The Natural Wonders of Capri

The Island of Capri is one of the most visited islands in the Bay of Naples. From the siren landscape, crystal blue waters, and unique charm, no wonder Capri continues to seduce thousands of visitors a day.

Last September, I was seduced by Capri’s charm. And let’s face it, its not very hard to do. The second that you pull into the Marina Grande, you are taken back by the gorgeous landscape. From the lush mountain views, some of the coolest rock formations, and the crystal blue waters.

Since we only had a few short hours to explore Capri, we felt like the best option would be to take a boat ride around the island (Hint: There are several companies located at Marina Grande with several different options). Before our trip we were set on renting a private boat, but unfortunately we arrived later then planned. So we settled on a tour company. The tour company was called Motoscafisticapri Capri. This boat company is located in the Marina Grande and one of the first things you come across. We opted for the Island Tour without the Blue Grotto.

Yes I know, I went all the way to Capri and did NOT go into the Blue Grotto. I am sure it is lovely, but I also think it is kind of a tourist trap. The wait to get into the grotto was long, and I didn’t want to waste my time getting into the grotto when there is a whole island to see.

As you can see, our 2 hour boat road hit all of the breathtaking sights that Capri has to offer. So I am ok with my decision not to see the blue grotto.

After our boat ride, we headed up to Capri Town. Capri Town can be reached by the famous funicular (located at the pier). Capri Town is everything that you can imagine. Not only do you get breathtaking views of the Bay of Naples and Capri itself, but you are immersed with the white-on-white Capriote architecture, flower-filled window boxes and stylish boutiques. These sights are definitely spectacular.

Overlooking Capri from Capri Town

Overlooking Capri from Capri Town

Overall, I enjoyed my time in Capri. I do wish I had more time to explore. I wanted to really immerse myself in the island. There are so many sights to see that it is impossible to fit everything in in just one day. So if you have time to spare, I suggest spending a couple days on the Island of Capri.

And for all the hikers out there, this is a hikers paradise! There are so many hiking trails that reveal some stunning sights. Sights that can only be seen through hiking. I am not an avid hiker, but I am down to try everything once.

Since there is so much to see that I was unable to see in my one afternoon, I am putting Capri back on my Bucket List. I want to return to explore. Next time, I’m going to enjoy some hiking, see Anacapri, walk down Via Krupp, and spend some time at Marina Piccola.

So basically, yes I would MOST DEFINITELY go back to Capri. If you are every in the Bay of Naples or the Amalfi Coast, take a day trip. You will not be disappointed!

Stay Tuned and Safe Travels,

Kayla

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Naples: Home of the Pizza Pie

When I think of Naples, I think of this bustling, old-world Italian city. I think of old Italian women making fresh pasta, clothes lined alleys, and men playing cards in the Piazzas. I expected to get off the train and be taken back into time. I expected to feel like I was a legit Italian.

But I did not get that first impression. The second I stepped of the train, we were met with a large amount of immigrants who were begging for money, large piles of trash just thrown around, and graffiti. It was as if, there was no pride. Like no one cared about their history and city. And to me that’s just a shame.

I just never expected the tour books and my friends to be right. From what I was told and read, I knew that this is what I was going to see. And I was told that I would not be instantly charmed by Naples, but honestly after spending a week in Naples, I must say, I wasn’t charmed at all. And coming from a person who has traveled to many different countries and cities, that is sad. It’s sad because I fall in love with every city. I find something to love everywhere I have been.

So let’s start from the beginning. Let me tell you exactly why I didn’t fall in love with Naples.

On September 8th, 2014, I boarded a train from Rome to Naples, in the hopes to explore the Amalfi Coast. While doing research, it was the most logical choice to stay in Naples. Not only was the accommodations affordable, but it was the perfect stepping stone to see everything we wanted to see. But if I am being honest, I wish we stayed elsewhere.

