Road Trippin Through The Deep South

For our third year wedding anniversary my Husband and I decided to do a road trip through the historic deep south. My past road trips always consist of national parks but we thought we would change it up and go on a more romantic, historic, food adventure and experience culture from some of the oldest cities in the US. We started from our home base in Miami and planned on visiting Savanna, Charleston, & St. Augustine in 4 days and 3nights.

I haven’t revealed this to you guys yet but when we do road trips we always stay at Best western, and here’s why. They are usually under $100 and the best prices are always on their website. They have a complimentary continental breakfast in the morning which in turn ends up saving us about $30.00 a day. They also offer free wifi and parking. Their hotels are literally located everywhere! They have 4,100 properties in over 100 countries.  This past year for instance delayed going to Vietnam on tour but not to worry because there was an airport best western, free breakfast to start my day off right, and free transportation to and from the airport. It’s services like these that made me join their free reward program this past year and keeps me being a loyal member ever since. Best Western was kind enough to provided me with compensation for this blog entry by hosting us in Savannah, Charleston, and St. Augustine.

Okay back to the road trip. Our first drive was the hardest. A long seven hour journey from Miami to Savannah. We arrived at night checked in and went straight out to dinner on river street. We settled in at Huey’s which is known for their southern cuisine and famous beignets. We split the shrimp in warm butter sauce that came accompanied with a crisp baguette perfect for soaking up all the saucy goodness. Next we split our first ever bowl of gumbo served over rice. It was everything I hoped for we quickly gobbled the whole thing. We passed on the beignets and decided to head down the cobble stoned road to River Street Treats.

I tired to contain myself as I looked over all the hand made deserts twinkling behind the shiny glass.. so many to choose from its hard to pick only one thing. I’m a huge salt water taffy fan and its hand pulled and made in shop here so obvious i grabbed some of that. My husband immediately went in for some chocolate truffles and then we came upon the dark chocolate sea salt bear claw OMG it was so good you guys! but you have to dig a sweet and salty combo in order to appreciate these. It was the perfect amount of nuts chocolate and caramel. The flaked sea salt will keep you coming back for more and more… and more! highly recommend!

The next morning we woke up early went down for our complimentary breakfast and had Instagram worthy fresh waffles with some fresh fruit and yogurt. We checked out and were on our way to explore the city. Our first stop was savannah coffee roasters. They roast all their coffee in house and the owner was kind enough to give us a tour. He orders coffee from all around the world that come in very decretive burlap bags and when the coffee inside them is used they offer them for sale for only $8.00 I picked one from Java Indonesia and I cant wait to frame it and add to my wall of travel jewels.

This place was a couple blocks away from Forsyth Park so we walked around saw the fountain and admired the historic houses that surrounded the park. Looking at all the old architecture was probably my favorite thing about Savannah.

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I loved the layout of the city. All the tiny square parks surrounded by picture perfect houses each with their own individual personality and characteristics. On one of the squares we spotted a cool antique shop that seemed as if it was suspended in time. The shop was 4 stories of what looked like a lifetime collection of historic home goods. It was a little spooky but in a fun way. It’s located on 441 Bull St

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Our last stop in Savanna was Wormsloe Plantation. A cocoon of oak trees line a 1 mile path that takes you to the state park. It’s pretty funny how the name sounds so similar to worm whole because thats exactly what it feels like as you drive down the dirt lane.

Down the worm hole 🐛

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From there we started our two hour drive onto Charleston.  About half way their we came across the cutest cider shop (all non alcoholic) called Carolina Cherry Company. They sold pies, jams, and some pickled products. I opted for the blackberry cider perfect amount of sweet a sour.

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We arrived in Charleston around 4, checked into our hotel and got ready really fast because our anniversary dinner reservation was set for 5:45 at Husk. I loved this restaurant! The menu here changes daily. They were nice enough to print happy anniversary on our menus and gave us a complementary round of cider (alcoholic this time) Our table had a really nice view of the kitchen. My husband and I felt like we were in an episode of chefs table as the beautiful plates of art started being delivered to the table. For fine dining this restaurant was very moderately priced our bill was under $150.00 for two people and two rounds of cocktails. In Miami where I’m from this would have easily come out to $250. So we were very pleasantly surprised.

