Airbnb Review in San Isidro, Costa Rica

This beautiful working coffee ranch is located about an hour from San Jose and 30 minutes from Heredia, another major city. We then found out it really depends on traffic and how fast your driver is!

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Our host was awesome and very friendly. I’m a planner so I need to know everything possible and ask every single question. He was very prompt to respond and assure me everything was perfect. He did warn me there is no such thing as addresses or street signs in Costa Rica so he gave me turn by turn directions on how to get there. He also recommended I downloaded and saved the map area offline in google maps. I also downloaded another great app where I was able to drop pins on specific locations and then use the app without internet or wifi.

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We arrived at SJO airport and took a taxi. When you say the city Concepcion de San Isidro no one really knew how to get there. It’s up in the mountains away from everyone and everything. Our taxi driver kept stopping every couple of turns to ask the friendly locals for directions. A couple minutes later we were lost and had no clue where we were. That’s when I knew I had to take over! Good thing I had my maps app I told him I knew how to get there and let me tell him where to turn. You basically take the main road and go through Heredia from the airport then make a left at the main gas station. Then go through San Isidro city center, on the second road make a left and all the way up the mountain you go passing the church. That’s the address!

Our host was in the states so the maintenance guy received us. Gave us the keys and the gate key and pointed to our little home and kept working on the plants. Ok make yourself at home! We dropped off our luggage checked the room out and started exploring. In the 3 days we were there we had the chance to see everything. I still wish we could have stayed longer!

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The room was spacious enough for two. I loved all the natural light coming in from the many windows. For some reason the first thing we always check out is the bed. It was very comfy and as I laid there I immediately noticed the beautiful wood beams on the ceiling. So many little details pull everything together.

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Next to the bed was a comfy couch we mostly used for our luggage and to leave our bags prepared. Across was a small tv and a table. On the far right you had the bathroom, closet, and coffee station. The bathroom was nice and had good toilet paper, yay! The water was very cold at first so you had to give it a minute but after it warmed up I didn’t want to leave the shower.

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On day 3 and last we were there we really got to explore more. Since we were pretty much on tours the rest of the time. We met the housekeeper and she was so amazing and sweet. She loved talking to us and telling us all about Costa Rica. We went to the back of the property where the coffee starts and after walking for what seemed like forever we went back to the home and she showed us the coffee grown there in bags. Of course we bought a couple, it tasted amazing!

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After walking the trails and even finding a running stream we walked back up the other way. We found beautiful plants and fruits. Everything was so colorful and pretty. I wanted pictures of everything!

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We then went back up to sit on the balcony and enjoy the views. We even made a little friend. He was so adorable and I wanted to take him home with me! He followed me everywhere and when I walked he walked and when I stopped he also stopped. So adorable!

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The housekeepers daughter was so kind to take us back to the airport saving us some money. We were so sad to leave and wish we could have stayed longer. Overall I give this place 5 stars. It’s beautiful, the hosts are beyond nice, it has all the amenities needed and it’s very affordable. The only thing I saw as a little downside was location. It’s amazing up in the mountains but it could be a little costly taking taxis back and forth.

 

I can’t wait to return! Pura Vida!!!

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EXPENSES

-Rate per Night $75 usd

-Taxi from SJO airport to Airbnb $40

-Taxi from Airbnb to SJO airport $25

-Taxi between Airbnb and Heredia $12

-Coffee from here $14 per bag

 

-Dayana

 

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The Dog Bar in St. Pete, FL

What could be better than dogs and bars? we love both.

I have a doggie named Bebe (Baby in Spanish, so original lol) I absolutely love him and he is my baby! He has many great qualities. Like he’s very opinionated, beyond intelligent, loving when he wants to be and oh so funny! He’s perfect. Daylin, on the other hand, does not have a dog but does like certain ones, especially pugs. She’s more of the play with them for a little but he’s yours.

It’s Saturday night Bebe was bored and I had promised him earlier I would hang out with him and take him to the park. Then something in my brain clicked and I remembered driving by The Dog Bar. I knew it was the perfect moment to go. I called Daylin of course! We also invited our cousin who has a Maltese, Summer. Off we went to the unknown.

We arrived and as soon as we walked in we went straight to the bar and checked the place out. Daylin had a mojito and I asked for something sweet. It was Delicious. It was a peachy color but I couldn’t pin point the flavors all I knew is that it tasted like sunsets and waves. Yumm! Sorry, we forgot to take pics of the drinks, we were too distracted with all the cute pups.

