Explore South Eleuthera- Bahamas

There is so much of Eleuthera to check out. I think it was better to split blog post into mini blog posts. There is just so much to cover. Plus it is an amazing place. That is worth exploring every part.

The best way to see Eleuthera is renting a car. Renting a car on a tiny island is hard and fun! There are no rental agencies that you are used to; they are sometimes personal cars. It can also be a little expensive around ($80-100), but totally worth it. Get an SUV if you can so you can drive off the road to some of the beaches. Here is a link for more information.

Places to See:

One of the best snorkeling stops on the island is Half Sound. If you want to explore the world under the waves. Throw on your mask and explore Half Sound. You will be surrounded by nurse sharks, turtles, and beautiful corals.

The largest town in south Eleuthera is Rock Sound. It is a little town nestled in the on the water. It is a small town that sees very little tourists. You can see the rainbow painted houses. The is a cute white church right on the water.There is a cute little shop call the “The Blue Seahorse” that sells local crafts. It is definitely worth a stop.

Cape Eleuthera Institute is a must see! I worked here, so I’m a little biased.     It is a marine lab that works with the community and education. Not only do they work with a high school semester program but as well as educating the local community. Stop by and ask for a tutor, see the organisms in the tanks, find out what kind of research is going on.

Lighthouse Beach: The number one place that I would definitely go to is Lighthouse Beach. If you want to feel like you have a beach for only for you. It is an isolated beach at the end of the road on the very southeastern tip of Eleuthera. It is the most beautiful beach I have ever seen.

Places to Eat

Sammy’s is a small restaurant off the beaten path in Rock Sound. If you want local food and will a fun Bahamian atmosphere. I love going here because the people are so friendly! And they have good food.

Shari’s Restaurant has the best fried chicken you will ever have. I have been living in North Florida and explored all the south; it is still the best-fried chicken I have ever had. Don’t be deceived by the building it looks like a home. The restaurant doesn’t have the best decor. But you will get the best Bahamian food! They don’t sell alcohol, but you can go across the street to a white building with old men outside playing dominos is the local bar. Grab a beer and sit outside on the picnic benches and watch the small town.

Frigate’s Bar and Grill is a restaurant that is located in the Davis Harbor Marina. They have beautiful deck seating overlooking the marina. It is a great restaurant to stop on the way back from Lighthouse Beach.

Harbour Pointe Restaurant is part of the Cape Eleuthera Resort and Marina an elegant restaurant looking over the far South Western tip. It is adjacent to the pool. So you can get drinks at the pool and grab lunch. They have a great deck that overlooks the water.

Places to Stay

In the south Eleuthera, there is very little development. You can get a feel for the true Bahamas. There are really only two main options.

Rent a home in Cotton Bay and here is a link to some. They have beautiful homes that are maintained well. It was part of an old country club resort in the 1950s that has shut down. Here is a link.

The other option is Cape Eleuthera Resort and Marina which has two bedrooms and a fun kitchen. It is a great place you can use that as a base to explore south Eleuthera. There are a pool and a restaurant there as well. My family stayed there when they would come visit me. Here is the link.

Conch

I have to tell you a little about conch. As a marine biologist, I will tell you a little warning that it is endangered. It is a delicacy in the Bahamas. The locals have been eating conch for years. I do believe in trying new things and eating what the locals eat, but don’t have it for every meal. Conch is an endangered and could be extinct. Conch use to be abundant in the Keys but now it is extremely hard to find a conch in the wild. Most of the time if you are eating Conch it can be a juvenile. This means that because of the demand of Conch fisherman are getting smaller Conchs that aren’t able to reproduce. This will cause the speciesto become extinct. 

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Central Eleuthera, Bahamas

When I travel, I love to learn a little about the history and culture. I think it is so important to learn.

A Little History 

Eleuthera was founded in 1648. It is known as the birthplace of the Bahamas. A group of Puritans called the Eleuthera adventurers sailed from Bermuda in search of religious freedom.  They first arrived at the north end of the Eleuthera. They settled at a place called peachers cave. The adventures call their new place “Eleuthera” which means freedom.

Originally Eleuthera was occupied by Lucayan Indians. Not much is known about the Lucayans, they were enslaved by the Spanish in the 1500s.

Places to Stay

French Leave Resort

The Cove

Pineapple Fields Resort

La Bougainvillea

You can always check out Airbnb!

 

I’m wearing an old dress but similar here and here, and illesteva sunglass. I bought the bag on the island here and here is a similar bag.

Things to do

The best way to see the Eleuthera is to rent a car and drive the island. I’m going to list things to do North to the South.

