Island Travel Interviews- Philippines, Take 3

Philippine Island Travel Bohol Samal
Photo Credit- Pixabay

With over 7,000 islands making up its archipelago, it’s easy to see why we are headed back to the Philippines for the third time. (If you missed the first four islands, you can check them out here and here.)  This week, we are headed to Samal with Ruben and Rachel of Gamin Traveler as well as to Bohol Island with Meira from Oimeira. Here are their answers to my Travel Interview series questions… Continue reading Island Travel Interviews- Philippines, Take 3

Island Travel Interviews- Indonesia, Take 1

Hello again! This week is exciting!!! We are going to a part of the world we haven’t visited yet… Indonesia! Thankfully, Chantell from Travel For Your Life and Rain from Words and Wanderlust are here to provide some insight and lovely pictures. Let begin our journey in Bali… Continue reading Island Travel Interviews- Indonesia, Take 1

Island Travel Interviews- Caribbean, Take 5

Hi all! This week, I’ve decided to take us back to the Caribbean. I just can’t seem to stay away! This time, we’ll be visiting Curacao with Margarita from Downshifting PRO and St. Lucia with Christina and Adam from Our Sweet Adventures.

Since we are fresh off of the beautiful buildings in Hvar, Croatia, from a couple of weeks ago, let’s continue the trend with gorgeous Curacao. (If you missed the post on Hvar, you can catch up here.)

What is Your Name and Blog Name/URL?

Margarita Ibbott from DownshiftingPRO – FAMILY + TRAVEL + LIFE

Which Island Will You Be Talking About and Why Did You Choose This Island?

Curacao – Part of the ABC Caribbean Islands (Aruba, Bonair & Curacao). I was in Curacao in December and I was charmed by the beauty of the beaches. This was my first solo trip and I would recommend it highly as it was very safe.

How Many Days Would You Recommend Staying on This Island?
One week would be good but 10 days may be better if you want to switch resorts as I did. Well worth the packing and moving around!

What was Your Favorite Thing About/Memory From Your Trip to This Island?
My favourite part of the Island was Kenapa Grandi Beach. About a 60-75 minutes from Willemstad (the capital of Curacao), it is easy to get to and has amenities. It was beautiful, not crowed and pristine.

Caribbean Island Travel Curacao
Photo Credit- Margarita Ibbott @Downshifting PRO

What is Your “Can’t Miss” Activity on the Island? What activities/opportunities does this island provide?
You can do anything you want: sail, jetski, golf, go to clubs, dine out, go to museums. It has it all. That being said, I would not miss a photo tour of Willemstad. The colourful buildings and interesting architecture provides wonderful photo opps! I would not miss the Kura Hulanda Musem which features the history of slavery in the Caribbean.

Best Restaurant/Place to Eat?
My favourite restaurant was Jaanchi’s it is a local place off the beaten path but the owner is a character. Jaanchi gifts you with a souvenir (a small cloth pouch) and he asks you to buy a lottery ticket and send him a portion of the winnings- when you win of course! It was charming and funny but I think he was serious 😉

Photo Credit- Margarita Ibbot @Downshifting PRO

What Surprised You About this Island?
It’s size. It is very manageable and you can easily drive tip to tip in about 2 + hours but you are going to want to stop and take in some of the views, have so great food and lounge on a beach or two (or three).

Any Travel Advice for those considering this island as a destination (e.g., where to stay, ease of getting there, how best to get around, language, money)?

It is best to rent a car. Driving is very easy and safe and the roads are fairly good. Just download the Curacao Google map to your phone or tablet beforehand. You can get to different places fairly easily with a car. Why rent a car? Taxis have a monopoly on transportation (so no hotel shuttles to/from the airport) and they can be pricey!

I have two different stays to suggest: If you want a private, European-style of hotel stay at the more remote Papagayo Hotel and Beach Resort. It has a wonderful beach, great restaurant and is just lovely but out of the downtown area. If you want to stay right in town, I preferred the Renaissance Resort and Casino. Attached to the RIF Fort (an entertainment district located in an old fort), you have access to restaurants, bars, boutiques and daily entertainment is right beside the hotel. The breakfast buffet was to die for!

Although the currency is the Antilles Gilder, you can also pay with American dollars just about anywhere that you go. I also used my credit card easily and the exchange was reasonable. I did not bother converting to Gilders, I just tipped any service personnel in American dollars.

Photo Credit- Margarita Ibbott @Downshifting PRO

There were a few unique museums that I would strongly recommend: Kura Hulanda is an entire historical district that has been lovingly restored. It has a lovely hotel (that I would also recommend), a small restaurant area, and the Kura Hulanda Museum. It is a historical and cultural museum that documents the slave trade and its importance to Curacao. There are very interesting artifacts and it is curated magnificently.

I also had a quick visit to the oldest Synagogue in the northern hemisphere. The curator was a wonderful woman that showed me both the museums and the synagogue (the floor is sand, one of only a handful of synagogues that have this feature).

If my readers want to hear more about your island, do you have a link to your full article?

I have a series of posts. The links are within my answers to both the blog, YouTube videos and Trip Advisor reviews.

