This Romantic Mountain Getaway Is Closer Than You Think

Are you looking for the ultimate romantic getaway? How about a getaway to the Great Smoky Mountains to the thriving little town of Gatlinburg.

In town, you’ll find cozy lodging, delicious restaurants, and attractions of every description. The waterfalls and wilderness of Smoky Mountain National Park wait for you just outside of the city limits. We’ll show you our 3-day/2-night itinerary that’s perfect for adventurous nature-loving couples.

Romantic Things to do in Gatlinburg – aka Friday Night on the Town

Skylift-Park GatlinburgSkylift-Park Gatlinburg
Photo Credit: Jenn Coleman.

There are so many romantic things to do in Gatlinburg. It’s kind of like the Las Vegas Strip in the mountains. To be fair, it’s similar to finding romantic things to do in Orlando; you need to separate the wheat from the chaff. Ignore all the tourist shops selling MAGA hats and T-shirts. Chuckle at the gaudy attractions aimed for the ‘not tall enough to ride this ride’ crowd, but check out the creative ways proprietors merge the mountains with the town with adventure rides in Gatlinburg. Here’s a sampling of what you could do:

  • Soar on the SkyLift to Gatlinburg SkyBridge, the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in North America.
  • Ride the trams of Ober Gatlinburg to the ski area for alpine slides and summer tubing.
  • Take the Anakeesta lift to their adventure park featuring the Treetop Skywalk, the longest tree-based bridge in North America.
  • Race down the Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster, the fastest mountain coaster in Tennessee.
  • Fly on the Rowdy Bear Mountain Coaster while suspended in a harness.

Tour the Gatlinburg Wine Trail (Moonshine and Beer too)

Red-Oak-BistroRed-Oak-Bistro
Photo Credit: Jenn Coleman.

Gatlinburg’s restaurants are a lot like the attractions, they are everywhere, and you have to find the good ones. We’ll make that easy. Stop in for dinner Friday night at the Smoky Mountain Brewery for good pub food and great company. They have live music after the dinner rush on weekend nights and a great lineup of their signature craft beer. Plus, they validate parking if you need it.

Your libatious explorations of Gatlinburg doesn’t have to end there. We created a Gatlinburg Wine Trail marked in purple on our map. There are a dozen different tasting rooms in town from a variety of Tennessee wineries and distilleries. It’s the perfect way to sip free samples as you stroll down Gatlinburg’s Downtown Parkway exploring.

Be sure to bring your id. There is a strict policy of 100% id check, regardless of how old you look. A crafty fellow could use this to his advantage to say how young his companion looks – a vacation with libation and placation. But, if you can’t woo with your cunning lingual skills, you could always buy a bottle to bring back to your room.

Saturday Morning Outdoor Adventures in Gatlinburg

The cascades at Laurel FallsThe cascades at Laurel Falls
Photo Credit: Jenn Coleman.

Don’t overdo it Friday night, because mornings in Great Smoky National Park are magical. The namesake mists lay heavy in the valleys, and bear sightings are common. Pack a day pack and choose from waterfall hikes, mountain hikes, whitewater rafting, exploring Cades Cove Loop, or more hikes near Gatlinburg. We put a short sampling of outdoor adventures in Gatlinburg below:

  • NOC Gatlinburg – Whitewater rafting at its finest
  • Laurel Falls – Easy trail to the most photographed falls in the Smokies
  • Grotto Falls – The waterfall that you can walk behind
  • Rainbow Falls – Moderate hike to a massive falls
  • Ramsey Cascade – The largest waterfall in the park
  • Cataract Falls – The easiest waterfall to reach from Gatlinburg
  • Clingmans Dome – Drive to the highest point in Tennessee
  • Chimney Tops – Moderate hike to a beautiful lookout
  • Mt LeConte – Third highest peak with the most strenuous trail (11 miles, 2500′ gain!)
  • Roaring Fork Motor Trail – A fun car ride through the mountains on a slow, narrow, and winding 5-mile one-way road

Saturday Afternoon at the Arts Loop

Food and wine at Red-Oak-Bistro.Food and wine at Red-Oak-Bistro.
Photo Credit: Jenn Coleman.

Three short miles outside the hustle and bustle of Gatlinburg is The Glades, the largest group of independent artisans in North America. The historic 8-mile loop is designated a Tennessee Heritage Arts & Crafts Trail with over 120 artists and artisans. We put our highlighted shops on the map marked in orange. If you like hiking more, pick up a sandwich for the trail at Old Dad’s.

If you adore arts and crafts, head in for lunch at the Wild Plum Tea Room or an afternoon treat at the Glades Soda Fountain before exploring the Arts & Crafts Trail. No matter what you do, be sure to make a reservation and stay for dinner at the Red Oak Bistro. It’s a sublime gastronomical experience as the tastes and aromas of tapas fill your senses.

Pro-Tip: Seating is limited at Red Oak so make a reservation.

Sunday Brunch in Gatlinburg

Cataract-FallsCataract-Falls
Photo Credit: Jenn Coleman.

Sunday brunch is about sampling your favorite and getting whatever you want. That philosophy extends beyond dining and into your entire Sunday-Funday schedule. Start your day at Crockett’s Breakfast Camp for the best Sunday brunch in Gatlinburg. Then, fill in your day with your favorite activities from the romantic weekend in Gatlinburg list.

Do you want to do more hiking or bag Cataract Falls on the way out of town? Did you hike all day Saturday and want to explore the crafts trail and tea room on Sunday? Did you come in too late on Friday to fully explore Gatlinburg? Maybe your romantic getaway in Gatlinburg is just snuggling in bed? It’s your Sunday, brunch it up, baby!

Where to Stay in Gatlinburg

Gatlinburg_Trail_TrailheadGatlinburg_Trail_Trailhead
Photo Credit: Wikicommons.

Gatlinburg is a bustling tourist town with plenty of places to stay, but you have three basic choices: cabins, hotels, and B&Bs. Cabins are a great way to escape into the woods while still being able to play in town. B&Bs come with a host, and some are close enough to take the Gatlinburg Trolley into town. With a more traditional hotel, you can base walking distance away from the attractions and not be subject to minimum stays (of course, this is a 3-d/2-n itinerary).

Romantic Cabins in Gatlinburg

Smoky Mountain cabinSmoky Mountain cabin
Photo Credit: Jenn Coleman.

Honeymoon Hills Cabin Rentals of Gatlinburg – It doesn’t get more romantic than the Honeymoon Hills Cabins! Think heart-shaped indoor jacuzzis, private decks with outdoor hot tubs, fireplaces, king-size beds and full kitchens! All of this goodness in a secluded and private setting.

Wildflower Mountain Rentals Honeymoon Deluxe Cabins – Their most hidden away cabins in the Smoky Mountains. Each comes equipped with a wood-burning fireplace, stone-inlaid heart-shaped jacuzzi, sunken hot tub (are you sensing a trend?), stone-inlaid breakfast bar, and hanging-wooden swing and or rockers to take in the views.

