Island Travel Interviews: Caribbean, Take 9 (Antigua & Barbuda)

The Caribbean was hit by Hurricane Irma this past fall, with Barbuda being one of the hardest hit islands and Antigua experiencing some damage as well. Please note that this interview was conducted prior to the Hurricane and, as such, some of the places mentioned may have been affected. As always, it is good to check on such things prior to making your plans. You can also listen to this podcast for more information about the status of all of the Caribbean Islands. 

With that said, I am so excited to learn more about Antigua and Barbuda from Faith Coates of XYUandBeyond. Believe me, you’ll want to read along not only for the great information but also for the stunning photos.

What to do in Antigua
Image Credit- XYUandBEYOND

Name and Blog Name/URL:

Faith Coates

https://xyuandbeyond.com

Which Island Will You Be Talking About and Why Did You Choose This Island? Antigua & Barbuda WI

How Many Days Would You Recommend Staying on This Island?

A minimum of a week better yet 14 days

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

Eating roti on Pigeon Beach just watching the yachties from all over the world relax and enjoy the sun, sea, and sand. The roti lady comes around at about 2pm and for a couple of dollars you get the best roti in the world.

What to do in Antigua
Image Credit- XYUandBEYOND

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

Sunday Nights at Shirley Heights where everyone comes out to play, dance, drink and eat.

Best Restaurant/Place to Eat?

BBQ at Shirley Heights

What to do in Antigua
Image Credit- XYUandBEYOND

What Surprised You About this Island?

The range of beaches from surfing, to kiting, to gentle peaceful clear blue waters to bob around in. There are 365 beaches on the Island, and there is one for every type of watersport imaginable.

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)?

Just enjoy the 365 beaches, eat lots of local food – the roadside stands of jerk chicken are amazing. Wander the streets in St. John and enjoy the crazy ambience when the cruise ships get in. Easy to rent a car and drive yourself – after all the Island is only 12 miles long. The islanders are incredibly helpful and friendly and it is very difficult to get lost.

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

Check out one of the Island’s great historic sites Nelson’s Dockyard. https://xyuandbeyond.com/nelsons-dockyard/

Many thanks to Faith for the fabulous information. I’m ready to book a flight!  And check out this resort— it looks like the perfect luxury getaway! 

Need I say more? Here is a pin for now or later.

What to do in Antigua
Image credit- Pixabay

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

 

 

 

Island Travel Interviews: Malaysian Islands, Take 1 (Redang Island)

Welcome back to the Island Travel Interview series! This week we are learning about Redang Island, a Malaysian Island in the South China Sea. Read on as Riz from Lamyerda tells us more about this lovely island. Continue reading Island Travel Interviews: Malaysian Islands, Take 1 (Redang Island)

Island Travel Interviews- Caribbean Islands, Take 8 (Aruba)

Aruba. How I love Aruba. It’s been awhile since we’ve been but I’m quite certain I would still love Aruba. Just off the coast of Venezuela, this Dutch Island had the warmest of breezes and seas when we visited. I’m excited to compare experiences as Megan from Some Places I Am Moderately Excited About shares a more current view of the A of the ABC Islands (Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao). 

Island Travel | Aruba
Image Credit- Megan from Some Things I’m Moderately Excited About

Name and Blog Name/URL

I’m Megan, of Some Places I Am Moderately Excited About! (www.moderatelyexcited.com) I curate snarky and educational city guides to destinations all over the world and Chicago, where I’m from and currently living.

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

Aruba! Aka One Happy Island. This little slice of Dutch Caribbean heaven is one of my favorite tropical island destinations – it feels like you are somewhere much more exotic than just a 7 hour flight from the Midwest!

How Many Days Would You Recommend Staying on This Island?

We personally stayed for 9 full days – we were very overdue for a nice, long, relaxing vacation. But you could definitely get a great experience with 4-5 days!

Island Travel | Aruba
Image Credit- Megan from Some Things I’m Moderately Excited About

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

My absolute favorite memory from our trip was our spontaneous 3 AM swim in the ocean after we got back from one of our (late night) excursions. We dropped our stuff off, donned our suits and headed over to the beach. The water was as warm as your soaking tub and the stars were literally the brightest I’ve ever seen anywhere. The water and sky met at this slightly darker horizon line, but for all intents and purposes, they looked like they were one giant black abyss. Which was both a little terrifying and also exhilarating (especially because I could touch the bottom and there was little to no current – I felt okay being out there!) We swam and watched shooting stars for an hour before the mosquitos came for ransom.

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

This island has absolutely no shortage of things to do, eat and see. Whether jet skiing across clear blue water, relaxing on sugar sand beaches, snorkeling or diving by one of the many offshore shipwrecks and dive sites, ATVing through the desert or learning about the Dutch Caribbean culture, you will find something perfect for everyone in your party.

My personal favorite “Can’t Miss” activity is a dead tie between two really unique experiences that are as equally “touristy” (at first glance) as they are so much fun that you’d kick yourself if you did miss them.

