How I Spent 48 Hours in Santa Marta, Colombia

Santa Marta – known for its colonial architecture- is the first Spanish settlement of Colombia. Santa Marta is a small city located on the northwest side of Colombia about 4 hours (driving) from Cartagena and an hour flight from Medellín. If you are visiting Cartagena and interested exploring smaller areas of Colombia, I do recommend a visit to Santa Marta. Although, I was only in Santa Marta for about 48 hours (2 nights) I am extremely satisfied with what I was able to accomplish.

Getting There

  1. From Cartagena – Your best and cheapest option is to take a bus from Cartagena to Santa Marta. The trip takes about 3-4 hours for a total cost of 65,000 pesos when traveling with Berlinastur. You don’t need to purchase tickets in advance. However, you can if you want. There is a bus that leaves almost at every hour of the day. There is about a 30 minute layover in Barranquilla, where you can get off the bus, stretch your legs, use the bathroom, and purchase snacks if you’d like. (FYI: all Berlinastur bus terminals charge you 1,000 pesos to use the bathroom). Berlinastur offers air conditioner and wifi on board. Overall, it was a smooth ride.
    • You can take a flight from Cartagena to Santa Marta. However, there are no direct flights. It would take roughly the same amount of time if not more to take a non-direct flight from to Santa Marta as taking a bus. I highly recommend ground transportation.
  2. From Medellín – The fastest way to travel to Santa Marta would be taking a direct flight from MDE to SMR (usually 1 hour & 10 minutes). Flights range between $50 to $200 depending on the airline and the season. You can book flights through LATAM, Avianca, and Viva Air.
    • You can take ground transportation if you would like. However, Medellín to Santa Marta is about 520 miles which is a little hours 14 hours on a direct shot on route 45.

Where to Stay

You have the option of staying in the center of Santa Marta which is what most tourists opt to do or you can stay in the outskirts of Santa Marta, which is what my mom and I decided to do. Only reason for this was because of the location of our hotel. We were highly recommended to stay at Irotama Resort – located about 15 minutes from the center of Santa Marta. If you decide to stay at this resort, I recommend staying in El Lago tower. It is the newest tower at the resort with a beautiful entrance. We were instantly greeted by the hotel staff and offered a welcome drink from the bar.

Irotama Resort also offers villas and bungalows. The concept is super cute. However, you don’t get the same view as if you were you stay in El Lago tower. There are three pools, one of which is a kids pool, and access to the beach. I spent most of my time in the pool located on the 3rd floor. There were less kids there and cute pool side seating.

Our stay included a buffet style breakfast from their Coco Bar Cafeteria. There are other food options on the premise, such as Luruaco, Chiaro di Luna, Barra Viva, La Carreta, and more. I enjoyed their food.

They basically served the same options everyday in Coco Bar Cafeteria. A variety of fruits, arepas with different types of cheese, meat options, pan de queso, smoothies, and cereal just to name a few.

Irotama Resort has their own taxi drivers which is what we used to get to the center of Santa Marta. This service was not included in our stay. We had to pay 20,000 pesos each way.

Food and Drinks

Donde Chucho – is a well known seafood restaurant in Santa Marta with two locations, one is located in el Parque de los Novios and the second one is in the main city of Santa Marta. I ordered Langosta al Ajillo (grilled lobster) with a side of French fries for $65,000 pesos. This dish was absolutely delicious and well cooked. One of the best lobsters I have ever indulged in. The service was great and it was super busy so keep that in mind. Reservations are not required, but I do recommend it if you for sure want to dine here.

Restaurante LamArt – also known for their seafood menu, is located near Los Parques de Los Novios. Here I ordered Pulpo a la Gallera (grilled octopus on top of mashed potatoes) as an appetizer for 29,000 pesos, and Pasta Negra con Camarones y Calamares (black pasta with shrimp, calamari, and muscles) as the main meal for 38,000 pesos. Both items on the menu were delicious. I am a huge seafood lover, and octopus is definitely in my top 3! This restaurant’s octopus was delicious.

Holguer Pizza – Italian restaurant with a super chill ambiance. Entering this restaurant made me feel like I was stepping into Italy with the decor and the overall vibe to the place. I ordered a Napolitana Pizza for 18,400 pesos. If you are in the mood for some pizza, I would highly recommend this place. The service was great and the pizza was delicious.

Gnam Gelateria – if you are a fan of ice cream or even if you are not, this is a must! I tried their arequipe gelato and it was delicious. They have a variety of flavors and a beautiful mural of a young girl right outside the ice cream shop. You won’t miss it! If you like to add fruits to your ice cream, and other toppings, they have that option as well.

Oficina – is a must for drinks. They have happy hour all night – two drinks for 20,000 pesos. Drinks include but are not limited to, margaritas, gin tonic, mojitos, Cuba libre, and piña coladas. I was unable to find their website. However, it is located in the Parque de los Novios before you reach Holguer Pizza. If you’ve reached Holguer Pizza you’ve gone too far.

What to Do

Aside from enjoying the resort amenities, there was a lot of time spent walking around el Parque de los Novios and exploring a little further out to the beachfront. My mom and I decided not to partake in the many excursions offered from Santa Marta because we really wanted to just relax on this leg of our two week Colombia trip. If you are interested in further exploring Santa Marta and doing excursions, here are the top 3 must do activities:

  1. Tayrona National Park – known for its rich biodiversity, is about a 30 minute drive from Santa Marta. This National Park offers palm-shaped coves, coastal lagoons and rainforest.
  2. Playa Blanca – if you are looking to experience a beach day while in Santa Marta, Playa Blanca is where you must go. This beach is only located about 15 minutes from the center of Santa Marta. You can take a car, bus or taxi.
  3. Minca – considered one of Colombia’s hidden gems, is about a 40 minute drive from Santa Marta. If you have a car you can drive or you can simply take a taxi. Taxi’s leave Santa Marta frequently throughout the day. Take a day trip to Minca and hike up Los Pinos or take a dip in Pozo Azul. If you consider yourself a nature lover and adventurous traveler, Minca is for you.

Is Santa Marta Worth Visiting?

In my honest opinion, Santa Marta is worth visiting. I never heard of it before and I am glad my mother made sure to add it to our Colombia tour. Santa Martha is small town with a variety of things to do specially in the surrounding area. The food was absolutely delicious and the overall feel of the location was super welcoming and calming. It was a nice break from the life in Medellín and Cartagena.

Reasons Why You Should Spend a Weekend in DC

I have been living in DC for a year and a half now, and I can honestly say that I love living here – it’s my second home. I moved here for work right after graduate school because it was a great opportunity, and I knew I wanted something different. DC is a diverse metropolitan area filled with life. I am a young, Afro-Latinx, who is a proud city girl, so I knew this was the place to be! One of my favorite things about DC is that there is always something to do, places to see, restaurants to experience, and the ability to brunch every weekend! I didn’t know brunch was a thing until I moved to DC, and honestly, I wouldn’t want it any other way. I freaking love brunch! 

I live in the Georgetown neighborhood, which is on the Northwest side of DC (close to the Virginia state border). Although I’m not in the center of it all, I am happy to be close to some of my favorite parts of DC with access to the metro system, which is super easy to use once you get the hang of it!

I think of DC as the place where anyone can go no matter their interest because they will always find something to do. DC is home to a number of different food festivals, music festivals and more. You can catch a baseball game – huge shoutout to the Nationals for winning this year’s World Series! You can check out many DC theaters and enjoy a current film. If you like playing boardgames there are a number of restaurants, and chill spots where you can hang alone or with friends and they have board games you can borrow. I promise you whatever your interests are there is a place here for you to simply enjoy yourself over a weekend or longer! 

In this blog post, you’ll see a some information about LGBT friendly areas, things to do, restaurants for Sunday brunch, happy hour and other occasions, day parties, nightlife, and more! This is only some things out of many things you can do here! Eventbrite is also your best friend when trying to find things to do in DC at any moment. Everyday there are a number of events and things to do! Be open to explore and don’t be afraid to get lost in the streets of DC. You’ll end up somewhere you didn’t know you would enjoy!

LGBT Friendly

Washington DC is one of the most welcoming, LGBT friendly area in the nation. There is a variety of LGBT friendly restaurants, bars, lounges, and neighborhoods that you can explore:

Nellie’s Sports Bar – DC’s first gay sports bar! For more information visit their website here.

Explore Dupont Circle – LGBT friendly neighborhood in DC filled with restaurants, bars, lounges, and mini shops! You can also experience a number of outdoor activities during warm weather. 

Red Bear Brewing Co. – DC’s 100% gay-owned brewery. Stop by if you are interested in tasting a variety of IPA’s and/or other brews. For more information visit their website here

Embassy Row Hotel Rooftop – located in Dupont Circle, this hotel is part of the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association, and it is considered to have one of the best rooftop pool in America. For more information visit their website here

DC Pride Parade – this parade usually takes place the first weekend of June. However, it is super fun and it attracts many people from all over the country. ​

Other Gay Bars:

  • JR’s Bar & Grill
  • Duplex Diner
  • The Dirty Goose
  • Larry’s Lounge
  • ​Number Nine
  • Pitchers & A League of Her Own
  • Orchid 
  • The Fireplace
  • Trade
  • Green Lantern
  • The DC Eagle

​Note: Many of the places mentioned above are regularly visited by white people. I have not been able to find many bars that are LGBT friendly and many visited by people of color.