Gatlinburg Falls Resort – The Gatlinburg Falls Resort has a variety of cabins for rent ranging from 1-20 bedrooms in size (yes 20!! In case your idea of romance is hanging with 20 other couples, but you have to bring your own fishbowl lol). They all feature a large kitchen, wide-screen TV, DVD/VCR, outdoor hot tub, indoor jetted bath, vertical spa shower, pool table, and many have classic arcade games as well. Consider one of the Romantic Packages to crack up the heat.

Pro-Tip: Come the first week of November to avoid the October crowds but still see fall color.

Gatlinburg Hotels

Bearskin LodgeBearskin Lodge
Photo Credit: Jenn Coleman

Bearskin Lodge on the River – This cute mountain lodge has comfortable rooms and a lazy river. Best of all, it’s right in the heart of Gatlinburg so you will never have to worry about finding a parking space.

Zoder’s Inn & Suites – Tucked into the woods near the river in the heart of Gatlinburg, this property has modern amenities with all the comforts of home. Many of the suites offer gas fireplaces and in-room whirlpool tubs.

Gatlinburg Falls Resort – The Lodge is rustic elegance at its finest combined with the beauty of the Smoky Mountains. Enjoy your generous soaking tub, fireplace, and private balcony with your love.

Gatlinburg’s Charming B&B’s

Laurel Springs Lodge Bed and BreakfastLaurel Springs Lodge Bed and Breakfast
Photo Credit: Jenn Coleman.

Laurel Springs Lodge Bed and Breakfast – This super cute B&B has comfortable rooms and a cozy hot tub for two. It’s close enough to take the trolley into town but tucked away from the hustle and bustle. Their gourmet breakfasts will delight your taste buds and tempt you to sleep in and snuggle.

Foxtrot Bed and Breakfast – This cozy property features gourmet breakfasts, private baths with Jacuzzi or whirlpool tubs, and spectacular views of Mt. Leconte in the Great Smoky Mountains. Be sure to check out their packages for extra value.

Wrapping Up Your Ultimate Romantic Getaway in Gatlinburg

Gatlinburg in fallGatlinburg in fall
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

A romantic getaway in Gatlinburg is a brilliant combination of urban excursion and mountain adventure. Gatlinburg can be the best of both worlds if you come prepared for the Parkway’s hustle, bustle, traffic, and parking. Leave early for hikes, explore Gatlinburg by foot or trolley, and find escapes like the Art Loop to reset. Romance and adventure are waiting for you in the Great Smoky Mountains.


Hi! We are Jenn and Ed Coleman aka Coleman Concierge. In a nutshell, we are a Huntsville-based Gen X couple sharing our stories of amazing adventures through activity-driven transformational and experiential travel.


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Best Adventure Activities in Dubai Desert





Best Adventure Activities in Dubai Desert – To travel is to live!

























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Easy Nusa Penida Travel Guide


Diamond Beach Nusa Penida Background Image from high angle overlooking beautiful aqua beach with white sand.

Do you want an Easy Nusa Penida Travel Guide to follow, then look not further. There are plenty of guides about Nusa Penida with tons of great information, but sometimes they can be a little overwhelming. Although the island of Nusa Penida is relatively small it can be a little tricky to navigate because of the rocky and winding underdeveloped road conditions. This will make it challenging to see all of the tourist attractions in Nusa Penida if you are only there for a short period of time. This easy travel guide to Nusa Penida is intended for anyone planning a 2-4 day trip to Nusa Penida 

Geography

Nusa Penida Map

Nusa Penida is an island located to the Southeast of Bali island. It has become wildly popular due it’s photogenic majestic cliffs overlooking beaches with pristine aqua blue waters. The island itself is very hilly with winding and sometimes rocky roads. This makes travel times take longer between two points on interest even if they look close on the map. Most of the island is around 300-1200 feet above sea level.



Beach Conditions

While Nusa Penida has some of the most amazing and beautiful beaches I have ever witnessed, they are generally filled with strong breaking waves with some gnarly undertows. They make for a great photo opp and are a sight to see, but don’t expect relaxing calm waters on all of the beaches. Crystal Bay Beach and Atuh Beach will be the exception as they are located in a coved bay with calmer waters and are more family friendly.



Road Conditions

The roads on Nusa Penida are winding and sometimes narrow. While most of the main routes are paved, there are parts that are very steep and you will encounter some parts with rocks the size of softballs. So I don’t recommend renting a scooter unless you are comfortable driving in unfavorable conditions. For a little more money you can hire a car driver to take you to the scenic destinations.



Restaurants & Nightlife

Nusa Penida is still very underdeveloped compared to Bali island, but that is part of the charm. Expect more local warungs, and less beach clubs offerings.



Banks and ATMs

There are a couple of ATMs and Banks in Nusa Penida near the North side of the island where the boat docks are, but some of the banks are for local Indonesian only. While I was able to withdraw cash from one of the ATM’s in Nusa Penida with my US debit card, I had to drive to three different ATM’s before I had any luck. So I highly recommend withdrawing money in Bali before venturing to Nusa Penida.



Planning your attractions

In general I would recommend planning 2-4 hours per attraction you want to visit. This includes getting to the attraction, having enough time to explore, and getting to the next attraction or back to your accommodation. However some attractions are close to each other, so you can save time by trying to visit multiple attractions at the same time. If you want to visit all of the attractions I would recommend staying 4 days, but if your pressed for time you can see most of the popular attractions in 2 or 3 days depending on your pace.

Cost

Book your boat ticket in advance with 12GoAsia

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Getting to Nusa Penida from Bali

The small fishing town of Sanur on Bali’s East coast will have the most options for getting to Nusa Penida. Boat trips will cost anywhere from $14-18 USD each way (200k-250k). A private ride to Sanur will cost around $5-10 USD (75K-150k IDR) depending on where you are coming from. 

There are two options to getting a boat ticket. The first option is to head to Sanur and ask to be dropped off near all the boats that go to Nusa Penida. Along the beachside where all of the boat docks are.You will see a long row of different boat trip vendors. You will have to negotiate rates or pay what is posted, which can sometimes be inflated for tourist. I recommend using Maruti Group Fastboats or book in advanced through 12goAsia.

Times-Most boat operators will have a morning boat and afternoon boat that goes to Nusa Penida, and times will start as early as 7am-8am with the next boat going out around 3pm-4pm, but be sure to check with the boat operator of your choice for more specific departure times. The journey will last around 45 mins to an hour depending on water conditions.



Pro Tip

One important thing to note is that there are no actual docks to the boats. The boats land as close to the beach as possible and then anchor. The boat men will help you carry your luggage over their heads as you walk in the water waist deep to board the boat. So I recommend wearing swim trunks, or a bathing suit, and putting important electronics in a drybag.