It comes down to the fact that I just didn’t feel safe. As a young woman traveling, it is important to feel safe. Because let’s face it, anything can happen while traveling abroad. And I just didn’t get a good vibe from Naples. Maybe it was the large amount of immigrants. Or maybe it was the cattle calling that was being performed when you walk down the street. Or maybe it was the fact that when you walked down the street, you see people trying to sell other people’s stolen goods… right out of the stolen suitcase! Yes this all happened. I saw it with my own two eyes. And this is why I didn’t feel safe. The amount of crime that is in the city is sad. And it does not make tourists want to visit the city.

So with that being said, if you can look past the crime, grime and graffiti you can uncover an unlikely masterpiece. But you have to be willing to brave the streets.

Since we were in Naples, I felt like it was my duty to explore and attempt to love this city. The only area that I felt safe in is the area by Piazza Plebiscito. This area was lively, by the bay, and filled with tourists.

Castel Nuovo

Castel Nuovo

Our first stop was Castel Nuovo. Known to the locals as Maschio Angiono. Once used for military purposes due to its location to the Bay of Naples, it is now used by the government. Castel Nuovo is visited by tourists daily. From it’s looming stonework, to the white four-tier triumphal entrance arch, you can just imagine the Renaissance soldiers sporting the latest military fashion while protecting the people of Naples. This is definitely an amazing piece of architecture that you need to check out. Unfortunately we were unable to go in because a private event was being held that that night.

Me in front of Castel Nuovo

Me in front of Castel Nuovo

After walking around Castel Nuovo for a bit, it began to rain. So naturally we were in search for some shelter. And to our pleasant surprise, we ended up in the elegant Galleria Umberto I. This galleria was built in 1887-1890 and is the ancestor of the shopping mall. The floors are made of marble and the ceiling is a dome of intricate glass.

S. Francesco di Paola

S. Francesco di Paola

Once the rain had stopped, our next stop was Piazza Plebiscito. Within this piazza is San Francesco di Paola. This building is modeled after the Pantheon in Rome, as you can see by the circular, domed basilica. I can imagine that this piazza was once a crowded sight. Now the structure sits crumbling, covered in graffiti and immigrant children playing soccer. And it’s a shame because this building is so cool. I love the resemblance of the Pantheon. I love the grandiose nature of it. And the fact that it sits crumbling is such a shame. Coming from America where everything is relatively knew, I find it disappointing that a city allows such a historic building to fall in the cracks. I also find it disappointing that the people of Naples don’t take more pride in their city and history. It just makes me sad.

So that is all the exploring that we did during our time in Naples. I hope this blog post does not discourage anyone from visiting Naples. It is definitely a city that needs revitalization. It can be such a hidden gem.

I struggled to write this post because I don’t like to be negative about anything but I truly just did not enjoy myself while in Naples. Which is a shame. Would I go back? Probably not. I just didn’t have a connection with the city during my time there. I just feel like I have many different destinations that are on my bucket list before I start to think about my return.

My word of advice, if traveling in Naples, pick a safe area. Always watch your back (words from my father). Be vigilant. But enjoy yourself. I mean sure that there is a lot of beautiful sights that I didn’t get to see or experience. And I am sure there are some people who are going to disagree with me on this post and thats ok. As travelers, we all connect to different places in different ways. My favorite city may have given you the wrong vibe. And thats ok. Until next time…

Stay Tuned and Safe Travels,

Kayla

You know what they say… ROME wasn’t built in a day!

Rome. Roma. The Eternal City. The City of the Seven Hills.

Whatever you want to call it, Rome exudes this sense of irresistible charm that will inspire an ongoing love affair. My love affair with Rome started in July of 2013.

This epic Italian adventure started off as an off the wall idea which turned into a 2 week cross country, non-stop girls trip. Our first stop… Rome!

Throwing a coin in the Trevi Fountain to secure my return to Rome

Throwing a coin in the Trevi Fountain to secure my return to Rome

Rome has everything that you could imagine. This thriving metropolis takes you back in time.