Things to Do

Go check out:

  • White House
  • United States Capitol 
  • Supreme Court of the United States
  • Washington Monument
  • Lincoln Memorial
  • Reflecting Pool
  • MLK Jr. Memorial
  • World War II Memorial
  • Thomas Jefferson Memorial
  • Korean War Veterans Memorial
  • Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Smithsonian Fun – free entrance:

  • ​National Museum of American American History & Culture
  • Smithsonian National Museum of Art
  • Hirschhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden
  • National Portrait Gallery
  • National Gallery of Art
  • ​Air and Space Museum 
  • National Zoo
  • ​American Indian Museum 
  • ​Postal Museum

Other Things to Check Out:

  • Artechouse
  • Union Market 
  • CityCenter DC
  • Street Art 
  • GLOW DC (Dec.-Jan.)
  • United States Botanic Garden
Brunch/Happy Hour/Restaurants!


  • Madhatter (American)
  • HalfSmoke (American)
  • Boqueria (Tapas)
  • Southern Hospitality 
  • Nick’s Riverside Grill 
  • Founding Farmers DC

Happy Hour 

  • El Centro (Mexican)
  • Barcelona Wine Bar (Tapas)
  • Mission (American)
  • HalfSmoke (American)
  • Chicken & Whiskey
  • El Rey (Mexican)
  • Church Hall (American)

Other Restaurants 

  • Los Hermanos (Dominican)
  • Farmer’s Fishers Bakers
  • Guapos (Mexican)
  • Sushi Para
  • Mai Thai (Thai)
  • Smoke & Barrel (American)
  • Busboys and Poets 
  • Cedar Restaurant

These are places that I have personally gone to eat either during a Sunday Brunch, Happy Hour, and/or just to eat on a regular occasion.

Day Parties & Nightlife

Weekend Day Parties & Nightlife: Bars, Lounges and Clubs

  • Lost Society
  • Ozio Martini & Cigar Lounge
  • Marvin’s
  • Diet Starts Monday
  • Rosebar Lounge
  • Saint Yves
  • Gryphon
  • Abigail
  • Bravo Bravo 
  • Cafe Citron
  • Big Chief
  • Pure Lounge

Hookah Available 

  • Lost Society
  • Ozio Martini & Cigar Lounge
  • Chi-Cha Lounge
  • Rosebar Lounge
  • Saint Yves 
  • Pure Lounge

Tulum is a Seafood Lover’s Paradise

If there’s one thing you should know about me, it’s that I am a huge foodie! It’s the second, if not first thing, I focus on when traveling. I want to the experience the best of the best meals (and drinks). Both, in popular, well-known restaurants, but also hidden gems. Tulum is THE spot for amazing food, especially if you are a fan of seafood! It’s been 5 years since I became a pescatarian. 

Tulum truly is a seafood lover’s paradise. I expected to eat a lot of tacos when in Tulum, which I did.

However, I also tried other meals such as grilled avocados with nuts, grilled octopus, crab soup, matcha smoothie bowls, and more! 

When it comes to food, be ready to spend money in Tulum. If you are eating at any of the restaurants located on the beach, you will be spending a good amount of money on your meal. If you eat in Tulum town then you can expect much better prices if you are traveling on a budget. 

Below you will find a list of my favorite food spots in Tulum! A little bit of breakfast, lunch, and dinner options for all (not just seafood lovers like myself)! 

Gitano – is a Mexican restaurant with a jungle like environment, offering a variety of small and large plates. We ordered shrimp tacos (240 pesos), grilled avocados (240 pesos), grilled octopus (280 pesos), ceviche (300 pesos), and mahi mahi tosada (220 pesos). We absolutely fell in love with the grilled octopus so we ended up ordering it again! First meal in Tulum was a success! Gitano set the bar high for all the meals that came after. 

Rosa Negra – is a tribute to Latin American Culture. There menu is made up of cuisines from Peru, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, and of course Mexico. We ordered arroz de mariscos (seafood rice – 545 pesos), bisque de cangrejo (crab soup – 395 pesos), salmon al sarten (grilled salmon – 615 pesos), and tostados de atun (tuna toast – 430 pesos). 

Rosa Negra is in my top 2 favorite restaurants in Tulum! Please go and check out for yourself why! They recently opened up, so they aren’t as well known as they should be by tourists. ​Located right across from Gitano. 

Tora – is a contemporary Japanese cuisine restaurant. The service in the restaurant was honestly one of the best services I have ever received. The attention the waiters and even the head chef gave us was indescribable. We ordered arroz con cangrejo (crab rice – 540 pesos), open temaki salmon (raw salmon toast – 255 pesos), rollos camaron tempura (shrimp tempura roll – 395 pesos), sopa miso tofu (miso soup – 150 pesos), and two infusion balls, which are crystal balls with alcohol and natural fruit flavor (260 pesos each). 

Philosophy – is the main restaurant in hotel Casa Malca, offering traditional Mexican cuisines. We ordered guacamole, shrimp tacos and grilled octopus. Unfortunately, I can’t recall the prices for each dish. However, it was a total of 1000 pesos for each person to enter hotel Casa Malca and that was used as credit towards their menu. We had 2000 pesos on credit during our time at hotel Casa Malca.

Emilia Tulum – is a Mexican restaurant located in the main town of Tulum. We each ordered three fried shrimp tacos (585 pesos), and drinks – margarita (125 pesos) and mai tai (160 pesos). Emilia is the only restaurant we experienced in the town of Tulum and it was absolutely delicious. Emilia restaurant is located near Mi Cielo Hotel Boutique. 

Matcha Mama – is a plant based restaurant. Food options range from matcha to smoothies, bowls, açai, kombucha and more! We ordered Matcha Colada bowl, which has matcha, banana, kiwi, almonds, and coconut (180 pesos), and Mango Tango bowl, which has mangos, plantains, ginger, honey, vanilla, chia seeds, and passion fruit (200 pesos). It was a great breakfast option before heading to the airport! 

Raw Love Cafe – is a vegan restaurant located on Ahau Tulum’s property. We ordered a maca vanilla bowl (200 pesos), avocado toast (190 pesos), and a chocolate dream bowl (210 pesos). This is more than enough for two people. The bowls are extremely filling. We could have honestly done well without the order of the avocado toast, but it was so good! FYI – they accept cash only!

The food in Tulum is to die for. Like I said, I enjoyed a lot of tacos. However, I was able to try so many new dishes. In the process, I learned something new about myself – I absolutely LOVE grilled octopus! What was your favorite dish in Tulum?

Bali Food Heaven

Food, food, food! Who doesn’t love food? I’m a huge food lover and Bali really amazed me with their food options, especially as a pescatarian. It was interesting because I ate more vegan food than ever before!

I wouldn’t say the food I ate in Bali is authentic Balinese food. I do wish I could have done a better job with being intentional in eating more Balinese food.

These restaurants were decided based on Google and Pinterest searches for recommendations. However, I did enjoy eating at the restaurants captured below. I was able to learn new things about myself through this experience: I love passion fruit, dragonfruit, banana fritters, pad thai and most importantly I love eating vegan food.

There were times when I missed eating shrimp, salmon, fish, and cheese, but I was just fine without it. Perhaps going vegan might be something I might want to try in the future. 

I am supposed to go vegan for the month of February. I am including this in my blog as a way to hold myself accountable since I have shared it with all of you.

Bali Cocoa Park – located in Ubud, is a park with activities as well as a restaurant. This is the first restaurant we went to for lunch. The food was absolutely delicious and the service was even better. My travel buddy and I were the first to eat there this day and the waiter brought us a plate of passion fruit on the house. I ordered a dragon fruit juice (20,000 IDR), seafood pasta (65,000 IDR) and banana fritters (40,000 IDR). Full meal, including a drink and dessert, for about $9 USD. I found it to be extremely inexpensive.

Alchemy – located in Ubud, is a raw, vegan and organic restaurant. We had our Thanksgiving dinner here and it was delicious. Alchemy was having a Thanksgiving dinner special: main course, juice, and dessert for 185,000 IDR (about $14 USD). I ended up ordering a Philadelphia Mami Nori (sushi), melon blush juice which consists of pineapple, watermelon and lime, and a cloud 9 dessert, which is a vanilla “cheese” cake and raspberry oculus. If you are a fan of vegan food, I highly highly recommend! 

The Elephant – located in Ubud, this restaurant is 100% vegetarian. However, most dishes are easily adjustable to vegan and gluten free options if needed. I ordered pad thai (95,000 IDR), mango dragon fruit smoothie (45,000 IDR), and a sticky rice pudding (40,000 IDR) for dessert. Roughly about $13.50 USD. I loved loved loved this restaurant. The food was delicious, and the smoothie was to die for. Bali made me realize how much I love dragonfruit. Now I want to have it all the time!

