to hit so many other good wineries and restaurants including sparkling wine specialties at Mumm Napa  to both Chandon locations. There are over 400 wineries you can visit in the valley……. Sounds like I need to go back!!

I hope you enjoy Wine Country as much as I do.

For additional recommendations in Napa Valley, here is my 2017 Spring Getaway to Wine Country.

Special thank you to Stephanie, Hannah, Rich and Tom for making this trip happen.

Thank you for adventuring along! On to the next.

XX- Blonde Boarding

@SeeKelsGo

Disclaimer: Hotel Yountville and the Yountville Chamber of Commerce hosted me on this trip. My opinion expressed here is my own.

 

 

The Sea of Cortez with Offshore Outpost

Offshore Outpost has perfected the balance of luxury and adventure to curate the most epic trip imaginable. A vacation filled with endless wildlife exposures, water as clear and teal as the Caribbean, endless untouched beaches, Michelin-star quality fare, beautiful red mountains to hike and the deep blue sea to explore! The activity itinerary is wide open. It’s truly a choose-your-own-adventure story where you decide how extreme or low-key you want to be and the staff delivers on all levels! Each voyage has capacity for 12 guests which the boat more than accommodates. It would be an amazing trip with a group of friends, family or book on your own to meet new people like me!  I can’t stress how creative, professional and flexible the staff is.  It makes the trip feel effortless.  Simply focus on the moment and enjoy!

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All photo content in this post are taken my myself and people on the ship with me. Follow along with their adventures – Offshore Outpost, Dave, Roamaroo, Elli, Aries, & Stefan.

Trip Layout:

6 nights/7 days:

  • All inclusive food and beverage. The chef prepares 3 amazing meals a day, as well as snacks. Our breakfast meals ranged from gourmet omelets to buckwheat pancakes from scratch to poached pears. Our dinners ranged from roasted duck to traditional Japanese ramen bowls to fish tacos. Every day we would anticipate what the chef would prepare next and we were never disappointed.  If you need more convincing, Chef David is a former private chef for Phil Michelson and Dr. Dre.  Every afternoon the bartender would host a specialty happy hour with visually stunning craft cocktails (All skinny w/ few ingredients).  Also, every excursion included coolers packed with MANY options.
  • Endless Adventures. Swimming with whale sharks, snorkeling with sea lions, kayaking to untouched beaches, deep sea fishing, shallow fishing, spear fishing, sunbathing, water sports, hikes and rooftop hot tub.  The staff’s water experience (several ex-navy) is impressive. Oh, and Dave (previously National Geographic Photographer)  will be snapping pictures along the way, which he gives you on the last day!
  • Fly in and out of Cabo. Or if you prefer to go between April – October when they have Offshore Outpost Alaska trips!

 

 

map-v7_DH-72-DPIMap from Offshore Outpost

What is the ship like? Who will be on board?

  • 160-foot expedition ship (Named Pacific Provider) with 3 floors. The ship fits twelve guests and seven crew members. High guest to crew ratio (2:1)
  • The ship has 6 large guest rooms, two bars, indoor and outdoor dining and living areas (amazing couches), as well we a expansive deck that includes a hot tub. Each room has a bathroom, TV, and large window to take in the views 24/7
  • 4 tenders (small boats) allow for flexibility to customize your activities every day.

Is this trip right for me?

  • Do you like adventure? Do you like luxury? If so, YES!!  Contact me for more details or reach out to Offshore Outpost to book now!
Disclaimer: Offshore Outpost hosted me on this trip. My opinion expressed here is my own.

Thank you for adventuring along! On to the next..

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XX-

Blonde Boarding

@SeeKelsGo

Austin City Guide

A city of live music, street tacos, and public (natural spring) swimming pools that welcomes everyone! Although Austin is landlocked in the middle of big ol’ Texas, it has a coastal, easy living vibe. It seems like everyday is a casual Saturday, as people are walking around and enjoying a coffee, hanging out in parks, kayaking on Lady Bird Lake, or strolling on South Congress. Austin is one of the few places I could easily call home. The people here are diverse, friendly and encourage everyone to be who they want to be. Without question it is one of my favorites cities in the United States and I’m excited for it to be one of yours, as well! I’ve divided this city guide up by restaurants, bars, and activities. Enjoy!

