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    North America Travel  --  South & Central America Travel

    Relaxing in Puerto Escondido Mexico

    Location: Puerto Escondido Oaxaca Mexico

    We really were looking for somewhere to relax and enjoy some quiet time, after a whirlwind week in Mexico City. I had heard good things about the state of Oaxaca but we had never visited. I didn’t want to go to another big city after being in Mexico City, so we settled on the small town of Puerto Escondido. Here is what we did during our 17 days relaxing in Puerto Escondido Mexico.

    Sunset Puerto Escondido
    The Beach near our Airbnb

    Where is Puerto Escondido

    The State of Oaxaca

    Located on the Pacific Coast in the Mexican state of Oaxaca, it’s 246km from the city of Oaxaca and you can drive it in about four hours. However, a new highway will open soon and will cut that time in half. We flew from Mexico City on Viva Aerobus. The flight was about 50 minutes.

    History of Puerto Escondido

    Though pre-hispanic peoples lived in this region from time to time, the area was not really settled permanently until the 1930’s due to lack of fresh water. The word Escondido means hidden, and refers to an ancient story of a captive Mexican woman escaping and hiding in the jungle from her pirate captors.

    Puerto Escondido
    Puerto Escondido shopping area

    Today it is one of the most popular beach and surfing destinations for both Mexicans and international travelers. But prior to tourism the mountains around the town were known for coffee growing and the port was used to ship coffee.

    Mexican coffee
    Coffee roasting in Puerto Escondido

    Surfer’s Paradise

    We found the area home to the surfer crowd, much younger than us. We had no interest in surfing or partying, but there is a lot of that going on. Since the crowd is young, there is plenty of inexpensive lodging and dining available too. Parts of the area are very rural…sometimes I felt like I was in Southeast Asia, and sometimes it even felt like third world Africa. But we always felt safe and finding our way on foot with Google maps always worked. There are plenty of taxis too.

    Zicatela Surfers
    Zicatela Beach

    We noticed a lot of construction of condos and mansions being built on rough dirt and nearly impassable roads. We learned Europeans are coming here in droves and buying or building second homes because it is so inexpensive. Like in so many places, this is displacing locals and causing them to move further from town.

    Beautiful homes on horrible roads

    Villa Tortuga

    Villa Tortuga
    Villa Tortuga lap pool

    We found a beautiful villa through Airbnb called Villa Tortuga located several miles from the actual town of Puerto Escondido and 2 miles to the small surfing village of Zicatela. The villas were beautiful, comfortable and with a view. Our villa included daily housekeeping and our housekeeper Mary also did some shopping and cooking for us and did our laundry. However, we found on the weekend even Villa Tortuga attracted a younger (and noisier) crowd. Listening to other people’s loud music doesn’t fit into my fab fifties life. We really loved the lap pool and the larger pool at the beach about a five minute walk from our villa. The waves are really big so we didn’t swim in the ocean, but sitting ocean side by the pool was our favorite thing to do. Airbnb $150 USD before tax.

    Villa Tortuga
    Villa Tortuga

    A Couple Things To Do

    Since our goal was to just spend time relaxing in Puerto Escondido Mexico we really didn’t do much else. However we did take an informative and delicious Food Tour with Puerto Food Tours – cost $60 USD per person.

    Fresh Tortilla
    Food Tour

    Our favorite activity was a Mezcal Distillery tour we took with Puerta Mezcal Tours. Owner Antoine was excellent and shared his enthusiasm for Puerto Escondido and Mezcal with our group of six at Ruu Piiil Distillery in Zicatela. I learned so much and we tasted eleven different Mezcals! $59 USD per person.

    Puerto Mezcal Tours
    Ruu Piiil Mezcal

    We found it safe to run in the morning although most of the time we were on dusty roads. One time I had to wait while the goats (and a very small goat herder) took up the entire road.

    Goats in the road
    Goat Traffic Jam

    We also walked to lunch in Zicatela at Savanna one day (about 2 and half miles from our villa) and took a taxi to another popular restaurant called Agua Sala. We had great meals at each – neither have websites.

    Delicious Enmoleadas for Lunch at Savanna

    We walked to tiny shops and tortilla stand close to our villa to get simple supplies for cooking at home. We walked one day to the Zicatella Mercado about 2.5 miles. We picked up some produce and had a nice coffee and croissant with a view.