Preachers Cave – it is a cave where the Eleuthera Adventures arrived and used to as shelter.

Saphire Blue Hole– blue holes are known to happen throughout the Bahamas. They are deep holes in the land or the ocean that can be thousands of feet deep. This one is near Preachers Cave, so it is great to do both. It is in the bush a, and there is a significant drop in a blue hole. There is a latter you can climb up after you jump. The water is so clear and blue it is really unbelievable.

Glass Window Bridge– Is the thinnest part of the island. You can see the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.

The Queen’s Baths– They are a group of pools right after the Glass Window Bridge. You can hang in these pools that overlook the Atlantic Ocean. It’s best on calm days.

 

 

I have this suit on, and here are some similar ones too ( here and here).

Gregory Town– This little town is known as the surf town. It has great places to eat ( Laughing Lizard), and great places to shop ( Island made, and Pete Rebecca’s).  It is a great town to wander around and check out the little marina. During the spring there is a pineapple fest! Where they celebrate growing pineapples. The pineapples are different than most that you see, they are white and small, but they are sweeter and better!

Surfers Beach– Is the best place to surf on Eleuthera. There is a dirt road out to the beach, but you can walk if your car can’t go.

Hatch Bay Caves– Is a mile long, 3 level cave, the walls are covered with Graffiti. You may see an occasional bat. It is a neat cave. There are stories of pirates hiding treasure in the cave and Lucayans burying their dead.

Governors Harbour– This little harbor town that was historically the capital of the Bahamas. It has beautiful victorian homes painted with bright yellows, pinks, and blues. If you are there on a Friday night check out the fish fry. You can dance in the street and grilled fresh fish. Some of my favorite spots in Governor’s harbor:

Resturants

The Cove– Is the only place on the island you can get sushi! So if you are staying there or want really good sushi check out this place!

1648 Bar and Grill– Great food right on the harbor overlooking the bay. It is a perfect place to watch the sunset.

Tippy’s- is on the Atlantic side of the island, great pizza, and large cocktails. They have a band on Saturdays! It is a great beach, go for a walk and swim.

Things to Check Out

The Library–  Was built in 1897, it has survived so many hurricanes. It is painted pink and turquoise. It is still a working library. You can walk around the neat old building, and look through the windows on the second floor to a beautiful view.

Here is a great link to check out more!

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Bahamas- Harbor Island

I lived on a small “family Island” in the Bahamas for three years. I love the small set of Caribbean Island near Florida. I didn’t expect to fall in love with the islands, but I kept going back.

The capital, Nassau is on main Island, New Providence; the most famous island is a small island attached to New Providence called Paradise Island. This is where the famous pink Atlantis and other famous all-inclusive resorts. All of these Hotels are great! It just depends on what kind of trip to the Bahamas you want.

I like a little more local trip. I like to get to know the Islands and culture. Eleuthera is one of my favorite islands. Eleuthera means “freedom” it is a small flight from Nassau, or you can get a flight from Florida. The world-famous pink sands are located on the eastern side of this island.

Harbor Island is a quaint little island off of Eleuthera. You should fly into North Eleuthera Airport. Then take a taxi to the ferry ($5) to get to Harbor Island. Note: Bring some cash, they use American dollars. The main source of transport is by golf cart. You can rent a golf cart for ($50 a day). When you get to the dock, you can look up at the hill and see all the colorful little houses. This island is known for their color houses and rosters. You will see and hear roster everywhere. This is a great place to visit; it has a little of everything. You can go deep-sea fishing, SCUBA, shop, and just lay on the beach and enjoy. I use to come up to Harbor Island just to get away from work on the weekends.

I’m wearing an old dress (but similar here or here), bag similar, sunglasses, and sandals.

History:

The locals call it “Bri island.” It was once the capital of the Bahamas and the second largest city to Nassau in the 1900s. It was known for shipbuilding, and sugar refinement in the late 1800s.

Great places to stay:

My favorite place to stay on the island is Pink Sands it is one of the most historic hotels on the island. It has a beautiful gate with vines climbing up and Beynon trees in the entrance. There is a main lobby that has a great restaurant.

I’m wearing an old dress ( but similar herehere or here), bag similar, and sandals.

Where to stay?

One of the best places to stay is The Dunmore. It is very pricey but so beautiful. They are famous for their white and turquoise colors. If you are willing to spend the extra dollars, it is a real treat. If you don’t want to stay, there you can always grab lunch or brunch there. The restaurant is right on the beach. You can check out the hotel too.

