The Mysterious Faroe Islands: The Perfect 5 Day Faroe Islands Itinerary

The Mysterious Faroe Islands: The Perfect 5 Day Faroe Islands Itinerary

The Faroe Islands are a self-governing region of Denmark located in the North Atlantic Ocean halfway between Iceland and Norway. They are not part of the European Union and aren’t technically their own independent country. It’s complicated. 

There are 18 islands that make up the Faroe Islands archipelago. Most islands can easily be reached by sea tunnels. The islands are pretty small and you can easily navigate a few islands a day in a short time period. The farthest drive took me 1.5 hours and that was basically from south to north. In 5 days (more like 4.5 days), I visited 6 islands in the Faroes with only a little more than one tank of gas. 

Fun Fact: the human population of the Faroe Islands is around 50,000 and the sheep population is around 70,000.

How to Get To the Faroe Islands

The main airport in the Faroe islands is called Vágar Airport (airport code FAE)

The easiest way to get to Vagar Airport is to fly from Copenhagen (CPH) or Reykjavik (KEF). From Copenhagen it’s a 2 hour fight and from Reykjavik it’s about a 1 hour flight.  

Atlantic Airways and SAS fly direct to the Faroe Islands but flights are limited and do not operate every day so make sure to check when booking. 

I flew there with SAS and flew back with Atlantic Airways and the round trip cost me about $280. This was close to peak season in June. 

I booked my tickets with Skyscanner, which is my all-time favorite airline booking site!

Summer Daylight Time (Midnight Sun)

When I was there in June it got dark at about midnight and the sun came up around 3:30am so you essentially have 20+ hours of daylight to explore. Although I was often exhausted from hiking that I didn’t stay out after 9. Go figure.

P.S: make sure your accommodations has black-out curtains/blinds if you want to sleep good!

How to Get Around the Faroe Islands 

Rent a Car

Apparently there is a well connected bus system around the islands, but they don’t go to all the famous places so you really need a car to see all the awesome off-the-beaten path places I visited. 

Renting a car is super expensive, but is the best way to explore the islands. I paid $485 for 5 days for a manual car plus $75 for liability insurance. 

Faroe Islands 5 Day Itinerary

Total car price I paid: $560 with insurance (this is for a manual car). If you need an automatic car, expect to pay a few hundred more.

The good news is gas is pretty cheap! I only spent a total of $57 USD in 5 days driving around the islands.

*NOTE: Rent a car ASAP if you plan on going to the Faroe Islands. The prices are only going to go up because car rentals are limited on the islands. I booked in January for early June and still had ridiculous prices. Also, automatic cars are hard to come by so if you need one, plan way ahead!

Helicopter 

Yes, you heard that right. You can ball out and fly to certain places in a helicopter for very cheap! The helicopters are subsidized by the government so they are very affordable. The catch is that you can only book a ticket for one-way, not round trip. For example, you can fly from Tórshavn to Mykines for 215 DKK (about $33). Not bad, huh?

*The only reason i didn’t try the helicopter option is because I heard the weather is very fickle (which turned out to be so true) so I was worried about it getting cancelled. 

To book helicopter tickets in the Faroe Islands, click here.

Driving in the Faroe Islands 

Driving in the Faroe Islands can be a challenge and extra caution should be taken to follow the speed limit and rules.

Faroe Islands 5 Day Itinerary

One of the safer one-way roads with guard rails (most of them don’t have any)

Many of the smaller towns required a drive on a one-lane mountain road with no guard rails. There are turn off points on these one lane roads that you should turn into when you see a car coming. Whoever is closest to these turn off points should pull into them and let the other car pass. It was scary on some windy mountain roads because you couldn’t see around the curves at some point. Just go slow and be ready to slow down on a whim and you will be fine.

Oh, and there are one-way tunnels as well (they have turn off points inside also) but they tend to be very dark so you might want to use your high beams!

How to Stay Connected in the Faroe Islands

Get a SIM card at the airport info center. The package is for 2 GB and costs 97 krone ($15). You can top up online for 50 Krone for an additional 2 gb, which I ended up doing since I burn through data. The network worked really good and I got great service in all parts of the Faroes, even on the hikes. You will definitely need to have data to use google maps to navigate. 

P.S: your Faroe Islands SIM card will NOT work in Denmark (and vice versa). Remember that self-governing part? For this reason, my Skyroam did not work in the Faroe Islands.

Currency in the Faroe Islands

Faroese króna is the official currency of the Faroe Islands, but the Danish krone is also accepted. However, credit cards were accepted everywhere in the Faroe Islands, even on the ferries. So you can get by without any cash at all if you really wanted to. 

Sea Tunnels 

There are 2 sea tunnels that require a 100 króna ($14) payment to use. The price is for a return trip so you’ll only have to pay once. One of these sea tunnels is between Vágar and Streymoy and the other is between Borðoy and Eysturoy.

You can make a payment after the tunnel at a pay station. Or check your rental car details because mine had that cost included. When I picked up my car they told me not to pay the sea tunnel fee since it was included. I rented with Avis. 


Faroe Islands 5 Day Itinerary


Day 1: Mùlafossur Waterfall, & Sørvágsvatn

Day 2: Day trip to Mykines  

Day 3: Tórshavn, Tjornuvik, Fossa Waterfall, & Saksun

Day 4: Day trip to Kalsoy island

Day 5: Gjógv, Slættaratindur hike, & Kvívík

TipStay on Vagar island for the first 2 days of your trip (I stayed in a city called Miðvágur which was a great location). The first day go to the famous waterfall and hike. And then the second day head to Mykines to see the puffins! Then make your way to Kvívík for 3 nights and use it as a base to explore. I have included my Airbnb info near the end of this article. 

Day 1 (Mùlafossur Waterfall, Sørvágsvatn)

Mùlafossur Waterfall

Mùlafossur Waterfalls the most iconic spot on the Faroe Islands. You can now drive right up to it and walk a few minutes to the viewing point. There is only a small place to park a few cars but I saw some cars parked along the street. I would recommend going here the day you arrive since it’s so close to the airport. 

Faroe Islands 5 Day Itinerary

There were only 3-4 people at this spot and I was really surprised since it is the most popular attraction in the Faroe Islands. Goes to show that the Faroe Islands haven’t been spoiled by mass tourism yet.

Hike to Sørvágsvatn

If you want to see one of the coolest optical illusions you will ever see, make sure not to miss this hike! The hike takes less than 2 hours round trip including taking photos. Bring food and have a little picnic on the top with amazing views if you can! 

It’s a super easy hike. To get there from the airport, you will pass the pizza place called Smiðjan and take your first right. Then take the first major right after that until you get to a tiny parking lot. You will see others starting the hike there as well. 

Day 2 (Mykines day trip)

Faroe Islands 5 Day Itinerary

The ferry costs 120 krone ($19) round trip and takes 45 minutes. Make sure to get tickets in advance as there are limited seats. Also, go early in the trip in case it gets cancelled. I heard it gets cancelled often due to the sporadic weather. The puffin season is in the summer months only so try to make it over there between late May and early September. 

Faroe Islands 5 Day Itinerary

Hike to the lighthouse to see the puffins on the way. The majority of them are right before the bridge connecting the islands. The hike takes about 3 (ish) hours round trip including plenty of time for pictures.

Faroe Islands 5 Day Itinerary

There is not much else to do in the little town. There is a church and 2 cafes…and that’s about it. Bring snacks for lunch. You must pay a fee of 100 krone ($15) to hike on the island. You can do it online and show them a receipt. Or they will stop you somewhere along the trail and let you connect to a hotspot to pay it online. 

On your way home, stop at Smidjan restaurant in Vagar for pizza (yes, they even have GF pizzas!)

Day 3 (Tórshavn , Tjornuvik, Fossa Waterfall, Saksun)

Saksun

Saksun is a beautiful little village between the mountains with cascading waterfalls running down the cliffs and surrounded by greenery everywhere. There is a picturesque church with a gorgeous lake backdrop that you shouldn’t miss.

You can also walk up to one of the waterfalls and take pictures close up. There is a one-lane road to get there so make sure you drive slow and look ahead so you can turn into one of the many turn offs and wait for the car to pass. Saksun is a quintessential Faroese village with green grass roofs and some horses & sheep.

Faroe Islands 5 Day Itinerary

Tjørnuvík

Tjørnuvík is a gorgeous seaside town set on a black sand beach hugged by the mountains.