    Zicatela Mercado
    Croissant with a view

    Relaxing in Puerto Escondido Mexico

    There is more to do here if you are so inclined…hiking, shopping, lots of street food and restaurants. There are cooking classes and surfing lessons and snorkeling tours, as well as whale watching. A popular activity is releasing baby turtles into the wild that have been hatched in a turtle nursery.

    At the pool

    It’s a sweet place with a quaint vibe and awesome weather. We paid more than we needed to for our Airbnb, but generally everything else is dirt cheap. I can see why the young people love it…and it’s not too bad for us oldies either. There are many options to stay busy or pursue our goal of relaxing in Puerto Escondido Mexico.

    Barro Beach

    Looking to chill? I recommend relaxing in Puerto Escondido Mexico. Muy Bien.

    See last week’s blog post about Eating My Way Through Mexico City.

    Check out our YouTube video about Eating Local Mexico City.

    We love it when you pin and share our blog posts. Gracias.

    Please Note – No Travel Friday blog for the next two weeks. We wish you a pleasant and safe holiday wherever you are and however you celebrate. Hoping for a joyful and safe 2022 with less strife and fewer travel restrictions. Thank you for your continued support. Stay safe. All the best!

    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review Mary Jane by Jessica Anya Blau

    This is the feel good book of the year. I loved it and couldn’t put it down. Here is my book review Mary Jane by Jessica Anya Blau

    1970’s Baltimore and the world is changing, but fourteen year-old Mary Jane is stuck with her prim and proper parents. Mary Jane’s parents spend most of the time at “The Club”. But Mary Jane begins to see through the facade of her privileged community. Mary Jane realizes how her life, her family and her neighborhood shuts out those who are not white, rich, protestant or respectable.

    When Mary Jane takes a summer babysitting job for a local doctor’s family who have just moved into the neighborhood, she has no idea how much this job and this summer will change her life.

    Mary Jane’s mother agrees to the job because a doctor of course is respectable. But what Mary Jane learns and her mother doesn’t know is the house is one of disarray. Take out food, un-bathed little girl and messy and disorganized; Mary Jane’s eyes are open to how the other half lives. She learns the “doctor” is a psychiatrist who is spending his summer treating a drug addicted famous rock star and his even more famous movie star wife. Mary Jane will be introduced to the world of sex and drugs and rock and roll, and will come out the other side an entirely different person.

    This funny and sweet coming of age story has many raucous moments, fun and fabulously developed characters and a plot to rival Daisy Jones and the Six. Read this book. It is hilarious while being believable and perfectly depicts the era and the changing views of society at the time.

    *****Five stars for Mary Jane by Jessica Anya Blau.

    Read last week’s review Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr

    My current read The Lincoln Highway

    I hope you enjoyed my book review Mary Jane by Jessica Anya Blau. We love it when you pin and share our book reviews.

    North America Travel  --  South & Central America Travel

    Eating My Way Through Mexico City

    Location: Mexico City Mexico

    A little more than two years ago we were in an Airbnb on the island of Langkawi, Malaysia. It’s unusual for us to watch television, but this Airbnb had a great variety of international programs, and I watched a series about Mexico City street food. Oh my god. I couldn’t stop thinking about how I needed to go experience Mexico City street food. And that is how I came to be eating my way through Mexico City.

    I Apologize Mexico

    First, an apology to Mexico. As we have traveled all over the world these past five years on the Grand Adventure, we never added Mexico to our itinerary. As Americans, Mexico seems so easy to get to…and I had visited a couple times. So we kept skipping it. I’m sorry Mexico…I was wrong. The touristy places I had visited (Mazatlan, Cabo, Puerto Vallarta, Acapulco and Zihuatinejo) did not show me the real Mexico. Until Mexico City.

    Grapefruit and Tequila

    The PanDamit gave us the opportunity to reconsider Mexico given the easy access from the USA. So I began a correspondence with a Mexico City food tour company called Eat Like a Local Mexico. Eat Like a Local Mexico offers multiple food tours, but does not usually work with clients looking for a multi-day eating tour. But owner Rocio was amazing and over a period of several months we corresponded and created four days of eating my way through Mexico City during our six day visit to Mexico City.

    Red Tree House Bed & Breakfast

    We landed at Benito Juarez International Airport on a Monday night in November. We took a cab to the Mexico City neighborhood of Roma Sur and the bed and breakfast that had been one of a few recommendations from Eat Like a Local. The Red Tree House Bed and Breakfast turned out to be one of the best inns I have ever stayed in. Again, my apologies Mexico…it was so much better than I was expecting. The service, staff, accommodations, location and breakfast were all five star.