  • The Kukoo Kanuku party bus tour will take you on a bar-hopping joy ride (with a champagne toast AND dinner, in some instances!) led by “Mama” with a group of people who will start out as complete strangers, but may create some long-lasting relationships.
  • The Jolly Pirates Snorkeling & Sailing tour will check both snorkeling and sailing off your itinerary – plus give you a chance to imbibe while enjoying a soft sea breeze in your face (if you’re into that sort of thing). Not to mention, when else are you going to check rope swinging into the ocean from a replication pirate ship off your bucket list?!

Best Restaurant/Place to Eat?

The Screaming Eagle was one of the most unexpected surprises and best meals of the whole trip. Ask for a bed – you’ll have the opportunity to eat “dinner in bed” in a special upstairs lounge area – literally, in a bed! Plus, the swordfish steak, truffled potato soup and pork belly were some of the best I’ve ever had anywhere.

What Surprised You About this Island?

While it seems pretty small, it’s actually fairly big with tons of different topographies and places to explore.

Island Travel | Aruba
Photo Credit- Megan from Some Things I’m Moderately Excited About

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)?

We stayed on Eagle Beach at the Amsterdam Manor Beachfront Resort and I would stay here every time we go back. Not only was it on one of the most highly-rated beaches in the world, it was also a great middle-ground for getting to both the downtown area and the northern side of the island. Not to mention it was walking distance from a grocery store and we had a kitchenette in our bungalow, so it was very cost-effective!

As for how to get around, we managed just fine without a car between the public bus system (you can pay when you get on) and taxis. However, if you want to get over to the other side of the island or see the national parks, etc, you’d best rent a car.

Language and currency are easy – most people speak English and US dollars are widely accepted – if not preferred – everywhere.

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

Absolutely! You can read my full breakdown of where to eat, stay and play on Aruba by visiting this link! (http://www.moderatelyexcited.com/aruba-a-little-slice-of-dutch-caribbean-heaven/)

This was a perfect getaway from this gray and white winter palette- thanks so much, Megan!

Now I’m definitely in an Island mood… Don’t forget to check out the Island Rum Punch that Living Lark shared with us here….

And look on Skycanner for winter/spring flights here….

Or save this info for a later date by clicking below….

What to do in Aruba
Photo Credit- Mackinaw Road

**This post contains affiliate links, meaning that if you click and purchase, I may receive some compensation. Thank you!

 

Island Travel Interviews: Caribbean Islands, Take 7 (Ambergris Caye)

I’ll be quite honest with you, I did not know that the Caribbean extended as far west as Belize. Nor had I heard of Ambergris Caye. But I’m super excited to learn about it! Many thanks to Aimee from Aimee’s Compass for sharing information about the largest island in Belize.

Island Travel | Belize
Photo Credit- Aimee’s Compass

Name and Blog Name/URL

Aimee Binstead, Travel Life Blogger at Aimee’s Compass https://aimeescompass.com

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

San Pedro is an English-speaking town on the island of Ambergris Caye, in Belize. It’s often forfeited for the island next door, Caye Caulker, but San Pedro has plenty to offer a traveller looking for a vibrant and atmospheric getaway. While Caye Caulker radiates chilled vibes and pastel-painted wooden shacks, San Pedro pulsates with lively residents, colourful homes, and the chime of reggae music from houses and bars alike. You’d be forgiven for thinking you’d arrived in Jamaica! I visited to get a taste of the Caribbean while travelling Central America.

Island Travel | Belize
Photo Credit- Aimee’s Compass

How Many Days Would You Recommend Staying on This Island?

Between 2-4 days is plenty of time in San Pedro.

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

My arrival in San Pedro couldn’t have been more perfect. After a long journey from Playa Del Carmen in Mexico, taken by bus and boat and lugging a 13kg backpack the whole way, you could say I was pretty exhausted coming through customs. That was, until I made it to the town centre and discovered that I was just in time for the Belize Independence Day festival! There’s nothing like loud, distorted reggae tunes blasting through the air, while locals dance covered in orange paint, to give you a good buzz of excitement. It’s a moment I’ll never forget.

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

Any visitor to Ambergris Caye absolutely has to rent a golf cart and seek out the ‘secret beach’. Supposedly a 45-minute bike ride from San Pedro, the mission took me a good 4 hours and ended up requiring multiple beer stops and two new friends in order to find it. I can promise you though, when you get there for sunset it’s well worth the adventure!

Best Restaurant/Place to Eat?

Fancy floating on the sea in a rubber ring, and having food and drinks lowered down to you by bucket? (Silly question really). Then you MUST go to Palapas. Palapas is a wooden bar perched on the end of a pier, and while the food isn’t anything out of this world, the experience is pretty unique.

What Surprised You About this Island?