Our Hotel In Charleston

The next day we drove into town and went to Cali’s Hot Little Biscuit! Adorable little shop with also a daily changing menu that they keep on a scroll of brown packaging paper. I opted for the egg bacon and cheese and my husband got the fried chicken. We quickly devoured our biscuits and headed into the center of the historic district to check out rainbow row.

I loved how the whole city still had gas lamps that stay lit 24/7. It really added a romantic charm to the place. We went for a stroll down the sea wall to check out some more historical homes (my favorite thing to do) and then journeyed on to our final destination in Charleston. Angel Oak.

Angel oak is a 400 year old oak tree which kind of reminded me of grandmother willow from Pocahontas. It has a life expectancy of 900 years since its so highly maintained and looked after. We were in complete awe of this historic giant.

angel-oak-2From Angel Oak we started our 4hr journey down to St. Augustine the oldest city in America. The Spanish first settled here in 1565 but the city was actually first discovered in 1521 when Ponce de Leon journeyed across the pacific in search of the sacred spring called the fountain of youth. This spring was said to extend human life and turn back the hands of time if one were to drink it. Ponce de Leon never found it but it is actually located in st. augustine and you can visit as well as drink from the spring today. We got into St. Augustine around sunset and stayed over near the light house right across the street from the beach. We were checked in and handed a lovely gift bag full of snacks and treats for being reward card members of best western. The rooms here were really nice and spacious with lots of light. At nightfall we headed over the bridge into town and had dinner at the best bbq restaurant called Mojo’s right across the street from a spooky grave yard that apparently was apart of a popular ghost tour so there was lots of people watching available from the deck outside.

The next morning we awoke early check out of our room and headed straight to the light house. The weather was perfectly sunny with a crisp cool breeze. We beat the crowds and were lucky to be only one of the few people on site. There were two groups of woman who use the stairs of the light house as their work out for the day. They climbed up at least three times while we were there. God bless them because I could barley make it up the one time! The floors were a whimsical black and white checkered pattern that led to a beautiful black cast iron staircase that wound all the way to the top of the light houses viewing deck. Even the views from the lookout windows were breathtaking as you circled your way up. When we reached the top we were gifted with 360 degree view of the sea and city of St. Augustine easily my favorite part of our whole trip!

We headed into town for breakfast at yet another biscuit company. I know, I was obsessed! Maple Street Biscuit was located a couple doors down from Mojo BBQ. I qued in a line that went far out the door which is always a good sign. When we finally made it to the cashier we settled on the sticky maple, and the Reinhold accompanied by two maple cappuccinos. Instead of asking for your name to keep track of your order they ask for the name of your auto biography. Mine was obviously Robots since being married to Kryoman and all. We anxiously awaited our order to be called and when they yelled robots we were not disappointed! Look at the deliciousness people! Seriously I still dream about this, a definite must if you visit St. Augustine.

After breakfast we walked though the historical little village and again I quite enjoyed looking at all of the quaint little homes and historical buildings that dated back all the way to the 1500’s. What was most interesting is the material they were made out of. Millions of tinny little shells!

We ended our trip by touring the historical fort. We were lucky enough to catch a reenactment of them firing the cannons which my Husband quite enjoyed.

All in all it was an amazing romantic weekend filled with history, architecture, and some good southern cooking! I’m happy we finally got to cross this off the bucket list

 

Borough Market, London

I never planned on coming to this market, it was more of a happy accident. As i walking out of Alcoholic Architecture (where you can get drunk by an alcoholic cloud) I stubbled straight into this place. Hundreds of food stalls of the best english treats you could ever hope for. My Husband and I grabbed some pies and ate them in the lovely indoor garden area which can be found at on the corner of Borough High Street and Bdale Street. It’s the perfect setting to sit, chat & take a brake from walking around the city.

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Want to make you love eternal in Seoul Korea?

Take the Namsan Cable Car up to North Seoul Tower and make your love last forever by placing a lock scripted with your names and a message upon one of the gates overlooking the city.