    Breakfast at The Red Tree House
    The Red Tree House

    Eat Like A Local Mexico 101

    On our first full day we met Rocio and guide Astrid from Eat Like a Local Mexico at a lovely little coffee shop a block from our hotel. Our tour, which was supposed to be a group tour, ended up being a private tour because the other group had canceled at the last minute. So off we went with Astrid, a tiny, energetic local who intricately knows the traditional Mexico City food scene.

    Brisket Tacos
    Amazing Corn

    We spent the next six hours with Astrid showing us local street food as well as visiting two of the most famous markets, the Merced Mercado and the Jamaica Mercado. Such a colorful wonderland. We ate so much I can’t even tell you! But see the video below for more.


    That night we made our way without a guide to the Frida Kahlo Museum. I highly recommend this when in Mexico City. The museum is in her home, the same home she was born and died in. I learned so much about her remarkable life. Don’t miss it.

    Frida Kahlo

    Eat Like a Local Night Street Food

    Next day, we took a “free” historic walking tour starting in the historic center of Mexico City. We always try to take a free walking tour wherever we are. Such a great way to learn local history, learn about culture and politics and all from a local. Our tour was with Estacion Mexico.

    Tongue Tacos
    Pork Sandwich

    After a quick rest back at the hotel we met up with Astrid again at another coffee shop within walking distance of our hotel to start a Night Food Tour as I continued eating my way through Mexico City. We were joined by another American couple from our home state of Washington. Small world. Using Uber, the metrobus (clean and efficient and cheap) and walking, we crossed the city with Astrid to visit the hidden joints only the locals know about. It was incredible. We ate street tacos, mole,and flautas, drank pulque, and much much more.

    Gringas Quesidilla
    Pulque Agave Sap

    Eat Like a Hipster Local

    Day three we slept in a bit then Rocio picked us up at our hotel for a private tour she designed just for us. The food this day was unforgettable as we focused on more of the nouveau foods coming out of Mexico City. We had chocolate, cheese and craft beer. We tasted mezcal and had the freshest and most delicious hipster tacos. I am in love.

    Hipster Ahi Taco
    Hipster Chinese Taco
    Cactus Ceviche

    Casa Jacaranda Cooking School

    Our final day of our foodie tour was spent with Casa Jacaranda Cooking School. Starting at 10am and going all the way to 6pm we explored the Medellin Mercado, then at the Casa Jacaranda kitchen we cooked mole, fresh tamales, corn tortillas, salsa and more. This was such a marvelous experience all around – I would not hesitate to do this cooking school again.

    The best tamale I have ever had
    Slow cooked Mole

    Tasty Tuesday YouTube Video

    Check out our Tasty Tuesday YouTube video here about eating my way through Mexico City.

    We Will Be Back

    There are several other excellent things to do in Mexico City, other than eating, so next time we will stay longer. And there will definitely be a next time. I fell in love with this clean and beautiful city, so much more than I expected. Eating my way through Mexico City opened my eyes to a culture and cuisine I had been missing.

    Muchos Gracias Mexico City. What a delight!

    See last week’s post Winter Hiking Road Trip Through Utah and Arizona

    We love it when you pin and share our blog posts. Gracias!

    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr

    Masterpiece. This is the word I keep coming back to as I try to put into words this novel. Anthony Doerr is brilliant, truly. Deserving of the Pulitzer but I suspect he won’t get it since he received the Pulitzer for his other remarkable novel All The Light We Cannot See. I have so much to say about this novel, so here is my Book Review Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr.

    Note – Cloud Cuckoo Land has a very old meaning. Read about it on Wikipedia here.

    First I implore you not to read all the reviews about this book (except this one of course!) because you will just be confused. There are both positive and negative…in fact extreme negative reviews. I’m ashamed of some of the reviewers who claim they were too confused to continue. They didn’t understand what was going on. Seriously? You must keep reading and it all comes together in one of the most beautiful stories I have ever read. Don’t give up. I will say it is the kind of book you can’t put down and come back to several weeks later. You may very well be confused if you aren’t consistent and focused. I recommend it as an Audible, the flow of it was outstanding.