Faroe Islands 5 Day Itinerary

You can do a little hike up the backside to get an incredible view of the town and surrounding islands. There is a winding one-lane road that’s a bit scary to get to it but it’s worth it! 

Faroe Islands 5 Day Itinerary

Stop at Fossa waterfall on the way to Tjornuvik. It’s right off the road so you can’t miss it. There is a tiny parking spot for a few cars. Fossa waterfall is the tallest waterfall in the Faroe Islands. 

Faroe Islands 5 Day Itinerary

Tórshavn

Tórshavn is Europe’s smallest capital city and is worth a stop. It has a colorful little harbor with cute cafes and shops. Go to Paname cafe for soy milk cappuccino and a quaint and cozy interior. It’s connected to a book shop with cute little unique souvenirs. 

Faroe Islands 5 Day Itinerary

Visit Tinganes-home to one of the oldest parliament meeting places in the world and is home to the Faroese government. It’s a gorgeous part of town so make sure to check it out. 

Faroe Islands 5 Day Itinerary

Day 4 (Kalsoy)

Hike to Kallur Lighthouse in Kalsoy 

Take the car ferry from Klaksvík to Kalsoy, which takes only 20 minutes. The cost is 160 krone ($25) round trip with a car. When you arrive, drive to Trøllanes and do the Kallur lighthouse hike. It’s an easy hike taking about 40 minutes one way. 

Faroe Islands 5 Day Itinerary

Look for this red door for the entrance to the hike.

There is only one road on the island so just get off the ferry and go straight. It takes about 20 minutes to get to Trøllanes from the ferry port. Park in the little parking lot and turn left to start the hike. You will see the red door pictured above. 

Arrive to the ferry 40 minutes or more early during summer as there is limited space for cars. On the way back I got there 35 minutes early and had to wait for the next ferry almost 2 hours later because it was already full. Fail. 

Faroe Islands 5 Day Itinerary

The best views of the lighthouse and the surrounding landscape are seen by walking across a little steep pathway with plunging cliffs to both sides. At fist I said hell no, but then I saw a few brave guys doing it and it didn’t seem as bad. It’s actually wider than it looks once you get to the path. If you’re afraid of heights, definitely don’t do this. 

Stop to see the seal lady statue in Mikladalur Town on the way back if you have time. There is a pretty waterfall leading to the ocean which is more interesting than the actual statue in my opinion. 

There is nothing else to do on Kalsoy and no restaurants (that I saw), so bring food and water. There is a tiny kiosk selling snacks in Trøllanes if you really need something. You just ring the bell and the lady comes out. 

Day 5 (Gjógv, Slættaratindur hike, Kvívík)

Gjógv 

A city with a huge gorge running through it, hence the name Gjógv. There are several hikes you can do around the area so give yourself some time. It started storming hard so I didn’t hike here unfortunately. The road leading to Gjógv is winding and steep and only one lane without guard rails so drive carefully. There was so much fog when I went back I had never been so scared driving before.  I couldn’t see 20 feet in front of me. The Faroese fog is NO joke .

Close to Gjógv is the starting point of the hike to Slættaratindur, the highest peak in the Faroe Islands. It is said that on a clear day you can see all the way to Iceland, but I’m kinda doubting that myth.

The “easy” route only takes 45 minutes and it’s considered an easy hike. When I got to the beginning of the hike it was storming so bad with winds at almost 40 mph. It was so foggy I couldn’t see anything so I quickly aborted that hike unfortunately. I was so bummed! But you can’t really compete with Mother Nature. 

Visit the Town of Kvívík 

Kvívík is where my Airbnb was located and an adorable little seaside town. They actually unearthed some former Viking remains so if you’re a fan of Viking history, it’s worth a stopover. I could actually see the site from my Airbnb window!

Faroe Islands 5 Day Itinerary

View from my Airbnb in Kvivik

My Airbnb in Kvívík had the most amazing views of the town and water. The host was amazing and served breakfast in the dining room with panoramic views of the town. It was breathtaking. She also rents 2 other rooms out on Airbnb so keep that in mind if you don’t want to be social or share a bathroom. You can check the listing here. And for new Airbnb users, you can use my $40 OFF coupon for your first trip!

Also, here is the Airbnb I stayed in the town of Miðvágur on Vagar Islands here. The room was tiny but its all I needed traveling solo. It was a super convenient location and the host family was so nice!

Getting Alcohol in the Faroe Islands 

Did you know that there was basically alcohol prohibition in the Faroe Islands until 1992?! To this day the government highly restricts alcohol and it can only be bought from government run shops called Rúsdrekkasøla. There are only 9 of them in the whole Faroe Islands and they have extremely limited hours. Most are open from 1-5:30pm and one I saw was only open from 4-6pm! So if you happen to see one, make sure to stock up because you may not get another chance. The wine was pretty reasonably priced at about $12-15 a bottle. 

What to Wear in the Faroe Islands 

The weather is extremely sporadic in the Faroe Islands and changes very quickly. It reminded me of Iceland in that sense, but not as drastic. I went in the beginning of June, their “summer” and the average temperature was 50 Fahrenheit! 

It also rains over 210 days a year there so you definitely want to be prepared for that! 

What to Pack for the Faroe Islands 

  • Rain jacket ( I recently got this one and love it) 
  • Waterproof hiking boots (My Ahnu boots are awesome and definitely waterproof!) 
  • Wool socks (Darn Tough are expensive but the best wool socks on the market)
  • Thermal fleece lined leggings 
  • Thin long sleeve shirt with cuffs 
  • Fleece hoodie ( I travel with this North Face hoodie on all trips. It’s so soft & comfy)
  • Hat 
  • Light gloves 
  • Waterproof camera bag 
  • GoPro Hero 6 Black– it was raining so hard at some points I couldn’t even take out my fancy camera so I resorted to only carrying my GoPro and iPhone 8 for pictures. 
  • Life proof waterproof case for iPhone 8

Where to Eat in the Faroe Islands

Finding restaurants outside of Tórshavn and other major cities like Klaksvík was tough! Most the villages I visited didn’t even have a restaurant or convenience store so make sure to bring snacks and pack lunches for hikes as you may go all day without a restaurant. 

Gas stations strangely serve all kinds of food such as chicken skewers, salads, sandwiches, hot dogs, and fresh fruit. So if you can’t find food, a gas station is always your backup choice! 

Bonus supermarket is an affordable supermarket with many options. I picked up a bunch of things there to pack for lunch and it only cost me $35 for the whole trip. 

Most, if not all, supermarkets and most restaurants outside of Tórshavn are closed on Sundays so be prepared for that.  

You can drink the tap water so reuse your water bottle and fill up so you don’t have to spend money on water.

Travel Insurance for the Faroe Islands 

I NEVER go on a trip without travel insurance. Never. Too many bad things can happen (and they have unfortunately). Shit happens when you least expect it. Travel insurance is especially important when traveling to secluded islands, as you may need to be air-lifted to the mainland in the worst case scenario. Do you know how much air-lifting costs? Think at least 5 digits (i.e. Expensive AF!).

My favorite travel insurance that I have been using for the past 4 years is World Nomads. I have made 3 claims so far and have been fully reimbursed for all 3 without any hassle. I HIGHLY recommend them.

Are you curious to visit the Faroe Islands? Let me know if you have any questions below!

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Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a super small commission if you make a purchase using these links, at no extra cost to you. This helps keep my site ad free (I hate ads!). I only recommend products that I have used before on my own and that I truly love 🙂

 

Peru | Sacred Valley Quick 6-Day Itinerary

Peru | Sacred Valley Quick 6-Day Itinerary

I recently spent 6 wonderful days in Peru exploring Cusco, Machu Picchu, and the Sacred Valley. I was on limited time so I wanted to see as many places as I could in a short amount of time. I didn’t get much sleep, but boy did I experience some awesome sites! You can sleep when you’re dead, right?