The Dog Bar
2300 Central Ave.
St. Pete, FL 33712
P: (727) 317-4968
Email: dogbarstpete@gmail.com

Hours
SUN 12PM-11PM || MON Closed || TUE-THUR 4PM-12AM || FRI 4PM-1AM || SAT 12PM-1AM

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-Dayana

OUR PERU 8 DAY ITINERARY

We booked our Peru trip through Expedia.com.  It ended up being more expensive than what we initially wanted to book for because we waited till last minute and we wanted to get to Peru at a certain time and of course, time is money, so we had to pay more for that. It is definitely possible to travel to Peru at a much lower price, but you will probably need to exclude some things from this itinerary since we did also try to fit as much as possible in just 8 nights.

DAY 1

We departed on a Saturday from Miami with LATAM Airlines

Miami (MIA)               >               Lima (LIM)

Depart: 2:05am                           Arrive: 6:40am

Cabin: Economy/Coach

Duration: 5 hrs and 35 min

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Miami

Lima (LIM)                >            Cusco (CUZ)

Depart: 9:10am                       Arrive: 10:45am

Cabin: Economy/Coach

Duration: 1 hr and 35 min

Total Duration: 9 hrs and 40 min

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The Andes

When we arrived we just hung out around the city and explored the neighborhood we were staying at. At night we went out to eat at a really yummy restaurant and went to bed early since we had a big day the next day going to Machu Picchu.

Total price for flight only (no hotel): $1,566.10 (for 2 people) 

NOTE: Keep in mind the total price for flight included 4 flights total, which is the reason for a higher price than the norm, plus we booked late & we were picky about flight times which bumped the price even more. The flights included in the price were MIAMI-LIMA, LIMA-CUSCO, JULIACA-LIMA and LIMA-MIAMI.

 

DAY 2

We took a taxi from Cusco to Ollantaytambo station to take a train to Aguas Calientes (the closest town to Machu Picchu) and from there the bus that would take us to Machu Picchu.

PERURAIL (click link to visit website)

Train type: Expedition

From: Ollantaytambo

To: Aguas Calientes

Departure Time: 5:40am

Price: $57.00 USD per person

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Expedition train w/ PERURAIL on our way to Aguas Calientes

From Aguas Calientes, we rode a bus that took us to Machu Picchu. Btw prepare to make a longgg line :/

Consettur Machupicchu S.A.C (click link for website) was who we bought the bus tickets from.

Bus ticket from Agua Calientes to Machu Picchu (roundtrip): $24.00 USD per person

 

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Longgg line. This was when we were MUCH closer to getting on a bus lol.

 


REMINDER! Make sure to book Machu Picchu tickets ahead in high season (June-Sept) as tickets can sell out!

Machu Picchu Main Grounds ticket: $40.00 USD (128 Soles) per person

There are different packages you could choose from of different places to see in Machu Picchu, but we chose to only do the Main Grounds.

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The line to actually get into Machu Picchu (if you can even call it a line :/). We literally had to push to get to the front. It was crazy with everyone wanting to cut. They should definitely have someone there organizing the lines.
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Love this picture we took of Machu Picchu. It looks like a postcard. ❤

On our way back to Cusco we took another train with the same company from Aguas Calientes to Poroy station.

PERURAIL (click link to visit website)

Train type: Vistadome (food & drinks included plus entertainment)

From: Aguas Calientes

To: Poroy

Departure Time: 3:20pm

Price: $91.00 USD per person

Total for the day: $212.00 USD (690 Soles) per person (not including taxi drive or food and drinks)

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Vistadome train w/ PERURAIL on our way to Poroyo Station and then Cusco. This train had food and drink included plus a show and a better view of outside than the first one.

More Info:

  • Ollantaytambo station

About 1 hr and 30 min from Cusco

About 1 hr and 50 min to Aguas Calientes


  • Poroy Station

About 20 min from Cusco

About 3 hrs and 50 min to Aguas Calientes

 

DAY 3

We decided to take a day tour of Saksaywaman Inca ruins in Cusco and also enjoy what the city had to offer. The ticket was a one day ticket and included Saksaywaman, Qenqo, Pucapucara and Tambomachay Inca sites/ruins. There are other tickets for more days you could buy which include more, like museums and other Inca related sites, but we really didn’t have time and we aren’t really the “tour guide” type (we like to explore on our own).

Private tour guide (which honestly overcharged us but we were so tired we didn’t even try looking for someone else): $40.00 USD

One day ticket for 4 Inca site/ruins: $21.00 USD (70 Soles) per person

Total for the day: $31.00 USD per person (we were 4 people in our group). This is not including food or drinks.

 

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Saksaywaman

 

 

DAY 4

On day 4 we headed to Puno, Peru on an overnight bus (where you can sleep because the seat lean really far back like a bed). This company deserves a review of its own because they were horrible! I’m only including them in this list because they were, unfortunately, part of our trip and I won’t bore anyone with what would’ve been the longest negative review for a company. But I can assure you I will be posting my review elsewhere.

