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How To Live A Full Life Without Sacrificing Your Health


While this article was sponsored in partnership with ChromaDex, all opinions are, as always, our own. Remember to always consult a physician before making drastic changes to diet or exercise or before taking any new supplement or vitamin.

While we travel a lot and try to keep up with 20-somethings, we know our bodies aren’t what they used to be—getting older affects the way we think, feel and look. That’s mostly because we put a lot of strain on our bodies when we travel. We change diets, lose sleep, and are regularly exposed to the sun and other pollutants around us.

Even if our lifestyle wasn’t full of frequent changes and unpredictable schedules, we’d still be subjected to the day-to-day stressors that add up and take a toll on our energy and overall health.

That’s why we’re always looking for innovative, scientifically-proven ways of staying healthy. We don’t really do fads, so we wanted to find something that was preventative and worked on a cellular level, not just on the surface. Our research got us interested in some new and extensive studies surrounding a molecule called NAD+.

What is NAD+ & Why Do We Need It?

NAD+ is actually found in every living cell in our bodies. But its levels decline as we age or expose ourselves to stressors like:

  • Alcohol consumption
  • Poor diet and overeating
  • Lack of exercise
  • Poor sleep and changes to your body’s natural rhythms and cycles
  • Sun exposure

Which means, the lower our NAD+ levels are, the harder it is for our cells to break down food and turn it into energy. The higher our NAD+ levels are, the easier our cells can perform their crucial functions and processes.

Right now, studies are being designed to show that higher NAD+ levels may be connected to everything from energy levels, sleep quality, mental clarity and skin health.

Ways to Boost Levels of NAD+

Since we’re travelling so much and lead a busy lifestyle, it’s not easy to avoid these stressors. We want to be less fatigued and have more energy. We want to have a better quality of sleep and a better sense of well-being. Even if we have a healthy lifestyle, our NAD+ levels will inevitably decline either from aging or just making other choices that stress our cells out… but that doesn’t mean we can’t do anything about it.

So we researched and found a clinically-proven way to increase NAD+ levels.

This NAD+ Booster is Backed by Science

We love our active lifestyle and want to keep up this pace for as long as we can, even as we age. So as soon as we heard the buzz about increasing NAD+ levels, we decided we wanted to add TRU NIAGEN™ to our morning routine.

The key ingredient in TRU NIAGEN™ is an incredibly effective form of vitamin B3 known as nicotinamide riboside that is clinically proven to increase NAD+ levels. And because NAD+ levels are essential to our cells staying strong and healthy, this kind of research has the potential to improve every organ in our bodies.

We may not be able to reverse the aging process, but we can redefine the way we age—and increasing NAD+ levels may be one of the best ways to do it.

Join us on our TRU NIAGEN™ journey today!       (Canadians click here)

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staying healthy whie travelling

4 Ways To Experience Adventure in the Finger Lakes Region of New York

By Mikkel Paige of Sometimes Home

I’m a native New Yorker who grew up on Long Island and frequently visited Manhattan. It’s likely, then, that until recently I didn’t know western New York’s Finger Lakes region presented an incredible array of adventurous sports to participate in! The scenery adds to the magnetizing draw to the region and I found myself feeling grateful I was able to explore the area.

Adventure Awaits in the Finger Lakes!

Here are four of the ways I found to experience adventure in the Finger Lakes Region of New York:

Take a Sea Plane Ride

This ride was incredibly memorable because how cool are planes that take off and land on water but function like a regular airplane in the air? Yet it wasn’t just the sea plane ride that was memorable. The passion our pilot, Bob, was contagious and made us even more excited for the ride.

sea plane ride finger lakes new york

If you’ve ever had a dream you’ll be able to relate: he wanted a sea plane company that would show people a unique way to see the world (from the water and air). When a buddy called to say he had found the perfect plane for sale they agreed to purchase it and start Finger Lakes Seaplanes in Hammondsport, New York. I felt like I was co-piloting a dream as we soared above Keuka Lake. Interestingly, we learned sea planes need to uniquely abide by two sets of laws: maritime and Federal Aviation. 

Glide Over the Trees

Gliders (not to be confused with hang gliding) are motorless two-passenger planes that soar in the sky, thanks to some physics. A tow plane quite literally carries the glider into the air as it trails behind it with the help of a connection cable. The glider pilot pulls a release cord when the glider reaches an altitude of 2,000 feet. The sound of the tow plane’s motor disappears and a peaceful hushhhh surrounds you. It really grabs your attention too because as the tow plane flies back to the airport for landing the noise disappears and you’re left soaring through the air like a bird.

Harris Hill in Elmira, New York is the location of the National Soaring Museum. It’s also where you can participate in a truly a one-of-a-kind experience. When else are you and just one other person gliding through the air with the help of some wind science and Mother Nature? Not often!

Try going first thing in the morning the weekend you want to enjoy this experience. My pilot, Ed, informed me they often sell out for the day’s available rides by 11:00am, especially during fall when leaf colors are at their peak. Check out Harris Hill Soaring Corporation for operating hours – they usually operate from April 1st to October 29th.

Kayak on the Chemung River

I am a lover of kayaking! Even if it’s a foreign concept and you’ve never done it before it’s incredibly easy. You sit in a small boat and use a double-sided paddle to row yourself down the river.

kayaking in the finger lakes

We enjoyed a relaxing five-mile tour paddling down the beautiful, tree-lined body of water with Southern Tier Kayak Tours. Our guide taught us about the area: the natural landscape Palisades, carved by glaciers before us and about millimeter sized critters in the water beneath us. We even learned how it’s possible to judge the quality of water we were in based on what organisms lived under the rocks and such. (It was given an excellent water-quality grade!)

Walk Through Watkins Glen State Park

Rumor had it that this was one of the most beautiful parks in New York State. But WOW – I had no idea it would turn out to shock me with it’s beauty. I hesitate to say we went for a “hike” because the park’s paths make it very accessible and easy for anyone to do, from children to senior citizens. It was truly a picturesque walk through waterfalls, rock formations, and flowing creeks. You could spend about 3 hours or so here if you’re stopping along the way to admire nature and take photos. Be sure to bring sunscreen, a bottle of water and your camera! 

Enjoy a Sailboat Ride Aboard True Love

A romantic sunset ride aboard True Love, the Schooner sailboat featured in 1956 movie, “High Society” with Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly, Frank Sinatra and Louis Armstrong, awaited our arrival. Shortly after boarding we were treated to a lovely ride around Seneca Lake. 

true love schooner ride in finger lakes new york

We were treated to a smooth ride, cheese and fruit, and beer or wine for purchase. Even if you’re solo, or with your partner, a best friend, family or a group it’s a great way to end any day. You simply board, sit back, relax and enjoy the ride. Be sure to bring a light jacket in case it’s chilly on the water.

