12 Amazing Reasons to Visit Amorgos, Greece: the Tiny Greek Island You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

12 Amazing Reasons to Visit Amorgos, Greece: the Tiny Greek Island You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

Amrorgos is one of those places that you’ve probably never heard of, but will instantly be intrigued to visit once you hear about it. Amorgos is a tiny island in the Cyclades Greek island group with only about 2000 residents. It measures only 48 square miles, but it seems as if every square inch is packed with outstanding beauty.

Amorgos has escaped the mass crowds that other Greek islands in the Cyclades can’t seem to shake. Most of the small crowd you will see on the island is composed of French tourists due to a famous French director’s movie that was shot on the island called Le Grand Bleu.

I visited in mid October and it felt as if I had the whole island to myself at some times. This is what you call a Greek island paradise dream!

The one really unique thing about Amorgos island is that you can hike the entire island from top to bottom basically. There are hiking maps all throughout the island so they make it really easy!

All the hikes are well demarcated with information signs with the distance and time it takes between hikes. If you like hiking, and stunning beaches, you will love Amorgos!

How to get to Amorgos

There is NO airport on Amorgos so the only option is by ferry. It’s only 1 hour and 20 minutes from Naxos and 1 hour and 50 minutes from Santorini.

It’s not the easiest place to get to, but the trade off is less crowds! I would fly into either Santorini or Naxos and then take a ferry from there.

Where to Stay on Amorgos

There are 2 main port towns you will want to stay on Amorgos island, depending on which port your ferry arrives and departs.

The 2 towns are Katapola and Aegiali. Aegiali is more expensive but has more stuff to do. Katapola is more sleepy and has less stuff to see/do but it is the cheaper of the two. Decide on where to stay based on where your ferry arrives and departs. My ferry arrived and departed in Katapola so I stayed in this town. 

Where to Stay in Katapoli

Le Grande Bleu Villa (named after the famous French movie!)

This is a cute little boutique hotel a 5 minute walk to the port. The rooms were spacious, it was super quiet, and the hosts were SO hospital and nice! I absolutely loved my stay here and would highly recommend it. They even got a 9.7 review score on Booking.com! You can check the listing HERE. Oh, and did I mention it was only $35/night?

PS: You can rent an ATV directly from the villa and get it delivered for €15 per day, which is the cheapest price for an ATV that I’ve ever received on a Greek island (it was also off season so keep that in mind).

How to Get Around Amorgos

This is one island you absolutely need your own transportation as the bus service on the island is not that frequent and will not go to all the places you will want to visit.

The island is so small I would definitely rent an ATV to explore! There aren’t many cars on the road and it’s so easy to park everywhere with a small ATV.

Tip: There are only 2 gas stations on the entire island so make sure to fill up whenever you can!


12 Amazing Reasons to Visit Amorgos, Greece


Mouros Bay

Mouros Bay is a secluded beach that you have to walk down many steps to get to. The beach is lined with black sand and rocks, which contrasts so beautifully with the aqua water. There are no facilities on the beach and it is one of the more rugged beaches on the island. 

Mouros Bay, Amorgos

There are also underwater caves that you can swim in on the far end (which you can see when you walk down there). They are visible in the photo below.Mouros Bay

Maltezi Beach

A 30-40 minute walk from the town of Katapola is a beautiful sandy beach called Maltezi. The walk starts off in the little village called Xilokeratidi and then takes you along the shoreline of the water.

Maltezi beaxch, Amorgos

You will pass a little church and then over a rocky hill is this gorgeous turquoise beach that will beg you to come take a dip in. It does require a small hike up some rocks so closed toe shoes would be best.

Maltezi beaxch, Amorgos

The beach is hidden from the winds and remains pretty calm throughout the day. There are sun beds, umbrellas, and a little shack that serves drinks and snacks (but these facilities were not available when I visited in October).

Monastery of Panagia Hozoviotissa

This was the most spectacular thing to see on Amorgos in my opinion. The Monastery was built in the 11th century into the dramatic cliffside and sits an astonishing 980+ feet above the sea. The monastery is dedicated to Panagia (the Virgin Mary), the patron saint of the Island of Amorgos.

Monastery of Panagia Hozoviotissa

You will have to walk up about 309 steps to reach the top, but when the monastery first peaks through, it will blow you mind. At every turn it gets closer and closer and you continue to be in awe of this marvelous architectural marvel.

Monastery of Panagia Hozoviotissa


There are 3 monks that live here and act as guardians of the monastery. When you arrive, they serve you psimemi raki (a local liqueur) and some sweets. 

Monastery of Panagia Hozoviotissa, Amorgos

The monastery entrance is free but they so sell a few little trinkets inside to help pay for the upkeep. I bought a cute little ring with a cross for €5 for support of the monastery since it’s free entrance.

Amorgos

Tip: You must dress appropriately with shoulders and knees covered to get inside the monastery. They have some shawls at the entrance to cover up if you forget.


If you’re into lesser known Greek islands to visit, check out my guides on Kefalonia, Milos and Rhodes, 2 of the best Greek islands to visit!


Agia Anna Beach 

Agia Anna beach is right under the monastery and it takes just a few minutes to drive down the windy road to get to it. It is a very tiny pebbled beach with crystal waters. It is framed nicely by a cute little church. 

Olympia Shipwreck

The shipwreck was made famous by the movie Big Blue. The ship sank back in 1980 when the captain tried to find shelter from a storm. Everyone survived fortunately! There are rumors that the crew consisted of contemporary pirates that were coming from Cyprus. I guess we will never know!

Olympia, Amorgos

You must hike down about 10-15 minutes to get to the shipwreck. It’s an easy hike and I did it in sandals. This has also become a popular diving spot on the island.

Olympia shipwreck

Kalotaritissa Beach

Kalotaritissa Beach is about 5 minutes from the Olympia shipwreck. It is a gorgeous calm sandy beach with lots of little boats in the bay. In the summer you can cross to Gramvousa island from there, which looks absolutely stunning.Kalotaritissa Beach

There are no facilities at this beach and it’s a bit more rugged if that’s what you like.