 

I have heard such wonderful things about St. Lucia but have never been. I’m excited to learn more about this fabulous island from Christina and Adam.

What is Your Name and Blog Name/URL?
Christina and Adam of Our Sweet Adventures

Which Island Will You Be Talking About and Why Did You Choose This Island?
Saint Lucia. We picked this island for our honeymoon because it had everything we wanted – seclusion, great beaches, lots of adventurous activities, and a low chance of getting hit by hurricanes (we went during hurricane season).

How Many Days Would You Recommend Staying on This Island?
At least 5 – 6 nights. Allotting for travel time/adjusting, one day of pure relaxation, and the rest for exploring.

Caribbean Island Travel St. Lucia
Photo Credit- Our Sweet Adventures

What Is Your Favorite Thing About/Memory From Your Trip to This Island?

There are too many to choose from! Hiking the Gros Piton was a favorite moment because we knocked off two things on our bucket list in one day. When we reached the top, not only did we have incredible views, but we hiked the highest point of the island and were as high as the clouds! Feeling the clouds touch our skins was an amazing feeling.

“Can’t Miss” Activity on the Island? What activities/opportunities does this island provide?

Definitely the mud bath at Sulphur Springs. Spreading mud on each other for our honeymoon was a lot of fun. Then we washed the mud off in the hot springs. When we got out we looked 12 years younger!
Other activities to do at Saint Lucia are:
Snorkeling
Sailing
Jungle Biking
Botanical Garden Tour
Zip lining through the jungle

Best Restaurant/Place to Eat?
We ate at Jade Mountain Club everyday because we had an all-inclusive program with the Jade Mountain Resort. The food was incredible and prepared by a James Beard Award winning chef. Some of our favorite dishes were: fresh ceviche, nutella french toast, seared scallops with coconut rice and Saint Lucian tiramisu.

Caribbean Island Travel St. Lucia
Photo Credit- Our Sweet Adventures

What Surprised You About this Island?
The locals would work all their life then retire to become a police officer or firefighter because there was very little crime and fire. In fact, we saw a police officer in uniform at a bar….drinking beer!

Caribbean Island Travel St. Lucia
Photo Credit- Our Sweet Adventures

Any Travel Advice for those considering this island as a destination (e.g., where to stay, ease of getting there, how best to get around, language, money)?

Definitely stay at a resort that is all-inclusive, offers transportation, and includes excursions in the package. This is an island for both relaxation and a lot of adventure. The common language is English. The currency used is Eastern Caribbean Dollar, but USD is readily accepted throughout the island. Credit cards are acceptable, but in more local areas it is best to bring cash just in case.

If my readers want to hear more about your island, do you have a link to your full article? 

Yes, of course! We would love to gain more readers and if you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask us in the comments or contact page.

https://oursweetadventures.com/2017/04/13/our-favorite-activities-to-do-in-saint-lucia/

Many thanks to Downshifting PRO and Our Sweet Adventures!

Want to save this for later? Here is the pin…

Caribbean Island Travel
Photo Credit- Pixabay

** Please note that this post may contain affiliate links meaning that, at no cost to you, I may receive some compensation if you click and purchase. Thank you!

  

 

Island Travel Interviews- European Islands, Take 2

Have you gotten a sense that there is very little rhyme or reason to the course we are traveling on this island interview journey? This week, we are headed back to the European Islands with Wayfaring with Wagner and Finding Upendi for the Island Travel Interviews focusing on the Croatian Island of Hvar and the Spanish Canary Islands (La Palma to be specific).

Let’s Begin with fellow native Michigander, Jordan fromWayfaring with Wagner, as she assists us in discovering Hvar.

Name and Blog Name/URL

Hi! My name is Jordan and I curate the blog “Wayfaring With Wagner.” Like Marta, I’m from Michigan (Traverse City) but now live full time in Hamburg, Germany.

What Island Will You Be Talking About and Why Did You Choose This Island?

When I think of paradise, I think of the island of Hvar. This island off the coast of Croatia is my favorite island in the entire world. Hvar is great because although it is a bit more remote (2+ hour ferry ride), it is not impossible to get there. I find that the island has the perfect mix of culture, history, relaxation, beaches, and delicious food!

Photo Credit- Wayfaring with Wagner

How Many Days Would You Recommend Staying on This Island?

To properly see the island, I’d recommend at least 4-5 days. I stayed on the island for only 3 days and really regret not having a bit more time in order to see everything!

Photo Credit- Wayfaring with Wagner

What is Your Favorite Thing About/Memory From Your Trip to This Island?

My favorite memory from Hvar was the road trip I did one day around the entire island. This allowed me to see the old fishing villages, lavender fields, vineyards, agricultural fields (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), rolling hills, tucked away churches, and an immense amount of beauty. Definitely rent a car, go out exploring, and purposely get lost!

Photo Credit- Wayfaring with Wagner

“Can’t Miss” Activity on the Island? What activities/opportunities does this island provide?

It is hard to choose just one “can’t miss” activity but if you have the time, drive (or climb) up Fortress Fortica Španjola at sunset. You will get the most amazing view of Hvar Town (yes, the main town is named “Hvar Town”), the harbor, and the Adriatic Sea.