The Ocean View Resort is a newer hotel. It is a little boutique hotel that has a nice mix of beachy vibes and a unique flare. I would love to stay there when I visit again.

Coral Sands is next to pink sands. It has a great pool, and two different bars one close to the main lobby and one by the ocean. It is a great, beautiful resort it just doesn’t have the vintage feel that the some of the other places have.

Valentines is a great place to stay on the marina side of the island. If you want to have more access to the marina for fishing and diving. The units have more of an apartment feel, with a full kitchen. It does have pool and walking distance to downtown and the beach.

The Landing is a boutique hotel overlooking the marina on a historic property dating back 1800s. The rooms are inspired by India Hicks is a classic plantation style with colonial and Carribean character. It is a great place to grab dinner; it has a great island vibe with white wall and dark accents. They have indoor and outdoor dining in their lit up courtyard.

What to do?

The Bahamas is a great place to visit if you love the ocean. You can spend hours on the beach. It is a great beach to run on in the morning before it gets to hot. At Coral Sands there is yoga sometimes. Most of the hotels have paddle boards, kayaks, and floaties to play in the waves. There is great snorkeling a little farther off shore. Just ask the locals where to go. If you want to try SCUBA (which I highly recomend) or if you are certified their is great diving in the area. If you like fishing there are deep-sea fishing usually during the spring. You might catch a Mahi Mahi or a Wahoo! There is so much to do, even rent a car and explore more of the island.

Why is There Pink Sands

Harbor Island is most known for the pale pink beaches. The sand is consist of coral, broken shells, and calcium carbonate from tiny marine rocks. The pink color comes from tiny microscopic shelled animals known as Foraminifera.

Coffee and Breakfast

Bahamas Coffee Roaster roasts their coffee! Its so good, my favorite is Junkanoo. I always buy a bag when I’m there. It has a great outdoor space, to sit in the morning and watch the town wake up.

Arthur’s Bakery is a great little place to grab little sweet baked goods.  A painted the famous Bahama pink building. It’s also where the famous white pineapple fence.

Sweet Spot Cafe is a great little place on the water that has healthy smoothies and bowls. It is a great place to get a recovery food from a hangover!

 

Lunch

I would definitely recommend Sip Sip. It is just off the beach. So it is perfect to come from the beach and get some good Bahamian food! It is bright green you can’t miss it!

The Rock House is a great place to grab lunch overlooking the marina. Last time I was at “Bri land” I had cocktails there before going to dinner. you can watch the sunset over the water on that side of the island.

 

Dinner

There are a lot of great places to eat, and most hotels have a restaurant. I’m only going to list my favorites.

I love The Landing’s restaurant,  excellent contemporary menu based on local produce and freshly caught fish and seafood.

The Dunmore, you can wander inside a cozy, breeze-filled dining room or in the open air on the breathtaking ocean view terrace.

Coral Sands has a great menu of indoor/outdoor dining. The dining room is surrounded by old black and white photographs of Harbor Island.

 

Enjoy exploring the island, there is so much to do and explore! Don’t be afraid to rent a car and explore more of Eleuthera.

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Carry on Essentials

There is a lot of traveling in the next couple of weeks visiting family and friends. I traveled a lot, over the years from living in the Bahamas and the east coast for school. I love traveling but it is tough being stuck in a seat for 6 hours or more. I have added some must haves on the plane to travel in comfort.

I always carry my computer, I need to be working where ever I’m. I like to bring a notebook so that I can write down thoughts that I have while in the sky. I like to use a large tote bag to store everything, easy to access and keep under the seat.

I carry a little make up just to feel like I wasn’t on a plane the whole day!

 

Cuyana tote– great easy tote, you can customize it to you.

Cuyana travel case– 2 leather cases in 2 sizes. They are great to use and hold everything.

Headphones-I like the light pink, they work great.

Eyemask– It is always nice to have a sleeping mask on the plane, people next to you turn on the lights to read or leave a window open. There is always so much going on, it is nice to shut out the world.

Waterbottle-There is so much pastic being used when traveling, from the plastic cups to the plastic waterbottles. I like to bring my owen waterbottle and fill it up in the airport before I get on the plane.

Tea– I’m always cold on airplanes. I have having a cup of tea to warm me up. But I hate the tea that the airlines. So I bring my own, and order hot water. This is one is tastes so good and boost your immune system.

Banket scarf– To help me sleep, it helps to have a blanket. I love this blanket scarf, its also on sale! Its a great peice to have a scarf or a blanket.

Lips-I always have chapped lips after I fly. I love this lip balm, it feels great but also has a little tint.

