Sunday, March 25, 2018

We're Off To: Japan!

Today we're heading back to Japan for an amazing two week adventure. We'll start in the southern island of Kyushu. Here we'll explore Fukuoka for a few days before heading to a mountain onsen ryokan (hot springs inn) for 4 days. Next we'll move up to Osaka for 4 days and then Tokyo for 5. Oh! And for a lot of the time, we'll hopefully be following the sakura blooms! It's been a dream of mine to see cherry blossoms in Japan, so fingers crossed for us.

When people ask me what my favorite place I've traveled to, it's a toss up between Italy and Japan. When we're asked what place has the best food? Japan is ALWAYS the answer.  We're looking forward to exploring new places (last time we only did Tokyo and Kyoto) and trying some new foods. We also have a ton of "only in Japan" experiences planned like riding go-carts in the streets of Tokyo, going to a karaoke bar, and enjoying hamani (cherry blossom viewing) with sake and bento boxes. 

Follow along on my instagram and look for our posts when we return. Mata ne!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Day Trip to Valladolid & Coba, Mexico

After a few days on the beach in Tulum, we were itching to get out and explore a bit. It was so easy to make the hour and a half drive because we had rented a car. After a morning session of yoga, we left for Valladolid. Once we arrived, we made our way along Calzada de los Frailes - it was a beautifully pastel street with cute little boutiques everywhere.

After walking and exploring, we arrived at the Convent de San Bernardino de Siena. It was a few pesos to walk inside, and definitely worth it. The convent sits on top of a cenote and there is a museum inside that talks about the excavation. Everything was so pink, so we definitely took our time snapping photos of everything.  It was close to lunch time, so we walked across the street to have a delicious lunch at La Taberna de los Frailes.

In the center of town is the Catedral de San Servasio. The inside is very sparse, but still worth a look. We walked along the plaza in the center, picking up some helado from the vendors that are everywhere. 

Not quite ready to head back and also knowing that we drove right through Coba on our way to Valladolid, we decided to make an impromptu stop at the ruins. We got there around 2:30pm, so I knew it was a good idea to rent bikes if we wanted to see everything. It ended up being a perfect decision as the walks were long and it was a great way to cool off as well.

We were able to see all of the areas, sometimes even having the area to ourselves! It was much less touristy and reminded us of Tikal! The main pyramid itself was crowded, but we were able to climb to the top and enjoy the jungle views below. We basically closed down the park at 5 and made our way back to Tulum.

That evening, we were pretty tired from exploring all day, so we grabbed picnic stuff from the supermarket and enjoyed it with a bottle of champagne on the beach at sunset. What a wonderful end to the trip (or so we thought...)!

Up Next: We're heading to Japan for a few weeks in March, so we don't have much going on before then. I have a work trip to Atlanta and South Carolina though, so look for some snaps of that on my instagram!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

5 Days in Tulum, Mexico

Tulum is one of the most magical places we've ever been. As soon as we returned from our last trip, we knew we had to make a trip back ASAP. We decided to spend 5 days in Tulum for our second go-around. We spent all of our stay at Nomade Tulum - there was a delicious (and healthy) breakfast available every day, yoga on the beach, sound healing, and some amazing restaurants on site. 

We really only had time to have dinner at Macondo our first evening. We spent the entire next day just relaxing in our cabana - eating guacamole, fish tacos, ceviche and having a few drinks. That evening, we walked down the street, stopping at Matcha Mama for a quick sip before having our BEST dinner at Casa Banana.

The next morning, we did yoga on the beach and then headed to Dos Ojos Cenote for a morning of snorkeling. We ended up joining a tour so that we could see all areas of the cenote.

Afterwards, we had a leisurely lunch on the beach at Chamico's, which was far removed from the tourist crowd. It was so pleasant! We also went to the Tulum Ruins this afternoon so that we could enjoy some time on the wonderful beach. We got there around 2:30 and were able to enjoy the smaller evening crowds as well.

That night, we had dinner at Gitano. I think this place had the best vibes - it was set in the jungle with a live guitarist! The food was also very vegetable-forward, which we loved. The noticeable standout was the mole cauliflower, yum!

We ventured inland the next day, but I will cover that in the next post. On our last day, we had time for yoga and some beach time before we checked out of our hotel. We were able to squeeze in a little more Mexican food at Mateo's before we had to head to the airport.

We ended up getting one more day in Mexico and our first (and only?) all-inclusive experience due to a cancelled flight. Our flight was supposed to leave at 6:45pm, but we weren't able to get another flight until 1:45pm the next day. Thankfully we had booked our flight with points (instead of flying standby), otherwise we would have been there MUCH longer!  Southwest put us up for free at the Omni Cancun and it was perfectly acceptable. The beach was nice, food was alright and there was a gym we were able to use. When all was said and done, we were even able to get some Southwest Vouchers to pay for a couple of our trips in the future, so besides our missed work day, we really we came out ahead.

We have a million ideas for return trips - Isla Holbox, Isla Mujeres, Merida, more Tulum! We are in love with Mexico and hope we can use those vouchers for a return trip! 

Up Next: Our recap of our trip to Valladolid and Coba!