Sacred Valley 6 Day Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive to Cusco, relax and acclimate

Day 2: Taxi Tour to the Sacred Valley with drop off in Ollantaytambo

Day 3: Morning train from Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu, limited afternoon ticket to Machu Picchu

Day 4: Hike Machu Picchu Mountain, take late afternoon train back to Cusco

Day 5: Cusco all day

Day 6: Rainbow Mountain all day tour


Sacred Valley 6 Day Itinerary: Day 1


Cusco

What to Do in Cusco

Saqsayhauman (aka “Sexy Human”)– a 30-minute walk from town with cool ruins and the best view over Cusco.
Sacred Valley 6-Day Itinerary
Plaza de Armas-the beautiful main square lined with restaurants and shops. It’s a good place to people watch, shop, sip coffee, and eat.
Sacred Valley 6-Day Itinerary
San Pedro Market-a large local market with cheap goods and food. It’s about a 10 minute walk from Plaza de Armas.
Chocolate Museo-for chocolate lovers, there is a free tour and chocolate tasting. You will not only taste chocolates, but everything chocolate flavoured, including fruit jams and liqueurs.
San Blas Neighborhood– the hipster area of Cusco that has cute artisan shops and great views over the city.
Sacred Valley 6-Day Itinerary

Where to Get Coffee with Soy Milk in Cusco (Because…lactose intolerance)

Finding coffee with soy milk in foreign lands can be quite tricky, but I found 2 great places in Cusco.
Punchay Cafe– in the San Blas area is a cute little cafe with soy milk options.
Sacred Valley 6-Day Itinerary
Cappuccino cafe-a cafe overlooking the main square with awesome views and soy milk options (pictured above).

Where to Eat Healthy Food in Cusco

As you may have heard me say before, I am allergic to gluten and extremely lactose intolerant. Therefore, most my food choices involve healthy/organic restaurants that aren’t the cheapest places to eat. But hey, being healthy ain’t cheap! The following are my favourite healthy restaurants in Cusco:
Organika-a tiny restaurant with awesome farm to table food and great juices. I tried the caesar salad and substituted the caesar dressing with passionfruit dressing and it was incredible! I am not a salad girl at all, but this one impressed me with the robust flavours.
Nuna Raymi-a large and cozy restaurant with organic food with fresh herbs and veggies/fruit. They have all the herbs and veggies displayed so you can see what you’re eating. I tried the gluten free version of Loma Soltado with Alpaca that was amazingly tender and juicy. Allergens are labelled on the menu.
Per.uk-a small restaurant near the main square that had the most amazing trout ceviche I have ever tasted. Allergens are labeled on the menu.
Greens Organic-an organic restaurant right off the main square that has awesome feta avo salad and juices. Allergens are listed on the menu.
Chia-gluten free/vegan/vegetarian new restaurant with yummy green curry.
Cafe de Museogreat breakfast and coffee with balcony seating outside. It’s also a nice cozy atmosphere inside.
Uchu-upscale steakhouse that I splurged on my last night and it didn’t disappoint. You can cook your own meat on a slab and they had the best side salad I’ve ever tasted. The wine was top quality as well.

Where to Stay in Cusco

I rented a room in an Airbnb for just $16/night. It had an amazing view over Cusco and an awesome host. Breakfast was also included. The room was basic and the hot water only lasted about a minute, but hey for the price, location, and awesome host it was super worth it. You can check the listing here.  And if you are new to Airbnb, you can use my $40 OFF coupon here. (it will also give me a coupon as well, yay).
 The first photo is the view from the Airbnb and the second is the cute little street the Airbnb is on. Sacred Valley 6-Day Itinerary

Sacred Valley 6 Day Itinerary: Day 2


Sacred Valley

I decided to explore the Sacred Valley on the way to Machu Picchu. Through my excessive research I found the taxi company called Taxidatum, which had great reviews for professionalism and safety. I ended up using them 3 times in Peru and they were very professional, punctual, and drove slowly/safely.

The company offers Sacred Valley day tours as well as a final drop off in Ollantaytambo. I did the Sacred Valley tour which stopped in Chincheros, Maras, and Moray. The cost for the entire car was $65 so you can split between passengers. I did it solo and had my own private car, which ended up being cheaper than the train and so worth it. I could go at my own pace and stay as long or little in each place as I pleased. I highly recommend doing this to see some of the awesome sites along the way to Machu Picchu. My favourite stop was Maras, with the endless salt pans set in between the gorgeous Andes mountains.

Make sure to get the touristico bolistico ticket for 130 Soles. It allows entry into Ollantaytambo, Moray, Maras, Chincheros, Saqsayhuaman and a bunch more ruins and museums around Cusco. You can buy the ticket at any of the included sites (I bought mine when I entered Chincheros).

The salt mines of Maras used by the Incas in ancient times are still in use today.

Sacred Valley 6-Day Itinerary

Similar in appearance of a Greek amphitheatre, the concentric circular depressions of Moray remains a mystery. However, because of the vast temperature difference from top to bottom, it is believed they were used to cultivate certain crops and the area at the bottom was used as an agricultural research station.

Sacred Valley 6-Day Itinerary

Ollantaytambo is a common starting point to the Inca trail, this beautiful little city deserves at least a half day to explore. My taxi tour ended in Ollantaytambo and I had a half day to roam around, walk up the ruins, and relax before my morning train to Machu Picchu. From the top of the Ollantaytambo ruins, you can see the whole city and stunning landscape completely surrounded by the Andes mountains. I absolutely loved this city.

Sacred Valley 6-Day Itinerary

Sacred Valley 6 Day Itinerary: Day 3


Machu Picchu Tickets: Things to Know

As you may have heard, new regulations went into place on July 1st this year which is restricting tourists to either a morning ticket or afternoon ticket.  Before you could just go any time of day and stay all day…not anymore.

Sacred Valley 6-Day Itinerary

Despite what you will hear, there aren’t 2 time frames, but actually there are 3. The morning, afternoon, and the limited “Horario Vespertino 13:00 horas”.

Machu Picchu Tickets
Morning ticket + hike allows entrance from 6am-12pm. Cost: 200 Soles ($62)
Afternoon ticket + hike allows entrance from 12pm to 5:30pm. Cost: 200 Soles ($62)
Horario Vespertino allows entrance from 1pm to 5:30pm Cost: 120 Soles ($37)
Machu Picchu entrance without any hike costs 152 Soles ($47)

The limited half day ticket starts at 1pm instead of 12pm. It’s cheaper than the half day and I got this one for my first afternoon there. The next day I got the morning ticket with the hike to Machu Picchu Mountain.

I spent a total of $99 for my 2 tickets to Machu Picchu. It’s not cheap, but I’m so glad I went 2 days. The first day I went in the afternoon at a relaxed pace taking photos and walking around the ruins. The second day I did the hike and after that I was so exhausted I didn’t stay much longer. The afternoon trip plus the morning hike was perfect.

You need to purchase your tickets as far in advance as possible because the number of people per day has been limited, especially for the mountain hikes. They only allow 800 hikers per day for Machu Picchu Mountain. For Huayna Picchu Mountain, the daily limit is only 400 hikers per day. It was actually sold out when I checked 2 months before so make sure to plan way in advance.

There are 2 different time slots for the hikes, and you must pick one when buying your ticket.

Machu Picchu Mountain time slots
1st time slot: 7-8am
2nd time slot: 9-10am

Huayna Picchu Mountain time slots
1st time slot: 7-8am
2nd time slot: 10-11am

Sacred Valley 6-Day Itinerary
To buy tickets, you will have to go The Ministry of Culture Website which is quite confusing. The site is annoying and takes forever to load and sometimes crashes, but just be persistent and try again. They only take Visa card for payment so don’t try to pay with MasterCard or Amex or you will wonder why it’s not working. I found a great step-by-step guide by Thrifty Nomads that will walk you through the confusing process, which is what I used. You can check their article here.

Visiting Machu Picchu

Take the Vista Dome or Expedition train from Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu. I booked my tickets on Peru Rail. When you get to Peru, you must take your confirmation to a Peru Rail office and get the actual tickets. They are a little slow with everything so give yourself an extra 30 minutes to get the tickets from them.

Sacred Valley 6-Day Itinerary

The view from the Vista Dome Train

You can only bring one small carry-on bag on the train as there is no overhead storage. If you want to bring anything else, you will need to email them 48 hours in advance and if they still have availability they will tell you yes. Still, no huge suitcases will be allowed due to space.

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Nothing like getting a stranger to hold up your @gopro stick above your head for the money shot! Thanks @_mance_ 🤗. Even cooler that I made Game of Thrones reference cuz his name was Mance and he understood what I was talking about and didn't just think I'm some creepy weirdo😂 • I love traveling solo, I meet so many more people as it forces me out of my comfort zone and to talk to people I usually wouldn't if I was traveling with others. Do you prefer traveling solo or with others? I'm curious to know! 💙 #machupicchu #visitsouthamerica #solotravel #visitperu #gopro #goprogirl #wearetravelgirls #thetravelwomen #mountaingirls #GirlsvsGlobe #girlsborntotravel

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Once in Aguas Calientes, get a round-trip bus ticket for $24 to Machu Picchu and get up there by 1pm. By 3:30-4pm it was virtually empty. I almost had one of the top tourist sites in the world all to myself. I would definitely recommend going in the afternoon when there is less people. The only thing is you can only hike the 2 mountains during the morning time. This is exactly why going for 2 days is key!