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unlike the famous bridge in Paris you don’t throw the key over the edge of the building (That would be dangerous). Instead, after locking-up couples can leave their keys in the Post box of Love . Part of the revenue from the keys collected is donated to underprivileged children. ❤

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❤ Seal it with a kiss for good luck! ❤

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Macau, City of Dreams

Altria is derived from the Latin word ‘altus’ meaning high. Altria Hotel and Casino stands at a height of 160 meters with 38 floors making it the tallest Hotel in all of Macau. With breathtaking 270° panoramic views of the bay and city scape you will quickly fall in love with this 5 star hotel. Macau is known as the Las Vegas of China being famous for its casinos, entertainment and 5 star service. Surprisingly Macau Brings in seven times the gaming revenue of Las Vegas. You won’t find 1 cent slot machines here, everything is high limit gambling. The bigger the risk the bigger the reward so why not try your luck? I had the pleasure of staying at Altria for two nights at the end of our Asia tour. The infinity edge swimming pool located in the Spa has been named by US Forbes Traveler as one of the 10 best hotel swimming pools in the world. Take a peek for yourself.

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In the Center of Gangnam, on the slope of Sudo Mountain is the Bongeunsa Buddhist temple. Bongeunsa has a long history that goes back 1,200 years. I was staying at the intercontinental and this was walking distance located just around the block from my hotel. I was lucky enough to have visited on a Sunday morning while there was praying and chanting taking place which instantly put you into a state of calm and relaxation as if time was standing still. The Temple was beautifully spread out over gardens and pathways that led to 12 different pavilions and statues to explore with a contrasting city scape in the distance. If your planning a trip to Seoul defiantly add this temple to your list.  Bongeunsa lanternsBongeunsa Temple2Bongeunsa Temple3    Bongeunsa Temple Seoul Korea8 Bongeunsa Temple Seoul Korea5 Bongeunsa Temple Seoul Korea 6 Bongeunsa Temple Seoul Korea7

 

Animal Cafe’s seem to be a running theme in Seoul. Cat cafe’s & dog cafe’s are all the rage but I wanted to try something different, and once I heard there was a raccoon cafe I had to go! I’m a Florida girl so I grew up seeing raccoons all the time but they’re depicted as dirty and vicious and my mom always warned me to NEVER touch them. So finally after all of these years of fascination I got to play with Raccoons! YES!

There are two adorable Raccoons at Blind Alley Cafe. A boy & girl duo named peanut & Cool they were super friendly and the best way to describe them is a cross between a monkey and a cat. My favorite moment was giving Peanut a piggy back ride!! Raccoon Cafe Raccoon Cafe seoul korea blind alley Raccoon Cafe korea  cat Cafe seoul

Adress:South Korea, Seoul, Yongsan-gu, Cheongpadong 2(i)-ga, 63-20 블라인드앨리

 

Intercontinental Danang

Where Myth Meets Luxury….

Nestled into the lush hillside of Son Tra Mountain you will find a one of a kind luxury resort. From the moment you step out of your car you can feel you’ve finally made it to paradise. Walking into the grand open air lobby you instantly are surrounded by the sweet fragrance of the blooming plumeria trees. The friendly staff greet you with a refreshing welcome drink as your being checked in with panoramic views of the sea as your backdrop.

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Getting Around

The resort is split into whimsical realms spread across four levels—Heaven, Sky, Earth and Sea. You don’t access these levels by an ordinary elevator, that would be too obvious. Here you board a fairy tale like boat that looks as if your about to take off with Peter Pan straight to Never-Never Land. The boat is actually a cable car that constantly runs between all four levels so even just going down to the pool is a adventure of its own.

 The Hotel is very large but they made getting around simple. Just call reception and ask for a buggy to take you where ever you’d like to go. Hold on tight as you ride through paradise!

THE ROOMS

 I still dream about this room, every thing about it is amazing and the best part is the deep carved stone bath and rain fall shower that spills from the extra high ceiling creating a very dramatic effect. Most rooms are located on the Heaven level where they rightfully belong!