Pack Lightly

My other recommendation is to pack light and only bring what you need. In my case I was able to leave my larger bags at the hotel I was staying at in Seminyak before I went to Nusa Penida, then later pick them up when I got back to the main land of Bali. If you are staying in Bali before going to Nusa Penida and plan to return to Bali, this would be more ideal than hauling all of your luggage to Nusa Penida. If your hotel will not allow you to do this I recommend Bali Store Luggage, they will store your luggage at a reasonable rate, and they also pick up and deliver.

Getting around Nusa Penida

The North side of Nusa Penida while be the dense part of the island with restaurants, accommodation, grocery stores, and the boat port. As you venture South the island becomes more rural. 



Renting a Scooter

Most of the scooter rental vendors will be situated near the Nusa Penida pier where you will be dropped off by boat. I used Abdul Scooter based on the Google reviews, and I have nothing but good experiences with them. They even had the scooter waiting for me at the pier when I arrived, and they where easy to get in touch with through Whatsapp. Scooter will cost around $5-7 USD per day. (75k-100k IDR)



Some roads will be a bit rocky

One thing to keep in mind is that some of the pathways to some of the popular attractions will have parts of the road willed with rocks the size of softballs, so I wouldn’t recommend renting a scooter without any experience driving thru rough terrain.



Hire a Car

You can easily find cars for hire with a driver for the full day for around $38 USD (550k IDR) The cars can usually seat four and the price is per car not per person. This option is great for anyone that’s not comfortable driving a scooter. Find a private driver on Klook.



Day Trips

Day trips from Bali are available if you are pressed for time, but I recommend staying in Nusa Penida for a couple of days if you can. If you are only able to do a day trip try Klook for all inclusive daytrips with pick up and return to Bali included.



Accommodation

Along the North Coast of Nusa Penida along JL. Raya Toya Pakeh (Mian Road) is where you will find the more dense part of Nusa Penida and many accommodation. But there will also be accomodation to be found all over the island. From secluded in the higher elevation, to along the rock cliff sides of the West, and South. Keep in mind that if you venture more South from the Nusa Penida dock make sure you have a scooter, car, or have the Whatsapp number to a taxi driver to get around, as some parts may be very rural without much in the way of grocery stores or restaurants. For midrange accommodations be sure to search Booking, or if you are looking for backpacker accommodation head over to Hostelworld. Also be sure to check to see if your accommodation offers transportation.


Autentik-Penida-Glamping
Autentik Penida Glamping

Want a cool glamping experience nestled upon a lush treetop forest? Then check out Autentik Penida Glamping located on the West side of the island not to far from Broken Beach.


Penida Krusty Hill
Penida Krusty Hill

Located near the North end of the island around 2.6km away from the boat harbor. Offering both private bungalows and dorm beds. An excellent choice for the budget traveler.


Adiwana Warnakali Resort
Adiwana Warnakali Resort

If you are looking for more or a luxury stay with great views of the ocean The Adiwana Warnakai Resort is located in the North part of the island not to far from the boat harbor.

Search for Accommodations on Booking

Attractions

Nusa Penida Map

There is a lot to see on Nusa Penida Island, and trying to see them all even on a 4 day trip might be a little ambitious. I would recommend seeing two to three attractions at most per day. 

  1. Crystal Bay – Family-friendly beach that is easily accessible. One of the most popular beaches in Nusa Penida can be crowded at times. 
  2. Pandan Beach is a 20-30 minute hike through the forest trail located on the southern side of Crystal Bay Beach. On the southside of Panan Beach, there is also a hidden trail to the even more secluded.
  3. Puyung Beach. Puyung Beach will require an additional 2-30 minute hike over a hilltop to get to.
  4. Pasih Andus (Smoky Beach) During high tide the waves crash up against a cave and create a burst that resembles smoke, hence the name. This is not a sand beach and not for swimming, it is a rocky cliffside with strong crashing waves.
  5. Angel’s Billabong – A crystal clear tide pond carved out of the rocky cliffs that cascade over the ocean in Nusa Penida.
  6. Broken Beach – A short walk from Angel’s Billabong you will find Broken Beach. This rocky cove has a natural archway that allows water to flow in from the ocean. Again, not an actual sand beach that you can swim in but very beautiful.
  7. Kelingking Beach (T-Rex) – Kelingking Beach is one of the most iconic attractions in Nusa Penida. The cliff formations resemble a Tyrannosaurus Rex. Expect a queue of people waiting to take pictures at this iconic spot. If you are adventurous and don’t mind a challenge you can trek down the very steep rocky path to the secluded beach. Not for the faint at heart and I do not recommend children to go down the trek as it can be a little dangerous. The hike down takes about 45 minutes, and once down there is usually a stand at the bottom selling snacks and drinks. Try to avoid doing the trek in mid-day as the sun will be very harsh as there is not any shade on the trek. The beach is beautiful and you will see some people in the water, but the waves are very large, powerful and have a very strong undertow.
  8. Pura Paluang – A unique temple with two Car shrines located near Kelingking Beach.
  9. Tembeling Beach and Forest – Tembeling Beach is very secluded and can be a challenge to get to. If you attempt to go here on a motor scooter expect some very rock pathways not recommended for inexperienced drivers. Then at some point, you will have to get off your scooter and walk the rest of the way through the forest. Along the way to the beach, there are will be some natural pools you can relax in before continuing to the beach.
  10. Peguyangan Waterfall – A very steep hike down approximately 700 steps will take around 30 minutes. And while the actual waterfall itself is not very impressive, the views you see along the way are impressive. Mata Air Guyangan is a small temple you will see along the hike down. There are also some natural pools as well.
  11. Manta Point – A scenic vista on to of a large cliff overlooking the Indian Ocean. Many times you can even spot Manta Rays swimming.
  12. Atuh Beach – Is an incredibly beautiful beach inside a small bay. Best to visit at high tide. The hike down the stairs from the parking area takes around 15 minutes but is very steep.
  13. Diamond Beach Located near Atuh Beach, Diamond Beach is a short 15-minute climb down some steep steps. Once you get to the bottom there is a stall selling drinks and snacks. They also have a swing over the ocean. The waves are quite strong here and parts of the beach are a little rocky.
  14. Thousand Island Viewpoint – Located slightly south of Diamond Beach you will find Thousand Island Viewpoint. There are two viewpoints here, the first being Thousand points, and the second is of the famous Rumah Pohon Tree House. You can actually rent the Rumah Pohon Treehouse.
  15. Suwehan Beach – Another spectacular beach in Nusa Penida with crystal clear water among large cliffs. Expect a steep climb down steps to get to the beach.
  16. Goa Giri Purti Temple – Located on the Northeast side of the island Goa Giri Purti is a temple inside of a cave. From the entrance, you will walk up a winding staircase before you reach the temple. To enter you pay the fee and enter through a small opening in a rock.

