Bienvenido a Puerto Rico!

Puerto Rico. Our very first trip together. This is what started it all. We developed a severe case of wanderlust as soon as we stepped foot on this island. Colorful streets, old school architecture, and amazing beaches. What more can you ask for! We spent five days here between Old San Juan, the capital city, and the small surf town of Rincon. It was a short 2 hr flight from our hometown in Florida.

Things To Do

We packed soo much stuff into our five day vacation that we barely got a chance to relax! Here are the highlights from our trip.

Walk the streets of Old San Juan

After we landed from our short 2 hour flight, we rented a car and headed over to Old San Juan, a 20 minute drive from the airport. We checked into our Airbnb and immediately took to the streets. Everything here was soo colorful! It still had that colonial vibe which made us want to explore this city even more. There are tons of shops to check out, plenty of places to eat, and bars on every corner! You need to try their local dish called mofongo, which is mashed fried plantains. Coffee is also huge in Puerto Rico. Check out Caficultura, situated off a massive plaza in the middle of Old San Juan.

Caficultura

El Yunque National Forest

Located in northeast Puerto Rico, El Yunque is the largest rainforest in Puerto Rico. It is home to hundreds of types of birds, bats, and lizards. No large animals call this rainforest home. We drove an hour from Old San Juan to get here, it was an easy trip. We visited La Mina Falls and brought our swimsuits because we heard it has a nice pool at the bottom where people go swimming. It was about a 30 minute hike to the waterfall through the rainforest. We were hoping that it wasn’t too crowded, but boy were we wrong! We found out that locals from all over like to come here and swim on hot days. We still had a great time and the waterfall was very beautiful.

We stopped at a small bar at the entrance of the watefall for a rum drink in a coconut!

Visit a surf town

Puerto Rico is known for it’s surfing, and there are a bunch of beach towns not very far from Old San Juan. We decided to stay in Rincon for two days and loved every minute of it! It was about a 2.5 hr drive from Old San Juan. Everything about this small beach town and it’s laid-back vibe was perfect. The people, food, beaches, this seriously was a perfect place to visit. There are 7 beaches located within 15 miles of each other and every one has their own personality. Our favorites were Sandy Beach and Steps Beach. You could also catch amazing sunsets basically anywhere in this town as well! We HIGHLY recommend checking out Rincon on your Puerto Rico trip!

Domes Beach in Rincon
Getting drinks at Pool Bar Sushi

Cueva Ventana

Cueva Ventana is a large cave situated on top of a limestone cliff in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, overlooking a beautiful river valley. You can’t access the tour without a tour guide, They take you on a 45 minute hike through the cave and you get to learn about it’s history. It was a very easy and fun hike, and the views from inside the cave of the river valley down below were incredible. We used Cueva Aventura Ventana as our tour guides. It was about $20/person.

Cueva del Indio

Another beautiful destination in Arecibo, Cueva del Indio is a prehistoric rock site that is said to contain the largest number of petroglyphs found along the coastal zone. We paid about $2 to park and explored the area for a couple hours. It has huge cliffs overlooking the ocean that I had a hard time trying to convince my wife to take pictures at! They were very high!

The cliffs of Cueva del Indio

Where To Stay

In Old San Juan we found an Airbnb with an ocean front view that was also a 5 minute walk from everything downtown. It was huge! It had four bedrooms and a private kitchen. For $80/night, it was a very affordable play to stay. Here is the listing on Airbnb: Apartment in the  of Old San Juan

In Rincon, we found another Airbnb just steps from the beach. It had a rooftop area that you could see the ocean from! At the bottom of the hill from the apartment, there were about three restaurants that served AMAZING food that we frequented every night! Here is the listing on Airbnb: Casa Bianca Apt. B1

Conclusion

We absolutely LOVED our visit to Puerto Rico. Every aspect of this island was perfect. From the beautiful beaches, amazing food, and lovely locals, you need to check this island out!

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Greetings from Ambergris Caye!

Just a few miles off the coast of Belize lies San Pedro, also known as Ambergris Caye. This island is know for it’s water sports, scuba diving, and the world’s 2nd largest barrier reef that is a quick boat ride away. It’s the main tourist attraction for people coming to Belize, and we could definitely see why. The vibe here was incredible, everyone was very laid back and friendly! Despite being the main tourist attraction of Belize, it still felt like you were on a small island in the middle of the Caribbean. There are no cars besides taxis allowed on the island, so the main mode of transportation is golf carts. We rented one for the duration of our stay and had a blast riding around the island!

To get here, we took a commuter flight on a puddle jumper that only took 15 minutes. There is another option to go by boat, but it takes much longer, plus the views from the plane were incredible! The water here is an unreal blue, you really have to see it for yourself!

Things To Do

Rent a golf cart and explore!