Kalotaritissa Beach, Amorgos

Chora

Chora is the main town on the island of Amorgos and sits 400 meters above sea level with small streets and views of the windmills and castle.

Chora, Amorgos

There are remnants of a Venetian castle on the top which looks like a rock coming out of the top and contrasts great with the white buildings. Chora, Amorgos

The city is filled with small, maze-like streets, white washed buildings, and small boutiques and cafes.

Jazzmin cafe, Amorgos

Go to Jazzmin Cafe for great coffee and the best sunset view. From the terrace you can see the windmills sitting on the hill and admire the views while sipping on some coffee (or wine).Jazzmin cafe, Amorgos

Katapola

The quiet little port town that I stayed in was very peaceful and relaxing. There is a pebbled beach and a handful of tavernas lining the water.

Katapola, Amorgos

Go to Moonbar Katerina in Katapola for sunset. It’s a cute little wine bar with outdoor seating with a great view of the sunset. They serve a glass of wine with the local cheese which is SO good. A glass of wine costs €3.50, but the view is free. Moonbar Katerina, Amorgos

Most the restaurants in the port town have a view of the water and it’s so nice to end a day of exploring with a relaxing glass of wine watching the sun dip below the sea.

Amorgos, Greece

Kastri Hike

Start from the town of Vroutsis and take a peaceful stroll to Kastri, situated on the cliff overlooking the water. The hike ends at the acropolis of Ancient Arkesini, an ancient Greek settlement. 

Kastri, Amorgos

The hike takes about 30 minutes and you will pass a beautiful church on the way. The views the whole way are stunning. Definitely wear sneakers and not sandals like I did because it gets a bit rocky.Kastri, Amorgos

Tip: the Kastri hike is hike #3 on the hiking map of Amorgos. 

Tholaria to Langada Hike

One really cool hike is from one hilltop town to the other! You can hike from Tholaria to Langada hilltop towns in about 1 hour and 15 minutes and it is pretty flat the whole way.Amorgos, Greece

It’s an easy hike with views of Aegiali Bay the whole way. The hike is completely uncovered so you’re exposed to the sun the whole time. You definitely will want to wear a hat and sunscreen for this hike. Amorgos, Greece

Tholaria, Amorgos

cute little streets of Tholaria town

Tip: this is hike #4 on the hiking map of Amorgos.

Aegiali Bay

One of the main port towns on the island, along with Katapola, is called Aegiali. This town is more populated than Katapola and where to stay if you want a little more action.Aegiali bay, Amorgos

Aegiali has little cafes and gift shops lining the harbor with calm and aqua waters. Go to Maestro Cafe at the far end of the port. It has a great view of the water and has excellent coffee and breakfast. I went here twice!

Aegiali has an upscale hotel on the hillside overlooking the whole bay called Aegialis Hotel & Spa. It is the only 5 star hotel on the island. I didn’t stay here but took a tour of the facilities with one of the staff members and this place is absolutely breathtaking! They definitely have the best view of the island from the hotel, as you can see below. Aegiali bay, Amorgos

Levrossos Beach

This was my favorite beach on the island of Amorgos. Levrossos is basically a continuation of Aegiali Bay, but more secluded. You can walk from Aegiali in about 20 minutes or you can drive to the little parking lot above it and walk down in less than 5 minutes.Levrossos, Amorgos

There’s a cute little taverna above the beach with amazing views of the sea and surrounding mountains. This is a considered a nudist beach but not many people were nude. It is a calm sandy beach that’s a great place to relax.

Tip: If you walk 10-15 minutes past Levrossos, there is Psili Ammos Beach, an even more secluded beach with black sand. It was almost all nude sunbathers when I went. The views on the way to the beach are some of the best I saw on the whole island. You will see Levrossos and Aegiali beach in the distance framed by the mountains and hilltop towns. It’s so darn pretty!

Tip: As you’re leaving Levrossos, there are some epic white stairs carved into the mountain, which leads to a little church called Agios Konstantinos. It is right above Levrossos beach so keep an eye out.

Travel Insurance for Greek Islands 

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.

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Patagonia Itinerary: How to See the Best of Patagonia in Just 8 Days

Patagonia Itinerary: How to See the Best of Patagonia in Just 8 Days

If you’re into hiking and nature, there’s a good chance Patagonia is on your bucket list. It’s the ultimate nature lover’s dream. It had been my dream for years and I finally made it a reality with this epic Patagonia itinerary.

But I will be honest, planning a trip to Patagonia was the most complicated and stressful trip I have ever planned. There isn’t a lot of good info on Patagonia and I gave up planning 3 years in a row because it was too much work and extremely time consuming.

I wanted to see as much as possible in a little amount of time, so hopefully this Patagonia itinerary that I tried out will help you plan with a lot less stress.

Where is Patagonia

Patagonia is a sparsely populated region in southern south America that’s between Chile and Argentina. Patagonia contains many gorgeous National Parks, stunning lakes and glaciers, a vast desert, and of course the Andes Mountains.

PATAGONIA MAP

How to Get to Patagonia

Patagonia is HUGE so it depends on where exactly you’re going. But I would say the classic Patagonia trip would most definitely include Torres del Paine National Park, which is located in Chile.

There are 2 options for getting to Torres del Paine National Park. You can fly into Punta Arenas (farther away but many more flights) and then take a bus to Puerto Natales and then another one to the the National Park.

OR you can fly directly into Puerto Natales Airport (airport code PNT), which is what I did (from Santiago). There was a direct flight that took about 2 hours and 40 minutes on Sky Airline. The cost was only $38 with only a personal item. The carry on cost $32, so $70 total to get from Santiago to Puerto Natales. There is only ONE flight per day max during peak season and it’s not every day. I bought my ticket 6 months in advance, so make sure you buy in advance if you want to do this option.