True Love and its fleet is available to charter for private events too in addition to their daily public sailings.

For more about the Finger Lakes Region, check out Mikkel’s Complete Guide to a Day in Corning, New York!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mikkel from Sometimes HomeMikkel Paige is a travel writer and professional photographer spotlighting Europe, Southeast Asia and the United States. When her wedding photography business began to take her all over the globe she set out to make her travel site into more than a hobby. Her articles focus on the mid-size budget traveler who vacations one to three times a year. Find her at Sometimes Home

Follow Mikkel on Twitter and Instagram to keep up with her travels and photography!


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A Guide To Lake Temiskaming: 1 Destination, 2 Provinces, 3 Cultures

There’s this lake in Canada. It sits in a gorgeous, lush area where the air is so fresh you can’t help but breathe deeply, where the people are so friendly you can’t help but keep a smile on your face and the views are so stunning, you’ll want to keep coming back for more. It’s a lake that divides two provinces but manages to bring them both together in a completely unique and fascinating way.

Three cultures, two provinces, one lake. It’s called Lake Temiskaming but to us, it is one of the most fascinating destinations and experiences we’ve had during our travels.

Where Still Waters Run Deep

Lake Temiskaming, Ontario

Lake Temiskaming is aptly named after the Algonquin word Temikami, or Temiskaming, meaning deep waters as the lake can reach depths of 709 ft. But it’s not just the water that runs deep, the communities living on the lake have untold depths we only scratched the surface of while we were there.

It seems as though no matter where you are on the lake, you’ll find the influence of all of the surrounding communities – you’ll encounter a mix of French and English in language and heritage and a growing integration and influence of native culture around the lake. It’s fascinating to visit from town to town and see that each has its own vibe yet are also all intrinsically connected. Whether you spell it Temiskaming (a decades-old error), Timiskaming, or Temiscamingue depends on where you are around the lake and which language you are speaking but to us, they all refer to an area that is as peaceful and beautiful as it is complex and rich in character.

We were extra fortunate to be able to explore the lake with locals, especially a couple (Vivianne & Roger) who are pillars of the community and who have incredible knowledge about the lake, both past and present. They were our keystone from which we were able to connect to the whole and through them we saw how interconnected everyone was and what a beautiful place it was to be – thanks to the people, the cultures and the landscape.

boating on lake temiskaming, ontario and quebec

It was with them that we were able to delve deeper into life on Lake Temiskaming and experience so much of what the area has to offer for both residents and tourists alike. It was also with them that we got to witness first-hand the connectedness of the communities through Vivianne and Roger, and all of those we met along the way.

It truly is a phenomenal place to visit and if you get a chance, here are some things to do whether you’re on the Ontario side, Quebec side or plan to make your way to both:

Ontario Side of Lake Temiskaming – Temiskaming Shores

Temiskaming Shores makes up a large portion of the Ontario coast of Lake Temiskaming and is where we spent our time while on that side of the provincial border. It’s here that we found an interesting bilingualism of French and English in a way we’ve not seen anywhere else, spoken in soft accents, at times not noticeable no matter the language used. We also found a lively atmosphere, full of friendly people who all seemed to know one another… or at least have very few degrees of separation.

What To Do

There’s so much to do in the area but here are some of the highlights of our time there!

Vivianne and Roger were instrumental in getting us out onto the lake and in showing us some of the best spots to enjoy. If you’re able to venture to the lake with a motorboat there are some interesting sights to see, like the ancient cliff called Devil’s Rock, and many islands to observe, like Farr Island. It’s truly a pleasure to spend some time on the water and with marinas located in various towns in both provinces, you’ll even be able to dock and explore (i.e. Haileybury on the Ontario side and Ville-Marie on the Quebec side).

Tip: For now, if you’re looking to rent a boat or boating equipment, like kayaks or canoes, you’ll have to plan on your way into the area by stopping at one of the larger cities or rental places along the way and bringing it with you the rest of the way. For those travelling north into Temiskaming Shores, a stop in North Bay would be perfect.

Devil's Rock Lake Temiskaming

One of our most memorable outings was our hike and picnic at Devil’s Rock. We had seen this giant cliff from the water below while boating but it wasn’t until we hiked to it and got to see the view from the top that we truly appreciated it. It’s easy to pick out Devil’s Rock from below – rising 300 ft from the lake, one of the top peaks of the escarpment looks very much like a face. We took a hiking trail that led straight to the cliff and enjoyed a picnic with one of the most stunning views in the province.

If you plan your time in the area right, the craft beer festival – North on Tap – is a great local event to attend. Featuring Ontario craft brewers, as well as some local fare and music, the festival is a ton of fun and a great way to get a taste of the community, both literally and figuratively.

Where To Stay

Some of the accommodations in the area also offer boating experiences. Presidents’ Suites is a collection of historic homes that have been restored and reopened as B&Bs. They will also take you over to Farr island where you’ll find some of the many activities they offer. While there is treehouse glamping available for those that want to stay on the island, they are looking to build and open several glamping cabins in the near future.

Waterfront Inn New Liskeard Ontario

We had the pleasure of staying at the Waterfront Inn which, as its name suggests, sits right on the lake and offers a spectacular view. It was such a great room with a perfect location and we were thrilled to be able to open our patio doors and literally step out to the lake whenever we wanted. They were also closeby to a lot of the areas we wanted to see, as well as the marina.

Where To Eat

Not only did we enjoy our accommodations at the Waterfront Inn, we also loved their restaurant: Rooster’s Bar and Grill. Casual dining with a patio overlooking the lake and some really great tasting food made it a go-to spot whenever we were in the hotel around meal-time.

Cafe Meteor Bistro was another favourite of ours. Located in Haileybury, this cafe-at-day/bistro-at-night was brilliantly put together by the same owners of Presidents’ Suites which meant it was not only serving some amazing food but also jam-packed with history. Their food is made from fresh, locally sourced products when possible and offers an insight into the uniquely grown and raised culinary ingredients of the region as well as the cultural influences in the cuisine. The decor revolves around, and is based on, the famous S.S. Meteor passenger steamboat which was an integral part of lake life in the late 1800s until 1926 when it caught fire.

cafe meteor haileybury ontario breakfast

One of the local recommendations for the New Liskeard area was Ali’s Bar and Grill and it did not disappoint with it’s diverse menu large portions and delicious food. Though we enjoyed everything we tried, we really liked the firecracker shrimp and

Finally, if you’re looking to taste more of the local cuisine and see exactly what this area produces, you’ll want to check out the Riverside Farmer’s Market during the warmer months. It’s here you’ll see all the different kinds of food and produce grown and created around Temiskaming Shores.