Headaches-I never drink enough water, its the worse to have a headache and being stuck on an airplane.

Best Secret-This heals everything from scabs to dry hands. I love this stuff it helps me keep heal sunburns, cuts and scratches.

Good Book– There is nothing that helps pass the time than a good book. It is kind of nice forced to actually sit down and read.

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Day on the bay- sailing and exploring

What is better than getting on the water. I love being out there. I highly recommend getting on the water, a sailboat, a whaling boat, or even kayak when you visit San Francisco.

I have a friend that has a sailboat. My friend Katy and I got to go out for the afternoon. It was such a pretty day. I could go out every day and enjoy the water.

Wearing a Margaret O’Leary sweater old ( similar here and here), Levis, Converse, and Maui Jim Sunglasses.

When you get on a boat, the most important thing is to protect your eyes, and have shoes that have grip. I always wearing my Maui Jims sunglasses, because they have great polaroid sunglasses made for the water. When I’m working on the boats doing research, I wear rainboots so that I can hose them off after, but in a more social setting, I like to wearing converse or sneakers with a rubber sole.

My best friend Katy out on the bay! Taking the wheel!

 

 

There is nothing more peaceful than listening to the water and wind while looking at the Golden Gate Bridge.

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Fleet week at Angel Island… What a Fall Rush

I got to go home for a weekend. I was really excited to hear that it was fleet week. It is a whole week where the Navy puts on an airshow. It is so cool, you can see the Blue Angels, and so many more planes fly so close to the city.

A funny story. We were in a hurry to meet the rest of my family. So we ran onto the ferry. We looked at the time, noticed that it left a little early. We left the dock and was in the middle of the bay. We then looked out the window and we see the Angel Island ferry go by. We looked at each other, we realized that we accidentally got on the wrong ferry. So we took a tour of the whole bay. Turned out to be fun, and it was such a beautiful day.

At Angel Island, I’m wearing an ASOS sweater, Levi jeans, Superga sneaker and Marc Jacobs bag old ( similar here and here).

We hiked around the island, found a great spot in the shade to enjoy the show!

 

It was a great day to view the airshow!

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How to spend a weekend in San Francisco…

I grew up just outside of San Francisco. I love the city, but there is so much to see around the city. There is so much to see and do. The weather in SF is cold about 50-60F all year round. If you don’t want to be here with the fog and come during September and October or come during the spring May and June. July is unknown. August is always foggy. There are some places to go outside of the city to get away from the fog.  Here are some of my favorite things to do in the city.

DAY 1

I like to start on Lombard street. Go early so you can take good photos! Lombard street is the “World’s most crooked street” it is made of eight sharp turns! You can walk up and down the side of the street for free. It gets really crowded.  You can easily walk down to the fisherman’s wharf and the cable car.

I’m wearing Madewell overalls old (similar here and here), black shirt that I embroidered see post.

It is a short walk around to the cable car.  Fisherman’s Wharf and close to Pier 39.  The Wharf is very touristy I will warn you, but the great place to wander around taste the local catch and sourdough bread. I personally love the Aquarium of the Bay as well as just sitting on the pier and watching the sea life. There are famous shops and restaurants on Pier 39; you could spend all afternoon wondering the pier.

The trolley car is a famous and iconic image of San Francisco. They are fun to ride and practical to get from one side of the city to the other. There are three main routes for the trolley cars. My favorite is to go from Powel and Market to Fisherman’s Warf. The trolley cars run from 6 am until midnight. You can buy a one-way ticket for $7 or an all-day ticket for $17. You can start near the downtown shopping areas and ride it through the hills, by Macy’s square, and down the hill to Fisherman’s Warf.

History note: The cable car system was established 1873. There were over 600 cars before the 1906 earthquake, and now there is only 44!

We took the cable car down to market street. There is great shopping at around union square. Since we went on a Saturday morning, we decided to explore the farmers market at the ferry building.  On the way, we stopped at one of my favorite coffee shops Philz Coffee. I love the mint mojito ( it’s a coffee with mint).  It is so much fun to check out all the local food. So many different colors and textures!

Philz coffee!

The ferry building! It is a working beautiful building with dozens of restaurants and vendors/shops that are all local.

History note: It was built in 1898, it survived the 1906 earthquake, which burned most of the city. In the 1950s the building of the bridges reduced the use of the ferry building. The city did a restoration during 2002.

The ceiling of the ferry building!
Lunch! sourdough with lox!
The fresh peppers! All the colors look so good!

