Guyana Tours and Adventure Travel Guide 2023

Welcome to Guyana, an adventure travelers heaven! A place where you can ride a horse up a mountain, zoom across the savannah on an ATV, shoot a shotgun, swim in a gorgeous creek, learn to throw a lasso and get involved in authentic ranch life…. all in a single day!

Guyana might be unknown to a lot of the world, but that’s all changing fast! With some recent tourism pushes, Guyana is really starting to make its mark on the world as a premium destination for adventure travel. And after spending 10 days adventuring around the rugged south, we can see exactly why.

It had been a long time since such a strong sense of adventure and excitement had ran through my veins. Guyana revitalized my passion for exploring the unknown and getting off the usual tourist track. So sit back, strap in and get ready for one hell of a trip.



Starting the Guyana Adventure Travel

The adventure started as soon as we touch down at Georgetown International Airport and made our way out to the small propeller plane at Eugene F. Correia International Airport. We boarded an hour long flight with Trans Guyana Airways southwest to Lethem, a small town that borders Brazil, where there’s little more than an airstrip, a few hotels and some empty looking shops.

It’s on our flight from Georgetown that we met Ian, who is the owner and organizer of Bushmasters, an extreme adventure tour company that specializes in survival training and awesome times. Over the next six days Ian would be taking six professional travel bloggers across the wild savannah of southern Guyana.

Note: We regret to inform everyone about the sad and unexpected passing of Ian Craddock in July 2020. Ian died doing what he loved, adventuring in Guyana, and will forever be remembered for providing so much joy and adventure to so many. May he continue to be exploring and pushing the limits in his next adventure. We hope this post can showcase even just a little bit of his amazing spirit. Rest easy legend!


Bushmaster Tours in Guyana

Aside from being an absolute survival master, Ian is a real character. Years of service in the British Special Forces has prepared him for just about any challenge in life. For Ian, there’s no such thing as it can’t be done, and his wild explorations around Guyana are proof of that.

We arrived at Ian’s house after dropping off our gear at the Takutu Hotel in Lethem. It was a short drive from the airport, yet even in that drive we got a sense for just how remote and isolated this part of the world is. Paved roads are replaced with red, dusty streets. There are a handful of hotels to stay at, but other than a jumping off point for jungle and savannah exploration, there doesn’t seem to be a lot to do in Lethem.



Ian’s house was like an adult adventure playground. Outside in the yard there were four ATVs (quad bikes), along with two 4×4 vehicles. Inside there was an authentic 6ft Amerindian bow and arrow resting against the couch. In one of the rooms a jaguar pelt, from one of the indigenous villages, was mounted on the wall.

Across the room there are piles of camping and survival gear spread out everywhere. As I scanned the room my eyes found the stack of machetes sitting on a small table, each one in a leather sheath with a small branded logo of Bushmaster on the front side. Everything in this room shouted adventure, and I could barely contain my excitement for the trip to start.

Ian gathered us all together in the room to explain the next steps. He ran us through all the gear we needed to pack in our rucksacks. We were given a hammock with built in mosquito net, a hammock rain cover, light blanket, foldable chair, canteen, spoon and eating containers. We also got a 3L camelback, our food provisions, dry bags to keep everything in, and of course, a machete!


Preparing for the Adventure

The next day we woke up early, eager to start our adventure tour in Guyana! After a quick breakfast at the Takutu Hotel we grabbed our rucksacks and headed over to Ian’s to collect the vehicles. The four ATVs were all lined up in a row, tanks full and ready to hit the road.



Terry, Frankie and Lionel, three local Guyanese who work for Ian, were busy loading up the 4x4s with all our equipment. Water tanks, tools, inflatable kayaks, medical kits, generator and all the other things we were going to need to survive for a few nights. Once the vehicles are ready to go, it was a concise explanation from Ian about the plan and we were off.

This is Ian’s style as a tour organizer. He is energetic, funny, full of crazy stories and knows his stuff. He doesn’t give you an answer if he doesn’t know it. And when he does, he only likes to say it once, and he does it with a precision and conciseness of a skilled expert in the survival field. He also has an amazing ability to teach you how to do something, without holding your hand throughout the process. It was this type of unguided adventure travel that I’d been missing after so many years on the road.



ATV and 4×4 Adventure

We hit the road with pace! The four ATVs led the charge at the front of the convoy, with Ian directing first, followed by two of us and then Lionel at the back. Behind him the two 4x4s were driven by others on the trip, with Frankie and Terry each manning one of the vehicles to ensure everyone was on track. I was on the first round of ATV driving and had an absolute blast. We bumped around on the trails, trying to avoid large potholes and termite mounds that had hardened like concrete in the sun.

As I rounded a corner I slammed down the accelerator and a sudden burst of speed erupted from the ATV. The back tires slid out as I continued to crank the handlebars to the right and held the accelerator down. Just as the ATV started to slide out of control I let go of the accelerator, straightened up, hit the gear up button and burst off down the trail, leaving a trail of red dust in my path.



We approached a river and slowed down to assess the level of water and our ability to cross it. Ian took a calculated look and said we were good to go, so he sent the 4x4s across first and then we hit the water with speed and determination to make it across.

On the first day of adventuring we rode 105km out of town and into the savannah. Day two we rode 101km, with all of us rotating between driving the ATVs and 4x4s. During this time we crossed rivers, hammered down dusty red roads, bumped across the savannah and carved a path through the very sparse terrain of southern Guyana.

On a couple of occasions we passed small shops and used this an opportunity to fuel up on an ice cold beers to wash out the dust. At one shop there was a large bottle of murky white liquid being sold in old Coke bottles. After an inquiry we found out it was a bottle full of cow fat! Our shocked faces were met with equally shocked expressions from the locals at the thought that we’re not using large bottles of cow fat regularly in the kitchen.



Over the next few days we continued along the trails. Six riders, over 350km and only two crashes. Naturally I was one of them. After getting a little too confident on the trails I decided to take the ATV off road and hammer through the uncharted savannah. As I bumped along, trying to avoid 3 foot tall termite mounds, my vision was blurred through the long grass, obscuring the obstacles in my way.

I looked to my right to see the convoy of vehicles running along the trail and then directed my attention back to the savannah just in time to see that I was heading straight towards a fallen tree. I had a split second to brace myself before the ATV hit the tree at 50km an hour and I was bucked from the seat. Momentarily, I held onto the handlebars, thinking I was going to land it, before I was ripped from the vehicle and thrown into the air.



I tried to tuck and roll mid flight and managed to land on my shoulder, before spinning onto my back and sliding several feet though the padded long grass. The spectacle ended with my limbs catching up to my body, me on my back and my legs in the air. From the microphone in my ear I heard someone call out, ‘man down!’. I took a moment to compose myself, before standing up and assessing the damage. A banged up elbow, but thankfully I was fine. I jumped back on the ATV, rejoined the track bashfully and decided to stick to the trail in the future.


Camping Under the Stars

After each day of riding we established a camp under the stars along the river. On the first day Ian delivered a safety instruction on machete use, before setting us free onto the barren landscape to find a tree and hang our hammocks. Having this complete independence was one of the best parts of this trip. Ian gave just the right amount of instruction, before letting us fend for ourselves like real life jungle adventurers.

As each of us found a suitable area, we chopped and slashed our way to a clearing and strung up our hammocks for the night. After getting our bedding organized we returned to the communal camp area where Ian already had a fire going. After a quick jump in the river, to clean our clothes and wash off the dust, we spent the night sitting around the fire, cooking up our camp meals and exchanging stories underneath the stars. With no light pollution whatsoever, and only a slither of a moon, the stars were incredibly bright.



Where we slept was not your average camp spot. There were no facilities or other established areas. It was just us and the wild. Ian told us that we were among only a dozen other people who had stayed near this spot before, and they were all just from his previous trips. After swapping a few more stories we retreated back to the hammocks to avoid the mosquitos and to try and get some sleep.

From my hammock I could see the stars through the black mosquito net mesh that protected my hammock from an army of mosquitos that awaited my fresh blood. Even through the mesh the stars shone bright enough to light up the ground below. The faint light of my iPhone illuminated my little cocoon bed for the night, as a soft breeze slowly swung my hanging hammock.



Even though I was stripped down to my underwear it was still boiling and I could feel the beads of sweat dripping down my forehead, temporarily resting on my eyebrows and creating a small pool of water, before dropping down into my eyes. I felt like I was never going to get to sleep in this heat, but before I knew it the vibrant colors of a savannah sunrise are awakening me from my hammock.


Saddle Mountain Ranch Guyana

After a few days on the trails we arrived at Saddle Mountain, where the real ranching adventures begun. Situated deep in southern Rupununi, Saddle Mountain Ranch is any aspiring cowboy’s dream. Operating as an active ranch since 1990, Tommy and Joan, have made their own little slice of paradise out in the middle of nowhere in Guyana.



Named after a nearby mountain that looks like a horses saddle, Saddle Mountain ranch is full of exciting adventures, delicious home cooked meals, stunning landscapes and plenty of opportunity to immerse yourself within authentic Guyanese ranching life.

This simple, yet beautiful, homestead is surrounded by miles and miles of open savannah, with the property itself enclosed between luscious mango trees. There are goats, chickens and all kinds of Guyana wildlife that can be found on the ranch. There’s even the rare spotting of a jaguar. If you make it to Saddle Mountain Ranch, be sure to ask Joan about her story fighting off a jaguar with a machete. The rooms are simple and open aired, making the afternoon breeze a very much welcome feeling after a sweltering day. Fortunately there aren’t as many bugs here, so you can leave your window open and catch a breeze during the night.



Riding a Horse at Saddle Mountain Ranch

As an active ranch, Saddle Mountain Ranch has plenty of horses that get used on a daily basis to assist with the work duties. While leisurely horse riding is not an activity these horses usually encounter, it must be a welcome break from the demands of ranch life that sees them out herding cattle across the savannah.