With ruins scattered throughout the city. Amazing, jaw-dropping sights. The smell of pasta in the air. How could you not fall in love with Rome? Well for me, it was instantaneous. I knew from the second I stepped off the plane, I needed to return. In order to secure my return back to Rome, the first stop was the Trevi Fountain. Rumor has it if you stand with your back towards the fountain and toss a coin over your left shoulder using your right hand, you will return to The Eternal City. A newer rumor includes three coins. This new rumor states if you throw one coin, you will return to Rome, the second coin leads to a new romance, and the third coin leads to marriage. Whether you are a believer or not, when in Rome, be a tourist and throw a coin in the fountain!

After the Trevi Fountain we moved to the Pantheon. The Pantheon is one of the most well preserved and most elegant building in the city. And if you have ever seen it in person then you know why. We were in such awe that we had to see the Pantheon more than once!

Next on the list: a sun-drenched day at the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill. How much more Roman can you get then spending the day at some of the most famous ruins in the world? The Colosseum never fails to impress. The second we got off the metro, the sight is so incredible you need to just step back and take it all in. After a few moments, I needed to pick my jaw up off the floor. Yes it is that amazing. And to think of all the history that the Colosseum holds. Beneath my feet, thousands of years ago, this Flavian amphitheater functioned as a theater of slaughter. I just can’t believe that I was able to experience this magnificent piece of architecture, that some how is still standing! Afterwards we walked through the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill (Tip: The admission into both of these are free with the purchase of a ticket to the Colosseum!).

Inside the Colosseum

Inside the Colosseum

Taking in the history of the Colosseum

Taking in the history of the Colosseum

The Colosseum

The Colosseum

Roman Forum

Roman Forum

On Sunday, it was humid and the sun was shining so why not hit the beach! We did some research and after a short train ride, we were in Ladispoli. This cute little beach town was just as you can imagine. Beach clubs lined the sand with umbrellas and sun chairs. The sand was black. The water was warm. Definitely the perfect lazy sunday in Italy.

On Monday, we decided it was time to visit the Vatican. We thought maybe Monday wouldn’t be so crowded, but of course we were wrong. We were in Italy during the middle of summer. Of course it was busy. But we were smart. We bought our tickets ahead of time so we were able to skip the line. But this wasn’t exactly skipping the line since we still waited in line! From that moment, we kind of had a clue that this was going to be a disastrous day.

Our main goal was to see the Sistine Chapel, but little did we know that once we saw it, we would be escorted out of the Vatican! Yep thats right, we spent money to see the Vatican and we didn’t even get to see the Vatican! We were so upset. Being young travelers on a budget, this did not settle well with us, but at this point we couldn’t do much about it. So instead of bitching, we just carried on.

Onwards to St. Peter’s Basilica. St. Peter’s Basilica is truly amazing. From the detail of the architecture, to the carefully painted frescos, this is definitely a sight not to miss. Entrance into the Basilica is free if you are willing to wait in a long line, but honestly, how do you not go to Rome and not visit this marble and gold covered masterpiece?

Inside St. Peter's Basilica

Inside St. Peter’s Basilica

Inside St. Peter's Basilica

Inside St. Peter’s Basilica

Inside St. Peter's Basilica

Inside St. Peter’s Basilica

In front of St. Peter's Basilica

In front of St. Peter’s Basilica

Next stop: Castel Sant’ Angelo and Piazza Navona

Castel Sant’Angelo has quite an interesting past. It was first used as a mausoleum, then turned into a fortress for the popes, and then lastly turned into a prison. Now it stands along the Tiber River where it is frequented by tourists.

Ponte Sant'Angelo

Ponte Sant’Angelo

Castel Sant'Angelo

Castel Sant’Angelo

As you can see, Rome has so much to see and do. Not only is it filled with interesting history, but has many beautiful piazzas, museums filled with some of the most famous works of art, monuments throughout the city and some of the most knockout postcard panoramas. So yes, it is easy to fall in love with this city. In fact, my love affair was so strong that I decided to return quickly after I came home. A year later, I was back exploring more of the unknown and falling even more in love.

Hope this little insight has ignited a spark within and you decide to add Rome to your bucket list, but let me tell you, you won’t be disappointed!

Stay Tuned and Safe Travels,

Kayla

What Happens in NOLA, Stays in NOLA… Unless a Camera is Involved!

Peace out Detroit... We're NOLA bound!