Restaurants

Austin is sprawling with restaurants and it seems like new ones pop up monthly. Here are a few of my current favorites…

For date night or nice dinner with friends, I suggest Josephine House, Mattie’s, or the retro Launderette. If you are like me and enjoy variety then Austin has you covered. Check out Uchi for great sushi, Sway for unique, upscale Thai, and Odd Duck for new American bites in a tapa style meal. All three have visual appeal, are dimly lit and are a perfect way to start a night out.
There are several awesome food spots on South Congress. Check out Cafe No Se for a healthy meal or choose from American staples(French fries, hamburger, avocado toast). The atmosphere has an upscale café feel, is bright and rustic cool. If you prefer something a little darker and sexier then head down the street to Central Standard Austin. For more low key and delicious eats on South Congress go to Hopdoddy for burgers or Home Slice Pizza for pizza, obviously. Assuming you are like 99% of the world and enjoy brunch my favorites are South Congress Café (get the bloody mary, crab cake benedicts and carrot-cake french toast!) or if it’s Sunday then head to the unbelievable buffet at Moonshine.
Specific Cravings…..

Bars and Nightlife

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Let’s go by “district” to make it easy. East 6th Street is your college/rage crowd. It is also known as “Dirty 6”. If you are looking for cheaper drinks and a younger crowd that’s ready to turn up then hop around this area. I like the Library bar, East Side Showroom and Blind Pig Pub. You will see a lot of people on their 21st birthday and bachelorette parties. Just a 1/2-1 mile down the road the bars get a little more clean and fancy.  This is West 6th Street. The age range is closer to 25-35 years old. I’m a fan of Dogwood and Parlor and Yard.
For a totally different scene check out Rainey Street. Rainey Street is a growing group of residential houses (some historical) that have been revamped into bars and food trucks with awesome outdoor setups. Day drinking is great here or if you are looking for a more relaxed night out with games, life music and a backyard feel. Definitely grab food at Banger’s Sausage House and Beer Garden!  Eastside/East Cesar Chavez pulls a local crowd and if you prefer off the beaten path then check out this area.  Volstead lounge, Kitty Cohen’s and Whisler’s are good options. To make it a late night…my favorite clubs are Ethics Music Lounge, Summit, and Plush. Check out Barbarella if you like a gritty, quirky vibe with lots of dancing and little talking.
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Activities

Austin is full of activities, but easy access to water activities makes it unique. Take a swim at Barton Springs in Zilker Park — a 1,000-feet long spring-fed swimming pool with a year-round of temperature of 68‎°.  Tons of people picnic and hang here on warm days. A more family friendly option with kiddos is the shallow Deep Eddy in Eilers Park. If you are up for venturing outside Austin, visit the nearby Krause Springs in Spicewood, which has a manmade pool and natural pool fed by springs; and the stunning Hamilton Pool. It is worth the short drive! I highly suggest getting out on Lake Austin or Lake Travis. Lake Austin is just 3-4 miles from downtown and has a party cove, as well as a few fun lake Bars (Hula Hut and Abel’s). Lake Travis is 30-40 minutes away with gorgeous blue water with lots of water sports. There are several boat rental companies to choose from.
For shopping, I enjoy the walkable stretch of South Congress. It has a solid lineup of unique shops including Stag (for men), Sunroom (for women), Feathers & Prototype (vintage clothing) and South Congress Books, where you can find an unusual collection of vintage books focusing on art, photography and music.
I hope you enjoy Austin as much as I do!
Thanks for adventuring. On to the next..
XX-
Blonde Boarding
@SeeKelsGo

Cabo City Guide

Cabo is going to be one of my happy places. Waking up to the sound of waves, eating chips and guacamole at every meal and not being overwhelmed with too many tourists or hotels. Plus the margaritas are just flooowin’! The best and simple kind… tasty tequila, a solid orange liquor, fresh lime juice and muddled jalapeno. That’s it. And lets be real, when I can have a gorgeous beach, eat guac and shrimp tacos at any meal, and drink margs then I’m in a very happy place. So you know I love Cabo…. now lets get you prepared to love it too!

