Montezuma, get lost to find piece with Mother Nature

My boyfriend and I traveled around Costa Rica for three weeks. One of my favorite spots is Montezuma. It is a lovely town located at the Pacific Ocean.

river into the ocean

TRAVEL TO MONTEZUMA – COSTA RICA

  1. AIRPLANEto San Jose Airport (airlines such as American Airlines or Lufthansa flight there)

From the airport to Montezuma

  1. BUSfrom San Jose to Puntarenas (it takes about 2 hours and it costs £3.4/3 €/$4.9)
  2. FERRYfrom Puntarenas to Panquera (it takes about 1 hour and 40 minutes and it costs £1.2/1.5 €/$1.7)
  3. BUSfrom Panquera to Montezuma (it lasts around 1 hours and it costs £1.6/2€/$2.3)

Ferry

Once we arrived in Montezuma we looked for a place to stay. Because we didn’t book a hostel in advance, there was hardly anything to find. Most of the hostels were booked out… But after the day relaxing at the beach, we found a great hostel – Luz en el Cielo Eco B&B/ Hostel – with our private cabin. We had to spend a little more money as we planned though.

LUZ EN EL CIELO ECO B&B/ HOSTEL

Prices from: £48.6/61.5€/$70 per night per room in private cabin.

The next morning the hostel owner recommended us to visit a waterfall nearby. So we did. We walked through the jungle until we could hear the water running. And we were stunned as we reached it, because in front of us there was a three-stage waterfall! We enjoyed the cold water in the heat of the sun.

Waterfall

But we didn’t rest for long. We wanted to reach the next stage of the waterfall and so we hiked up the rocks. On top of the first waterfall there was another one. And because it was a little bit hidden, there were not many people beside us. After swinging with a rope into the water and relaxing some more we went all the way up to the very top. We followed the river until we returned to Montezuma.
lizard

Now we were hungry and had a tasty meal at a family owned restaurant (many restaurants here are small and family owned). My boyfriend ate the typical Costa Rican meal with rice, black beans, eggs and fried bananas. I had a Nacho salad with lots of Guacamole, tomatoes and cheese plus some fresh watermelon juicy.

MONTEZUMA RESTAURANTS

Prices in average: £3.2 to £15.8/4€ to 20€/$4.6 to $22.8

Suggestions: Playa de los Artistas, Cocolores and Puggo’s

food

Since we spent that much money for a room the first night, we decided to sleep at the beach the second night. With an improvised camp we made it through the night and were the witnesses of the most beautiful sunrise I have ever seen. We took a long walk along the beach and had to say good bye to the beautiful and peaceful town Montezuma.

sunrise

Montezuma is a small place worth for its nature and beautiful landscapes. Visiting wise that is all there is to do but it is totally worth it. It is a peaceful place where you get in real contact with nature.

beachWith a stunning speedboat ride over the Pacific Ocean we reached our next destination. It was the perfect start of our Trip through Costa Rica.

Lisbon: where the sun, food and history come perfectly together

Lisbon is a place I have been going to ever since I was a little. It is only about 20 minutes from where I live so I think you are pretty safe following my tips if you want to visit it someday (which I truly and strongly recommend you!)

TRAVEL TO LISBON  – PORTUGAL

  1. AIRPLANE to Portela Airport (airlines such as Ryanair, Tap or Easy Jet flight there)

From the airport to the centre

  1. TAXI – if you feel like you have just arrived and you are a bit tired so you want the easiest and quickest option you can take a taxi just outside the airport
  2. TUBE – the Portuguese tube is cheap and it has only four different lines so it easy to travel with (ticket price: £1/40€/$1.50); the price is the same no matter how far you travel on the tube

Lisbon has an airport very close to the centre – Portela Airport. Once you arrive you can either take a taxi or take the tube.

The tube is the easier and cheapest way to travel around the capital. You can use it to reach all the main touristic attractions.

Whether you are on a long or short vacation Lisbon is a good place to go! When in short vacation I can tell you right away the points you must stop at and the food you should try!

Places to go:

Praça do Comércio, Elevador de Santa Justa, Castelo de São Jorge  (all on Baixa-Chiado tube stop)

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Elevador de Santa Justa
Praça do Comércio
Praça do Comércio
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São José Statue (Praça do Comércio)

Torre de Belém, Padrão dos Descobrimentos and Ponte 25 de Abril (Take the tube until Cais do Sodré and from there the train or bus)

Ponte 25 de Abril
Ponte 25 de Abril
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Padrão dos Descobrimentos
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Torre de Belém

Finding a good place to eat in Lisbon is not a hard task. I can guarantee you that you will enjoy your meal in most restaurants in the capital if you roughly know the areas to go.  Most typical restaurants are located in Baixa and Bairro Alto. For typical food I suggest Chão De Pedra or Chapitô. 

