Where is Bonaire?

Bonaire

When we tell friends we are headed to Bonaire for another exciting diving adventure, the first thing we get asked is “where is Bonaire?”.  Bonaire is part of the ABC islands, located less than a hundred miles off the coast of Venezuela.  It’s less known than its neighbors, Aruba and Curacao.  According to Wikipedia, population is about 18,905.

Bonaire is the perfect destination for relaxing and diving; un-touched paradise.  Maybe that is why in the last 4 years, we have visited it 3 times.

Some divers in our group registered 18 dives in 8 days.  Even if you aren’t a diver, like myself, snorkeling is amazing and you get to experience the underwater beauty of this part of the world.  Some of our dive sites this trip were: Alice in Wonderland, The Lake, Pink Beach, Tori’s, Something Special, Slagbaai, Sarah’s Smile, Monte’s, Heaven and Hilma Hooker.  We were fortunate enough to see the ostracods on one of the night dives; once in a lifetime experience. The entire ocean lit up around us.

This trip was not all about the diving.  We took a day to explore the national park, Washington Slagbaai National Park.  The terrain in the park was dry and rugged.  Checked out the blow holes, lighthouses, deserted beaches and the views from the cliffs.  We stopped at Wakaya I, II and III as a possible diving spot(s).  Popular spot with the snorkeling groups; did look pretty amazing from the cliff.  There were stairs involved and we didn’t want to take all the diving gear down the narrow steps. On we went and found a great sandy beach at Slagbaai.  Also found the flamingos.  This was a great spot.

We all got to try the lion fish. Considered a predator, it’s actually quite tasting grilled on a bun.  Several of the local food trucks around the island offer fresh lion fish; we tried Cactus Blue at the Donkey Beach. When on the island, we try to stick to fresh fish.  Most restaurants had fresh catch of the day.  Our local favorites, which we always visit: Karel’s, It Rains Fishes and Blennies.   Also tried Cuba Compagnie and now have a new favorite for dinner.  Food was great, service friendly and they even made a great caipirinha. Another spot I would recommend is Jibe City.  Doesn’t look like much, but it’s a pretty happening bar right on Lac Bay.  Fun was had by all.

Another fabulous trip comes to an end and we say “ajo”.  Until we meet again.

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Week-long travel with 2 pairs of shoes!

After a trip to Europe last year I vowed to change my ways and never, ever travel with more than a 22″ spinner. I recall one trip to Vegas were I had over 6 pairs of shoes for a 4-day trip. Those days are over and I will not be that person… I swear!  Really.

I experimented with this foreign concept on a recent trip to Mexico. I’m happy to report, the mission was successful. Ladies, we can do it.

I guess the key to my success was the number of shoes I packed. I wore the bulky shoes on the plane and only packed two (2) flip flops; one beachy and one dressy. Of course this was a beach vacation and you end up spending your days in bathing suits and cover-ups; both of which don’t really take up much space.

Some of you will say “…what’s the big deal? Been doing this forever”. Well, for me it’s a hardship. I use to travel with beach outfits, afternoon outfits and of course, cute evening outfits. Three outfits per day for seven days, it adds up and you are looking at 50 lbs. bag. Who really needs that? Are the extra clothes really the important part? Don’t take me wrong, I still like the cute outfits and all. But I think it’s more about the experience and enjoying where you are than how you look. And yes, there are the obligatory photos that your friends and family will see; I’m as vain as the next person. Still think we need to be smart when traveling. This new me is not going to worry about the “look”. Still going to have my cute outfits, just not as many. Pack accessories, jewelry or scarfs, not as bulky. I packed a few tops to go with solid capris; worked great. Mix-match and recycle is my new thing.  I know… Recycle while on vacation? It can be done. It’s not a fashion show. It’s about the experience. It’s liberating to not be so focused on clothes or “stuff”.

When it comes to travel, it should be about the experiences we share with those traveling with us or those we visit while traveling. This may not work in every instance, but, I’m going to give it a try.  You might too. Happy travels.

Eat, Drink and be Mexican…

Puerto Vallarta Beach
Our trip started with a drive to Denver through a blizzard. Always adds an element of excitement to any vacation. I’m glad to report we made it without incident. Have to thank my husband for the excellent driving.
Coincidental, Chicago Blackhawks just happen to be in town playing the Colorado Avalanche. Couldn’t pass that up, so ended up at the Pepsi Center for some pre-vacation entertainment. Side note, Colorado won in OT!!

 

A quick 3-hour flight on Southwest and a couple of cocktails, and hola Mexico! Puerto Vallarta airport is quite nice and modern. Once we pass the thousands of time-share salesmen, we are welcomed by our tour operator that ships us off to paradise in a little fiat-looking taxi. We zip through city traffic and in no time are sipping fruity drinks at Riu Jalisco in Riviera Nayarit.

 

The Riu Jalisco is huge resort with super friendly staff, and gorgeous stretch of beach along the Bahia de Banderas. This side of Mexico reminds me a lot of the Algarve beaches; except the sand is darker here.  Did I mention they had a swim-up bar? We became great friends with Jesus and Nuvie (our afternoon bartenders). They made a killer mudslide; the pina coladas weren’t bad either. A lot of adult beverages were had by all. Lots of food choices at the resort in their four specialty restaurants and one full buffet. They did surprise us with a liquor dispenser in the room; never had seen that before. I give the resort a good 3.5 Stars with 5 Stars for the staff.

We took an afternoon off from sunbathing and went exploring the city of Puerto Vallarta. With some recommendations from Alonzo, our Islandsun rep, we were off.

As you enter the City, there are lots of big resorts, shopping malls and fast-food establishments, but once you are past all of that, you enter the older part of town with a long promenade along the beach with many different shops and local restaurants, as well as your typical souvenir shops. I did count 4 different Senor Frogs in the mile and half stroll. We made a stop at the church of Lady of Guadalupe. Was impressed with the steeple in the shape of a crown. Just beautiful artisan work. The inside was also very pretty with its white walls and gold accents. Along the promenade we admired the many bronze sculptures ranging from the traditional to modern. Our quest to find real Mexican food was successful; we found a shack on the beach cooking up lobster and shrimp and decided that was the place to enjoy lunch and a margarita. The Lagosta Loca didn’t disappoint.  There was great food, drinks and local music as we enjoyed lunch overlooking the beach; cannot ask for more.

Overall, we enjoyed our little getaway to Mexico. Great weather, friendly people and free drinks. Perfect! Hopefully we can do it again next year. We may try to head North to Sayulita or Punta Mita. Bill wants to try surfing. I will just watch and take pictures.

 

Camping in Nowhere,Utah

We headed west on our 1st camping trip of the season this past weekend. Ended up at Taylor Flats along the Green River. This is where Colorado and Utah meet, with Wyoming just to the North.  It’s a vast and dry landscape. Only green around were the juniper trees, and the river of course.

This being our 1st trip, some things were left behind. How could I have forgotten  my yoga pants which I sleep in?  While the temperatures were in the high 60’s during the day, at night it still was in the 30’s. Needless to say, I will never forget them again!

The fish were there, but not interested in eating what we were serving up. So, in the end, no fresh trout.  We did take a road trip to Flaming Gorge; first time there. We will have to come back and camp once season starts and camping is open.  Right now, not much going on there.  Still very pretty and no crowds!

Tomorrow is the 1st day of Spring. Go out and enjoy if you can. Back to work for me.

First blog post

chickendiversclubThe Chicken Divers Club is a group of friends that share the love for travel; diving enthusiasts, wine lovers and adventure seekers.