For our horse riding experience we got up early to make the most of the cooler temperatures of dawn. After the local crew saddled up the horses we received a crash course in handling and riding, but the real learning came from just doing. It had been at least 20 years since I’d last straddled a horse, and I was pretty sure my horse knew it. I awkwardly tried to synchronize my erratic jolting with the horse’s trotting, but end up bouncing around so much I thought I was about to fall off.



After half an hour, a numb backside and plenty of gorgeous views, I was finally starting to get the hang of it a little more. I tried less to find the rhythm and instead just let the horse jolt me into a rhythm. Walking was easy, trotting was hard, but cantering was much simpler, as the smooth gait of the horse made it easier to work with.

The only problem with cantering is that it meant the horse was now going a lot faster! I tried to hold on, with one hand on the ropes and the other holding onto the saddle for dear life. It was only towards the end of my third horse riding session that I realized the more I relaxed, the easier it was to ride.

My final cantering moment down the home stretch was the real highlight of my career as a horse rider. My horse, finally understanding my lack of abilities, gracefully gliding down the track; me, one handed holding onto the ropes, furiously swinging my hat in the air like a real cowboy. It felt pretty damn cool!


Ranching Activities

One of the biggest draws to Saddle Mountain Ranch is the opportunity to experience authentic Guyanese ranching life at its best. And while you’re there you’ll be able to learn from the best, because at the ranch you’re amongst cowboy royalty with Tommy and Judah.

Tommy, the former Rodeo King of Guyana, has a long history of being involved in movie productions and any cowboy / Western related content that was filmed in Guyana. With that type of pedigree it’s no surprise that Judah, his son, is currently a two time Rodeo King of Guyana himself. Not only that, but Tommy’s daughter is also a legendary barrel racer.



Ranching activities start off by learning how to throw a lasso, with a lesson in technique, as well as some attempts on a target. Don’t worry if you end up in a tangled mess of rope, or trip yourself up, we were doing plenty of that. If you’re up for it, you can take your latest skill into the corral, and test out your talents on a real life moving target.

As part of an active ranch, the herd occasionally requires some maintenance and looking after. One of these jobs is to brand the calves and to castrate the bulls. Please note that this is not a staged activity put on to appease tourists. This is just one of many everyday ranch activities that help support the livelihood of the whole ranch. Some people may feel a little uneasy about the idea of branding calves, but every person is free to choose how they want to participate.



Whether you show up at the ranch or not, these are activities are performed daily in order to maintain the herd and support the business. For anyone who considers this an act of cruelty, I’d only ask you to compare that to the lives of cattle in other parts of the world. One act of branding on a thick cow hide, ensures this cow can live in the open savannah, free from antibiotics, pesticides and enclosures. This is the real free range.


Swimming in the Creek and Eating Delicious Food

After a long day of ranching there’s nothing better than taking a short walk down to the waterhole to take a refreshing swim. Forget changing your clothes, just walk down in your filthy, sweaty clothes and jump straight into the cold water. We all took a bar of soap down and scrubbed our clothes while wearing them, before splashing about in the water and jumping off the overhanging palm tree.



After cleansing ourselves from a hard day on the ranch, that home cooked meal from Joan felt so rewarding to tuck into. Casserole, mashed potatoes, rice, beans, veggies and so much more delicious food. If you’re a meat eater you can eat the beef straight off the ranch, where it doesn’t get more sustainable than that. Everyday we were on the ranch Joan and the kitchen crew whipped up some amazing food. There was a selection of fishes, chicken and beef, always accompanied by huge platters of sides and ice cold jugs of fresh lemonade and fruit juices.


Kayaking on the Takutu River

After five days of hardcore adventure travel in Guyana, we didn’t think this trip could get anyone more jam packed until we finished the trip with a kayak down the Takutu River. On the last day we traveled on the vehicles out to a section of the Takutu River, which works as the border between Guyana and Brazil.

Even though we were running out of time, Ian wanted to give us a taste of the kayaking trips he offers. We only hit the water for a few hours, but usually Ian offers multi-day, even multi-week, trips that venture deep into the pristine rainforest and jungle.



The ATVs and 4x4s stopped at a spot along the river and we unloaded the inflatable kayaks. After a brief, yet concise, demonstration we set off on preparing our kayak. We lugged them down to the river and docked them along the bank. Across the width of the river we could see Brazil, so Chris and I took this opportunity to swim across to the other side for a laugh.

After launching our kayaks onto the river we paddled along for the next couple of hours, stopping a couple of times along sand banks to take in the scenery and chat with local fisherman from both sides of the river. Even in these few hours we got a sense of how awesome an adventure along the rivers would be.

Picture this, each night, deflating the kayak, walking into the jungle to set up camp for the night, experiencing the real jungle, before doing it all again the next day. It’s on those sorts of trips that Ian told us we’d be likely to encounter Guyana wildlife like anacondas, jaguars, pumas, ocelots and the other cat species found in the jungle.



After deflating the kayaks and jumping on the bikes for an hour we arrived back in Lethem. Dusty, dirty but definitely not defeated, we sat around at the Takutu Hotel with a cold beer and reflected on what an incredible six days we just had.

Between six professional travelers and bloggers, we all agreed that this trip was one of the most authentic adventure experiences we’d had in a long time. No fancy hotels or meals, no private transport, no guides holding your hands, just pure exploration like the old days. So, who’s ready for an adventure?


Traveling to Guyana

Located in the northeast corner of South America, Guyana is a little harder to get to than other more popular hotspots on the continent, but once you’re there it’s definitely worth it. Traveling overland to Guyana is difficult, as it borders Venezuela to the left, which isn’t the safest country to travel through at the moment. To the east and south it borders Brazil and Suriname, but the easiest way to enter Guyana is by air.

Cheap flights to Guyana can be found if you book ahead of time, with Caribbean Airlines being the major airline that flies into Georgetown. A lot of flights to Guyana from the US go through New York or connect through Florida on your way past other Caribbean countries.



Guyana Packing List

The key to adventuring in Guyana is to pack light, as you’re often going to be carrying a lot of your gear with you. Lightweight, quick dry clothes are key, as well as things that are going to protect you from the elements and bugs. Here’s a list of our top things to pack for Guyana adventure travel.

Long sleeved microfibre top – I wore this everyday, literally! The long sleeve is key, as it keeps the sun off you during those long days on the ATV and horses. It’s also good to defend yourself against the bugs.

Brim hat – Another thing to protect your head and face from the intense sun! It’s absolutely brutal out there, and without a good hat you’re gonna get burnt.

Buff – When you’re tearing up the track on the ATV you’ll need something to cover your mouth. A scarf or Buff works great. It also keeps the sun off your face.

Hiking boots – For this trip they weren’t super essential, but you will need them if you go deeper into the jungle and do more trekking.

LifeStraw – We take our LifeStraws Go bottles absolutely everywhere, because when you’re out in the middle of nowhere, the one thing you need to survive is safe drinking water!

Sunglasses – Get yourself a good pair of sunglasses, because between the dust and the sun you’re going to need eye protection. We always recommend SunGod glasses, because they’re basically indestructible. And believe us, we’ve put them to the test!

Thanks to all the amazing people at the Guyana Tourism Authority for making this trip happen! Everything about this trip was incredible and I can’t wait to visit again. Thanks also goes to Caribbean Airlines for helping assist with flights, and Inmarsat Global for keeping us connected, even in the middle of nowhere! As always, all opinions are my own and I would never recommend a destination I didn’t truly believe in.


Best Vlogging Tripod for Phones: JOBY GorillaPod Mobile Rig Review

Content creators look out, there’s a new vlogging tripod on the loose with the sole purpose of helping you create the best, on-the-go videos you can. This multi-purpose tripod has a range of different uses to ensure you’re never caught out when you need to capture the perfect content.

Lightweight, versatile, strong and with more accessories than Inspector Gadget, the JOBY GorillaPod Mobile Rig is the perfect tripod to take on the road or use at home when you want to create content that stands out!



Best Vlogging Tripod for Phones

If you’re familiar with JOBY products you’ll also be familiar with the patented GorillaPod ball and socket design that has made their products some of the most versatile camera and phone tripods on the market. The flexible legs, along with rubberized grips, make the GorillaPod Mobile Rig accessible as a tripod or on the go selfie stick. If you can think it, the Mobile Rig can shoot it!

In this product review we jump into the nitty gritty of the GorillaPod Mobile Rig to really dissect what makes it such a great product. We’ll explore the build design, features and accessories to provide an overall review of the product.



Versatile Body

Weighing less than a pound (0.36kg), the JOBY GorillaPod Mobile Rig is small, lightweight and really easy to travel with. Despite its multiple arms and mounts it’s not a bulky tripod and won’t take up a lot of space in your luggage or day bag. Throw it in your backpack and always have it ready to rock when the moment calls.



When you do need to access it, snap the legs into place, position the arms and away you go. The strong GorillaPod ball and socket design is sturdy and strong enough to hold any phone, as well as the additional arm mount attachments, so you don’t have to worry about it tipping over when you’re in the middle of that perfect video or shot.

When you’re not using it as a traditional tripod, bend the arms inward like a handle and use the Mobile Rig like a selfie stick. The lightweight design means you can hold the phone out for that perfect selfie video without getting a sore arm or needing to find a place to rest the tripod.


Looking for the perfect camera equipment for traveling (as well as vlogging and blogging)? Check out our comprehensive Best Cameras for Travel Guide!

Landscape and Portrait Mode

One of my favorite features of the GorillaPod Mobile Rig is the ease that you can switch between landscape and portrait mode. Lots of other tripods, especially for phones, make you commit to one of the two orientations, but the Mobile Rig lets you easily adjust between the two.