My Choices of Attractions to Visit

If I had to choose my must see attractions they would be Crystal Bay Beach, Broken Beach, Angels Billabong, Kelingking Beach, Diamond Beach, Atuh Beach, and Thousand Island Viewpoint

Overlooking Kelingking beach from high vantage point. Beautiful blue ocean and rock formation resembling a T-Rex dinosaur in Nusa Penida, Bali, Indonesia.
Kelingking Beach (T-Rex)

Diamond Beach Nusa Penida Background Image from high angle overlooking beautiful aqua beach with white sand.
Diamond Beach

Broken Beach Nusa Penida
Broken Beach

Angels Billabong Nusa Penida
Angels Billabong

Please be advised that during high tide the waves at Angel’s Billabong have been known to crash onto the tide pool and drag people out to sea. It can be very dangerous and has even taken some people’s lives. So please be careful and enter at your own risk.

Final Thoughts

Nusa Penida is a can’t miss destination when traveling to Bali in my opinion. By far one of the most beautiful and memorable moments I had while exploring Bali. If you love nature and majestic views you’ll love Nusa Penida. Just keep in mind Nusa Penida is still underdeveloped infrastructure wise and far different from a party central you might find in areas like Seminyak district of Bali. While it may have become a lot more touristy in recent years, it is still well worth the effort to witness it’s beauty. Just bear in mind the roads can be a little sketch at times, and that getting from point A to B will take a little while, so plan accordingly and be safe around any steep ledges. Also be aware of strong ocean waves when near any ocean water. 


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The Ultimate 5-Day Aruba Itinerary 2024

As I wrap up my second visit to Aruba I can’t help but feel amazed by how adventurous this island can be and by how much variety there is for such a small place. I got to see all kinds of landscape, have daily experiences that were all totally different, and get a tan in the process!

Many who visit Aruba are happy to lounge on a beach chair all day and don’t need much adventure to enjoy their vacay. While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, I just can’t do it for long and need to be either walking on the beach, swimming, or doing something active.

If you’re like me, the following itinerary will get you out and exploring the adventurous and outdoorsy side of Aruba, with some beach time included, of course!

Day One: Go for a Swim, Check out the Lighthouse for Sunset

Aruba has tons of beaches – either long stretches of sand or hidden behind rocky coves and inlets. I stumbled upon them constantly during my exploration, though some are much friendlier for swimmers than others. The following are the best ones for snorkeling, swimming, and general chilling:

Palm Beach

palm beach aruba
Look at that water!

Palm Beach is the most touristy beach with high-rise hotels and lots of restaurants and water activities.  When you see the white sand and the clear baby blue water, it’s clear why. You can standup paddleboard, parasail, and of course swim. You’ll find people all along the sand offering activities, and most hotels also offer a free mask and snorkel.

Chances are you’ll be staying on either this beach or the next one, so check it out, especially at sunset.

Baby Beach

aruba things to doaruba things to do
Baby Beach – calm and serene

Baby Beach on the southern tip of the island is known for having great snorkeling and white sand. It also has fewer tourists than the beaches up north. I was a big fan of this one!

Eagle Beach

eagle beach arubaeagle beach aruba
Sunset at Eagle Beach

Eagle Beach is slightly less crowded than Palm Beach and is famous for its perfect white sand and baby blue water. It is west facing and therefore perfect for sunset. 

Tres Trapi

tres trapi arubatres trapi aruba
Three steps lead to clear, beautiful water

North of Palm Beach, you’ll find Malmok Beach and a few other great swimming and snorkeling spots. The picture above is at Tres Trapi, which are three stairs carved into the volcanic rock that lead to this lovely blue water. Many of the snorkeling tours stop here, so you can plan on seeing sea birds all around and fish under the water if you bring your mask and snorkel.

California Lighthouse

what to do in arubawhat to do in aruba
A great view over Aruba

In the afternoon, I recommend heading to the California Lighthouse on the northern tip of the island for sunset. You get a fantastic view, and the lighthouse is a great photo spot as well.

I also enjoyed driving around the coastal roads nearby where you can find sand dunes, beautiful rocky outcroppings, and a more rugged Aruba experience. If you stick to the trail that borders the water, a normal car is probably OK as the road is mostly dirt with a few rocks and potholes, but a 4×4 will give you ultimate flexibility.

what to do in arubawhat to do in aruba
You need a 4×4 for this one

If you have a 4×4 and feel like continuing onwards, I had a lot of fun on the rocky road from the lighthouse to the Wariruri rock bridge. Following the collapse of the Natural Bridge in 2005, this is now the largest natural bridge in Aruba. The road is rough, but to me that’s a lot of fun, and you can plan on having it almost all to yourself. I made plenty of stops along the way and truly enjoyed this solo adventure.

what to do in arubawhat to do in aruba
Where I caught golden hour – near the old gold mine.

Day Two: Arikok National Park – Caves and the Natural Pool

You can’t go to Aruba without visiting the Arikok National Park! This is where you can find the famous caves, the natural pool, and a much more rugged stretch of coast.

You absolutely do need a 4×4 for this trip, which you can self drive, although most people join either a Jeep tour or an ATV tour that takes you to the following spots:

Guadirikiri Caves

The caves and the stairway outside of them were my first introduction to the rugged side of Aruba when I visited a year and a half ago and I was absolutely delighted! The ride there is an adventure in itself, along bumpy terrain and through cacti forests. I had so much fun getting there that the cave was the cherry on top.

Depending on time of day, you can get some lovely light beams coming through the opening in the cave’s ceiling.

The Natural Pool

what to do in arubawhat to do in aruba
Wow, right?

The highlight to Arikok National Park is undoubtedly this beautiful rocky pool that forms an almost perfect circle. The waves crash over the sides and there’s even a ‘natural jacuzzi’ slightly above, which you can see to my right in this photo.

This was my favorite thing in Aruba – it was so magical it didn’t seem real.

Dos Playa


Dos Playa is a rare beach on the east coast that can be tame enough to swim in. It’s one of the larger ones in the area and is popular for sunset horseback rides, too.

I went with ABC tours to book this adventure. They have both big truck and ATV options. Some are full-day and some just take you to the natural pool. Choose your own adventure here.

Day Three: Flamingo Island

flamingos arubaflamingos aruba
Oh hey guys

After a few days exploring Aruba’s more rugged and natural side, I feel we have to talk about Renaissance Island. This man-made flamingo island is undoubtedly beautiful. It’s also where you can take pictures with the famous flamingos on the beach and lounge in hammocks in the sun.

There are several beach huts that you can rent to hang out in for the day, and you can eat and drink on the island as well.

aruba flamingosaruba flamingos
It sure is photogenic.

There are a few things to know about the island, such as the entrance fee, the best way to get in, and figuring out how to get shade while you’re there. I have an entire post dedicated to Flamingo Island with all of the info here.