Quebec Side of Lake Temiskaming – Temiscamingue

While native culture permeates Temiskaming Shores and all three cultures coalesce along the lake’s coast, it’s in Quebec where you’ll find the core of Timiskaming First Nations and the Timiskaming First Nations reserve. We were so fortunate to be able to speak with an incredibly talented artist on the reserve, Karl Chevrier who not only creates stunning works of art in all different kinds of mediums and materials but also teaches art forms to local students. His words were moving, his artwork enthralling and we learned so much from him about the history of his people and his community.

Karl Chevrier Lake Temiskaming Quebec

After Ontario, we got to explore First Nations culture and then head further along the Quebec side of Lake Temiskaming. Exploring this area – Temiscaminque – meant we only added to the list of things to do and see while on the lake.

What To Do

One of the best things to do on the Ontario side, is also one of the best things to do on the Quebec side – get out and enjoy the outdoors. Boating on the lake can take you to waterfalls and islands or you can kayak and take your time to enjoy the nature surrounding you. There are also recreational trails for hiking or biking in the summer and snowmobiling and winter activities in the colder months.

While it was an unplanned stop, we were so happy that we took the time to visit Fort Temiscamingue National Historic Site. It was this trading post that played an important role in the history of the area and of the country and its fur-trade. There’s also a significant number of displays and exhibits focusing on the thousand-year presence of aboriginal peoples.

lake temiskaming muskoka chair

One of the coolest things we did was visit the Fossilarium and got hunting for fossils of our own. The area is rife with fossils of living organisms that were previously living underwater but, over centuries, are now fossilized and exposed throughout the area. After learning about what used to inhabit the area and seeing examples of their fossils, we got to go on an excursion ourselves and find our own fossils. Not only did we find some, we were able to keep and preserve them before they became crushed or eroded by human activity.

Every year people from across the lake and all over come to attend one large food festival – Foire Gourmande – and if you’re able to go we highly recommend you do. Food from all over the region and northeastern ontario, craft beer and art by local artists are all available at this weekend-long festival. We had a chance to taste so much of the local food and produce and enjoy some truly fantastic music as the live bands played late into the night each day. This is something that unites the entire lake together while at the same time reaching to other areas of both provinces and beyond.

Where To Stay

We were able to stay in several different accommodations on the Quebec side of Lake Temiskaming and while we were impressed by all of them, two stood out to us. Miwapanee Lodge in Kipawa was a perfect B&B for a getaway. Beautifully appointed rooms, absolutely amazing food (Ask for the pancakes for breakfast. You won’t be disappointed!) and a beautiful setting on the lake. It was both private and romantic and we have already talked about going back.

Domaine TemiKami had us in another piece of wilderness paradise as we stayed in a cabin by the water. Here we had a fully equipped kitchen, an outdoor hot tub and a peaceful view. We loved that it was located close enough to Ville Marie to get to the town, restaurants and the Foire Gourmande Festival but was secluded enough so that we could truly enjoy nature and the beauty that is Temiscamingue.

Where To Eat

If you’re visiting during Foire Gourmande, you’ll have a bunch of food to taste and try but if you’re not, there are a few places that we tried and highly recommend.

fresh produce at farmers market ville marie quebec

If you look up or go to Station Centre-Ville, you’ll probably be a bit confused as to why we would suggest it. Yes, it’s a gas station but it’s not just a gas station. It was the vision of the owners to create something more and be something more in the community. Here you’ll not only find the best (and cheapest) selection of craft beers from both sides of the provincial border, but you’ll also find some gourmet, ready-to-eat meals like sandwiches and pizzas.

At Le Bistro Elle et Louis Bistro, you’ll find two menus playing off the name of the restaurant: one directed to men (Louis) and one directed to women (Elle). While you’re not limited to whatever menu you get, it’s fun to see who orders what in a larger group of both men and women. Both menus are packed with dishes that offer a fusion of flavours of the area and we especially loved their gourmet burgers and poutine.

L’Eden Rouge is a truly interesting restaurant on the site of a vegetable farm meaning the produce makes it to the table extremely fresh. Though they change their menus frequently, they are truly inspired and we ate every bite of each dish we were served.

We kept hearing about the restaurant La Bannick no matter where we were on the lake – Ontario or Quebec – so we knew we had to make it there for at least one meal. While we heard a lot about how good dinner is, we only managed to sneak in a Sunday brunch buffet but if that was anything to go by, it’s definitely a great place to eat! La Bannick also offers campgrounds and cottages, a spa and other outdoor activities if you’re looking for more than just a good meal.

If you’re looking to explore the area, you can always check out their Lake Tour Passport. While the contest is over, the passport map is a great guide for hitting up some of the great stops all around the lake! 

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Where To Find The Best Japanese Cheesecake in the GTA

We absolutely love Japanese cuisine and when we say that, we literally mean all things Japanese cuisine. There hasn’t been a thing we’ve tried that we don’t enjoy. Okay, you caught us. There was a brief period of time where we avoided natto but we’re over that now. So you can imagine our excitement when we heard there was a new restaurant opening nearby – Supermoon Japanese Style Cheesecakes – that specializes in Japanese cheesecake. That excitement only increased when we were invited to their soft launch to try out what they would be serving up… and what it is, is a whole bunch of delicious.

What is Japanese Cheesecake?

Japanese style cheesecake is much different than the western kind in that it is lighter, fluffier and doesn’t come with a base (like graham crumbs) that other cheesecakes typically have. It’s also a little less sweet and a little more melt-in-your-mouth (cue the drool now).

best japanese cheesecake in toronto

Japanese cheesecake is often described as a combination of the flavour of a light, creamy cheesecake and the texture of a fluffy souffle. For us, it is more like an airy angel food cake meets flavourful cheesecake but regardless of how you choose to describe it, what really matters is that it is absolutely delicious.

It’s something you’ll find easily if you travel to Japan but has begun to gain popularity elsewhere as Japanese chains and independent restaurants are opening around the world and as it’s a lighter dessert option, its desirability is guaranteed to continue to grow.

Where You’ll Find The Best Japanese Cheesecake in the GTA

You can find Supermoon Japanese Style Cheesecakes baking up delectable treats in unit 19 at 128 Queen St. South, Mississauga, Ontario.