A simple lock and release feature at the back lets you twist your phone between the two modes. This is all part of JOBY’s pro-grade, locking GripTight technology that ensures your phone is always safe and securely attached to the tripod. So if you’re rocking out a quick selfie or portrait vlog and then want to switch to a landscape shot, the GorillaPod Mobile Rig allows you to do it with ease, without having to untwist or unlock your phone.



Additional Arm Mounts

Another amazing feature of the GorillaPod Mobile Rig is the two, fully adjustable arms that are attached to the tripod. Each arm has a 1/4”-20 standard tripod mount on the end, which means you can add items to the tripod to help enhance your video. Whether it’s an external light or action cam to capture a different angle, or an external microphone, customize the GorillaPod arms with a flash shoe mount or GoPro mount to add extra devices.



As well as the arm mounts there’s also a cold shoe mount on top of the phone that could fit an external microphone, light or whatever else you want to add. This means you have three additional spots in total to rig out your mobile video content.

When you’re not using the additional arms you can even choose to unscrew them to further reduce the weight and bulk. The three legs are fixed, but you can can take off both arms or even just one arm if you’re not using it. There are literally dozens of different combinations that you can adjust to make this one of the most versatile tripod products.


Field Tested

After giving the JOBY GorillaPod Mobile Rig a thorough once over we decided the best way to really test it was to get out there and start filming. We locked in the iPhone with a case without any worries, hooked up a GoPro and took off to give it a whirl.

Using the tripod in both stationary and selfie was a breeze. We switched between landscape and portrait modes quickly and efficiently and didn’t get tired holding it over the course of the day.



Everything that the GorillaPod Mobile Rig promised, it delivered. Along with mounting the tripod on flat surfaces we also locked onto a tree and uneven surfaces to really test it out. While the legs on it can’t hold a ton of weight when mounted sideways, they definitely have the capacity to be manipulated to mount the tripod in awkward angles that a regular, stiff tripod couldn’t work in.

Overall this is a fantastic product that costs under $100USD. If you’re serious about your vlogging and want to up the game, the JOBY GorillaPod Mobile Rig is the tripod for you!

Canggu Accommodation Guide: Where to Stay in Canggu, Bali 2021

So you’re planning a trip to Canggu, Bali! Lucky you! Over the course of our many years of traveling, we haven’t found somewhere that feels like home more than Canggu. Whether you’re an avid surfer ready to hit the beach breaks or you just want to watch the surfers from a beach bar down at Echo Beach, Canggu is always a fun place to be. But you want to make sure you book the hotel right for you. That’s why we put together our Canggu Accommodation Guide with the best hostels, guesthouses and hotels in Canggu, no matter what your budget is. So get excited, because the waves are calling!


Best Luxury Canggu Accommodation 

One of the best parts of traveling to Bali is being able to splurge on a budget! Accommodation is super affordable. You can get gorgeous villa mansions for the price of a basic hotel room in the US or Australia. If you’re looking to spend a bit more and immerse yourself in complete luxury, we’ve got you covered.


COMO Uma Canggu

If you love the beach, and you’re looking for luxurious accommodation, it doesn’t get much better than COMO Uma Canggu. It’s one of the best hotels in Canggu. The modern design is exceptional and rather striking, and the property sits just a stone’s throw away from the famous Echo Beach. Needless to say, there is no shortage of stellar views!

Each room is large, fully kitted out, and incredibly comfortable. Some rooms even offer a terrace. A buffet breakfast is available each morning and the onsite restaurant offers a delicious array of cuisines from around the globe.

Free on-site parking is available to all guests and the staff is welcoming and happy to provide locally informed guidance on what to do and see in the area.

COMO Uma Canggu offers plenty of gorgeous and comfortable communal space, both indoors and outdoors. The property features several large swimming pools which look out over the Indian Ocean, a fully equipped gym, and a surf shack that offers great surf lessons.


ZIN Canggu

ZIN Canggu offers beautiful, simple, and rustic accommodation that is delightfully luxurious. It features exceptional design and the entire place has a light, airy, atmosphere to it. Much of the decor is reflective of traditional Balinese design, offering the perfect blend of immersion and comfort. 

Large sliding glass doors make up an entire wall of each unit, with exceptional views of the dense green array of plants outside. Sunken sofa suites in the villas are perfect for relaxing and admiring the gorgeous surroundings. There are shared pools for the rooms and private pools for each of the villas.

Each unit is fully equipped with everything you’ll need for a comfortable and luxurious stay, and the communal areas are all beautiful and welcoming. The outdoor living space is peaceful and absolutely gorgeous and there is always comfortable seating available. Curl up in one of the beautiful hanging chairs for some peace and tranquility.

Better yet, Zin Canggu is just a short walk from the beach, and the town center is very accessible. It’s certainly one of the best places to stay in Canggu.



Theanna Eco Villa and Spa

Theanna Eco Villa and Spa offers incredible world-class luxury with traditional Balinese design elements. The private villas feature gorgeous decor and immersive garden views. 

All of the usual amenities are featured in each of the beautiful villas, including air-conditioning, flat screen TV, minibar, and an ensuite bathroom. Guests are provided with bathrobes, slippers, and a hairdryer.



The rustic, yet clean and modern outdoor living space wraps a stunning infinity pool which looks out over the luscious jungle-like surrounds. 

The outdoor living areas feature comfortable seating, water features, a bar, and gazebo style structures which provide an indoor-outdoor feel. Enjoy a fine dining experience at the restaurant or treat yourself to a relaxing massage in tranquility at the on-site spa.

Whilst is located a short drive away from the beaches and town center, free shuttle service around Canggu is provided, and is pretty much always available.


Best Midrange Canggu Accommodation

If you prefer a bit of peace and privacy, but don’t want to fork out too much cash, the following hotels and guesthouses will be a perfect fit.


Surf Motel

This sleek and modern motel is clean, comfortable, and stylish. It features an incredible rooftop area with a bar, a pool, comfortable sun loungers, and outstanding sea views, which is a great place to drink and socialize.



Surf Motel, as the name would suggest, is ideal for surfers. It’s a very short walk from Old Man’s Beach, and close to a surf rental shop for those who don’t have a board with them. 

There is a large communal lounge area which, coupled with the free WiFi, can double as an effective workspace. Each of the air-conditioned rooms have their own private bathroom and guests are provided with fresh towels and linen. This chic motel is located in one of the best parts of Canggu!



Koa D Surfer Hotel

Located within walking distance of Berawa Beach, Koa D is awesome for surfers. The stunning bamboo architecture and laid back styling offer a great backdrop for your time in Canggu. 

Best of all, the hotel has an amazing rooftop lounge area with a large swimming pool and a thatched bar that sells delicious cocktails. This makes for a fun evening atmosphere (nothing too hectic). There is even a sandy section on the rooftop and the views are exceptional, stretching out over the beach and ocean. 


Surfers will feel right at home – the hotel offers board racks and even an onsite surfing equipment store. The air-conditioned rooms are all comfortable and come equipped with satellite TV and a private bathroom. There is an onsite restaurant, and car and scooter rentals are available from the hotel.



Serenity Eco Guesthouse

A mere 150m from the nearest beach, Serenity Eco Guesthouse offers a tranquil paradise with a colorful vibe. The property is an alcohol and smoke-free zone with a focus on a healthy body and environment. It offers 10 yoga sessions each day for individuals with any amount of experience. 



Both private rooms and dorm rooms are available, each with their own bathrooms. The guesthouse is committed to environmental sustainability and utilizes a grey water system throughout and natural pesticides for the on-site permaculture garden. A stay here is perfect for anyone interested in responsible tourism.

There is a relaxed atmosphere throughout the guesthouse and lush gardens, which feature a large pool and outdoor chilling area. The in-house restaurant serves delicious health conscious vegan food.




Semimpi is located further inland than many of the hotels on this list, but it offers incredible value for money! It is a modern, stylish, and comfortable guesthouse with great facilities, all for a very affordable price.



The air-conditioned rooms all come fitted with a satellite TV, private bathroom, coffee maker, seating area, and a desk. Many of the rooms even have a balcony overlooking the pool area. The pool is large, and the outdoor living space is laid-back and lovely. There is also a restaurant on site.



Best Hostels in Canggu

Hostels are awesome for those traveling on a budget, and a great way to meet like-minded travelers and have fun. Fortunately, Canggu is home to many amazing hostels and welcomes a constant stream of enthusiastic adventurers!


The Farm Hostel

The Farm is a gorgeous place that goes beyond what one usually expects from hostel accommodation. Each bed is big and comfortable, and each of the rooms has air-conditioning and an ensuite with an open-air shower.  Each bed even has curtains so you can enjoy some privacy despite being in a shared room.



The staff is friendly and professional and the rooms are clean and comfortable. The fiber optic WiFi is free and fast, and the hostel offers some great other amenities. These include scooters up for hire, surfboard racks (which will come in useful – Canggu has great surf), yoga mats, and a clothesline. There is a social atmosphere, but it’s really relaxed and you can always find some privacy.

The pool and wooden deck which wraps around it are both incredible; the deck is warm underfoot, lined with lush green plants, and kitted out with sun loungers and comfy bean bags. The hostel is in a great location near the center of Canggu and not too far from the beach.



Black Pearl Hostel

Black Pearl Hostel is ideal for beach lovers and surfers. It’s perfectly located just 200m from the world-famous Old Man’s Beach with its legendary surf break. Each of the five rooms contains four comfortable beds and comes equipped with ensuite bathrooms and air conditioning.


The friendly staff will make you feel right at home. The included maid service will ensure the rooms stay clean and tidy, leaving you with more time to explore Canggu. Grab a drink at the awesome rooftop bar and admire the views or relax by the hostel’s beautiful swimming pool. The vibe here is great, with a good balance between partying and getting enough sleep.