Kynd Community – located in Seminyak, Bali is a plant based (vegan) restaurant. It is the #1 vegan restaurant in Seminyak, not only for it’s amazing Instagrammable opportunities, but for it’s amazing food. The chiefs put in time in creating each item that arrives on the table of every client. You can tell with the taste and the attention to detail. This is the last restaurant my travel buddy and I ate at before heading to the airport. I ordered a berries & cream smoothie (59,000 IDR) and paradise pancakes (80,000 IDR). Roughly about $10USD. Next door they have an ice cream spot where you can get a half coconut filled with ice cream and cute edible decor!

What are some restaurants in Bali you would recommend for first timers, those with specific dietary restrictions, etc.?

Visiting Bali is a Must and Here is Why!

Bali is an Indonesian island, located in Southeast Asia, mainly known for its rice fields, beaches, and intense focus on self care – gotta love all their spa options. 
I didn’t have any expectations going to Bali and I’m honestly glad I didn’t. Bali truly blew me away. I fell in love with this island. Since the moment I stepped foot out of the airplane I felt this immediate feeling of pure tranquility (perhaps it was the music playing in the background at the Denpasar airport). Everyone I met was super kind and willing to help. 

Bali really is like all the images you see on social media. However, one thing that isn’t mentioned is how gentrified Bali is becoming. I noticed it mainly at the restaurants and in specific areas where there were so many white individuals rather than Balinese. There is a huge increase of tourists in the area. I would still highly recommend visiting Bali if you have never been. ​

Fun fact: If you have a newborn baby you are expected to carry the baby until they reach three months. After the three month mark, the baby is able to touch the ground. 

Where to Stay

Think about the type of experience you are hoping to gain from Bali. Are you wanting experience what it might be like in the heart of Bali – Ubud, or are you wanting to be in more of a tourist area with resorts and beaches? On this trip to Bali, I stayed in Ubud at Rumah Sekar’s Bed & Breakfast. I booked this accommodation via Airbnb. (If you have never signed up for an Airbnb account, use this referral link to save up to $55 on your first stay.) 

If you are wanting to stay in Ubud, I would highly recommend staying at Rumah Sekar’s Bed & Breakfast. There are a total of four private bedrooms with their own private bathroom and balcony/eating area. Rumah is extremely sweet. She helped us get in contact with a personal driver and we ended up hiring him everyday, which made exploring Ubud and part of Seminyak a bit easier. 

Every night Rumah would ask what breakfast option I wanted to eat (there’s four to choose from) and every morning I was super excited to eat breakfast with an amazing view of a rice field. Rumah does have a pool and I enjoyed it once after a day of sightseeing. It was a great way to decompress after a long day. 

If you are wanting to have a more resort, beach vibes type of experience I would definitely recommend staying in Seminyak. ​There’s a strip with many hotels/resorts and beaches such as: 

Aksari Villas Seminyak – Offers a one bedroom villa with private bathroom, pool, and jacuzzi. Great for solo travelers, two travelers, and couples. Depending on the time of year you will spend about $130-$165 a night. This is ranked #2 out of all the hotels in Seminyak. 

L Hotel Seminyak – offers a more contemporary chic decor for a traveler on a budget. Depending on the time of year you can expect to spend about $50 a night. Great for all travelers. 

Double Six Beach (Luxury hotel) – This hotel offers single bedroom suites to two bedroom suites with a private pool to a penthouse. Great for all travelers. Depending on the time of year expect to spend around $350 a night for the most inexpensive option. 

Things to Do

Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary – is a conversed area based on the concept of Tri Hita Karana which translates to “three ways to reach spiritual and physical well being. When visiting the monkey sanctuary DO NOT bring a plastic or paper bag, do not bring plastic bottles, do not bring any type of food, do not pet the monkeys nor look them in the eye, do not approach baby monkeys, and do not  scream/run if a monkey makes contact with you. 

Lempuyang Temple – also known as the Gates of Heaven, is located about 3 hours from Ubud. This is a must see location in Bali. Unfortunately I was not able to go this time around, but it is definitely on my bucket list for my next trip to Bali. I did my research though, definitely go early in the morning because the line is extremely long. You are only given about three shots before the next person gets to go up. 

Tegallalang Rice Terrence – is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Bali. There is an entrance fee of 15,000 IDR. However, when I went it was totally free. All I had to pay for was the super extreme swing experience which was 224,000 IDR including tax. There are other activities you can participate in. Biggest recommendation with this location is to bring water and sunscreen! The heat/sun I took in during my time here legit almost caused me to pass out because I didn’t stay hydrated. 

Tirta Empul Temple – is a Hindu Balinese water temple located outside of Ubud. The temple consists of bathing structures where Balinese Hindus go for purification rituals. There are two sections of water with the bathing structures. I would definitely recommend doing your research before visiting this temple and participating in the purification because each bathing structure means something. Not all bathing structures are meant to be used. 

Real Bali Swing – definitely one of the most famous Instagram spots in all of Bali. There are many swings in Bali. However, this is the Bali swing (hence the word real in front of the words). They offer swing, rafting, elephant rides, tours and more! 

Goa Gajah – also known as the elephant cave, serves as a sanctuary. I would definitely recommend checking this site out. FYI – if you are currently on your menstrual cycle it is recommended that you do not enter out of respect for the Balinese culture and beliefs. When you are on your menstrual cycle, it is believed that you are not entering in your most purified self.  ​​


1. Hire a private driver to explore the island of Bali. This makes it easier for pick up and drop off at different tourist sights. It also allows you to meet and learn from a local. It is a small way to help local businesses, knowing your money is going straight to the individual. On the first day our private driver charged us 600,000 IDR which is about $45 – $45 for a full day of driving from tourist spot to tourist spot for two people is amazing! 

2. Make sure you plan in advance a day to day itinerary if where you would like to go. There are many places to see in and/or around Ubud. However, many of the sights I mentioned above are about 1-3 hours from Ubud. 

3. Take some time in getting to know the Indonesian currency and the conversion rate of your specific country. For first two days I was a bit lost and I am pretty sure I probably overpaid someone. The smallest bill is 1,000 and the largest bill is 100,000. Do not get the bills confused. 

4. For recommendations on places to eat in Ubud and Seminyak visit my Bali Food Heaven blog post. 

Bali, oh Bali. I wish I would have known that four nights was not enough. Dedicate at least 7-10 days in Bali if you really want to explore different parts of the island. Bali is definitely a location I will be revisiting in the near future. Have you ever traveled to Bali?

How I Spent 50 Hours in Singapore

What comes to mind when you think of Singapore? Aside from my high school math teacher, for me the movie Crazy Rich Asians comes to mind. Ever since I watched the movie in the movie  theater, I instantly added Singapore to my bucket list. Crazy Rich Asians does a great job in showing the main attractions. However, you need to go to Singapore to experience it first-hand. There is way more to Singapore than just what the movie depicts. The best part is – Singapore was only a $20 flight from Kuala Lumpur, so I asked myself why not? Singapore it is! 

Singapore is an island city-state located approximately one degree north of the equator in Southeast Asia. In addition to Singapore’s main island, the nation includes 63 islands, most of which are uninhabited. It is one of the cleanest and safest countries in the world. So if you are thinking of traveling solo to Singapore – let this serve as the sign you need to do it!

Guess what? Singapore uses Grab (similar to Uber and Lyft) as a form of transportation! Make sure to download the app and set up your account before you fly into the country.

Singapore is not as expensive as people make it out to be. It is definitely more expensive than other Asian countries, but it is not expensive compared to the cost of things in the United States – mainly DC, which is where I live. The currency exchange is $1 USD = 1.35 Singapore Dollar.

Fun fact: It is illegal to chew gum in Singapore. Don’t even think about it. ​​

Where to Stay

Singapore is a small country – I stayed near Little India. It is not located in the city center of Singapore. However, it wasn’t hard to get around within the two days I was there. I can say that housing in Singapore is a bit pricey. My travel buddy and I stayed at an Airbnb for two nights. (If you have never signed up for an Airbnb account, use this referral link to save up to $55 on your first stay.) The total cost for the two nights including fees was $98.25. If you think about it, it is not bad at all. However, that is because we stayed in a townhouse in a private room. The room had it’s own private shower. As for the toilet that was shared with everyone else in the house. I wasn’t crazy about it, but it wasn’t horrible either. There was a helper who lives in the house, and she was super nice. She was a life saver because the plug converted I was traveling with did not connect to the outlets in Singapore. Overall, hotels and entire apartment options on Airbnb are super expensive per night so keep that in mind. Housing is the only thing I would say was expensive in Singapore. 

The closer you are to the downtown area, the more expensive the stay is going to be. That is a fact anywhere you go. If possible, I would recommend staying in the city center. If you can’t then Little India is a great location, especially if you plan on exploring that neighborhood. 

Day One

Checked in and dropped off our belongings at the Airbnb. Walked around the corner and ate lunch at Twenty Eight Cafe. I ordered their salmon mac and cheese ($22 SGD). It was my first time having salmon mac and cheese, and it was really good actually. That or I was just really hungry.

