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Flying Turtles, Hidden Treasures: My TradeWinds Adventure

Have you ever seen a chelonian fly?

I was basking in the Caribbean sun on the trampoline when it happened, watching the twin bows of JimJams, our 60-foot catamaran, pierce the waves as we sailed with the wind toward the island of Anguilla.

It was a hawksbill turtle, pale yellow and mottle-backed. He shot out of the water with his flippers spread wide like wings, leaving a trail of glittering seawater in his wake before disappearing once again beneath the surface.

It happened so quickly – and was so extraordinary – that I would have doubted myself had it not been for first mate Micky Eichhorn, who bellowed from her perch on the yacht’s mast, 15-feet above my head. When I looked up, she was hugging the mast, a foot and a hand each dangling free, grinning wide at what we’d both just witnessed.

Photo: @britneylhope

I looked to the cockpit above, where Captain Andre de Klerk was chatting with my fellow passengers from his spot at the helm, but clearly, none of them had seen the turtle. They were all thoroughly mellowed, draped across a semicircle of soft white cushions, cradling icy rum punches in their laps. Their mouths moved occasionally to speak or to sip, but their bodies were otherwise slack with the delicious leisure of it all. Hats and sunglasses concealed any legitimate attempts at consciousness. Phones laid forgotten in the cabins below.

It hadn’t taken long for any of us to ease into the TradeWinds lifestyle. To anyone on a neighbouring boat who caught a glimpse of our party loafing around the deck, highballs in hand – or being served rock lobster by Micky and Andre – as we luxuriated in the utter absence of task or technology, they may have thought we were the kind of people who lived that way all the time. Based on the available evidence, they may have surmised we just slept, snacked and sailed every day. We certainly looked – and acted – like we owned that chartered yacht.

Of course, when it comes to TradeWinds, that’s entirely the point.

Photo: @britneylhope

Guilt-free luxury and surprise moments of natural wonder are all part of the package on a TradeWinds luxury charter. Whether sailing across the Caribbean, Central America, the Mediterranean or the South Pacific, the intimate size of this five-star catamaran company means voyagers seeking a slice of their own private paradise can explore the sort of latent locales otherwise unreachable by traditional cruise ships.
With premium yachts offering customizable, private or shared charters to some of the world’s most beautiful and untouched destinations, guests can stroll along the shores of uninhabited enclaves, swim in quiet seclusion, or simply soak up the serenity of quiet sunsets over open waters.

We did all that and more on our voyage around St. Martin, Anguilla and the countless little islets scattered in between. Mornings were defined by the fresh coffee, charcuterie and tropical fruit overlooking the sunrise on a secret beach. One afternoon found us snorkelling at the foot of a remote cliff face while Micky, a skilled diver, moved mermaid-style among the reef, pointing out parrot fish, barracuda and at one point, a spiny purple urchin to our collective delight. In the evenings, we were plied with meals like fresh-caught Mahi Mahi, perfect homemade pavlova, and exceptional South African wine. Bedtime was often early; once filled to the gills with the kind of sun kissed, multi-sensory extravagance that never failed to take us by surprise, we’d all retire below deck to the gentle rocking of our queen beds, drift into sleep, and dream of the diversions that were yet to come.

On our final night, we all resolved to stay up late – to make the remaining hours last as long as we could. Taking to the front deck, where I’d once seen my now famous flying turtle, we stretched out on the lacework of the trampoline under what I swear was an entire galaxy of stars. We were moon drunk, laughing about how easy it had been to disconnect, to forget about our worries, jobs or favourite TV shows. We swapped barely-made memories from the week, like when we’d jumped in the ocean for sunset, sipping Mai Tai’s off the back of a surfboard. As we were all seasoned travellers, the conversation inevitably turned to our former adventures, and we began to wax poetic on all the beautiful sights we’d seen, the things we’d tasted, our most unforgettable wow moments, and our all-time favourite exotic escapes.

That is, they were our favourites, we all agreed – before TradeWinds stole the show.

Photo: @britneylhope

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What To Pack For A Week In St. Lucia

The beauty of St. Lucia’s stunning coastlines and lush greenery is unsurpassable—between the island’s natural waterfalls, authentic culture, pristine rainforests and majestic mountains, it’s easy to be swept off your feet. But before getting lost in the breathtaking landscape, be sure to pack what you need to make the most of your time in the sun.