Best Restaurant/Place to Eat?

To be honest, I mostly ate at small, locally owned restaurants. Nothing really stood out to me because I also don’t eat seafood (the island’s staple food) so I can’t be a good resource! Definitely try some of the local wine grown and produced on Hvar. Croatian wine is cheap, yummy, and totally underrated!

Photo Credit- Wayfaring with Wagner

What Surprised You About this Island?

I was most surprised by how much there is to do on the island and the history surrounding the island. Although Hvar is now part of present-day Croatia, the first inhabitants arrived on the island around 3,500 BC! The island was initially colonized by the Greeks around 400 BC but passed between the Roman Empire, Byzantine Empire, Slavic tribes, Republic of Venice, Kingdom of Hungary, Habsburg Monarchy, French Empire under Napoleon, Italy, Kingdom of Yugoslavia, Communist Yugoslavia, and finally modern-day Croatia. Like I mentioned above, the agricultural fields are a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to the formation of them and water collection system devised by the Greeks thousands of years ago. This system is still used today! I am amazed by how much culture and history fits on one island and the legacies, architecture, traditions, food, crops, and techniques left behind from each subsequent era.

Photo Credit- Wayfaring with Wagner

Any Travel Advice for those considering this island as a destination (e.g., where to stay, ease of getting there, how best to get around, language, money)?

In terms of getting to the island, ferries leave multiple times a day from Split, Croatia (a great city that I recommend spending a few days visiting either before or after your trip to Hvar). Make sure to check the schedule because ferries are VERY limited in the low season (high season starts in May and ends in either September or October).

Photo Credit- Wayfaring with Wagner

Deciding where to stay really depends on what type of traveler you are. I wanted a relaxing environment and opted for the quiet but gorgeous town of Stari Grad (literally translates to “Old Town”). However, if you want more of a party scene, head to Hvar Town.

It is imperative that you rent a car on the island (don’t bring a car over, just rent it on the island!). The bus connections only run a few times a day and you’re really missing a lot of the island if you only stick to bus routes. Car rentals are really cheap and easily available. If coming during the high season, book a car ahead of time.

While Croatia is part of the EU, it is not yet part of Schengen which means that it doesn’t count towards your 90 visa-free Schengen days (this is relevant for Americans, Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders, Japanese, etc. Really any country that is allowed 90 visa-free days in the Schengen zone). Because it doesn’t count towards your 90 days in Schengen, you get an additional 90 days just for Croatia. However, Croatia is expected to join Schengen soon so make sure to check ahead of time. Also, Croatia hasn’t adopted the Euro yet. The local Croatian currency is the Croatian kuna (1 USD = 7 kuna, 1 Euro = 7.5 kuna, 1 CAD = 5.25 kuna).

Just a small fact about the beaches on Hvar – most of the beaches are stony/rocky. There are still plenty of places to sunbathe and relax! However, if you’re expecting sandy beaches, they’re quite sparse (I think there is only one or two located on Hvar) so don’t be disappointed.

Photo Credit- Wayfaring with Wagner

If my readers want to hear more about your island, do you have a link to your full article?

Here is my photo diary of Stari Grad: https://www.wayfaringwithwagner.com/heavenly-hvar-island-stari-grad-croatia/

Next Up… the Canary Islands with Silvia from Finding Upendi.

What is Your Name and Blog Name/URL?


Silvia Galvan – Finding Upendi (www.findingupendi.com)
 


What Island Will You Be Talking About and Why Did You Choose This Island?



I’ll be talking about La Palma, one of the seven Canary Islands. I feel like everybody knows the Canary Islands as a sunny cheap destination full of resorts, but most people are completely unaware there is a lot of unspoiled natural beauty as well, especially in the western islands, which include La Palma. In fact, the whole island is a UNESCO Biosphere reserve.
 


European Islands La Palma
Photo Credit- Finding Upendi

How Many Days Would You Recommend Staying on This Island?



That depends on what you are interested in doing. There are two types of visits: for those that are willing to rent a car and go roadtripping, or for those interested in hiking around the island. If you are roadtripping you can easily make it a daytrip from Tenerife and get a feel for the island, but to actually get to see the island properly I’d say a minimum of three days is required. If on the other hand you are interested in hiking, I’d recommend a mimum of four days, up to seven.
 


What Is Your Favorite Thing About/Memory From Your Travels to This Island?



That would definitely have to be our visit to Los Tilos. Stopping at Los Tilos wasn’t part of our plan, but we had some spare time before driving to the airport and decided to make a quick stop, which turned out to be the best decision we made during the whole trip. A sub-tropical laurel forest, it is a representation of what makes La Palma such a beautiful island – the steep and abrupt mountains covered in a very dense green. We spent less than an hour there, but after wandering into a small tunnel found ourselves admiring a waterfall in the middle of the forest all alone. That’s the thing about La Palma – it’s full of hidden surprises around every corner! I can only imagine what some of the areas only accessible on foot could be hiding…
 


European Islands La Palma
Photo Credit- Finding Upendi

What Is Your “Can’t Miss” Activity on the Island? What activities/opportunities does this island provide?