Tribe Theory – Entrepreneurs Hostel for Digital Nomads

If you’re an entrepreneur or digital nomad looking for a well-priced place to stay while you build your business from Canggu, then Tribe Theory is an incredible option. The hostel has a relaxed vibe and is geared entirely toward entrepreneurs and digital nomads, populated with a community of ambitious, creative, young people.



There is free WiFi, and a co-working space where you can network, collaborate, and share ideas with like-minded individuals. The hostel even hosts start-up events where you can further your knowledge and make new connections. Located just a 10-minute scooter ride from Canggu’s beautiful beaches, Tribe Theory offers both shared and private rooms, as well as incredible views out over scenic rice fields.

It also offers comfortable beds, towels and linen, a great swimming pool, and a free parking spot for each guest.



Kos One Hostel

A stay at Kos One Hostel is almost a luxurious experience. The beds are incredibly comfortable with privacy curtains and reading lights, the building is clean and beautiful, and there are even two open-air hot tubs on site!

The vibe at Kos One is awesome, and the guests are always looking to have a good time with like-minded adventures travelers. The views from the hostel stretch across rice fields to the Indian Ocean, which is only a short walk away. Kos One is also close to several great restaurants and the Canggu town center.



One of the best features of this hostel is its amazing Mediterranean inspired pool. It features a diving platform, swing, pool bar, and an artificial sand beach. The whole area surrounding it is perfectly crisp white and peppered with plants. 



The Hideout Hostel

The Hideout is a cozy boutique yoga and surf hostel, tucked away in a dense green garden. It features great outdoor chill spots and a lawn that welcomes all kinds of activities. A couple of friendly dogs roam the property and there is a great relaxed communal vibe!



The hideout delivers on its promise of being a surf and yoga hostel. It offers top-notch yoga sessions in the onsite yoga shala and is an easy walk away from beaches with great surf. There is also a swimming pool and self-catering kitchen on site, and the hostel offers free WiFi.

You’ll be welcomed and taken care of by friendly staff who are more than happy to share their wealth of local knowledge. The dorms are air-conditioned and the comfortable beds each come with charging points and a reading light.



Gypsy Moon Bali

Gypsymoon is a beautifully designed hostel with a laid back vibe that is simultaneously rustic and modern. The communal spaces and dorm rooms are all large, open, light, and airy with a great atmosphere. 

The beds here are incredibly comfortable and large. Each of the four beds in the large shared rooms comes with privacy curtains, a reading light, and a charging point. Private rooms with double beds are also available. All of the rooms come with a wardrobe and their own ensuite bathroom.



There is a great swimming pool with a fantastic communal area around it. The wooden deck is lined with beanbag chairs, sun loungers, and plants. At night, the outdoor area glows with atmospheric lights, and the vibe is relaxed.

WiFi and a delicious daily breakfast are included, the hostel is clean, and the staff is friendly and welcoming. Gypsy Moon is a little further from the beach than some of the other hostels, but it more than makes up for it in style and atmosphere.


Sending Large Files Safely and Securely While Traveling

These days everything is online. Whether you’re at work, traveling or make travel your work (like us) you’ve got to be online. And with our whole lives being online it’s only natural that we need an online filing cabinet to take with us (unless you feel like traveling with a backpack full of papers).

Whether it’s documents for work, travel photos and videos, college essays or just personal files, having cloud storage (your online filing cabinet) is the best way to keep track of all your files, as well as sending large files and sharing them with others. In fact, having access to a safe and secure cloud storage system is almost a necessity these days, as we need to store more and more data online.


As online content creators, not only do we have a personal need for online storage (file backs up), but with work we constantly need access to a service that allows us to share our work with clients and partners. Whether it’s sharing photos from a photo shoot or sending a video project for a tourism board, the ability to send large files is a must in our business.


Cloud Storage for Remote Workers

This isn’t just the case for travel bloggers like us. With more and more people working online the need for a secure cloud storage system is more important than ever. You don’t have to be backpacking across the Philippines or taking a road trip in Nevada, you could just be working from your Hong Kong office or at a business meeting in London to need the services of safe and secure online cloud storage.



When you’re traveling, you have to expect the unexpected! Literally anything could happen to you or your work while you’re traveling, so backing up securely is a must! You don’t think it’s possible? Here is a random, yet possible scenario:

Your name is Steve. You’re a photographer on a nature assignment in Estonia. You spend the morning capturing the most stunning photos ever. You eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich at lunch. You pick up your camera to see those epic morning pics and get jelly on your camera. You go to bed that night and don’t back up your photos and send them to your boss (or clean off the jelly)… BAM, a bear eats your camera! 

Ok so that sounds dramatic, but I do know of plenty of real life stories from people who haven’t backed up their files, nor sent them to their clients, and lost all their work. And that sucks! Don’t be like Steve!



Best Way to Upload Big Files

As computers become more technical, camera megapixels grow and video resolution sky rockets, the problem with sending large files is amplified by the sheer size of the files. A RAW image from our Sony mirrorless camera is a whopping 42mb and a 2-3 minute video is in the gigabits! And it doesn’t just have to be media files, even PDFs are growing in size depending on how detailed and content rich they are.

When creating a simple business proposal, sending through graphic designs or Photoshop files, we’re talking serious file sizes these days! As the quality of our files grow, so does the size. Instead of talking about online storage in the gigabytes, terabits is now the household quota. Now here lies a huge problem. How do you share and send these massive files? With the measly 25mb Gmail file attachment limit (10mb on Hotmail!!) it’s impossible to send them over email.



Enter Dropbox, our favorite cloud system for storing and sending files. Not only have we been using them for years to backup our travel photos, but they’ve been incredibly useful for sharing and sending large files to clients and partners. In fact just before I wrote this post I uploaded 40+ images to a shared folder for a client.


How to Share Large Files

Sending large files is as simple as uploading the file to your Dropbox account and then creating a shared link for a specific file or whole folder. Then you can take that link and share it with anyone. Shoot it across in an email, drop it in a WhatsApp chat or send it via carrier pigeon! Anyone with the link can access your file and you can choose how much access you want to give to them. And the best thing is they don’t even need a Dropbox account, although they definitely should get one!



Dropbox also allows you to set the boundaries when it comes to sharing your large files, so you can give people access to edit a folder or you can simply let them view and download it. If you’re working on a group project, it’s really easy to share editing access, so other people can upload files. You can also password protect the content to put it on lock down.



Transfer Large Files Online Through Multiple Platforms

Another great feature from Dropbox is the ability to send, receive and access your files across a range of different devices. Got an Android phone, a Windows work computer and a Mac at home? Not a problem (except for the fact that you’re making life really difficult for yourself!) Work between all devices and operating systems to view, edit and share your files. Download the phone or desktop app, or access via a browser. Everything is seamless.

With this much freedom and access to your files, it’s crazy to think that people out there are still like Steve, just waiting for their hard work to be eaten by a bear!

This is a sponsored post for Dropbox. All opinions are my own. Dropbox is not affiliated with nor endorses any other products or services mentioned.

Where to Stay in Lombok: Best Hotels, Hostels and Resorts

The following article contains affiliate links. We’ll make a small commission if you book through our links, at absolutely no extra cost to you! It’s just a little way we keep our site running. As always, we’d never recommend a product or service we didn’t fully support or use ourselves!

If you’re planning a trip through Southeast Asia, you don’t want to miss a visit to the beautiful island of Lombok. From epic waterfalls to fantastic white sand beaches, you will be so glad you visited this true hidden gem. With its quiet dirt roads and secret spots to explore, Lombok that has been compared to Bali 20 years ago. The island also has some stellar hostels and hotels that you can get at a killer deal. Use our Where to stay in Lombok accommodation guide to find the best places stay in Lombok, whether you want to stay super budget or splash out on a nice resort.

Kuta, Lombok Accommodation

From rustic hostels to luxurious beachside suites, take a look at our list of the top Kuta, Lombok accommodation choices.


Best Hostel in Kuta – The Livingroom Hostel

This gorgeous spot on Lombok’s south coast makes for the perfect backpacking experience. 

The Livingroom Hostel is close to a number of stunning beaches including Selong Belanak Beach, Tanjung Aan Beach and the white sands of Kuta Beach. Enjoy lounging on the terrace where you can look over the gardens or have a dip in the pool.

One of the most spectacular features is The Livingroom’s terrace bar which sits under the shade of a giant tree. You can recline on bean bags or epic swings that are dotted around the bar as you enjoy the ultra chilled atmosphere. This fantastic hostel is situated close to local restaurants and attractions. It also provides free parking on-site. 

Prices range from around $30 USD for a quadruple-bed room or $12 USD for a 6-bed room.



Best Budget Hotel in Kuta – Batatu Villa

Experience a taste of true Lombok paradise at the incredible Batatu Villa.

You can begin each morning with tasty choices from their varied breakfast menu which is served in your room. Each unit also has a well-equipped kitchen if you would like to do some cooking of your own. The hotel is a stone’s throw away from the Kuta Lombok Traditional Market where you can pick up souvenirs and some tasty treats. 

Batatu Villas has a gorgeous design with aesthetics to match. Everything about this hotel puts you at the height of relaxation. Enjoy the glistening pool and lush garden, or bask in the Indonesian sunshine on the terrace. The immaculate rooms also come with a private pool and lounge to recline in. The hotel also happens to be pet-friendly so you won’t have to leave your furry friends at home. 

The hotel provides some excellent transport options for exploring the island – you can rent a car or motorcycle, and take advantage of their airport shuttle service. You’ll also be a short walk away from Kuta Beach as well as the fantastic Legend Cafe & Bar where you can enjoy some delicious fusion food including Japanese and Indonesian cuisine.

Accommodation at Batatu Villas begins at approximately $93 USD. 



Best Luxury Hotel in Kuta – Sikara Lombok Hotel

Enjoy some of the best Indonesian hospitality at the Sikara Lombok Hotel. 