Sacred Valley 6 Day Itinerary: Day 4


Machu Picchu Mountain 

Hike Machu Picchu Mountain in the morning. Allow yourself 4 full hours to complete the hike roundtrip. Take lots of water. Because of the altitude, the hike is intense and you will need to stop a lot to catch your breathe.

Sacred Valley 6-Day Itinerary

I caught the Expedition train back at 3:20pm and arrived in Poroy station at 7:10pm. There is no train station in Cusco and the station used is called Poroy, a 20 minute taxi ride outside of Cusco.

 


Sacred Valley 6 Day Itinerary: Day 5


Cusco 

Whatever activities you didn’t get to on day 1, finish up today. Tomorrow will be a very strenuous day so make sure to take it easy.

Sacred Valley 6-Day Itinerary


Sacred Valley 6 Day Itinerary: Day 6


Day Trip to Rainbow Mountain

Pickup is at 3:30 or 4:30 in the AM so make sure you get enough rest. You will drive 3 hours total, with a stop for breakfast, before getting to the entrance. Once there, you will have an option to rent a horse, which I highly recommend unless you have amazing cardiovascular endurance. Rainbow Mountain sits at an altitude of over  17,000 feet, so for most of us that don’t live at high altitudes, this will be the most challenging hike you will ever do. Pace yourself, go as slow as you need, rest when your body tells you, and drink lots of water.

Sacred Valley 6-Day Itinerary

Even with the horse, you will have to hike the last 200 meters which is at an extremely steep incline. I thought I was going to die and had to keep stopping every 10 steps to catch my breathe. My heart felt like it was going to explode in my chest. The altitude is no joke so make sure to listen to your body.

Sacred Valley 6-Day Itinerary

Even through all that extreme exhaustion and fatigue, the views at the top are SO worth it. It’s such an incredible natural phenomenon to see. There will be many tour groups there so it’s a little tough to get photos without a million people in them. But I managed to find a perfect spot. At the top of the mountain, turn left and walk down a little bit and the perfect spot will be on the left. It’s a little farther away from view than you see in photos, but I much preferred it to get some photos without people in them.

Sacred Valley 6-Day Itinerary

I paid $30 and booked online with Haku company via findlocaltrips.com. They were selling the tours in the city for 70 pesos (about $21), but I wanted to read reviews on the company as I have heard many stories of companies in both Peru and Bolivia having a problem with the drivers being drunk. There has also been many accidents with tourists which have resulted in death so I was not going to take that chance. I am willing to pay more for my safety and piece of mind. Please do your research before booking with a company that involves any kind of transport in Peru and Bolivia.

Travel Insurance for Peru

I never go on a trip anymore without travel insurance. Never. Too many bad things can happen (and they have unfortunately). Shit happens when you least expect it.

After crossing into Bolivia, my cellphone was stolen. Traveling without your cell is the worst! I’m so glad I had insurance because when I got back I filed the claim with no hassles and got fully reimbursed for my phone + the expensive case that it was in. Thank God!

My favorite travel insurance that I have been using for the past 4 years is World Nomads. I have made 3 total claims so far and have been fully reimbursed for all 3. I highly recommend them.

*this post contains affiliate links.

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Palawan, Philippines | How to Spend 7 Days in Paradise (Coron + El Nido)

Palawan, Philippines | How to Spend 7 Days in Paradise (Coron + El Nido)

Palawan has been voted the most beautiful island in the world, and for good reason. With its plethora of crystal clear turquoise waters, stunning lagoons, and plunging cliff lines, its not hard to see why. Palawan is the epitome of the word paradise.

There’s a lot you can do and see on Palawan even with a limited timeframe. I spent a week in Palawan, split between El Nido and Coron and it was the perfect introduction to the Philippines.

 


Palawan 7 Day Itinerary


Day 1-4: El Nido, Palawan 

 

How to Get to El Nido

To make it simple, it’s going to take a long time! There are no direct international flights to El Nido so you will have to fly to Manila first, and then either fly to Puerto Princesa and take a 6-8 hour van ride up to El Nido.

Or there is the more direct (and more expensive) option of flying nonstop to El Nido. I flew with Air Swift on a short flight from Manila and it cost me $130. To me the direct flight was worth it to get there quicker.

You’ll be greeted at El Nido airport with a serenade from the local Filipino women, a unique welcome to the Philippines!  Air Swift passengers are also given free coffee, juice and snacks upon arrival.

To get to your accommodation, you’ll most likely have to take a tricycle, which reminds me of a mini tuk tuk. It costs 300 PHP to get to town (around $6) and takes around 15-20 minutes.

El Nido Tours

People flock to El Nido for the famous island hopping tours. There are 4 main tours leaving from El Nido: Tour A,B, C, and D. Creative, huh? They also offer combined tours if you’re super short on time (but some of the stops are cut out obviously).

Tour A & C are the most popular and most the pictures you’ve seen from El Nido are most likely from those tours. If you had to pick just one, hands down I would choose Tour A!

All the tours are a fixed price by the government so don’t bother trying to negotiate. There are dozens upon dozens of tour companies in town and they pretty much all offer the same tour with the same stops so no need to be extra picky on this one. I am one for good reviews so booking online beforehand wouldn’t be a bad option either.

Day 1: Nacpan Beach

Rent a motorbike for 300-500 PHP and drive 45 minutes North to Nacpan Beach. The last 20 minutes is super bumpy and rocky and it’s uncomfortable but not dangerous. There’s a little restaurant that serves fresh seafood and drinks on the beach.

Unfortunately, Twin Beach was closed due to a court case involving squatter activity until further notice so it’s impossible to get that infamous view of Twin Beach. This was the best I could do from the bottom of the hill. You can kinda see both beaches, but not so epically. Meh.

Palawan 7 day itinerary

Sunset at Las Cabanas Beach

Take a tricycle to Las Cabanas. It will cost 150 PHP from town and takes less than 10 minutes.

Las Cabanas is a great place to relax and unwind from the day, and have a drink if you’d like. There are a few cafes right on the beach and it’s a very popular place to catch the sunset. Meremgmeg Beach Bar was really cool and had swings at the bar instead of seats.

Day 2: Tour A 

Take Tour A, the post popular (and my favorite) of the tours. The tour will take you on 5 stops including: Small Lagoon, Big Lagoon, Simizu Beach (lunch stop), Secret Lagoon, and 7 Commandos Beach.

Cost: 1400 PHP (~$27)

I will highlight my favorite spots below:

Small Lagoon

You can’t swim in this gorgeous lagoon. The boat takes you in and you just sit back and enjoy turquoise waters like you have never seen before.

Palawan 7 Day Itinerary
Big Lagoon

You can rent a kayak (Depending on availability) or snorkel and explore the big lagoon, which was so much fun!

Palawan 7 Day Itinerary

Secret Lagoon

The Secret Lagoon was unreal in terms of beauty. We had to jump off the boat and swim here from a distance where we could explore the hidden lagoons and caves. This is exactly what I imagined the Philippines to be.

Palawan 7 day itinerary

7 Commandos Beach

The last stop of the day is on this long white sand beach. They have a bar and souvenir shop, as well as comfort rooms (what they call restrooms in the Philippines). There is also a fun rope swing that you can play with!

Palawan 7 Day Itinerary

Day 3: Tour C

I booked Tour C with Art Cafe. The buffet BBQ lunch they served was really good! The tour leaves at 9am and comes back around 5pm.

Cost: 1400 PHP plus 100 PHP to rent fins (snorkel masks are already included).

5 stops are included on this tour including: Hidden BeachSecret Beach, Starfish Beach, Miniloc Shrine, and Helicopter Beach.

I found absolute paradise in Hidden Beach. I kinda wanted them to leave me there “accidentally”. 
Palawan 7 Day Itinerary
The Miniloc Shrine had the best viewpoint over the islands (cost is 100 PHP to go here). There are very pointy rocks at the top so please be careful.

Day 4: Mt. Taraw and Kayaking

Climb Mt. Taraw

This is guaranteed to be one of the most risky hikes you will ever do. Do NOT attempt to do this hike without a guide, it’s quite dangerous (and I don’t say this often).

