With rugged terrain, incredible landscapes, and some of the friendliest people on the planet, Greece is one of my all-time favorite travel destinations.
Oh, and the food…
Oh. My. GAWD. The FOOD!
It’s absolutely delicious! [Read more…]
Spring fever is over and summer is almost here. That means many people are anxiously anticipating their summer vacation. In fact, most have already finished the planning process and are just waiting to head off. Haven’t planned anything yet? Check out the these fantastic last-minute summer destinations and see if any of them grab your attention. [Read more…]
With so many things to do in St. Maarten – St. Martin, it’s hard to decide how to best spend your time there. That’s especially true if you’re just passing through on a cruise. Never fear! We’ve got you covered. Here’s our list of the 12 best things to do in St. Maarten!
We fell in love with this tiny Caribbean island after visiting for the first time in 2015. St. Martin Island covers only about 34 square miles (88 square kilometers), measuring just 9.8 miles wide at its largest point. The island is divided politically into a north and south half, with the north side belonging to the French (Saint Martin) and the south belonging to the Dutch (Sint Maarten). While you can use U.S. dollars or Euros on the Dutch side, businesses on the French typically prefer Euros.
St. Martin Island is easily one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. The island is covered in lush, tropical mountains. The beaches are pristine. Best of all, the people are welcoming. According to one of our taxi drivers, St. Maarten – St. Martin has yet to become very commercialized. Unlike some other Caribbean destinations, the people of the island own the vast majority of the businesses there – meaning they really want you to enjoy their island (and spend your money doing so). As somebody who loves supporting local businesses, I’m totally down with that!
If you’re planning a trip to the island, you’ll quickly discover that there are a ton of things to do in St. Maarten – St. Martin. Whether you’re just stopping by on a cruise or spending the entire week, be sure to check out some of the places listed below!
If you do nothing else in St. Maarten, you absolutely must check out Maho Beach. There is no place else like it! The beach actually backs right up to the St. Maarten airport runway – which means that gigantic airplanes fly right over your head all day long. You can even stand behind a 747 and get totally blasted by its jets as it takes off. Seriously, it’s incredible. (I wish I had some video of me standing behind the KLM 747, but my camera woman couldn’t take it and took off running. I made it though!) When we were there, we stayed at the Sonesta Ocean Point / Sonesta Maho Beach Resort and enjoyed watching the planes land and take off all day long. Here are a couple of pictures for you!
Pinel Island is a tiny little island located right off of Orient Bay on St. Martin’s French side. Take the shuttle from Orient Beach or visit while on a boat tour. The island is inhabited by some friendly iguanas, and there are also a couple of small shops. There’s even a cool little restaurant called Le Karibuni located right on the beach. Grab a drink and belly up to one of the tables on land or in the water!
One of the most famous beaches in the world, Orient Beach is also the busiest beach on St. Martin Island. Located on the French side, the beach is lined with orange umbrellas and happy beachgoers. If you’re feeling adventurous, there is also a nude optional section for you to enjoy.
Spending the afternoon at this secluded little beach is a great time for singles, couples, and families alike. We spent several hours there, sitting in our beach chairs and enjoying the views. We even did some snorkeling in the bay. There are a couple of small restaurants selling beach fare and drinks. A couple of times a day, a few cruise excursions make their way here. The beach is definitely big enough to accommodate everybody. However, when the cruisers depart, you can practically have the beach to yourself.
If you’re into adventure travel, make sure to try the zipline at Pic du Paradis, St. Martin’s highest mountain. Located above the Loterie Farm, you can hike up the mountain or take a taxi. Either way, you’ll experience some incredible views from high above the island.
Philipsburg is the capital of the Dutch side and a favorite port for many of the world’s top cruise lines. If you’re staying on the island or just visiting for the day, be sure to take a stroll down the boardwalk along Great Bay. It’s a lively area, complete with shops, restaurants, and plenty of people watching. When you’re done, pull up a chair and enjoy the beautiful beach along the bay. Cruisers can’t even get lost; just get off the boat, and you’re there.