Sunglasses

Throw shade. Protect your eyes with a millennial pink pair of sunglasses—perfect for living life on the beach through rose-coloured glasses. Qilalla Cat Eye Sunglasses in Pink, $16, aldo.com

Clinique SPF

Burn Prevention. An oil-free water-resistant sunscreen is a must when facing the sunny skies of St. Lucia. Clinique Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Sunscreen Face Cream, $31, sephora.com

Vitamin SEA Bathing Suit

Suit Up. A cute one-piece with a pop of colour will make frolicking along the stunning shoreline that much more majestic. Saltwater Collective Vitamin Sea One-Piece in White, $94, thesaltwatercollective.com

Nordstrom Beach Cover Up

Wrap Around. When you just can’t stay away from the beach, find a stunning printed beach kimono, kaftan or sarong to cover up for a little glamour under the sun. Surf Gypsy Cover-Up Tunic, $81, Nordstrom.com

Floral Maxi Dresses

Max out. A flirty maxi dress is a must for formal nights and dinners under the stars. Linger Here Dress in Pina Colada, $79, billabong.com

Swell Water Bottles

Hydration station. Beat the heat with some H20 sans sea salt while still feeling like a tropical princess. S’well insulated water bottle in Waikiki, $35. Swellbottle.com

Straw Beach Bags

Packing pretty. Let your carry-all speak for you: you’re ready for a day of relaxation. Poolside Out of Office Tote, $219, shopbop.com

Minimalist Strappy Sanadals

Kick back. A minimalist sandal keeps your feet cool in the hot sun, without sacrificing style. Angilia Flat Sandal in Light Green, $50, aldo.com

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Sail Away With Me: A TradeWinds Experience

To us, happiness is defined as the wind in your sails. So kick off your boat shoes, watch the waves and book a trip with TradeWinds.

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A Guide To Exploring Penang, Malaysia

A trip to Malaysia wouldn’t be complete without heading over to Penang, a haven of white sandy beaches, hidden street art, trendy cafés and the best street food you could ever imagine. Here is our guide to what to eat, where to sleep and what to see on the island.

A Guide To Exploring Penang, Malaysia

STREET ART SPOTTING

George Town, the capital city of Penang, is renowned for being the street art hub of Southeast Asia. Visitors could spend days wandering around Georgetown, enjoying all types of street art from cartoon steel art pieces to public paintings mixed with 3D objects such as swings and motorbikes. Keep your eyes peeled for Penang’s most iconic paintings – ‘Reaching Up’ on Cannon Street, ‘Little Children on a Bicycle’ on Armenian Street and ‘Boy on a Motorbike’ on Ah Quee Street – blink and you’ll miss it!

A Guide To Exploring Penang, Malaysia 

Food, food & more food: Going to Malaysia without trying their street food would be like going to Canada and not having poutine! Street food is a way of life for most Malaysians and definitely a ‘must-do’ when visiting Penang. Whether a backpacker or a flashpacker, Penang’s street food offers authentic dishes and allows visitors to experience the real culture of the island – so pull up a plastic chair and enjoy. Which are the best local dishes? Assam Laksa (spicy noodle soup), Char Kway Teow (traditional Malaysian noodle and prawn dish), Wanton Mee (noodle and dumpling dish served with hot broth), Nasi Lemak (rice with a little bit of everything – egg, prawn, chicken, etc. – and is a popular breakfast dish among the locals), Char Koay Kak (imagine the flavours of carrot cake in a stir fry), Popiah (sweet and savory spring rolls) and Ice Kacang for dessert (shaved ice, topped with jelly, nuts and coconut milk). Stretchy pants are mandatory!

 A Guide To Exploring Penang, Malaysia

Hipster Cafés: 

Wheeler’s Coffee – a bicycle-themed café and pancakes delivered with a syringe full of syrup – does it get any more hipster? Located on the iconic, Love Lane, Wheeler’s Coffee offers the ultimate coffee fix with bicycles used in every way possible, from light fixtures, tables and stools to flower pots, wall decorations and even the tip jar.