Situated on a lovely quiet street on Lombok’s coast, this fantastic hotel is close to some of Lombok’s best beaches, including Tanjung Aan beach and Kua Beach. Cool off in the hotel’s stunning swimming pool as you gaze at nearby mountains. You won’t want to leave your luxurious room, which is filled with top-notch amenities. This oasis has everything you could need, including BBQ facilities and an outdoor dining area. The hotel also has some amazing Indonesian architecture to admire. 

Sikara Lombok provides the option to book cooking classes, snorkeling, diving and hiking to enjoy on your trip. You can even grab a delicious hot drink at their on-site coffee house as you relax into this Indonesian paradise. 

Rooms at the Sikara Lombok Hotel start at around $70 USD. 



Senaru Accommodation

This gorgeous area in the North Lombok Regency makes for a spectacular taste of nature, and vies for the role of the best area to stay in Lombok. Take your pick from mountainside villas and homey accommodation on offer in Senaru.

Best Hostel in Senaru – Tiu Kelep Homestay

Make yourself at home on your trip to Lombok at the Tiu Kelep Homestay. This lovely spot, tucked away in the wilderness, is close to a number of truly stunning Lombok waterfalls. You can take your pick from this incredible line-up: 

  • Sindang Gila Waterfall
  • Tiu Kelep Waterfall
  • Umar Maya Waterfall
  • Telaga Madu Waterfall
  • Tiu Teja Waterfall

Hiking is the order of the day in this area. Tiu Kelep Homestay sits in the impressive shadow of Mount Rinjani, a must-see on your trip to Senaru. Choose between views of the lush gardens or breathtaking mountains in Tiu Kelep’s backyard. Some of the rooms also have a balcony where you can take in the sights and snap some pics.

The owners of Tiu Kelep go above and beyond! They offer informative tours about the local culture, as well as themed dinners. The on-site restaurant serves an array of Asian and international cuisine. The owners can even cook you a traditional meal on your first night! You’ll definitely feel part of the family at this incredible homestay.

Double rooms go for around $10 USD.



Best Budget Hotel in Senaru- Hakiki Inn Bungalows

This gorgeous spot makes for the perfect Lombok getaway. Situated in the middle of rice fields, the Hakiki Inn offers cozy and comfortable bungalows, which come with breathtaking mountain views.

Every room is well-furnished and fitted with seating for when you want to relax in your bungalow. These quaint wooden houses promise an idyllic experience in the wilderness, where you can hike the day away or recline in your hammock. There are also a ton of waterfalls nearby including:

  • Jeruk Janis Waterfall
  • Semporonan waterfall
  • Benang Stokel Waterfall

You can also enjoy a memorable hike to Mount Rinjani, or enjoy the tranquility of the Tetebatu Monkey Forest. The hotel also organizes a fantastic hiking trip to Sangkareang, which has amazing views of Mount Rinjani and the crater lake next door. 

Double rooms at the Hakiki Inn Bungalows start at $25 USD. 



Best Luxury Hotel in Senaru – Rinjani Lighthouse

Enjoy an unforgettable holiday at the amazing Rinjani Lighthouse. Complete with facilities as incredible as its name, you won’t want to leave this serene spot in the hills of Senaru.

Enjoy breakfast and dinner open to the sky where you can do some next-level stargazing. There Rinjani Lighthouse also features a fantastic balcony complete with bean bags and hammocks. You can also enjoy hikes to the surrounding waterfalls and the lighthouse’s namesake, Mount Rinjani. 

This gorgeous hotel is situated in a lush area surrounded by hills and mountains, making it a true oasis. Take in the natural wonders of Senaru, where views of the summit are breathtaking and memories are made.

Deluxe double rooms start at $29 USD and family bungalows are around $41 USD.  



Senggigi Accommodation

This gorgeous area in west Lombok looks out over the Bali Sea from a stunning coastline. Find the very best in Senggigi accommodation from comfortable villas to 4-star hotels (and potentially the best hotel in Lombok).  


Best Hostel in Senggigi – Selasar Hostel

Take it back to the beach with a stay at the amazing Selasar Hostel in Senggigi. A prime spot that’s close to just about everything, this is a backpacker’s paradise. 

The Senggigi Art Market is a few minutes away, or you could hop on over to the Cakranegara Market for some shopping time. Food is no problem thanks to the hearty breakfast served every morning plus an in-house restaurant that offers a variety of dishes.

The hostel also has handy bicycles and motorbikes for rental if you’re looking to do some sight-seeing further afield. You can check out nearby spots like Malimbu Hill and the gorgeous Monkey Forest Waterfalls, or hit local beaches, including the stunning Senggigi or Malimbu Beach. 

Rooms are on offer at the Selasar Hostel from $22 USD. 



Best Budget Hotel in Senggigi – Makarma Resort Lombok

Enjoy the calm side of Lombok at this incredible spot, a definite player for the best resort in Lombok, which is perfect for your holiday and your budget. 

You can spend some of your time enjoying the refreshing pool and immaculate grounds, which are home to an impressive vegetable garden and lush greenery. Then, head out for a trip to the Senggigi Art Market and Malimbu Beach, or get a taste for Senggigi with a meal at one of the nearby restaurants and cafes. You can also enjoy some top-shelf cuisine at the hotel’s in-house restaurant and bar.

The incredible staff at the hotel will warm your heart and make you feel right at home. Enjoy one of the hotel’s gorgeous bungalows, which are close to the pool and perfect for a relaxing getaway. 

Double rooms at the Makarma Resort start at $13 USD. 



Best Luxury Hotel in Senggigi – Jeeva Santai Villas

This 4-star hotel has everything you could want and more. Enjoy the stunning private pools that come with every room, as well as an outdoor bathtub for a unique experience at your secluded villa. 

The on-site restaurant and bar produce some fine dining, while you enjoy exquisite views of the Lombok Strait. You can also experience ultimate relaxation at the hotel’s spa and wellness center.

If you’re an adventure-lover, take advantage of some of the nearby activities on offer, including surfing, canoeing and diving. The stunning beachfront is only a short walk from your private villa, or you can enjoy a dip in the oh-so-amazing infinity pool. Make use of fantastic facilities such as the poolside gazebos and daybeds, while enjoying the unforgettable sea view. 

The Jeeva Santai is also in a prime spot, which is right by the Senggigi Art Market, the Bangsal ferry Terminal and a boat ride away from Gili Islands. 

Enjoy every aspect of this unbelievable hotel, where you can watch the sunset and gaze over at Bali in the distance.  



Gilis Accommodation

Find your home-away-from-home on this gorgeous collection of isles – Gili Meno, Gili Trawangan and Gili Air. Whether you’re looking for eclectic hostels, or a stay at one of the area’s finest hotels, peruse our list of top picks of the best places in Lombok. 


Best Hostel in Gili Meno- The Rabbit Tree Hostel, Gili Meno

Just like its intriguing name, this hostel is something special, and is a definite contender for the best place to stay in Lombok. Its incredible host creates an unbelievable vibe to socialize. Personal touches take this hostel to the next level. 

Enjoy everything from an in-house cinema and library, to table tennis and temporary art galleries. Then, make your evenings memorable with some nighttime entertainment provided at the Rabbit Tree. 

This pet-friendly hostel caters for families with their kids play area and a games room. The rooms are also beyond inventive with amazing themes like the favorite ball-pit room. You can also enjoy fantastic views of the garden or nearby mountains. 

Begin each morning with a delicious French breakfast, then head off for a day of exploring the natural wonders of Gili Meno. The hostel is close to attractions like Meno Lake, Bangsal Harbor and the golden sands of Meno Beach. 

The Rabbit Tree Hostel is the perfect blend of a social atmosphere and discovering the wilderness of Gili Meno by snorkeling, hiking and horse riding. 

Prices range from double rooms around $14 USD to single beds in a dorm around $9 USD.



Best Budget Hotel in Gili T- 5 Brothers Hotel, Gili T

This amazing hotel is the perfect spot for a trip to Gili Trawangan. With a prime location near North West Beach and Sunset Point, the natural features of Gili Trawangan beckon. 

The hotel offers snorkeling, diving, canoeing and fishing for an extra charge, as well as bicycle hire for some island exploration. With the Gili Trawangan Art Market and the Turtle Conservation Gili Trawangan a stone’s throw away, you can enjoy the sights of the island.

 You can also take a dip in the glistening saltwater pool, recline on beanbags around the terrace or enjoy a relaxing foot bath. Finish off a spectacular day of fun with a low-key evening by the hotel’s cozy outdoor fireplace. 

The hotel’s double rooms begin at $43 USD. 



Best Luxury Hotel in Gili Air- Samsara Villas, Gili Air

Crafted wooden gates lead you into this slice of Indonesian tranquility. With Medana Beach and the white sands of Gili Air Beach just a bike ride away, this makes for the perfect luxury beachside spot. 

Start your day off with a continental breakfast accompanied by incredible views of Indonesia’s west coast. With fantastic restaurants just down the road and the hotel’s handy bicycle rental service, you can experience the tastes, sights and shoreline of this incredible Lombok islet.

Enjoy comfort to the maximum with a fitted kitchen, well-stocked minibar and private outdoor bathroom in one of the fantastic villas. 

Recline on the sun-kissed terrace or in the cool waters of your private pool, then enjoy the hotel as it comes to life at night under an Indonesian moon and garlands of light.

Samsara villas are on offer from approximately $156 USD.

Traveling Around the Philippines: A How to Guide

The Philippines – long, white sandy beaches; clear, turquoise water and overhanging palm trees. A colorful collection of paradise islands, where the locals are just as welcoming and happy to see you as you are to be there. That’s what comes to my mind when I picture the Philippines – and it’s the reason why travelers from all over the world have it high on their lists ‘must visit’ places.

When you’re not basking in the sun sipping on daiquiri’s, you can venture further inland and conquer jungle hikes, volcanoes or make the most of some of the best scuba diving in the entire world.