For a quick sweet snack walking distance from Fisherman’s Warf is Ghirardelli’s square, where the famous chocolate. They have a serious of ice cream sundaes flavors, hot chocolate, and coffee. It is a great stop for a sweet treat. There is also the Palace of Fine Arts.

History note: It was built in 1915 for the world fair. It was demolished at the end of the exposition. It was so well loved, the city rebuilt it in 1969.

DAY 2

If you want to go to Alcatraz, you will have to book in advance! Tours sell out quickly. They do have night tours which are really cool to visit the “Rock” at night and listen to the guides about the prisoners that escaped. The tours will take you out on a ferry and to the Island where the prison stands. You will get great views of the golden gate; you will also see kiteboards, surfers, and sailors cross the bay. There is a great view from the ferry of the city!

Optional is to go to Angel Island ( will be a posted soon), there are cool hikes and biking trails. You can explore the old buildings.

Golden Gate Bridge

You can, drive, walk or bike over the bridge. Hopefully, you get a good sunny day. But even in the fog, it is nice to see the bridge peaking through the clouds.

Extra things to do: 

  • Haight and Ashbury, the corner of
  • Mission District Murals are a must see! The murals are colorful graffiti, all over the street as its own “gallery.” This movement started during the 1970s Chicano Art Mural Movement
  • Coit Tower is 210 foot (64m) ($6)
  • Whale watching to the Farallones. It is one of my favorite things to do.
  • Hike at Angel Island and learn the history of the bay.
  • Ride a ferry to Sausalito. Walk and have lunch around the small marina town.

View from the mission of the city!

Nightlife activities:

  • Exploratorium Thursday night cocktails “After the Dark” 6-10pm ($15)
  • De Young Friday night cocktails ($25)
  • Academy of Sciences Thursday night cocktails “Nightlife” 6-10pm ($15)

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5 days in Jamaica

Last year I went to Jamacia with my boyfriend. I was living in the Bahamas for a couple of years, but haven’t been able to explore other islands. It was a great little retreat. I don’t like touristy things, so I searched and searched for places to go on the island.

 

I decided I wanted to stay in Port Antonio.  I found this place Goblin Hill Villas.  This is the view from our villa. It was wonderful we had a woman that would come and make us fresh breakfast every morning and dinner every night. I was so good. We had great food made by a local!

The must-sees in Port Antonio area:

  • Blue Lagoon
  • Eat Jerk Chicken for Boston Bay
  • Walk through the town of Port Antonio
  • Have a  beach day at Frenchman’s Cove
  • Drive through the blue mountains and try Blue Mountain Coffee
  • Reach Falls
  • Listen to Ragaee in the streets on Antonio on Wednesday night

Optional:

  • Rio Grande ( its a longer rafting session than the blue lagoon)
  • Montego Bay
  • Ocho Rio

Day 1:

We woke up and enjoyed a great meal, made in our villa. Then we headed on the road. We went out to see the blue lagoon.

Blue Lagoon, which is an across the street from the Goblin Hill Villas.

Tony was our guide. It is about a 2-hour raft ride around an island and a deep lagoon. It is about $60, a little expensive but worth it to swim around and check out the beautiful water.

They call these the healing springs, its really cold, water where the fish eat the dead skin off your feet.

We then went to have local jerk chicken at the birthplace. In Boston Bay, there are a bunch of different restaurants to stop and try their jerk.

Day 2:

In downtown Port Antonio, walked around the old marina town, and got ice cream by the water. It is a busy town with people on the street selling goods. On Wednesday night, there is a large reggae concert in the street. Worth checking out.

Reach Falls is really cool and worth the drive you come up to a national park. This is a beautiful waterfall you can jump off the top. You can climb up the waterfall, and there is a cave that you can hang out in the waterfall. It is a little cold, but it’s nice on a hot day. Make sure you get there early before the crowds come. We got there right when they opened; we were the second car to get there.

Day 3:

Frenchman’s cove there is an entrance fee, but it is worth it! It is a beautiful beach.  I love beach days! Sometimes you just need some sun. Make sure you wear sunscreen. They serve food and drinks so you can stay there all day.

 

Day 4:

Famous Blue Mountain Coffee! We climbed up the mountain in our little car. On these narrow streets, David ( my boyfriend) hated it because he is scared of heights.  But you get a really great view and drive through these little towns on the side of the road. So Blue mountain coffee is one of the best coffees in the world. It has so farmed on the blue mountains between Port Antonio and Kingston.  You can go on a tour if you want. unfortunately the only day we had time was on Sunday to drive over the mountain.  We just went on the adventure by ourselves hoping to see some coffee. 

