Having traveled to over 20 countries, it surprises even me that I’d never been to Mexico until 2013. It only took a few days down south before the allure of the country made me understand why so many people rave about Mexico. I ventured down south with a friend to Puerto Vallarta, a resort city situated on the Pacific Ocean’s Bahía de Banderas. Having grown up in a resort city (Hawaii), much of Puerto Vallarta’s commercialization seemed somewhat normal and uninteresting to me. Don’t get me wrong, I loved staying in the comforts of the all-inclusive resorts, but for all I knew, I could have been vacationing back home in Hawaii. Nothing about the resorts screamed “Mexico” to me. It wasn’t until we ventured to some of the smaller towns outside of the city when I really fell in love. Bucerías and Sayulita are two small beach towns I could spend some prolonged period of time in. I loved the charm of the former, and the surfing opportunities afforded by the latter. Backpackers, these are the two towns you definitely want to target.
Below, you’ll find some photos of the typical Puerto Vallarta sights of resorts, sunsets, beach, and a humpback whale tail (the bay is full of them). Sadly, little to no photos of Sayulita or Bucerías because honestly, I was too busy enjoying the sights to stop and take photos! Full photo gallery here.
My website has been a bit bare over the last stretch of 2012 and into 2013, and at long last, I’m allowed to share the reason why. Most of my time has been dedicated to my latest business venture: developing a brand new travel and tourism website for Hanna Stables, a horseback riding establishment in Belize specializing in providing tours to Mayan ruins. My involvement included traveling to and working in San Ignacio, Belize for two and half weeks, and a month of working hard to produce the newly revamped HannaStables.com. This project has included content development, digital photography, web development, and lots of marketing research and implementation. For more details on the background of the project, please visit my new online tourism and travel marketing website, GeminiConnect.com.
Winter in Seattle is often full of overcast skies and weather that hints that it just might snow, but typically all we get is a light dusting of cold matter that’s barely an excuse for snow. Upon returning home after celebrating an exotic Thanksgiving in Belize, we had no elaborate plans for Christmas, so in lieu of doing nothing in Seattle, we opted for heading east to the snowy land of Leavenworth. Having spent many summer days and nights in the faux-Bavarian mountain town, I’d never actually visited Leavenworth while it was snow-covered, so this was an experience I was highly anticipating. It was also my first experience taking the bus out to Leavenworth, and although we nearly got stranded in the mountains due to snow storms, it was quite a memorable experience. What follows are a stream of photos from our three nights in December 2012 in Leavenworth, Washington.
Deception Pass State Park is one of many scenic areas to explore on a trip to Washington State. Appealing to tourists and locals alike, this scenic area is filled with 77,000 feet of shoreline leading to the water and 4,134 acres of marine and forest life. Deception Pass itself is a large strait in northwest Washington, a couple hours north of Seattle, that separates Whidbey Island from Fidalgo Island. Typically, visitors to Deception Pass focus their attention on the beach’s shoreline or on the landmark two-lane bridge. However, wandering further along the shore below the bridge provides for many opportunities to (casually) rock climb and explore the natural debris that washes ashore. Check out photos from an impromptu rock climbing session at the shore of Deception Bay, as well as some stunning sunset photos.
Whidbey (Whidby) Island (nicknamed “The Rock”) is located about 48 km north of Seattle in the Olympic Peninsula. It is one of nine islands, and especially gorgeous in the spring and summer. We took a day trip up to Whidbey, beginning early in the morning with a stop for brunch at the famed Patty’s Eggnest in Mukilteo, before boarding a ferry to the island. Beginning our day in Langley, we stopped by a beach to observe a scuba diving class and take some photos down by the water. We then headed north on the island, stopping at the picturesque Greenbank Winery for some wine tastings and pie, before heading to a farmer’s market in Coupeville. Late in the afternoon, we stopped at the beautiful Fort Casey Park, and walked along the beach. Luckily, the weather was on our side, and the sun shined brightly throughout the entire day. Just before sunset, we entered Oak Harbor and made our way to Deception Pass, where we grabbed some gorgeous sunset shots.
I highly recommend Whidbey Island as a great day trip for residents and visitors of Seattle.
Peep some photos below, with hi-res images available for download here.
Like what you see? Work with me! More info here.
What better way to ring in the new year than in a new city! Last year was in the rainforests of Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica, and although this year was a little more local, it was still a brand new experience. I admit to previously having a preference of driving several hours north to B.C. rather than south, so this was my first time spending more than a quick day trip in Portland. Still, I couldn’t have thought of a better place (and better company) to ring in 2011. Beyond the Portland “essentials” of every trip (Powell’s, Stumptown Coffee, VooDoo Donuts), I didn’t know what else the City of Roses had to offer, so nearly everything was a first time experience, beginning with the Trail Blazers basketball game on the first night (and wouldn’t you know it, they won, beating Utah Jazz!). More photos on Flickr.
Located in the west hills of Portland, this 5.5 acre Japanese garden is one of the most authentic outside of Japan. Within the garden are five distinct garden styles, each conveying its own desired effect, including peace, harmony, tranquility, and oneness with nature. Since we visited during the wintry temperatures of 40 degrees and below, much of the ponds and fountains were partially if not all frozen over, making for stunningly glassy effects, many with leaf imprints.
Not far from the Japanese Garden is Council Crest Park, the highest point in the Tualatin Mountains (West Hills) at 326 metres above sea level. On a clear day, one can have a view of Mount Hood, Mount Rainier, Mount Adams, and Mount St Helens from this viewpoint.
Situated on the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge, Multnomah Falls is the tallest waterfall in the State of Oregon. It is also supposedly the third tallest waterfall in the United States. This tiered waterfall is 189 metres in total height, and has a width of about 3 metres. Although icicles and frozen water lined the foliage, the waterfall itself fell down at full blast.
Not far from Multnomah Falls is Crown Point, a scenic lookout providing a gorgeous panoramic view of the Columbia River. According to Wikipedia, Crown Point stands 223 metres above the river, and consists of lava flow remains. The afternoon of our visit, the wind was a force to be reckoned with, blowing hard enough to prevent anyone from going more than a few steps before being knocked to the side.
Located under the east end of the Burnside Bridge, this skatepark has been featured in Tony Hawk video games, and was also in the 1993 feature film Free Willy. In this case, it also featured a little kid who could skate circles around any adults in the park.
Portland, like Seattle, is full of vintage thrift stores, but this one was particularly interesting. Full of things your grandmother’s grandmother probably used on a daily basis, Really Good Stuff proves that someone else’s junk truly is someone else’s treasure, whether it be sealed issues of Playboy from the 1950′s, or postcards with actual notes and addresses transcribed on them. One of the best “junk” stores in the PNW.
And of course, BEER!