You’ll be stepping on jagged, pointy, super sharp rocks and at some points you will be climbing up a 90 degree angle! It’s honestly more like rock climbing than a hike. Except that you will have NO harness or protective ear. But the 180 degree panoramic view at the top is worth all the fright and agony getting up there, trust me!

Palawan 7 Day Itinerary

You can go in a group or hire a private guide. The whole trip takes about 2.5 to 3hrs. It costs 500 PHP for one person and can be as low as 300 PHP if you get a few people to go.

Tips for Hiking Mt. Taraw:

  • Take a sweat rag. I was dripping sweat and was all slippery. Not cool when my guide reached for my arm to pull me up in some places.
  • Start as early in the morning as possible to beat the heat.
  • I really wish I had brought gloves because the rocks I had to pull myself up on were super sharp.
  • Make sure to bring sturdy shoes (they won’t even let you hike without closed-toe shoes), water, and snacks.
  • Don’t bring many items with you. You do not want a big backpack on your back when you’re doing this climb. My guide actually didn’t let me carry a bag and put my stuff in his backpack.
  • Make sure to grab the rocks with your hands before moving with your feet.
  • On the way down go backwards, it’s easier and safer.

Rent a Kayak

Rent a kayak for 400 PHP and paddle over to Bikal Beach on Cadlao Island. There is a small and secluded crescent shaped beach which takes about 45 minutes to 1 hour to get to. You’ll most likely have the beach to yourself. Unless you go in the morning because I believe tour D makes its first stop here.

Wouldn’t you love to have a whole stunning beach to yourself?

Palawan 7 Day Itinerary

Get a Massage

Get a massage to end your trip in El Nido. It costs about 500-600 PHP per hour for a full body massage and you can find these massage shops all over the city.  I got a head and food massage to end my day and it was just perfect after all that hiking and kayaking I had done.

Best Way to Get between El Nido and Coron

There’s a newer fast boat option by Montenegro Lines that leaves daily from El Nido at 6am and from Coron at 12pm. The journey supposedly takes 3.5 hours (it took about 4 hours and 45 minutes) and is pretty comfortable in a clean and air conditioned boat. They play a movie on the flat screen during the trip. I booked my ticket online through Naturalis.

Make sure to arrive to the port 30 minutes early to check-in and pay your port fee (20 PHP) before you can board. You can pick your seat when you check in so if you’re prone to sea sickness, make sure to pick a seat in the back of the boat.

Cost: 1848 PHP + 20 PHP port fee (about $36 USD).

If you want to save a few dollars there is a slower ferry option on a freight ship that takes 7+ hours. I heard it’s extremely uncomfortable and the boats are older and less clean. Just google it if you want to make your decision easier. It’s literally less than a $10 difference so why put yourself through that hell? Take the fast boat!

Day 5-7: Coron, Palawan

Day 5: Ferry to Coron

There isn’t much to do in Coron town honestly. It was a stark contrast to the lively El Nido, so just take the afternoon to relax before the evening activities.

Head to Coffee Kong, for some good coffee. It’s a cute little coffee hangout and the only place I found with soy milk! They also serve breakfast and have really good Air Con.

Hike Mt. Tapyas before Sunset

You have to walk 700 steps to get to the top of Mt. Tapyas, but it’s well worth it. It will take you about 25-30 minutes to walk to the top. How it works is you hire a tricycle to take you there, they wait for you, and then they take you to Maquinit Springs (which is 20 minutes away). The entire ride only costs 300 PHP (~$5) and I was with my driver for about 4 hours.

Palawan 7 day itinerary

iPhone pic from the top of Mt. Tapyas

End the Night at Maquinit Springs

Maquinit Springs is a huge natural saltwater hot spring surrounded by mangroves in the jungle. It’s a super unique setting and although it’s quite busy, it’s still very relaxing.

Palawan 7 day itinerary

I must say these were the hottest hot springs I have ever experienced. Have you ever noticed that most hot springs are warm, but not very hot? Not this one! It’s super hot and exactly what your body needs after that hike up Mt. Tapyas.

Cost: 200 PHP for adults

Day 6: Island Escapade Tour

I booked with with JY Tours as it was recommended by my Airbnb host.

Cost: 1200 PHP (~$23).

Stops included: Malcapula Beach, CYC Beach, and Waling Waling Island. 

Malcapula Beach

A heavenly white sand beach and crystal blue waters. It’s one of the prettiest beaches I saw in the Philippines.

Palawan 7 Day ItineraryHiked up the little hill for this secret view.Palawan 7 Day Itinerary

CYC Beach

CYC is the only remaining public beach in Coron. Compared to all the other beauty I saw in the Philippines, this beach was pretty run down, crowded, and dirty. Our group was wondering why they even had this stop on the tour. No pictures here because there wasn’t much to see.

Waling Waling Island (aka “Mini Maldives”)

Locals refer to this beach as the mini Maldives due to the crystal waters. It was my favorite stop of the day!

Palawan 7 Day Itinerary

During low tide, a sand bar appears and you can walk out onto it. It is breathtaking.

Palawan 7 day itinerary

Completely unedited iPhone shot of the gorgeous Waling Waling island.

There was another stop on our itinerary but our guide chose to go here instead…which none of us were complaining about!

Day 7: Ultimate Coron Highlights Tour 

Stops included: Twin Lagoon, Kayanga Lake, Skeleton Wreck, Bamboo Beach, and Siete Pecados.

Cost: 1500 PHP (~$29). I also went with JY tours for this one as well.

Twin lagoon

A stunning lagoon where you can swim under the rocks (or walk up steps) to get to the more hidden lagoon.

Palawan 7 day itinerary

Completely unedited shot of the Twin Lagoon on my GoPro

This is the view entering the area of the Twin Lagoon. This was shot on a moving boat with my iPhone and I did NOT edit it at all.

Palawan 7 Day Itinerary

Bamboo Beach

This white sand beach was lined with mangroves and had no one else in sight. This is also where we had our peaceful lunch stop.

Palawan 7 Day Itinerary

Kayanga Lake

Kayanga Lake crystal clear lake known as the cleanest lake in the Philippines and some also say the cleanest lake in Asia.

The “money shot” of Coron you will see if you google “Palawan”. This view is on the walk up to Kayanga Lake.

Palawan 7 Day Itinerary

Skeleton Shipwreck

You can dive (or snorkel) to see Skeleton Shipwreck where you can see the skeleton of a sunken Japanese ship.

This is what you will see above the shipwreck. How amazing is this water?

There are also many bright tropical fish around the area. Can you see the sunken ship? It would have been fun to scuba dive down inside of it!

Palawan 7 day itinerary

WIFI Connection in the Philippines

Wifi connection is very poor in the Philippines, so staying connected was not the easiest. I used a combination of a local SIM and my Skyroam portable hotspot device to stay connected.

You can get a local SIM for 600 PHP ($12) for 4GB plus 1 free GB (5gb) with Global SIM at the airport kiosk. The plan lasts 30 days.

You can also use a Skyroam portable wifi hotspot. You can read my detailed post all about it here and decide if it’s worth it for you: Is the Skyroam Portable Hotspot Device Worth It? The No BS Truth

Where to Stay in Palawan

Accommodations in Palawan were more expensive than I imagined they would be in the Philippines. I spent about $30 per night. When I travel I usually spend on average $25 per night to rent a room (more if I rent out a whole apartment). But the value for the price in Palawan was not that good and the standards were a lot lower than I expected for that price.

That being said, go in knowing what to expect! I stayed in Airbnbs in both Coron and El Nido. While I cannot recommend the place I stayed in El Nido, the room I rented in Coron was very large, clean, and had good Air Con. The host is from California and was really laid back and helpful. It was in a convenient location and was pretty comfortable. You can check out the listing here.

If you’re new to Airbnb, you can use my $40 OFF Coupon. Or even if you are not, you can sign up with a different email and use the coupon as well! ♥

Travel Insurance for the Philippines 

I would never travel without travel insurance anymore. I learned my lesson. Too many bad things can happen (and they have unfortunately). Travel insurance is especially important when traveling to islands, as you may need to be air-lifted to the mainland in the worst case scenario. Do you know how much air-lifting costs? Think at least 5 digits (I.e. Expensive AF!).

My favorite travel insurance that I have been using for the past 4 years is World Nomads. I have made 3 claims so far and have been fully reimbursed for all 3 without any hassle. I highly recommend them.

*This post contains affiliate links. 

 


Have You Been to Palawan? Is there Anywhere Else you Would Recommend to Visit that I Missed?