Peace out Detroit… We’re NOLA bound!

After months of planning, our girls trip has finally arrived! As nurses, we worked long hours and constantly put other people’s well-being before our own, but not today. Today we put us first and we decided NOLA was the perfect getaway!

I’m sure most people are like why NOLA? Why not Vegas. Well, I have never been to Vegas (I know shocker!), but NOLA offers so much more. And I wanted to do more then just party and gamble (don’t worry we did party, I mean there is Bourbon Street!).

We stayed at the W French Quarter. The only perk of this hotel was the fact that it was 2 blocks away from Bourbon Street. So you are close enough to the fun without being right in the middle of it. But that’s about all. I must say, I was kind of disappointed in the service. There was very few amenities. The pool was small and disgusting. And basically, I just felt like it was overpriced for what you got. I will definitely stay elsewhere when I go back. But this post is not about our accommodations.

Jackson Square

Jackson Square

We had such a blast in NOLA. This was not my first time in NOLA so I knew what to expect but it was the first time for my friends. So naturally I showed them around, we ate at some really amazing restaurants, partied a little too hard on Bourbon street, met some really cool people, and took a tour to the swamp and a plantation. Overall, this was a great weekend getaway that we all needed and deserved. In fact, writing this blog post is making me long to go back. So who is down to go back for Mardi Gras?

Walking the streets of the French Quarter

Walking the streets of the French Quarter

Swamp Tour

Swamp Tour

Plantation Tour

Plantation Tour

Walking around the Lafayette Cemetery No. 1

Walking around the Lafayette Cemetery No. 1

Lafayette Cemetery No. 1

Lafayette Cemetery No. 1

Lafayette Cemetery No. 1

Lafayette Cemetery No. 1

So basically, if you have not been to New Orleans, I suggest that you go. There is so much to see and do. In fact, this has become one of my favorite cities in the world. I love the culture, people, food and atmosphere. It is definitely the type of city that can not be recreated. It’s one of a kind. Definitely a city that you have to see at least once.

Stay Tuned and Safe Travels,

Kayla

Plantation Life: Destrehan Plantation

As you pull up to the Destrehan Plantation, you see this large southern style house with spanish moss (which come to find out is NOT actually spanish moss) covered trees with really awesome branches and all you can think is, I am in the south! The sights and sounds bring you back in time. It’s as if time has stood still and you are back in the 1700-1800’s living the plantation life. There is so much history in the south and this is exactly what we wanted when we booked a plantation tour. We wanted to be able to step back in time and see what America was like during a time where a clear division of social classes existed, slaves worked endlessly for the rich, and when life was simple.

So just as a warning… a little history lesson on the Destrehan Plantation is below with some really cool pictures!

In front of the Destrehan Plantation

In front of the Destrehan Plantation

In the south, Plantations were common in the 1700-1800’s. Plantations were owned by the wealthy and there was a clear division between social classes. The wealthy owned slaves and often hired free people of color to work for them. These slaves worked tirelessly to produce the product that each plantation was known for and were given certain tasks to complete around the plantation.

Since New Orleans is in the south, and the south is known for their plantation history, we knew this was something we wanted to do. There are many different plantations within an hour outside of the city and many tour companies provide transportation to these plantations. We booked a Plantation/Swamp Tour with the Gray Line Tour Company. Through this tour, we had a stop at the Destrehan Plantation.

The Destrehan Plantation was established in 1787, and is the oldest documented plantation is the Lower Mississippi Valley. Throughout the years, the plantation has changed it’s style. It was originally an antebellum mansion with a Creole colonial style but was later modified to the Greek Revival style (which is the style seen in the photos of the plantation).

Destrehan Plantation was once the largest producer of Indigo

Destrehan Plantation was once the largest producer of Indigo

So what was the Destrehan Plantation known for? The plantation originally produced indigo. Indigo is a plant that produces a natural blue dye that is associated with the blue of jeans. Unfortunately, the Caribbean became the largest producer of indigo due to the their climate and their ability to produce 2 crops of indigo a year over the 1 crop that the Destrehan Plantation produced. In order to keep the plantation running, the Destrehan’s discovered sugar cane.