Day Four: Pick an Aquatic Activity, Sunset Cruise

what to do in arubawhat to do in aruba
Don’t miss this!

On day four I recommend picking one or two of the adventurous activities available on the island and then a nice relaxing sunset on the water or on a beach nearby.

The following are some great options:

Scuba dive

The water is clear and there are plenty of fish in Aruba. There is also a shallow wreck, which is a rare find in the diving world. All of these are great reasons to jump in and see what’s up unda da sea.

I did a morning dive last time I was on Aruba and was impressed by the corals and fish. If you are used to Southeast Asia, don’t expect the same that you would find in Sipadan or Raja Ampat, but still, for those who love diving this is a great spot to get under the water.

SUP

You can rent stand up paddle boards all along Palm Beach where the water is calm enough to head out for an hour or two of activity. The nice thing about Aruba is it’s almost always breezy so standup paddleboarding is quite pleasant in Aruba. Be sure to check out the partially submerged wreck around Malmok Beach for a unique experience!

Snorkel a Wreck

If you’re not into diving, you can still snorkel around a wreck near the California Lighthouse. Multiple boat trips depart at different times per day to take you out there. I did a cruise in the morning and an evening sunset cruise last time I was here, both of which went to the wreck. I would give the edge to the sunset cruise as there were fewer people in the water then, but being able to get on a boat and get out on the water is a must no matter what time you choose to do it in Aruba. You can book it here.

Day Five: Sunrise at Trinity Bridge, Sunset at Mangel Halto

what to do in arubawhat to do in aruba
Trinity bridge

Let me just start by saying I’m not sure what the proper name of this place is – I’ve heard ‘tripod bridge’ and I see it as the ‘trinity bridge’ on maps.me, but either way this bridge is neato. It’s a set of three sea bridges that look gorgeous in the early morning hours when the sun comes up and illuminates the rocks. You’ll need a 4×4 to get here but if you have one handy from the other activities, be sure to get there in the early morning, before the tour groups arrive.

You can explore the cacti, Ayo Rock Formation, and rugged coastline along this part of the island in the AM, or just chill out – I know this has been a pretty packed itinerary.

what to do in arubawhat to do in aruba
Beautiful Mangel Halto

For the afternoon/evening, I highly recommend heading to Mangel Halto for a secluded beach, lovely mangroves, and perfect positioning for the sunset. From there you’re close to Zeerover, a famous seafood restaurant.

Stay

Aruba has some gorgeous resorts to choose from, but I’m partial to the Ritz Carlton, with direct access to one of the best beaches on the island and some wonderful rooms. I can help you get the following when you contact me to book:

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability.
  • Daily breakfast for up to two guests per bedroom.
  • $100 USD equivalent in local currency Resort or Hotel credit utilized during stay.
  • Early Check-In / Late Check-Out, subject to availability.

Getting Around

what to do in arubawhat to do in aruba
I LOVED my Jeep!

Although many of the options I mentioned above are made easier or are only possible with a 4×4 rental (all the major car rental companies are available at the airport – but do book ahead of time), you can also join a tour to see almost everything listed above. If you have specific things from this itinerary you want to see, ask the guys at ABC which tour would be the best one.

I found driving in Aruba to be pretty easy and straightforward. There are lots of roundabouts, and sometimes people will turn out of roads right in front of you, so just drive defensively and don’t go too fast. Overall it was fine and fairly stress-free. I also highly recommend downloading the Aruba map on maps.me offline maps. It’s free, it worked great, and I never got lost with it.

Other Things To Do in Aruba

If you have more time in Aruba and would like to add on to the 5-day itinerary, then I highly recommend checking out more of Santa Cruz or visiting Noord in the northeast part of the island. The Aruba Donkey Sanctuary, located in Santa Cruz, is a non-profit organization dedicated to the welfare of the island’s donkey population, and an awesome place to hug a donkey.

If you decide to head to Noord, I recommend checking out the Gold Smelter Ruins, the remnants of a gold mine. Just a short walk to the east, you’ll find a wooden sign and the top of a steep stepladder. This will lead you down toward a plateau of volcanic rock and to the Aruba Natural Cave Pool. Be warned, though! This local spot is best for adventurers. You’ll need to jump about fifteen feet to get into the pool and then climb up slimy rocks (and avoid the crabs!) to get out.

If you want to learn something new, I also recommend checking out Hadicurari beach where Vela offers windsurfing and kitesurfing lessons. The wind and waves are calmer here making this an ideal spot for beginners to learn.

Aruba itineraryAruba itinerary

Happy travels in Aruba! I hope this itinerary helps you to see a more adventurous side of the island and to fall in love with it as much as I did. It’s the perfect place to unwind – just small enough to see a ton of it in just a few days, but just big enough to keep you wanting to come back to see more.

*This post was brought to you in collaboration with Aruba Tourism Authority, however this itinerary was entirely crafted and created by yours truly. 




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What I Love (and Hate) About Living in Austin

There are times when I absolutely adore living in Austin: when I’m paddleboarding on Town Lake, when I’m drinking a frozen margarita at Maudie’s, when I’m hanging out in hip East Austin under string lights.

That being said, there are certain things I’m less fond of: the sweltering summers, the isolation, the lack of walkability.

I’ve lived in Austin for almost two years. Here’s what I’ve come to love and hate about it:

What I love about Austin

The People

By and large, Texans are incredibly nice people: generous, funny, and sincerely kind. When I had Covid, multiple neighbors brought me tortilla soup and walked my dog. People say hello to you on the street here, even if they don’t know you. Austin is by far the friendliest place I’ve ever lived.

The Food

Another positive – the food. Austin’s food scene is thriving: you can find excellent TexMex, Thai, Vietnamese, and of course, barbecue. Some of my favorite spots are Uchiko (sushi), Odd Duck (new American), and Loro (Asian/barbecue fusion). I’ve also grown to LOVE frozen margaritas, ha.

The Water

As a born-and-raised Michigander, I desperately need to live near water (that was one of the things I found hardest about living in Colorado). Luckily, Austin has plenty of it: Town Lake, Barton Springs, and Lake Travis, to name a few.

The Winters

The winters here are delightful – the temperature hovers around 70 degrees, and the skies are usually crisp and blue. Though we do have the odd snow day, the winter weather is very mild.

Live Music

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Austin’s internationally renowned live music scene. I love how you can walk into a random bar on a Tuesday and hear an incredible performance for the price of a Shiner Bock.

The Dog-friendliness

In Austin, you can bring your dog almost anywhere — I bring my pup almost everywhere I go. My local CVS is even dog-friendly.

What I Hate

The Crowds

Due to its huge popularity in recent years, Austin feels insanely crowded at times. Parking is hard to find, restaurants are packed, and the weekends especially can be hectic.