 

I’d have to say that a visit to the National Park of La Caldera de Taburiente is a must. This National Park protects what’s basically a 10-km wide crater, with it’s highest point at 2000 metres. The landscape as well as the views are absolutely breathtaking. It is at this highest point that you will also find the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory, which containes some of the world’s biggest telescopes, as well as being the best observatory on the northern hemisphere after Hawaii. This is precisely why stargazing is a very popular activity in La Palma, and astronomy-tourism is on the rise. The best activity though is hiking – the landscapes are just begging to be explored on foot, and there are hiking routes across the whole island that have recently been revamped and are all properly sign-posted. If you are neither into star-gazing nor hiking, there are also some pretty good swimming spots, as well as whale and dolphin-watching opportunities.



Best Restaurant/Place to Eat?

 

The local food is absolutely delicious and I’ve never had a bad experience so I’d say anywhere is good. The only thing would be that there are extensive areas of the island without any towns, so it’d be wise to plan ahead. The capital, as well as some of the biggest towns, like Los Llanos, would be the ones with the biggest amount of places to eat. Tazacorte as well, although not very big, has a nice promenade lined up with loads of restaurants by the sea.



What Surprised You About this Island?

 

The absolute and sheer beauty – it is simply amazing, and very different from the other islands! Even though it is volcanic, it is not as dry as the other islands but rather covered in a beautiful layer of green forests, as well as natural volcanic pools. It is heaven for nature-lovers!

European Islands La Palma
Photo Credit- Finding Upendi

Any Travel Advice for those considering this island as a destination (e.g.,where to stay, ease of getting there, how best to get around, language, money)?

 The island remains relatively untouched by tourism (although hiking tourism is booming at the moment), which means it might not be the easiest of islands to visit and might require a little bit of planning! For starters, the airport is very small (and hard to access actually, so it is not uncommon for flights to get delayed due to bad weather) and there aren’t a lot of flights with the exception of flights from Tenerife. There’s a new direct flight from London with Easyjet, so it has recently become a lot easier to visit! Also, the local language is Spanish and I would not expect the locals to be able to speak English, with the exception of restaurants and hotel staff. If anything, you might stand a better chance of finding German-speaking people, given that most of the tourists they receive are German. As for moving around, as I previously mentioned, you really only have two choices – either rent a car or do it on foot.

The best advice I could give is to just go for it, get out and explore the island – no matter where you decide to go or do, I haven’t met a single person yet who hasn’t loved La Palma!



If my readers want to hear more about your island, do you have a link to your full article?



I wrote an article last year covering a one-day roadtrip itinerary of the island which can be found at: http://findingupendi.com/one-day-roadtripping-in-la-palma/

Many thanks to Wayfaring with Wagner and Finding Upendi! 

Here is a pin so you have these beautiful islands at your fingertips.

European Islands
Photo Credit Pixabay

Did you miss the other European Islands we have explored? Check them out here.

Interested in Caribbean or USA or Philippine Islands? I have you covered there too.

**Please note that this post may contain affiliate links meaning that, at no cost to you, I may receive some compensation.

Island Travel Interviews- Philippines, Take Two

This week we return to the beautiful Philippines Islands with The Vlog Expedition and April and Summer. Please join me as I learn about the islands of Camiguin and Malapascua.

Let’s start with The Vlog Expedition and Camiguin.

Photo Credit- The Vlog Expedition

What is Your Name and Blog Name/URL?

Violette & Antoine – The Vlog Expedition www.vlogexpedition.com

Which Island Will You Be Talking About and Why Did You Choose This Island?

I chose to talk about Camiguin Island in the Philippines. It is located in Northern Mindanao, a region of the Philippines that most countries’ travel advisories advise not to go to because of some very localised conflicts. It is a shame because Camiguin Island is a true hidden gem in a very touristy country, and a safe destination.

How Many Days Would You Recommend Staying on This Island?

From 2 to 4 days or more depending on how you enjoy it !

What is Your Favorite Thing About/Memory From Your Travels to This Island?

The incredible sunset seen from the ferry, the ride to White Island, our amazing resort and the snorkeling around the Sunken Cemetery – best snorkeling in my life!

Photo Credit- The Vlog Expedition

What is Your “Can’t Miss” Activity on the Island? What activities/opportunities does this island provide?

The 2 main activities are the boat trip to White Island and snorkeling in the Sunken Cemetery where you’ll see massive clams and plenty of clownfish. But as the island is quite mountainous there are many hiking trails and waterfalls to see, and also zip lining if you have time!

Photo Credit- The Vlog Expedition

Best Restaurant/Place to Eat?

The restaurant of our resort, Bahay Bakasiyunan sa Camiguin Resort, served us amazing food, especially great fish, and the setting is simply magical.

What Surprised You About this Island?

Camiguin Island has 7 volcanoes and one is active. The nature and sceneries are different from the rest of the Philippines, it felt like being in Jurassic Park!

Photo Credit- The Vlog Expedition

Any Travel Advice for those considering this island as a destination (e.g., where to stay, ease of getting there, how best to get around, language, money)?