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THE FOOD

Lets talk about breakfast! Let me start off by saying in all of the years I’ve been traveling Citron has THE BEST BREAKFAST BUFFET I have ever come across. They had the largest selection of freshly cut tropical fruit, from three different types of lychees to yellow watermelon, passion fruit, plums the list goes on and on. They had a wide range of american breakfast foods to a typical full English Breakfast which my husband quite enjoyed. The icing on the cake was the pastries selection. Not all chocolate croissants are created equal!! The chocolate croissants here are the best chocolate croissants I’ve ever had in my life! and if I had to guess it must have something to do with the Michelin 3 star chef over at the hotels french restaurant La mansion 1888. The cherry on top is the perfect table set for two with morning views that will make your heart meltDSC04505IMG_4209IMG_4031

SEA LEVEL

The sea level has two restaurants where you can have lunch or cocktails. I enjoyed munching on snacks and sipping lychee martinis from long bar while getting fanned. A perfect way to beat the heat!

From there I would mosey on down to the beach for a walk and count starfish along the way. The ocean was so cool and crisp which was a nice contrast from the heat and humidity in Danang. The hotel offers boat rides and fishing in these traditional woven bamboo basket boats.

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But my favorite place to spend the day was in this little jacuzzi tub watching the sun sink into the sea as I was massaged by water jets and munched on freshly cut fruit. Theres two pools on property. The long pool is an adult only pool, very quiet and peaceful located on the top of long bar with beautiful views of the sea and the surrounding lush foliage. The second is located on the beach level adorned with shade from plumeria & palm trees.

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One of My favorite Moments was driving to this look out point just three minutes from the hotel to watch the sunrise on our last day. thinking back at all of the new memories we’ve made I already miss Vietnam and can’t wait till our next trip back to Intercontinental Danang where the service, food, views, and amenities are all 5 stars!

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Pink Canyon, Valley Of Fire

Pink Canyon

This is a must do for anyone visting Las Vegas. The Valley of Fire is only a 1 hour drive from the strip! I’ve done the Grand Canyon before and this was 100 times better, way closer, and cheaper! Don’t bother going on a over priced tour. We rented a car for the day which was $45.00 and the park entrance fee was $10.00. Worth every penny!

This had to be my favorite place in the valley of fire. The colors mixed with smooth sandstone are so vivid, I’ve never seen anything like it. It really is out of this world. you feel as if you could be walking around on Mars. This area is not marked on the park map but I can tell you how to get there. 

Directions to pink Canyon

Head down the road that leads you to the fire wave. There will be 5 dips in the road that are marked. Pink Canyon is at the 5th dip. If you pass parking lot number 3 you’ve gone to far. Pull over and park your car on the cement slab. head to the right hand side of the road and follow the pink trail to paradise!

I’ve read that the best time to visit is in the morning to see the most vivid colors but I was here mid afternoon and it still looked stunning.

 

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The Devil Spring system is located in Ginnie Springs Florida and is home to three separate springs: Devil’s Eye, Devil’s Ear and Devil Spring also know as (“Little Devil”), which together produce nearly 80 million gallons of water daily. That amount of water could fill 121 olympic size swimming pools!!

devils-1Little devil is a four-foot-wide fracture at the head of the Devil Spring system run. It’s 50 feet long and almost as deep. Divers who descend to the bottom of this crack will be rewarded with a breath-taking view as they look skyward through crystal clear water. You can rent all equipment needed for diving, snorkeling, or tubing onsite at Ginnie Springs. There is a park entrance fee of $15.00 per person. This is just one area of the park there are 5 springs though out the park that are connected by the tube run.Map

Below are some pictures of me ascending out of little devil while free driving.IMG_0040 IMG_0037

 

One thing Miami isn’t short of is Nightlife & good food, so I’ve combined that to bring you Miami’s top late night eats.

 

Gigi’s

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Open from 12pm-3am

A late night spot serving up noodles, Barbecue, and beer. the chef puts a western spin on classic asian comfort dishes. It’s conveniently located in midtown so if you’ve been throwing back a few in Wynwwood this is the perfect spot to fuel up after a long night out.