A Guide To Exploring Penang, Malaysia

Another one to add to the list is China House, three heritage buildings linked together by an outdoor courtyard and best known for their endless choices of delicious cakes. Crayons are even provided for doodling right on the tables.

A Guide To Exploring Penang, Malaysia

Finally, Awesome Canteen is another top pick and well it’s…. awesome! No two pieces of furniture are the same and tall, skinny trees are growing right in the middle of the café.

A Guide To Exploring Penang, Malaysia

Let’s go to the beach, beach: Second, to Georgetown, Batu Ferringhi is one of Penang’s most popular destinations offering white sandy beaches, water activities, horseback riding and night markets. Cocktails at a beach bar while enjoying the spectacular sunset is a must – favourites include Bora Bora or Sigi’s Bar & Grill. Batu Ferringhi is easy to get to – an hour bus ride from Georgetown and costing just $0.82 per person each way. 

A Guide To Exploring Penang, Malaysia

Where to stay: 

As Georgetown is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, many of the old heritage shops and houses have been restored into cool and quirky hostels and guesthouses. The Frame Guesthouse is a three-storey heritage building, originally a frame maker shop and now one of the best places to stay in the heart of Georgetown. Most of the space was left how it was found before renovations, therefore the guesthouse now offers a minimalistic, trendy space, with the heritage feel being very much still alive. Private double rooms cost from $19 per person per night. Dorm rooms cost from $9 per person per night. To switch it up, check out The Frame’s sister properties, Old Penang Guesthouse and The 80’s Guesthouse.

A Guide To Exploring Penang, Malaysia

How to get there: International flights are available from Canada’s major cities to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s capital city. From there, Air Asia offers flights to Penang costing as little as $17 per person each way and it’s just an hour flight. Alternatively, the buses are extremely safe and comfortable, costing from $10 per person each way and taking five hours.

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5 Unexpected Things To Do In Panama

When someone mentions Panama, the first thing that pops into travellers’ minds is the 80-km waterway that connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans—the Panama Canal.

Listed as one of the American Society of Civil Engineers’ “Seven Wonders of the Modern World,” the Canal is certainly a must-see for anyone visiting the Central American nation, but there is a lot more to Panama than spectacular feats of engineering.

With an eye for adventure, we’ve rounded up the top five unexpected things to do in Panama:

5 Unexpected Things To Do In Panama

1. Have a beach day on volcanic black sand: Long stretches of Panama’s stunning Pacific coast are lined with unique black sand, darkened by volcanic ash from an eruption by Volcàn Barú thousands of years ago. Take a day trip to Playa La Barqueta near Las Olas Resort—just a short drive from David, Chiriquí, a popular ex-pat community close to the Costa Rican border—and you’ll find an endless stretch of remote, pristine beachfront with only a few locals nearby. Just be sure to pack some sandals—the black sand and scorching sun make for a fiery walk to the water.

5 Unexpected Things To Do In Panama

2. Trek through a cloud forest: You may know about rainforests (does the Amazon sound familiar?), but not many people know about cloud forests—an abundance of vegetation growing on mountain tops with constant, low-level cloud cover, and a favourite place for howler monkeys, sloths and tapirs. Take a trek through the cloud forest on Volcàn Barú, the country’s active volcano in Boquete, and you’ll find The Lost Waterfalls: Three Cascades with dramatic 300-foot cliffs, crystal clear pools and a hidden cave.

5 Unexpected Things To Do In Panama

3. Ride the waves in Santa Catalina: What was once a secret beach in a small fishing village has turned into a thriving surf community on Panama’s south west coast. Offering some of the best surfing in Central America with 15-foot waves, and one of the longest waves to crash a coast, Santa Catalina is a tropical paradise for beginners and experts alike. If you’re looking to learn or improve, join Santa Catalina Retreats for some surf lessons in the warm Pacific spray, taking relaxation to a new level with a post-surf yoga session.

5 Unexpected Things To Do In Panama

Photo: @jagerknights

4. Snorkel the coral gardens in Bocas del Toro: There aren’t many places where you can roll in the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea on the same day, but Panama is one of them. After a drive through the mountains (or a short flight from David and Panama City), prepare to marvel at the beauty of the Bocas del Toro archipelago, and take a catamaran cruise for the best views. Opt for Jager Knights for an unforgettable experience with Captain Maga, diving along vibrant coral reefs, swimming with jellyfish and watching bottlenose dolphins play in Dolphin Bay lagoon.