Turismo Mer (click link if you want to book the worst bus company ever)

Price: around $21.00 USD (65-70 Soles)

Our Airbnb host had sent someone (who owned a hotel in Puno) to the station to pick us up and take us to their hotel to wait for them. After a few hours of resting & waiting we were finally picked up by our host with Lake Titicaca as our destination. Our host had a place right next to Lake Titicaca. Click here to check out our reviews on all the Airbnb places we stayed at in Peru. After taking a little nap (it was really early & we hadn’t slept anything on the overnight bus) they took us on a little tour of the lake in 2 little boats owned by 2 really nice brothers.

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Lake Titicaca. On our way to tour the lake. It was literally a 2-minute walk from the Airbnb to the lake. The Airbnb house is just before the hotel you see in the picture, so it’s really close.
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Brother 1
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Brother 2
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The Little island they took us to near their home.

After the fun outing, we went back to the Airbnb and took a shower to then go to a bonfire our hosts were setting up for us (also something you could check out on our Airbnb in Peru post).

These activities, plus breakfast, lunch & dinner, were all included with our stay at our Airbnb house. Click here to go to their page on Airbnb.com.

Total for the day: around $21.00 USD (65-70 Soles) per person 

 

DAY 5

After breakfast, which was included with our stay, our Airbnb host drove us to where our tour would be for the Uros and Taquile Islands. We booked it through our Airbnb host, so I’m not sure if they have a discount or a special set price with the company. While browsing online I found the full day tour of Uros + Taquile Island goes around $90-$100 and we got it a bit cheaper, so try to book with your Airbnb host or hotel if you can and just compare with online prices because you might get it cheaper through them.

Jumbo Travel (click link to visit website)

Full 1 day tour of Uros+Taquile Islands

Price: about $80.00 USD per person (lunch was included in price). Price does not include souvenirs. 

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Jumbo travel boat in Lake Titicaca right before take off.
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Entering Uro territory
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The Uros islands are made by the Uros people from totora reeds!
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They’ll show you their home and how they live in the islands. 

 

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Once you finish their house tour they let you stay a few more minutes so you could buy things they handmake. 

 

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Taquile Island view
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They showed us what their customs and how they live while we ate lunch in Taquile Island
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Beautiful view from Taquile Island

When we finished the tour we took a taxi all the way to Juliaca, where we took a flight to Lima and a bus to Ica.

On Wednesday we departed from Juliaca with LATAM Airlines

Juliaca (JUL)         >         Lima (LIM)

Depart 9:30pm                Arrive: 11:10pm

Cabin: Economy/Coach

Duration: 1 hr and 40 min


I have to say Oltursa was our favorite bus company we traveled in because of comfort and cleanliness. We only took it once though, so I’m not sure if we were just lucky with that one bus lol. Regardless we recommend you try them!

Oltursa (click link to visit website)

Bus type: Doble VIP (160° seat reclination)

Duration: about 5 hrs

Price: $20.00 (65.00 Soles) per person

Total for the day: $100.00 USD (325 Soles) per person. Total does not include souvenirs or other expenses. 

DAY 6

When we got to our Airbnb in Ica we then rested a little and then went out to eat. Afterward, we went to a bodega where they have all kinds of pisco sour. There, they gave us a tour around the place & showed us how the pisco sour is made. This all took about 45 min to 1 hr.

El Viejo Catador (click link to visit website)

I don’t remember if we were charged for this small tour of the place, but I do know our Airbnb host personally drove us there and we did buy some souvenirs there as well.

Tour of the Bodega Catador in Ica, Peru
Tour of the Bodega Catador in Ica, Peru

Our Airbnb host then took us to a famous winery in Ica where they also gave us a tour and we were able to taste some piscos and different types of wines. There are different types of tours that they offer, but we chose the Traditional Tour.

Tacama (click link to visit website for additional info on tours)

Tour Type: Traditional Tour

Includes: Wine & pisco tasting as well as show the process of how they make their wines & Pisco.

Duration: 1 hr

Price for Mon-Fri: Free 

Tues-Sun for groups of more than 20 people: $3.00 (10 Soles) for adults and $2.50 (5 Soles) for children 12 & under.

Price for Saturday’s, Sunday’s and holidays: $3.00 (10 Soles) for adults and $2.50 (5 Soles) for children 12 & under.

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Tacama Winery
Tacama Winery
Tacama Winery (pic looks weird because it was a screenshot of a video I took). Video was taken from inside our host’s car.

When we were done with all the wine and pisco tasting our Airbnb host took us to the Dune Buggy tours to really have a blast!

I can’t recommend our tour for the dune buggies because our Airbnb host was the one who arranged everything and I can’t find anything about the company we did it with. I will put info on prices and times though.

www.Huacachina.com (click link to visit website for private group pricing & other info)

They recommend taking the 4pm tour because of the heat (I think that’s the one we took and it was amazing since you get to see the sunset.