What surprised me the most is the constant energetic atmosphere of the island, which is the result of local children that run barefoot through the streets without pavements, waves between neighbours and strangers, colourful flags that link the painted wooden houses, and shop signs in bright reds, yellows, and greens.

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)?

San Pedro is a great first stop for anybody travelling into Belize from Mexico. It’s easily accessible from Chetumal ferry port, and though the journey requires all of the visa processing needed to leave one country and enter another, this is simple and straightforward at each port. One big tip for those thinking of heading here though, is to keep hold of any evidence showing that you have already paid a departure fee from Mexico, or you’ll be made to pay it again (around 360 pesos).

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

To read about my experience on Ambergris Caye; seeking out the secret beach, swimming with sea turtles, and eating street food at the Independence Day celebrations, you can take a look here: https://aimeescompass.com/2015/10/10/sea-turtles-and-the-secret-beach-of-san-pedro-belize/

All of this sounds delightful! Here is a pin to save this for your travel planning:

Ambergris Caye | Belize | Island Travel
Photo Credit- Pixabay

**This post may contain affiliate links, meaning that you if you click and purchase, I may receive some compensation. Thank you!

 

 

Island Travel Interviews: Pacific Ocean Islands, Take 1: Savai’i

 

Located in the South Pacific and part of Polynesia, the Samoan Islands are an archipelago taking up 1,170 square miles. There is evidence of the islands being inhabited as far back as 1050 B.C.

Read on as Laura from Escapes Etc. gives us more info…

What to do in Savi'i
Photo Credit- Escapes Etc.

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

Savai’i in Western Samoa. I chose this little tiny island as I feel it is often overlooked for the more well-known pacific islands such as Fiji. But Savai’i offers a true break away from hectic life and a chance to experience time as a local without much effort. It’s full of wildlife, beautiful beaches, forests and waterfalls to explore but above all it’s the ultimate place to chill out.

How Many Days Would You Recommend Staying on This Island?

As it is very small, I would stay here again for around 4 days, so a long weekend would be perfect.

What to do in Savi'i
Photo Credit- Escapes Etc.

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

I visited Samoa when I was on my 8 months round the world trip and it was the break we needed. There’s no phone signal  (unless you buy a local sim), limited internet and super chill. When I think about this island I just think of the detox from gadgets and rushing around I got. It made me stop, chill out and really appreciate the nature surrounding me.

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

You have to take a swim in the To Sua Ocean trench! It is a giant hole in the ground in Lalomanu where sea water enters. You have to climb down a big ladder to get to the water but it was just awesome to see and go to!

What to do in Savi'i
Photo Credit- Escapes Etc

Best Restaurant/Place to Eat?

I stayed at Joleen’s Beach Fales, which is a family run business and absolutely amazing. Food was included in the cost of the stay so getting to eat the local everyday food was the best! You become part of the family if you stay here which made meal times even better.

What Surprised You About this Island?

To be honest, my friend and I booked this part of a trip on a whim. We wanted to go to a Pacific Island different from the norm, so we just pointed to Samoa on the map and that was set! So really, I had no expectations or knowledge of the Island so everything was a surprise!

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)?

Western Samoa is made up to 2 islands – Opolu and Savai’i, with the airport on Opolu which is the larger of the 2. To get round the Island I rented a car and used Jeepneys, and you need to get a boat between the 2 islands. Bear in mind that the boat times are not regular and work to Pacific Islander times (by that I mean a fantastically relaxed schedule). The currency is Samoan Tala and is covered in tropical designs such as palm trees. Most people speak English so it’s easy to ask for help if you need it. Make sure you stay in a Beach Fale if you get the chance The beautiful clear blue waters are too good to not have on your doorstep while you’re there! The 2 downsides to Samoa are 1) The mosquitos – make sure you take good replant and 2) the guard dogs which are everywhere!

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

The Ultimate guide to visiting Samoa

Thanks so much to Laura! Here is a pin if you want to save this for later like I do 🙂

What to See in Samoa
Photo Credit- Pixabay

**This post may contain affiliate links, meaning that if you click and purchase, I may receive some compensation. Thank you!

Island Travel Interviews- Mexico, Take 1

With the weather getting colder, I’m dreaming of warmer days and islands. Our Escape Clause is only encouraging these dreams with talk of Isla Holbox.  Isla Holbox is located on the northern end of the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico. Separated from the mainland only by a shallow lagoon, it is about 26 miles long and 0.9 miles wide. Here’s Kate from Our Escape Clause to tell us more… Continue reading Island Travel Interviews- Mexico, Take 1

Island Travel Interviews, USA- Take 1

This week, we are privileged to hear from Anna of  travelgig. She will be filling us in on her home, Whidbey Island. Whidbey Island is located 30 miles from Seattle and is the largest island in Island County, Washington (4th largest in the contiguous USA). With approximately 55,000 residents, the island is about 55 miles long and anywhere from 1.5 to 12 miles wide. Thanks to Anna for more insider info! Continue reading Island Travel Interviews, USA- Take 1

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!