The Emerald Coast of 30A

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The Emerald Coast of 30A

I never believed one of my Top 3 vacation spots would be in the U.S. I have become so adapt to traveling to exotic beaches all over the world like Thailand and Aruba, but honestly this Florida spot stole my heart!

We didn't really understand how all the different beaches lined up along 30A so we found a cute Airbnb at The Villages of Seacrest and rented bikes to explore the other towns! Rosemary Beach, which was walking distance from where we stayed was probably my favorite! The tall German-like architecture made you feel like you were somewhere in Europe, rather than in Florida! We spent way too much money at all the shoppes because literally every store had something unique to buy! We ate at La Crema Tapas & Chocolate one night ; make sure to get dessert there! We also had breakfast at The Summer Kitchen Cafe in Rosemary one morning! Make sure to wake up early if you want breakfast because most restaurants stop serving at 10:30am! This was something we had to learn the hard way!

 

If you have time, make sure to visit Aly's Beach (pronounced Alice) and stop by Fonville Press for a cup of coffee! We landed here upon arrival since we couldn't check into our Airbnb yet and all expectations and stress just melted away! Oh and don't forget to get the Sesame Crab and Avocado Salad from George's!!

Last stop was to Seaside! I'm so glad we made it here, even though a lot of locals tried to steer us away saying it was too touristy! We came here for the Farmer's Market on Saturday morning and shopped all day, went back to Seacrest to lay out at the beach and then we came back for a sunset dinner at Bud and Alley's! There were so many restaurants we wanted to try in Seaside, such as Great Southern since it came highly recommended, but we ran out of time so I will definitely be back soon!

 

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Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu

 

Machu Picchu is one of the new 7 wonders of the world, but I’ve realized that even more of a wonder is how in the world do you get there?! Here I’m going to tell you how I managed the trek, from pre-planning to in country navigating, and all by myself! + speaking very little Spanish.

Fear is a powerful thing. So is the unknown, but we can’t let it cripple us from trying new things. Challenging yourself is how you grow most. 

I started planning my trip to Machu Picchu a few months in advance with a friend that was going to come along with me! We read several travel blogs on the best ways to get there and from that, we created our own route. Long story short, my friend was using a buddy pass of mine — [tip: never travel on a buddy pass, they will ruin your plans because you most likely will never get there] & never made it to Peru so I continued the rest of the adventure by myself for the both of us! [missed ya LG!]

My itinerary :
Monday: flew from Atl to Lima, slept in airport 

Tuesday: caught flight on Avianca to Cusco, took 1.5 taxi to Ollantaytambo and checked into hostel (@mamasimona)

Wednesday: took the Inca Rail in the morning to Machu Picchu, another 1.5 hours, to the town of Aguas Calientes, which is where Machu Picchu is.


I dropped my bags off at my hostel, since I stayed the night in Aguas Calientes after my hike & then ran over and caught the bus for the 20 minute ride to the top of Machu Picchu. 

Cute place, but very pricey in Aguas Calientes!

I wanted to spend as much time as I could at MP, so I got there pretty early — which also helped avoid some of the crowds.

 

Thursday: Took the Inca Rail back to the town of Ollantaytambo, where I met a friend and we shared a collectivo [a cheap taxi that is shared] back to Cusco.

light snack and drinks in the executive cabin

 

 

 

the train station in Aguas Calientes

The trek back to Cusco from Aguas Calientes took a little over 3 hours, so give yourself ample time. I stayed in San Blas and Cusco for the day and explored San Pedro Market and the Plaza de Armas.

 

 

Friday: Had my last Peruvian breakfast and made my way to the Cusco airport by taxi to start my long trek home!

Thanks Avianca Airlines!

 

I met a friend on the CUZ flight and we went and explored Miraflores together on our 10 hour Lima layover.

 

And that’s a wrap! I was shocked at how well I pulled off this trip, especially since it was my first time traveling alone! My two main tips if I were to do this exact route over again would be to not stay the night in Aguas Calientes, but spend more time in Cusco! And to do the hike up to Machu Picchu instead of paying $25 to ride the bus up there. The trek is said to be very difficult and takes about an hour, but there is something about earning the view that seems like it would make the experience worth it! Lastly, get a ticket to Wayna Picchu!! I was so bummed I didn’t!

Cheers!

Argentina

Argentina

I always like to do a little research before I head out on a new layover destination. Mainly to find the top must see places in the country, but also because it is so easy to let time slip away on a layover if you don’t have a game plan.

Luckily I had done some trusty Pinterest research and it didn’t steer me wrong. A huge goal I have set for myself this year is to learn Spanish. Where better than Argentina to start? Most of the locals here, do not speak English, so I had to try out my Spanish on them quite often, which led to lots of laughs, but the kind where they laugh with you… Or so I hope!

The vibe in Argentina reminds me of a mixture between NYC and LAX, with a little European feel thrown in. I felt safe during the days by myself, but there were some alleys that I wouldn’t walk down even in day light. This city is super fast paced, so make sure you can keep up!


I went out with 2 of the Spanish speakers from our trip, so the language barrier wasn’t an issue when I was with them. We headed out for empanadas and cervasas, but couldn’t find the spot that everyone always goes to. We passed so many cute street restaurants that we should of tried, but instead ended up at a joint that look like a fast food place called La Rey’s. It was NOT good. The empanadas were served muy frio for some reason, so please don’t make our same mistake.

 

Can always rely on those Golden Arches!

 

After that we headed to the colorful town of La Boca, known for its roots of Spanish culture and the Tango! This town was like something from a movie. It was somewhat deserted and felt like we were in a blast from the past. We felt really safe strolling around and checking out all the local art and shops. Best place for souvenirs, especially all Argentinean candy and food. The architecture is definitely a photographers dream.

Afterwards we headed back to the hotel and sadly I got a little sick with a fever, so I didn’t get to experience Buenos Aires nightlife. If you do, go check out Palermo!

Thankfully the next day I was feeling a little better, so we had one more spot before our flight home that night! We went to go feed our craving for Argentinean steaks! We ended up at a place we had heard a lot about called La Cabrera. This spot is a must go / must see, hands down! Be prepared to get rolled out of there because your tummy will be so full!
 

Hope you enjoy your time there! Chao!