With every single island offering their own unique slice of tropical bliss, you’ll be wanting to move between a few of them during your stay. The intricate maze of buses and ferries, flights, tuk tuks and timetables can sometimes be overwhelming, so let me walk you through some of the best ways to get around in the Philippines during your stay.

Traveling to Coron

Part of the province of Palawan (voted ‘The Best Island in the World’, multiple times), it is actually separate to the rest of the island by about 250km of water. Because of this, it is slightly behind on the tourist traffic that some other areas may be experiencing. You’ll be able to explore the mind melting scenery without needing to share. There are lakes, lagoons, bays and underwater mountains. If you’re looking for that quiet island getaway, then this is the place.

Twin Lagoon is a must do. During low tide, a gap appears beneath a limestone wall that usually separates the two. You can then swim to the other side. If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, you can swim underwater and through it even when it’s not exposed. The lagoons also allow you to experience the meeting of fresh and salt water, creating varying temperature pockets.

A really unique experience that Coron offers are the underwater mountains of Barracuda Lake. After a short hike up some rickety wooden stairs, you can dive in a crystal clear lake and float on by the mountain peaks, much easier than hiking them! This can be done with just a snorkel, but if you really want an otherworldly experience then we’d suggest going scuba.

The best way of getting to Coron would be from El Nido, the last stop off destination on the north end of Palawan. There are ferries leaving every morning from El Nido to Coron, taking between 3.5-4hours depending on conditions. The ride is comfortable and has A/C. Be sure to check the weather forecast. A storm will of course mean no sailing and your departure will keep being moved back until a clear day.

Another option would be to fly. Both El Nido and Coron have airports, so it comes at little inconvenience and saves time overall – this can sometimes be the simplest way when traveling in the Philippines.



Traveling to El Nido

El Nido – the Nest – is located on the northern tip of Palawan. It’s bustling with backpackers and for good reason. A stretch of beach curves along the town, with many bars and restaurants spilling out on to it. It’s a great place for the social traveller, and the countless nearby islands offer an escape for those searching for silence.

If you’ve ever seen a photo of somebody on the nose of a longtail boat or kayak, surrounded by sparkling turquoise water and sheer karst mountains stabbing out the sea and into the sky – then it was probably taken during a boat tour leaving El Nido.

As well as the many island hopping options, the scuba diving out of El Nido is incredible (starting to see a theme here?). The most fascinating spot of all is the Dilumacad underwater tunnel off of Helicopter Island. Referred to as ‘the Tunnel’ by locals, it starts at 12m below the surface and continues for 40m right through to the other side of the island. This is for advanced divers only.

If you’re starting from Coron then you of course have the same options for heading this way – Coron to El Nido flight or ferry. And if you’re heading from Puerto Princesa up then you have the option of traveling overland. Prices vary considerably depending on the level of luxury you would like, or the amount of stops your bus will take. A minivan can get you there from as little as $12, and if you’ve got a decent podcast saved for long journeys then this is a really great option. You’ll be thankful for the amount of extra mango smoothies you can afford!

If you’re not a people person then private transfers are also available, you pay for the vehicle so if you have a large enough group then this option actually works out fairly evenly.


Traveling to the Philippines? Check out our Philippines Travel Itinerary for all the best spots to visit!

Traveling to Puerto Princesa

Officially The City of Puerto Princesa, it is actually the least densely populated city in the Philippines. Being more urbanized than other places on Palawan allows for the comforts that go with it – better wifi, more shopping options and access to electronic stores to replace lost charger cables. There is somewhat of a nightlife scene here, compared to other places, and there are plenty of good eating options for the foodies.

This is the Philippines, so yes of course there are just as many accessible beaches from here on the west coast. Particularly Nagtabon, a beautiful long half moon shaped beach not too far from the city. There are often locals fishing around here who are more than happy to sell you some of their catch, which has travelled no more than 10m from the sea to the BBQ.

Another must do is the Subterranean River National Park, with the optional extra of caving and zip lining. This is underground river tour offers door-to-door options, really creating a hassle free yet adventure filled day of exploring a cave system hundreds of millions of years in the making.

Being a city, and in fact the capital of Palawan, means there are more travel options. Again, if you want to travel from Puerto Princesa to El Nido, then the minivan option would probably be the best bet. Buses in the Philippines can get a little hectic, particularly in the hustle and bustle of the city. Approach all travel days with an open mind, a loose schedule and a ‘go with the flow’ attitude.



Traveling to Bohol

Home of the world’s tiniest primate, the tarsier!

That should be enough to get you over there, but I shall continue anyway. The tarsier is so small it is only about the size of your fist. They have comically large eyes and can rotate their heads 180 degrees without moving their body. You can visit the Philippine Tarsier and Wildlife Sanctuary run by the Philippine Tarsier Foundation. Please note that there are a few mimicking organizations that are just out to profit from the tourism brought in for tarsiers, so please do your research.

Bohol is also famous for its Chocolate Hills, an incredible geological phenomenon and fabulous example of conical karst topography. Over time the limestone karsts have been worn down from ocean, rain and wind to create cone like shapes. In the dry season the grass on them turns brown, hence the name. Bohol boasts the chocolate hills on its regional flag, and they are been put forward to be included as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

To get here, there is a ferry from Cebu to Bohol, which would be your best way across. You can either sail in economy or business, with the difference being air-conditioned and slightly more comfortable seats.



Traveling to Cebu

A combination of idyllic islands and modernity provided by Cebu City, it is easy to see why most expats and nomads decide to call this part of the Philippines ‘home’.

There is a rich cultural history on offer in Cebu City, really showing the Spanish influence on the nation. Fort San Pedro and Maggelan’s Cross are worth checking out, as well as the Cebu Taoist Temple for your daily dose of serenity.

Or you can go in completely the other direction and check out the Sky Experience Adventure – an adrenaline fueled 120m+ walk above the city skyline on a glass floor. You can even opt for the ‘extreme’ version, where you are basically dangled off the edge.

If the big city life isn’t your thing, then the many waterfalls of Cebu island may be up your street. Kawasan Falls being the most prominent, you can even book a canyoneering adventure package leaving from the city.

Again, from Bohol to Cebu you have the two ferry options, with or without aircon. If this is the first destination of your trip then there are plenty of flights in from Manila.

One thing to note, if you’re visiting Cebu and want to experience swimming with whale sharks, we’d ask you to read our article and reconsider whether this is an ethical animal interaction. There is a lot of evidence to suggest this is actually damaging the whale shark population in the Philippines. Alternatively you can swim with sea turtles not far from Oslob, which is a much more sustainable animal activity.

This article has been a sponsored collaboration with Bookaway. Bookaway is an easier way to book transportation, keep up to date with timetables and plan your travels around the world. As always, all opinions are our own and we would never recommend a company that we didn’t fully support or use ourselves.

Top Things to Do in Carmel by the Sea

Thanks VisitCarmel for inviting us  on this trip and for showing us around. As always, all opinions are our own and we would never recommend or promote something that we didn’t fully support and believe in. This article may also contain affiliate links. If you book through our links you help keep this site running to absolutely no extra cost to you!

Although only one square mile in size, Carmel-by-the-Sea is the definition of good things coming in small packages. With its fairytale cottages, secret pathways and enchanting architecture the city itself is an absolute pleasure to explore. This seaside town jam packed full of adventure, culture, history, great food and plenty of activities to entertain anyone looking for a relaxing weekend getaway or some time away. Couple that with the rich diversity in activities to experience and Carmel by the Sea is the perfect destination for your next trip.

If you’re looking for the best places to eat, sleep and explore in Carmel by the Sea, then this is the Carmel by the Sea travel guide for you.

What to Do in Carmel by the Sea

Whether you’re looking for a romantic couples weekend, a family trip away or even just a new place to explore on your own, there are a ton of things to do in Carmel by the Sea. Got a furry friend that accompanies you on trips? Bring them along! Carmel-by-the-Sea was rated the number one Dog Friendly Town in the United States, so there’s no need to leave them out of the adventure.

Lovers of art, history, good food and a beautiful beach will especially love everything Carmel-by-the-Sea has to offer. Here are our recommendations for the best things to see in Carmel by the Sea:



Carmel by the Sea Walking Tour

If this is your first time in Carmel, heck even if it isn’t, then you need to get yourself on a walking tour with Gael Gallagher. Over the course of two hours, Gael will weave you in and out of hidden pathways, tucked away courtyards and show you all the secret spots of this tiny town. You’ll learn about the history of the town’s formation, as well as the changes that it has undergone over the last century.



Gael takes a lot of pride in showing you all the hidden things that you’d definitely miss without an insider’s knowledge. And it’s not only the information that makes this tour so great, Gael herself is an incredible tour guide. Full of energetic enthusiasm and hilarious anecdotes, Gael keeps the group entertained until the very last ring of the church bell, before giving you a big hug and sending you on your way to explore the town on your own.



Art Tours in Carmel by the Sea

If you’re looking to dig a little deeper into the history and stories behind the Carmel art scene then you need to check out Rohana’s Carmel Art Tours. During this walking tour you’ll have the opportunity to visit several art galleries and studios that produce everything from bronze sculpting and photography, to ancient Chinese silk weaving and glass shaping.



One of the best parts about this tour is the interactivity between each of the locations you visit. As you make your way from spot to spot, you’ll have the chance to speak to the people behind the creative genius. While not guaranteed, given the artists’ busy schedules, if they are around they’re more than happy to have a chat and talk about the ideas behind their creation.

At Steven Whyte Sculpture Studio we were lucky enough to meet the man himself. Steven is largely considered one of the best modern day sculptors and it was fascinating to hear him talk about the process of creating his masterpieces. His studio is full of incredible pieces, and the different designs help showcase the various stages of the bronze sculpting process from clay molding right up until the completed piece.