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Palawan 7 day itinerary

 

 

How to Spend 3 Days in the Nusa Islands (Lembongan, Ceningan, & Penida)

How to Spend 3 Days in the Nusa Islands (Lembongan, Ceningan, & Penida)

The Nusas consist of 3 gorgeous islands off the coast of Bali, Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Ceningan, and Nusa Penida.

All 3 islands have something special to offer so if you have time, I highly recommend checking out all three!

I based myself in Lembongan for 3 days and was able to visit all 3 islands during my time there.

You can see Ceningan in a half day as it is the smallest of the three. It is accessed by a bright yellow bridge from Lembongan.

Penida is the largest and most rugged of the 3. It is completely devoid of mass tourism and has so many awesome things to see!

*I want to especially thank Jackie from @getlostwithjackie for introducing me to Lembongan and Christina from @jetsetchristina for introducing me to Penida. These girls’ amazing Instagram photos really enticed/inspired me to visit these places that I had never heard of before! ♥


If you’re short on time and want to see all 3 islands in 3 days it’s totally doable.

This was my 3 day itinerary in the Nusa Islands (see below for all the details on each place):

Day 1: Nusa Lembongan (Mushroom Bay, Dream Beach, Devil’s Tear, The Deck)

Day 2: Nusa Penida full day

Day 3: Nusa Lembongan private tour to Manta Point + half day in Nusa Ceningan

 


What to Do on the Nusa Islands


Nusa Lembongan

What to do on the Nusa Islands

What to Do and See in Nusa Lembongan

Dream beach– beautiful beach where Dream Beach Huts overlooks. The waves are huge and you can’t really swim in it as it’s dangerous. You can pay a small fee to use their pool and facilities if you want to spend the day there.

Devil’s Tear-a 5-10 minute walk from dream beach (to the right if you’re looking at the water) will bring you to Devil’s Tear. Watch as the waves crash into the crescent shaped rocks leaving a huge cloud of mist behind. It’s a petty cool site! Be careful as the waves come up on the rocks so don’t try to be that person to get the perfect selfie on the edge.

What to do on the Nusa Islands

Mushroom Bay-a gorgeous blue/green bay with cute little restaurants and some water activities nearby.

What to do on the Nusa Islands

The Deck-a cute little spot overlooking Nusa Lembongan Beach and probably the best place to view the sunset on the island. It’s a bit more expensive than other places and serves a bunch of Western food. I didn’t even care as the view was well worth it. They have sunset sessions with a live DJ in the evenings as well, so it’ a great place to mingle.

The Deck, Nusa Lembongan

Swim with Manta Rays-one of the main attractions of the Nusas is swimming with Manta Rays! You can take a group tour that will take you to Manta Point and a few other snorkelling spots. Or you can do what I did and get a private tour and make up your own schedule with the stops of your choice.

This obviously isn’t the cheapest option, but I liked the idea of a tailored tour! I negotiated a rate of 400k for 3 stops (about $30 USD), including swimming with manta rays, and snorkelling in Crystal Bay and Secret Beach. It was also great because I started early and was back by 11am, which gave me enough time to eat lunch and then head to Ceningan for the rest of the day to explore.

What to do on the Nusa Islands

Note: you aren’t guaranteed to see manta rays, but I got lucky and saw a huge one! My captain told me to jump in, and honestly I was scared sh*tless when I saw the huge shadow of the creature on the surface. The only bad part about being alone on a tour. Another boat showed up and I waited until they jumped in to go in (I’m such a chicken). It swam within a foot of me! I scrambled to turn on my GoPro but it had already passed so i don’t have the best pictures to show for it. Manta rays are massive! Yet so angelic and graceful. It was such a once-in-a-lifetime experience to be up close and personal with these amazing creatures! Don’t miss out on this!

Nusa Penida

Nusa Penida was my favorite of the 3 islands as it was the most rugged and untouched. I only saw a handful of tourists the entire day. To explore, you need to take a tour or rent a scooter and do it on your own (which is what I did).

What to Do and See in Nusa Penida

Atuh BeachThis beach took a steep hike to get down, but was totally worth it. It’s absolutely breathtaking! The plunging cliffs are freakishly tall and provides a beautiful setting. It takes about an hour drive from the port of Penida, then about a 10-15 minute hike down onto super steep steps/rocks.

What to do on the Nusa Islands

There are a few little shacks serving drinks and fried rice or noodles. It’s pretty secluded and a great place to relax.
There is no parking fee.

Kelingking T-Rex (aka the money shot)This is probably the most popular beach in Penida and it’s shaped like a T-Rex! You can walk down the vey steep steps/rocks down to the beach, bit it may take you awhile. You must go very slow as it is very steep! I made it 1/3 way down and didn’t have time to go all the way as it took way longer than I imagined!
Parking is 5k (~$0.30).

Angel’s Billabong (Gambar Untuk)a natural infinity pool of blue and green hues that plunges into the ocean. You can swim in it, but be careful when the tide is high as the huge waves will come crashing down and could take you out to sea.

What to do on the Nusa Islands

It’s about a 5-10 minute walk from Broken Beach (on the right). You’ll see the signs.

Broken beach (Pasih Uug)-the ride down to this place is the worst road conditions I’ve ever experienced on a motorbike. It’s extremely rocky and bumpy with many potholes so just go very slow! The epic view over the top of Broken Beach is spectacular. And the color of the water is stunning! Parking is 5k.

How to Get to Nusa Penida

  • By public ferry from Lembongan (near the yellow bridge).
  • The ferry goes at 7am. Be there at 6:30am to assure a spot. Costs for tourists is 50k (~$3.76).
  • To get back, you may need to hire a private transfer that costs 200k (~$15).
  • If you can find more people, you can split the cost. I had to wait about 10-15 minutes and 3 other people joined so it was only 50k each, the same as the public ferry!
  • It takes less than 15 minutes for the crossing.
  • There are also ferries from Bali(Sanur) that go to Penida.
  • The public boat will drop you in the port of Toyapakeh in Penida.

How to get around Nusa Penida

Rent a motorbike for around 50k (~$3.76). The vendors will start at 80k but make sure to negotiate. You can also rent a car, but I enjoyed the adventure on a motorbike.

Note: the roads are VERY bumpy and unfinished with many potholes, especially going to Broken Beach and Angel’s Billabong. If you feel confident on a motorbike and have good balance, you should be fine! However, if you’ve never driven a motorbike before (or on the left side), this isn’t a good place to start! And remember, they drive on the LEFT side in Indonesia!

Nusa Ceningan

Nusa Ceningan is the smallest of the Nusas, but it thoroughly surprised me with its sheer beauty!

What to Do and See in Nusa Ceningan

Blue Lagoon-a natural cliffside lagoon with super vibrant turquoise waters that will leave you in awe.

Secret Beach– a secluded beach overlooked by Villa Travally Resort. There were only a few people there and it was a great place to relax. You must buy something to stay.

What to do on the Nusa Islands

Mahana point for cliff jumping- there is a place to go cliff jumping a few minutes from the Blue Lagoon (although they charge 25k per jump!)

Last Stop Bar and Cafe-cutest little spot on the water with bean bags and a super chill vibe. They also have a great selection of fruit drinks. You can go right in the water from the steps and cool off. I loved this place!

What to do on the Nusa Islands

Ceningan cliffs-a restaurant/viewpoint overlooking Penida island. There are swings overlooking the viewpoint. It’s a little bumpy to get there, so if you don’t have time, it wouldn’t kill you to skip it.

Where to Stay in Nusa Lembongan

D’mas Huts-this family run place was absolutely fantastic. It’s composed of only 5 private huts and has a spectacular view over Nusa Ceningan and the gorgeous blue water in between. Oh, and it was only $18 per night!

Where to Stay in Nusa Lembongan

The owner Nyoman was the best host and catered to just about anything I needed. He always had a smile on his face  and really made my stay more enjoyable.

They also have a nice restaurant which serves a big varieties of foods at a super reasonable price. Plus the views over the pool and landscape below are fantastic! The food was super delicious as well!

I got a special deal on hotels.com and paid only $18/night. It was half off, but even at full price it’s super affordable. The value for money is incomparable and I cannot recommend this place enough! And no, it was NOT sponsored in any way!

They also have onsite scooter renewals for 50k/day. D’mas Huts was such a great find!

Have you Been to the Nusa Islands? Which one was Your Favorite?