There are taxi stands at the baggage claim at Puerto Natales airport where you pay $8000 CLP (about $10) to go to Puerto Natales city center. It takes about 15 minutes on a scenic drive along the water. You pay and get a voucher and then take it outside to the taxi stand. It’s a fixed price.

My Patagonia Route:

I flew into Puerto Natales and out of El Calafate during my Patagonia trip. I wanted to avoid as much backtracking as possible due to time constraints.

I flew from Santiago to Puerto Natales, then took a bus from Puerto Natales to El Calafate, then a bus to El Chalten, then a bus back to El Calafate where I flew out from. From El Calafate you can continue on to Buenos Aires directly or to Mendoza with a connection. Flying within the country is pretty cheap but it’s expensive if you want to fly between Chile and Argentina.


8 Day Patagonia Itinerary

Day 1: Fly into Puerto Natales from Santiago

Day 2: Mirador Los Torres all day hike (8-10 hrs)

Day 3: Bus to El Calafate

Day 4: Day trip to Perito Moreno Glacier

Day 5: Bus to El Chaltén + Mirador De Los Condores hike for sunset

Day 6: Mirador De Los Tres (Fitzroy) all day hike (8-10 hrs)

Day 7: Laguna Torre all day hike (5-7 hrs)…I dod NOT get to this hike as the weather was bad and my legs were dead. Instead, I had a spa day at Spa Yaten! (see below)

Day 8: Bus back to El Calafate and fly out from El Calafate airport

Pro Tip: I would highly recommend adding an extra day before or after the 2 big hikes (Mirador Los Torres and Mirador De Los Tres) because sometimes the trails are closed due to high winds or other crazy weather. This DOES happen in Patagonia since the weather is so unpredictable. You wouldn’t want to go all the way to Patagonia and then miss one of these bucket list hikes because you didn’t allow enough time. Take an extra day and relax if you need! I actually did that after the first big hike (and due to the weather the second hike as well). The hikes will drain your energy so having that extra time to recover is key!


What to See in Chilean Patagonia

Ok, now let’s get into that famous Patagonia hiking! I mean, isn’t that why most people come to this region?

Torres Del Paine is said to be the most popular destination in Patagonia so no trip would be complete without a visit to this spectacular natural park in Chile.

Most people opt for the multi day hikes such as the W circuit and O circuit in Torres Del Paine. However, if you don’t have the time or are not into overnight camping, you can easily do a day trip to the best hike in the park! (which is what I did).  If you only do one thing in Torres del Paine National Park, make it a day hike to Mirador las Torres for the best views!

Patagonia Itinerary

Patagonia Hikes: Mirador las Torres 

Distance: 11 miles round trip

Elevation gain: 3000 ft

Time it takes: 7-10 hours (depending how fast/fit you are)

Where to start: Hotel Los Torres

Which park entrance to use: Amarga

Torres Del Paine Entrance Fee is $21,000 CLP (about $26) and it lasts 3 consecutive days (there are other options if you stay longer to do the multi-day treks). You must pay in CASH in Chilean Pesos only. You must also have your passport number for the form but they didn’t actually ask for the passport.

The drive from puerto Natales to the entrance at Amarga was about 2.5 hours with 2 quick stops for viewpoints. Then it’s another 20 minutes on a dirt road to Hotel Los Torres.

Mirador las Torres Hike

The first hour or so of the hike is uphill, then it evens out a little until you get to Refugio Chileno (about 1.5 hours from the start) where you can buy snacks, food, and use the restroom. (They have pizza, burgers, and sandwiches). They accept cash only. The bathroom costs 500 CLP. This is a good stopping place to rest and eat a snack or lunch. I stopped here on the way in and the way out to rest and recharge.

Torres Del Paine

The next part of the hike is through a little forest where there is shade for about another hour and 15 minutes.

The last part of the hike is about 1 hour uphill on steep rocks. Some of the rocks are loose so just be careful. The last hour is brutal and the hardest part of the hike, But the reward at the end is SO worth it!

Tips:

  • start early because technically they close the top at 4:30pm (there are park rangers up there and they will make you to start to go back down).
  • bring plenty of snacks because this is a very tiring hike
  • you can refill your water bottle in any of the natural springs on the way, the water is fresh
  • make sure to bring a hat and gloves because the top is windy and chilly

Where to Stay in Puerto Natales

I don’t know if there is such thing as Patagonia for cheap, but I decided to go cheap with accommodations on this trip since everything else was so expensive. Most the places I stayed were around $40 a night on average and I had my own place (except in El Claltén, where I just rented a room in a nice house and it was great!).

I rented this little cabin in the back of the host’s house on Airbnb and it was pretty good for the price. It had 2 floors and could sleep 3 people. The neighborhood wasn’t my favorite but it was only a 10 minute walk to the center of town. It was basic so don’t expect anything too fancy, but I was happy with it. It was $35/night and this was peak season. If you’re new to Airbnb, use this coupon for $30 OFF your first trip!

PS: while staying in Puerto Natales, make sure to go to Coffee Maker for amazing views of the water and mountains and good coffee (they have soy milk, yay!). It had a cute and cozy interior with faux fur cushions and couches. Great place if you like coffee and views!


What to See in Argentinian Patagonia


El Calafate 

El Calafate is a small touristy town where you will base yourself for the next big attraction in Argentinian Patagonia: Perito Moreno Glacier!
Perito Moreno Glacier

Perito Moreno Glacier

Here are 5 interesting Perito Moreno Glacier facts:

  • Perito Moreno Glacier is HUGE, covering 100 square miles (a length of 19 miles and a width of 3 miles). It’s also 560 feet tall! You can’t really appreciate the vast size of it until you see it in person.
  • Perito Moreno glacier is the 3rd largest freshwater reserve on the entire planet!
  • Glaciers help regulate the earth’s temperature as they reflect 45-85% of the earth’s sunlight!
  • Unlike most glaciers which are receding, Perito Moreno is actually advancing! (by 2 meters per day).
  • it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Patagonia Itinerary

How to Get to Perito Moreno Glacier

From El Calafate you can take one of many daily busses that go to the glacier. It takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes to get there by bus.