Rent an Electric Bike

What seaside town visit would be complete without a ride along the esplanade to soak in the glorious coastline. Thankfully you can now do that in style with the electric beach cruisers at Mad Dogs & Englishmen. These classy, vintage bikes have been fitted with electric peddle assistance, meaning you can cruise along the coast and easily make it up those windy hills.

You can rent the bikes for as long as you like, depending on how adventurous you feel. Whether you’re looking to do a small tour of the beach and town, or venture out to the famous 17 Mile Road, anything is possible on these bikes. Mad Dogs & Englishmen is actually the first bike rental business to operate in Carmel, having opened in early 2018, and have since thrived with people wanting to take their bikes for a spin.



The crew behind Mad Dogs & Englishmen are super knowledgeable and passionate about making this business more than just a bike rental. It’s a unique way to experience Carmel by the Sea. Bikes can come pre-equipped with Garmin GPS devices, that map out routes and trails to discover all the best spots in and around town.


Visit the Beach

After enjoying a nice cruise along the coast, take yourself down to the sand and splash amongst the waves of Carmel’s beach. The sand is soft and the water is refreshing for those looking to take a dip.

The beach is a cove, nestled in between two iconic landmarks. To the left is the Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, which is an excellent day trip spot to explore just outside of Carmel-by-the-Sea. To the right is the famous Pebble Beach Golf Links course, undoubtedly one of the most well known golf courses around the world for its stunning backdrop against the jagged California coastline.



Sunset Community and Cultural Center

When you plan your visit to Carmel-by-the-Sea, be sure to check the schedule of the Sunset Community and Cultural Center. Chances are there is an amazing show on offer and it’s a great opportunity to hear some music from local and visiting musicians or check out a speaker give a talk.


St. Junipero Serra Mission

If learning about history is your thing, then be sure to pop past the St. Junipero Serra Mission on the outstretches of the city. Along with historical Spanish colonial buildings, the church and grounds are very impressive to take a wander through. While you’re there, learn about the history and influence that the mission played in shaping the area.



Where to Eat in Carmel by the Sea

One of the best things about eating in Carmel by the Sea is that all the restaurants, cafes and stores are locally ran and not a part of any massive chains. You won’t find any McDonalds or Starbucks, thankfully, and instead get to experience the passion and pride of local ownership. Here are a selection of some of the best places to eat in Carmel by the Sea:


Brophy’s Tavern

A homey Irish pub that offers a contemporary spin on classic, comfort food. With seven TV screens, and a great selection of beers on tap, it’s the perfect place to settle in and watch some sports. The fish and chips, made in a beer batter, were definitely the winner for dinner, but all the food we tried was delicious. Pro tip: be sure to leave room for dessert. The chocolate filled churros with chocolate dipping sauce are insanely scrumptious!



Cultura – Bebida and Comida

A Mexican restaurant, inspired by the tastes of Oaxaca and mezcal. This place offers a creative, yet authentic, collection of dishes that will leave you fuller than a chilli relleno! A passionate group of friends and former colleagues have teamed up to recreate their take on mezcal inspired cocktails and some of the best Mexican food I’ve ever tasted. Everything on the menu is amazing, but a special mention goes to the queso fundido, a literal flaming pot of stringy cheese with an explosion of flavor.




Another delicious Mexican restaurant that serves up authentic flavors in a cozy setting. Situated inside a cute courtyard, you can sit outside and take in the atmosphere of Carmel while sipping on a Michelada and chowing down on some tantalizing tacos. Choose from a menu of classic Mexican dishes, with a modern spin that leaves you wanting more.


Flaherty’s Seafood

If you’re staying on the coast, then you need to get stuck into some seafood. There’s no better place than Flaherty’s Seafood, located in the center of town. They have an extensive menu of dishes to choose from, but the seafood is where it’s at. You name it and they serve it, in a combination of flavors and styles that mean you could eat there everyday and never get sick of it.



Mission Ranch Hotel and Restaurant

While I didn’t personally eat here, I can tell you that this is the best spot to catch the afternoon sunset over their patio with a nice cold beer, wine or cocktail. Located on the edge of town, the patio overlooks an open grass field, with sheep lazily grazing around. In the distance you can see Point Lobos, as well as the beach, where the sun slowly slips below the horizon. The establishment is owned by Clint Eastwood, who purchased it in 1986 to stop the 1850s property from being knocked down and rebuilt as a more modern hotel. Because of this, the Ranch maintains its historical charm and gorgeous grounds.


Lula’s Chocolates

Finish off an excellent day exploring Carmel by the Sea by cozying in front of the fireplace with some chocolates from Lula’s. There are plenty of options to choose from, no matter what your sweet tooth is craving.


Where to Stay in Carmel by the Sea

Along with world class restaurants, art and activities, one thing that Carmel by the Sea has no shortage of is cute cottages and cozy B&Bs. In fact the fairytale style architecture is one of the main draws to the town.

Perfectly manicured gardens, sharp attention to detail and an overall homey feel make staying in Carmel by the Sea a real treat away from home. Here are a few of our top suggestions for the best places to stay in Carmel by the Sea. You can also check out the Visit Carmel website, which offers a quick and convenient Book Direct feature to make reservations.


Candle Light Inn

Located centrally in town, like most places, this country English inspired hotel offers a number of spacious guest rooms with varying amenities. All rooms come with amazingly comfortable beds, TVs and a decor that matches the overall aesthetic of Carmel by the Sea’s charm. If you’re looking for a little more luxury then splash out on premium guest room, equipped with your very own two person jetted tub and gas fireplace. Nothing says quality romantic time like turning on the fireplace with the flick of a switch, and kicking back on the couch with a bottle of wine.



Briarwood Inn

Be enchanted by the red brick paving and green ivy that grows up the side of the Briarwood Inn, with yet another great location to sleep in Carmel by the Sea. The rooms are warm, homey and a little more affordable compared to some of the higher end places.



Horizon Inn & Ocean View Lodge

Located just a mile from Carmel Beach, this centrally located hotel offers gorgeous rooms with the option of a hot tub for those luxurious nights in with a bottle of wine. Rooms come equipped with all the home comforts, plus more! Relax in front of a fire and unwind after a day exploring. Some rooms even come with an ocean view!



How to Get to Carmel by the Sea

One of the best things about visiting Carmel by the Sea is how easy it is to visit. Only a two hour drive south of San Francisco, five hours north from Los Angeles, Carmel by the Sea is accessible for any type of trip. And while it might take a little longer to drive, if you take Highway 1 you pass some amazing spots along the way (like Big Sur), making the drive to Carmel by the Sea an activity in itself.

For those traveling inter-state, fly into either San Francisco or San Jose for a no stress trip down to Carmel-by-the-Sea. From those airports it’s just a short drive down to this magical town. For the cheapest and most flexible flight deals, we always use and recommend SkyScanner. It helps compile all the cheapest rates across all the airlines, so you save more on flying and get to spend more on your holiday!


Whether it’s following all the recommendations of this guide, or using it as inspiration to go searching for yourself, Carmel by the Sea should be on top of your list of places to visit in 2019. The history and charm of the city is like nothing you’ve visited before, and will no doubt bring you back to this seaside haven many times again. We’re planning a return trip now, so we might even see you there!

Travel the United States and Stay Connected with US Mobile

Full disclosure, this is a sponsored post and US Mobile reached out to us to help spread the word about their service. Of course we happily obliged as we are already using their SIMs and have recommended them to friends, family and our audience in the past. As always, we would never endorse a product that we didn’t test and fully recommend.


As a full-time travel influencer it’s fair to say a solid Internet connection is one of the most important things to my job. Whenever I’m traveling around the world for work, I’ve got to stay connected and have access to the online world. Whether I’m Tweeting about a new restaurant I visited, sharing my travel experiences over a Facebook Live video or posting a sweet drone picture on Instagram, I always want to have access to the Internet when I’m on the road. For me, being online isn’t just about work, it’s also about being able to find out interesting information about the places I visit, connecting with friends around the world and enhancing my travel experience through technology.



Why Stay Connected While Traveling?

In today’s travel environment everything is online. You can book your flights, hotel stay, restaurant reservations and even your transport without ever talking to a single person. While we don’t recommend traveling and being glued to your phone, it is pretty handy having access to so much information right at your fingertips.

For me, and many others traveling around the world, having a good SIM card is the key to staying in touch and informed while on the road. Having a phone connected for calls, texts and data gives you the freedom to get lost and explore, while still maintaining a presence if people need to reach you. Also, it’s great to have an actual phone number that you can use to call ahead to double check opening times, make reservations or simply stay in touch with the people you meet on the road.



Buying a US Mobile SIM Card

When I’m in the United States I always get my phone hooked up with US Mobile. It has made traveling, staying connected and organizing my travels so much easier. The best part, US Mobile gives you the flexibility to pick and choose the prepaid (pay-as-you-go) plan that suits your travels. All you need is an unlocked phone and you’re good to go.



With their super flexible plans (392 different combinations to be exact!), US Mobile literally has something for everyone. Big talker, but don’t need data? Got you covered! Hate talking on the phone and only need text and data? You got it! And the best part about US mobile plans is that you don’t have to be locked into ridiculously long contract arrangements. With US Mobile you can change your plan every single month if you want, or add extra features, as you need them. Know you’re going on a big trip in July? Upgrade your data package from 1gb at $14, to 4gb for only $20! The next month you can go back down to 1gb, or even less if you won’t be using it.



Setting up US Mobile SIM Card

When I first traveled to the States back in 2010 I had no idea how SIM cards worked or how to set one up… so I didn’t get one. This time around I was much more prepared and happy to be connected for the times that matter most. The only thing easier than setting up your US Mobile plan is setting up your SIM. All you need to do is visit the homepage, click ‘Get SIM’ and then order your SIM card. It only costs $3.99 to buy and it’ll arrive in 3-7 days to any US based address. When your SIM arrives, jump back onto US Mobile and set up an account. Once inside the US Mobile dashboard you can activate your SIM and then pick exactly the monthly plan that works for you. It’s literally as simple as that.