    So clearly, I loved this work. I recently read one of Doerr’s early novels About Grace and I hated it. But in Cloud Cuckoo Land he shines. Doerr takes us from 15th century Constantinople to the Korean War to present day Idaho to a futuristic space ship. In all of these time periods there is a common thread…the world is in peril. The characters all are coming of age in a time where it seems the world is coming to an end. Not unlike our current state of affairs, yes?

    Following these characters in this epic story, Doerr’s imagination, ingenuity, research and writing prowess generates these deep and thoughtful characters and creates each timeline in a seemingly unrelated way. Ahhh but wait.

    We meet Anna, a 15th century 13-year old orphan with no money, no skills and no prospects in a time where women are in danger every day of their lives.

    We meet Omeir, a deformed and shunned child in the 15th century who cares deeply for animals and is just trying to survive during the time of the siege of Constantinople.

    Fast forward 500 years to Zeno who learns Greek as a prisoner of war during the Korean war, survives to return home to a quiet Idaho life, hiding his true homosexual tendencies.

    Idaho in the 1970’s we meet Seymour, a troubled and fearful child who befriends an owl as his only “trusty friend” only to be devastated when development ruins the owl habitat. Seymour cannot forgive.

    Fast forward another 500 years and we meet Konstance, a ten year old girl who has lived her entire life on an interstellar space ship, a survival technique launched when the earth was beyond repair. But a pandemic (yes seriously) will change everything.

    Doerr weaves this remarkable tale connecting these seemingly unconnected people in ways you can’t fathom. It’s a beautiful story whose soul is about how we care for each other, how we care for planet earth, and most of all how we care for the future of the human race and all the things we hold dear.

    Have faith….the world does not end. Read this book. I can’t stop thinking about it. Masterpiece is the word.

    *****Five plus stars for Cloud Cuckoo Land. I hope you enjoyed my book review Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr.

    Read last week’s review of Notorious RBG

    My current read Less by Andrew Sean Greer

    We love it when you pin and share our book reviews. Thank you.

    North America Travel

    Winter Hiking Road Trip in Utah and Arizona

    Location: Utah and Arizona USA

    We love the American Southwest and we especially love it in the winter time, when we want to get out of the gray and gloom back in the Pacific Northwest. So we decided to take a week to see some of the amazing sites of these two areas that had eluded us. I’ve spent time in Zion, Bryce, Canyonlands and Sedona, but there is still much to see beyond those amazing places. So here is an easy itinerary with incredible scenery for a sightseeing and winter hiking road trip in Utah and Arizona.

    We flew into Las Vegas, arriving after midnight, and headed to a hotel. Since we weren’t looking to do any Las Vegas activities we decided to stay off-strip and booked a comfortable but not fancy room at the Best Western McCarran Hotel.

    Page Arizona Sunset

    Day One

    It was nearly noon by the time we got out of Las Vegas on the first day of our winter hiking road trip in Utah and Arizona. Heading north and east on I-15 we drove about an hour to our first stop, Valley of Fire State Park. I’ve been to Valley of Fire before, in fact a couple times, but I really wanted to spend more time hiking here. Afternoon temperatures in November were 75 Fahrenheit, and the dry air requires hikers to drink lots of water.

    Valley of Fire

    This beautiful park feels much more like a National Park than a State Park. Entrance fee for a car is $15. We stopped at the Visitor Center for bathroom break, snacks and a map and then headed off to hike.

    We did a 3 mile loop trail called Fire Wave/Seven Wonders, accessible for just about any hiking skill. There is a tiny bit of incline, but nothing too steep. Great views and the landscape is incredible. If you don’t want to do the loop you can do an easy out and back to Fire Wave which is about 1.5 miles round trip. It will give you a nice introduction to the fascinating geology of the area.

    Valley of Fire

    Leaving Valley of Fire heading away from Las Vegas towards Utah, you exit the park through a different gate than the one you entered. This drive gives you more remarkable sites to enjoy.

    Our nights destination was St George Utah, another hour on I-15. First you pop through Arizona for a hot minute then into Utah. There is a time zone change at the Arizona state line. You might want to pick up alcohol in Arizona, if you are so inclined, before entering Utah.

    Arriving in St George we stayed at a simple Clarion Hotel just off the freeway on Mile Drive. Nothing fancy but good enough. Nice breakfast included.

    Day Two

    I love waking up in Utah, one of my favorite states. But we had never spent much time in St George. Temperatures today were a comfortable mid sixties. First we headed to the old town, very cute with shops and restaurants. We stopped at the historic winter home of Brigham Young. Here we learned that Young came to St George because it is the warmest place in Utah and he liked it for his health.