Restaurants

  • Flora Farms -This place is a MUST!!!! Yes, it is most likely 30-45 minutes away from where you are staying but it is oh so worth it!! You know I’m always on the search for places with good vibes and this place is better than good.. the energy is amazing! It is a 10 acre organic farm. Imagine getting dropped off and seeing flowers everywhere, a vintage ice cream stand, rescue dogs running happy and free, and veggies being grown all over. Then go to the restaurant and drink the carrot margarita and be happy forever. But really, do it. Pizza, chicken burger, and lemon ricotta pancakes were all mouth-watering.
  • El Farallon – Incredible dinner on a cliff overlooking the ocean. This restaurant is located at the gorgeous Resort at Pedregal so make sure to get a reservation ahead of time, plus it’s a cool resort to check out! Go early and enjoy the champagne terrace at the restaurant.  Everything is written on a chalk board and you will pick the fish and side items you would like to ear prior to being seated. This spot is very romantic and will be more expensive than other dinners. It’s worth it for the views, atmosphere, and great good. Highly recommend it for a date night or special occasion.
  • Edith’s – Amazing Mexican restaurant with great margs. Bright yellow building next to the public beach, you can’t miss it. Fun mariachi band and delicious food. It definitely makes for a special night.
  • Sunset MonaLisa  – 5th coolest restaurant in the world. Words can’t describe this place. Try to go at sunset…. and it’s Italian Food. In Mexico. Just do it.
  • Mango Deck – If you are here for a bachelorette party or with a group of friends then this place is a must!! Dancing on tables, lots of drinking regardless of the time, great entertainment and it is right on the beach!

Activities

  • Medano Beach – This is the only beach where you can actually swim in Cabo. It’s crowded yet still a fun time. Several restaurants surround it and you can order drinks on the beach.
  • G-Force Adventures – UTVs, ATVs and a whole lot of fun. A perfect way to break up laying in the sun and sipping on margs. The tours are wild and the trails are very pretty with great guides. You will get to see a whole new side of Cabo with untouched beaches and cactus everywhere. Most tours run about 3 hours. Get ready to see some ridiculous views, get crazy in the sand and have a dirty, good time. And really, you will get very dirty! I loved this off roading adventure and it totally broke up the relaxing days of the trip with something more exciting. The company will pick you up from your hotel regardless of the location which is an added perk!
  • Take a boat to lovers and divorce beach

Nightlife

Cabo luckily has a lot of it! Most bars and clubs are within walking distance of each other. The clubs are fun and the streets are well-light up. Have fun and hop around.

Lodging

Cabo has less hotels than say Cancun so it is usually a bit pricier. If you are with a big group of people then I would definitely recommend renting a house. If you have some extra change to toss around and want to go all out then stay at One&Only Palmilla or The Resort at Pedregal. Las Ventanas  is another good option. To save some money check out what deals are going on through www.hotels.com or Trip Advisor. Highly recommend staying close to downtown!

Thanks for adventuring along! On to the next..

XX-

Blonde Boarding

@SeeKelsGo

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4 Day San Diego Itinerary

San Diego is officially one of my favorite cities in the USA…. Maybe even top 5?!?! Big words, I know.  It’s easy to fall in love when temps are in the mid 70’s every day of the year. San Diego is a great spot for a solo escape, a couples getaway, or girls trip.
Follow my suggested itinerary and I promise you will love this city as much as I do.
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 I explored San Diego with a few of my best girlfriends. Below is our 4 day itinerary, along with additional day activities and restaurants I recommend.
Day 1
  • Everyone arrives in the afternoon.
  • Head to airbnb. We stayed here. It fit 4 girls comfortably and the host was fantastic. The San Diego airport was less than 2 miles away and the location was on the outskirts of Little Italy. I recommend staying in this area.
  • Happy Hour and Dinner in Little Italy or Gaslamp Quarter. We went to Kettner Exchange and loved it. Earthy and modern upscale atmosphere. The kale salad and tuna pizza are a must, plus the cocktail menu is unique and tasty.
  • Head to another cocktail bar or back to airbnb.