* During some months of the year, the last tour of the day is at 4:30 PM (usually Dec-Feb).

Tour Duration: 1 hr

Group (non-private tour) Dune Buggy & Sandboarding price: $8.00 USD (25.70 Soles) per person. Price includes entrance fee of 3.70 Soles.

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Dune Buggy
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Huacachina Desert Oasis
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Huacachina means “young crying woman” when translated from the Quechua language. The Huacuachina mermaid is supposed to be an Incan princess, but there are variations to the legend and her story.

 

Total price for the day: about $15.00-$20.00 USD (49-65 Soles). Total not including food/drinks. I’m not sure of certain prices or if we were charged for the first tour, so I’m giving an estimate of the cost.

 

DAY 7

The day after we headed towards Nazca, Peru where the famous Nazca Lines and Cantalloc Aqueducts are located. This time we used yet another bus company. This one was ok, but Oltursa was still better.

Transportation

Cruz Del Sur (click to visit website)

Destination: ICA-NASCA (roundtrip)

Duration: 2 hrs

Price (roundtrip): $22.00 (72 Soles) per person


Nasca Lines & Cantalloc Aqueducts Tour

We were extremely excited and initially booked a normal tour (non-private), but after looking at the prices, although not cheap, we decided to book a private tour because we’d get a tiny plane just for us and we’d get to see the lines with a better view. Our Airbnb host booked this tour for us, so we don’t know what company he used. Regardless, the price will be different if you book it by yourself because our host had some sort of deal or friendship with them.

Includes: Private tour of the Nasca lines (in a small Cessna plane) and after, a private tour of the Cantalloc Aqueducts.

General Tour Price: about $75.00 (24 Soles) per person

Private Tour Price: about $100.00 (40 Soles) per person

 

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Famous Nasca bird
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Alien

 

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These aqueducts are in really good conditions and actually still work. 

 

Total price for the day: $122.00 USD (396 Soles) per person. Not including food/drink or other expenses.

DAY 8

The last day we booked with Cruz Del Sur once more and headed towards Lima. We stayed the night in Lima’s gorgeous neighborhood of Miraflores to head back home the next day.

Bus from Nasca-Lima

Cruz Del Sur (click to visit website)

Destination: ICA-NASCA (roundtrip)

Duration: about 5 hrs

Price (one-way): $13.00 (40 Soles) per person

 

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Miraflores

 

Park of the Reserve

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Park of the Reserve in Lima, Peru. Gorgeous park and really fun park with interactive fountains & laser show.

 

We stayed in a hotel the last night in Lima & it was perfect for what we needed, which was shower and sleep!

On Sunday we departed from Lima back to Florida with LATAM Airlines

Lima (LIM)          >            Miami (MIA)

Depart: 8:25am                 Arrive: 3:25pm

Cabin: Economy/Coach

Duration: 6 hours

Total price for the day: about $15.00-$25.00 USD (49-81 Soles) per person. The reason I’m not sure of the exact price is that I don’t remember the price of the pretty fountain park. Not including food/drink or other expenses.


Hope my itinerary helps with the planning of your trip to Peru!

-Daylin

 

 

 

 

The Marietas Islands in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

When we looked up Puerto Vallarta on Google the one picture that caught our eye was the one of the Hidden Beach in The Marietas Islands. The Marietas Islands are completely uninhabited by humans & are home to 44 different species of plants and wildlife. The Mexican government had to close the islands to the public for some time so that they could restore the damage that was done due to the many tours that would go to the island destroying it’s coral and contaminating the island’s surrounding water with excessive oil from the many boats. The islands are opened to the public again, but only certain tours are able to get you in (they have to have a special license I believe).

The tour we bought included a tour around the islands, getting off at one of the beaches (not the Hidden Beach), snorkeling, and food. The Hidden Beach was a private tour with the same tour company, but for a higher price and only an older couple (about 50-60 yrs old) and us were the ones who signed up to go. I was excited because I really didn’t want to have that experience with a bunch of people at the beach since it can get crowded easily because of its small size.

Vallarta by Boat (click on the link to see their website & what they offer)

Price for Marietas Islands tour: $1,600 pesos which would be around $86.00 US dollars (that’s the total price for 2 people)

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The first beach they took us to.