    Brigham Young Winter Home

    Next we visited Pioneer Park, a hill park with wonderful rock formations and city views right in the middle of town. Next we headed to Snow Canyon State Park. Here is another fascinating, huge park with so many wonderful trails. Amazing that it is not a National Park. We did three hikes in Snow Canyon;

    1. Johnson’s Canyon – we had this hike all to ourselves and especially enjoyed the fall colors in the dry river valley below.
    Johnson’s Canyon

    2. Petrified Dunes – I loved this the most, like walking over waves of sand turned to hard rock from thousands of years ago.

    Petrified Dunes

    3. Lava Flow – This hike has lava tubes, but we did not have headlamps so we did not go in, just peeked in a bit.

    Day Three

    We were up early for the long drive across Utah with a planned visit to Wire Pass Slot Canyon. Driving across Utah on US 89, you head south on House Rock Valley Road (a dirt road). Follow this road 8 miles to a nice parking lot with rest rooms to begin this easy and amazing hike. BTW the road is bumpy but manageable in most cars, unless its been raining then don’t try it. Weather today was sunny and cool and dry about 55 degrees.

    Wire Pass Slot Canyon

    Follow the hike for about a mile along a dry wide riverbed which takes you to the slot canyon. My husband did this hike last spring with some friends and he was astonished to see that the area had recently had a flash flood. In fact the flood deposited debris nearly thirty feet over our head in the slot canyon. You definitely don’t want to be here during a flash flood.

    But no flood today and this was truly one of my all-time favorite hikes. Very easy except just two or three times when you need to scramble over some boulders and go down one ladder. All worth it for the beauty of the canyon.

    Wire Pass Slot Canyon

    You can actually continue on all the way to the Grand Canyon on this trail (at least fifty miles), but on this day we did it as an out and back, about 6 miles round trip.

    Back in the car we continued south down the dirt road towards Hwy 89A. We made a quick stop at the Condor Viewing Platform (no condors on this day) then headed off the dirt road and onto the paved two lane highway east towards Page Arizona. It’s about another hour to Page and the late afternoon light made the Vermilion Cliffs just beautiful. We stopped for a brief photo at the historic Cliff Dwellers Trading Post and another quick walk on the historic Navajo Bridge over the Colorado at Marble Canyou.

    Navajo Bridge overlook

    As we were entering Page we stopped to visit the famous Horseshoe Bend. Worth the $10 per car entrance fee. You will recognize this view from travel books and calendars. The iconic bend in the beautiful Colorado River is not to be missed – its been on my list for years. Visiting off-season like we did means you won’t need to battle the crowds and tour bus groups.

    Horseshoe Bend

    We had a nice and inexpensive dinner at Bonkers Italian Restaurant before collapsing into bed at the Baymount by Wyndham, a beautiful brand new hotel. Only $57 a night in off season.

    Day Four

    Prior to arriving in Page we had pre-booked a tour to Antelope Canyon with Antelope Canyon Tours. You can no longer tour the canyon on your own, due to ridiculous people who think carving their name on the canyon is their right. So now the Navajo Nation only allows guided tours and you must wear a mask the whole time. All of that was okay with me. Tour cost was $77 per person.

    Antelope Canyon

    It was a cold morning and the ride to the canyon was in an open air vehicle so I was really glad to have my down jacket. Our group of 7 plus our wonderful guide Sonny arrived at the canyon about 10:30am. Over the next hour Sonny guided us through the stunning canyon, explaining the geology and sacred Navajo beliefs about the canyon. Sonny was also really helpful with photos and pointing out great photo opportunities. It was better than I had imagined and I am so very glad we made the effort to come here.

    Antelope Canyon

    That evening we had an early dinner at the Bird House – the best fried chicken I’ve ever had.

    Day Five

    This was a very long day but really worth it. Again with the Antelope Canyon Tour Company we headed out for a full day, this time not in an open air vehicle, to White Pocket. You can visit White Pocket in the Vermilion Cliff without a guide, but NOT without a high clearance 4WD vehicle. So our group of five traveled more than two hours in a Suburban along a very bumpy, sandy road.