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What to do on the Nusa Islands

 


MY TOP 5 RECOMMENDED TRAVEL GEAR FOR BALI:

1.Sony Alpha 6000 Mirrorless Camera: I made the switch from my huge DSLR and I wouldn’t go back. It’s light, compact, and takes amazing photos!

2. Sony 10-18mm Wide Angle Zoom Lens: this wide angle lens is the key to landscape shots. I use this lens more than the original and am super happy with it. It’s not cheap, but super worth it if you want to get those special nature shots. Honestly, I would purchase the Sony alpha 6000 camera body only and save up for this lens to go with it.

3. E Bags Packing Cubes: the biggest life changer to keep me packing light! This is my biggest travel gear obsession and I have NO idea how I traveled without them before.

4. LifeProof NUUD Waterproof Case (iPhone 6): this helps protect my phone from water, sand, dirt, and the numerous drops that incur while I travel. I love it!

5. GoPro Hero 5 Black: I am a proud GoPro ambassador and obsessed with GoPro selfie pics if you didn’t notice! The Gopro cameras are the best for action and underwater shots, and of course for taking those selfies when you’re traveling solo.  It’s super small, compact, and easy to travel with. Plus it’s so much fun to use! 🙂

Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a super small commission if you make a purchase using these links, at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products that I have used before on my own and that I truly love 🙂

 

Exploring Istria, Croatia by Car: the Perfect 1-Day Road Trip

Exploring Istria, Croatia by Car: the Perfect 1-Day Road Trip

Istria is one of the lesser known regions in Croatia, and very underrated in my opinion. Istria is a wine lover’s paradise as it is a prime wine harvesting region in Croatian. Also specific to the Istrian region is the coveted (and super expensive) truffle. Not to mention the food in Istria is known as some of the best in Europe. Go see for yourself!

Go truffle hunting, wine tasting, admire the medieval hilltop villages, or have a culinary field day with all the amazing food that comes from this region. Istria is incredible and it’s surprising that it hasn’t gotten too touristy…yet.

Istria road trip

If you’re planning on exploring the Istria region of Croatia, a car is actually the only way you can do it. Public transport does not go to most of these hilltop towns so your options are limited.

Istria is very small and you can easily explore the best spots in one day.

I have highlighted the perfect 1-day road trip in Istria below: 

Istria, Croatia 1-day Road Trip


First Route: Rovinj to Hum

Journey time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Parking cost: 10 kuna


HUM

Hum has been coined the “smallest town in the world” and has recently been recognized officially by the Guinness Book of World Records. The town has a population of 17….SEVENTEEN!

Hum Croatia, smallest town in the world

Does it get any more fairytale than this?

Walking through this town will literally take you about 5-10 minutes, it’s that small. What we saw in this town included a few residences, a tractor trailor, a cute little shed, a little farmhouse, a field with some crops, a single restaurant with great views of the countryside, and a handful of visitors.

Istria, Croatia 1-day Road Trip; Hum, smallest town in world

As you can tell by the description, there is not much to see; however, I would recommend a stop here as it is very quaint and unique in its own sense. Also, if just for the mere fact that you can say you’ve been to the smallest town in the world…officially.

(Note:  when we were there it was not yet “official”)


2nd Route: Hum to Motovun

Journey time: 40 minutes

Parking cost: 20 kuna


MOTOVUN

Motovun is a medieval hilltop town that rivals the top towns in Tuscany in terms of sheer beauty. Situated on the top of a hill and overlooking the plush Istrian countryside, make sure to grab a glass of the local wine in a cute little restaurant overlooking the land.

Istria, Croatia 1-day Road Trip; Motovun

Istria is famous for truffle hunting and you will not have a problem findings specialty shops with free truffle tastings. I honestly do not like truffles (they make me gag) so I passed on this. But if it’s you’re forte, make sure to grab a few small bottles for the perfect souvenir to bring back.

Istria, Croatia 1-day Road Trip

Make sure to set aside some time to get lost in the streets and have a mini photo shoot. The town is gorgeous and you’re going to want to take it all in. It wasn’t overcrowded in the least bit and that made it extra enjoyable!

Istria, Croatia 1-day Road Trip


3rd Route: Motovun to Grožnjan

Journey time: 25 minutes

Parking cost: free street parking


GROŽNJAN

Istria, Croatia 1-day Road Trip

I think I may have found my new home

Grožnjan might be my favourite town on our Istrian road trip. Also located on a hilltop, it was a lot smaller and quaint than the other towns and had a more local feel.

Istria, Croatia 1-day Road Trip

How cute are these blue shutters?

You could sense the artistic vibe as soon as you entered Grožnjan and it was nice strolling through all the quirky art shops. I wish we would have had more time here, as it was unexpectedly pleasant.

Istria, Croatia 1-day Road Trip

UMAG

Our next and last stop (kinda) was the city of Umag. As we arrived into the city and attempted to find parking, we weren’t too impressed. The city was more run down and didn’t have much character from what we could see (but hey, we could have been totally wrong and it could have been awesome). We just didn’t get a good vibe from it and made a quick executive decision to head to Novigrad for our final sunset stop. It turned out to be a great choice!


4th Route: Umag to Novigrad

Journey time: 15 minutes

Parking cost: free


NOVIGRAD

In our brief venture in Novigrad, we strolled the main street covered in colourful umbrellas and had an impromptu photo shoot. It was such a lovely street we couldn’t resist.

Istria, Croatia 1-day Road Trip

We then quickly rushed to the waterfront for the sunset and found the cutest little spot called Pepe Bar. There were cushions placed on the rocks and served as the perfect spot to view the sunset.

Pepe Bar, Novigrad, Croatia

It was more on the pricy side but the view and ambiance surely made up for it. Try the mojito if you go, it was really delicious!

Istria, Croatia 1-day Road Trip

CareBear and I enjoying the sunset in Novigrad


Last Route: Novigrad to Rovinj

Journey time: 1 hour

Parking cost: free


Where to Base Yourself in Istria

Rovinj without a doubt is the ideal location to base yourself for your Istrian road trip. You can reach all the above-mentioned locations in one hour and 15 minutes max. Also, ROVINJ IS INCREDIBLE and probably my favourite city in Croatia. For reasons why you should visit Rovinj, check out my post What to do in Rovinj: The Ultimate Guide to Croatia’s Most Underrated City

what to do in Rovinj

Where to Rent a Car in Istria

About a 10 minute stroll south along the water in Rovinj, you will find a little car rental agency called Vetura. We didn’t make advanced reservations and it wasn’t a problem at all. We reserved the car the afternoon before and it costed 450 kuna (about $69/day) for an automatic last minute rental. It was way more expensive than if you book in advance, so we learned our lesson.

Istria road trip

My first time renting a car outside of the USA. I look calm enough, huh?

We were pleased with the company and the owner was very relaxed about return times. I would definitely use them again.

To come along on our fun road trip, check out this video that my travel partner Carebear Abroad made of our awesome day! Hint: it may involve getting our car stuck in the middle of nowhere. 

Have you been to Istria? What was you favorite hilltop town?

Click photo to PIN for later♥

Istria, Croatia 1-day Road Trip

Istria, Croatia 1-day Road Trip

Mini Guide to Skiathos, Greece: Where to Stay & What to Do

Mini Guide to Skiathos, Greece: Where to Stay & What to Do

I recently journeyed over to Skiathos Island  in Greece and absolutely loved it! Skiathos is one of the islands that makes up the archipelago of the Sporades, located in the Northeast of Greece. You know, the one’s you rarely hear about.  Skiathos is less touristed than other popular Greek islands, probably due to its location far away from the rest. Ding ding ding, that’s what got me over there!

I didn’t do much planning beforehand (shame on me), but it turned out to be fine since I basically had my whole 3 days planned out for me courtesy of my incredible host Ioanna over at at Villa Anna Skiathos. This whole entire itinerary is courtesy of her so I can’t even take credit for it! (a lot more on that later). ♥

What to Do in Skiathos

  • Koukounaries beach-this is the most popular beach on the island, and for good reason. The vibrant blues are certain to draw your attention. A sandy beach in Greece is also a plus (not something very common, if you know what I mean).  There are also a lot of water activities offered at this beach, another plus!crystal clear Koukounaries beach
  • Elia beach-from Koukounaries you can take a nice 40 minute walk to Elia beach. You have to walk through a forest basically to get to it, but its secluded position makes it more alluring. There wasn’t a single soul when I went, which was a treat! Definitely walk to the top of the sandy cliff for a better view over the whole beach. Once up there, you can even walk about 5 minutes to other side of the cliffs for some more great views. Secluded Elia Beach in Skiathos
  • Skiathos Town-this is one of the prettiest Greek island towns you will see. The “chora”  is just the perfect size and is lined with pretty little shops and restaurants. Be on the lookout for Rock and Roll Cafe which had the cutest colorful bean bags on the steps. So adorable!Colorful Skiathos Town
  • Boat tourI  found a company called Kalypso Matahari, which offers s boat tours from 10-5pm for only €15 (low season) and €20 in the high season. I was really surprised at the low prices for an all day tour. Completely worth it!