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When we got on the smaller boat to go to The Hidden Beach we found out we would have to swim there from where they stopped which was pretty far from the beach. The only thing they gave us was a life vest and a helmet. We asked them if we could get flippers to swim faster, but they said that because we didn’t know these waters they couldn’t risk us damaging the corals. We thought it made sense, but definitely had trouble getting to the beach without them. We had our tour guide lead the way once we got in the water. The older couple had A LOT of trouble swimming to the beach! We had plenty of trouble swimming there as well, but it’s only natural for them to get tired easier because of their age. The guy almost looked like he was about to pass out and the woman actually had a panic attack on the way back to the boat. We feel like it doesn’t matter how good of a swimmer you are, you will definitely have trouble swimming in those waters. The problem was the current and waves. To get to the beach you have to go through a cave and sometimes the water reaches the top so they count (they said it’s usually 6-7 waves before getting everyone to go through the cave and you have to swim quickly because if the big waves come then you’ll reach the top of the cave, which can definitely be scary and even hurt you. The problem is that even if you swim quickly the current always pulls you back. You think you’ve reached the shore when you’re pulled back in and since you try so hard to swim fast you get tired easily so it isn’t for the weak!

The Hidden Beach

Price for Hidden Beach tour: $1,200 pesos which would be around $65.00 US dollars (that’s the total price for 2 people)

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As you can see the water can reach the top. If you get caught in that it could be really dangerous.

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The water was rising to the top here, so they are waiting before they head back.

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Total price for 2 people: $2,800 pesos (around $151.00 US dollars)

We loved that we had that amazing experience because it really is such a unique place, but we don’t think we’d do it again just because it’s so risky. I would say, make sure to do your research and train beforehand, if you can, before you go.

-Daylin

 

 

 

 

 

Aruba

In April we went on Carnival Vista to Aruba. One reason I like cruises is because you get the chance to explore a different place for a day. Many times you want to go on vacation and see many pretty places but will you really like it? Not all places are as nice as the images or fun. Sometimes I like to try a place before I actually decide to book a full week there and spend so much money.

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Aruba is a small Dutch island off of the coast of Venezuela. Part of the ABC island which also includes Bonaire and Curaçao. Aruba is very unique because some parts are tropical, with white sand and clear blue beaches but also has a dry climate with cactuses.

When we arrived at the cruise port first we decided to walk around near the port. We saw many places to eat and cute little souvenir vendors. The buildings were all different and very pretty, everything was clean and seemed safe. We really liked walking around but we decided to go back to the port to book a tour and come back after. There were people standing around with the little tour booklets so we chose the whole island tour.

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It was very nice it was a guided tour. During the car ride the guy explained the island’s history and when we arrived at the locations he would get off with us. He showed us around or helped with anything until we had to go back. First we stopped by an Asian store, they had everything and of course, husband had to try the local beer.

Our first stop was at Ayo and Casibari Rock Formation. This was my favorite! From the bottom, you could see the huge boulders and we were excited to climb to the top not knowing what we would find. There was desert sand and cactuses and other pretty trees. We started the climb which was very steep. My husband is 6’4″ and found some places a bit tight to get through, luckily I’m small and had no problems. It was a fun climb and when we got up there it was just breathtaking! Beyond beautiful you could see everything from there. The colors were amazing. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

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Our second stop was near the coast where there were rocky edges and harsh waves.   At this moment I thought all of Aruba was dessert and rocks. To be honest, I was tired of seeing red sand and cactuses, I thought there were no beaches or nice landscapes. Regardless it was still beautiful. We also visited an old gold mine.  It was in ruins but you could climb to the top and once again the views did not disappoint. Everywhere you turned there was an amazing view.

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The next location was the famous natural bridge. Although the original bridge collapsed in 2005 it’s still a very nice area. There is a baby bridge to see and you can walk over it. There’s also a souvenir shop and on the outside wall, you can see an image of the original bridge.

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We learned that nothing is really produced in Aruba. Everything is imported making prices more expensive. We noticed there were all different types of social classes. We saw modest homes and also very expensive big houses with a view.

We were headed to the beach. I wasn’t sure what to expect. Along the way, we stopped for some refreshments next to the lighthouse. Then we drove down and passed by a couple of hotel zones. Our tour guide took us to a beach which was very nice but not the busiest major beach. He dropped us there and asked at what time we wanted him to pick us back up. A couple hours later he arrived on time just as he said. The beach did not disappoint as well. The sand was soft white and the water crystal clear blue.

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The word I will use to describe Aruba is unique. Not what I was expecting and full of surprises. Every time I wasn’t too sure about something, it ended up blowing me away. Views for days! Red dessert sand and cactuses to white sand and blue water. I enjoyed Aruba so much I would definitely come back in the future for a whole week to keep exploring everything I missed.

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-Dayana

Airbnb in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

The Airbnb we stayed at in Puerto Vallarta was amazing and we would book it again in a heartbeat if we ever decide to visit again, which will most likely be the case since we didn’t get to do everything we wanted. We really recommend staying at Eric and Nicki’s place, as it has a really authentic Mexican feel to it with really vibrant colors and an amazing tiled kitchen, which we honestly didn’t use, but if our stay would’ve been longer I would’ve been delighted to use.

