Posted on July 18, 2011 by Admin of TBJ
We traveled to Key West for scuba diving. The diving was wonderful. We did a shallow reef dive and saw an abundance of wildlife, including a shark. We also dove the Vandenberg Wreck. Visibility was amazing and we had a great time. Besides the scuba diving, we weren’t that impressed with Key West, mostly because we were traveling with a baby and it’s just not the most family-friendly vacation spot. Most of the restaurant employees looked super annoyed when I would ask for a high chair. Also, food is extremely expensive.
If you’re looking to party, Key West would be a great place to visit!
Filed under: North America | Tagged: diving, expensive food, Florida, Florida Keys, good visibility diving, Juror #9, Key West, North America, not family friendly, SCUBA, scuba diving, shallow reefs, shark, United States, Vandenberg Wreck, wildlife | Leave a Comment »
Posted on August 24, 2010 by Admin of TBJ
Mammoth Cave N.P. is a great place for hiking, backpacking, horseback riding, and canoeing the Green River. Several different cave tours accommodate a variety of tastes. If you’re adventurous (and in good shape), opt for the 6-hour Wild Cave Tour for lots of crawling and climbing. There are lots of interesting cemeteries and old-time churches sprinkled throughout the park and there are also two ferries inside the park’s boundaries if that interests you. You can hike or bike to Floyd Collins’s home (the cave explorer who was trapped for over two weeks in Crystal Cave before dying—caused a media sensation and tourism boom in the 1920’s) and see the entrance to Crystal Cave, though you can’t go in.
Cave City is the closest town and is full of kitschy gift shops and tourist activities. While I wouldn’t recommend staying here overnight, there are several fun activities for kids including the Alpine Slide, miniature golf, and Guntown Mountain. Food options here are limited and not really worth mentioning.
Filed under: North America | Tagged: Alpine slide, backpacking, cave tour, cemeteries, Crystal Cave, ferries, Floyd Collins's home, Green River, Guntown Mountain, hiking, horseback riding, Juror #9, Kentucky, KY, Mammoth Cave National Park and Cave City, miniature golf, Wild Cave tour | Leave a Comment »
Posted on August 16, 2010 by Admin of TBJ
Located on the Caribbean side of the country, Puerto Viejo is a one-road town with NO chains (restaurants, lodging, etc). The locals speak a mixture of Spanish, English, and Afro-caribbean languages. It’s very laid-back here. My suggestions: 1) rent a bike and ride to Cahuita National Park (pay for a local guide to help point out the howler monkeys and sloths), 2) go surfing (check out Aventuras Bravas for surf lessons), 3) go take a Caribbean cooking lesson from a local in a program designed to help women improve their lives, and 4) most importantly, EAT! There are so many great little restaurants in PV, my favorites being Bread and Chocolate and el Chile Rojo. Rockin’ J’s is the hostel of choice for most (rent a tent, a hammock, a room, or even a tree house). Even if you don’t stay there, go visit just to see the place. It’s composed almost entirely of a huge tile mosaic and their restaurant has great food too. If you’re lucky like me, you might get to watch a sloth travel from tree to tree down the main (and only paved) road. You can get here by bys, but the best way to travel is to go whitewater rafting on the Pacuare. The company will pick you up in San José and transfer you to PV at the end of the day for no extra charge.
Filed under: Central America, Latin America | Tagged: Aventuras Bravas, Bread and Chocolate, Cahuita National Park, Caribbean cooking lesson, Chile Rojo, Costa Rica, howler monkeys, Juror #9, Latin America, mosaic, Pacuare, Puerto Viejo, Puerto Viejo de Talamanca (de Limón), Rockin' J's, sloths, surfing, white-water rafting | Leave a Comment »
Posted on July 29, 2010 by Admin of TBJ
I was only in Rio for a couple of days but can’t wait to go back (maybe for the Olympics of 2016?). While there, we strolled the beautiful boardwalk of Copacabana and made our way to the beach at Ipanema. An abundance of beachside restaurants and snack vendors means you can spend the whole day at the beach enjoying the great weather, even in “winter.” You should also check out Corcovado (the instantly-recognizeable Christ the Redeemer statue), but make sure you negotiate a price for someone to take you up there and take a jacket! Check out the Hippie Fair on Sundays for great food and crafts, make a quick stop at the city modern concrete behemoth of a cathedral. While you’re in Rio, note all the awesome graffiti decorating the city. One of my favorite activities was visiting the Rocinha favela, the biggest slum in South America. Take a tour from a local (it’s safe and the money goes to fund community projects) and prepare to be surprised. I was expecting to see misery but instead experienced a sense of cooperation and community among the narrow, maze-like passages of the favela.
A couple of tips: Even though it’s a tourist town, English is not widely spoken and some knowledge of Portuguese is helpful. Also, coffee to Brazilians generally means a very strong shot of espresso, not a cup of coffee like you’d expect to receive in the U.S.!
Filed under: Latin America, South America | Tagged: Brazil, cathedral, Cocovado, coffee, Copacabana, graffiti, Hippie Fair, Impanema Beach, Juror #9, Latin America, Portuguese, Rio, Rio de Janeiro, Roinha | Leave a Comment »