Stops include:

Lalaria beach-one of the most beautiful beaches and the postcard picture of Skiathos. This beach can only be reached by boat and is framed by the beautiful limestone cliffs behind and the bleach stones lining the turquoise waters. The pure white create a more bold aqua color to the sea. It’s absolutely breathtaking! (Note: do NOT take any of the pebbles or you will be charged for them at the airport. No joke!)

What to Do in Skiahtos

Kastro-the former capital of Skiathos. You can hike up to the fortress in about 15 minutes to see the remains. Make sure to wear appropriate shoes as there isn’t a smooth path. If  you decide not to hike up, there is a relaxing beach bar down by the water. The views from the top are awesome,  so try to make it up there! Quit being lazy! 🙂

Hike up to Kastro town on Skiathos islandw GoPro

Katiyorgi-the last stop is a very small fishing village where you eat lunch. The town has 2-3 restaurants and that’s about it. There’s not much to do there but it’s a cute little spot to wind down and have a nice meal after the long day.Katiyorgi fishing village

  • Also on offer are many day trips to Mama Mia beach on nearby Skopelos island. I went to Skopelos on my own afterwards and I highly recommend a trip there if time permits! Check out my post on Skopelos if interested!

Where to Eat in Skiathos

  • Marmita -Not only is this the BEST restaurant in Skiathos, it has a cute and cozy outside courtyard that’s so warm and inviting, you won’t want to leave.Where to Eat in Skiathos

What to try:

  • Rabbit in red wine and honey sauce. Tender, juicy, and massively flavorful. Oh my gawd. 
  • Beetroot apple salad with goat cheese. Delicious and creamy! 
  • They also made some special dessert with hot coffee poured on top. Yes, hot coffee! I don’t know the name, but ask them for it and I’m sure they will whip it up for you. Holy crap it was good! Coffee lovers prepare for amazingness. 
  • I was in complete heaven. This was one of the top 3 food experiences I’ve ever had. It was that good. A bonus was that they were able to adapt to my dietary (gluten) restrictions easily and with no problems. If you go to one restaurant in Skiathos, make this one it! Marmita is the BOMB! (do people still say this? )
  • Amfiliki-frequented mostly by the locals, this place is a secret find! With a marvelous view over the water, this is the perfect spot to try authentic Greek dishes. I ended the night here with a complementary dessert and shot of ouza. Opa!Where to Eat in Skiathos
  • Restaurant 1901-situated in a beautiful and colourful street of Skiathos, slightly tucked away from the noise of the city. I loved the ambiance and was surprised to find out that the food was excellent as well! Beef in tomatoes sauce over potatoes was tender and good. They also give you free dessert of Greek yogurt and berry compote. 1901 Restaurant, Skiathos
  • Bourtzi cafe-located on the beautiful, yet tiny Bourtzi peninsula near the old port. It has a great view and it is the perfect spot to grab a drink and watch the sunset. They also have sandwiches and light foods but it’s a little pricy. You pay for the view, fair trade.Bourtzi cafe, Skiathos

Where to Stay in Skiathos

♥Villa Anna Skiathos♥

When looking for a place to stay in Skiathos, I was hoping to stay close enough to town, but not smack in the middle of the crazy parties (and let me tell you, Greeks sure can party hard!♥) I came across Villa Anna Skiathos, a small family owned B&B with a spectacular view. #imasuckerforviews

Where to Stay in Skiathos

The view captured me, I was sold and I knew I found my spot. I contacted the owner (named Ioanna) and she responded right away with all the info I would need for my journey to the island. She was super sweet and I felt like I was talking to a friend right from the start.

Ioanna lives in Athens, but has been coming to Skiathos for the summers since she was a little girl. She decided to put all her efforts into building her family business and welcome guests from all over the world. I could tell she genuinely enjoys meeting new people and takes pleasure in seeing others have a good time.  And that made such a difference during my stay! 

What can Villa Anna Skiathos offer you?

→Your Very own Built-in Concierge

Although she doesn’t advertise this, Ioanna was there to help me with ALL my plans around the island, from where to eat, what tours to take, to giving me rates for rental cars if I desired to explore by car. Anything I needed, she was at my disposal with a joyful heart. 

When I arrived, she picked me up from the port and gave me a mini tour (the “long way home”) so that I could situate myself on the island and get a feel for my surroundings. 

Where to Stay in Skiathos

When we arrived, she sat dow with me, pulled out a map, and asked me what kind kind of stuff I would like to do in my 3 days there. She gave me an explanation of all the places  and things I could do, and wrote everything me my very own itinerary! This was SO helpful and saved me so much time…time I could be utilizing to explore the beautiful island!

→A Quiet Oasis Away from the Crowds

Villa Anna Skiathos is in an awesome location and the view was spectacular. My room had a spacious balcony to overlook the beautiful Megali Ammos beach. The (gorgeous) walk to town was only 10 minutes. Of course I stopped several times to take photos, so it often took me longer. 

Where to Stay in Skiathos

The room I stayed in had a mini fridge, private bathroom, flat screen TV, free wifi, AC, stove top, and daily cleaning. The room also had an upstairs for a third person if needed. The kitchen cabinetry was outdated with old wood, but it felt like a summer camp house and I actually didn’t mind it. The amazing view made up for it.

Where to Stay in Skiathos

There was a nice patio in the back with a big table for guests to gather around and mingle if they chose to.

The property is surrounded by lush greenery, fruit trees, and vibrant flowers, which is something you usually don’t see if staying right in the center of the city.

Where to Stay in Skiathos

The one thing that wasn’t offered was breakfast, although Ioanna assured me that they would be adding breakfast in the near future. It didn’t bother me as I bought some yummy Greek yogurt, honey, and berries and had that for breakfast every morning. That fridge came in handy!

→Mingling of Guests

One thing I really liked is that Ioanna tries to put together a weekly outing with all the guests (totally optional of course, I didn’t feel obligated at all). One night she invited us all out to Marmita, which became one of my favorite restaurants ever, as mentioned above. 

Where to Stay in Skiathos

It was really nice to meet people from all parts of the world and different walks of life. We had such a great time sipping on wine, trying new foods together, and sharing crazy travel stories. That’s what traveling is all about right? The people. 

→Home Away from Home

This is a concept Villa Anna Skiathos truly promotes, and I felt it every second I was there. It wasn’t just a place to sleep, but it was like having a little family there. Although I only stayed 3 days, it was enough to make an impression.

Where to Stay in Skiathos

I still keep in touch with Ioanna on Facebook and it’s so great to see her enjoying life over in Greece. If and when I go back to Skiathos, I will 100% stay there again. No question about that.

Iv’e said this before, and it still holds true: the Greek hospitality is the best I’ve ever experienced in all the countries I’ve ever visited! My love for Greece remains deep. ♥♥♥

So How Much does it Cost to stay at Villa Anna Skiathos?

Rates start at €55 in shoulder season for a standard room! Peak season rates start at €80. Not bad at all for Greece!

When to Go to Skiathos

Shoulder season all the way! That is, May, June, and September. I went in May and it was perfect. It was not too crowded that you couldn’t walk, but had just the right amount of people and energy. The tour companies were all starting to run, and the weather was perfect. Prices are also heavily slashed compared to July and August.

How to Get to Skiathos

By ferry from Volos or Agios Konstantinos. I used Hellenic Seaways from Volos and it took about 1.5 hours (by high speed catamaran). A ferry takes about 2.5-3 hours. 

By flying into Skiathos National Airport. The flights were pricy when I checked so I opted for the ferry instead.

♥A special thanks to Villa Anna Skiathos (and especially the sweet Ioanna) for hosting me during my stay. All opinions, however, are my own. I don’t bullsh*t and would never recommend somewhere I didn’t truly enjoy!♥

Have You Been to Skiathos? What Were the Highlights? Did I Miss Anything? Do Tell!

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Where to Stay & What to Do in Skiathos