After enjoying a much needed lunch we walked about 30 minutes to Marina Bay Sands located in downtown. Marina Bay Sands is the must stay at hotel with a rooftop infinity pool. It is about $400 a night in their most inexpensive room. Aside from being a hotel, it is connected to a shopping center. Made a quick stop at Pandora (I collect exclusive pandora charms from every country I visit).

Once I purchased my pandora charm we made our way to Gardens by the Bay where we saw the beautiful Supertree Grove.

There are a total of 18 Supertrees, two of which are connected by a Skyway. It is free to see the Supertree Grove. However, if you want to access the OCBC Skyway there is a fee of $8 SGD. The view you see from the Skyway is totally worth the fee. You can see the Singapore Flyer, Marina Bay Sands and more!

After we experienced the Supertree Grove we got a little bit lost trying to find the Grab/Taxi pick up point. It almost felt like we were walking around in circles trying to find it. Once we did, we hopped in a Grab and made our way to Merlion Park.

Merlion Park is a famous Singapore tourist attraction, home to the Merlion. Merlion is a mythical creature with a lion’s head and the body of a fish, it is the well-known tourist icon of Singapore.

We went to park around 6:30pm and there were so many tourists there. It was difficult to capture a shot without people in the background. I would recommend going early in the morning if possible to avoid the crowd.

Near Merlion Park there are a bunch of restaurants, which is great for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. We did a walk through of all the restaurants, checked out their menus and decided where we wanted to eat from there.

Dinner at The Pelican it is! The Pelican, located directly across from Marina Bay Sands, is known for its seafood and steak. I ordered the clam linguini pasta ($28 SGD). It was so so good! It reminded me of the seafood pasta I once had in Venice. If you are a happy hour fan, The Pelican is the place to be with happy hour 1 for 1 on Monday-Thursday 12pm-3pm and 5pm-9pm, and Friday 12pm-9pm.

Day Two

Breakfast at Wild Honey, located in Mandarin Gallery on Orchard Road, was awarded Trip Advisor’s Excellence Certificate of the Year. You must, I repeat you must, eat at this restaurant when you travel to Singapore. It was my favorite restaurant in Singapore. I ordered the Norwegian breakfast toast, which is an avocado, grilled asparagus spears, poached eggs wrapped with Norwegian smoked salmon, Hollandaise sauce & salmon pearls on wholewheat brioche ($28 SGD) and a Queen Bee kombucha ($10 SGD). This was the first time that I’ve had asparagus in my breakfast and honestly it was delicious. Here is an updated link of their menu.

After breakfast at Wild Honey, we hopped on bus #65 and stopped at Tekka Place. Tekka Place is the bus stop for Little India. Little India is known for its traditional Indian restaurants.

The photo you see with the colorful background was taken on the side of the House of Tan Teng Niah, which is a two story colorful villa

This is one of the few remaining Chinese structures in Little India. 

After exploring Little India make sure you make your way to Haji Lane – walking distance.

Haji Lane is filled with shops, restaurants, bars, street art and more. We entered a few shops, tried on clothes, and enjoyed the street art until we had to make our way back to Orchard Road for our 4:30pm time slot to The Bubble Tea Factory! Tickets were $25 per person, and it was the best $25 I have ever spent. One of my favorite parts of this trip was experiencing The Bubble Tea Factory. The amount of creativity that was used in every room was out of this world. I kid you not, it was my favorite pop up museum that I have ever attended. Not only was the creativity on a high, the creators made an interactive activity where it encouraged you to speak with other visitors in the factory. I hope the creators of The Bubble Tea Factory decide to take this pop up museum to the United States.

After my travel buddy and I spent about three hours enjoying the greatness of The Bubble Tea Factory we knew it was ready for dinner. We walked over to Violet Oon located in Ion Orchard – shopping center. Here I ordered Dry Laska ($25 USD) which is their wide rice noodles with prawns, vegetables, and their special laska gravy. We had a super long day. Once dinner was over we made our way back to the Airbnb to pack and get ready for bed.

Day Three

On day three we woke up on time only to enjoy brunch before heading to the airport. We checked out of our Airbnb, and headed to PS Cafe – located in Raffles City, with our luggage. I ordered a grilled prawn sandwich ($28 SGD), a lemon-lime and mint kombucha ($12 SGD), and a banana mango crumble ($15). When I tell you I was stuffed. Holy moly was I stuffed. This was the most I had eaten on the entire trip. I couldn’t breathe, but it was so worth it. 

The service at PS Cafe was truly amazing. The servers were attentive and the manager noticed we were visitors (I bet the luggage gave it away), and he actually gave us their 20th anniversary coffee mug for us to take back to the United States. The manager was far too kind. 

I was literally in Singapore for about 50 hours (I did the math), and I honestly felt as if I experienced, saw, and ate a lot. The great thing about short trips is that it almost makes you plan correctly and encourages you to make the most of your time in any given location. Yeah I could have stayed in Singapore another night or taken a later flight. However, I left Singapore feeling extremely happy with all that I was able to accomplish in such little time allotted. 


Ultimate Three Day Guide for Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

This was my first time traveling to the Asian continent. Asia has definitely been on my list for a long time, and I could not give up on the opportunity when I found a roundtrip ticket from NYC to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for less than $500. I traveled to Malaysia during their rainy season, which is why the flights were inexpensive. Luckily, it only rained once during the entire time I was there. I knew once I was in Malaysia, traveling to other countries in Southeast Asia would be super inexpensive and by inexpensive, I’m talking less than $50 from one country to another.

Malaysia is located in Southeast Asia, and shares borders with Thailand (North), Indonesia (South), and is connected to Singapore by a bridge (South). Malaysia consists of 13 states, Kuala Lumpur being one of them, and three federal territories. The main people living in Malaysia are Malaysians, Indians, and Chinese. The main religions practiced are Chinese, Hindu, and Muslim.

After talking to one of the Grab (form of transportation, similar to Uber & Lyft) drivers, I learned that the Muslim faith is an aspect of the Malayan culture that is being pushed on everyone who lives in Malaysia. Praying takes place five times a day and it is done via loud speakers so that everyone in the community can hear it.

I was able to hear it from the Airbnb early in the morning, and at night when I had returned. In school, all students must take Arabic to fulfill their language requirement. Learning Arabic helps students at a young age learn how to read the Quran. 

The main language is Malay. An aspect that surprised me was the fact that in Malaysia people drive on the right side, which is completely different from the United States! Took a couple days to get used to it, and then it almost felt completely normal. (Normal for me as someone who is not used to it.) 

I would say the U.S. dollar goes a long way in Malaysia. The currency exchange is $1 USD = 4 Malaysian Ringgits. Never did I feel as if I had an expensive meal or an expensive Grab ride. I know inexpensive/expensive looks different for everyone. However, main meals ranged between $5 USD and $15 USD including a drink (usually a smoothie, juice, etc.).

I would highly recommend downloading and setting up a Grab account before going to Malaysia. Grab, similar to Uber and Lyft, is super inexpensive, and it is economically cheaper than using a city taxi. When ordering a Grab ride, you can either pay with your credit card/debit card or you can pay the driver in cash. I only ever paid in cash because I was unable to verify my credit card account as a result of not being able to receive SMS messages. Hence, why I said to make sure to set up your account before heading to Malaysia. 

Where to Stay

Please please please if you travel to KL, stay at The Face Suites. You will not regret it. The Face Suites, located in the downtown area of KL is both a hotel, and a residential space. Mainly known for its infinity rooftop pool with stunning views of the Petrona Twin Towers, KL Tower (which is the building you see with me in the infinity pool), and the entire downtown. 

If you wish to stay in a residential space, you can find the listing on Airbnb. (If you have never signed up for an Airbnb account, use this referral link to save up to $55 on your first stay.)

There is actually a number of listings on Airbnb for the opportunity to stay in The Face Suites. The cost was about $50 a night. 4 nights, plus service and cleaning fees, and taxes was a total of $274. Divided by two people is not bad at all. 

The views, style, location, gym, restaurant, and great staff working in The Face Suites makes it totally worth the money! 

Day One

First stop is breakfast! Walked from The Face Suites to Gravy Baby, famous for cocktails and pies. I’m a huge avocado toast fan, so I ordered an avocado toast (21 ringgits). I know I know. You’re probably thinking, you went to Asia and the first thing you eat is an avocado toast?! Ughh, I know – I couldn’t help it. To be honest, I wasn’t ready to try something new yet. I wanted to slowly ease into it. 

I love the vibes at Gravy Baby. There is a lot of lighting, mirrors, the music was chill, and it gave me a movie filming type vibe. Our server  was extremely nice and took the time to recommend places to visit and restaurants to eat for first timers. His recommendations honestly helped us plan our entire itinerary for the rest of the trip.

For more information on what is on their menu, please visit here.

After breakfast I knew I wanted to visit the Batu Caves! Gravy Baby to the Batu Caves was about a 10 minute drive. I have seen so many photos online via Pinterest and Instagram of the Batu Caves. It is definitely a must see tourist attraction! 