I went with the company Andesmar. The bus costs $1000 ARS ($16) and it takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes to get there. I heard it gets super busy in the morning so I decided to go in the afternoon, which was a good call! I liked this company since the bus was more like a mini van and it wasn’t crowded at all.

I took the afternoon bus at 1:30pm and departed the glacier at 6pm so you get about 3 hours which is enough in my opinion if you’re not going on the boat tour (boat tour is $1000 ARS).

Patagonia Itinerary

The entrance fee to Perito Moreno Glacier is $800 ARS ($13). You CAN pay by credit card despite what every blog says that you can’t. However, in my experience the credit card machines in Argentina sometimes don’t work so it’s better to have the cash with you (there are NO ATMs in the park or anywhere around).

I completed the orange, black and the first part of the blue trail in about 2 hours. The green trail was closed. In my opinion, the central trial has the best views (orange) as well as the first part of the blue trail before it wraps around to the other side of the lake.

Tip: Bring some snacks (and some wine) and have a little picnic with great views!

Where to Stay in El Calafate 

I stayed in this studio Airbnb right in the middle of the town and it was great! Super spacious and so close to everything. It had AC and cable TV which was also a plus. My only complaint is the pack of dogs barking outside my window at night, but I think that’s a problem everywhere in the city as I saw stray dogs literally everywhere. It cost $40/night.

El Chaltén

El Chaltén was probably the most charming of the 3 small towns I stayed in around Patagonia. It is located in Los Glaciers National Park. It’s also the perfect location for many hikes as most of them start right from the town! The most famous hike here is the Laguna De Los Tres (aka Mt Fitzroy) hike. This ended up being my favorite hike in ALL of Patagonia!

Patagonia Hikes: Laguna De Los Tres hike (aka Mt Fitzroy hike)

Patagonia Itinerary

Distance: 13 miles round trip

Elevation gain: 3300 ft

Time it takes: 8-10 hours (depending how fast/fit you are)

Where to start: either in El Chalten town or at Hosteria Pilar (my choice)

Laguna De Los Tres hike

This hike is a loop hike so you have the option of going a different way on the way back for different scenery.
What I recommend:

Take a shuttle bus (I used Frontera Sur company) to Hosteria Pilar to start the hike to Mt. Fitzroy. It cuts about 30 minutes off your hike and you get to see Piedras Blancas Glacier on the way (seen in the pic below!).

Patagonia Itinerary

It’s a pretty flat hike most the way through woods except the last hour to the top. This last hour is pretty steep up a hill and kinda like the Mirador Los Torres hike, except I thought this one was a lot easier. The last 20 minutes you will be climbing up a hill with loose rocks so be careful.

There is a campground called Poincenot on the way about 10-15 minutes before you hit the uphill climb. It takes 2 hours to get to Poincenot campground from Hosteria Pilar. There is an outhouse here (there is also another outhouse at the beginning of the steep climb). Bring your own toilet paper because there was none at either!

Patagonia itinerary

Once you reach the top, you can go down towards the lake on the left side and then up the little hill. It takes about 7-8 minutes to get up the hill where there is another glacier thats absolutely gorgeous.

Patagonia itinerary

You can see both lakes from the top and it’s an EPIC panoramic view. This was my favorite view in all of Patagonia!

On the way back from the hike, take the route towards Laguna Capri. Stop at laguna Capri on the way back for a rest and a snack. It’s a peaceful crystal clear lake with Mt. Fitzroy in the background. From there it’s about 1.5 hours back to El Chaltén, mostly downhill.

Patagonia Itinerary

It takes about 4 hours from the top to get back down to El Chaltén. You do go through some wooded areas with mosquitos so bring mosquito bracelets and/or spray (I have mine linked below!).

You can drink all the water in the streams on this hike as they are fresh! Make sure to pack lots of snacks and a lunch as this is going to be a long day. (tip: Circumin vegan restaurant in El Chaltén will pack you a lunch for hiking that’s vegan and gluten free if that’s your thing. Costs is $600 ARS {$10})

Patagonia Hikes: Mirador de los Cóndores

This is more like a little walk than a hike, so it’s super easy to add it onto the end of any day. It takes about 20 minutes one-way from the visitor’s center and about 30 minutes from the town. It’s a super easy hike up to view the whole city and Fitzroy in the backdrop. This hike would be great to do during sunset.

Patagonia itinerary

Tip: Go to Spa Yaten in El Chaltén after all your hikes for a nice massage. It costs $1900 ARS ($30) for 30 minutes. They also have a sauna and personal size jacuzzis if you fancy. It’s the perfect way to relax after all that hiking.

Where to Stay in El Chaltén

I stayed in a room in my host’s house and it was perfect! It was right in the center of town and the shuttle bus to the Mt. Fitzroy hike stopped right in front of it (and the host set it up all for me). The host was super helpful and friendly. I would definitely recommend it! This is the Airbnb link HERE. It was $50 per night.

How to Get in Between Towns in Patagonia

I originally wanted to rent a car for all of Patagonia, but realized most companies will not let you cross over the border (and the few that do charge an arm and a leg to do it). So I decided to rent a car from Puerto Natales just to go to Torres del Paine National Park. Then from Puerto Natales I took a bus to El Calafate, and then eventually to El Chaltén.

For the car rental, I found a local branch of Avis called EMSA Rent a Car. I went through them and it was SO much cheaper than any other company for an automatic car. I ended up paying about $71 a day for an automatic when most other companies online were charging about $200 per day (yes, you heard that right). If you can drive stick shift, consider yourself blessed in Patagonia!

The busses were clean and comfortable and most of them allowed you to pick your seat in advance. Make sure to take the front seat on top for the BEST views! I used 3 different companies and all were pretty similar in terms of quality and price.

Patagonia Itinerary, busses in Patagonia

Views from the top of the double decker bus from El Calafate to El Chaltén

Bus Companies in Patagonia:

Bus-Sur: I took this from Puerto Natales to El Calafate. This trip took about 5 hours and 30 minutes with the border crossing. You get to pick your seat when you book, but it was not a double decker bus. Cost: $20,000 CLP (about $25 at time of this article).