The easiest (not the cheapest) way is to fly from Cebu directly to Camiguin. A cheaper but longer way is to fly to Cagayan de Oro (they offer now international flights), then a bus to Balingoan, and finally ferry to Camiguin Island. A longer but more interesting trip in my opinion! Once you’re there you can easily rent a scooter or arrange a tour with your accommodation.

If my readers want to hear more about your island, do you have a link to your full article?

Antoine and I make interactive vlogs : videos in which you can access extra content (360° video, info, photos, etc…) by clicking whenever invited to, within the video. We want to create an immersive experience for our viewers to explore the places we visit just like they were there with us. You can experience the episode about Camiguin Island on our website : https://goo.gl/CjNs4Z

Here are our links:

Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/vlogexpedition

Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/violettetravelphoto

Twitter : https://twitter.com/vlogexpedition

Snapchat : @vlogexpedition

Next Up is April and Summer with Malapascua Island!

Photo Credit- April and Summer

What is Your Name and Blog Name/URL?

Name: April Fuentes

Blog Name: April and Summer / www.aprilandsummer.com

Which Island Will You Be Talking About and Why Did You Choose This Island?

Malapascua Island (Cebu, Philippines)

This island is a mini version of the famous Boracay Island.

It is so peaceful and beautiful with white sand beach, lush palm trees, colorful coral gardens perfect for your snorkeling adventure, and an interesting dive site with sharks swimming around.

Photo Credit- April and Summer

How Many Days Would You Recommend Staying on This Island?

I recommend staying here for 5-6 days since the transfer time is really long.

It usually takes 4-5 hours by bus plus 30 minutes by boat to finally reach this little paradise.

What is Your Favorite Thing About/Memory From Your Travels to This Island?

The last time I went to this island was with my boyfriend.

It was super fun that we decided to extend our stay but because it was a peak season, all hotels were booked so we ended up sleeping on beach chairs in front of the beach.

It was so cold and we woke up seeing people walking around which is kind of embarrassing but definitely a funny and memorable experience for us.

What is Your “Can’t Miss” Activity on the Island? What activities/opportunities does this island provide?

Diving!

You shouldn’t miss Monad Shoal, the most famous dive site in this island which is half an hour away by boat. 

It promises close encounters with Thresher Sharks before sunrise, and if you’re lucky enough, you may also see Manta Rays and Hammerhead Sharks.

Best Restaurant/Place to Eat?

Dine at Ocean Vida Restaurant!

You will love the food and the relaxing feeling of eating right in front of the beach.

What Surprised You About this Island?

Dogs!

We were surprised to be greeted by a lot of them when we set foot on the island. 

Any Travel Advice for those considering this island as a destination (e.g., where to stay, ease of getting there, how best to get around, language, money)?

Getting there:

Getting to Malapascua takes long hours so better catch the earliest bus at 12 midnight from Cebu North Terminal to Maya Port where you’ll be riding a boat for another 30 minutes to the island.

You can also take a cab but most drivers would ask for a much higher fixed price since it’s hard to get passengers back to the city.

Diving:

If you plan to go to Monad Shoal for a possible diving adventure with Thresher sharks, better start off early as they follow a first-come, first-served policy.

If my readers want to hear more about your island, do you have a link to your full article? 

Yes!

http://aprilandsummer.com/malapascua-the-little-boracay-of-cebu/

 

Thanks so much to The Vlog Expedition and April and Summer! I will be pining (and pinning) about these islands. If you are in the same boat ;-), here is a pin.

Photo Credit- Pixabay

*Please note that this post may contain affiliate links, meaning that, at no cost to you, I may receive some compensation. Thank you!

 

Island Travel Interviews, USA Islands- Take 1

Photo Credit- Pixabay

It’s spring break around our town, which means that traffic is pretty light around here.  I’m loving looking at all of the lovely island photos popping up on Facebook and Instagram. When one thinks of US Islands, Hawaii without a doubt comes immediately to mind. This week, bloggers Valerie from Maple Leopard and Sam from The Manini Experience a help us explore two beautiful Hawaiian islands.

Let’s start with Oahu and Maple Leopard…

What is Your Name and Blog Name/URL?

Valerie from MapleLeopard

http://www.mapleleopard.com

Which Island Will You Be Talking About and Why Did You Choose This Island?

Oahu. I chose it because it is the most dreamy place in the world. It is truly a paradise you never want to leave after you set foot on this beautiful island.

Photo Credit- Maple Leopard

How Many Days Would You Recommend Staying on This Island?

As many as possible! At least 14 to see it all. I have only ever stayed a week, and it is by far not enough time!

Favorite Thing About/Memory From Your Trip to This Island?

My favorite memory was when my whole family went two years in a row. My kids were younger then, so bittersweet memories. I did go again in 2015 for my daughters graduation present…special memories then too!

Photo Credit- Maple Leopard

What is Your “Can’t Miss” Activity on the Island? What activities/opportunities does this island provide?