5 Unexpected Things To Do In Panama

Photo: @andresmadrigal

5. Take a trip down memory lane: Though its civil engineering and ever-growing collection of skyscrapers put Panama on the map as a destination for the modern traveller, there’s enough history in Panama City’s Casco Viejo (Old Town) to designate it a UNESCO World Heritage site. Settled in 1673, the centuries-old cobblestone streets are now filled with vibrant music, traditional food and a wealth of arts and culture. Be sure to check out the National Theatre; the remains of the Compania de Jesus Convent, which housed the first university and synagogue in the city; and take a walk on the original sea wall, with unrivalled views of the Panama City skyline.

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The 20 Most Beautiful Places In The Dominican Republic

The 20 Most Beautiful Places In The Dominican Republic

From its pristine beaches to its rich history, the Dominican Republic offers something special for everyone. Whether you’re a historian, an adventurer, or a beach bum, the Dominican is the right place for you.

Here are CNN’s 20 top-ranked destinations in the Dominican Republic.

1. La Catedral Primada de América (The First Cathedral in America): La Catedral Primada de América, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the oldest cathedral in the Americas built between 1512 and 1540. Step inside the stunning architecture and visit the tomb of Christopher Columbus.

2. La Playa Bayahíbe (The Beach of Bayahíbe): If you’re fond of dazzling sunsets and delicious drinks, you’re in the right spot on the sands of Playa Bayahíbe.

3. El Salto del Limón (The Waterfall at Limón): Gear up for a hike or a horseback ride because Mother Nature doesn’t disappoint with this 40m tall waterfall with refreshing natural pools beneath.

4. La Playa Morón (The Morón Beach): Try to plan your visit to Playa Morón between January and March – chances are you will see a school of humpback whales.

5. El Teleférico de Puerto Plata (Puerto Plata cable car): Brave the climb up the Isabel de Torres Mountain in the renowned cable car. Enjoy scenic views of the city and get a beautiful, birds-eye-view of Puerto Plata.

6. Los Charcos de Damajagua (The Damajagua Waterfalls): Choose between a refreshing swim or an adventurous trek through these 27 magnificent waterfalls.

7. Los Haitises National Park: Explore the protected forest of Los Haitises and you will find unique birds and fauna, and many native and migratory species found nowhere else in the country. This park is a truly unique experience when travelling to the Dominican Republic.

8. El Monumento a los Héroes de la Restauración (The Monument to Heroes of the Restoration): This monument stands in dedication to the Dominican soldiers who fought against Spain in the War of Independence. The structure represents a major pillar in Dominican history.

9. Las Dunas de Baní (The Dunes of Baní): Hop on a sandboard and ride the Dunes of Baní, an incredible experience – different from anything else you will find in the Caribbean.

10. Altos de Chavón (The Cliffs of Chavón): Explore the Altos de Chavón amphitheatre that will make you feel like you have stepped out of the Dominican and have arrived in a 16th-century Mediterranean city.

11. Playa Juanillo (Juanillo Beach): Escape to this beach for rest and relaxation. Located on the eastern edge of the Dominican Republic, this beach boasts pristine white sands and glistening blue waters. Enjoy swimming, sunbathing, dining and windsurfing, or grab a drink and catch some zzz’s.

 12. Los Campos de Béisbol Punta Cana (The Baseball Fields of Punta Cana): U.S. professional baseball leagues currently hold more than 100 players who got their start in the Dominican Republic; so don’t miss out on catching a glimpse of these future stars.

13. Punta Cana: Dig your toes into 32km worth of white sand at this vacation hotspot. Boasting an abundance of resorts, activities, restaurants and Piña coladas, Punta Cana will not disappoint.

14. El Antiguo Puerto Plata (Historic Puerto Plata): The historic town of Puerto Plata was founded in 1502 and named after its shimmering shoreline. Made official by a personal proclamation signed by Christopher Columbus, Puerto Plata has a distinct rich history and beautiful coastline.