The moment we walked into the place I knew we were going to love it. They had just cleaned, so it smelled great. The windows were all opened, so the billowing curtains announced a nice cool breeze and I could hear birds singing, which made it all the better. The fans were also on, so the air circulated around the whole place really well. We did end up turning on the AC at night and closing all the windows so we could sleep (we like it to be cooler at night, so the breeze from outside wasn’t enough). Every time we’d head out to explore, if we would see Nicki around she would give us really good tips on where to go and where to eat. She was really sweet and we were really impressed with her Spanish! She’s from the states, but has lived there I think she said for about 7 years, so she speaks it very well. We didn’t meet Eric, which I think is the actual owner of the place, but Nicki made sure our stay was a great one. She lives in the bottom part, so what you would get would be the second (kitchen & living room area), third (bedroom & bathroom) and fourth floor (washer/dryer & terrace w/ tiny pool). Keep in mind that the part of the house you would be staying at is on the SECOND floor lol. That means you’ll have to go up quite a few stairs to get to it, so we advise not to take too much luggage because it’ll be a hassle since to get to the bedroom (the 3rd floor) you’d have to go up MORE stairs and if you are not the active type it can get tiring. They do have pets (2 dogs I believe and a lovely cat) that mostly stay downstairs at her place. Their cat did wait for us outside our door the last two days waiting for us to come out and pet her, which we thought was adorable.

Click here to check out the video we made about our trip to Puerto Vallarta!

Huge 1br home private garden on river (click the link to book!)

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Outside the Airbnb
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Outside the Airbnb
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The river right across our Airbnb. There’s a really cool bridge to cross it.

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Let me know if you need more information on this beautiful Airbnb that I might’ve forgotten to add!

-Daylin

Our trip & what to do/eat in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

We just got back from our trip to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and it was amazing (PLEASE GO CHECK OUT OUR AWESOME PUERTO VALLARTA VIDEO)! Words can’t describe how awesome it was. We were looking to go somewhere different yet close enough to Florida that we wouldn’t have to spend so much time on our way there since we were only able to go for 5 days. We decided on Puerto Vallarta after having two pages opened, one with Expedia for prices and the other with a map to look up places. On our quest, we actually found really cool places to visit, but it was just not the right time to go. Until we finally found Puerto Vallarta and at a great price!

We didn’t expect to need more days than we booked our trip for, but man were we wrong! Five days was just not enough. We did so much, yet we missed out on doing so many things we wanted to do. We are thin, but definitely not in the greatest shape to be doing so many outdoorsy things so we would do an excursion one day and would want to take it easy the next just because we were so sore the next day from all we did. I do barre classes which really prepared me more than I thought, but my husband hasn’t had the time to work out as much as he’d like so he struggled more in certain activities.

When we got there we were tired and really hungry. While walking to the Malecon we saw a restaurant/pub that looked pretty cool and saw they were airing a soccer game, so we went in and grabbed some drinks and relaxed while watching the game. Our vacation had started!

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This is a bridge that crosses the river in front of our Airbnb house

 

Los Muertos Brewing

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Madrid vs Atletico Madrid (3-0)
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“Flight”

Our Airbnb host recommended we walk around a close by area to the house and find some local eats and that’s exactly what we did! We just found a whole bunch of locals sitting down at this long table in a hidden street and a whole bunch of vendors to the side selling food. This dish had meat, rice, beans and a salad. Super good!

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Carne a la Mexicana
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Taquitos de Pollo

At night we walked around a nearby neighborhood and found a restaurant called El Mole de Jovita and decided to give it a try. I’m usually really picky and don’t like to risk trying things when I’m really hungry but I always make an effort when we’re traveling to try things, especially when I’ve never heard of or seen it before. I’ve heard of “mole” (pronounced Mo-Leh. Like the MO of the word “MOtion” and the LE like the word “siLEnt” is the best I could explain the pronunciation in English as.) before but didn’t know what it looked like or what exactly it was. It looked interesting though because the lady was actually making it outside and giving samples as people walked by, so we decided to stay and eat there after tasting it. After talking with our waiter for a while we found out he actually lived in the Tampa Bay Area a few years ago but had decided to move back to Mexico and live in Puerto Vallarta. What a small world!

They have 3 different type of moles. Mole Jovita, which is the original mole (chocolate base), Mole Pipian (squash base) and Mole Verde (tomato base). I liked the Mole Jovita and Mole Verde and my husband liked the Mole Pipian and Mole Verde, so we both ordered chicken with the two mole sauces we liked. It tasted like something I’ve never tried before, but very good and we’d definitely come back here again if we ever get the chance to visit again.