But hey, don’t just take my word for it, head over to TrustPilot to see US Mobile’s exceptional rating of 9.5/10 and to read many more happy customers reviews on their website.


Weekend in Calistoga: Hotels, Spas and Wineries

Nestled in the iconic wine county of northern California, just a little further north of Napa, is the quaint town of Calistoga. The town was originally made famous by the natural hot springs and volcanic mud baths, where locals and vacationers alike would indulge in these relaxing and therapeutic natural resources. However, since that time, Calistoga has continued to grow as a premium travel destination in northern California. Now, more than just hot mud, Calistoga has a number of world class wineries and has well and truly made its mark on the wine industry over the years.

If you’re looking for a break, or simply want to pamper yourself for a weekend away, Calistoga is the place to visit in the Napa Valley. Offering so much more than just a dip in hot volcanic mud, Calistoga is the perfect spot to spend a weekend exploring wineries with friends, indulging in some excellent restaurants or getting away for a romantic weekend.

We cover everything in this Calistoga travel guide, from where to stay and eat, to the best mud baths and wineries for your perfect trip away.

Where to Stay in Calistoga

There is no shortage of excellent places to stay in Calistoga, but if you really want to find the perfect combination of relaxation, comfort and history, then the Brannan Cottage Inn is hands down the best choice in Calistoga. This charming bed and breakfast is operated out of an original Victorian cottage, which was actually built by Calistoga founder Sam Brannan back in the 1860s. It’s one of the first buildings in Calistoga to be recognized by the National Register of Historic Places for its connection to the founding of Calistoga, and the restoration and preservation efforts have ensured it upholds its historical charm.

Walking through the old rooms inside the main building feels kind of like visiting a museum, with old black and white photos adorning the walls and a very classic piano sitting in the entertaining area. The attention to detail on all the fixtures and fittings are impeccable, which give the Brannan Cottage Inn a nostalgic nod to its early days.

There are 6 rooms available, each intricately unique and special in their own way, from the colorful wallpaper and tile work, to the individual decorations and room arrangement. Any one of these rooms would be a pleasure to stay in, but by far the most luxurious room is the Deluxe King with its gas fireplace, beautiful deck and amazingly comfortable bed. Our time in Calistoga was a little rainy, which made it super cozy to come back to an open fire with our plush robes.

Along with these added luxuries there is also a heated bathroom floor, massive TV with Netflix and Amazon Prime, champagne glasses and a fridge to cool that champagne. The private balcony deck off the front of the room is also a nice leisurely spot to enjoy some morning mimosas, if you’re so inclined!

Located within 5 minutes walking to the center of town, Brannan Cottage Inn is an ideal spot for people that want to experience the local community feeling that Calistoga has to offer. For a town that gets quite a lot of tourism, Calistoga has really maintained a very humble vibe, making visitors feel right has home.

Brannan Cottage Inn is across the road from Indian Springs Resort, where you can also take a dip in the natural hot springs. Right next door to the resort is the delicious restaurant Sam’s Social Club. It’s also just a couple of minutes walk to the center of downtown, where you can find mud baths, hot springs, restaurants and local shops.

Getting Around Calistoga

Another convenient feature of staying at Brannan Cottage Inn is the free Calistoga shuttle that can take you around the main town. It’ll also shuttle you outside of town to nearby wineries, so you don’t have to worry about how to drive home after a few glasses of wine. The Calistoga Shuttle is a ‘call on demand’ service that can pick you up wherever you are and drop you off to locations around Calistoga. You simply dial the number, request a pick up time and swipe your Brannan Cottage Inn card for free access. It’s the perfect option if you’re planning on visiting a winery for the day and want to indulge in a couple of extra reds!

Visiting San Francisco while in the area?

Calistoga Mud Baths and Hot Springs

Before the hip wineries and upscale restaurants became a thing in Calistoga it was all about the famous mud baths. And no trip to Calistoga is complete without a revitalization session in the mud. The emergence of Calistoga’s natural healing resource dates back to ancient volcanic eruptions, coming from nearby Mount Saint Helena, that have made the surrounding soil rich in nutrients and minerals. Long before American settlers arrived in the area in the 1840s, the indigenous Wappo tribe was taking advantage of the healing powers of the northern California hot springs and fertile soil.

The mud alone isn’t particularly appealing, but combine the thick volcanic soil with the natural hot spring water and you get a heated mud bath experience that will relax and rejuvenate any old soul. The best way to experience the healing benefits of the natural elements is to visit one of the many establishments that offer hot mud baths. Roman Spa Hot Springs Resort, located in the middle of town, has a super relaxing experience that everyone should indulge in if visiting Calistoga. The mud is a bit stinky (thanks to the sulfur) but once you get past that it’s a relaxing experience.

You start by floating in the hot, thick mud for 20 minutes. You strip down to your birthday suit and slowly lower yourself down into the hot mud bath. You’d think, presumably, that you’d sink right into it, kind of like a soup. But the mud is thick, and unless you wriggle into it you just sit suspended on the top. Wriggling around in the mud kind of feels like wadding through quicksand until you hit the bottom of the bath. Moving in the mud is slow and feels a bit like the dreams you have when you’re trying to run, but your legs don’t move fast enough.

It can get pretty hot and a little constricting, but if you take a few deep breaths and relax it’s actually really comfortable being suspended and encased in hot mud. Once your time is up you can wash off all the thick mud that has found its way into every crease and crack on your body…. I mean every crease and crack! Jump in the shower and scrub off before popping into a hot bubble bath to really relax for 20 minutes. After that you can add on a massage to really top off the most relaxing couple of hours you could ask for on a weekend away.

Where to Eat and Drink

Aside from the copious amounts of wineries on offer, giving you plenty of places to drink, Calistoga has a host of delectable restaurants on offer. Right across the road from Brannan Cottage Inn is Sam’s Social Club, named after Calistoga founder Sam Brannan. It’s a charming restaurant that serves up American cuisine. Sam’s is a big open restaurant with warm lighting and a real homely local feel. The meals are massive and a lot of the food is sourced from local farms around the area, so you know it’s fresh. We definitely under-estimated the size of the food here and ordered too much, but it left us with a midnight snack later in the night when we were watching Netflix in our robes.

For breakfast or lunch be sure to visit Café Sarafornia, which is named after a famous word jumble from Sam Brannan, who didn’t mind a few drinks himself. This is also how Calistoga gets its name. After a few too many, Sam Brannan said he was going to name this area, the Saratoga of California, but drunkenly said, the Sarafornia of Calistoga. Hence, Calistoga got its name, and this super cute diner adopted the iconic name Sarafornia. Food portions are big and well priced, with a good selection of traditional American diner meals on offer. The milkshakes are extra massive; so if you’re two people, definitely split one.

Those looking for a good cup of coffee, make sure you visit Yo El Rey Roasting. Located in the center of town, it’s a boutique coffee roasting house that produces only the best, organically certified coffee from around the world. The owner, an avid coffee connoisseur, also offers roasting demonstrations in the shop on selected nights. If you’re lucky to be there on the night you’ll get to see a local coffee master explain the whole process and science behind roasting, blending and brewing premium coffee. It’s an educational (and delicious) experience for coffe lovers.

The roasting experience pairs well with a tasting from local Olabisi wines, who have a tasting room across the road from Yo El Rey. After getting a nice pick me up from the coffee, drift across the street and listen to some local wine experts tell you about a selection of their reds. Olabisi Winery Tasting Room is a comfortable spot to kick back with a few samples from these experts in the field. They really know wine, and they love telling you about it over a couple of glasses! You’ll come away much more knowledgable about wine, and probably a little tipsy.

Another excellent place to eat is Evangeline’s, where their French onion soup is incredible!

Wineries and Romantic Getaways

If it’s a little romance and private time you’re after then Calistoga has you covered. Aside from the gorgeous settings and surroundings of rolling hills and stretches of vineyards, Calistoga has some amazing opportunities to spend special time with your loved ones. Private winery tours, romantic strolls through the vines and a few good bottles of wine are more than enough to set the scene in Calistoga.

For anyone headed to Calistoga, we highly recommend a trip out to Bennett Lane Winery. This gorgeous winery, just a few miles outside of town (accessible by the free shuttle), is an unbelievably picturesque and perfect for wooing that special person. You can start the day off with a wine tasting and tour of the grounds, getting to sample the wines, while learning about the history of the company and the production of wine. For anyone new to the specifics of wine it’s a really great experience to hear about how tiny grapes can turn into something so delicious. Whether you’re a wine newbie or an experienced wino, the lovely staff talk you through all the different flavors and make you really appreciate the complexity of the production.

For anyone wanting to really treat his or her significant other, Bennett Lane Winery offers the once in a lifetime opportunity (hopefully) to propose to your loved one in this gorgeous setting with their proposal package. On a nice, clear day they’ll set you up on a table outside, with a nice bottle of wine and a huge cheese, berry and meat platter. You can spend the afternoon overlooking the vineyards, building up the courage to ask that very important question… and then hope that they say yes!

Alternatively, if the weather isn’t on your side, Bennett Lane Winery will set up inside the barrel room, which is super cute. In front of a wall of aging wine barrels is a small table, with dozens of tea light candles and flowers to really set the mood. This romantic atmosphere really is a fairytale setting for a proposal.

And just to be sure you don’t miss any moments from the special day, Bennett Lane can organize a photographer to catch that special moment as it’s happening. Jenny, from J. Rose Photography, is a highly experienced photographer who specializes in capturing the moment and can take your engagement photos right there on the spot.

Whether it’s proposing to your significant other, or getting away with some friends, Calistoga really does offer a luxurious and realizing treat for everyone; from the fine wining and dining, to the therapeutic relaxation of Calistoga’s natural resources. So when you’re looking for that next break be sure to check it out!

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