    White Pockets

    Arriving in White Pocket, its difficult to even describe the sight. This is not a canyon, but rather a remarkable landscape that juts out of the earth, all white and vermilion and swirling like a hurricane. It reminded me of Star Wars, of pillows that my grandma used to have on her couch, and bacon. Seriously one of the most unique sights I have ever seen. A must see to believe. We spent about two hours walking all over this incredible fluke of nature.

    White Pocket

    Our tour included sandwiches and bottled water all for the price of $180 per person. And then another two hour, bumpy drive back to Page.

    White Pocket

    We enjoyed dinner at the popular Dam Bar & Grille before collapsing into bed happily reminiscing about this amazing region.

    Day Six

    We checked out of our hotel in Page early and proceeded to drive the two hours to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Some of this drive included backtracking along roads we had traveled already, but the scenery in this region, particularly the Vermilion Cliffs never gets old. So stunning.

    Right before we entered the National Park we saw a Grey Wolf off in the distance, about 300 yards. We stopped the car and did our best to capture a picture. Seeing a Grey Wolf in the wild is incredibly rare and we were excited and astounded.

    Grey Wolf

    We had been to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon several times, but never to the North Rim. The North Rim entrance gate was unmanned, and the lodges and visitor center closed for the season. There were only a handful of cars in the parking lot. It was 42 degrees when we arrived, but through out the day we peeled off clothes as the temperature increased.

    North Rim Grand Canyon

    We did a short hike out to the Bright Angel Point lookout with fantastic views across the Canyon to the South Rim. We then hiked down into the canyon on the Kaibab Trail, the only trail from this side of the Canyon that goes to the bottom. But today was not a day for us to go to the bottom. Instead we hiked about 1.5 miles, had our picnic on the trail, then turned around and hiked back up. It was steep but not too hard and oh so beautiful.

    Kaibab Trail North Rim

    After our hike we continued our drive another 4 hours back to Las Vegas for the night.

    Winter Hiking Road Trip in Utah and Arizona

    Even if you aren’t much of a hiker, none of these hikes were very difficult and all of them were so unique and beautiful. The geology of this region never ceases to amaze me, and everyone should see it at least once in their life. Doing this tour in six days gave us plenty of time to enjoy our itinerary without feeling too rushed. If you wanted to spend more time at the Grand Canyon, or visit Zion, Bryce or Moab, you would want to consider adding another week. Most the roads are good, and abundant lodging is available. I highly recommend avoiding this tour in the ridiculously busy summer months. You just won’t be able to enjoy it as much.

    White Pocket

    Thanks for reading about our winter hiking road trip in Utah and Arizona. We love it when you comment, pin and share our blog posts. Thank you!

    See last week’s blog post Traveling Deeper – Finding the Real Maui Hawaii here.

    See this week’s top performing pin Six Great Hikes on the Island of Maui

    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review Notorious RBG by Irin Carmon & Shana Knizhnik

    I’m a little late to the party on this book, but I have wanted to read it for a long time. This book is not long, but it is impressive in its scope. Here is my book review Notorious RBG by Irin Carmon & Shana Knizhnik.

    I thought I knew quit a lot about Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Until I read this book. Wow. I learned a great deal from this impressive research in this fairly short (240 pages) and easy to read book about an American Icon.

    Not only was RBG brilliant, hard working and steadfast, but she also was one of the most instrumental people in our country to push forward the rights that I, an American women, take for granted every single day of my life now. This is what I took away from this book, where I vastly under appreciated her quiet and determined work throughout her life for equal rights for both men and women.

    Take the time to read this book and learn more about the life of the indelible Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I hope you enjoyed by Book Review Notorious RBG by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik.

    ****Four Stars for Notorious RBG

    Read last week’s review of The Sweetness of Water

    My current read Mary Jane

    We love it when yo pin and share our book reviews. Thank you.

    Island Life  --  North America Travel

    Traveling Deeper – Finding the Real Maui Hawaii

    Location: Maui Hawaii USA

    During our recent two months on the beautiful island of Maui we set out to explore the island more deeply; to learn more about the local efforts to sustain, preserve and protect. Below we suggest some of the ways we found to experience the island more profoundly. Traveling Deeper – Finding the Real Maui Hawaii.

    La Perouse Hooapli Trail

    If you visit Maui, I’m sure your primary goal is to lay on the beach or by the pool and relax. But I implore you to take some time to learn a bit about the native people, the wildlife on both land and sea, the plants and geology and the history. Because you really need to make the effort – unlike many places we have traveled, these things aren’t necessarily glaringly in your face. It’s unfortunate because although a luau is nice, a more authentic option to learn about the ancient Hawaiian people would be my preference. You must go in search of the real Hawaii if you hope to respectfully show your appreciation to this fragile island by finding the real Maui Hawaii.