15. El Morro (El Morro Fort): The El Morro Fort was used to protect 16th century Puerto Plata from pirates. Today, it is a museum, overlooking the vast Atlantic Ocean, that exhibits the city’s rich history.

16. La Playa Rincón (Rincón Beach): Enjoy a day devouring fresh seafood on this 3km stretch of beach located in Las Galeras. Rinse off with a dip in the freshwater current at the western end of the beach. *Fun fact: Some historians claim this beach is where Columbus dropped anchor.

17. La Fortaleza Ozama (The Ozama Fortress): The Ozama Fortress is a sixteenth-century castle built by the Spanish. Overlooking the Ozama River, this castle is a beautiful representation of medieval architecture, and not to be missed.

18. El Palacio Nacional (The National Palace): The National Palace occupies the Executive Branch of the Dominican Republic. Located in Santo Domingo, the Palace is an incredible structure with ornate details and beautiful gardens.

19. Las Cuevas de las Maravillas (The Caves of Wonders): Step into the Caves of Wonders and surround yourself with hundreds of Taino Indian cave paintings engraved into the rocks.

20. La Basílica de Higüey (The Basilica of Higüey): The Basilica of Higüey is one of the most acclaimed cathedrals in the country because of its original architecture and unconventional stained-glass embellishments.

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5 Questions With Amy Seder Of Away Lands

Bloggers have an uncanny ability to send us on an adventure both near and far. Their stunning snaps encourage wanderlust in all of us and act as a travel guide no matter the destination.

These social muses possess a keen editorial eye and a willingness to try new trends, and for that, we thought we would spotlight another personal favourite. Amy’s love of all things inspiring fills our feeds with relevant travel happenings. With nods to style and dreamy vacations captured in video, this is one blog you absolutely need to bookmark.

Here are 5 questions with Amy Seder of awaylands.com

awaylands.com

1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your blog?

“I have been playing around with blogging, building websites and social networks since the very early 2000s – pretty much the dawn of time in internet terms. I was always first and foremost a photographer – I received my Bachelors in Photography from Brooks Institute and set off to New York to become a fashion photographer; and spent a number of years and wore a dozen different hats within the industry.

When my boyfriend, Brandon, and I started travelling extensively together we started putting together short films, and we both just fell completely in love with the process – and then everything started to come together, and Away Lands was born. We were both into our careers but knew that we had to take a chance to leave it all and see if we could build something we actually really loved – and not just get by. We spent a year and a half making plans, building the blog, learning, and working together to create a life and business that truly reflected both of us.

AwayLands.com as a blog is a mix of all of our interest and is constantly evolving – from fashion photography stories to travel guides, to showcasing films, and an interview series that we are starting up in the coming months.”

awaylands.com

2. What Instagram filter or editing app do you swear by? 

“I shoot raw photos and always process them on my computer in PhotoShop. I’m one of the only people that doesn’t use Lightroom – after working with PhotoShop for so long, I never made the switch! On the fly, I will colour phone snaps in VSCOcam, and to keep my Instagram grid consistent, I always use just a touch of Clarendon filter before posting.” 

3. What are your top 5 cities, and what trips do you have lined up this year? 

“My top 5 favourites cities (so far) would be:

  1. New York City – it was my home for 8 years and I still refuse to admit I don’t actually live here anymore!
  2. Tokyo – the most amazing 48 hours of my life, I’m dying to go back.
  3. Singapore – I was surprised by how much I loved it here, but the gardens are incredible, there is so much to do, and everything in the city is clean, friendly, and efficient. And the hawkers in little India are amazing!
  4. Barcelona – Such a cool mix of old cathedrals on one side, and a huge beach on the other. 
  5. Rome – One of the first foreign cities I ever visited, when I was 15, and I was so blown away by it – I can’t wait to finally go back this summer.

We have spent a lot of time in South and South East Asia this year, but up next we will be travelling across Western Europe for the rest of the summer and I am beyond excited. On the schedule is sailing through the Island of Croatia, visiting friends in a small village in Germany, stops through Amsterdam, and Paris, and then a road trip through Italy retracing Brandon’s family roots.”