Swimming and doing water activities at Waikiki Beach. It is the ultimate Hawaiian experience. There are too many activities to name. The island of course, is rich in Hawaiian culture, and there is much of that to be explored. The Polynesian Cultural Center and Hiking Diamond Head are very popular tourist experiences..don’t miss them!

Best Restaurant/Place to Eat?

Dicks is definitely the place you want to try out! Gorgeous ocean views and delicious food!

What Surprised You About this Island?

The water in the world famous place for Snorkeling: Hanauma Bay..was absolutely freezing!

Photo Credit- Maple Leopard

Any Travel Advice for those considering this island as a destination (e.g., where to stay, ease of getting there, how best to get around, language, money)?

If you are on a budget, (Like I always am) I suggest you stay at the Aqua Oasis by Aston Hotels..on Lewers Street. It is conveniently located 3 blocks from the beach and is beautifully remodeled.

If you stay in Waikiki beach, everything is in walking distance. If you want to explore the island, there are city buses, tour buses, and of course car rentals. Everyone mostly speaks English and the money is US Dollars.

If my readers want to hear more about your island, do you have a link to your full article?

I have 2 or 3 articles about Oahu. Here are the links… http://www.mapleleopard.com/2016/01/oahu-ultimate-winter-get-away.html

http://www.mapleleopard.com/2015/07/3-tips-for-hiking-diamond-head.html

http://www.mapleleopard.com/2015/06/how-to-make-most-of-your-hawaiian.html

 

And now for Lana’i Island from The Manini Experience…

What is your name and blog/URL?

 Sam | The Manini Experience (http://themaniniexperience.com/blog/)

IG: @themaniniexperience

FB: The Manini Experience

Which Island Will You Be Talking About and Why Did You Choose This Island?

Lana’i Island, Hawaii

Photo Credit- The Manini Experience

 

How Many Days Would You Recommend Staying on This Island?

3

What is Your Favorite Thing About/Memory From Your Travels to This Island? Swimming with 100+ dolphins in the wild. They were incredibly majestic, curious, and playful. To them we were just another part of the sea.

Photo Credit- The Manini Experience

What is Your “Can’t Miss” Activity on the Island? What activities/opportunities does this island provide?

While this island isn’t bustling with activity, there are three big attractions to be seen. 1. Manele Bay and the Four Seasons resort – The resort sits atop a large cliff overlooking the bay which harbors a marine sanctuary. This is a sight to see! 2. Shipwreck Beach – A moderate off-rode drive in a jeep will get you to this destination where you can observe an old US Navy vessel that was purposefully grounded and used for training before it was left to be broken down and turned into reef by the ocean and its inhabitants. 3. Garden of the Gods – While not quite as impressive as the one in Colorado Springs, this is still a really cool place to see inexplicably large and unique rock formations that some would agree could only have been placed there by a higher being.

Photo Credit- The Manini Experience

Best Restaurant/Place to Eat?

The Blue Ginger Cafe – A small local joint in Lana’i City that is far from the tourism area of Manele Bay. The food is delicious but the bakery “take’s the cake.” (Sorry for the cheesy joke!) Here is the link to their website: http://www.bluegingercafelanai.com

What Surprised You About this Island?

How small town it is. We saw the same people day after day and started to know the local residents by name. It was refreshing after living in Honolulu where you can go months without running into someone you know! 

Photo Credit- The Manini Experience

Any Travel Advice for those considering this island as a destination (e.g., where to stay, ease of getting there, how best to get around, language, money)?

1. Don’t make it your entire vacation unless all you want to do is lay at the beach because there isn’t much to do, just make it a side trip from your main vacation to one of the bigger islands.

2. You cannot take a boat, you have to fly there with one of only two airlines that operates to this island. They also have limited flights per day so I would recommend planning ahead although the flight are usually far from full.  

3. If the Four Seasons is too steep for your pocketbook, there are a couple of airbnb’s that you can rent but book early!

4. Places to eat, ATM’s and other general amenities (such as 24 hr convenience stores) either don’t exist or are scarce so plan ahead and have cash on you before going. Also either eat dinner very early if you want to eat out or buy groceries because the restaurants don’t keep very long hours.

5. There is no hospital on this island and you would have to be airlifted if something happened so be careful you don’t get yourself into some trouble 🙂

 If my readers want to hear more about your island, do you have a link to your full article?

No link to an article about Lana’i but have a link to our Christmas on Big Island. http://themaniniexperience.com/christmas-in-hawaii/

Want to save this info for your next holiday break? Here is a pin for that…

Photo Credit- Pixabay

Want to check out some other great islands that we’ve covered? I have a link for that…

Island Travel Interviews

**Please note that this post contains affiliate links, meaning that, at no cost to you, I may receive some compensation. Thank you!

 

The Cloisters on Paradise Island, Bahamas

 

Island Travel is amazing… white powder-sand beaches, clear turquoise water, peach-colored sunsets, blue skies with wispy white clouds, and, of course, yummy drinks. Paradise Island has all of these things… and more.

Having a father who used to teach history, I have become accustom to travel that involves some sort of history lesson. This schooling, however, has the benefit of taking place in paradise.