When searching for a great Japanese cheesecake restaurant, we’re basically looking at several important things: first and foremost, the taste, texture and overall cheesecake experience. After that we look at the atmosphere of the restaurant, other menu options and any extras. We found that Supermoon Japanese Style Cheesecakes checked all the boxes for us and easily slid to the top of our Japanese Cheesecake list. (Phew, how many more times do you think we’ll be saying ‘cheesecake’ before this is done?)

Supermoon Japanese Style Cheesecakes Mississauga

Their cheesecakes have an ultra light and fluffy texture, with a brilliant flavour profile and perfect browning on the top. What makes this place so special is not only the amazing composition and culinary skill in creating these cakes, but also the unique flavour options like their chocolate or red velvet cheesecakes (with seasonal flavours to be added, well, seasonally). The recipe for these cheesecakes was meticulously developed for fluffy perfection and involves 3 different cheeses, but don’t expect the executive chef (and part owner), Mona Kustantini, to tell you all of the components. It’s those secret ingredients that give these cakes a mouthwatering edge.

Their bubble tea also impressed us as we rarely find bubble-tea-shop quality anywhere that isn’t, first and foremost, a bubble tea shop. Though we love our regular milk tea, we also tried and enjoyed their taro and matcha flavours and intend on going back to try more.

Supermoon legend mississauga ontario

With a unique story (check out the wall in their shop for the ‘Legend of Supermoon’), regular size cakes, cheese tarts, bubble tea and some amazing deals (buy 3 bubble teas, get one free; buy 10 cheesecakes, get one free; or buy any combination of tart, cake and bubble tea and get 10% off) it’s a place we’ll be returning to time and again.

 

Supermoon Japanese Style Cheesecakes is located in Streetsville, Mississauga and is a perfect place to get your fix of both Japanese cheesecake and bubble tea. Sure, you can head downtown Toronto and find yourself amid the big city Japanese cheesecake craze but you’ll find some of the tastiest Japanese cheesecakes, with a great story and some amazing menu options, after a calmer drive to this Mississauga take-out restaurant.

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Top 10 Most Affordable U.S. Cities to Live In

By Kacey Mya of The Drifter Collective

City living is wonderful, but the cost of living in some of the big U.S. cities—looking at you New York and Los Angeles—is a big deterrent for living there. Luckily this country has multiple wonderful cities throughout it where the cost of living is more affordable. Here are 10 of the most affordable cities you’ll find in the U.S.

1. Pittsburgh, PA

Pittsburgh is a great place to get the hustle and bustle of the city without feeling overwhelmed. It’s also cheap, especially when compared to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’s other main city. One of the best benefits here is the low cost of housing and utilities.

Built around where three rivers meet, it’s also in a unique and gorgeous location. Even when you live there, the view of the city from Mount Washington doesn’t get old. Three major sports teams have stadiums there, and the energy in Pittsburgh on game day is something that’s hard to find anywhere else.

2. Fayetteville, AR

Another city with a very low cost of housing, Fayetteville comes in under the national average in every major expense. If that doesn’t sell you, the city has also been in the top five in the best places to live ranking two years running now. Factoring into that ranking was the low commute times, low unemployment rate and a lower crime rate compared to cities similar in size.

There are multiple parks in the city, as well as Lake Fayetteville, a sizeable lake great for fishing and kayaking. If you’re into history, the Clinton House Museum is here, as well as one of the most intact Civil War battlegrounds in the country, Prairie Grove.

3. Omaha, NE

omaha nebraska

Image via Flickr by vwCampin 

Omaha is also under the national average in all the major expenses, with housing and utilities being the farthest under. The city is located right in the heart of the country, giving you equal distance to all sorts of destinations.

Omaha itself offers a strong arts and culture scene with many museums and cultural events. The Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium is outstanding and takes at least a full day for you to see it all. Sports fans looking for something out of the box can enjoy the AKSARBEN Stock Show & Rodeo.

4. Des Moines, IA

Des Moines has a solid 10% lower cost of living than the rest of the country—housing and groceries being the lowest amenities. It tops the list as the most affordable city in the country due to less than 25% of income being spent on living expenses. It’s the only city that’s under 25% in that category.

If you’re a political junkie, the Iowa caucus is one of the biggest factors in a presidential election, meaning campaigns are sure to stop here. Downtown has been revitalized recently and is home to festivals, restaurants and other hot spots.

5. Indianapolis, IN

Indianapolis is becoming more affordable, with its housing prices going down a bit this past year. Indy boasts both the Indy 500 and the Indianapolis Colts, so it’s another city that’s heaven for sports fans. It has a great arts and antiques scene, as well as live music. And if you need a break from the city, it’s surrounded by state parks.

6. Grand Rapids, MI

Grand Rapids MichiganImage via Flickr by amtrack_russ 

While the transportation costs are a bit above average, Grand Rapids makes up for that with low housing and health care costs. If you love public art and craft beer, Grand Rapids is a great choice. The city gives off a small-town feeling, with people always waving hello as you walk by. There are 1200 acres of parks within the city, and if you’re looking for more water than the river offers, Lake Michigan is less than an hour away.

7. Knoxville, TN

Knoxville’s housing costs come in at a whopping 23% below the national average. Knoxville is known as the most dog friendly city, which is probably the best selling point a city could have. The Knoxville Museum of Art has fun classes so you can continue to learn and hone skills throughout your lifetime. Turkey Creek offers 300 acres of shopping if you’re craving some retail therapy.

8. Buffalo, NY

New York City may not be affordable, but Buffalo definitely is. It’s also one of the most beautiful cities to live in with all the waterfront views—it’s right on Lake Erie and the Niagara River. You’ll also have one of the world’s most beautiful natural wonders, Niagara Falls, a short drive away. Winter is king here, with great skiing and ice-skating areas.

Whether you are looking to move, or just visit, check out this guide to Buffalo for where to stay, where to eat, what to do & what to see!

9 + 10 Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN

They don’t call them the twin cities for nothing. Both of these have a low cost of living and residents only pay a little under 26% of their income towards housing and utilities. The cities offer a high quality of life and the job market there is in its prime. You can be right in the thick of two cities and reap the benefits from both. It means more things to do and explore, and more job opportunities that are close to you.

Living in an amazing city doesn’t have to break the bank. While they might not be the biggest cities the country must offer, they still have that city feel and their own unique charms—not to mention being affordable.

 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kacey is a lifestyle blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations and cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts.

Follow Kacey on Twitter and subscribe to her blog to keep up with her travels and inspiring posts!


