Try New Things:
Earlier this year I traveled to San Pancho. This was my 1st visit to Mexico & I was surprised by how many friends hadn’t experienced Mexico outside of “all-inclusive” resorts. For us, the jungle is all-inclusive because it includes ALL the things we love. Tamara of Tailwind Jungle Lodge was wonderful with preparing our visit, similar to our experience with Stephanie & Jim at Casa Marbella in Santa Theresa. If you’ve never ventured outside the all-inclusive experience, I encourage you to read my post about how I prep for travel and start researching. Consider vacation rentals like one from One Fine Stay, or boutique hotels, which are often independently owned. Also, get lost in travel blogs, podcasts and adventure specific travel resources. Tip: Photographers make great references because they’re often looking for the most unique and un-captured spots.
- Costa Rica: If you’re thinking about visiting Costa Rica, click here to read about my personal experiences and suggestions. Stephanie and Jim no longer run Casa Marbella, however there are many great yoga and surf retreats in the area.
- Mexico: Interested in Greater Puerto Vallarta? Read about my eco-friendly adventures around Sayulita and San Pancho to see if it’s something you’d like to try. If you decide to stay at Tailwind Jungle Lodge, tell Tamara I sent you!
- France: An apartment in Paris, steps from Notre Dame? Do it! Here’s my trip recap and link to our One Fine Stay apartment. My favorite part about this experience was the welcome basket and trip advise directly from the apartment owner.
- England: If you’re planning to visit London and want to experience historic charm without compromising convenience, check out my review of St. Ermin’s Hotel.
Get in the habit of talking to at least one new person every day you travel. This could be your host, waitress, concierge, or surf shop manager. Stephanie, Jim and Tamara have been great resources; they understand the industry and are part of a greater community of niche business owners. For example, knowing Tamara was such an outdoor adventurer, I reached out about visiting the Grand Canyon…it turns out she also wants to visit and had a personal connection with the perfect guide. Side Note: Be considerate and keep in mind that your host is likely asked these questions often. Genuine interest and follow-up will prove that you truly share their passion, and could inspire long-term friendships.
While in San Pancho, two breakfast spots were owned and/or operated by individuals from France and Argentina. These two had great insight on other local businesses as well as tips for visiting their home country. While investigating a San Pancho non-profit, we met a woman named Kate who gave us great advice for volunteer travel, which is often perfect for experiencing local culture and finding affordable long-term lodging. Kate had travelled all over the world and inspired ideas for cross-country adventures in Spain and Japan. While lounging oceanside, we met traveling gal-pals who had previously devoted their time to the Peace Corps; their stories were truly eye opening and having them as a resource for future travel is a great privilege.