4. What city served you the best meal, and what was it?

“This is a tough choice – but it has to be when your guide in Morocco – we trekked from Marrakesh to the Sahara Desert over 4 days – invited us into his home and his wife made us Madfuna – a spicy, meaty “Moroccan pizza” baked in a brick oven. The village, Rissani, is hours into Morocco and one of the most foreign places I have ever visited – but the pizza was absolutely incredible.” 

5. What are the pieces you never leave home without? 

“I always travel with at least 2 pairs of extra headphones and my pillow. I have the perfect pillow that I have learned to roll perfectly into my carry-on purse – and is has been around and around the world with me. And when I’m travelling from my home in LA, I always bring a couple of avocados – no one in the world grows avocados like my mom.”

awaylands.com

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Hotel Spotlight: The Crane Resort, Barbados

The luxurious gem that is The Crane Resort located on the East Coast of Barbados has long been regarded as one of the Caribbean’s most iconic and truly treasured luxury properties. With sprawling ocean views, lush gardens and the most courteous staff on the island, a stay here will encourage rest and relaxation in its highest form.

Blogger in bathing suit at the beach

Photo: @Carajourdan

Once you check into your suite, unpack your bags and let the sounds of the ocean and island birds transport you to paradise. Better yet, take a stroll and grab a seat at one of the properties award-winning restaurants.

If your stay happens to fall on a Sunday, enjoy a brunch at L’Azure for a generous serving of gospel music and a side of quintessential Caribbean delicacies.

Crane Beach Barbados

Photo: @jteixphotography

After you’ve serviced your appetite, get lost in an open air market that emphasizes the best of Caribbean culture at every turn.

With a coconut in one hand and a camera in the other, walk down the colourful streets of Barbados and immerse yourself in everything that the island has to offer. And for a few moments of sensory overload, run, not walk to Cutters of Barbados for the best flying fish and rum punch your tongue will ever taste.

Crane Beach Barados

Photo: @cranebarbados

When all is said and done, relax by the waves or make your way to the Serenity Spa for a holistic approach to wellness.

This truly unique experience evokes both elegance and adventure in one package. So trust us when we say that no trip to Barbados is complete without The Crane.

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Bali, Indonesia Travel Diary: Uluwatu

I’m back with my Bali travel guide. Today, I’ll be sharing everything you need to know about Uluwatu. Uluwatu was my first stop in Bali, and was the reason I fell in love with the island so quickly. Located on the southern end of Bali, right on the coastline, it is famous for its beautiful beaches. It is full of eco resorts, concept cafes, beautiful beach clubs, and everything in between. Here’s my little black book:

Bali Indonesia

Food in Bali, Indonesia

Beach in Bali Indonesia

As a part of my collaboration with The Asia Collective, I stayed in La Joya Balangan. The property is comprised of several villas and is the definition of shabby-chic. I highly recommend this hotel to those who are looking to be immersed in nature but be warned, it is not for those who are looking for the comforts of a luxury resort. The villas are essentially large huts which have gorgeous interiors, but also have a portion between the wall and the roof that is open. La Joya Balangan is located right next to its sister hotel, La Joya Biu-Biu, which boasts the most incredible view of the ocean. You will most definitely need to hire a driver to get around from here as Uluwatu is quite expansive.

Where to eat

Uluwatu, like Seminyak, is full of gorgeous cafes, these were my favourites:

Drifter Surf Shop & Cafe: An Australian concept shop and cafe which has delicious avocado toast, acai bowls, and basically all things delicious.

Food in Bali Indonesia

Nalu Bowls: Hands down, the best acai bowl I have ever had in my life. Order the Maverick, it’s incredible. Nalu Bowls has several locations around Bali, but the one in Uluwatu is at Single Fin Beach Club, which boasts a spectacular view of the ocean.

Food in Bali

Restaurants in Bali

Coco & Poke: Also located at Single Fin Beach Club, Coco & Poke offers fresh and flavourful poke bowls.

Food in Bali

Restaurants in Bali

Bukit Cafe: This joint serves all-day breakfast. We ended up going for dinner where I ordered their shakshuka and my brother ordered the burger – delicious.

Hamburgers and French Fries in Bali

What to do

Uluwatu Temple: Located on top of a cliff on the ocean, the Uluwatu Temple offers a view that will literally take your breath away.