La Sandwicharie

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Open from 8am-5am (6am on weekends)

This was one of my favorite spots back in the day when Mansion Miami was the biggest night club on south beach. It’s tucked right behind the nightclub in an alleyway. It’s also right across the street from historic Club Duce. There ingredients are always fresh served on a crisp french baguette or croissant. MAKE SURE YOU GET THE SPECIAL SAUCE! It’s what keeps us locales coming back for more!

Big Pink

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Open Sunday-Wednesday from 8am-12am Thursday from 8am-2am and Friday-Saturday from 8am-5am.

Just had a big night a Story? This is your spot. I’ve been chowing down here since i was a teen and have so many favorites on the menu. The mac and cheese at this dinner is actually the same mac and cheeses severed at its sister’s booshie restaurant prime 112 down the street, but its half the price! I really love this place for their breakfast. Just get the chicken and waffle eggs benny. Your Welcome.

Moshi Moshi

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open 12pm-5am

Conveniently located on south beach come here to fuel up before or after a big night out. Who doesn’t like drunken sushi? Great atmosphere, great food, and a good selection of Asian beer.

versailles

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open from 12pm-2am

Want a Cuban sandwich and some atmosphere at 1am? This is the place! Located on the historic street calle ocho (8th street). Nothing like meat, pickles, and carbs to set your stomach straight!

Momis Ramen

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Open 11am – 1am

Have you ever seen the movie ramen girl? I always romanticized that ramen shop quietly glowing on a street corner in Tokyo. When I saw this shop in Brickell I got that same exact feeling. They serve fresh, high quality, daily made ramen noodles in Kettle brewed pork bone marrow Tonkotsu broth. Yumm!

Elleven

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open 24/7

This place is not for the faint hearted and that because it’s actually a 24hr strip club. I don’t even like categorizing this venue as a strip club because it’s more like a night club that serves really good pizza and chicken fingers. This spot has blown up in the past year so it’s not so easy to get in to, especially around 4am. If you’re cool or rich enough to get in I promise it’s an experience you’ll never forget

 

The Devils Den, Florida

The most beautiful swimming hole I’ve ever seen!

This pre-historic underground spring is located in Williston Florida. The springs crystal clear waters are 72 degrees year round which makes diving or snorkeling in the winter months pleasurable. I’ve been here during the winter before and when you enter the cave your immediately surrounded by a thick cloud of warmth. In the mornings steam rises from the water coming out of the caves chimney. This is why early settlers named the area devils den.

Devils den is open everyday except christmas. You aren’t technically allowed to “swim” here, you must snorkel or dive. The pool  is actually 50 feet (15 m) deep. The facility has rentals for everything you will need, but your more than welcome to bring your own mask and snorkel. They also offer RV camping, tent camping, cabins, and horse back riding

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So for Earth day i rented a few of the 99 cent rentals off iTunes and one of them was “the fruit hunter” and I realized all of these rare exotic fruits were right in my own backyard about an hour outside of Miami in Homestead Florida.

Homestead is an area of flat vast farmland that borders the Everglades. So I did some research and found the fruit and spice park which will take you on an educational tour of exotic fruit, how it grows, and what it looks like. There is not much sampling going on here but it still was very informative and defiantly worth the trip.DSC04134 (1)DSC04160DSC04122After the tour I took a 15 minute ride down the road to “Robert Is Here” fruit stand to do some sampling. This place is best known for their milk shakes which were amazing but certainly not the best thing on the menu.

 The first fruit on my list was the Miracle fruit. A tiny red berry that is said to transform taste buds.  Everything you eat or drink taste sweet for about 1 hour after consumption.. You can check out the video below of my taste test

The second Fruit on my list was Jack fruit not to be confused with the famous stinky fruit from southeast asian called durian. Jack fruit is a ginormous spiny skinned fruit filled with sweet pockets of meat that is said to taste like pineapple and vanilla, my immediate reaction was it tasted very similar to a banana but also something very familiar I couldn’t put my finger on, then I was told that the fruit was actually the original flavoring in Juicy Fruit Gum! It literally taste exactly the same!! even the texture was very similar to chewing gum! No complaints here, weird and delicious!DSC04214