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Surprisingly Simple Luxury Hotel Amenities That Make A Difference

By Kacey Mya of Drifter Collective

Going on a trip means that you’re going to have to pay for a place to stay, and there are so many options to choose from nowadays that it can be difficult figuring out what to do. Do you book a rental from your phone, or reserve a hotel room online? When you’re traveling, staying in a place where quality is guaranteed can make the whole trip worth it, which is why luxury hotels are the best places to stay at on vacation.

If you’re going to spend more money than usual on your room, you have to know what to look for. Not only should you keep your eyes out for any deals on your room package and any extra amenities your hotel may include (think restaurants and bars), you should also look for the small things. Not all five star hotels have the perks you’re used to, and they could make all the difference.

Free Wifi

More affordable hotels almost always offer free wifi as part of your room deal. It makes for a great advertising opportunity to draw travelers in who just want to relax and surf the web after a long day on the road. Not all luxury hotels will include this though. Pay close attention to the details listed under your chosen room option to see if wifi is free or not, and prepare to work it into your budget if it’s an extra charge.

Sometimes free wifi makes the difference between staying at a particular hotel or not, depending on your budget and how long you plan to stay there. It’s easy to forget that it’s not freely offered at every venue, so don’t forget to check before you click that reserve button!

Complimentary Breakfast

tea and towels hotel amenities

Free breakfast is another amenity that many hotel guests take for granted. It can save you a good chunk of money in your meal budget, especially if you plan on staying somewhere long term. Some luxury hotels include this feature in the room price and some don’t, even though complimentary breakfasts were recently discovered to be one of the top three hotel room amenities.

If having a free breakfast or not is what makes you choose to stay somewhere, you’re not alone. Make sure that when you pay top dollar to stay at a luxury hotel, you’ll also get some food included in what you pay so you can grab a snack for the road before you head out on an early vacation adventure.

Free Parking

Depending on where you live, the idea of not having free parking at a hotel could seem crazy. Most regularly priced hotels don’t make you worry about parking, but it really depends on the location that you’re staying at. Because luxury hotels are often where people visit the most, you may end up forking over money just to leave your car in the lot.

This is another feature that many guests consider a deal breaker. Free parking is actually one of the most important features a hotel offers, according to a survey taken by frequent travelers. That’s because the price of parking can really add up, and the cost isn’t exactly predictable if you don’t know how much you’ll be going in and out of the lot on your trip.

lowes hotel vogue montreal

Blackout Curtains

Not everyone thinks about curtains when they’re trying to find an available hotel room, but curtains can be the one thing that turns a good hotel experience into a bad one. Don’t just assume that your luxury hotel has these in each room. Call ahead of time and ask if the curtains in your room will blackout lights or not. These kinds of curtains are one of the things that should always be in hotels, so if your luxury hotel doesn’t have them, you’ll know to spend your money somewhere else.

 

Just because you’re planning on spending money on a luxury hotel doesn’t mean that you’re guaranteed to have a great time just because of the price tag. Hotel experiences come down to the little things, like the amenities that you’ll be using. Do all the research you can on the luxury hotels you’re looking at to make sure these basic needs are included in your room payment, because they can make a great trip quickly turn into a terrible experience.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kacey is a lifestyle blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations and cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts.

Follow Kacey on Twitter and subscribe to her blog to keep up with her travels and inspiring posts!


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Dhawa Cayo Santa Maria Resort Review: Everything You Need To Know

The first thing you’ll notice about Dhawa Cayo Santa Maria is that it is actually located on Cayo las Brujas, an island close to Cayo Santa Maria. While it is a different island it still has the same stunning coastline for which Cayo Santa Maria is best known and the Dhawa is located on an interesting part of that coast – managing to be at times both rugged and sandy – with blue water and long stretches of beach.

We recently stayed at this all-inclusive resort for a week thanks to tripcentral.ca and thoroughly enjoyed our time there. If you’re looking to go yourself, we’ve put together an overview of the resort along with some highlights and suggestions of things you won’t want to miss while you’re there!

Dhawa Cayo Santa Maria Resort Overview

As one of the newer resorts in the area (as of June 2017) it offers a more modern atmosphere for those travelling to Cuba and a more intimate all-inclusive experience. We found the resort to be incredibly well-maintained with fantastic service and friendly staff.

dhawa cayo santa maria lobby

Though the property is smaller in size than some of the resorts that we’ve seen, you’ve got some options for spending your day in the resort including 2 large connected pools and one smaller, wading pool, tennis courts, a fitness centre, a spa and, of course, the beach.

At night, you can find your way to one of three a la carte restaurants, enjoy the nightly entertainment, head to the disco, listen to live music by the lobby bar or grab a snack at the 24-hour snack bar overlooking the pool.

The Standard Room at Dhawa Cayo Santa Maria

The standard room comes with either one king bed or two queen beds in a bright, island-vibe space that has either a garden, pool or ocean view. We found the necessary amenities like a safe, mini-fridge, iron and ironing board, hairdryer and toiletries and appreciated that the water and beverages were replaced daily in the fridge.

Since we’re not ones to stay in our room and are always out and about, a room with a view is nice but not always a priority for us. If it is for you, we’d recommend getting a premium package that includes a oceanview or request pool view as garden view will probably not be what you’re looking for.

Dhawa Cayo Santa Maria Deluxe Room

Other than that, the room is clean and spacious, welcoming and comfortable and we didn’t find any of the accommodation buildings to be too far out of the way from the major features of the resort.

If you did want to upgrade further, you can always choose a junior or one-bedroom suite which will upgrade you to VIP status and offers a whole array of additional amenities and resort extras.

The Beach

We had mentioned that the beach manages to be both sandy and rugged and this is something we loved about the area of the shore that the Dhawa is located. When first walking onto the beach, a rocky outcrop greets you from the end of the resort’s beach, it’s natural and pretty and a great contrast to the white sand, blue skies and water. It really is only a small section off to the side as the beach extends from it and is a long stretch of soft sand with lots of beach loungers and shaded cabanas to use.

dhawa cayo santa maria resort beach

On the beach is also a bar and restaurant which means you really don’t have to leave until they close! We found that it was a great spot to watch the sunrise, soak in some rays on a lounger, cool down and relax in the water and just enjoy the fact that you’re on a beautiful island. They also have non-motorized sports available for free to resort guests such as catamaran rides which makes for new experiences each day.

The Food & Service

Cuban resorts have long been criticized for their food but we’ve been fortunate to have stayed at resorts in Cuba that have pretty decent food and we’ve yet to have any complaints. The Dhawa Cayo Santa Maria is no exception. Their breakfast buffet was our absolute favourite. While it had a decent variety in general, it was their crepe station (pancake station) that had us up in time each day to make sure we didn’t miss out. Freshly made to order, with a variety of fruit toppings and sauces, they were an incredibly delicious and sumptuous way to spend each morning while on vacation.