Day 2

  • Pick from the day activity list at the bottom or experience our exact day below!
  • Pack a little day bag and head North to La Jolla. Approximately 30 minutes away.
  • Go to Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve and pick out a hiking trail! Torrey Pines is a 3.3 mile loop that is best in the morning. Trailhead Address and Additional Info on Torrey Pines Hiking Trails.
  • Have lunch overlooking the ocean at George’s on the Cove. (Make a reservation prior).
  • Walk around, check out the sea lions and lay out at the beaches in La Jolla. It’s a bougie area with cool cliffs and great restaurants. Our favorite beach in this area was Windansea Beach.
  • Head back to the airbnb to get cleaned up for the night.
  • Pick a restaurant from the list below to start the evening off right.
Day 3
  • Wake up leisurely and head to brunch. We picked Queenstown Public House. Fun atmosphere and great food. The French Toast was incredible!
    • *If you are here on a weekend, the Farmer’s Market is right outside of Queenstown Public House. Walk around while you’re waiting for your table and taste test the local food (the chocolate croissants were delicious).
  • Pick a day activity from the list below. We went to the Del Mar Horse Races in the afternoon.
  • Head back to airbnb and get ready for the night.
  • Pick a restaurant from the list below and check out some local cocktail bars.
  • If you are in the mood for a late night, San Diego has several great nightclubs in the Gaslamp Quarter. We went to OMNIA Nightclub and had a great time.

Day 4

  • Sleep in and have a snack at the house. We brought some granola bars, fruit and enjoyed banana bread we purchased from the local farmer’s market the day before.
  • Pick one last day activity from the list below before you fly out!
  • We went to Coronado Island and headed straight for the iconic Hotel Del Coronado. We enjoyed the best guac and spicy margs at their outside Mexican restaurant overlooking the beach.
  • Spend your last few hours at the gorgeous beach.
  • Fly out in the evening and try not to be sad you are leaving one of the most well-rounded, satisfying cities!

Day Activities

  •  Coronado Island – drive 2 miles from Downtown San Diego/Little Italy or take the ferry. Lay on the beautiful beaches, see the gorgeous homes with cute front porches, rent bikes, shop, and see the iconic Hotel Del Coronado.
  • La Jolla – explained in the Day 2 section
  • Padres Baseball Game – head to Petco Park, located right in the middle of the city, to watch the local MLB team.
  • Del Mar Horse Races – a mini Kentucky Derby only 30 minutes away from Little Italy. General Admission to the race is only $6!  Horse Race Calendar and Reviews.
  •  Sunset Cliffs – the perfect spot to watch surfers and the natural beauty of the Pacific Ocean. Location only 15 minutes away from Little Italy and the ideal ocean spot to watch the sunset.
  • Torrey Pines Hiking Trails – explained in the Day 2 section.
  • Balboa Park – 1,200 acres of gardens and hiking trails, home of the San Diego Zoo, gorgeous fountains, museums, and more. Located right in the middle of the city
  • Liberty Public Market – huge bustling market open daily from 11am-8 pm. Located 3 miles away from Little Italy in an old Navy Building with hip eateries, specialty food and craft vendors.
  • Rooftop Pools in the Gaslamp district. Many have DJs.
Restaurants
Located downtown (Little Italy and Gaslamp Quarter)
  • Juniper and Ivy – Chef Richard Blais does a fantastic job. If you are a foodie then definitely hit this spot and try the tasting menu! Trendy spot without trying too hard.
  • CUCINA urbana – Pizza, italian and a wine bar! Try the squash blossoms.
  • El Camino – Affordable and funky Mexican food with good margs. A fun patio with planes flying right over it. Cool and different décor. 
  • Kettner Exchange – A must. As talked about above in Day 1.
  • Herb and Wood – Cozy and inviting with a rustic feel. Try the gnocchi!
  • Crack Shack – Fun, low key spot with a bocce court. Good burgers and fried chicken. Lots of outside seating.
  • Werewolf – Great upscale “bar” food. If you want to watch some games while munching on a great burger and garlic fries then this is your place.