The High Cost of Living

Austin is very expensive. To buy a plot of land – not even a house – in my neighborhood, costs a million dollars.

Poor Walkability

Sadly, Austin is not a walkable city. Bisected by two highways, Austin is a very car-dependent city; for walkability, it ranks 42nd in the US, between Las Vegas and Pheonix. As someone who loves to walk, this is a huge downside.

The Allergies

Central Texas has been called the “Allergy Capital of the World.” There’s even a daily allergy report on the local news, where official pollen counts for ragweed, grass, and mold are measured. I never had allergies in my life until I moved here — ugh.

The Heat

The summers in Austin are brutal. Temperatures can reach 110 degrees (or higher). After this year’s scorching summer, 90 degrees bizarrely feels somewhat cool to me.

The Isolation

Austin is close to only a few cities: Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio. Earlier this year I made the mistake of driving to New Orleans, which took 10 hours. Sometimes I feel so envious of the East Coast – imagine driving a few hours and being able to access Boston, Philly, and NYC? Sigh.


All this to say, I’ve been pretty happy here. I’m not sure if it’s my forever home (I’m not sure I have a forever home, period), but I plan to stay at least a few more years. And enjoy many more lake days and frozen margs.

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15 Best Places To Visit In Andalucía, Spain

Soak up the sun in white-washed squares lined with orange trees, enjoy some of the best tapas in Spain and relax on golden beaches with our guide to the best places to visit in Andalucía.

Andalucía is the home of flamenco, Picasso and sherry. It’s one of the most diverse regions in Spain with a host of interesting things to see.

Mark and I spend a lot of time in Andalucía, at least 2 months a year, and we’ve come to appreciate the area more each time we visit.

From the white mountain villages to the historic cities defined by Moorish history, Andalucía has an intrigue that extends far beyond the miles of sandy beaches blessed with almost year-round sun.

This guide covers what we think are the best places to visit in Andalucía. We’ve included the best cities, some interesting natural landmarks, cultural highlights, our favourite beaches and the best outdoor activities.

mijas village andalucia spainmijas village andalucia spain
MIJAS, ANDALUCÍA

1. SEVILLE

Seville is a city Mark and I have been to many times, and it remains one of our favourite European destinations.

There are several great reasons to include Seville on a visit to Andalucía.

Firstly, the history is fascinating. As a Moorish city, conquered by Christians, historic buildings with both Islamic and Christian designs are both beautiful and fascinating.

Seville also has a fantastic art scene with beautiful galleries adorned with Spanish masterpieces.

But aside from the history and art, Seville is a wonderful place for hanging out. Sun-soaked squares lined with orange trees make the ideal location for budget-friendly sundowners. The food is some of the best in Andalucía and local bars are busting with local atmosphere.

Our guidesThings to do in Seville // 3-day Seville Itinerary.

2. RONDA

Ronda is an interesting town located at the top of a deep gorge formed by the El Tajo River. The bridge that spans the canyon is one of the most photographed landmarks in Andalucía.

The old town of Ronda dates back to Islamic times, and the influence of its Moorish past can still be seen today. Casa del Rey Moro has a beautiful tiered garden, and the Arab baths at the base of the gorge are well worth visiting.

Ronda is famous for being the home of bullfighting in Spain, and it has one of the finest bullrings in the country.

3. CAMINITO DEL REY

The Caminito del Rey, or “King’s Little Pathway,” is a dramatic canyon walk in Andalucía. Originally built in 1905, it was nicknamed the most dangerous walk in the world. But, after a complete rebuild in 2015, it’s now an easy and very spectacular hike.

The highlight is a series of wooden walkways pinned to the walls of El Chorro Gorge. In the most stunning section, the vertical walls are 400 metres high and only 10 metres apart.

The entire El Caminito del Rey walk is 7 kilometres long. The diverse trail includes wooded mountain paths, leafy valley strolls, interesting historic markers and a suspended walkway high above a rocky wonderland.

Our guideWalking the Caminito del Rey.

4. MARBELLA

Marbella is the resort capital of Andalucía, located on the Costa del Sol. With a golden stretch of beach packed with facilities and a lovely mountain backdrop, Marbella is one of the most popular destinations in Andalucía.

The white-washed old town is packed with restaurants. Some are excellent local tapas bars; others are overpriced tourist traps. Nonetheless, it’s well worth a visit. Mark and I always spend an evening strolling around the laneways whenever we’re in the area.

There are plenty of great beaches around Marbella, some with high-end resort-style facilities, others with nothing but sand and sun.  

5. GRANADA

Granada was one of the final strongholds of the Moors in Spain until it was captured by the Catholic Monarchs in 1492.

A long Moorish history has filled the city with magnificent Islamic architecture, the most spectacular of which is the Alhambra. Occupying a strategic position overlooking the city, the Alhambra has exquisite formal gardens, intricate Nasrid designs, palaces, towers, and fortified walls. It’s one of the unmissable places to visit in Andalucía.

Apart from impressive historical monuments, Granada maintains the feel of a genuine Spanish city, despite the large tourist numbers.

Mark and I love the food in Granada and it’s one of the few places where you can still get free tapas when you order a drink.  

Our guide What to do in Granada.

6. JEREZ DE LA FRONTERA

Jerez means sherry in Spanish, and the small town in Andalucía forms part of the sherry triangle. The others are El Puerto de Santa María and Sanlúcar.

The town itself is slightly run down and despite the appeal of sherry, it’s one of the least visited places we’ve listed in this guide. But that only adds to the charm.

The small lanes of the old centre are packed with Moorish history, flamenco music and cosy tapas bars.

Mark and I did the sherry tasting tour at Bodegas Tradición which we highly recommend. In addition to learning everything about sherry, they also have an excellent art collection. 

7. TARIFA

Tarifa is a laid-back fishing village in the southwest corner of Andalucía where the Mediterranean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean.

It has a wonderful walled old town with remnants of its Moorish history enhanced by modern Moroccan influences which you’ll find most notably in the food.

Tarifa is one of the most popular locations for surfing and kite surfing in Spain. As a result of the surfer crowd, Tarifa has a relaxed, bohemian vibe that is quite different to other towns in Andalucía.

There are several beautiful golden beaches within 30 minutes’ drive of Tarifa which are much more untouched than those around Marbella and the Costa del Sol.

Our guideBest beaches around Tarifa.

8. BOLONIA BEACH

Playa Bolonia is a slice of paradise and one of the best beaches on the Costa de La Luz between Tarifa and Cádiz. It’s blessed with powdery white sands and crystal-clear waters.

The beach is protected by a headland, rising hills and a large dune, making it more sheltered than the other beaches nearby. This is important because, as a kite surfing destination, the winds can be quite strong. We always check Wind Guru before heading to Bolonia, because even if it’s a hot day, the wind can dramatically bring the temperature down.