The lunch and dinner buffet was also good with changing items daily but we found some favourites and tended to gravitate to them. One of those was the fresh fish section for dinner where the cooked prawns sauteed with garlic were spectacular.

dhawa french restaurant

The a la carte restaurants were also a pretty good change from the regular and offered us a bit of a romantic setting. We tried both the French restaurant (Maison Gourmet) and the seafood restaurant (Fuego del Mar) and though we liked them both, our favourite was the French restaurant. Each guest is able to book each of the 3 a la carte restaurants for one evening.

There was one place in particular that we could often be found: The 24 hour snack bar. Since it was open all the time, we found ourselves there for lunch, for snacks, for late-night second dinners and everything in between. It was definitely a great place to go if you’re hungry no matter what time of day.

Overall, the service was great. The staff was incredibly friendly and attentive and we found ourselves becoming regulars at a particular bar, section of the buffet and the snack bar. The staff at each one made a point to know what we liked and to make us feel welcome at all times.

The Entertainment & Other Amenities

We had fun on the resort and some of that had to do with the entertainment team. Always around during the day starting activities by the pool or beach and performing every night, they were fun and engaging.

The nightly entertainment was performed on stage in the resort theatre (with the exception of one night) and was different each night of the week. The performances varied from musical performances to dancing to shows involving audience participation and were lively ways to spend some time in the evening.

Dhawa Cayo Santa Maria Entertainment

After the shows, the disco started offering a club/lounge-like atmosphere that continued into the late hours of the evening.

If you’re not relaxed after watching a show or participating in one of the games or activities, there’s always the spa area where you can get a massage under a cabana overlooking the water. Though you may want to save that massage until after you give it a go on their tennis courts or burn off some energy in their fitness centre – both areas are great if you’re looking to add a bit of fitness to your vacation.

Our Tips For The Dhawa Cayo Santa Maria:

There are a few things we think you should know if you are planning a trip to Dhawa Cayo Santa Maria resort. For starters, you are not going to want to miss checking out the catamaran rides as they are a complimentary service of the resort and is a great experience  (do remember that tips are very much appreciated by those that will be taking you out on the water). If you enjoy the entertainment portion of all-inclusive resorts, the evening with the entertainment by the pool was by far one of our favourites and truly impressive and may just be something you’ll want to be sure to see.

We said that we were often at the snack bar and that means that we tried the entire menu. What we kept coming back for though were the chicken fingers. They were so good and the interesting mixture of bbq sauce, mustard and ketchup (we’re actually not sure what the sauce that comes with them is made of) was surprisingly delicious on them though you can ask for them without sauce if you’d prefer. If you’re not sure what to eat, or you’re hungry late, we’d definitely recommend heading over to the 24-hour snack bar by the pool for some!

 

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An Ontario Getaway At Long Point Eco Adventures

We’re always looking for great new places to visit in Ontario, especially ones that promise unique experiences, opportunities to challenge ourselves, and pretty much anything to do with good food. So, we were especially excited when Attractions Ontario told us  about Long Point Eco Adventures, a place that offers all three of these in one destination and that makes for a fantastic getaway in Ontario.

Long Point Eco Adventures is located in Norfolk County, an easy 2 hour drive from Toronto and is a destination all in itself, even though the surrounding area is also quite a beautiful and interesting place to discover with Turkey Point Provincial Park, Long Point National Wildlife Area, a whole bunch of waterfront activities and small town charm along Lake Erie.

Whether you choose to spend some time sightseeing or not, you’ll find that pretty much everything you need, from accommodation to recreation, can be found at Long Point Eco Adventure. Our time there was spent enjoying nature while camping in style, overcoming fears while participating in exhilarating activities and dining on some delicious food after sipping on great wine from the vineyard right across the street.

Here’s a little look at what there is to do at, and why we love, Long Point Eco Adventures:

Luxury Glamping

You’ll find three types of accommodation at Long Point Eco Adventures and while one is rustic, the other two take camping from roughing it to living in luxury.

Long Point Eco Adventures Cabins

For those who prefer a more comfortable camping experience, the wilderness pods are a great alternative that will have you feeling like you’re still camping in the wilderness but without any hint of ‘roughing it’. These pods have a comfortable queen bed, a mini-fridge, couch and table with chairs. It also has a deck with chairs, a washroom with a flush toilet and running hot and cold water, though you will be using shared shower facilities. Since there are electrical outlets and wifi as well, you’ll have everything you need to disconnect and relax or connect if needed. You’ll also find a hot complimentary buffet breakfast in the morning.

long point eco adventure wilderness pod

If you want to step up the luxury factor even more, there are wilderness suites that will help you do just that. Spacious long tented structures, queen or king-size beds, all the amenities of the wilderness pods with the addition of a ceilingless shower allowing you the incredible experience of showering under the stars. It’s an incredible glamping experience and perfect for a weekend getaway or longer.

Of course, if you’re more into an authentic wilderness vibe, you can try one of their camping pods which are cabins with twin or queen beds, none of the interior amenities of the other options and shared outhouses and showers.

Eco Adventures & Outdoor Recreation

From the ground to the sky, it’s an incredibly fascinating destination that offers so much to do. You can tailor your visit to whatever you enjoy doing as much, or as little as you want, tapping into their eco adventures and outdoor recreational activities.

long point eco adventure ziplining ontario

For us, the huge draw was the ziplining and canopy tour which had us zipping through tree tops, catching great views of Long Point Bay and Turkey Point and completing a 40 ft rappel. It’s an exciting experience that can be done during the day or at night with 8 ziplines and 2 suspension bridges. We found it an amazing first ziplining experience and those on the tour with us said it was a great ziplining course even for experienced zipliners.

It was also an opportunity to challenge ourselves as Carolann managed to face her fears and push her boundaries. She fell in love after the first zipline and had a smile on her face until the very end.

We also got a chance to join in on axe throwing in the evening which had us learning some new axe throwing techniques by an expert and teaming up to compete in one epic axe throwing competition (we can’t help but brag, et, mention that our team won both games). It really offered the best axe throwing instruction we’ve had and was a ton of fun.

long point eco adventure axe throwing ontario

For those spending more than one evening at Long Point Eco Adventure, you’ll probably want to get involved in some more of the activities they offer. Between their zodiac boat tours, kayaking, fishing tours and mountain biking, you’ll be hard pressed to find a dull moment during the day. Later at night you can take a peek at the sky in the observatory where you’ll get a full astronomy experience and then sit by the campfire, with the bright stars above, before heading to bed.