Uluwatu Temple

Uluwatu Temple

Uluwatu Temple

Sundays Beach Club: Since it is on the coastline, Uluwatu is known for its beach clubs. With limited time in hand, I decided to check out Sundays Beach Club. I’m happy to report that I could not have been more pleased with my decision. It is located inside the Ungasan Clifftop Hotel, where, upon entering the property, you are greeted by a hanging infinity pool. After this, you take a cable car down a cliff to go to the beach. I’ll never forget the jaw-dropping view of the beach and jungle on the cable car ride down; I had goosebumps. The beach club itself is phenomenal. The water is pristine, the music is upbeat, the service is spectacular, and the food is to die for. During sunset, there is a bonfire where you can make smores and admire the view. The entrance fee is IDR 300,000.

Sundays Beach Club Bali

Sundays Beach Club Bali

Food at Sundays Beach Club Bali

Bukit Sari Agro Coffee Luwak: Luwak coffee, the most expensive coffee in the world, is made from poop. No joke. The Luwak is a mongoose that picks out the best coffee beans, eats it, and then poops it out. The beans are then cleaned, roasted, ground for consumption. At Bukit Sari Agro Luwak Coffee, we were offered 12 variations of teas and coffees are grown at their farm for free and charged IDR 50,000 for a cup of Luwak coffee. I wasn’t brave enough to try the coffee, but my brothers really enjoyed it!

Coffee in Bali

Waterfalls in Bali

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Luxury Hotel Hopping On The Island Of Saint Barthélemy

Saint Barthélemy, or St. Barth’s, is a small French island located in the Northern Caribbean. This island is well known for its glitz and glam and is a big draw for wealthy travellers and celebrities who want to get away and unwind.

Just head to the main port called Gustavia and you’ll be blown away by the luxury yachts and sailboats bobbing in the clear blue Caribbean water. It’s basically like the St. Tropez of the Caribbean.

Girl at Beach Exotic Island

I’ve been to this island many times and each time is an experience not to forget. I’m always blown away by the beauty and luxury that this island has to offer. Every detail is perfect. There are a number of insanely gorgeous hotels here which are mostly small and privately owned which I love because you get such a special and unique experience. No big resort chains. A lot of the time you will meet the owner wandering around the property talking to the guests. It’s very personalized, and when I travel I prefer to stay at places like this.

Blonde Blogger at Beach Chair With Palm Trees and Sand

Photo: @serenohotels

During my recent trip, I had to stop by one of my all-time favourite hotels, Le Sereno. Just walk through the reception and to the view and you will know why. Set on a secluded private beach with water a hundred shades of blue and giant palm trees swaying in the breeze. I could relax by their beachfront infinity pool every day and never get tired of that view – it’s pure heaven. The design is very chic with whitewashed buildings set into the lush jungle flora and fauna. This hotel is family owned, and you can tell how much this family loves their little piece of heaven on earth.

Swimming at the villa in St Barts

Photo:@ villamariehotels

I also stopped by one of the newer hotels on the island, Villa Marie. I had been hearing a lot of buzz around this new property so I wanted to check it out. Villa Marie is also family owned, the family owns a few other hotels in France but decided to spread their roots to the Caribbean. The theme of this hotel is without a doubt bohemian, tropical chic. Rich textures, colours and prints in every direction. Much different than the sleek Le Sereno, but just as lovely. Villa Marie is set high up on a hill with gorgeous views of Flamand’s Beach (one of my favourites). The grounds and pool are very private, surrounded by palm trees, bougainvillaea and the sound of parrots in the background. It’s like your own little private tropical bungalow. And as expected, the service is exceptional and both properties.

Once the reality of where you are has set in, St. Barth’s is a great island to explore and enjoy the natural beauty. The beaches are mostly secluded and so gorgeous. Take a 15-minute hike down to Colombier Beach and be the only person there. Be sure to bring snorkelling gear as you can walk out into the ocean and swim with sea turtles and starfish. Or, hike up to the beautiful natural swimming pools in Grand Fond and go for a dip. Luxury and nature at its best!

Girl in a sundress at the beach

Photo: @ambhasaa