Chaltén travel– I took this from El Calafate to El Chaltén. It’s a a double decker bus and you get to choose your seat when you book. The trip took 3 hours with a stop at the ranger station for orientation and a quick lecture about the rules of Los Glaciers National Park. Cost: $1000 ARS (about $16 at time of this article).

Cal-Tur-I took this double decker bus from El Chaltén to El Calafate. The trip took 2 hours and 40 minutes on the way back (as you don’t need to do the orientation again obviously). This company had free seats so get there early to choose your seat. Cost: $1000 ARS (about $16 at time of this article).

Note: due to the crazy inflation and exchange rates in Argentina, these prices will fluctuate drastically. So it’s hard to predict how much they will cost during your trip. I got lucky and had a very good exchange rate at the time so the prices were very low compared to what I’ve read in other blogs.

What to Pack for Patagonia 

This was tough as I only carried a tiny carry on for my Patagonia trip, and I also went to other areas in Argentina for 9 days after that.  With 2 different climates, I brought only the essentials.

Patagonia itinerary

My foldable backpack really came in handy on my Patagonia hikes! (also pictured: my super comfy leopard leggings, best hiking socks, waterproof hiking boots, and cute baseball cap).

Patagonia is notorious for crazy changing weather and high winds strong enough to blow you down to the ground so you definitely want to be prepared. I went during their summer in December and it was actually a lot warmer than I expected and I hardly got any of the harsh winds. However, I had everything I needed for the crazy weather with me just in case.

The 3 things you absolutely cannot forget to pack for Patagonia are: waterproof hiking boots, rain jacket, and puffer coat.

Here is everything I packed for my Patagonia hikes:

Base layer.-This one from Amazon is a total dupe of Lululemon and such good quality! I loved the thumb holes.
Merino wool hiking socks-hands-down the BEST hiking socks! Expensive but worth it! They don’t absorb sweat so never really smell. You can re-wear them if you don’t have access to a washer. I have 2 pair and recycle them throughout my trips.
Tank tops-a basic tank for when you get hot from hiking is essential. I like the longer ones that cover the bum!
Leopard Leggings-my new favorite Amazon leggings. So comfortable and awesome quality!
Hiking boots-these are my favorite hiking boots! They keep my feet totally dry in wet weather and have good grip.
Waterproof rain pants-I brought these but ended up not needing them, but they were good quality for the price.
Packable puffer jacket-I was amazed at how warm this kept me with how thin it is! Great for traveling light!
Beanie-it gets really cold and windy at the top of the mountains so you definitely want to pack a beanie.
Gloves-again, it gets cold up there so be prepared!
Hiking poles-I didn’t end up buying these but regretted it. They could have saved my knees. These are the ones I had saved to buy on Amazon (so I don’t actually know hoe they perform honestly).
Rain jacket-this is the best lightweight rain jacket! I’ve been using it for years and it keeps me pretty dry.
Hoodie/fleece-you definitely want to bring this for an extra layer.
Sunglasses-my $12 Amazon sunglasses are great! They feel like much better quality and really block the sun.
Packable backpack-this was SO handy for this trip. It was super sturdy quality as well. Was hard to get it to pack into itself the first few tries, but you will get the hang of it after 3-4 times. I’m bringing this on all my trips now!
Baseball cap-I have a blue and black one in this hat and I love it! I always get compliments on it.
All Natural Mosquito bracelets-so glad I brought these because there were more mosquitos than i thought in Patagonia, especially walking through the wooded areas.
Natural Mosquito lotion-I used this in combo with the bracelets and did not get one bite! It does not contain DEET, which is very toxic to breathe in.
Compression socks-these are for all the plane rides to prevent swelling in the legs and possibly a clot. I wear them on any flight over 1 hour!

Electronics

Good power bank-this is the BEST power bank I’ve ever used. It charges your iPhone 3-5 times (Depending on which one you have). It also has 2 plugs so you can plug more than one device into it at once!
Sony Mirrorless Camera with Wide Angle Lens (crucial for getting all those mountains in the shot!)
GoPro Hero 8-also great for that wide angle effect or if you want to make cool videos!
GoPro selfie stick-been using this one for years! It’s so small and compact and you can screw a little trip onto the bottom.
iPhone selfie stick-this one works for your iPhone and your GoPro. It’s lightweight and super easy to carry around everywhere. It also has a remote!
iPhone 10-the camera on the newer iPhones are incredible!
iPhone 10 screen protector-this is the BEST screen protector I’ve found! I actually forgot my hard case in Patagonia and dropped my phone hard and the screen protector totally protected it. The screen protector cracks and it saves your phone!
Outlet converters for Chile and Argentina
Noise cancelling headphones-this is a great alternative to the super expensive Bose headphones. No way I’m paying $300+ for headphones. But i use these and I’m happy with them.

Travel Insurance for Patagonia 

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 or remote places in the mountains, as you may need to be air-lifted 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.

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Patagonia itinerary

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Ninh Binh Vietnam: The Incredible Day Trip You MUST Take from Hanoi

Ninh Binh Vietnam: The Incredible Day Trip You MUST Take from Hanoi

Day Trip to Ninh Binh Vietnam

If there is ONE day trip you take from Hanoi, make sure it is to the serene Vietnamese countryside to an area called Ninh Binh. It was such a nice escape from the insanely hectic city of Hanoi and it ended up being my favorite place in all of Vietnam!

It’s an easy stress-free day trip from Hanoi and is 100% worth doing, especially if you love nature, mountains, and epic panoramic views. Here is a quick guide on how to do an easy day trip to Ninh Binh, Vietnam.

How to Get to Ninh Binh from Hanoi

Train

Hanoi to Ninh Binh:

The earliest train to Ninh Binh leaves at 6 am and takes about 2 hours.