Batu Caves are a Hindu temple of worship consisting of three main caves and shrines. There are 272 steps up to the top where you can enjoy the skyline of the city. Important note – when you visit the Batu Caves you must not be exposing your knees or shoulders. If you happen to visit with shorts, short dress and/or skirt, they do have cover ups that you can rent. I would recommend going early in the morning because there are many tourists in the afternoon. Made it a bit difficult to capture a photo without people in the background especially on the colorful steps. 

Keep in mind there are monkeys in the area and they do not hesitate to make physical contact with you if they notice you have food. The monkeys will literally jump on you and take items that are easily accessible to them, i.e. food, hats, glasses, and more.  When I arrived at the Batu Caves I was in disbelief, it was honestly surreal. The photos online are great, but I promise you it doesn’t compare to seeing it in person.

After the Batu Caves we ordered a Grab ride to the Petronas Twin Towers. FYI – if you want to order a Grab you would have to leave the Batu Caves, take a left and walk to the closest hotel. It was about a 5 minute walk. From there you can connect yourself to the wifi and order your Grab. Batu Caves to the Petronas Twin Towers was about another 10 minute drive. Petronas Twin Towers symbolizes the Malaysian culture and their advancement on the world stage. The towers stand at 88 stories high. The design of each floor plate in the towers are based on the Islamic geometric forms of two interlocking squares creating a shape of eight-pointed stars. 

Right next to the Petronas Twin Towers you will find Suria KLCC, which is one of KL’s shopping centers. The high end stores are located in the first tower. We spent some time walking through the mall, and then we ended up at Skybar located in Trader’s Hotel, which is connected to KL’s convention center. Skybar has food, drinks, a pool, and a perfect view of the Petronas Twin Towers. For more information on Skybar please visit here

After all that walking we were ready for dinner! We made our way back to Suria KLCC and had dinner at Mama San. I ordered prawn (shrimp) pad thai with tofu (38 ringgits). Although it was a bit spicy, which I really don’t like, I was able to eat past the spice – it was absolutely delicious. Highly recommend eating here. Mama San has outside seating with a nice view of the park. 

Day Two

Breakfast at Gossypium Restaurant & Coffee Bar, located in The Sphere. We were supposed to eat at Farm Food Craft, but they opened late, and once they did open they said we would have to wait another 30 minutes until the kitchen opened. We weren’t trying to wait that long. We were hungry and ready to start our day to get the most out of it. I ordered a Salmon Benedict (27 ringgits) and mangocado smoothie (16 ringgits). Highly recommend eating here – food was pretty good, couldn’t complain. 

Next stop – Genting Highlands. 45 minutes from the center of KL, Genting Highlands is it’s own little city offering indoor and outdoor theme parks, tourist attractions, restaurants, bars, shopping centers and more! Take a Grab to the Genting Highlands Premium Outlets, from the outlets you want to ride the Awana Skywalk (18 ringgits roundtrip), which will take you all the way to the top of the hill, about a 15 minute ride. The roundtrip ticket does include a stop at Chin Swee Caves Temple. I was in complete awe! So happy our server at Gravy Baby mentioned this place. When I was doing research on KL, Genting Highlands did not pop up. You can honestly allocate a whole day to explore this area.

Next Stop – Thean Thou Temple. It is one of the oldest and largest temples in Southeast Asia. The temple was about 50 minutes from Genting Highlands. ​Not too bad of a drive, and we were only in the temple for about 30 minutes. It is a must see tourist attraction when visiting KL. 

From Thean Thou Temple we headed to Chinatown to eat at Opium KL, which is the number 1 Asian cuisine in all of KL. FYI – you are unable to order a Grab from this temple. You would need to walk down the hill, take a right and order the Grab from the MCBOA building. At Opium KL, I ordered noodles with sea king prawns (48 ringgits) and cheesy banana fritters (26 ringgits). OMG how much I love banana fritters. Absolutely delicious – definitely in the top two of best desserts I have ever had! It’s basically fried bananas with usually vanilla or coconut ice cream, aged cheddar and caramel. For more information on Opium KL, please visit their website

Day Three

Breakfast at The Red Beanbag, known for the best breakfast and brunch. Highly, highly recommend eating here! The food was absolutely delicious, and they cater to most, if not all dietary restrictions. Since I knew this was going to be my last breakfast in KL, I kind of went all out.

I ordered Gone Bananas! (25 ringgits) from the Sweet & Health Treats section of the menu, a side of scrambled eggs (7 ringgits), and an apple-dragonfruit juice (10 ringgits). Gone Bananas! consist of brioche french toast served with banana brûlée, popcorn, Nutella caramel, and vanilla ice cream. I kid you not, it was my favorite breakfast in KL.

For more information on The Red Beanbag, please visit their website– you can also find them on instagram for some food inspiration. 

Next Stop – Chinatown! We walked around looking for street art. We experienced a Malaysia and Singapore art exhibition. This is an art event that happens every year. It is pretty cool for art lovers. Halfway through exploring Chinatown, we made a stop at The Whale Tea so I can enjoy some milk bubble tea. They have free wifi if you are in need! We wanted to visit the Botanical Garden, but it was closed for the day. Definitely could have planned that better. Tear tear – it’s okay, maybe next time. 

Dinner at JP Teres Restaurant located on the ground floor of the Hyatt Hotel.

JP Teres serves authentic Malay, Chinese and Indian cuisine. They offer indoor and outdoor seating.

I wasn’t super hungry so I ended up ordering a small order of cheese naan (25 ringgits) and popiah (25 ringgits), which are fresh spring rolls with braised turnips, prawn, boiled eggs and peanut.

Highly recommended, especially if you are wanting to try authentic Malay and Indian cuisine.


Curaçao: Unspoiled Island

Curaçao is a Dutch Caribbean island off the coast of Venezuela, known for its beaches and colorful architecture in its capital – Williamstad. Curaçao is part of the ABC islands, which consists of Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao. They are currently working on a ferry that will allow for transportation between all three islands. 

Curaçao is truly an unspoiled island. It is not visited enough. The island is so beautiful, filled with life and the natives are super friendly. By far, it is my number one favorite island that I have visited. 

If you decide to travel to this beautiful island, I would highly recommend renting a car! The island is small, making it easier to explore with the assistance of a car. Curaçao does have public transportation. However, it doesn’t run frequently.

My travel buddy and I rented a car through ACE Rent a Car. It was a total of $200 between two travelers including full coverage for 5 days. ACE is about a 3 minute drive from the airport. ACE Rent a Car provides free shuttle service from the airport to their facilities down the road.

Curaçao accepts US dollars, so don’t feel the need to exchange your money while you are there. Unless you want to keep it as a souvenir. #guilty – yes, I do that. 

Fun Fact: natives in Curaçao speak four languages, English, Spanish, Dutch and Papaimentu. Papaimentu is a combination of English, Spanish, and Dutch! How freaking cool is that?! ​

Where to Stay

Highly recommend staying in the downtown area of the capital, Williamstad, also known as Punda. I stayed in Villa Amalie (ig: @villaamaliecuracao) for the entire duration of the trip. For the specific room I stayed in it was $45 a night. You can find Villa Amalie on Airbnb and on (If you have never signed up for an Airbnb account, use this referral link to save up to $55 on your first stay.)

​ Villa Amalie is a newly renovated guest house in the city center. This villa is super close to many restaurants (scroll down to the restaurants section), bars, and must see places. Not only is it affordable, the hosts Poul and Royer are super nice and attentive to their guests. The villa has 5 private rooms and they each have their own private bathroom. I highly highly recommend staying here for solo travelers and couples on a budget.

Other places you can stay at:

Bottelier Apartment – located east of the downtown area of Williamstad. However, it is about 5 minutes away from Mambo beach, which is a super popular beach in Curaçao (make sure to scroll down to beaches). Bottelier Apartment (found on Airbnb) offers two bedrooms and two bathrooms with free WiFi, cable, and a balcony. Cost per night ranges from $39-$43, depending on the time of year. I would recommend this space to group trips of 3-6 people. 

Saint Tropez Beach Club – located in the downtown of Williamstad, it provides double rooms to two-bedroom apartments with oceanfront views. This option is definitely on the pricier side. However, you won’t regret the ocean view and infinity pool (check out the photo on the home page – yup that was at Saint Tropez). Saint Trope has its own restaurant, which offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner at a reasonable price. Drinks are around the same cost in the United States, approximately $8-$10. Cost per night ranges between $150-$250, depending the time of year you travel, and the type of room/suite/apartment you select. I would definitely recommend it for couples and group trips. 

ACOYA Curaçao Resort – located a couple miles from Mambo Beach, this resort provides either an all inclusive stay, or a stay without all inclusive. It’s really up to you! ACOYA Resort is a 4-star hotel with three restaurants, free WiFi, free parking, outdoor pool, fitness center, free children’s club, airport shuttle, and more! This resort offers a deluxe room up to a two bedroom villa with a private pool! The photos look amazing! You can book ACOYA Curaçao Resort on or Prices per night here have a greater range of $134-$950, since it depends on the room selection, and if you decide to go with the all inclusive option. I would recommend it for couples and group trips. 