Replica of the homes slaves used to live in

Replica of the homes slaves used to live in

In addition to being known for their production of the sugar cane, the Destrehan Plantation was the location of the famous 1811 Slave Revolt. During this revolt, the slaves revolted against the plantation owners in order to fight for their freedom. Approximately 200-500 slaves were involved in this revolt. During this time, several plantations, sugarhouses and crops were burned down. This revolt only last 2 days, and a trial was held. But this created some hope for the slaves because they were able to work outside of the plantation to save money where they could buy their freedom.

Another really cool fact about this plantation is it was frequently visited by the famous pirate Jean Lafitte. This fueled the rumors that maybe he hid his fortune within the plantation. This brought fortune seekers from all around looking for the treasure. They ripped the plantation apart but thanks to the River Road Historical Society, the Destrehan Plantation has be restored back to it’s natural glory.

Spanish Moss covered trees

Spanish Moss covered trees

View of the Destrehan Plantation from the back

View of the Destrehan Plantation from the back

So I’m sure you are wondering if the tour was worth it. I would say yes, but I’m the type of traveler who enjoys immersing themselves in the local culture and history. I love to learn about new things and see where they came from. Knowing the history of an area allows you to see how they have become what they are today. It was definitely a really cool and informative tour.

So all in all, when in the south, definitely visit a plantation. You won’t be disappointed.

Stay Tuned and Safe Travels,

Kayla

It’s Gator Time: Swamp Tour in NOLA

New Orleans is a city that is surrounded by swamp land. Not only are the swamps beautiful, they are full of wildlife. My return to New Orleans included a fun-filled weekend with things I was unable to do the last time I was there.

The first thing on the list… a swamp tour! There are many different companies that offer  swamp tours but we decided to book the swamp tour through Gray Line New Orleans. The Gray Line tour company has many different kiosks throughout the city of New Orleans and is a great company if you need transportation to and from the city.

We knew we wanted to go see the swamps as well as see a plantation, so we settled on The Plantation/Swamp Tour. This tour included a stop at the Destrehan Plantation (blog post to come) and a Swamp Tour operated by Cajun Pride Swamp Tours.

It's Gator Time! If I do not return, blame it on the gators!

It’s Gator Time! If I do not return, blame it on the gators!

So let’s discuss the swamps! Cajun Pride is a privately owned wildlife refuge that is approximately 25 miles outside the city. This company is devoted on preserving the cajun culture while providing tourist with knowledge in regards to the swamp wildlife and lifestyle. The captains who operate the boats are all locals who grew up in the Bayou!

Our Captain was Brandon. Brandon was born and raised in Louisiana. He is extremely knowledgable when it comes to the wildlife distinctive to the swamp and was super funny! Not only does he make the tour interactive, you can tell he truly loves his job and the gators! We all loved his passion and would definitely recommend him as your Captain. So if you decide to go on a swamp tour, choose Cajun Pride and ask for Brandon!

Aboard the boat... ready to feed the gators!

Aboard the boat… ready to feed the gators!

So basically the swamp tour was approximately 1 1/2-2 hours. Once we boarded the boat, we began our journey through the Manchac Swamp. Like I said before, this swamp is privately owned by Cajun Pride, therefore all the wildlife is protected.

Can you spot the alligator?

Can you spot the alligator?

We saw so many different types of wildlife from raccoons, birds, and of course alligators. Since it was extremely hot the day of our excursion (heat index well in the 100s), the gators were trying to stay cool, but eventually their hunger took over.

Our Captain Brandon engaged with the alligators and showed us some of his favorite gators in the swamp. It was cool to see how he has built a bond with the alligators and was able to get them to jump out of the water. It was so cool to see! In addition to the alligators in the swamp, Brandon allowed us to hold some baby gators! This was definitely one of the highlights of the swamp tour. The baby gator was so adorable.

Hanging out with a baby gator!

Hanging out with a baby gator!

Feeding the gators!

Feeding the gators!