Ninh Binh to Hanoi

The last train leaves Ninh Binh at 5:27pm and takes 2 hours to get back to Hanoi.

The cost of the round-trip train from Hanoi to Ninh Binh is 216,000 dong ($9.50). To get your ticket, go to the tourist info center in the train station. You will see someone behind a desk and you sit on a chair and wait for them to process your ticket. I waited 10-15 minutes and they wrote me a paper ticket. You must bring your passport to purchase a ticket (a photo of your passport works too).

Note: I went the day before to get my ticket because I wasn’t sure what time they opened and I didn’t want to miss the first train. I’m glad I did because they were very slow in processing the ticket! Apparently you can book on the official site of Vietnam Railways but when I checked the online prices were way higher than the in-person prices.

Bus

There is also a bus that runs from Hanoi to Ninh Binh and takes about 2.5 hours. The cost is around $7. But honestly, when it comes to public transportation in Southeast (SE) Asia, I would definitely trust the train over the bus as bus safety is a big issue in a lot of SE Asian countries.

What to Do In Ninh Binh Vietnam

Hang Mua (Mua caves)

Hang Mua is the crown jewel of Ninh Binh in my opinion. I went here first because I wanted to beat the crowds and the heat. I went right when they opened and was the first person there so I had it to myself for a bit which was really nice.

Ninh Binh Vietnam

You must climb almost 500 steps to reach the top of the Hang Mua Peak and the views from the top will blow your mind! The entrance fee is 100,000 dong ($4), cash only!

Ninh Binh Vietnam

At the top of what the locals call, “dragon mountain” is a HUGE carved out dragon that is said to be watching over the valley.

On the other side you will have a sweeping panoramic view over the Tam Coc Valley, and the BEST view I saw in all of Vietnam.

Ninh Binh Vietnam

Tam Coc Boat Tour

You can take a quick taxi from Hang Mua to Tam Coc for 50,000 dong ($2). Tam Coc is part of the Tràng An Scenic Landscape Complex which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The Tam Coc Boat tour costs 270,000 ($12) dong per boat (2 ppl max). The trip is 1.5 hrs long and goes through the gorgeous valley, passing under some caves and past some rice fields. You also randomly stop to feed some hangry goats, which was fun!

Ninh Binh Vietnam

The fun thing about this boat trip is that one of the locals pedals the oars with their feet for the entire ride. They work really hard so make sure to give them a good tip at the end!

Rent a Bike in the Tam Coc Valley

One of my favorite things I did in Ninh Binh was rent a bike and wind through the gorgeous rice fields with the river on one side and the mountains on the other. There were many different paths to take and I had such a blast exploring the peaceful countryside.

You can rent a bike from across the street from the Tam Coc Boat tours at one of the shops for 50,000 dong ($2).

Get a Famous Vietnamese Egg Coffee

Brick coffee shop was only a 5 minute bike ride away from the boats. It had the most amazing egg coffee and was a super cute/trendy coffee shop. This was a great way to end my day trip in Ninh Binh before returning my bike and heading back to the train station.

Taxis in Ninh Binh Vietnam

I took taxis the whole time I was in Ninh Binh and it was super cheap and convenient. The taxi from Ninh Binh train station to Mua caves cost 100,000 dong ($4). The taxi from Mua caves to Tam Coc cost 50,000 dong ($2). The taxi from Tam Coc back to the train station cost 100,000 ($4). So in total it costs 250,000 for the entire day of taxis ($10).

Grab App

The Grab app is like the local version of Uber. But you can see messages through the app, good for when you have WiFi but not a local phone number to call. You can also add a quick note to the driver when you book (ex: I’m right outside the train station). You pay them in cash. You can set up to pay by card but you have to buy credits in increments of 100,000 dong so if you don’t use them all you waste money.

Tours in Ninh Binh

If you don’t really want to lift a finger and have everything planned out for you, I would recommend the tour company Get Your Guide. I usually like to do thing on my own, but when I do a tour, I usually choose this company. You can check the Ninh Binh tours HERE.

 

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Why You Should Always Travel with Travel Insurance (Because shit happens)

Why You Should Always Travel with Travel Insurance (Because shit happens)

Is travel insurance worth it? This is such a big debate in the travel community and I’ve noticed that sometimes the arguments  around it can get heated. In the end, it’s a personal choice.

The truth is, if you knew all the facts, you would probably agree that you should never travel without travel insurance. It’s just foolish and risky.

But hey, if you have a few hundred thousand dollars handy just in case you need to get air lifted from an island to the mainland, by all means, skip the travel insurance.

Travel insurance can save you a shitload of money in case an accident happens. And let me tell you, accidents DO happen when you least expect them.

I use World Nomads for all my international and yearly California trips. World Nomads offers comprehensive travel insurance internationally, as well as domestic travel insurance that is at least 100 miles from your home.


World Nomads Insurance Review


What Does Travel Insurance Actually Cover?

Travel insurance can save your ass in so many different ways (and get you reimbursed for your expenses). Here are the main things travel insurance will cover:

Trip protection

If your flight gets delayed or cancelled. This can also cover your accommodation/food expenses in these cases as well.

Emergency medical insurance (probably the most important part of travel insurance)

Unless you have some magical health insurance back home in the US, your health insurance will most likely NOT cover you abroad. I never knew that til about 10 years ago and that’s when I started getting travel insurance. Ignorance is bliss.

If you’re lucky, you may be covered so just call your health insurance to make sure. Even so, I would still purchase travel insurance for all the other benefits like trip protection/baggage and personal effects loss, etc.

Travel insurance will cover medical bills and dental costs in case you have an emergency overseas (examples: you get in a car accident, you catch the flu, you need to be hospitalized for food poisoning/yellow fever, you chip a tooth, etc.).

Gear Protection

In case your camera gear/computer/drone, etc gets damaged, lost, or stolen; your baggage gets lost/delayed.

Evacuation and Repatriation

In case you’re on a remote island and need to be airlifted to the mainland. Repatriation means in case of your death abroad, your body will be returned to your home country.