Renting a golf cart is undoubtedly the best way to get around and one of the best things to do in Ambergris Caye. It is the best option to be able to explore the island on your own. You’ll also be able to get to hard to reach places like Secret Beach, which is another one of our top picks for things to do in Ambergris Caye and exploring the many bars and restaurants in the area. There’s a bunch of companies to rent from, we went with Carts Belize and had a good experience with them. One of our favorite places we found while exploring the island was called the Truck Stop. It’s a bunch of shipping containers that have been turned into restaurants. They also play movies every night right on the water!

Secret Beach

The “not so secret anymore” Secret Beach is a must see during your stay. This beach is far enough off the beaten path that you can get away for a bit from the more hectic atmosphere of the rest of Ambergris Caye. It’s about a 7 mile golf cart ride to get here, but it never felt that long because you’re in a golf cart! Ask a local for directions how to get here, it’s quite easy but I can see how some people could get lost on the way.

I’d recommend to spend about half a day at Secret Beach. There’s a couple of restaurants and bars at the beach where you can get food and drinks. We spent most of our day relaxing on the beach chairs they had along side the beach.

Catamaran Cruise

You can’t visit Ambergris Caye and not go on a boat! The water here is too beautiful and you would be very disappointed in yourself if you didn’t spend some time on a boat. We did a catamaran cruise with Catamaran Belize and loved every minute of it. Our trip consisted of two snorkel stops, Hol Chan & Shark Ray Alley (where we got to swim with sharks!), an incredible lunch, OPEN BAR (!!!), and a one hour stop at Caye Caulker. It left out at 1130am and we got back to the dock around 7pm. We highly recommend doing a catamaran cruise, it was definitely the highlight of our trip!

The water in Belize is soo blue!

Where To Stay

We found a beautiful condo for rent on Hotels.com called Tres Cocos Resort. It’s located about a 5 minute golf cart drive from the main area of San Pedro in Ambergris Caye. We decided to book a place a little farther away so we had more peace and quiet. We loved our stay here! Our second story condo had a view of the ocean and had amazing air conditioning, which was a major plus because it was very hot when we visited! They have a nice pool on the property and you definitely need to check out Dive Bar, which is the small restaurant/bar located right next to their property. Good food and cheap beers!

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Railay Beach

Located along the southern coast of Thailand, Railay Beach is actually a peninsula, but feels more like an island thanks to the dense jungle that cuts it off from the rest of Krabi. A mix of dramatic limestone cliffs, beautiful beaches, and thick jungle, Railay truly has it all. But what really makes this spot unique is the vibe you’ll find here. Reggae beats drifting out of bars, the smell of cannabis in the air – it feels more like an island in the Caribbean than a tourist spot in Thailand.

We took another cheap and short flight from Chiang Mai to Krabi airport, then hopped on a taxi to Ao Nang and grabbed a spot on a long-tail boat to Railay. There’s no airport in Railay, so transportation via boat is necessary.

Things To Do

We had two days on Railay Beach and were a little worn out from our last five hectic days in Bangkok and Chiang Mai, so we decided to take it easy and work on our tans during our stay.

Railay West

This is where we spent most of our time. It is the most popular side of Railay and the beach you’ll want to spend most of your time on. Beachfront restaurants and bars make Railay west the type of place you can easily spend an entire day.

Longboats on Railay West

Railay East

Our hotel was located on this side of the peninsula. The beach on this side is covered in mangroves and there isn’t much room to sit on the sand, but this is where most of Railay’s nightlife is located. We enjoyed our nights at the reggae bars and even got to watch a really cool fire show!

Rock Climbing

Tonsai Beach is one of Thailand’s most famous rock climbing destinations, boasting a huge selection of climbing routes on the giant limestone cliff faces. We did not partake in any climbing though, instead we enjoyed our alcoholic beverages on the beach!

Railay Viewpoint

We’re disappointed that we decided not to take the short, yet challenging trek up to the viewpoint. We’ve seen pictures of the view from the top and it is incredible! Make sure you’ve got a pair of closed toe shoes, as the climb isn’t as easy as you think.

Where To Stay

We stayed at the Sunrise Tropical Resort that is located on the east side of Railay Beach. It was a very nice hotel and is reasonably priced. Our room came with breakfast every morning, so that was a major plus. It is within walking distance of the nightlife and a short half mile trek on paved pathways through the jungle to Railay West where the beach is located. Here is a link to their website: Sunrise Tropical Resort

Conclusion

We loved how relaxing our stay was at Railay Beach. It’s hard to complain when all you do is sit on the beach with a cold Chang beer in your hand! We highly recommend staying here for a few days if you have the time to do so!

Welcome to Bangkok!

Holla, city of squala (had to throw in a Hangover II reference)! Bangkok, the capital of Thailand and port of arrival for many travelers who come to southeast Asia. Known for it’s large ornate shrines and vibrant street life, no wonder it is one of the most popular places to visit in all of Asia!

We had been wanting to visit this city for quite some time. The hustle and bustle of Thai culture, along with the amazing and surprisingly cheap cuisine (street vendors everywhere), makes it easy to see why millions of people visit every year. There’s something for everyone here!