Culinary Exploration & Excellence

If you like the idea of glamping and want to pair it with more laidback and low-key activities, or add some culinary pursuits to your already adventurous itinerary, Long Point Eco Adventure has got you covered. In fact, there’s a lot to do outside of the high-energy recreational activities they provide.

After our thrilling canopy tour and ziplining, we wound down by heading across the street to Burning Kiln Winery for a tour and tasting. Staying true to the area’s history in the tobacco industry, the Burning Kiln has incorporated architectural elements like the tobacco barn and even uses tobacco kilns as part of an innovative winemaking process.

We found it an incredibly interesting tour with some truly unique elements and discovered some great Ontario wines in the process.

The Burning Kiln Winery Norfolk County

For dinner, we headed to the restaurant on site. The Burning Kiln Restaurant welcomes David’s Restaurant on Tour for lunch and dinner from May to September and has some spectacular dishes to choose from. We had cauliflower bites to start and chose the beef tenderloin and the burger of the week as our mains and thoroughly enjoyed each one. It was a great way to end the tour of the winery and a fantastic meal to remember

The Burning Kiln Winery Restaurant

If you’re looking for more culinary adventures, Long Point Eco Adventures offers an apiary tour where you can don a beekeeping suit and learn all about the hives, honey bees and beekeeping. You’ll also get a chance to taste what the bees are all fussing over – the honey!

Taking a day to explore the forest and learn how to find and pick wild, edible mushrooms is another option. The guided tour will have you collecting mushrooms along the way which will later be used to prepare a meal for you and paired with wines from the Burning Kiln Winery.

 

Whether you’re looking to relax in style in your accommodation the whole time and venture only for food and wine or are interested in a full-adventure experience, Long Point Eco Adventure has something for everyone and makes it one of the best destinations in Ontario for a getaway.

 

A huge thanks to Attractions Ontario for making our stay at the Long Point Eco Adventure possible. If you’re looking for other amazing things to do in Ontario, head over to the Attractions Ontario website!

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4 Cayo Santa Maria Resorts You Should Know About

Cuba holds a special place in our hearts. Not only is it the scene of our very first vacation together, it is also one of our favourite countries to visit with incredibly friendly people, beautiful culture and amazing beaches. Though we mostly enjoy delving into the local scene when we travel, we also love to vacation and that means taking a break from it all, sitting back and letting someone else take care of everything.

So when we needed some time to relax and reenergize, we figured an all-inclusive resort would be perfect and decided to head back to the scene of our first vacation as a couple. To do that, we popped over to tripcentral.ca and looked up resorts in Cayo Santa Maria, the island in Cuba where our travels as a couple began!

All-Inclusive Resorts For A Vacation in Cayo Santa Maria, Cuba

What we found were a lot more options than were available years ago. With all of these choices we decided to not only stay in one resort for the week, but also visit several others while we were there. This gave us the opportunity to see what was else available for those looking for a getaway, romantic or not, on an island with some of the most beautiful beaches we’ve ever seen.

Here are four great options for an all-inclusive vacation in Cayo Santa Maria, Cuba.

Dhawa Cayo Santa Maria

We stayed at the Dhawa Cayo Santa Maria Resort for the whole week. It was relatively new when we visited and we thought that its modern design and decor was an intriguing contrast to the tropical setting typical of an all-inclusive resort in Cuba.

The Dhawa is actually on Cayo Las Brujas, a neighbouring island to Cayo Santa Maria, but the drive is similar in distance from the airport and you really won’t notice the difference if you’re venturing off the resort for any of the excursions or attractions. In fact, you’ll find yourself closer to the Marina Gaviota Las Brujas where you can go scuba diving, fishing or sailing.

The resort itself is family-friendly with everything from a kids club for the little ones, to a disco at night for the party-goers. We found the food to be above average for what is commonly found at resorts in Cuba and even discovered some favourites at the buffet and the 24 hour snack bar that had us returning for more! With three a la carte restaurants, there’s also decent variety of food to choose from.

Dhawa Cayo Santa Maria Cuba Resort

We loved the pool area as it had two pools, semi-attached, and a separate wading pool nearby. There’s also daily and nightly entertainment and activities with an incredibly talented, friendly and enthusiastic entertainment team.

Our favourite part of the resort was, as is for any resort in Cuba, the beach. This stretch of beach may be a bit unexpected as it has a beautiful rugged natural rocky area to start before it extends to a long strip of sandy coastline. With a bar, food service and tons of loungers either in the sun or in the shade, it makes for a great place to enjoy the sun, sand and water.

It’s a great resort, with a more intimate vibe, that is perfect for a family, a group of friends, a couple or just an individual looking for a more relaxed vacation in the sun.

Melia Las Dunas

The Melia Las Dunas was the resort we stayed at on our first visit to Cayo Santa Maria together and we found it as fantastic during this visit as it was the last time. It’s by far our choice for a romantic getaway for couples in Cuba even though it is not an adults-only resort.

What you will find is two areas of the resort – each one with its own pool and buildings with rooms, but one side geared towards families and kids and the other for adults. While the sides can mix and mingle, there are activities for the kids available only at the family pool (and also the separate kid pool) and most of the guests that are adult-only will find they are given a room at the other side of the resort.

Melia Las Dunas Cayo Santa Maria Cuba Resort

The Melia Las Dunas also has some great dining options. In addition to the buffet, there is a pizzeria serving food at lunch and while it was one of our favourite places to eat, their 8 a la carte restaurants are also great choices for dinner.

There are quite a number of bar and snack options, entertainment throughout the day and evening and impeccable staff and service. Of course, nothing beats a resort that not only has a stunning beach but also an ice cream parlor. One of our favourite things to do when we were planning to spend some time in the sun and sand was to grab an ice cream on our way!

It’s a beautiful resort with a tropical atmosphere and is perfect for a little romance, even if you bring the kids!

Warwick Cayo Santa Maria

The Warwick Cayo Santa Maria is one of the hotels on the island that we were able to visit with a day pass. Since we did not get to stay as guests, our opinions are from what we saw during our time exploring the resort. For us, this resort was simply stunning. Being only two years old, it is similar to the Dhawa in that it felt like a modern tropical paradise.

While the gorgeous, giant pool was definitely something to enjoy (and we did), we really liked the beach with the multiple access points and varied terrain. When we first stepped foot on the one end of the beach we were greeted with a rocky outcrop before it gave way to pure sand.  To us, the contrast between the natural, more rugged looking shore and the pristine, sandy stretch of beach was simply beautiful. Having a bar at each of the main beach access points is also a great touch!