    Below is a list of interesting things we did for the first time during our most recent visit to Maui. Even if you only do one or two of these things, your eyes will be opened. You will learn about the delicate ecosystem and sacred legends of this island.


    Kealia Pond Wildlife Preserve – is a National Wildlife Preserve operated by the National Wildlife Service. A boardwalk provides people of all abilities to view the preserve and pond, birds and wildlife as well as the well presented interpretive signage.

    Kealia Pond Wildlife Preserve

    Maui Ocean Center – The Maui Ocean Center and Aquarium is a wonderful way to learn about the sea life of the ocean surrounding Maui. And a brand new incredible 3D movie called Humpbacks of Hawaii will just blow your mind. Worth every penny.

    Maui Ocean Center

    Hawaii Wildlife Discovery Center – This brand new exhibit in Whaler’s Village Kaanapali is designed to help visitors understand and respect the local wildlife as well as the local Hawaiian native people’s connection to the land and the sea. Many hands-on displays for the keiki too. Great for the whole family.

    Hawaii Wildlife Discovery Center

    Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary – The mystery and intrigue of the humpback whale is one of the most amazing things about the waters that lie between Maui, Lanai and Molokai. From November to May these gentle giants return each year to mate. There are many whale watching tours available as well as many onshore spots to watch these magnificent creatures.

    Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale Marine Sanctuary


    Kapalua Coastal Trail – one of the best and most accessible hikes on the island takes you through a magnificent lava flow in West Maui. Here you will also see the delicate nesting sites of the Shearwater Birds. Often you can witness whales, dolphins and turtles from the high cliffs.

    Kapalua Coastal Trail

    La Perouse Bay and Trail – visit this remarkable place to view Haleakala’s fury in it’s last eruption in 1790. The miles and miles of beautiful lava can be traversed on the old Kings Highway trail and you will have beautiful views of the Big Island to the South.

    La Perouse Bay and Trail

    Haleakala – Haleakala is sacred to the Hawaiian people both in ancient times and today. This incredible landscape is a National Park and there are many trails to enjoy and the views are spectacular. The NPS cares for this fragile space and the endangered species that are found only here.

    Haleakala Endangered Silver Sword

    Indigenous Plants

    Maui Nui Botanical Gardens – Dedicated to the conservation of the native plants of the island, you will be astonished to learn how many plants you think are native to Hawaii are not. The island plants that the ancient Hawaiians used for food and medicinal purposes are quite different than some of the flowering beauties you see all over the islands today. The gardens are small and not perfectly kept, but still very interesting.

    Maui Nui Botanical Gardens

    Eating Local

    O’O Farm – one of my all time favorite experiences on Maui. This fantastic organic sustainable farm is astonishing in the beautiful upcountry area of Kula. Morning tours with breakfast and coffee or lunch tours are available. You will enjoy food that is 100% grown and cultivated on Maui. O’o Farm is one of several local efforts underway on the island to provide restaurants fresh, organic and locally grown produce. Now that there is no sugar cane grown on Maui, the land is slowly being cultivated with new crops including citrus, coffee, avocados and more. Definitely visit O’O Farm. We loved it and learned so much.

    One of five courses at O’O Farm

    Hawaii Seafood Month (October) – of course you can enjoy amazing seafood in Maui any month of the year, but October is Marine Stewardship Council’s Seafood Month. This is a time to eat local and sustainable seafood, and local chefs such as Chef LeAnn Wong at Lahaina’s Papaaina offer special events. We attended an amazing dinner with many local fishing families and chefs and learned so much about local efforts to sustain and preserve the abundance of the sea.

    Hawaii Seafood Month dinner at Papa’aina

    Travel Deeper Finding the Real Maui Hawaii

    Whether you are visiting Maui or any other place on this amazing planet, traveling deeper is a way to really experience the land, the sea and the people and culture. We enjoy finding ways in all of our destinations to celebrate the diversity of our world by experiencing food, culture, history and nature. Give it a try the next time you visit Maui. Traveling Deeper – Finding the Real Maui Hawaii.

    See our post Best Maui Restaurants 2021 here.

    See our post Maui Top Five Things to Do here.

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