So would I recommend the swamp tour? Absolutely! I think this is an absolute must while in New Orleans. Swamp land is not all over the US and it is distinctive to Louisiana. Not only do you get a brief history lesson on the Cajun lifestyle, but you also get to see wildlife that is particular to the swamp. I had an amazing time and would definitely go again!

StayTuned and Safe Travels,

Kayla

My Travel Tubes TSA Approved 3-1-1 Toiletry Bag

According to TSA each traveler can only have 1 quart-size clear plastic bag containing liquids or gels that are 3.4 oz or smaller. For anyone who has traveled, I am sure you know that this can be quite the feat, especially for all my girls out there. Because let’s face it, girls need their face, hair and make-up items.

All of my essential carry on liquids in a quart size zip lock bag

All of my essential carry on liquids in a quart size zip lock bag

Not only is it hard to find travel size items but then we have to find a way to fit it all in a quart size plastic bag.

As you can see, you can not zip the zip lock bag, therefore you have to leave some liquids behind

As you can see, you can not zip the zip lock bag, therefore you have to leave some liquids behind

Like most travelers, I attempted to pack all of my essential liquids in a quart size zip lock bag, only to find out that I could not fit all of my liquids into the bag, which resulted me in leaving crucial items behind.

Another problem with the zip lock bag option, the bag ALWAYS breaks.

So, as you can tell, the zip lock bag option has failed me one too many times, which threw me into this quest to find a better option. In comes amazon. I do a lot of research on amazon due to the amazing reviews from real people and the variety of options for one product. After months of research, I decided to settle on the MyTravel Tubes 3-1-1 Toiletry Bag.

MyTravel Tubes 3-1-1 Toiletry Bag

MyTravel Tubes 3-1-1 Toiletry Bag

The MyTravel Tubes 3-1-1 Toiletry Bag is not only TSA approved but is durable and convenient for travel. This toiletry bag is made of durable clear vinyl, has a well constructed zipper and provides adequate room for carry on liquids. The bag measures a tidy 7.7 x 2.2 x 5.5 inches.

All of my essential toiletries and MyTravel Tubes 3-1-1 Toiletry Bag

All of my essential toiletries and MyTravel Tubes 3-1-1 Toiletry Bag

After the purchase of the MyTravel Tubes 3-1-1 Toiletry Bag, traveling with only one carry on suit case has been a breeze. I find that this toiletry bag holds all of the liquid items that I need on a daily basis. In fact the rectangular shape of this toiletry bag provides more useful space, which allows me to pack all of my essential liquids with room to spare! In addition to the size and shape of the bag, another benefit is the fact that it is reusable. The durable material allows for frequent use.

All of my toiletries fit inside the MyTravel Tubes toiletry bag with room to spare!

All of my toiletries fit inside the MyTravel Tubes toiletry bag with room to spare!

So if you are a traveler and are tired of using a ziplock bag for your carry on liquids, invest in the MyTravel Tubes Toiletry Bag. Using this bag will make you question why you used a ziplock bag for so long! So I dare you to go ahead and purchase this toiletry bag. You will thank me because it will make traveling so much easier!

Safe Travels,

Kayla

Shore Excursions: Western Caribbean Cruise

I’m a virgin… cruise virgin that is. And in 119 days, I will boarding my first cruise ship to sail the Western Caribbean. After a lot of research and deciding to brace my fear of cruise ships, I booked a 5 day Western Caribbean cruise for my mother and I. My cruise itinerary include stops in Cozumel and Grand Cayman Island. I have never been to either destination so I plan on making the most of my time at each port.

My 5 day Western Caribbean cruise itinerary

My 5 day Western Caribbean cruise itinerary

So how do I plan for only a few hours at each port? Thats simple, do your research! Anybody who knows me, knows that when I plan a trip, I am a research fool. I like to know what the country, city or in this case, island is known for. From there I like to research what is the best and cheapest way to reach these places. Since I am on a cruise ship, the cruise line makes it easy to book excursions. But the next question is, do I book through the cruise ship or venture out on my own and book an excursion when we port? After reading several blogs, forums, and enlisting the help from friends, I have decided for my first cruise it would be best to book an excursion through the cruise ship. After all, I am a cruise newbie and I want to make sure I make it back to the ship.