Warwick Cayo Santa Maria Cuba Resort

The hotel rooms we saw were also modern with great decor and added touches.  The one thing we didn’t get to try much of was the food. During the low season, the main buffet was closed for renovations and we were only able to try the mini buffet which was decent but obviously not indicative of the regular food options or any of their a la carte restaurants.

With many bars, a lush tropical property to explore and tons of waterfront space, whether at the pool or on the beach, and lots of activities to choose from, the Warwick is definitely a resort that adds some 5-star Cuban luxury for the whole family!

Valentin Perla Blanca

Multiple pools, beautiful landscaping, different activities and entertainment throughout the day and into the night and, something we’ve yet to experience in our travels, adults only access. The Valentin Perla Blanca was a whole different resort from the ones we visited. As with the Warwick this was only a day pass, so we only got to explore some of what the resort had to offer.

As is with many of the larger resorts on the island, low season means that some of the areas are closed off. For us, that meant we focused our time on the pool that was open and the beach. There are some great vibes at this resort, with the music and the relaxed atmosphere, and we enjoyed slipping into the 24 hour restaurant to test out some of their food (the chicken fingers were definitely our favourite).

Valentin Perla Blanca Resort Cayo Santa Maria Cuba

What stood out the most to us about this resort was the option to upgrade to the Privilege Club. By doing this you would get an exclusive concierge which means quicker check-in and check-out, a special lobster dinner, 20 min massage, discounts on additional spa treatments, premium brand liquors, a special buffet area as well as more benefits and extras in the a la carte restaurants. It also means access to the “Privilege Lounge” which has AC, those premium liquors we mentioned and a relatively quiet space to get away and relax.

We really loved that part of the Valentin resort and knew as we were walking around that it would be a great way to experience a stay there. It’s definitely a great place to get away from it all, pamper yourself and leave the kids at home!

A huge thanks to tripcentral.ca for making these experiences possible. If you’re looking for vacation packages or looking to book a trip, check them out! As with everything, reviews and opinions are our own.

 

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Why Puerto Vallarta Should Be A Stop On Your Next Cruise

It’s no surprise that Puerto Vallarta is one of Mexico’s top cruise ports or that it’s a popular and desired destination that has so many cruise lines including it as a port of call. With so much to do and see, more and more cruises are including Puerto Vallarta on their itinerary, including a new Mexican Pacific Cruise on the cruise ship Magellan in 2018. This probably has a lot to do with the destination itself and just how much passengers are able to immerse themselves in the country and culture without having to travel too far.

In fact, Puerto Vallarta offers visitors such a vast amount of activities and sights that it’s pretty guaranteed to find something for everyone during a visit. Whether a ship docks at the marina or anchors in the harbour, there will definitely be some pretty exciting cruise excursions awaiting nearby – from snorkelling the blue waters, to whale and dolphin watching in the beautiful Bay of Banderas, to tours of tequila factories, the port is a gateway to an exciting exploration of nature, wildlife and culture.

Even if you haven’t booked an excursion through the cruise ship itself, you can still venture on your own and experience whatever facet of the city you prefer.

Exploring Puerto Vallarta on Your Own From Port

Malecon Puerto Vallarta

Since Puerto Vallarta is also a resort town there is an abundance of beautiful beaches where tourists can enjoy water sports and activities or just relax. In fact, taking a taxi to the ‘southside’ of town will get you to Los Muertos beach, one of the most popular beaches in Puerto Vallarta. Here you’ll be able to grab some food at one of the beachfront restaurants, take a swim in water and lay out on a beach towel to dry off in the sun.

At most of the beach areas that are heavily populated by resorts, Playa Los Muertos included, you can also buy a day pass to a resort which can get you either beach and pool access only, allowing you to use their beach chairs and other services, or a full pass allowing you access to all their amenities and food as well.

Shopping in Puerto Vallarta markets

If you’re not looking for a day at the beach, you can ask the taxi to take you downtown instead and explore the social heart of the city. It’s here you’ll find one of the main attractions, the Malecon. Meaning esplanade along a waterfront, the Malecon is quite literally a seaside promenade that has been a centre of town life for over 80 years. With artwork and statues and local artists plying their craft, local stores, restaurants and bars, and stunning waterfront views, it’s not something you’ll grow tired of no matter how long you spend venturing along it. If you do happen to be docked for the night, the Malecon is a great place to go to experience local nightlife too.

Shopping is another activity you can partake in and whether you choose to walk along the port’s shops or head downtown to the Malecon or the Marina Vallarta, you’ll find various shops offering everything from jewellery to souvenirs to tequila. There’s also Mismaloya Beach, the set of the classic film “The Night of the Iguana”, where you can combine some shopping along with some time on the beach in one of Hollywood’s most iconic settings!

Making Puerto Vallarta’s Cruiseship Terminal It’s Own Destination

The port itself offers some amenities like some small shops and snack bars, liquor stores and cyber cafes and you can also choose to get a day pass from a resort nearby the terminal rather than taxi further into Puerto Vallarta.

Alternately, hopping on another ship is also an option as day cruises depart from the Maritime Terminal and offer some pretty exciting experiences exploring the area and the Bay of Banderas. One of the ships you won’t want to miss is Puerto Vallarta’s infamous pirate ship, the Marigalante. It’s back on the waters after renovations and offers day and evening tours with a pretty fun pirate theme. You really don’t have to go far from the port to find some adventure.

marigalante pirate ship puerto vallarta

What is perhaps the most exciting thing about cruising to Puerto Vallarta, is all the upcoming developments of Puerto Vallarta’s International Port. With a multi-million dollar extensive renovation and construction project underway to expand and grow the terminal, it promises to become a destination in itself for cruiseship passengers who dock there.

Already winning awards for excellence including “Best Port of the Riviera in Mexico and South America” in the Cruise Critic Cruiser’s Choice Awards in 2016 and the “Gold Elite Award” by the Global Quality Foundation, it’ll be exciting to see how much more Puerto Vallarta will bring to the cruising experience as they move forward with their plans to transform the port and make it a hub for cruisers and non-cruisers alike – the first cruise port in the world to be accessible to non-passengers.

The plans include a new passenger centre and parking lot as well as some fantastic tourist attractions like a Tequila distillery, an art gallery, artisan shops, a commercial centre with a food court and a cultural centre. It will also be home to what promises to be the biggest aquarium in Latin America.

While Puerto Vallarta is already an exciting and desirable port of call, it seems as though it is only going to get better as more is being offered to cruiseship passengers and tourists wanting to experience as much as they can while they are there. It’s definitely not hard to see why this is one stop you won’t want to miss!