Five Days of Sailing? Why Not?

I was talking to a friend about traveling to Panama from Colombia and he said, “why don’t you sail here?” At first I thought he was crazy and then I actually looked into it and it seemed like the thing to do. So, I set off on a 43′ sailboat with 9 strangers and 3 crew from Cartagena to Panama City and I had the time of my life!

After what seemed like hours of research but was actually about 15 minutes, I decided to book my boat through Blue Sailing. They have tons of boats leaving throughout the week and were very easy to book with. I shot off an email with a few of the dates I was looking at and asked for a boat that was not usually the party boat. I ended up on Big Fish 2 with Captain Eliecer otherwise known as Capi or Original and 6 Dutch and 3 Germans.

We had a departure time of 8pm but didn’t actually leave until about 11pm or so as we were waiting on the captain. Right away I learned that we were all going to have to be very flexible with each other on this trip. Our luggage and shoes were collected and put in storage under the boat and only our little backpacks were allowed on board.

The trip includes all meals and water but any snacks or other beverages have to be brought on board. I decided a bottle of rum was the appropriate drink for my trip across the Caribbean.

Anyhow, the trip from Cartagena to San Blas (the gorgeous islands this trip is all about) is about 30-36 hours at open sea which means no getting off the boat. No showers. No hanging out on top of the boat. Just sitting around and taking in the open seas. I was lucky enough not to get sea sick and we had really good weather and pretty easy sailing. I can’t say that everyone felt as good as I did.

As soon as we were allowed to jump in the water, I was off the boat! I was able to shower (just means getting in the ocean and being rinsed with fresh water when you get back on the boat) and take in the beauty of what I would see for the next three days. The water is so clear and so calm so most of us swam to this little island. The captain paid our fee in leftover food and we spent the day lounging in paradise!

That is our boat in the distance. A fairly easy swim and after being on the boat for 30+ hours, it felt AMAZING to swim!

Most of the islands have a name and a family that live on them. They make their money selling beers and coconuts to the tourists and also exporting the coconuts.

This island is considered to have the “swimming pool” and the beach is shallow and calm and you can just sit in it forever. After a day of snorkeling and around the reef and three jelly fish stings, this was the perfect way to wind down and relax. They happen to sell Miller Lite which I thought was hilarious since I wold never drink this in the states. But, gotta support the local community!

The pictures just don’t do it justice for how clear and beautiful the water was. The only downfall was the amount of trash that would wash up or the trash that was stuck in the algae around the reef. This is a HUGE problem and really shows the importance of finding sustainable solutions to water bottles, straws, plastic bags, disposable cutlery and all other things that should be recycled. Okay, I will step off my soap box now.

Part of sailing is attempting to fish. Although we failed, we were able to buy some lobster from a local and actually have a bbq on one of the islands. Fresh lobster means fresh killing. The little guy in the video I named Eduardo and his sacrifice was greatly appreciated. Our captain had to ask the chief of the island for permission and we paid in some food and drinks and had a great night!

Finally it was time to go through customs and officially enter Panama. Once inside this little building I really started to understand what I was going to feel like on land after being at sea for 5 days.

This was such a magical and amazing experience and I cannot wait for my next adventure!


I was in Cartagena a few times throughout my trip to Colombia and each experience was totally different from another. We decided to spend the days leading up to New Years Eve as well as New Years eve in Cartagena. We went in with zero expectations and no plans!

Our original hotel cancelled our reservation the day before we were going to arrive! Best believe that we scrambled to find something that was not completely overpriced since it was New Years Eve! After about 15 minutes of seeing what was available, this new hotel called Hotel D Beach popped up on the screen and we decided to book it. We were a little confused when we arrived because it looked like the building was still under construction. Turns out, the hotel opened the day we arrived and we were one of very few rooms that were staying there! We were upgraded to a suite and set out to live our life of luxury for the next few nights.

Let’s be honest. After spending 6 days on some islands at the beach, we spent most of our time in this amazing pool overlooking the ocean. There were no complaints from me!

The advantage of our location was that right next door was a restaurant with typical Colombian food. As much as we walked around to find other places to eat, we always seemed to find ourselves here. Good food and good wine!

New Years Eve was spent sitting at the pool and watching the fireworks over the ocean. I also decided to strip down to my skivvies and jump in the pool just after midnight! I thought it was a great way to start the New Year. The rest of the night was spent sitting with a family and trying to speak Spanish as only one girl spoke English. All and all, it was a fantastic night!

After some adventures to Medellin and Bogota with I will write about later, I had one more night in Cartagena before I set off to sail to Panama. This time I stayed in the old town and was on my own for the first time on the trip. I wandered the streets and came across some live music that was absolutely fantastic! The energy of the city is pretty amazing and the streets are exactly what I think of when I think about Colombia. If I ever come back to Cartagena, I will absolutely stay in the old town.