The benefit of a cruise ship is the long list of excursions that are offered. Booking an excursion can either make or break your experience. So when choosing an excursion, it is important to choose wisely. Cruise lines make it easy to choose an excursion because they offer excursions that range in price, duration, activity level, and type of activity. So how do you go about picking the right one? For me I narrow it down to what interests me and then I relentlessly read the reviews. Reviews from past cruisers allow me to read their experiences and thoughts on the excursion.

As you can tell, I have done a lot of reading and research. So what excursions have I picked?

Sting Ray City *Photo taken from MobyDickTours.com

Sting Ray City
*Photo taken from MobyDickTours.com*

Our first stop is in George Town, Grand Cayman. Grand Cayman is the largest of the three-island group. It is rated the best dive location in the world and offers several underwater attractions that will leave tourists in awe. One of the main attractions that draw in the tourists is Stingray City. Stingray City is located in the protected North Sound and is a unique experience. It is a unique experience because it allows tourists to hand feed, stroke, and hold Stingrays. These stingrays are so friendly because fishermen used to clean their fish and discard entrails which attracted the stingrays. Since then divers have frequented the spot, bringing squid which allowed the normally shy stingrays to become use to humans. So as you can tell, this seams like an awesome excursion, so naturally I gravitated to this. So then I had to decide if I wanted to visit a beach in addition to Stingray City or not. And then Carnival came out with a new excursion.

Starfish Point *Photo taken from DiscountExcursions.com*

Starfish Point
*Photo taken from DiscountExcursions.com*

This excursion included not only Stingray City, but also a stop at Starfish Point. Starfish Point is located on a remote beach that is situated on the Northern Coast of Grand Cayman. This beach offers crystal clear water and a shallow beach. Starfish naturally live in these shallow waters, which makes the ideal setting for tourists to see the starfish in their natural habitat.

As you can see, these two stops seem like an ideal excursion for the Grand Cayman. Not only do you get to spend your time in the water and under the sun, but you get to experience the natural wildlife of the island. Therefore, I decided this was the perfect excursion. Stingray Sandbar & Star Fish Point  excursion is a 3 hour excursion that covers both Stingray City and Starfish Point for only $69.99.

Our second stop is in Cozumel, Mexico. Cozumel is a flat island where the locals are of Mayan decent. This port has 3 different cruise terminals and offers the typical Mexican experience for cruisers. Some of the top attractions include shopping in San Miguel, the  numerous beaches, and excursions to the Mayan Ruins. I initially wanted to visit the Mayan Ruins, but have read that the excursion is rushed due to time restraints, which made me rethink my options.

Chankanaab Park in Cozumel *Photo taken from Carnival.com*

Chankanaab Park in Cozumel
*Photo taken from Carnival.com*

After researching each excursion available to me, I decided on the All Inclusive Chankanaab Beach Day & Sea Lion Show. Chankanaab Park is part of Isla Cozumel’s Reefs National Marine Park. This park contains natural underwater preserve, a beautiful lagoon filled with bright corals, a botanical garden, on the ocean, and offers several activities such as snorkeling swimming. So this excursion seems like the best option since not only do you get to chill on the beach, but there are several other options available to explore.

Booking these excursions have made me super excited for my first cruise. I can’t wait to experience all of these new adventures in these new destinations. Let the countdown begin!

Stay Tuned and Safe Travels,

Kayla

Feet in the Water and Sun-Kissed Skin: Florida

It is said that the cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears, and the sea! And let me tell you, I couldn’t agree more. This past week, I dipped my toes in the Gulf, walked along white sandy beaches and basked in the warmth of the Florida sun. This trip was exactly what the doctor ordered!

Soaking up the Florida sun: Day 1

Soaking up the Florida sun: Day 1

Over a week ago, I boarded a plane heading towards Tampa, where I was reunited with one of my best friends. The plan for this trip: drink some beer, gossip the night away, soak up the sun, and explore Florida. And that is exactly what happened. This trip was relaxing. Not overly jam packed with sight seeing or adventure. The type of vacation that is needed every once in a while.