*Check out Rustic Root for a good patio and Fairweather for a hidden tiki bar.

Helpful map…

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Don’t forget to pack some cute swimsuits! Here are my favorite and affordable bikinis for 2017.

And some fun pictures from our trip!

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Sea lions at La Jolla Cove!
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The best group of friends I could ever ask for! Mairin Freese, Amy Cole, Hope Driskill, and me.
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While hiking at Torrey Pines State Reserve.
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Coronado Island
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Hiking at Torrey Pines!

 

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My nephew is in there! First time Aunt and first time mom. 🙂

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At the Del Mar Race Track. Mairin, myself, Maryl, Amy and Hope.

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Beach fun with Amy and Hope.

Special thanks for our local friends, Andrew Filandrinos, Kaitlyn Wurdack, and Nico Darras, for the suggestions to make our trip perfect! 

Thank you for adventuring along!

XX- Blonde Boarding

IG @seekelsgo

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My Top 5 Utah Hikes

Hi all! Utah is one of my favorites places to visit because of the gorgeous scenery and the amount of national parks and monuments. I’ve rounded up my top 5 must-do hikes in this beautiful state. I hope you enjoy them!

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5. Observation Point Hike in Zion National Park – This is a strenuous 8 mile roundtrip hike in Zion with an elevation gain of over 2,100 feet! It takes about 4-6 hours to complete so be sure to pack snacks and plenty of water. I’ve done this hike several times now and it is one of my favorites. You get settled into the work of the hike and it can be very relaxing. The very end of the hike is an iconic view of Zion and you will be blown away by the beautiful views.
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4. Spectra Point and Ramparts Overlook Trail in Canyon Breaks National Monument – This hike is 4-5 miles roundtrip and follows along the rim on the canyon. It is moderate to strenuous featuring spectacular views with many oranges and reds canyons. This hike has an elevation of 10,500. There are several overlooks you can take pictures at if you do not want to hike the entire way.
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3. Angels Landing in Zion National Park – This hike is 5 miles roundtrip and a very popular (and dramatic!) hike in Utah. The viewpoints are stunning and it is a hike you will remember forever! The start of the hike has 20 something switchbacks and as soon as you get through those the views get amazing. At times during the hike you will have to hold on to chains, guard rails, and carved steps to get through the narrow, steep sections. I even crawled during parts! If you have zero mountain-climbing experience then this section of the hike can be very intimidating. Feel free to hang back and wait for the rest of your group if it is windy or you feel uneasy. The final viewpoint is stunning and you will get a 360 view of Zion. I promise your adrenaline will be pumping during this hike!
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2. Peek-A-Boo trail in Bryce National Park – Park your car at Bryce Point and combine 2-3 hikes together depending on your endurance and zest for the day! We hiked Navajo and Peek-A-Boo then ended with Wall Street. Overall about 8-9 miles with some sections being steep with marvelous views.  Peek-A-Boo features a collection of hoodoos, slot canyon styles, and narrows. I also recommend seeing a sunrise or sunset in Bryce National Park, as the sun reflection on the orange hoodoos is unlike any sunrise I’ve ever seen!
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1. The Narrows in Zion National Park – One of the world’s best slot canyon hikes. The first mile is easy and not in water then the fun begins! You can hike up to 16 miles of canyons. This hike is not available year round so I highly suggest planning your trip around a time when the narrows should be open.. It was 100 degrees when we hiked this in July so the cool water felt great! Most people wear water shoes (you can rent them at the park) and bring a hiking stick. I felt okay in tennis shoes and a hiking stick was very helpful. Do not bring much with you, as water is up to your stomach at times. I packed my camera, phone, snacks, and a few layers in a water proof sack (I went back and forth between being hot and cold depending on how wet and deep in the canyon we were). There are three ways to hike the narrows.. bottom-up, top down as a strenuous day hike, and top down as a two day backpacking hike. If you are a first timer to river hiking then I suggest bottom up, as you can hike as far as you like and turn back. This will be one of my favorite hikes forever!
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Thanks for adventuring along.
XX- Blonde Boarding
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