The Journey to Rosario Islands

There is only one way to get to Isla Grande from Cartagena and that is by boat! You can reach the island of Baru by bus but you would still have to take a boat to Isla Grande. We ventured down to the port to buy our ticket for 40,000 COP with a 15,500 COP park tax (total $18.77 USD). There are tons of people trying to sell you tickets on the street but official booths line the path and that is the best place to buy the ticket to ensure the best pricing. All the boats leave by 10:30am so get there early unless you want to pay for a private speed boat. Be warned, these rides are not for the faint of heart as they fly through the water and throw you around a bit. Anyhow, after being told our boat would leave around 8:30 or 9:00, we were finally packed onto and ready for our hour boat ride!

Our boat was driving a little funny and making some weird noises but I didn’t think anything of since this is what they do for a living daily. I was wrong! The engine was failing and we had to slowly make our way to a random island and disembark and wait for two other boats to come and get us. No one cared and we just laid under the cabanas and others splashed around in the ocean. There are worse places to be stuck.

Once we finally arrived to our hotel it was like arriving to paradise! They only have 8-10 rooms (can’t quite figure it out) and the room rate includes all meals! Many people make the trip for the day so from 10-3 the place is packed but other than that, it’s like a ghost town. Absolute perfection!

For the next three days I will be on this island relaxing and through Christmas Eve and Christmas.

Back to Colombia

First off, recovering from 16 hours of jet lag is no joke! I landed on Thursday morning and had to unpack and do laundry and repack to catch a flight on Saturday to LA and spend an early anniversary with my boyfriend! But you can’t keep me in the country for long when I have the travel bug and on Wednesday, I took off for Colombia still unsure of which time zone I was sleeping in!

I have only been to Bogota in Colombia so this time I am meeting a friend to celebrate the holidays and traveling to Cartagena, Rosario Islands, Medellin and Bogota. It all started with two days in Cartagena to try to normalize my sleep and acclimate to the blistering heat!

I was very lucky to land in Cartagena and have an early checkin to my hotel. I had almost no sleep on the overnight flight and was in need of a shower! I met up with my friend Lisa from Manchester who I met in Rome (this is why I travel) and grabbed a bite to eat and headed back to the room to take a nap. My nap turned into almost 10 hours of sleep where I then was awake from 11pm-5am to wake up again around 8:30am. Once again, lovely jet lag.

Attempting to see a bit more of Cartagena than the inside of my hotel room, we decided to explore the inside of the walled city. Finally, I started to feel like I was in Colombia! We have 4 days in Cartagena over the new year so there will be a lot more in depth exploring, but it was nice to get a feel for the city before our next adventure!

Some Down Time in Hong Kong

It was time for me to adventure out in my own since Leslie had to go to work. I decided to take the day and head to Kowloon and conquer the Ladies Market. I had a friend that requested a few items and I took my negotiation skills and pictures to the market to find some purses and belts!

The market was not nearly as overwhelming as Beijing or Shanghai but walking through the streets, a constant comment of “copy bag or copy sunglasses” was whispered under hushed breath breath. I was looking at some sunglasses just because I thought they were cute and the guy asked to see my Jimmy Choos I was wearing and told me he had a copy. I pointed and said “these are real” and walked away.

Having had my adventure and also just wandering the streets, I relaxed a little bit back at the house before heading to dinner at Oola Petite. This is another local spot for Leslie and we opted to order some fajitas. With all the various cuisines I was consuming, why not throw some Mexican in there?

The next day Leslie had to work again and I was just plain old tired. I took the day to Netflix and chill. When Leslie got off work, we went to dinner for bottomless sushi! It would seem my last few days were focused on food which is absolutely okay with me!

Shopping Alert

I have USAA for my bank account and they are usually absolutely fantastic! ATM fees are waived and I have never had any issues getting out cash. That all changed when I attempted to get out some money for the rest of my trip. I tried 5 different ATMs and they all failed! I googled USAA in Hong Kong and apparently this is a huge problem and the card can’t be read. I wish I knew this BEFORE I left. After a very frustrating conversation with USAA they finally suggested I find a Citibank and thankfully, that worked! From here on out, I will make sure to always have some cash on me to at least exchange at a currency place.

After that little adventure, we headed towards the bus to head to Stanley Market but of course we hit up a few random stores to browse in along the way. I picked up two necklaces since they are small and easy to pack.

The bus was only 7.90 HKD which is about $1 USD. We browsed through the market and stumbled out onto a Christmas Market. There was mulled wine, wine tasting, food tasting and so many cute Christmas trinkets! It made me feel like I was in the holiday spirit. On our way home we stopped at the grocery store so I could make a home cooked meal and just relax.