Chão De Pedra and Chapitô Restaurant

Prices of both in average: £16/20€/$23

If you want to have the full experience of eating while listening to traditional Portuguese music – fado – then I suggest you try A Severa or Parreirinha de Alfama. Docas and Parque das Nações are also nice areas to visit and to eat where pretty much any restaurant you pick is good!

A Severa and Parreirinha de Alfama Restaurant

Prices of both in average: £24/30€/$34

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Alfama is the Lisbon neighborhood known for Fado. This is where most of the houses of Fado are located at and where you will  get the true feeling of what is a Portuguese “bairro” (note: don’t be scare with some people you may find there, this is the place where you will see the “barristas” that may be a bit crazy at times but it’s safe). The closest subway stop is Santa Apolónia.

Pastel de Nata is the pastry I recommend you to try if you visit Torre de Belem since their factory and store is just nearby. The famous pastry house has always a queue of tourists who want to try this egg custard with a choice of cinnamon on top!

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If you are on a longer vacation then I suggest you visiting more than just the capital. I recommend Cascais, Ericeira and Sintra which are all close by bus or train.

Cascais and Ericeira are both beach towns. Ericeira is Europe’s first world surf reserve and it is a picturesque fisherman village where you will eat the best fish and seafood ever! Cascais is fancier but with very nice streets and views also. The beaches have a calmer ocean so many people enjoy it. If you go there make sure to try a Santini ice cream – very popular and delicious!

Ericeira
Ericeira

To go to Ericeira take the tube to Campo Grande and then a bus (Mafrense buses) and to Cascais take the tube to Cais do Sodré and then the train to the stop called Cascais.

Sintra is a mystic village full of history and myths. It has many palaces and wealthy houses from the Monarchy period. Palácio da Pena, Palácio de Monserrate and Peninha are my favourites! While in Sintra make sure to try one of their travesseiros and queijadas – two very delicious traditional pastries from there. To go to Sintra either take a tube to Restauradores and from there the train to Portela the Sintra; otherwise take the tube to Campo Grande and from there a bus to Sintra (Mafrense buses).

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View from Peninha
Sintra
Sintra

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My suggestion to stay if you’re not on a budget is Corinthia Hotel Lisbon, a 5 star hotel in the center of the capital. If you are on a budget Lisbon has many cosy hostels such as Nest House Lisbon Hostel or 5 Sins Chiado Hostel.

Corinthia Hotel Lisbon

Prices from: £92/115€/$129 per room per night

Nest House Lisbon Hostel

Prices from: £9.50/12€/$13.50 in a dorm and £24/30€/$34 in private rooms

5 Sins Chiado Hostel

Prices from: £7/9€/$10 in a dorm

5 European Beaches to visit this summer!

Yet there is still a few months left for the summer if you want to plan a great and on budget summer vacation my advice is – start planning now. Can’t wait to have your feet on the sand and the heat of the shinning sun caressing your body? Then get excited planning your beach holidays to one of this amazing European beaches. Below I suggest the 10 best beaches to visit this summer. Which one is your favorite?

1. Ses Illetes, Spain

spain

Neighbor of Ibiza, this beach is located in Formentera which is a county of the the Spanish Balearic islands. With only 85 square meters it has beaches like Ses Illetes which is considered by many the Caribbean of Europe. Best time to go is between June and September – these months are the warmest with temperatures reaching 30ºC and a sea temperature that goes up to 25ºC in August!

Formentera has no airport, the best way to get there is catching a boat from Spain mainland – either Barcelona, Valencia or Denia. There boats will take you to Ibiza and from there catch another ferry to Formentera. In the summer months there are direct ferries between Denia and Formentera. Otherwise you can also fly straight to Ibiza and then take the ferry from there. From Ibiza to Formentera it takes only about 30 minutes by ferry.

Staying wise the island offers a variety of hotels– mostly small and in the one and two-star categories. There are also many small apartment developments. Camping is forbidden on the island. In peak season, advance booking for hotels is absolutely essential

Formentera is usually quieter than Ibiza having no much more than a series of wood-built beach side restaurants. If you like it simple and beautifully heavenly you will like this place. Yet quitter than Ibiza you may find also a lot of tourists here during the summer time.