There is a well-preserved Roman Ruin near the beach and the 30-metre-high Duna de Bolonia is also worth checking out.

Playa Bolonia is over 3 kilometres long but the north-western end (next to the ruins) is the best section.  

playa bolonia tarifa spain 3playa bolonia tarifa spain 3

9. CÓRDOBA

Home to an Islamic Caliphate, Roman influences and local Spanish charisma, Córdoba is a surprisingly great weekend getaway.

The Mezquita-Catedral is one of the most intriguing buildings in the world. The ancient ruins of Madinat al-Zahra is the only Islamic Caliphate capital ever to reside in Western Europe. The wonky, cobbled streets, narrow alleyways and gorgeous patios still carry remnants of Roman design.

It’s one of our favourite places in Spain. Not only for the important historical sites but also for the squares full of local banter, the long summer nights, the bright, white-washed streets and the ageing tapas bars. 

Our guidesA Córdoba Itinerary // The Patios of Córdoba.

10. SIERRA DE GRAZALEMA

Sierra de Grazalema, in the centre of Andalucía, is a hidden gem for hikers. In early spring, while many of Europe’s hiking areas are covered in snow, Sierra de Grazalema can be bathing in glorious sunshine and colourful flowers.

One of the best hikes in the park is El Pinsapar trail. This half-day hike climbs a ridge with excellent views over Andalucía before sinking into the coolness of the forest.

Garganta Verde is another beautiful canyon cut by a picturesque river. The canyon drops to a depth of 400 metres and is only 10 metres wide at its narrowest point. Standing at the bottom and looking up at the towering walls, as vultures circle overhead, is an awe-inspiring experience.

Our guidesHiking Gargante Verda // Hiking El Torreón // Hiking El Pinsapar.

11. WHITE VILLAGES

Perched on mountain peaks in the picturesque rolling hills of Andalucía, the White Villages stand as cultural strongholds in this fascinating part of the country.

Enriched by centuries of Moorish rule and built upon Roman foundations, the villages have traditional Spanish charm.

Narrow cobbled lanes of whitewashed buildings adorned with orange tiled roofs connect vibrant squares, quaint churches, defensive castles and traditional tapas bars.

We’ve visited many white villages in Spain. While some have evolved into popular tourist destinations, others remain tranquil hubs where ageing residents gather in bustling squares and cosy bars.

Our guideThe best White Villages in Andalucía.

12. CÁDIZ

Cádiz is an island city in Spain, a medieval fortress surrounded on all sides by the Atlantic Ocean. Now heading into its fourth millennium, an influx of wealth from the Americas in the 18th century gave the city the bleached-white gleam it has today.

As one of the 10 previous capitals before Madrid (our guide) eventually took over, Cádiz is tall, grand and graceful.

Inside the walled city, the smell of the sea wafts through small plazas and long boulevards. A muted hum radiates from tiny tapas bars along uneven stone laneways.

Cádiz is an under-visited gem in Andalucía. It doesn’t have the big attractions of many of the other cities, but it has a very relaxed, local vibe.

Our guideBest things to do in Cádiz.

13. MÁLAGA

Recently reinvented with fresh urban spaces, Málaga has emerged from its reputation as a jumping-off point for some of Spain’s best beaches to become a cultural destination in its own right.

With a captivating mix of Roman, Arab, and Christian influences, Málaga’s rich history unfolds in a host of enticing activities.

Explore defensive forts, inspect Roman Ruins, marvel at Christian architecture, and enjoy this important contributor to Spain’s Moorish past.

Málaga is an excellent destination if you want to combine sunny beaches, captivating art, cheap tapas, fascinating history, and the charm of old-town laneways.

Our guideBest things to do in Málaga.

14. LA CONCHA

Always in view from the Golden Mile beaches around Marbella, La Concha is a glorious mountain peak in Andalucía.

The hike to the top is a moderately strenuous climb that involves some scrambling over large rocks. But, it’s worth it for the views which extend along the coastline down to Gibraltar and across to the north African coast.  

The best route starts from Refugio el Juanar, which is 13.5 kilometres, involves 680 metres of ascent and takes about 5 hours. The alternate route from Istán is shorter but it involves more climbing.

15. ANTEQUERA

Antequera is one of the most interesting historic towns in Andalucía.

The incredible thing about Antequera is that it contains 3 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. These are the rock formations of El Torcal, the ancient burial mounds and the 800-metre-high limestone rock of La Peña de los Enamorados.

The 14th-century Alcazaba gives you an excellent view of the city, as does the Mirador de las Almenillas.

It has a beautiful old town with cobbled stoned laneways lined with white houses and you’ll find plenty of authentic tapas bars.

Antequera is very centrally located between all the major centres of Andalucía: Málaga, Seville, Córdoba and Granada.

paul mark 1paul mark 1

ANYWHERE WE ROAM IS
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Thanks for your support.

You can also buy us a coffee, and follow us on Instagram or Facebook.

– Paul & Mark.




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how to shop for produce at the market

Oaxaca city is full of wonderful markets bursting with amazing produce. Many of them are unassuming, tucked away through a doorway, down an alleyway, or around the corner. Access to fresh & delicious produce is one of my absolute favourite things about living in Mexico.

Before you go: produce markets in Oaxaca

I’m yet to find a mercado that’s disappointed me, they all have excellent produce for sale. I’d recommend visiting a few different ones to get a feel for it, but ultimately the one closest to where you are living or staying is probably going to be the best choice.

This is far from a comprehensive guide! But a couple of my favourite mercados (markets) in Oaxaca Centro are:

  • Mercado Sánchez Pascuas
  • Mercado Organico la Cosecha
  • Mercado de la Merced
  • Mercado de abastos
  • Mercado Centenario

At the market: buying your produce

Once you’ve decided which vendor to shop from, the next step is choosing what to buy. They will have a stack of some kind of basket or plastic tub for you to take one, and fill it with the fruits and vegetables you want.

Now is the fun part – choosing what you want to buy from the many piles of gorgeous looking fruits and vegetables. I always come home with so much more than I planned, because all of the wonderful produce is so tempting! So get to work, filling up your basket.

Sometimes, certain things like fresh herbs will be behind the counter. So if you don’t see what you want right away, don’t be afraid to ask!

One your basket is full, hand it to them and they will weigh up, count, and work out the price for you. If you struggle with Spanish, they will almost always have a pen and paper or a calculator to write the total down for you as well.

At the market: some useful words & phrases in Spanish

Although you may come across vendors who speak some English, a large majority of them will not. And besides, your visiting one of the most beautiful and traditional parts of Mexico – so using one of the local languages is not only part of the experience, but it’s part of being a considerate guest!