El Mole de Jovita

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There was also a lady singing while we ate
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Tasting the mole
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Mango Margarita
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Mezcal de Cucumber
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Chicken covered with Mole Jovita (the brown sauce) & Mole Verde (the green sauce) w/ rice & salad
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Chicken covered with Mole Pipian (the orange sauce) & Mole Verde (the green sauce) w/ rice & salad

The next morning we had breakfast at around the same place where all the locals were eating at the day before. Again there is no name for the place, so you’d just have to pick whichever of the stands or spots you like the food from what you see and order.

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This was my hubby’s, but it was sooo good! Scrambled eggs w/ ham and like a shredded beef sandwich with lettuce & tomatoes
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I went safe and just got scrambled eggs w/ ham and toast

After, we went to like a 7-eleven type store called Oxxo and bought a Mexican energy drink to try something other than the regular red bull we always get. I’m not really into green tea (it was green tea flavored), but it was really good. Tasted much better than red bull in my opinion.

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We then headed out to Conchas Chinas beach. Throughout our trip, we noticed that asking taxi drivers for recommendations was a good idea and this beach was a great beach to take our drone and our cameras to since it wasn’t a beach where there’d be many people at. Actually, when we went there were just a few people and no one really stayed long since the current was strong.

Conchas Chinas Beach

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Conchas Chinas Beach
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We had it to ourselves for a while 🙂
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This was a little past Conchas Chinas beach. Right where Lindomar resort is at.

After we flew our drone (the DJI Mavic Pro, which we totally recommend) for a while and enjoyed the view of Conchas Chinas beach we wanted to head to the other beach the taxi driver suggested we visit, Mismaloya Beach (a popular beach in Puerto Vallarta with a view of Los Arcos which I will show below). When we got there we actually ended up horseback riding up to “El Eden” where one of the scenes in the movie Predator (1987) with Arnold Schwarzenegger was filmed at. They take a picture of you in the entrance and then you can enter the park. We didn’t do anything in the park but just have lunch at the restaurant there. You can, however, do many things there like zip lining, swimming in the river and hiking. The restaurant honestly was a bit over priced (we guessed it was due to how touristy the place is) and the food was ok. I personally didn’t really like my food, which was just chicken with rice. My husbands fish tasted great though, so I guess it’s a hit or miss. The view of the river where we sat was nice because it was a little farther from all the kids at the other side playing in the water. If you have kids though there is a closer area by the water where you can eat while your kid plays in the river. The river isn’t deep and the zip lining is right across from the restaurant.

As for the horseback riding tour, there really isn’t much to say other than it was EXTREMELY HOT and it takes an hour to get to El Eden from where the tour starts. It was just my husband and me so that was nice, but I wouldn’t take that tour again if they offered it to me. Beautiful horses, but I didn’t like the fact that they gave me a horse that had just had her baby about 3 months ago and was really impatient and honestly I wouldn’t have ridden on her if the guy didn’t offer to hold her while I was on the whole trip to El Eden because I was so scared. I felt sorry for the guy cause he had to walk holding my horse the whole 2 hours to and from the Park, but they shouldn’t have done that. The horse was wanting to go back to her baby the whole time and I felt horrible about her being away from her newborn after I found out. I don’t think it was a specific tour agency because it was just some random guy that was by the tour agency stands at the Mismaloya bus stop, so I can’t tell you the tour agency name since I think it was just a local with a ranch full of horses trying to make some money. Of course, leave it to us and follow the guy *sigh*.

Parque Nacional Ecoturistico El Eden de Vallarta

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Their menu. Prices in Mexican pesos.
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The chips & salsa were not so good. The chips were kinda stale.
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I loved the pina colada. My husband ordered it for him but didn’t like it because they barely put any alcohol lol
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My chicken dish. The beans were kinda gross and only half of the chicken was good the other part tasted weird
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My husband’s dish. The fish was really tasty!

At night we went to an event (maybe like a fair) they were having with a show and a whole bunch of food game stands. We had crepes and got a little too addicted to the shooting game lol (no pictures of that though).

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The same guy that we bought the horseback riding tour from sold us the Marietas Island tour the next day with a legit tour agency called  Vallarta by Boat. I will be talking about that tour on a separate blog post because I have quite a lot to say about it, so stay tuned for that!

In that specific tour, we met a group of people and decided to meet up at night for dinner. They were from Puebla, Mexico and it was their first time in Puerto Vallarta as well. We waited for them at the Malecon (an oceanfront promenade that borders the shoreline along the downtown area’s main street, Paseo Diaz Ordaz) while we took pictures around the area. They said that they also got suggestions about where to eat from their taxi drivers and so far all the restaurants were great, so we decided to try another restaurant they had on their list called Cuates y Cuetes. It was right by the water and you could choose to eat inside or outside on the sand. It was by far our favorite restaurant on our whole trip! Definitely, give it a try if you are in the area!