If you want a fun and cheap St. Maarten dining experience, head to Grand Case and chow down at a lolo. These small barbeque-style restaurants will fill your belly full of delicious food for less than $15 a person. Be sure to try a the Johnny Cakes and crab backs as well. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
One of things to do in St. Maarten – St. Martin is renting a car. That way, you can see the whole island at your own pace. St. Martin is small enough that you can easily drive a car around without getting lost. Because the island is mountainous, some of the terrain is a bit steep. Just take it slow around the curves/cliffs and enjoy some great views of the island from your own rental car.
Driving a car seem a little much for you? Try taking a minibus instead. One of the coolest things about St. Martin Island is that you can get almost anywhere by group taxi. Fares are set prices and they run just a couple of bucks. Simply head to one of the “bus stops” and raise your hand when a bus is coming near.
When you’re in the Maho Beach or Mullet Bay area, be sure to visit Cheri’s Cafe. Located just a few blocks north of the SXM runway and a few blocks east of Mullet Bay, this family owned restaurant is an absolute hoot! The food here is very good and the atmosphere is even better. Sit at the bar and enjoy the live entertainment playing each night. Make sure to get your picture taken by the owner and head over to their Facebook page to like it!
After dinner, head next door to Casino Royale. This Caribbean casino is larger than most, and has plenty of games for any taste. My wife spent some time playing Hold’em in the poker room while I hit the blackjack and craps tables. The nice thing is that it’s large enough so it never feels crowded. Of course, it’s always more fun when you win!
One of my favorite days in St. Martin was spent on Captain Alan’s 3-Island Snorkeling Tour. The tour leaves from Oyster Pond Marina and lasts about 4 hours. You’ll get to experience both Pinel Island and Tintamarre Island, as well as enjoy a boat ride along the beautiful St. Martin coast. You’ll snorkel a reef, swim with sea turtles, and enjoy a nice lunch. The hospitality is awesome, and I highly recommend this tour!
With so many things to do in St. Maarten – St. Martin, you are sure to enjoy your time on the island. Whether you’re traveling alone or with your family, St. Maarten is a great place to visit. We love it there and think you will too!
With hundreds of things to do in Montego Bay, the city is a perfect spot for your next beach vacation! MoBay – as it is affectionately called – is located on the island’s northwestern coast and is home to some of Jamaica’s most beautiful beaches. With one of the busiest airports in the Caribbean, Montego Bay also acts as a gateway to the country’s most popular tourist destinations.
Personally, I love traveling to Jamaica and am bringing my family back there this spring. The people are friendly, the beaches are perfect, and my kids can drink the water without having to worry about getting sick. With so many things to do in Montego Bay, and just a 15 minute drive to the airport, it’s the perfect destination for our Jamaican vacation!
Whether you’re traveling alone or with kids, you’ll find all kinds of things to do in Montego Bay. Here’s a list of some of our favorite MoBay attractions!
Perched over the ocean, this historic building once served as the plantation home to cruel slave master Annie Palmer. Known as the “White Witch of Rose Hall,” rumor has it that she used black magic to off multiple husbands and countless slaves. According to some, her ghost still roams the Great House hallways today. Whether you believe the stories or not, the night tour of the house is a freaky blast! Plus, you’ll be treated to gorgeous ocean views and – on a clear night – some of the most beautiful starlit skies you’ll ever see. Located about a 20-minute drive from Montego Bay, this place is one stop you can’t miss!
Hop on a bamboo raft and let a river guide escort you 3 miles down the serene Martha Brae River. These knowledgeable Jamaican “gondoliers” are happy to teach you about the area’s tropical plants and animals. (They may even help you grab a fruit snack off one of the trees.) Enjoy your leisurely one-hour float, or get adventurous and jump off the rope swing at the end of your journey. The tour costs about $60 USD and also includes a visit to a medicinal herb garden and round-trip transportation to your hotel.