At the very top of the mountain. We stopped for a second to look out, and see if we took a wrong turn. This man came up to us and said do you want to try coffee. We said yes. We were a little confused and worried to follow this guy into his house. We walked in, there was a whole set up to show us how they make coffee, from the green and red beans to the roasted beans you see in the store. He offered us coffee, which was so storm and to show us the trees where the beans come from. It was so good. What a cool experience!

Day 5:

 We got to our last at Strawberry Inn Hotel. It was amazing. On Sundays they have a famous spa and brunch, so after our long day of driving we got spa treatments. We checked into our room. We had the a little villa on the side of the hill over looking Kingston. This hotel was a plantation, so there are some of the original buildings that they converted into a restaurant and lounge. The hotel was owned by the same guy who owned the island records, (Bob Marley was one of their artist). Each villa had a different theme. There was an outdoor shower where you could look up at the stars and Kingston. It was a beautiful.

Last night in Jamacia! 

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6 days on safari…. Lions, elephants, and cheetahs

What a classic thing to do in Africa. When I think of safari, I think of Ernest Hemmingway. I think of the men with big mustaches in an old land cruiser going on the hunt. It is nothing like that romantic idea. The classic safari includes Ngorongoro Crater, the Serengeti, and wildebeest crossing. We really wanted to go on safari before there are so many limitations and changes that will make it feel too commercial. I couldn’t pack any glamorous gear because I had to limit what I was going to bring on the mountain. It gets so dusty, so you need to be practical.

 

What to bring:
– Binoculars
– A good camera with a zoom lens
– Sunglasses
– Clothes you don’t mind getting dusty
– Running shoes
– A coat or fleece

It was really important that we got to see the migration and crossing of the wildebeest. Millions of wildebeest cross the river every day. Unfortunately, some get caught on the bank or get trampled if they aren’t fast enough. We flew from Arusha airport to Grumeti Reserve and Ikorongo. You will have to look up where the wildebeest will be during the time of year you decide to visit. The wildebeest move to different areas of the reserve. We arrived on a dirt runway. It was so cool; it reminded me of the what it was like in the 1920s.

The airport!

We got there climbed into our land cruiser that was waiting for us. Our guide named Freddy greeted us. There are so many different guide services but the one we decided to go with wanted us to fly to the north to see the migration. We finally got in the car and literally 5 minutes later we were at the river watching thousands of wildebeests cross the river. It was dusty and whirl of safari cars surrounding the river.

We hung out by the river and ate lunched and had the most incredible view of giraffes, zebras, wildebeest, and impalas in this lush landscape. It is truly unbelievable. We start driving to our camp. On the way, we saw ostriches, elephants, and giraffes. You have to stay in the park, so we stay at these glamping tents. It is nice to stay in a bed after sleeping on the ground when climbing Kilimanjaro. We stayed at the Olakira camp. It was nice to have a beer and a hot meal after driving around all day. We were covered in dirt from the dust of the roads.

Day 2: 

We woke up early to go look for lions. We drove around all day and we found no lions. It was such a bummer but we were able to see so many giraffe and zebras! I love the patterns of these animals, each one is a little different.

Did you know that the zebras also migrate with the wildebeest because the wildebeest can hear really well, but the zebras can see really well, so together they can avoid predators.

This is how we get hot water. We have to tell them to fill up this bucket and its hooked up to a shower.

After a long day, we headed back to camp and had a beer near the fire pit!

Fell asleep listening to the sounds of the animals in the bush.

Day 3:

We headed to the Seronera, another part of the reserve. This place was famous for lions. It was about a 2-hour drive on a dirt road.  Once we got there, we saw so many lions!!! The Lions got so close to the car!!!

In this area of the park, there were a lot more people. It was nice to be in the north you would only see a car every once in a while.  We wandered near a river, and there was a family of elephants!!!

I love elephants!!!

Day 4:

My brother and I out on plains

We made our way to the Serengeti. It is beautiful! It is probably the most popular areas to visit for safari. We saw so many leopards but it is so hard to see them in the trees. I don’t have a good photo of them to show you. But we got lucky and saw cheetahs!!

After another long day of dust and dirt, we made it back to a new camp. I was teasing my brother cause he picked a fancy place to stay! It was called Ole Safari.

It was so nice to have a nice bed and a great shower!

Day 5: 

We left the Seregenti to drive to the Ngorongoro Crater. It was a 3 hour drive to get to the top of the crater. The crater is known for lots of people and being really cold. We dropped into the crater. We saw ostriches and hippos, lots of zebras and wildebeest. We were looking for the black rhino, that is known for being in the crater. We didn’t get to see him on this trip.