2. Cala Gonone, Italy

italy

Cala Gonone is in the island of Sardinia, Italy, also in the Mediterranean just below the island of Corsica. It lies on its Est border and the nearest airport and port is Olbia, about 1 hour and an half from Cala Gonone by car. To get to the island itself you can either fly from Italy – Milan or Rome to Olbia or also take a ferry from Civitavecchia (Rome’s cruise port), Genoa or Livorno as they all stop at Olbia.

The best months to enjoy this beautiful and relaxing beach is between July and September where the temperatures reach 30ºC.

For your stay if you do not want to worry about anything I suggest the Hotel la Favorita otherwise if you enjoy camping the island offers friendly comaping conditions – Camping CalaGonone.

3. Saleccia, Corsica

corsica

This beach is located in Corsica, an island in the Mediterranean Sea that belongs to France.

From July until September is when you will find the best temperatures with an average of 25ºC with a very unlikely chance of raining specially in July.

To get there I suggest taking an airplane to Nice, France. From here the simplest and fastest solution is the NGV (High Speed Boat). The trip takes around 3 hours and the closest NGV stop to Saleccia is at l’Ile-Rousse. If you are not a fan of boats there are also ferries available both from France and Italy. Airplane is another way to reach yet it is also the most expensive option and the flights are not very frequent. The closest to Saleccia is Bastia airport. Once you get to the airport, the boat or ferry station the best way to get to the beach is by renting a car. Public transports are not very developed in the island.

The island has a variety of nice hotels to stay close to the Saleccia beach such as Le Relais de Saleccia or U Santa Peru.

4. Arrifana, Portugal

arrifana

Being a Portuguese myself and someone passionate for my country this one may be a bit suspicious but I truly think you will enjoy this one or any other Portuguese beach!

If you want to enjoy the 30ºC between July and September is the best time to go. If you like to relax in a calm place this is a good choice compared to the crowded touristic places from the South such as Vilamoura.

Best way to get there is flying to Faro airport in the South of Portugal and then from there it only takes a 1 hour and half car drive. You can rent a car for a good price at the airport which will be easier if you want to visit more then just Arrifana. Otherwise there are also buses you can take in Faro to Arrifana.

There is a variety of hotels and hostels to stay or another good idea is to rent an house or apartment which you can find for great prices. Check out Trivago website where you can find a variety of deals for all pockets!

5. Brela, Croatia

croatia

My final beach suggestion is in Croatia. For this one no boats or ferries needed. Simply take an airplane to Split, the closest Croatian airport to Brela, and from there a taxi or a bus.

On this beautiful beach where the deep blue ocean meets the peaceful green of mother nature thanks to all the trees surroinding the beach the climate only makes the picture even better with a 28ºC average temperature during the months of July, August and September.

Bluesun Hotel BeruliaSunčeva postelja Hotel, Bluesun Hotel Soline and Villa Paulina are some of the hotel suggestions I recommend while staying in Brela. 

Santorini, Greece – take a note

Santorini is a Greek island in the southern Aegean Sea. It is officially called Thira and is the largest island of the archipelago with the same name – Thira. It belongs to the Cyclades group of islands. The municipality of Santorini includes Santorini and Therasia and four uninhabited islands – Aspronisi, Christiana, Nea Kameni and Palaia Kameni. 

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Santorini is essentially what remains after an enormous volcanic eruption that destroyed the earliest settlements on a formerly single island

It is the most active volcanic centre in the South Aegean Volcanic Arc and it is also where one of the largest volcanic eruptions happened about 3600 years ago. The Minoan eruption which occurred during the Minoan civilization and many say be the source for the legend of Atlantis.

Now a days Santorini is very famous for tourism and this is in fact its main source of wealth followed by agriculture. The island holds a small but quite successful wine industry.

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Tomorrow André and Marina travel experience in Santorini will be shared with all the best suggestions on where to go, what to see and eat among many other things!

“Santorini is a “little” paradise that everyone should visit. It has good beaches, good food, good architecture but above all of this Santorini is truly a magic island.”

Marina & André

 

Country: Greece

Capital: Athens (Greece capital)

Largest City: Athens, 3,090,508 habitants

Official language: Greek

Currency: Euro(£1 =1.41 euro)

Population:  15,550 habitants

Total area: 90.623 km2

President: Prokopis Pavlopoulos (2015)