Check Out My New Facebook Page!

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The new Facebook Page is up & running! Some of the content will certainly cross over both platforms, but Facebook will provide a place for more interaction among readers, as well as fun little perks like “Tuesday’s Travel Tip” & “Wanderlust Wednesday” so be sure to check it out!

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This week’s “Travel Tip” was posted this morning…
Find out the one thing I ALWAYS bring when I travel by visiting the new page at:  www.facebook.com/tripsandtastes

Once on Facebook, please be sure to “Like” and “Share” the page with all your travel & food-loving friends!  Thanks 🙂

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Pura Vida in Pictures

 

20160130_172633Our Girls Getaway to Costa Rica was a complete success!  Perfect weather, an incredibly relaxed resort & the discovery of “Pura Vida” – the simple life at it’s best.

We really enjoyed the Flamingo Beach Resort & Spa, as it was a change from our usual “stock” all-inclusives.  The intimate atmosphere made everything so accessible… just a few steps from the pool, to the restaurant to the beach.  The service was excellent & the staff was friendly & knowledgeable, offering helpful advice on what to see & do.  We loved the open-air feel of the resort & enjoyed all of our meals & drinks outside in the beautiful, tropical setting.

For a full review of this resort, check out my latest article on Trip101.com:  “Discover Pura Vida at Costa Rica’s Flamingo Beach Resort”

But for the “Photostory” – just keep scrolling 🙂

I’m starting with my favorite thing to do on vacation…  Morning coffee on the balcony. Here it came with a great view & a strong Costa Rican brew.

Here’s our actual room from the inside & out.  Basic accommodations, but with everything we needed.  And our 2nd floor “Poolview” room was a winner as we could see both the pool AND the ocean – jackpot!

I loved heading over to the beach early in the morning and enjoying this long, beautiful stretch all to myself.  And I mean EARLY as the symphony of tropical birds had me up every day by 6am!20160130_0618302016-01-30 06.44.57

The sun rose from behind the resort, so the ocean lit up before the sand… so pretty to watch!

This the main Arenas Restaurant, with air-conditioned seating inside and this awesome screened-in patio outside, looking over at the beach.  Drinks & dinner were also available upstairs at the open-air, Sunset Lounge.
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We did make a few friends during our stay…  this guy crawled right up onto my chair to say hello one afternoon!PhotoGrid_1454433100894

Here are a few more shots from around the resort… As you can see, it’s all about the water.  The covered pool is for the kids – such a great idea!

We did venture out and took a Sunset Catamaran Cruise on the 47′ “Panache” – a beautiful boat, manned by a super fun crew.  We stopped to snorkel, had some snacks, enjoyed the complimentary cocktails and ended with an amazing sunset…

Speaking of sunsets… staying on the Pacific side of Costa Rica guarantees some breathtaking views every night.  These were taken as we walked down the beach to “Coco Loco” – a restaurant/bar that sits right on the sand.

Costa Rica is famous for its surf… Unfortunately the only wave I “caught” was this one, just as the sun was setting.

This really was a perfect destination… totally relaxing, friendly people and a great place to reconnect a little with nature.  The “Pura Vida” lifestyle certainly is amazing!

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Last but not least… for the Foodies:  Two delicious ceviches, fresh fish tacos (at the airport of all places) and my favorite cocktail – The Green Monster!  Cheers!!!

 

First… A Few Tips for the Perfect “Girls Getaway”

20150221_124406I’ve just returned from the Paradisus Cancun, on my “5th Annual” Girls Getaway, with my girlfriend of over 20 years.  We are very compatible travel companions (highly recommended) and look forward to our 4-night escape from the cold every year.  We have visited Mexico three times and the Dominican Republic twice. Selecting the resort is our toughest task.  We’ve become a bit spoiled and have fallen into the trap of “upping the ante” each year.  Price is still a factor, but we also take into account the following important items:

1.  The resort must be all-inclusive, preferably with an adults-only section, since we’re purposely leaving our kids at home.  This is simply, the simplest way to go.

2.  The reviews must be outstanding.  We will spend hundreds of hours on-line reading reviews before making our final decision.  This is the absolute worst part of the whole trip.

3.  We must have direct flights and the resort must be fairly close to the airport.  With only 4 nights, it’s essential to make the most of every minute at your destination.  You don’t need to waste time in multiple airports or on long, uncomfortable shuttle bus rides.

4.  We must have a room with 2 beds (this just makes things more comfortable but cannot always be confirmed when making the reservation).  So far we’ve been lucky.

The balcony is a perfect place to enjoy your coffee or wine!

The balcony is a perfect place to enjoy your coffee (or wine)!

5.  Our room must have a balcony. Sitting outside and having our coffee in the morning (or cocktails in the afternoon!), is an actual highlight of the day for us.

6.  Speaking of coffee, there must be a coffee maker in the room.  We do not speak before the coffee, except to talk about making the coffee.  If the coffee maker is an issue (as it was on this last trip), pre-scheduled, room service delivery of the coffee is an acceptable substitution.  

7.  An ocean view has become a wonderful, new requirement.  It definitely costs a little more, but hearing the waves and waking up to that view is so worth it.  (Beware: it can also result in 800 pictures of the exact same shot taken every day because it’s just so beautiful.)

8.  The food must be outstanding with a good amount of variety.  We’re ok with a buffet for breakfast & lunch, but there must be at least 3-4 good a la carte restaurants for dinner. And the reservation system should be hassle-free.

9.  There should be some kind of shopping nearby (this is the only time we leave the resort and it usually only happens once).  I should mention that the purpose of this trip is to relax, not immerse ourselves in the culture or zip-line through the jungle.  We save those for the “family” trips.

10.  And the final requirements are my favorites… the sand must be white, the water must be blue and the pools better be clean.

That’s it!  Pack and go… Lol.  Our trips mainly consist of laying in the sun, reading, drinking cocktails, eating great food and the occasional visit to the disco (usually limited to once per trip).  We also laugh.  A lot.  Sometimes uncontrollably… because that’s what Girls Getaways are really all about. 🙂