No one can stay in the crater so we stayed on the outside rim at the Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge.

Day 6: 

We only have a half day for our last day. We wanted to quickly make one more stop before we get back on the airplane. We drove down to Lake Manyara.  We saw some amazing capebuffalo and so many birds.

We were about to drive out of the park and my favorite interaction. We saw a little baby elephant with his mom!

  

So cute! The little guy was so shy at first and was hiding, but after a while, he came out by the car and showed off for us. It was so cute!!

I hope you enjoyed reading about my trip this past summer!

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5 days to climb Kilimanjaro

Kilimanjaro was incredible. I was lucky enough to go on this trip with my brother. He is turning 50!! He always wanted to climb it and so did I! I really love going on adventures, so I jumped at the opportunity to go.

What you need to know:

  • You have to hike during the “dry season” July to October, or January to February.
  • You have to go through a company to climb the mountain. That is a huge income for the locals. They also carry your bags! You have to have a duffel bag. I used this duffel bag from Patagonia. I like it beacuse it is waterproof.
  • Take it seriously, altitude, and the cold!

Things extra things to bring:

We flew from SFO to Dubai (16 hours), then Dubai to Nairobi (7hours) then Nairobi to Kilimanjaro airport. Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa; it is in Tanzania on the east coast of Africa. The peak of the mountain is at 19,341 ft (5,895m). It was a volcano! We decided to go on the Machame Route because it is more challenging. It usually takes about 6-7 days.

Day 1:

My brother wanted to condense the trip to only 6-5 days, so we skipped the first day. Usually, hikers get there and sleep, shower and prep for the hike. We skipped that completely. We got off the airplane and changed in the bathrooms at a hotel. We repacked our bags so that we had our day pack and our duffel bag. My brother and I piled into the van, full of guides, chefs, and our porters. It is great that they require them, it makes a great source of employment for the Tanzanians. The van was so heavy with all our gear and all the people it seemed that it might not make it up the hill to the first camp. We stopped at all these places to get chicken, get meat, to get veggies, and even more people. We finally made it up to start gate. It is so beautiful! It was like a rainforest. So many flowers and moss on the trees. There are even monkeys! After 6 miles we made it to Machame Camp. It was starting to get dark and cold. We walked faster than our porters, so we made it before our tent and stuff. We waited in the cold until they got to the camp. The first night we had our dinner in our tent! It was great!

Machame Camp. Our first camp.

Day 2:

We woke up early and started our hike up the mountain! It was straight uphill for 4 miles. It was so cool we climbing over boulders. The trees were getting shorter. Getting to the alpine altitude. It was so crazy watching these porters carry these bags on their heads on the boulders. The Shira camp is at 12,500ft. It was the first time we could see the peak! It is amazing, so many people were there. It was like a tent city! You could see tents all around us. The bathrooms weren’t great. They smelled so badly.

Day 3:

So far our guides were letting hike at our own pace, but on the third day, they wanted us to slow down. The say “poli poli” which is Swahili for “slowly, slowly.” It was like the mantra for the whole climb. We have to acclimate to the altitude, so we headed to Lava tower at 15,100 ft! The guides want you to go slow, so you don’t get altitude sickness. So if you are worried about it, do go slowly. Lava Tower is this giant plug from another volcano. We had lunch on at the camp. There were almost no trees at this altitude. We then headed down to Barranco camp at 13,044 ft.

Day 4:

We woke up, and it was foggy! We couldn’t see anything. We got back on the trail! This first part was really cool cause we had to cross a river and walk up a cliff face. It was relatively easy, but the porters with all the bags on their heads. I was so impressed that they could make it up the route. We then climbed the 6 miles to Barafu camp, also known as “base camp.” We got there on the early side so we could get ready for the next day.

Day 5:

Peak day! I was a little nervous. We had to wake up at midnight to climb to the top! It was pitch black, no lights, except headlamps. It was so neat to look up the hill and see the headlights zigzag up the mountain. It was like walking straight uphill on a treadmill on the highest level, in a walking freezer, with a high-speed fan blowing cold air on you, in the pitch dark. All you can see is your feet and the stars. We are hiking uphill for 6 hours!! We made it to the top head of the sunrise. We had to wait until the sunrise. It was so cold! My hair froze! We finally got a photo at the sign and watched the sun come up. It was unbelievable, I have never seen the sun come up below where I am. Usually, I’m at least eye level with the sun. We also got to see the glacier!