Playa Piskado – if you want to swim with tortoises, for the free, this is the place to be. There is a man on the dock that will throw fish at the tortoises and they will come super close to you. Although, it is recommended not to touch them, you will still end up making physical contact because the tortoises will touch you! It was a little nervous with the smaller fish swimming around, but all in all, it was a cute experience. This beach has a lot of rocks, so I would recommend putting on water shoes to make it easier to maneuver while inside the water.

Porto Mari – I absolutely loved this beach! Definitely in the top two of favorite beaches in Curaçao. Porto Mari is a white sand beach with friendly pigs, Willy and Woody, roaming the area. If you are interested you can find Willy and Woody on ig: @willyandwoody. When I went, I couldn’t find Willy and Woody, but I did find two other pigs and all they did was sleep the whole time. It’s okay though, I was pretty occupied with getting a tan. Porto Mari has a really good restaurant with a bar. I ordered a smoked salmon sandwich with cream cheese, it was delish.

Kokomo Beach – didn’t stay here for too long. We came to enjoy the subset and take a quick photo on the Kokomo beach swings located in the middle of the beach! It was a struggle to get on the swing because it was super slippery.

This beach also has a lot of rocks, especially by the shore. I would recommend wearing water shoes, again to make it easier to maneuver while inside the water. Kokomo Beach has a restaurant and bar as well.

Cabana Beach – this was my favorite beach, for sure! About a 7 minute drive from Saint Tropez, it is similar to Porto Mari. It is a white sand beach. However, it is bigger! Cabana Beach has a lot of restaurants and it is on the same beachfront as other beaches as well. If you walk the shore, right or left, you will enter another beach. Cabana Beach has super clear water. There are small fishes swimming by the shore, but you can barely see the fishes because they are almost transparent.   ​​

Mambo Beach – this is the most known beach in Curaçao. This beach has its own boulevard with shops and restaurants. Also has white sand. Great for swimming, relaxing, and snorkeling if you so choose! I did not go to this beach, and I am okay with that. I went to 4 beaches and an infinity pool during my time there. 

Note: Beaches in Curaçao are free, what is not free is the beach chair if you want to use it! Beach chairs ranged from $3-$7, depending on the beach and the type of chair you rented out.

Other Things You Can Do Besides Beaches

Aloe Vera Plantation – great place to go if you are interested in learning the history of the aloe vera plant, and it is for the free! There is a shop inside with both of healthy products made from the aloe vera plants if you want to purchase. 

​Ostrich Farm – they offer guided tours and the opportunity to feed an ostrich if you want! I didn’t get to make it here, I definitely have it on my list of things to do when I return to the island. They also give you the opportunity to get on an ostrich if you want, but it’s at your own risk. Not sure how safe it is. The reviews look great though! 

Visit Otrobanda – from downtown Williamstad, also known as Punda, hop on the floating Queen Emma Bridge, and cross over to Otrobanda. Otrobanda translates to the other side. This side feels a little less tourist, with many restaurants and shops. From this side you can see a beautiful view of downtown Williamstad with all of the beautiful, and colorful architecture. 

The Blue Curaçao Experience – the Blue Curaçao Experience offers a great opportunity to learn the history of the world face blue liqueur produced in Curaçao. There are three different tours offered here: orange, blue, and gold. Pick whichever one suits you! The gold tour includes the walking tour, games, tastings, cocktails, and workshop for $27. Tour lasts about 1.5 hours. 

Day Trip to Klein Curaçao – you can book a day trip to Klein Curaçao, which is an uninhabited coral island. This island is mainly known for its white-sand beaches, lighthouse and an old shipwreck. Fun fact: Curaçao consisted of Curaçao and Klein Curaçao, which is why on the Curaçaoan flag there are two white stars instead of one. You can book this day trip on,, and 

Curaçao Sea Aquarium – this aquarium is great if you are traveling with children, or if you like aquariums like myself. They offer live dolphins and sea lion shows throughout the day. Admission prices are $21 for adults, $11 for children between the ages of 5-12, and free for children between the ages of 0-4. For more information, please visit their website.


Bijblauw – loved this restaurant for breakfast. Offers a beautiful oceanfront view with the sound of the waves while feeling the light breeze. Check out their menu. 

La Boheme – Also came here for breakfast. I enjoyed a Caribbean passion smoothie with scrambled eggs, croissant, and cut up fruits. Check out their menu

Fusions – Asian based restaurant. Came here to eat dinner the first day we arrived. Super hungry and just wanted to eat something. Ordered a shrimp Alfredo pasta. Not too bad. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find their menu online. Tear tear.

Kome – Omg omg omg! Went here for Saturday brunch and it was Amazing with a capital A. Highly recommend going to this restaurant. I had an avocado egg toast with a side of mac and cheese. Keep in mind the restaurant is closed on Sundays and Mondays. Make sure to plan accordingly. Check out their menu

Blessing – so what used to be a monastery is now an amazing restaurant. Ate dinner here last night and it was delish! As a starter, I had their shrimp option. For the main course, I had their plaice fillet, and for dessert I had their tompouce. Highly highly recommend going here for dinner! You won’t regret it. As long as you’re open to trying something new! Check out their menu.

Ginger – another great dinner option located in Punda. Ginger is a Caribbean, Asian, and Indian Cuisine. The ambiance was so relaxing. It was great for a chill night. Would recommend it for couples. FYI: the owner of the restaurant lives upstairs and he has a dog. Check out their menu.

Note: All of these restaurants mentioned above are all vegetarian and pescatarian friendly. Something to keep in mind if you have dietary restrictions. 


Panamá: Abundance of Fish

Panamá is a Latin American country connecting Central America to South America with Costa Rica to the west and Colombia to the east. Panamá is globally known for its canal which connects the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea to the Pacific Ocean. This canal has positively impacted Panama’s economy as well as some of the world’s main trade routes. 

The direct translation of Panamá is abundance of fish. If you are a seafood lover, Panamá is the place for you! As a pescatarian, I enjoyed every seafood meal I had the chance to indulge in (make sure to read the restaurants section for some recommendations). ​​

Transportation is extremely cheap! I used Uber and each ride was no more than $3 USD.

In terms of currency, there is no need to exchange. $1 USD is equivalent to 1 Panamanian Balboa.

Definitely use US currency for easier transactions. This is as a result of Panamá being the first Latin American country to adopt the U.S. currency as their own. However, if there is any change less than $1, expect Panamanian cents in return.

Best time to visit Panamá is during their dry summer season which is mid-December to mid-April. I went in September where I did experience some rain, but not a lot. The sun definitely came out to play, especially during the day trip to San Blas!

Fun Fact: Panama is the only country in the world where you can see the sun rise on the Pacific and the sun set on the Atlantic.

Where to Stay

Hotel San Remo – My travel buddy and I stayed in Hotel San Remo located in Panamá City, about a 15 minute drive from the airport. I had a love-hate relationship with this hotel because the first day we got there it took us about 2 hours to get us checked in to our room. I definitely started to get hangry while waiting for our room to be ready. The communication was not that great, but honestly it was located pretty close to some tourist attractions. Hotel San Remo also has its own restaurant which is open to all their hotel guests, and the public. Only downfall about the restaurant is that when we went to breakfast they would often run out of ingredients so having a legit breakfast was difficult at times. Breakfast was included in the nightly rate – for a total of 4 nights we paid $133. Price wasn’t bad at all taking into account the rooms were small, bathroom was small, WiFi was free, and omg there was no hot water! Every day was a struggle taking a shower. I love me some hot water or at least lukewarm.

Other places you can stay:

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Panamá City – 4 star hotel located in the downtown area of Panamá City. The hotel has a rooftop terrace, restaurant, bar/lounge, and outdoor pool. Also with a 24-hour fitness center, free WiFi and parking. This hotel is $54 a night and I would highly recommend it for families. All booking options within this hotel includes a free stay for one child, as well as the option of getting breakfast on the property. Also a great option for solo travelers, couples, and groups of no more than 4 travelers.

Hyatt Place Panama City/Downtown – 3.5 star hotel located in the downtown area of Panamá City. This hotel has a restaurant, bar and outdoor pool with a 24-hour fitness center, free WiFi, and free parking. Not bad at all for $63 a night. I would recommend it for solo travelers, couples, and groups of no more than 4 travelers. 

I would recommend staying anywhere in Casco Viejo. There are a number of hotels and airbnb options all within a good/inexpensive price range if you book in advance and off peak season. Overall, stay in Panamá is extremely inexpensive, especially if you are working within a specific budget.


Restaurante El Caribe – located in a multicultural neighborhood El Cangrejo (directly translates to crab), this restaurant was opened by a Panamanian with Jamaican heritage. I absolutely loved this restaurant. The food was delicious, and so was the vibe. I ordered garlic sautéed shrimp with coconut rice and beans, sweet plantains and salad on the side. Highly highly recommend it. You will not regret it. For more information, and to see their menu please visit here.