The French Cloisters is located in the One and Only Ocean Club’s Versailles Gardens. It overlooks Nassau Harbour. The Cloisters is what remains from a 14th century French Monastery and is made of stone.

 

William Randolf Hearst, a US newspaper businessman, originally purchased the Cloisters. It was later bought from his estate by Huntington Hartford and shipped to the Bahamas. The stones were not labeled properly; as such, it took artist/sculptor, Jean Castre-Manne, two years to make it look similar to the original.

All history lessons aside, The Cloisters is also a perfect wedding site.. you can certainly see why. My husband and I are are already plotting our points to convince at least one of our children to get married there.

The Cloisters is an easy supplement to your hopefully nonexistent schedule in order to add some history to your beach vacation on Paradise Island.  It is definitely worth the short walk to check it out.

What about you? Do you try to add a little history or learning even when you are on a sun-and-sand trip?

Have I convinced you to visit The Cloisters? Here is a pin to save this info for your next trip.

 

Resources:

http://www.bahamas.com/vendor/cloisters

http://www.frommers.com/destinations/paradise-island/attractions/the-cloister

*This post may contain affiliate links, meaning that, at no cost to you, I may receive some compensation. Thank you!

007 in the Bahamas

Are there any other Sean Connery fans out there? Let me tell you a story about my childhood… I was raised on James Bond. Now, I was not allowed to watch Jem or Growing Pains, but for whatever reason, 007 was a-okay. And what’s not to love about this spy series? There is mystery, intrigue, action, and beautiful scenery. I’m not sure how many James Bond movies were filmed in the Bahamas; I’ll have to ask my brother the next time we talk and get back to you on that one. However, I do know that, being the super fans that my parents are, his name came up just a few times during our last visit to Nassau and Paradise Island. Here are the 3 places we visited and the corresponding movies…

The British Colonial Hilton in Nassau is the site of the Never Say Never bar… you know, the one where there is flirting and water skiing… all of the things good island banter is made of. Unfortunately, the bar is no longer there. I remember when it was. Yes, my family may have gone on a little James Bond escapade when I was younger. Maybe even stopping out at Lyford Cay and taking a picture in front of Sean Connery’s gate. Moving on…

Another Bond movie great, Thunderball, was also filmed at the Hilton in the lobby; apparently, a few things were rearranged for the movie, so this doesn’t look exactly as it did in the movie. Coincidently, this lobby is also where we all sat in the lobby during our vacation because the 4 year old got a little ambitious “just sticking his toes” in the water and ended up drenched (there are air hand dryers in the bathrooms and the gift shop does sell size 4 swim trunks, in case anyone needs to know).

I’ve saved the best for last… The One and Only Ocean Club on Paradise IslandHaving never had the opportunity to stay here, I’d love to roll my eyes or make some snide remark, but, wow, this place is everything it claims to be. It is gorgeous and immaculate and the staff is spectacular. I have so many memories here. My brother taking lessons from the pro, Leo, who still remembers my family and greets us with his warm smile. Or, my mom taking me to The Courtyard Terrace for dinner and my first official drink (White Zin, of course… it was the 90s) . Pictures of my parents on dates there while my grandmother watched us. The first time my husband and I went there for drinks or when we left our kids with their grandparents for our date nights at Dune. Ahhh… just so.many.memories. But, I guess we aren’t really supposed to be talking about me…oops! Back to the handsome man in the suit. While he’s not Sean Connery, Daniel Craig is a close second. And, he fits in well at The One and Only in Casino Royale. Here are some more pictures because it’s hard not to just keep snapping. It is beautiful!

Want to save this for your very own future 007 self-guided tour? I have a pin for that…

*This post may contain affiliate links, meaning that, at no cost to you, I may receive some compensation. Thank you!

Island Travel Interviews-Philippines, Take 1

 

Photo Credit- Pixabay

This week we are headed to the Philippines with our Island Travel Interviews! I have to admit that I am pretty excited about this, mostly because I really don’t know anything about the Philippines. I will be learning right along with you this time. Fortunately, we have Chel Inumerable from Hey, It’s Chel to take us to Borocay and Roneth from The Fickle Feet to help us learn about Siargao. Let’s get started!

First Stop… Borocay!

Name and Blog Name/URL

Chel Inumerable of Hey, it’s Chel www.heyitschel.com

Which Island Will You Be Talking About and Why Did You Choose This Island?

Boracay! My favourite island in the Philippines where the water is clear and the sand is pure and white.

Photo Credit- Hey, It’s Chel

How Many Days Would You Recommend Staying on This Island?

As many as you could…But if you really, really need to leave, 1 week is enough.

What is Your Favorite Thing About/Memory From Your Trip to This Island?

I met one of my bestfriends here and we instantly clicked, we backpacked around Asia after that. Also, just recently, I brought my boyfriend here and we had a wonderful time!

What is Your “Can’t Miss” Activity on the Island? What activities/opportunities does this island provide?

A good massage by the beach (US$7) by licensed and trained therapists, cliff jumping, scuba diving, sunset watching. There’s a lot of water activities actually that you can do here.

Photo Credit- Hey, It’s Chel

Best Restaurant/Place to Eat?