  • Estoy buscando / I’m looking for
  • ¿Tienes …? / Do you have … ?
  • Necesito una bolsa / I need a bag
  • No necesito bolsa / I don’t need a bag
  • ¿Cuánto cuesta? / How much is this?
  • ¿Cuánto va a ser? / How much will it be?
  • ¿Aceptan tarjetas de crédito o débito? / Do you take credit or debit cards?
  • ¿Tiene cambio de un billete grande? / Do you have change for a large bill?
  • ¡Muchas gracias! / Thanks very much!
  • aguacate / avocado
  • tomate / tomato
  • cebolla / onion
  • tomatillo / tomatillo
  • plátano / banana
  • manzana / apple
  • frambuesa / rasberry
  • mora / blackberry
  • arándano / blueberry
  • fresa / strawberry
  • papa / potato
  • toronja / grapefruit
  • naranja / orange
  • limón / lime
  • champiñón / mushroom
  • zanahoria / carrot
  • ejote / green beans
  • mango / mango
  • guayaba / guava
  • piña / pineapple
  • carambolo / starfruit
  • lechuga / lettuce
  • espinacas / spinach
  • pepino / cucumber
  • rábano/ radish

At the market: what does produce cost in Oaxaca?

The pricing for produce here is quite different from the USA, New Zealand, or Canada; for example. I love arriving into Mexico and enjoying the abundance of fresh, seasonal, and locally grown produce. But what does it cost? Here’s a breakdown of my most recent produce trip to the mercado:

Breakdown of my most recent produce trip:

cucumber x1 = 9mxn ( 0.43usd)
mushrooms, 1 packet = 55mxn ( 2.61usd)
kale sprouts, 1 packet = 38mxn (1.81usd)
blueberries, 1 punnet = 10mxn (0.48usd)
green beans, 1 large handful = 6mxn (0.29usd)
avocados x2 = 43mxn (2.04 usd)
basil, 1 bunch = 10mxn (0.48usd)
heiroom tomatoes x 5 = 14mxn (0.67usd)
lettuce, 1 = 14mxn = (0.67usd)
gala apples x 3 = 45mxn (2.14 usd)
limes x2 = 13mxn (0.62 usd)
carrot x1 = 2mxn (0.10usd)
garlic, 1 bulb = 10mxn (0.48usd)

Total price: $269mxn (at the time of writing in 2022 this is $12.79USD)

Once you get home: preparing your produce

Many of the things that make produce in Oaxaca so darn wonderful also make it a little problematic to eat right out of the bag. This is not a situation unique to Oaxaca, and is something you will encounter right across Mexico.

Everything is grown locally, often organically, and fertilised here in the Oaxaca valley with cow manure. Once it arrives at the mercado, as well as during the journey, it’s often sitting on the ground, in the dust, or on dirty truck beds and mercado floors. The dirt and bacteria that produce collects can make many people sick, so it’s important to prepare your produce properly – like locals & restaurants all do.

How to prepare fresh produce from the market in Mexico. This is done right when you get home from the mercado, before putting them away into the fridge and cupboards! It can take a little time, but it’s worth it to know all of your fruits, vegetables & salads are safe to eat right off the shelf.

  1. Trim & shake

    Shake off any visible dirt, and trim off things like roots, old leaves, and any parts of the fruit or vegetable which look undesirable/bad. It’ll go a long way to cleaning them if the dirt is already off!

  2. Rinse them off

    Take your produce and give them a rinse off in some water to get any loose dirt and particals off, it doesn’t need to be purified water at this point – under the tap is just fine

  3. Soak & Sanitise

    You can buy microdyn from just about any supermarket, and many mini-marts and oxxos. It’s a disinfecting liquid, and you add a few drops to a bowl of water, then put in your produce to soak. I tend to leave things up to 15 minutes – especially those which collect a lot of dirt and don’t have a peel or skin, such as lettuces and fresh herbs.

    Some fruits in particular such as rasberries and strawberries can become waterlogged, so in those cases I soak them a bit less and/or use a separate citrus seed oil spray on them.

  4. Drain & dry

    Once they are finished soaking, leave them to dry. I like using a drying rack, or a colander. The most important thing is to place them somewhere clean, and not right back on the surface you were preparing the pre-soaked produce on.

  5. Into the fridge and onto the shelves!

    Now, place your produce however you like to store them. It doesn’t matter how, the main thing here is that you don’t put them back into the bags or containers they arrived in unless the containers have also been thoroughly washed & sanitised. Otherwise you will just be undoing all your hard work!


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Amaia Steps Pasig nears completion with topping off ceremony of Clara Building

Amaia Steps Pasig recently held the topping off ceremony of the Clara Building, its fourth residential mid-rise in the complex, bringing the contemporary development closer to aspiring condo dwellers looking to settle down in the heart of Pasig City.

Amaia VIPs attend Amaia Steps Pasig Clara Building topping off ceremony. (L-R Jemelyn Manongsong, CSG GEO Head; Jasmin Espiritu, MetroSouth Inhs GEO Head; Jeanette Saturnino, MRT Head; Ramon Quiaoit, MDC Operations Head; Deedin Benig-Alulod, North Manila Project Development Manager)


The topping off is a traditional milestone in the construction industry when the final structural beam is raised into place, completing the building’s frame. It is at this point that Amaia Steps Pasig—all 464 units of it, plus its amenities—may be fully appreciated by property seekers, and when its buyers and investors may look forward to moving into their dream abodes.

The fortunate lot who have invested in Amaia Steps Pasig’s Clara Building may expect the fulfillment of their aspirations as they create a vibrant community. Located in the bustling neighborhood of Eusebio Street in Barangay Miguel, Pasig City, the strikingly designed residential condominium touts a strategic location that blends urban convenience with suburban tranquility. 

After all, Amaia Steps Pasig has easy access to major roads and highways, established schools, hospitals, and commercial centers. Likewise, the development is less than six kilometers away from Ortigas Central Business District, and just four kilometers from C5 Road. 

Envisioned for the passion-driven generation, such as ambitious young professionals and students, enterprising individuals, and starting families, this four-hectare modern mid-rise residential project is also within a brief drive and commute to various government offices and hospitals. 

Offering both accessibility and a serene retreat, Amaia Steps Pasig features retail spaces right at homeowners’ doorsteps, placing everyday essentials within reach. One can grab a quick bite or run important errands just steps away from their homes. Already functional amenities include a swimming pool, a basketball court, a playground, a multi-purpose hall, and beautifully landscaped gardens.

The Clara Building, the final structure in the Amaia Steps Pasig project, offers a variety of cozy unit options, including Studio, Deluxe, and Premier units, with sizes ranging from 23 to 42 square meters. Each is designed to cater to the needs of its residents and their fast-paced lifestyles. 

With the near completion of Amaia Steps Pasig’s Clara Building, the turnover of its units to new homeowners looms in the horizon. 

For inquiries about Amaia Steps Pasig or other Amaia properties, visit https://www.amaialand.com or contact our Amaia real estate salesperson.


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Backpacking Venezuela Travel Guide (2024)