24 Hours in Santa Barbara

I was hanging out in UCSB for a bit and had a day to spend in Santa Barbara. The city is developing super quickly and offers quite a few things beyond its beautiful beaches. Here’s a rundown of my day there.

Breakfast at Handlebar Coffee: I don’t drink coffee but I do love a good croissant. The almond croissant here is flaky and delicious. (Also, my friends tell me that the coffee here is the best in Santa Barbara).

Morning Yoga at Power of Your Om: this cute studio is right on State St. They have classes throughout the day for all levels. The teachers are great; be prepared to sweat.
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Found: a Caribbean island in Rhode Island

It was 100,000 degrees this weekend (okay, three zeros need to be removed) so we decided to try and cool off by heading to the beach. I like to live the fantasy that I’m on a deserted island so we searched for the emptiest beach I could find near us and¬†it turned out to be Mansion Beach on Block Island. So armed a picnic lunch that could feed about 10 people (even though it was just the two of us), we set off on our great adventure to this little island. A photo tour of our day after the jump!

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The Beaches near Ojochal

Ojochal is pretty much one of the most perfect places I’ve ever been. It is close to beautiful deserted beaches, delicious food, and amazing wildlife. We stayed at the Villas de Oros and it was a great base for exploring the region. The entire property is built into the canopy of the jungle so you have prime views of animals in hopping around the trees from your balcony. We saw toucans, white-faced capuchin monkeys, scarlet macaws, and howler monkeys. The balcony is also home to a small kitchen area with a sink, fridge, and induction stove so you can cook your own meals if you like. Vikki, the owner, is also super willing to help and will book any tours you like for you.

A Howler Monkey at Villas de Oros

The area surrounding Ojochal has amazing beaches. The four we went to were Playa Ballena, Playa Pinuelas, Playa Ventanas, and Playa Tortuga. The sand at these beaches is extremely fine and one is often only one of a few people on the entire beach.

I’m very excited to be at Playa Tortuga

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Things to do in Taiwan (Part 2)

In this post, I’ll describe¬†some of my favorite places to visit in Taiwan. All of these places are accessible by public transportation but if you are short on time, cabs are fairly cheap in Taiwan.

In Taipei:

Longshan Temple – Buddhism is the common religion in Taiwan and you will see multiple altars in stores as well as small temples in houses as you walk along the street but the biggest temple in Taipei is Longshan Temple. It’s an interesting place to visit and easily accessible on the MRT (Longshan Station). There are lots of vendors outside offering packages of offerings (usually incense, candles, and fruits). The temple is huge and intricate and always full of people (at any given time many people will be praying at the large offering table in the center or at the many small incense pots). I love just hanging out here and people-watching. One fun thing is that in the MRT station you can also get your fortune told by fortunetellers who use birds as their guides.

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Beaches and Ruins and Turtles in Tulum!

Tulum is an extremely beautiful beach town 2 hours south of Cancun. It’s off the grid so all hotels there are small. The sand is white and as soft as flour and the water is clear and calm most days. Pelicans fly overheard and you can often spot them diving into the ocean to eat a fish in the morning. It’s perfectly easy to spend days just laying on the beach and jumping into the water whenever you feel like it.

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