Orale Tacos y Tequilas – Mexican food in Panamá? yup you got that right! Ate here after a long day exploring a couple islands in San Blas. This definitely tasted like authentic Mexican food. I ordered a shrimp alambre, which is grilled shrimp on soft flour or corn tortillas, with cheese and vegetables. I ordered a side of guacamole because I love dipping my shrimp flour alambre in guacamole to give it its finishing touch. The menu options aren’t expensive and they cater to most dietary restrictions. For more information and to see their menu please visit here.

Coliseum Roma – located in Casco Viejo, this restaurant has Italian cruise. I love the ambiance in the space, with music playing in the background and good service. Here I was in the mood for some fried fish, and that is exactly what I ordered with a side of fried plantains (patacones). If you are in the mood for some drinks with an amazing view of Old Panamá, make your way upstairs to Gatto Blanco, a rooftop bar. Unfortunately, I was not able to find the menu online. However, they do have a Facebook page. Check it out!

​Ay Mi Negra – you scream, I scream, we all scream for ice cream! If you are an ice cream fan like I am, I would definitely recommend checking this place out. Ay Mi Negra is an exotic dessert bar with crepes, ice rolls, waffle pops and more! I ordered a fruity pebbles ice roll and it was absolutely delicious. This was my second time ever having an ice roll, and I truly enjoyed it. My tummy was happy for sure! For more information and to see their exotic dessert bar menu please visit here. Feel free to check out their ig as well – the photos are pretty cute!

Boba Town – located in Casco Viejo, if you enjoy bubble tea, check this place out! I kid you not, I probably stayed here for an hour and a half, charging my phone and enjoying some bubble tea waiting for the rain to stop. I ordered Honey Jasmine with boba, which consisted of Jasmine tea, honey and boba. It wasn’t the best bubble tea I had, but it was decent. If you are in the mood for food as well, they also serve that here. Unfortunately, I was unable to find the menu online. However they do have a Facebook page. Check it out!

Mahalo – ​has the most vegan and vegetarian friendly menu I have seen during this entire tip! Also located in Casco Viejo, Mahalo has a variety of options for meals and fresh juices with a tiki bar, and a bunch of board games. I absolutely loved the vibe here. It was so chill. It is safe to say I had breakfast for dinner. I ordered the lox from the Snack Shack menu. The lox consisted of an avocado toast with dill cream cheese, smoked salmon, fried egg, and arugula. It was the best avocado toast I have ever had the pleasure of consuming! I would eat here again in a heartbeat.

If you make your way to Casco Viejo, please please please make your way to Mahalo. For more information and to see their menu please visit here.

Things to Do

Day trip to San Blas – book a day trip to San Blas you will not regret it. We booked our excursion through Visit San Blas Panamá. The excursion included roundtrip transportation from our hotel to Puerto Dibin (the boat port), which was a two hour drive from Panamá City, lunch including a drink, and transportation to two different islands owned by Guna Yala: Isla Barco Hundido and Wailidub, and a natural pool with starfishes.

For lunch, I had fried octopus with fried plantains and a salad! It was delicious – I kid you not!

​Guna Yala consists of 365 mini islands, all owned by the indigenous Guna people. I would highly recommend taking this day trip! It is super relaxing. I absolutely loved the natural pool with the starfish. However, my favorite part was talking to our tour guide and learning about the history behind the Guna people fighting for all 365 islands not that long ago in history.

Bocas Del Toro – is a province in Panamá located on the west side of the country, not that far from Costa Rica. It is famous for its beaches, dining, nightlife, and shops. Can you travel from Panamá City to Bocas del Toro, however, it will take you about 10-11 hours. You are better off catching a one hour flight from the city into Bocas del Toro if you are willing to pay around $200. Transportation by land would cost you roughly the same thing. 

Panamá Canal – ​​take a tour of the Panamá Canal. This is an artificial 50 mi canal connecting the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean. Learn about how it was created and its positive impact to the trade market. For more information please visit here

Museo de Afroantillano – The Afro-Antillean Museum. This museum focuses on West Indian Panamanians and their contribution to the creation of the Panamá Canal and its railroad system. Entrance to this museum is only 1 Panamanian Balboa. The museum is a little hot inside, and small – they do have a couple fans on. I promise you it is worth it. For more information please visit here.

Roam the streets of Casco Viejo – also known as San Felipe, Casco Viejo is Panamá’s old city. It is filled with many restaurants, rooftop bars, cocktail lounges, local shops with many traditional handicrafts, and more! I spent the rest of an evening just exploring Casco Viejo, ate at two different restaurants, grabbed bubble tea and enjoyed some ice cream. I was also able to see the Panamanian skyline from this area, which was absolutely beautiful!

Museo de Arte Contemporaneo – this museum showcases artwork from Panamanian and Latin American artists. Museum is open everyday with the exception of Mondays. Make sure to take that into consideration when you are planning your visit. The museum is free. Unfortunately, I was not able to see it because it was under construction while I was there. For more information please visit here

Please note that I did not capture everything that you can do in Panama. These are only some of many options. The list goes on. 


Dream Come True: London

For the past three years, my mother and I have traveled together on Memorial Day Weekend. Not so much because of the federal celebrated holiday, mainly because every year Mother’s Day in the Dominican Republic falls on the Sunday before Memorial Day. (Yes, I am Dominican. Both my parents were born in the Dominican Republic.) Okay, where was I? Traveling to a new location has been a great way to spend mother-daughter time at least once a year, especially now that I moved to DC. This year’s location was really based on the question: where can we fly to for the cheapest, knowing that we are about 4 weeks out. After hours of searching for flights and destinations around the world, the cheapest flight I found was London! Shoutout to Heathrow Airport! I was able to find a roundtrip flight to London, departing from Boston Logan International Airport for $382 flying with American Airlines. The minute I saw that flight, I said to my mom: “HECK YEAH! Mami we need to get on that! I’m not trying to snooze and lose.” I was really surprised at the price. Like I said, we literally waited for the last minute to find a designation for our mother-daughter trip. I assumed it would be more expensive as a result of the time of year. You know what they say when you assume…assuming makes an……. yeah yeah yeah. 

Anyways, the first step I usually take after purchasing a flight is checking for Airbnb accommodations. However, there weren’t many listings for that specific weekend and the cost was very close to the cost of a 3-4 star hotel. I went on and found a great deal at Doubletree by Hilton Hotel London – Tower of London, $500 for 4 nights. Super happy with the price and pictures online so why not?! My mother and I ended up having an amazing experience. The service was amazing! Our cleaning came everyday of our stay to check in with us and personally ask us if we needed anything for our room. She gave us extra toiletries, mainly for my mom because she loves herself some free hotel shampoo and conditioner. The actual room that we stayed in was super clean. I am a huge: bathroom needs to be on point anywhere I stay type traveler and this bathroom was sparkly clean. Another great perk was the location! When I tell you the hotel was legit within a 2 minute walk to the nearest metro stop: Tower Hill, and a 5 minute walk to the Tower Bridge of London. ​It literally made all our city exploration that much easier. 

Day One

How do y’all feel about red eye flights? This was exactly that! On the flight here I watched a couple movies, the main one that stood out: The Hate U Give. Had me bawling my eyes out on the flight. Flight was super smooth and we ended up arriving earlier than expected. We landed in Heathrow Airport around 8am. First time standing up after the entire flight, my legs were feeling weird, that’s for sure! After we went through immigration customs we hopped on the Heathrow Express train which takes you from the airport to Paddington in 15 minutes. I would highly recommend hopping on this express train if you are looking for a quick, easy way to get from Heathrow Airport into the city (Paddington Station is the stop). I purchased a roundtrip ticket for $50 each for my mother and I. Once we arrived at Paddington we hopped on another train to Tower Hill, which is the closest metro stop to our hotel. All in all, it took us about an hour to get to the hotel. It would have taken less time, but I was trying to figure out which direction to take (kind of got lost), how to read the metro map and we squeezed in a quick info session on the perks of an Oyster card. If you are going to be in London for more than 3 days, I would highly recommend getting an Oyster card. It makes the paying process so much easier and it’s a great souvenir at the end of your trip! 

Once we arrived at our hotel we were greeted with freshly baked chocolate chip cookies at the front desk! I don’t know what I was more excited about, the freshly baked cookies or the fact that our hotel room was ready and the person at the front desk allowed us to check in early! We were tired from the overnight flight. All we wanted to do was put our bags down and take a quick 2-3 hour nap. Luckily, that is exactly what we did. Flash forward to 1pm: mother and I are out, and about. Roaming the streets of London. We woke up extremely hungry from our nap so we went straight to the Tower of London to find something to eat. The most traditional meal in London is fish and chips! Great for me since I am pescatarian, and my mother rarely eats meat! We managed to get fish and chips for 7 euros from Tower Vaults. We ate that while walking around the area and enjoying the view, including the London Bridge. After our tummies were satisfied, it was a mutual agreement that our next stop should be: the London Eye

We purchased a ticket combination of fast track entrance to the London Eye and one more London attraction (keep reading to find out the second attraction). Fast track entrance was totally worth the extra money to avoid a long line, and to mention the views from inside the London Eye was absolutely breathtaking. Did you know the London eye has 32 ovoidal capsules, one for each of the London boroughs? The capsules are numbered 1 to 33 – with no capsule numbered 13 for superstitious reasons. ​

After taking a ride on the London Eye, we took a stroll to find a red telephone booth. On our way to a red telephone booth we came across the Big Ben. However, it is currently under construction so we were only able to see the outline of the building as well as the clock face itself. A few steps further down we found the Westminister Abbey and a statue of Mahatma Gandhi at a nearby park. We were super drained after all the walking that we decided to catch the nearest underground train back to the hotel. All in all, day one was super productive, keeping in mind that we arrived in London early this morning on a red eye flight. We were super satisfied with what we were able to see and do.