Collision Damage Waiver (CDW)

CDW is included in the Explorer Plan and will cover up to $35,000. (Note: CDW is not available for residents of NY, OR or TX).

What Travel Insurance Usually Does not Cover 

Pre-Existing Medical Conditions

Most travel insurance does NOT cover pre-existing medical conditions. Sometimes you can add on an extension for this and pay more. In terms of World Nomads, they do not cover pre-existing medical conditions UNLESS they are controlled and stable.

If you do have a stable pre-existing medical condition, such as diabetes or something, I would still call to make sure what exactly would be covered in the event you would need medical treatment related to this.

Motorbike Rentals

If you read the fine print, a majority of travel insurance companies will NOT cover you for riding a motorbike. World Nomads DOES cover motorbike activities. However, this is ONLY if you are properly licensed in your home country to drive the vehicle.

For example: if you want to rent a motorbike in Thailand and you’re from the USA, you must have a valid motorcycle license from the USA. I didn’t realize this until recently, so basically all the motorbikes I rode in SE Asia I wasn’t properly covered for. Thank God nothing happened!

World nomads insurance review

You Should NEVER Travel to the USA without Travel Insurance. Period. 

Great news! World Nomads covers non-USA citizens for traveling to the USA. I was able to help my boyfriend (who is from Croatia) secure travel insurance for his month long trip to the USA.

The USA is NOT a place you ever want to travel to without travel insurance. The cost of healthcare is RIDICULOUSLY expensive. A trip to the hospital can run you $2,000-$10,000+(for a one night stay).

There is no way around it and if you need medical care while you’re here, you WILL pay the price (they will track you down until it’s paid so be prepared if you visit without travel insurance).

My Favorite Travel Insurance: World Nomads Insurance

I’ve been using World Nomads for the past 4.5 years and I absolutely love them. I have filed 3 claims so far and have gotten fully reimbursed without hassle. I had 2 claims for stolen gear (both in South America) and one hospital visit in Croatia.

Top 5 Reasons Why I Love World Nomads Insurance

  • You can file a claim entirely (and easily) online
  • Their customer service is very helpful
  • You can get reimbursed fairly quickly
  • Their coverage is some of the BEST, especially when it comes to emergency medical expenses
  • You can extend your coverage easily, even while you’re already on your trip (instead of having to buy a whole new policy)

My real life experiences with World Nomads:

1. After a big trip to Africa I was in Croatia and had severe stomach pains. My hypochondriac self was convinced I had Hepatitis A since I didn’t get the vaccine before my trip. Two hospital visits later and some meds and I was discharged with gastroenteritis.

Type of Claim: Medical Emergency

What was required to file my claim: the discharge letter from the hospital which included my diagnosis and doctor’s signature, copy of my bill, receipt/bill from the pharmacy where I got my prescription, and a copy of my return plane ticket in and out of Croatia.

How Long Did it Take to Get Reimbursed: 6 weeks total to get my check mailed to my door (it was delayed a bit since I forgot to submit proof of my plane ticket…not entirely sure why the plane ticket mattered since it had nothing to do with my hospital visit, but hey, they required it).

Note: it says on the site that documents need to be translated into English, but when I called they informed me that it was not necessary. So I just submitted the doctor’s note in Croatian and it was totally fine.


2. While on a bus in Colombia I had my very expensive camera lens stolen from my bag. My Airbnb host helped me file a police report in Colombia and as soon as I got back I filed my claim.

Type of Claim: Stolen Gear

What was required to file my claim:the police report, receipt of purchase of the camera lens, proof that my credit card was charged for the purchase, and a copy of my return plane ticket.

How Long Did it Take to Get Reimbursed: 4 weeks total


3. While in Bolivia I had my cell phone stolen from me right in front of my Airbnb with 2 security guards. How does this even happen? Ugh.

Type of Claim: Stolen Gear

What was required to file my claim:the police report, receipt of purchase of my cellphone, proof that my credit card was charged for the purchase, and a copy of my return plane ticket.

How Long Did it Take to Get Reimbursed: 5 weeks total


How to Get World Nomads for Your Next Trip

If you want an idea of how much travel insurance is going to cost, you can get a quick quote below:

World Nomads Standard vs Explorer Plan (Which one do you need?)

There are basically 2 different plan options for each trip. The standard is a more basic coverage and the explorer offers a bit more coverage.

If you can’t decide which one you need, the main difference between the 2 plans are as follows:

Activities you plan on participating in:

If you are going to be doing more high risk activities such as cliff jumping, cave diving, scuba diving more than 50 meters deep, sky diving, hiking (up to 22,965 feet/7,000 meters), etc. you probably will need the Explorer Plan.

If you plan on going to to the beach and lounging most the time, the Standard Plan may be more suitable for you.

You can check the list of activities and which plan covers them here.

The Explorer plan also gives more coverage in almost every category including gear coverage of $3000 compared to $1000 in the standard plan, CDW coverage up to $35,000 versus no CDW coverage with the standard plan, etc. Without getting too detailed, you can check the example below:

World nomads insurance review

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World nomads insurance review

Note: I am not getting paid for this post nor did I receive any discounts for using World Nomads. I have been using it on my own for 4.5 years and absolutely love it. After using it for so long, I decided to sign up for their affiliate program which lets me receive a very small commission if you use my links (at no extra cost to you of course). This helps me keep my site ad free (cuz I hate ads when I’m trying to read a site, don’t you?). So THANK YOU! ♥

 

How to Visit Murano and Burano in One Day (from Venice Airport or Venice)

How to Visit Murano and Burano in One Day (from Venice Airport or Venice)

It took me my 3rd trip to Venice to finally visit the colorful towns of Murano and Burano. I would say they were worth the wait!

Murano and Burano can be visited as a day drip from Venice. Or as I did it, a day trip during a long layover at Venice airport (airport code VCE).

I arrived around 9am and my next flight was not until 7pm so it was plenty of time to get out and explore. The immigration process took a lot longer than I though for a smaller airport (about 40 minutes total) so keep that in mind!). It was a Saturday so maybe that’s why it was so busy.


