‘Travel is the best education you can give yourself.’ Growing up, I heard this advice a lot from my Grandma as she was showing us photos and telling us all about her latest trip. She saw the world and inspired me to do the same. A lifelong teacher, she knew the value of education, but also knew that the world had so much more to offer than you could ever find in a classroom. Only while immersing yourself in someone else’s way of life do you realize how alike we truly are.
Thank you for instilling in me this love of travel and need to constantly be educating myself.
Happy birthday my travelling Grandma! I hope everyone up there enjoys your travel stories as much as I always did! Xo
After a week hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu and spending nights camping on the ground along the trail, we decided to end our trip to Peru by treating ourselves to a cabana in the jungle!
We boarded the plane in Cusco and took the short flight over to Puerto Maldonado, the start of the Amazon in Peru. The airport here was tiny, so we quickly grabbed our bags and met our Adventures within Reach shuttle. From here, we travelled 15 minutes to the docks to catch our riverboat to the Inkaterra Lodge – Hacienda Concepcion. An immediate difference we noticed from Cusco was the humidity. It was 35+C here and so humid your clothes began sticking to you in a matter of minutes.
Thankfully we were soon cruising down the Madre de Dios River with a bit of a breeze on our 30-minute journey. We docked and made our way up to the main lodge to check in and have lunch (which was amazing!)
The photos I’d seen when booking at the Hacienda Concepcion certainly don’t do it justice. What a gorgeous spot! Our cabana was perfect with a screened in porch you could sit on and listen to the birds and other wildlife moving around outside while looking at all the beautiful vegetation.
After settling in, we met our guide, Plinio, for a tour around the property. As we walked, he explained that the grounds here used to be a cocoa and rubber plantation. They were owned by a Spanish doctor who started a Catholic mission here in the 1950s with the intention of improving the lives of the locals by using his boat as a ‘hospital’ and visiting communities along the river. After the boat sank and the doctor passed away, the grounds were left to decay until they were bought by Inkaterra in 1979 to develop it into a scientific research facility.
Our guide pointed out various types of vegetation we found and let us try some of the cocoa. We also saw birds, insects and a few monkeys!
We enjoyed coffee time in the lodge and then a traditional Pisco Sour at happy hour before heading out for our Twilight River boat excursion.
Here, we found some night birds and a bunch of caimans ranging in size from babies to five feet.
After another delicious meal here, we went back to our cabana for an early night and fell asleep listening to the sounds of the jungle!
I woke up around 3:30am to a huge crash of thunder and rain pouring down, followed by lightning lighting up the sky. It rained a good part of this day, which cooled everything off and sounded so cool pounding against the huge leaves and thatched roofs of both our cabana and the main lodge. Being in the rainforest during a rain storm is certainly quite the experience!
By 2:30pm, it was only spitting rain, so we set out on our next excursion, The Inkaterra Canopy Walk and Anaconda Walkway. We took a riverboat about 25 minutes up river and were greeted by Tamarin monkeys playing in the trees.
We climbed up the tower to the canopy walk, 120-150 feet up into the treetops of the jungle and went one at a time across the six long suspension bridges used by scientists to study the canopy. What a view! Looking down was freaky, but if you just looked straight out you got a unique view of the jungle canopy, looking out over it instead of looking up from the ground. I wanted to see a sloth so badly, but sadly it was not to be on the walk.
That night, we had our final excursion, Hidden Forest. We went for a walk around the property with Plinio, who stopped to point out all kinds of insects, a few chicken tarantulas, a bright green tree frog and a caiman in a little pond.
It was neat and also a little spooky wandering through the dark, listening to all the sounds of the jungle moving around you. On our way to dinner, we found more monkeys playing in the trees including a mama with a baby hanging on her back!
Our last morning, we had another amazing meal.
The food here was incredible and the coffee was delicious! Then, we got our stuff packed up and went for one last walk around the grounds.
It was such a beautiful spot – the perfect place to relax for our final few days in Peru.
Sun, sand, stunning views and tacos…what’s not to love about Cabo? After years of taking planes full of bachelor parties, wedding groups and vacationers to this beautiful spot on the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula, I finally got the chance to spend a couple of days enjoying the beaches here myself.
While I was mainly looking to unwind, hang out at the beach and of course stuff myself full of tacos and guac and chips, a trip to Cabo isn’t complete without taking a boat out to see the famous El Arco – The Arch of Cabo San Lucas. Rum punch in hand, we set off on our sunset booze cruise to see the arch and hopefully spot a whale or two.
El Arco de Cabo San Lucas – also known as ‘Lands End’ – marks the spot where the Pacific Ocean meets the Sea of Cortez. We sailed past Playa del Amor, or “Lover’s Beach,” a secluded beach surrounding the Arch. Sea lions and pelicans could be found lounging on the rocks around the beach.