Travelers seeking a taste of “real” Jamaica should head to the mountains for a stop at Croydon Plantation. The property itself is beautiful, but the views aren’t the only thing you’ll enjoy. While you’re there, you’ll get to sample some of the plantation’s best fruits, complete with a yummy lunch when you’re done.
Looking for more local flavor? Try the Hip Strip. Located on Gloucester Avenue, walking this lively strip is one of the most popular things to do in Montego Bay. Here you’ll enjoy local art galleries and lively shop owners, all in a friendly and safe environment. Grab a drink or a bite to eat at one of the restaurants on the strip. Situated next to Doctor’s Cave Beach, this tourist attraction isn’t hard to find.
You came to Jamaica for the beaches, right? Then, don’t forget to hit the sand at Doctor’s Cave Beach! Powder-like sand and warm blue waters make visiting this beach one of the most popular things to do in Montego Bay. Bring a towel, pitch a tent, and relax in the sun’s warm rays. Or, rent some snorkel gear and enjoy some of the area’s best underwater sights. Entrance to the beach costs about $6 USD. You’ll also find some adult beverages there for just a few bucks.
Montego Bay remains one of the most popular Caribbean travel destinations for a reason. The area’s natural beauty, mixed with the welcoming spirit of the Jamaican people, make it a place worth visiting. And, with so many things to do in Montego Bay, what’s not to like? Happy traveling!
Royal palace? Check. Former prison? Check. Site of execution for TWO English queens? Check, check, and check!
The Tower of London is one of the most fascinating places in the history of the world. Built during the Norman Conquest, this historic castle has been served as a home to kings and queens, a jail for high-profile prisoners, and as the Royal Mint. It is also the current home of the Crown Jewels. Situated in Central London, the Tower of London is one attraction you can’t miss. Let’s dig in, shall we? [Read more…]
One of my favorite things about Rome, and Italy in general, are the lovely city squares which are called “piazzas.” Seriously, every town has at least one, and the bigger cities often have several. It seems that each narrow, character filled alleyway winds its way into a lively open living room, a meeting place for locals and tourists alike. Typically filled with beautiful fountains built in front of incredible churches, Rome’s piazzas are a feast for the senses. It’s like Christmas Day for first time travelers, with a new gift to unwrap around each corner.
And so it is with Piazza Navona. This large piazza sits in the heart of Central Rome, serving as a gathering place for local revelers and hungry tourists alike. Known for its oval shape and ornate fountains, here you can watch offbeat street artists creating works of art while enjoying some of the city’s best gelato. So, let’s dig in and and find out what makes Piazza Navona so special, shall we? [Read more…]
When you think of Greece, what comes to mind? Likely not the comforting ache of muscles that have worked hard to take you up and down the little streets that waltz up and down and back and forth across the hillsides. No.
You probably think of glimmering, pure white buildings, reflecting the bright sun to a point of blinding, generously sprinkled by the hundreds along the cliff-like coast. The coast, where the brilliant blue water stretches away from the red and green cliffs, providing a home for sailboats and ships of all colors.
That is Santorini, Greece. [Read more…]
When you think of the Bahamas, the first thing that comes to mind is beautiful beaches and crystal blue water. As the capital and largest city of this island nation, Nassau is the place to be. Located on the island of New Providence, the city is a popular spot for cruise ships to dock. And with tourists all about, there are plenty of things to see in this bustling beach town. Here are 6 of our favorite things to do in Nassau, Bahamas. [Read more…]
The Christ the Redeemer statue is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the world. Standing high atop Mt. Corcovado, this 98 foot tall statue of Jesus watches over and protects the people of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. With his arms open wide, it also stands as a symbol of Rio’s warm hospitality, welcoming visitors from all over the world.[Read more…]