First Full Day in Hong Kong

Once again, hanging out with a local means some days are just another day to hang out and enjoy each other’s company. Leslie took me to Wan Chai Market which is full of street vendors selling everything from turtles to cell phone cases and everything in between. I found a super cute pair of shoes but my big feet are not made for shoe sizes here. ☹️

Salted egg. I was not brave enough to try it.

Our main goal for the day was to have some dim sum at Dim Sum Square and get manicures and pedicures. Mission accomplished! It was nice to get off my feet and relax.

Since it was a Saturday night, I had to experience the craziness of Lan Kwai Fong and Rat Alley. This is a crazy part of Hong Kong full of bars and restaurants with people spilling out onto the streets everywhere. We were there during the earlier part of the night so we didn’t see anything crazy but apparently as the night goes on, fights break out and people get sick on the street. Just another night out right? We went out for some Thai food and then headed next door to have a few drinks and catch up.

To end the night, we went to the rooftop of Ce La Vie to see a nighttime view of the city. From here you can see the tallest building in Hong Kong and Kowloon. It was the perfect way to end the night!

Taipa Village

Just behind the glitz and glamour of the Cotai Strip is a tiny little town called Taipa Village. Macau was a former Portuguese colony and returned to China in 1999 making it a melting pot of food influenced by both cultures. Taipa Village is the perfect little area to get a taste of the history of Macau.

We went off in search of some typical Macanese food after crossing the street from the hotel. We ordered some chorizo, sautéed veggies, Portuguese fried rice and what we thought was baked chicken. What came out was a pastry stuffed with potatoes and bacon. Even though I’m with a friend who can speak Cantonese and Mandarin, the language barrier can still be an issue. At least we tried.

When you look up the top things to do in Taipa Village, the tope rated suggestions are restaurants to eat at.  Without much of a plan we wandered the streets to see what we would find. I was pleasantly surprised to stumble upon the market center full of bustling stalls and endless shopping. I like to think I’m pretty adventurous when it comes to food but I draw the line at most dried fish, shark fin or turtle soup and other things I can’t seem to figure out. However, it’s fun to browse and see what is available.

I had read about this place called Guava Juice and figured if we came across it I would see what it was all about. As we stumbled through the streets it popped up in front of us and I ordered myself a guava and passion fruit juice. It was AMAZING!

Finally it was time to head back to the hotel to head back to Hong Kong. On the way this little shutter caught my eye and reminded me of the colors and shutters I saw throughout parts of Europe and South America. There really is a little bit of different cultural’s influence all over the world.

Not yet having spent a single night in Hong Kong, I was excited to leave Macau and experience Hong Kong from a local’s point of view. As we were leaving Macau, flying fish jumped all around the ferry leaving a smile on my face!

Once I was settled into my friend’s place we walked down the block to Slim’s for a little happy hour where a French Rosé is only $5.75 and the peanuts are free flowing with the shells ending on the ground. A quick bite to eat and it was time for bed.

Mallorca = Perfection

Many people are fully aware of the island of Ibiza and all it has to offer. For those who don’t want $30 cocktails and crazy parties, there are the islands of Mallorca and Menorca that offer a calm and relaxing seaside environment.

The sunsets were truly amazing and not something that should be missed. I took so many pictures and it was hard to try to capture exactly what I was seeing but there are few below that show the awesomeness!

Don’t worry, I used water to capture this “wine” picture.

Palma de Mallorca is the main center for the island. We were staying about 20 minutes outside of this area in a gorgeous Airbnb but thought a day in town would be great. We ended up going to lunch for some tapas and browsing the zillion stores! This little bull caught my eye and I thought he was pretty sexy.

As always, my mom is one of my awesome travel partners in crime and we always have a great time together!

Miró in Barcelona

Although Barcelona is hugely influenced and overpowered by Gaudí, there are plenty of other artists that have left their mark in the city. We decided to step away from Gaudí and head to the Joan Miro museum. I love Miró and have a print from MOMA that I fell in love with a few years back. I could have taken about 1000 pictures while I was inside but alas, I had some self restraint and spent the time enjoying and appreciating the art instead of looking at everything through my phone.

This piece greeted us as we walked into the museum. I found it very entertaining. 🙂

Ignasi Aballi, Wrong Idea, 2012

Joan Miro, Hands flying off toward the constellations, 1974

Joan Miro, Painting, 1949

Joan Miro, The morning star, 1946


Joan Miro, Self-portrait, 1937-1960

The dual self-portrait superimposes two different moments. The bottom layer is a pencil copy of a painting begun in 1937, where Miro’s features merge into symbols from his personal world; above it he has placed a highly synthetic graffito from 1960. The specific face is displaced by an impersonal, anonymous figure that harks back to a primeval, universal line.

Joan Miro, Woman encircled by a flight of birds in the night, 1968

Joan Miro, Painting (The bottle of wine), 1924