Spider House, it has the best sunset view. Sea Breeze Café for a delicious dinner buffet for only US$15, by 8pm watch out for the dancing chefs, Hoy Panga Boracay offers the first smoothie bowls in the island and Jonah’s Fruit Shake for their yummy fresh fruit shakes.

What Surprised You About this Island?

There’s always a new restaurant or establishment popping up.

Photo Credit- Hey, It’s Chel

Any Travel Advice for those considering this island as a destination (e.g., where to stay, ease of getting there, how best to get around, language, money)?

Everyone speaks English so language won’t be a problem. The best way to get there is via Caticlan airport. You can also fly via Kalibo airport which most of the time has a cheaper airfare prices but you need 2 more hours to get to the island (by land and water). There are many hostels and traveller’s inn if you are on a budget, always check the accommodation away from the beach (it will be like a 3-5 minute walk to the beach so it isn’t that bad). If you are a spender, then a nice hotel facing the beach won’t be a problem for you. There are ATMs around the island too.

If my readers want to hear more about your island, do you have a link to your full article?

Yes I do have a couple, feel free to visit my blog or DM me on Instagram @chelinumerable

And, Next Up… Siargao!

Name and Blog Name/URL

Name: Roneth Politud

Blog:    The Fickle Feet (http://theficklefeet.com)

Photo Credit- The Fickle Feet

Which Island Will You Be Talking About and Why Did You Choose This Island?
The Philippines is composed of 7107 islands. Each islands has a different kind of beauty but Siargao Island stole my heart. Siargao is the surfing capital of the Philippines. It faces the Pacific Ocean, that’s why it has beautiful big waves that surfers all over the world visit. Even non surfers will enjoy the island as it offers a lot more than waves.

How Many Days Would You Recommend Staying on This Island?

During our visit we stayed there for four days, but it was never enough! If someone really like to visit the Island, I suggest at least a week is better.

Photo Credit- The Fickle Feet

What was Your Favorite Thing About/Memory From Your Trip to This Island?

My favorite thing in the islands is the easy and chill vibe it has. Surfing in the morning, going to the beach and even ride a bike in the afternoon. Also, they have a night life where you can just chill and enjoy a good set music while sipping on your margarita!

What is Your “Can’t Miss” Activity on the Island? What activities/opportunities does this island provide?

Of course I will say surfing! But if you don’t want to surf there’s a lot of option. Like what we did, we went island hoping for whole day. We explore the nearby islands like Naked Island, Guyam Island and Daku Island. Even visited the farther island, it took us almost 3 hours to get the Sohoton cove. Other than island hopping Magpopongko Tidal Pool is a must visit!

(Sohoton) Photo Credit- The Fickle Feet

Best Restaurant/Place to Eat?

One of the must try is in Kermit’s. We were able to dine-in here. They serve Filipino-Italian Food. Which is authentic I must say. You can make your own pizza, and the pasta was beyond my Filipino taste buds that’s why I can say that it’s authentic on the Italian side. Haha. Also, the restaurant is always full, they have reservations, but if you are not able to make any reservations like we did, just wait. It’s also quite pricey here. Ready your cash for the good food you are willing to spend on!

Of course, if you don’t like to spend much, I have a place in mind. Go to Mama’s Grill. It was actually popular. A lot of travelers were in the place. No wonder, they serve delicious grilled food with affordable price.

What Surprised You About this Island?

I was expecting that it will be so touristy since it is very popular. And on our way to the island, our group of five is the only Filipinos in the plane. All are tourists, mostly are from Spain. The moment we arrived in the island, as I expect more foreigners are there, actually they’re everywhere. It doesn’t feel like I’m in the Philippines. But the surroundings are not crowded, it just like a simple island. Many foreigners but not touristy and crowded, I hope you get what I mean.

Any Travel Advice for those considering this island as a destination (e.g., where to stay, ease of getting there, how best to get around, language, money)?

Accommodation: There’s a lot of hostel in the island! If travelling alone, it is best just to stay in hostels like Paglaom. . But during our stay we just rented in Airbnb. It is good when travelling with a group since we can divide the cost. We got ours at $20 (Php1000) per night.

How to get around: A motorcycle ride will cost $0.40 (Php20) per ride. It is cheaper to rent a motorbike for $7-8 (Php350) for whole day. You can also rent a bike for $2 (Php100) a day.

Tips:

  • Reserved a surfing lesson for the next day.
    • Surfing Board: $4 (Php200) per hour
    • Surfing Instructor: $6 (Php300) per hour
  • For night life events in the island. On Mondays chill night at Rumbar and on Tuesdays dance party at Jungle

If my readers want to hear more about your island, do you have a link to your full article?

Yes! I actually made a 4 days complete guide in the island.

 http://theficklefeet.com/complete-guide-make-4-day-experience-siargao-wothwhile/

 

Thank you so much to Chel and Roneth for sharing their experiences and traveling tips to these two remarkable Philippines Islands!

Want to put a pin on it? Here you go!

Photo Credit- Pixabay

 

**Nope, I didn’t forget… This post may contain affiliate links, meaning that, at no cost to you, I may receive some compensation. Thank you!