Guanoabana is in the same family as a sugar apple but tastes a little different. The pockets of white meaty flesh are a bit slimy but the most delicious fruit I tasted all day! It tastes like pineapple cotton candy but extra sour! MUST MUST MUST TRY THIS FRUIT!DSC04217

Last but not least is Mamey Sapote which looks and feels very similar to a small brown cooked sweet potato. The skin will feel loose and wrinkled.  I was attracted to its vibrant red flesh and when you bite into It’s extremely soft smooth center it will win your heart. It has exactly the same consistency of cooked sweet potato but taste like pumpkin pie!!! It’s the strangest thing considering it’s a raw piece of fruit!DSC04216

I was extremely happy with all of the new fruits I was able to taste, and cant wait to go back later this summer when different fruit comes into season. I will keep you guys updated!

 

The Fire Wave

The wave is located in The Valley Of fire State park 1 hour outside the las vegas strip. It’s a  1.25 miles loop trail through vast open landscape that leads to a beautiful sandstone formation referred to as “the wave”

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You’ve might of heard of the Wave located in Utah that’s far more hard and dangerous to get to. You actually have to apply for a permit to see it, but it’s so popular that they only do it by daily lottery. So if that’s on your bucket list, this is the next best thing! IMG_2077  IMG_2081

There is a small entrance fee of $10.00 to get into the park. I would suggest visiting here in spring or fall I attempted it once in January but couldn’t do the trail because it was freezing! So I came back in early November to give it another try and the weather couldn’t have been more perfect!IMG_2045 IMG_2197

Happy Hicking!

Wake up and stretch it out starfish style in the in your enormous king size bed. Open up the blinds  and look out the window of your Private two-story Pavillion Surrounded by the Jungle, Wave hi to the monkeys! Dial 0 and order a golf cart pickup to breakfast.

Within 5 minutes you will hear a knock on the door. Time to go! Hold on tight as you drive through paradise!

Sit Where you like & be greeted by the flowers. Enjoy your complimentary breakfast.

DSC00536Sip on your coffee…

IMG_6982and take in the view…

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Followed by a dip in the coolest pool ever!

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Rayavadee In Motion


 

 

48 Hours In Curacou

Curacou is part of the Dutch Caribbean  which is made up of  six island countries that are located in the Caribbean north of the Venezuelan coast sometimes also referred to as the  Caribbean Netherlands. The most known island in the chain is Aruba.

I came here for a music Festival called Paradise world which took place in Willemstad’s harbor with a beautiful back drop of the colorful Dutch architecture Curacou is most famous for. Luckily I got some free time and visited three of the islands beaches.

My first stop was Cas Abad Beach 

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This beach had everything perfect powered white sand, a cute little beach bar & dive center as well as sun beds and umbrellas for those who just want to kick it in the shade.

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The water brought me straight back to memories of the Mediterranean sea in long summer months.  Taking a refreshing plunge in the crystal clear, cool waters was a real treat.  An excellent spot for snorkeling or diving with the the reef so close to the shore you can almost touch it.

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The island is full of iguanas, which undeniably look like miniature dinosaurs aka mini Godzilla. Although they’re a bit scary at times they were still curious and stunning. The bright green ones are female, and the more colorful ones with darker purple hues are males. Don’t get to close, they do bite!

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This beach was by far my favorite it had rustic beauty, and felt very far away from the more crowded beaches.

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The Second stop was Kenepa Grandi. it was about a 30m minute drive Northwest  from Cas Abao. This beach has an amazing lookout point with panoramic views. The beach had white powered sand with a small dock to swim out to. The reef was quite far out so you have to be a good swimmer to reach it.  On this occasion there was a baby screaming so loud we could hear it from the lookout point so we decided to bask in its beauty from afar.

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Next we stopped at this small cove which was a really popular dive spot. The beach wasn’t the best but it did have a great lookout point, with a small cafe where you have to scale a steep staircase to get the views.

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These trees were painted by a group of locals referred to as the Rastas,  can you spot the orange octopus?

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This is traditional local stew made from okra and pigs tail. They serve it with a side of cornmeal and lime aid to was it all down. I tired a spoon full and it was pretty tasty but the lime-aid was defiantly the star.

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The famous rainbow buildings of Willemstad’s harbor.

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