Things To Do

There are many things to do in Bangkok. Unfortunately, we only had two days in this city before we moved on to the rest of Thailand. But we will list our favorite things we were able to do in our short period of time there!

The Grand Palace

A complex of ornate shrines and temples in the heart of Bangkok. It was the official residence of the Kings of Siam since 1782 all the way to 1925. Now it serves mainly as a tourist attraction and is sometimes used for ceremonial purposes, however, no member of the royal family has lived here since 1925. There are over 100 buildings on the ground with the main one being the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. It is considered to be one of the most important temples in Thailand. Make sure to get here early as it gets very busy. They also have a strict dress code. No shorts, mini-skirts, see through clothing, sleeveless tops, or sandals. There are people on the streets outside of the palace selling cheap shawls that you can buy. We walked around the grounds for around 3 hours until it got too hot for us to be outside any longer.

Wat Pho

The Temple of the Reclining Buddha. It is located behind the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and is a must see. It is one of the oldest and largest wats, or temples, in Thailand. The statue is over 46 meters long!

Khao San Road

For decades, Khao San Road has been the go-to destination for backpackers and budget travelers arriving in Bangkok for the first time. It is a hectic street that consists of bars, restaurants, nightclubs, Thai massage parlors, tacky tourist shops, and hostels. Everything here stays open very late, so it’s a good place to party after a day of sight-seeing. It also has many yummy street food vendors. We recommend eating at one of these as they are very cheap. You definitely need to check this place out while you are in Bangkok!

Sky Bars

We decided to splurge a little one night and took a cheap cab to visit a couple of the many rooftop bars that Bangkok has to offer. Most of them have a dress code and are a little pricey, but it was worth it. The views of the Bangkok sky line were incredible! We went to Above Eleven Bangkok, which is on the rooftop of Fraser Suites, and Vertigo Moon Bar, which is on the 61st floor of the Banyan Tree Bangkok hotel. 61 floors!!

Bangkok skyline from Above Eleven Bangkok

Where To Stay

There are hundreds of hotels, hostels, and Airbnb’s to choose from. They range from lavish penthouses to small and affordable rooms for you just to crash at. We decided to stay at a nice bed & breakfast that we found on Airbnb within walking distance of Khao San Road, as it was centrally located to everything. Here’s the link: Baan Dinso Ratchadamnoen.

Conclusion

We loved our stay in Bangkok! From visiting the beautiful temples, eating amazing street food, and partying on Khao San Road, it was very hard for us to leave. We wished we had more time to see everything the city had to offer, but we had to move on to the rest of Thailand.

The Ultimate Guide to Madrid

Madrid is often overshadowed by its northerly neighbor Barcelona. There seems little reason for this though – with delicious food, beautiful museums, and tons of shopping, the capital of Spain deserves its own spotlight of fame! Madrid has an amazing fusion of history and modern, urban lifestyle. We felt it varied quite differently from Barcelona actually. Madrid had more of a large city feel to us, which is something we definitely enjoyed on our visit.

Madrid at sunset

What To Do

We spent four days in the capital of Spain eating amazing food, visiting museums, walking around the different neighborhoods, and enjoying some late nights at the many clubs and bars that populate the city. Here’s a few things that we recommend:

Visit the Royal Palace

Although it’s the official residence of the Spanish royal family, they actually don’t live here anymore. It is now only used for state ceremonies. At 1,450,000 sq ft, you could get lost in here all day! You can take guided tours or self tours of the grounds. We opted for a self-guided tour. Stephen’s favorite part of the Royal Palace was the Royal Armory, which houses a collection of medieval weapons and armour. We spent around 3 hours here.

Royal Palace of Madrid

Mercado de San Miguel

This is one of the most beautiful food markets we’ve ever seen! Home to a bunch of restaurants and food stalls, we ate here until our stomachs almost burst! It’s a fun place to relax for a couple hours and people watch.

Museo del Prado

The Museo del Prado is one of the best museums in Europe and boasts a huge collection of classical art that spans some of the most recognizable artists of many centuries. We opted for a self-guided tour with headphones. We spent about 2 hours here.

Puerta del Sol

The most famous plaza of the city and probably it’s busiest. It once hosted bullfights, markets, symphonies, and even executions! Now it’s home to many shops, cafes, and restaurants. It also has a lot of very talented street performers that keep you entertained!

The beautiful Puerta del Sol

Where To Eat

You really can’t go wrong in Madrid. The food here is amazing and it’s everywhere! Here are some of our favorite places we ate at:

  • Mercado de San Miguel
  • San Gines Chocolateria (chocolate and churros!)
  • Brunch Club
  • El Minibar (amazing tapas)
  • Maricastana
Drool…

Where To Stay

We stayed at a very cute Airbnb located right off of Gran Via Sol, which is a street located right in the heart of downtown Madrid. There were a ton of shops and restaurants located within walking distance. We highly recommend staying near here or at this location if it’s your first time visiting Madrid. Here is the listing on Airbnb: Duplex Gran Via-Sol

Our Airbnb located right in the heart of downtown!

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