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“The Boy on the Seahorse”, one of Puerto Vallarta’s main symbols and the first statue that was placed in downtown Puerto Vallarta
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El Malecon
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Los Arcos Amphitheater
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The Vallarta Dancers (2006) sculptor Jim Demetro

Cuates y Cuetes

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Outside seating at the restaurant Cuates y Cuetes with the view of the pier in Los Muertos Beach
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The strawberry daiquiri was so good!
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Queso fundido con chorizo (melted cheese with sausage)
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What my husband got. It was fish, but he doesn’t remember the name.
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Camarones al Coco (coconut shrimp w/ rice & veggies)
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I also got “Tacos Rosita” so yummm!!! (sorry pic was taken w/ my phone)

The next day we took another taxi drivers suggestion and tried a restaurant called Cafe de Olla and it didn’t disappoint! Absolutely wonderful! It was full of locals, so we knew it had to be good!

Cafe de Olla

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Their menu

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The orange juice was perfect and seemed freshly squeezed
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Hot chocolate (I know, I was crazy in drinking this with how hot it was outside, but I wanted something with chocolate so bad lol
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Shredded beef w/ beans and plantains
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Chilaquiles con Carne (tortilla chips topped w/cheese & some delicious sauce poured all over, plantains, beans and meat.

After we had brunch we went to Los Arcos to fly our drone and get some cool shots for our video and after, Mismaloya Beach to relax on our last day. We don’t know what the big hype was about Mismaloya beach because you could barely swim with all the small boats anchored so close to shore and more kept coming in. I also had the impression it’d be a long beach, but it was extremely small and full of people. I would’ve gone back to Conchas Chinas Beach in a heartbeat if it hadn’t been so far away from Mismaloya. The only thing it has that makes it special in my opinion is a view of Los Arcos.

When we got back to our Airbnb to watch the video we had taken it turned out it was out of focus the whole time, so we made the decision to go back to Los Arcos (a 20-minute drive) to take the video again. We just couldn’t leave Puerto Vallarta until we got the shot of Los Arcos. I mean that’s one of Puerto Vallarta’s main sites. We couldn’t miss it! We made it at sunset and actually got some really cool shots!

 

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Mismaloya Beach

 

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This was a shot from the first time we went.

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My husband flying his drone
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The taxi driver took us to a hidden beach where we could get some cool shot for our video
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La Piedra del Diablo (The Devils Rock). Our taxi driver said that dark spot on the rock, which looks like the devil with his horns (he is standing up and you could see the horns and his walking stick), is called that because it looks like the devil and weird things have happened around the rock. He said one incident in the 1900s was when a camera crew in a boat going under the image was suddenly flipped over and their things disappeared never to be found. I thought that was pretty interesting, but of course, probably made up lol.
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Sunset at Los Arcos

The same taxi driver who took us to Los Arcos a second time was the one who recommended the last restaurant we went to and that’s when we found out they are not all going to recommend the best places to eat. Many taxi drivers get a commission for taking people to certain restaurants/places, so you have to be keen in observing who is who, something I lack completely. My husband could tell he was trying to get us to go to this restaurant and found it fishy (he’s pretty street smart) he said it had a nice view though so we just let him take us. The restaurant truly did have an amazing view and great food, the only thing was that it was really expensive and full of foreigners, something we usually avoid because it’s a sign of something being expensive and also we like to try what locals eat. Be careful about being fooled to go somewhere expensive when you could eat good and cheap somewhere else. Either way, we enjoyed it! The view really was incredible and we got to meet a really sweet 10-year-old boy who was in charge of preparing guacamole for anyone who asked for some. He said that after school he would go straight to the restaurant to work and that when he grows up he wants to be an architect. We thought he was adorable and commended him for staying in school and not dropping out.

Our waiter recommended everything we ate and we just went with it. We don’t regret it even though some things I would’ve never ordered had I been back home lol. Everything was delicious, but I completely forgot to get the name of the dishes, so I’ll come back to update it if I find it.

Ah Caramba

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The view @ sunset
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Pina Colada (idk we just craved it I guess lol)

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Cheesecake
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Night view 🙂

Below are other recommendation from taxi drivers.

Restaurants (recommended by several taxi drivers)

Mariscos Tino’s

El Palomar de los Gonzalez

Pipis (2 taxi drivers went on about how great this restaurant was and said it’s cheap and delicious Mexican food)

Mauricios

Hotels recommended by one of the taxi drivers we met

Hotel Rosita

Hotel Gaviota

Buenaventura Grand Hotel & Great Moments

Villa Premiere Boutique Hotel & Romantic Getaway

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PHEWW!! That was a longgg post! Hopefully I didn’t bore you too much. Since it was way too much information I decided to split it into parts, so look out for our post on the Airbnb we stayed at and for the review of the Playa del Amor tour!

-Daylin