Day Two

Woke up bright and early. The time difference truly made me feel like my body just received 24 hours of sleep. Remember when I said to continue reading to find out the second attraction we opted in to experience. We went to the Sea Life London Aquarium baby! I’m a huge animal person, whether it is an animal on land or in the sea. I usually try to make it a thing to directly or indirectly interact with an animal on all of my trips. The line to enter the aquarium wasn’t too bad because we went super early. Entry is based on your specific time slot so I would definitely recommend going first thing in the morning so you hit less human traffic as possible.  

The entire aquarium experience took about 1.5 hours. My favorite part of the aquarium was definitely the penguins. Super super super cute! If you are traveling with little ones or simply love animals like myself, head over to the Sea Life London Aquarium. You won’t regret it!

After the Sea Life London Aquarium we walked over towards the Westminster Bridge, where my mom was able to capture this beautiful picture of me with the London Eye in the background. I am surprised I was able to get a decent photo without a photo bomber. The Westminster Bridge was super packed with tourists and natives attempting to do magic tricks in exchange for money. This is the part of the trip where my mother and I were hypervigilant of our surroundings because we were informed that there are a bunch of pickpockets in London. I figured if it was going to happen to us at all, it would happen here. I moved my backpack to the front and just kept it pushing. We walked about a mile to get to Buckingham Palace. I was hoping to see the Queen, but that for sure wasn’t a thing. I was fascinated by the Queen’s guards (guards dressed in red). They legit were not moving at all. Imagine having to stand for hours at a time without making a sudden movement. I think I’d cry. I give props to them! Unfortunately, the changing of the guards ceremony was not scheduled for today, but if you are interested in seeing the changing of the guards ceremony you can access the schedule here. 

After we took in the view and all the pictures we wanted to cut through Green Park, located on the right of Buckingham Palace, and hopped in the Green Park underground line to do some window shopping in Oxford Street (underground stop = Oxford Circus). Although the only shopping I did was purchasing a London double decker bus charm from Pandora, I truly enjoyed walking around and seeing all of the (designer) stores  they had in the area. If you are into designer fashion, this would be your happy place. I’m talking, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Chanel, Burberry, Tory Burch, Moschino, Saint Laurent, and more!

Seriously, it was designer galore. The great thing about purchasing designer things in London is that you do not have to pay London tax (well you pay for it up front and then they reimburse you). All you have to do is fill out a tax form, bring it with you to the airport, and before you check in at your terminal, you show your receipt of the item(s) you purchased, and they give you back the amount you paid for taxes.

After window shopping for about 2-3 hours, we decided it was time to grab something to eat! We hopped back on the underground train and made a stop at St. Paul’s (metro stop for St. Paul’s Cathedral). We originally walked to Nando’s, but realized this restaurant was big on meat, we should have definitely looked up the menu beforehand. We ended up eating at Pho St.Paul’s, which was literally right next door. (I hyperlinked the main menu.) The food was pretty good! I ordered a king prawn (shrimp) vermicelli noodles, and my mom ordered chicken vermicelli noodles. It was a legit authentic Vietnamese restaurant. I give it a solid 8. 

After we indulged in such amazing Vietnamese food, guess what happened?! Yuuuupppp, the itis! I was ready to go to sleep! My mom was really pushing for us to walk home, and my response was, “absolutely not!”. My mom loves walking! I do too, but I have my limits. We hopped back on the underground and went back to our hotel room. Quick 15 minute train ride. Once we got back to the hotel room, it was wrap. I knocked out cold. Woke up about two hours later wanting to explore. We got ready and took a walk down to the Tower Pier, which is super close to the Tower of London.

Here you can take a water form of public transportation up and down the River Thames. We didn’t do the little water taxi, but we definitely took a few pictures with the Tower Bridge in the background. I was so happy there was another family who were able to take our photos because I have yet to invest in a tripod! After our mini photo shoot, we tried to find a bar nearby, but everything was closed in our area. We didn’t feel like going too far away from the hotel since it was close to midnight, so we just decided to go back to the hotel and call it a night (for real this time).  

Day Three

Everyday we spent in London had its own unique experience, but hands down day three was my favorite day! From the beginning of the day to the end it was amazing. Let me tell you why. We started off the day with a walk to the Tower Bridge, we did not go inside to the top but, you can if you want. Check out the hours and admission prices here. Captured the view from different angles, and even managed to get a cute picture of my mom. As you can see she was super happy! Then we walked about a mile to get to Tate Modern, London’s contemporary museum.

(Remember when I said I try to directly or indirectly interact with an animal when I’m on trips? Same thing with contemporary art museums! I absolutely love them!) Tate Modern Museum has four floors of just amazing pieces of art. Highly, highly, highly recommend going! The museum is absolutely free, and I promise you it is worth your time. We spent hours there, truly appreciating every exhibition. 

From Tate Modern we made our way to Brixton, which is located south of London. Brixton has such a different ambiance compared to the other parts of London. It has a Caribbean feel to it with more people of color. We came across a Jamaican restaurant, Turtle Bay, and we loved it! We went during happy hour time! They had the option of selecting three appetizers for the cost of 18 euros, and drinks were equivalent to $4 USD. As you can see in the photo below, the three dishes we selected was king prawns, duck (strictly for my mom, #pescatarianlifestyle), and crab cakes. The food was spicy, which I should have known. I literally had to take a gulp of water after every bite, but honestly, it was so worth it! The food was really good. My mom loved it as well. I would highly recommend it! Not only is the food good, the service was amazing as well. Drinks were great in taste and portion for its cost. 

After spending a couple hours at Turtle Bay for happy hour, we decided to continue our roaming. We spoke to a few locals and we were informed of a Dominican community in Elephant and Castle (underground metro stop). Once we were informed, it was a wrap! We both knew we needed to find this Dominican community. Imagine Dominicans in London. Oh snap, oh snap, oh snap! Imagine it and believe it because it is a real thing. We hopped on the metro and found our way to Elephant and Castle. There is in fact a Dominican community with corner stores similar to colmados/bodegas and restaurants with Presidente beer, traditional food, and Bachata. For the duration of our time in Elephant and Castle, we truly felt as if we were in the Dominican Republic. We forgot we were in London for a second. Aside from Dominicans, there were a lot of Colombians present in the community as well. So for all of my Colombians out there, there is a mini Colombian community for you in London!

Before the end of the day, we did one more stop: Shoreditch! Talk about street art galore! If you love art, street art in fact, this is the place to be! The neighborhood of Shoreditch is legit filled with streets, alleyways, and buildings of pure street art! My camera roll probably has a good 50-100 photos of beautiful street art. I could not stop snapping photos. In this area, I put my mom to work with her photography skills! (Thank you mom!) Aside from all of the artwork, Shoreditch has a number of restaurants. A lot of Indian/Halal food options. If you are a fan of Indian/Halal food this is also the place for you to be! My mom didn’t eat here because we were still pretty full from eating at Turtle Bay, but we were definitely tempted. We literally walked in the neighborhood for a good two hours; didn’t leave until the sun started to set. That was our cue to head back to the hotel. For this night, we decided to have dinner at the restaurant located in the hotel because we received a 5 euro coupon for being great guests at the hotel. The coupon is to only be used at the restaurant located in the lobby. A 5 euro coupon sounds like nothing, but I swear a little goes a long way! My mom and I were able to share a whole margarita pizza for half the price because of our coupon. We are all about saving and traveling on a budget! 

Day Four

Ugh, day four = last day in London. More like the last couple of hours in London before having to head to the airport to catch our flight back home. My mom and I woke up super early, and were roaming the streets by 9am. We weren’t really on a mission, mainly just wanting to go to a souvenir shop to perfect shot glasses (I always buy a shot glass from every country I visit). We went to the Tower of London area, and shopped around for the best prices on shot glasses. Managed to get 4 shot glasses for 10 euros, which isn’t too bad. We continued walking west and realized we weren’t that far away from St. Paul’s Cathedral, which we saw on day two.

We returned to the hotel, took one good last view outside of our hotel room floor to ceiling windows, and hopped on the train to Paddington station. One return ticket to Heathrow Airport please! Again, a quick 15 minute ride. Thanks to Heathrow Express! Totally worth it. If you are traveling to London, I highly recommend purchasing this service. ​

We also came across the London Monument, which is another underground metro stop. There wasn’t much time left before we needed to head to the airport, so we cut the exploring short on this day.