We then started to head down with the sun out. It was beautiful and hot! I was stripping all my layers! It was straight downhill on the sand. It was killing my knees; it was like skiing down the hill. We made it back to Barafu camp around 8 am and went straight to bed. We had to get up at 9 am to have “lunch” and start hiking back down the hill. Our guides wanted to make it home. So we aimed to get down to the main gate, but our legs were starting to hurt. We barely made it to Mweka camp 10,065 ft. But it was only 1 pm, so we decided to keep going to Mweka Gate 5,330 ft. It was so long! We were so tired! And we couldn’t move our legs, but we made to the bottom!

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USA Roadtrip 1

I have driven across the country twice so far. I love it. It was one of the best trips I have ever made. It was so much fun to see all those parts of the USA. My first time, I started in San Francisco at home and drove across to Tallahassee where I go to graduate school. My Aunt decided to go with me. It was so much fun to go this adventure with her. We saw and did some amazing things. We also made some mistakes, so I will let you know things to avoid as well.

Day 1: I will tell you about best places in San Francisco and Tahoe soon. In much more detail.

Day 2: We drove down the east side of the Sierras to Las Vegas. It was so neat going through small old mining towns. We even got to see area 51, where the aliens are! It is in a very remote area; you can’t drive in, but there are areas nearby that have fun tourist things to do.

The Sierra Nevadas driving through Nevada.
Area 51!
I’m one of the Aliens.

We reached Vegas. We really didn’t have interest in exploring Vegas that much. I figured that I would probably go back one day for a bachelorette party. I really wanted to see the more natural landmarks.

Cruising the strip.

I have never seen the Hoover dam before. The dame was so big and amazing. What an incredible feat of engineering.

Crossing the border to Arizona
Hoover dam!

From there it is an easy drive to the south rim of the Grand Canyon. This is where you can walk out on the skywalk over the Grand Canyon. It is supposed to be stunning. But when we went they don’t let anyone go when there are thunderstorms and rain. So it is best to go early in the morning during the summer because there are thunderstorms every afternoon. Learn more here.

Getting caught in the rain and not being able to go on the skywalk.

The little lodge we stayed at. Right at the edge of the Grand Canyon!

Day 3: We kept driving to Page, a small town outside of Horseshoe Bend. There is a couple of great places to stay around there. We stayed at a small motel at the edge of the Grand Canyon. It was kind of simple place to stay, but it was all I needed.We woke up early at 6 am to watch the sun rise over the mountains and canyon. Horseshoe bend is so beautiful. It a short walk from the road. After horseshoe bend, we head into Page to grab breakfast and get in line for antelope canyon.

Waking up at 6 am to watch the sunrise over horseshoe bend.
Looking out into the river below at horseshoe bend.

 

Antelope Canyon is part of a Navajo land; you need a tour to access the canyon.  You can reserve tours online before. The best time to go is during the summer; there is flash flooding in the area. If you are trying to get those amazing orange photos of the canyons go around noon. Here is a link to the tours.

At Antelope Canyon, check out the colors!

 

It was only noon when we finished antelope canyon and horseshoe bend. So we got back on the road and headed towards Santa Fe. We even drove through Monument Valley. It is beautiful and fascinating.

It is a beautiful desert with these jetting out mountains in red rock. It is an unbelievable view.

As we pass through small ranch towns and desert we come across four corners. The only place in the USA where you can stand in 4 states at once.

We made it to Santa Fe. It was beautiful at night. Golden light and deep blue sky. I love Santa Fe. The dry warm heat radiating off the streets. We went to this incredible place for breakfast, Cafe Pasquals. It is true good New Mexican food; Mexican with organic and local food.

Next state is one of the largest. TEXAS! It felt like it would last forever. It is a long state to drive across. There were hundreds of sunflower fields so we stopped on the side of the road to look at them.

Day 4: We were aiming to get to Austin. The foothills of Texas are beautiful. There is a place called Hamilton Pool. When we went you just had to wait in line and get a ticket. Now you have to make a reservation ahead of time.

Hamilton Pool
Hamilton pool

Unfortunately, we weren’t able to go swimming, the park tests the water to make sure it is ok to swim. We had another long drive to New Orleans!

Day 5:

First, stop beignets!!!! Famous Cafe Du Monde. Their chicory coffee and powdered sugar beignets. Make sure you wear white, cause the sugar can get everywhere!

I love New Orleans! Make sure you stop by Frenchman’s Street at night to listen to the latest Jazz. We got to hear some great tunes on the street corner. It is always fun to see the characters down Bourbon Street.

Day 6: Now, the 6 hour drive through the gulf coast to Tallahassee!

We made it!!

Comment if you have any questions!

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