Posts Tagged ‘beach’

Surfing in Canada

It had been six years since I had been to Australia. I spent a year over there working, traveling and learning to surf. Over the six years since I have been home, I have only been surfing twice. Once on a long road trip to Cape Hatteras and earlier this year on a trip to Hawaii. Since I was going to be in the Victoria area, I called the girls I surfed in Australia with and asked if they were interested in a trip to Tofino. That was all it took. We were booked for a 3 day girls surf trip.

We booked into a little surf shack (actually called that) near Chesterman’s Beach. It had one bedroom, a couch, dining room, kitchen, bathroom and a HOT TUB! Since surfing in Tofino is so damn cold, the hot tub is the key ingredient to any trip. We rented full wet suits and boards from a place in town and took off for the ocean. My friends would fall into the ‘good’ category for surfing and I would fall into the ‘beginner’ category. They did a great job and caught some waves while I practiced my paddling skills by the shore.

One of the best parts of the trip (aside from surfing and hot tubs) was the fish tacos! There is a little truck called Tacofino in town and the tacos are incredible. My favourite was the Tuna taco made with Ahi Tuna and a mango salsa and wasabi. I can’t remember all the ingredients but they have some amazing stuff there. We got ginger cookies for dessert.

If you don’t mind slightly cold water then get your butt to Tofino as soon as possible for an amazing vacation in Canada.

Getting ready to hit the water

Tacofino!

Inside the cozy Surf Shack

Yup, that's what it was called.

Fiji – A week of island hopping

I booked a trip to Australia for a year and decided to take a week in Fiji on my way home. The travel agency was really trying to push stop overs in Fiji so I went with it. I’m not sure why they were but it sounded like an awesome idea. I would fly in to Nadi and have 7 days and 6 nights to hang out. I was going alone so I went with a backpacker travel company called Awesome Adventures. (http://www.awesomefiji.com/)

I chose to visit 4 islands over 7 days. A huge yellow boat comes and picks you up and goes for hours before arriving at the Yasawa Islands. You exit the boat in the morning after breakfast at the island you choose for that day. This is usually an interesting process since the huge yellow boat can’t get close to the island since they are so remote. You are put on a tiny boat and then have to walk through the water a bit to get to land.

Each island has only a few people staying there, anywhere from 10 to 30 for each given night. When you arrive, they stand at the edge of the beach and sing a welcome to you. You stay in small huts and sleep on bunks like at camp. The locals make you all three meals and they definately aren’t the best meals but each island makes something different and it’s local food. They also offer simple activities during the day like bracelet making from the local women. Each island is staffed my Fijian families who have lived there for years.

Most of the days are spent sitting on the beach, lying in a hammock, snorkelling and just hanging out. Each island as something different. One of them has a long hike over the island and you end up at the stop where they shot the movie, The Blue Lagoon. On the hike back, we ran into one of the locals who had climbed a tree to get a coconut. He cut it open with a machete and we enjoyed some fresh coconut. We did the hike back at midnight and we saw the most amazing sunset from the middle of the island on a huge hill.

My favourite island was called South Sea Island. The entire island was the size of a baseball diamond. It had one large hut that everyone slept in. There was also an outdoor eating area and a pool in the middle of the island. There was sand all around it and you could snorkel all around and see amazing fish. They had a great fresh outdoor buffet and the staff sang and played guitar as you ate. They had a small bar inside and play music at night as well. There were amazing sunsets and the best thing was the beach side massages.

Click here for more Fiji photos

Arrival and Departure song by the locals

The hike to the Blue Lagoon

Beach side massage. Aka heaven.

Tiny little South Sea Island

Sunset from South Sea Island

Grand Velas All Suites Resort & Spa

I had the opportunity to travel to Riviera Maya, Mexico in April and stay at the Grand Velas Resort. This place is a super exclusive resort that offers top notch service, amazing spa and private butlers. I would only recommend going to this resort if you have someone else paying or win the lottery. One night at this place can cost as much as a week at the resort next door. I had someone else paying.

There are 8 restaurants at the resort that are included in the all inclusive/pocket emptying price. They are all incredible and all offer different options: buffet, asian, italian, international, spanish, french, mexican, etc. The buffet is very nice and offers a la carte from the table to accompany your buffet choices. There are so many staff in the buffet that they even carry your plate for you from the buffet area to your table. They do not like if you resist and carry your own plate. You need to sit back and enjoy the service. The best part of the food is the 24 hour room service. This isn’t the usual hotel room service, its high end and each dish is served with amazing presentation. I will include photos below to really highlight this point. I was shocked everytime. The 24 hr room service is also included with all inclusive package as well.  Another bonus is that every restaurant menu and room service menu has a special star to indicate whether it is ‘healthy’ or ‘organic’. This is very helpful when trying to eat well on vacation. I wish all restaurants would adopt this practice.

The pool area is beautiful and includes an infinity pool overlooking the ocean. They serve food and drink right to your beach chair which is nice as you dont have to leave your spot to go have lunch. There is also a swim up bar and 2 lunch restaurants next to pool. If you prefer an adult only pool, there is one at the other end of resort that is smaller but no kids are allowed. There is also a bar and lunch restaurant called Bistro there.

The beach is great for taking long walks and playing volleyball or taking out a kayak. The ocean isn’t very clean out in front of hotel and there are some rocks in the water. If you are looking for crystal clear water, you could spend a day in Playa Del Carmen where it is really nice. There are nice day beds on the beach and they serve drinks down there as well.

The night scene is very slow. There is a sky bar and lobby bar but aren’t very busy at night. The Kareoke bar in main lobby gets busy when big groups are in the resort but still very convention centre-y and not very outdoor mexican feel. For fun at night, take a $14 USD cab to Playa Del Carmen and enjoy the amazing mexican bars, patios, restaurants and shops that stay open till very late, like 5am late for the discos.

The Spa. A few people on our trip who had been to TONS of spas around the world said that this one was the very best. You are told to come 80 minutes (yes, 80) before your massage to enjoy the spa. There is a 7 step water journey that you can choose to go through. This includes hot tubs, water beds, water falls, cold streams, mud baths, hot/cold shower thingie, etc. It is quite the experience.  The aromatherapy massage was truly amazing and I might have fallen asleep, in a good way.

The service they give you is really the best part. We went for a job one morning at 7am. We couldn’t understand why the staff member in the riding lawn mover wasn’t going past us on the road. Then we realized that he was on a 4×4 atv and was actually there to escort us on our jog. The sound of the motor took a little away from the sound of birds but still very cool idea. When we got to the building at the halfway point, a staff member came out of the door with 2 ice cold water bottles for us. This was a amazing touch, the guy must have radioed ahead to let them know we were on our way. This must be what celebrities feel like.

Good day trips: Catamaran snorkeling, Xcaret park, zip line, golf, Tulum, Playa Del Carmen

Room Service breaky on patio

Spinach Salad room service came like this, very cool

Pina Colada served to the beach

Azul breaky and lunch buffet spot, great view

One of the pools at the spa 'water journey'

Breakfast smoothie bar at buffet

Healthy breaky room service - egg white veggie omelette, potato, beans and tofu

The resort