We stopped for a photo near the Arch before rounding the corner into the rougher waters of the Pacific Ocean. On the other side, we found what our Captain said was “Divorce Beach,” with waves and wind crashing in – quite a contrast to the calm “Lover’s Beach.” Here, we also spotted the first of several Humpback whales breaching!!
As we watched the sun begin to set, a mother Humpback and her calf came by and the baby put on quite a show, leaping out of the water, playing away. What an incredible sight!
Another great spot to check out is Art Walk in San Jose del Cabo. It’s a colourful spot to wander around any day, but on Thursday evenings it becomes even more colourful. Art Walk was established by the Gallery District Association to encourage art lovers and tourists to step away from the Main Square and explore the artwork and galleries found along the cobblestone streets. This event runs each Thursday evening from 5-9pm between the months of November and June.
I enjoyed our time checking out a few beaches, but one of my favourites was Playa Palmilla in San Jose del Cabo, a much quieter beach than some found in Cabo San Lucas.
Here, we took kayaks out into the waves for a cruise around, looking up at the huge houses on the hills, and a Humpback whale came by to say hello. Even though it didn’t come too close, it was still incredible to be out on the water with a whale!
What a beautiful place in Mexico. I can’t wait to come back and explore some more of what Cabo has to offer!
Thousands of tourists flock to Cusco, Peru every year, but often it is only a stopping point before heading out to hike the Inca Trail, visit Machu Picchu, climb Rainbow Mountain or one of many other amazing sites waiting just outside the old city. I made this same mistake, only spending a day before and after our hike in the old capital of the Incan Empire, which was not enough time to properly explore this cobblestone beauty.
The altitude here can take some getting used to and what better way to do that than by getting out and exploring the city!
Plaza de Armas is the city’s main square. Here you can find a variety of restaurants, bars, coffee shops and even a brewery. It’s also a great spot to sit near the fountain and watch the sun set over several beautiful old churches found here.
After a great afternoon wandering around the city, head to Organika for an amazing local farm to table dinner and a Pisco sour.
Summer is just around the corner and with it brings the perfect opportunity for a road trip! I love packing snacks, coffee and my favourite tunes and heading out to explore a new place. Even if you don’t go far, it’s still a fun adventure!
The Battle of Hogwarts raged 21 years ago today and what a different place the Wizarding World would have been if that battle hadn’t ended in victory. We get a glimpse of just how different in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
If you are a big Harry Potter fan like me and get the chance to see this incredible two part play currently running in five cities be sure to check it out.
On a recent trip to NYC, I finally had the chance to see it. What a brilliant, imaginative piece of theatre. You are instantly transported into the magical world of Harry Potter. I was enthralled from start to finish. Over five hours of theatre and I would have willing gone back for more. It’s definitely a must-see piece of theatre!
It took me years to make it to Paris. For some reason, on all my trips to Europe, I circled France, but never quite seemed to make it across the border. Finally, in 2016, I arrived in Paris and one of our first stops was to see the iconic Note Dame Cathedral.
We arrived in the morning and the sun was shining from behind the massive spire. What an incredible sight! Gargoyles looking down over their beloved city and ornate statues carved throughout the building. As we walked inside, the light shining through the stained glass windows was mesmerizing.
I’m so glad I finally made it to Paris and had a chance to see this incredible building before last night’s devastating fire. I’ve loved seeing all the photos people have shared from their own trips to see Notre Dame and hoping in time this beautiful building can be restored so future travellers can also be moved by it.
The lost city of Atlantis may be the stuff of legends, but in Nassau, Bahamas, you can spend a day (or more) exploring their incredible Atlantis!
While staying there definitely looks like a fun option, if, like us, you find yourself staying at one of the neighbouring resorts, there are still lots of ways to enjoy Atlantis.
You can book day passes for various adventures in Atlantis, including the waterpark Aquaventure and Dolphin Cay. But there are other options to explore.
You can wander through the shops and the marina at any time and eat at the restaurants found there. The Casino is also open to all if gambling is more your style. Through the Casino, you’ll find The Dig.
This beautiful aquarium features hundreds of sea creatures from tiny seahorses to huge grouper, lobsters to clownfish and gorgeous rays swimming around the mysterious ‘Lost City’ ruins. Day passes are required for non-guests, but if you go in the evening, you can wander around for free and enjoy all these amazing sea creatures.
I loved it so much, we went back a second evening and wandered around above ground, gazing down into the open air tanks and watching the fish and rays swimming below.
We also found the Hibiscus Lagoon filled with green sea turtles and Predator Lagoon, home to Hammerhead sharks, Caribbean Reef sharks, Barracuda and Smalltooth Sawfish swimming around the tunnel as you walk through.
Whether you want to go all out and participate in all Atlantis has to offer or simply wander around, it’s definitely a must-see spot in Nassau, Bahamas!
If, like me, you find watch fish swimming to be very relaxing, then enjoy a few clips I took while exploring Atlantis!