Off to Anna Maria Island

Off to Anna Maria Island

Coming from Michigan, where mother nature is bipolar, the first thing I wanted to do was head to the pool and soak up the warmth of the Florida sun! And I got just that! After Florida’s typical afternoon down

pour, the humidity was full force and the sun was out making for the perfect pool day. It was nice being reunited with my best friend and drinking a few ice cold beers. It’s just what I needed.

After a nice relaxing first day, Courtney wanted me to see the beautiful sandy white beaches and the clarity of the Gulf, so we headed off to Anna Maria Island. Anna Maria Island is a quaint Barrier Island that is approximately 7 miles long and nestled on the Gulf of Mexico by Bradenton. As you can tell this island has beautiful turquoise waters and white sandy beaches. With the “old” Florida feel and where wearing flip flops is a way of life, it is hard not to relax and enjoy yourself. In fact, Anna Maria Island is so picturesque that is is the typical image that pops in your head when you think of Florida.

Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island

Salt on my skin and sun-kissed glow: Gulf of Mexico

Salt on my skin and sun-kissed glow: Gulf of Mexico

Soaking up the sun: Anna Maria Island

Soaking up the sun: Anna Maria Island

Sunset at Little Harbor

Sunset at Little Harbor

After a long day in the sun, we spent some much needed time indoors and in the air conditioning. So we decided to watch some good ole Lifetime movies. After a full day of lounging, we headed to Little Harbor, where we listened to a live band, drank a few beers and watched the sun set over the Bay. It was such a relaxing night and made me realize how much I love this lifestyle.

Watching the sun set over the bay at Little Harbor

Watching the sun set over the bay at Little Harbor

Floridians have wonderful weather, gorgeous scenery and some of the most beautiful sunsets. This is definitely the type of lifestyle I could get used to. So maybe moving to Florida is something to consider. After all, I am a nurse and can work anywhere I please 🙂

The next couple days were spent at Courtney’s pool. We were working on our tans, drinking beer, catching up on gossip, and people watching. For any girl, this is categorized as a perfect day!

Soaking up the sun

Soaking up the sun

John's Pass Village and Boardwalk

John’s Pass Village and Boardwalk

One of the last days I was there, we decided to venture out to John’s Pass Village and Boardwalk. John’s Pass is located in Madeira Beach by St. Pete’s Beach and Treasure Island. This tourist attraction was once a quaint turn-of-the-century fishing village. It is now home of several shops, restaurants, fishing boats, dolphin and shelling tours, and boat rentals.

John's Pass Village and Boardwalk

John’s Pass Village and Boardwalk

I do think this is a really cool area to visit if you are in the area. They have some really neat restaurants that over look the water where you can sit down and eat or simply drink a cold beer. It is also a must for those traveling with young kids because there is a lot of things to do. Whether you decide to book a tour to see dolphins, chill on the beach or just walk around. There is something for those of all ages!

Overlooking the water at John's Pass

Overlooking the water at John’s Pass

As you can see, my vacation was really relaxing. I feel like my batteries have been recharged and I am ready to take on my life back in Michigan. Yeah, this vacation felt like it went by fast and I already miss my best friend, but I will be back in October when I head down for my cruise. So when you think about it, that is only 4 months and that time will go by quickly! So Courtney, it is not a good bye, it is a see you later!

Safe Travels,

Kayla

Next Stop… Tampa

Sitting in an airport gives most people anxiety but for me it gives me a rush of excitement. I feel at home when I am sitting at the airport awaiting a flight because it means I am about to embark on a new adventure and let’s face it, this is what I live for.

Next stop… Tampa!

Today I am leaving the D and flying south to visit my best friend in Tampa. I have always been a fan of Florida’s sunshine and heat, so this trip should be right up my alley. This trip is for pure relaxation. I plan on soaking up the sun, drinking a few beers poolside, and catching up on the gossip. Of course a little sight seeing will take place.  I can never not explore a new city. So stay tuned because a full Tampa blog post will be coming your way!

Stay Tuned and Safe Travels,

Kayla