How to Visit to Murano and Burano in One Day


How To Get To Murano and Burano from Venice Airport

Alilaguna Water Boat

The Alilaguna water boat from Venice Marco Polo airport to Murano takes 30 minutes. The Ticket costs 8€ one way and 15€ return. (The ticket to Venice costs 15€ one way). 

How to Visit to Murano and Burano in One Day

The boat for Murano leaves every 30 minutes from the airport. It is Blue Line B. 

You can buy the ticket online, at the airport, on the boat, or at the dock. They take credit cards in the airport. It costs 1€ more to buy it on the boat. The boat takes cash only.

The dock is a 5 minute walk in a covered walkway that’s connected to the airport.

How to Get to Burano from Murano

Vaparetto 12

The Vaparetto 12 goes to Burano (or Venice).

The #12 leaves from Murano to Burano every 20 minutes and takes 33 minutes from Murano to Burano.  

How to Visit to Murano and Burano in One Day

Note: you MUST validate your ticket at the machine for Vaparetto #12 or it’s a 70€ fine. There is a little box when you’re waiting in line to board that stamps your ticket with the time.  DO NOT FORGET!

It’s about a 7-8 minute walk form the main terminal of Line B to Vaparetto 12 

How to Get to Murano & Burano from Venice

Vaporetto 12 goes from Venice to Burano and the cost is 6.50€. You can get on the #12 from Fondament Nove (near St. Mark’s Sq).

How to Visit to Murano and Burano in One Day

Colors of Burano

The Vaporetto 12 leaves every 30 minutes. Get off on the first stop if you want to go to Murano (Burano is the 3rd stop). It takes a total of 40 minutes to get from Venice to Burano.

The Vaporetto 12 schedule can be found here.

What to do in Murano and Burano 

There isn’t a whole lot to “do” besides walk around and take in the amazing colorful towns. 

How to Visit to Murano and Burano in One Day

Murano is famous for their colorful glass and its fun to walk into all the shops and see all the artsy creations. If you have time, you can take a tour of the glass workshops.

How to Visit to Murano and Burano in One Day

Burano is the prettier of the 2 in my opinion, and I enjoyed just walking around and enjoying the vibe and having a cappuccino with a waterside view. 

How to Visit to Murano and Burano in One Day

Make sure to eat at Trattoria al Gatto Negro in Burano. It’s a Michelin Star restaurant and has fabulous seafood dishes. It’s very popular and there is always a wait. I had to wait one hour. The seafood pasta was amazing and they give you a lot of seafood. They had GF pasta and Gf bread too!

How to Visit to Murano and Burano in One Day

How To Get Back To Venice Airport from Burano

Unfortunately, there is no direct line back to the airport so you will have to go back to Murano first via Vaparetto 12 and then back to the airport via the water boat on Line B. 

Make sure to allow enough time to get back to the airport because both boat rides will take 63 minutes total, plus the time in between to walk from one dock to the other (7-8 minutes), plus whatever time it is until the next boat. So give yourself AT LEAST 1 hour and 30 minutes to get back to Venice Airport from Burano.

Luggage Storage at Venice Marco Polo Airport (VCE)

You can easily store your luggage at Venice Marco Polo Airport (VCE). The cost is 7€ for the first hour and then 0,30€ (30 cents) for each additional hour. They charge per bag so definitely try to consolidate.

Luggage storage hours at VCE: 5am to 10pm.

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Cute Places to Stay in Bali with Amazing Views for Under $40/night (+ 1 Splurge!)

Cute Places to Stay in Bali with Amazing Views for Under $40/night (+ 1 Splurge!)

Bali is a dream destination, partly because it’s so damn cheap! Oh yeah, and the other part because it’s so damn gorgeous! The great part about Bali is that you can ball it up in luxury, without the luxury price tags. So sit back and let yourself live like a queen (or king) while you’re there. You deserve it. ♥

On my recent trip to Bali, I was determined to find cute and comfy accommodation that wouldn’t burn a hole in my pockets. I ended up finding a few amazing places all with nice views, pools, and yummy food, for under $40! I used a combination of Airbnb, Booking.com, and Hotels.com and found the perfect places, which I highlighted below.

I included Lombok since that’s a popular nearby island that many add onto their Bali trip, although it’s not technically Bali. I also included 2 splurge resorts if you wanna go all out. But it’s still not that expensive as you’ll see ($103 for a 5-star resort. What??)

Oh, and before I begin, I may have a few coupons you can use! If you’re new to Airbnb, you can get $40 OFF your first rental. Airbnb is my accommodation of choice and I use them for 80% of my accommodations. If you’re new to Booking.com, you can get $20 OFF your first booking. Booking.com is great because they have the “pay later” option where you pay upon arrival.


Cute Places to Stay in Bali


♥D’mas Huts♥ | Cute Places to Stay in Bali | Nusa Lembongan

This family run place was absolutely fantastic. It’s composed of only 5 private huts and has spectacular views over Nusa Ceningan and the gorgeous blue water in between. 

Cute Places to Stay in Bali

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 variety of foods at a super reasonable price. Plus the views over the pool and landscape below is fantastic! The food was super delicious as well! 

Cute Places to Stay in Bali

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! 

Another perk is onsite scooter rentals for 50k/day. Breakfast was not included in the price, but like I mentioned above, the prices were super reasonable. 

The location was excellent to explore all 3 Nusas, about 15 minutes from Lembongen town and less than 10 minutes to  Nusa Ceningan. The yellow bridge is also where you can catch the public boat to Nusa Penida!

For more on the Bali Nusas, check out my article How to Spend 3 Days in the Nusa Islands (Lembongan, Ceningan, & Penida)

Pricing: on sale for $18/night 

How I booked: Hotels.com

*also make sure to check the listing on Booking.com as it’s listed there as well and they have the option to pay later!

♥The Inn Possible♥ | Cute Places to Stay in Bali | Uluwatu 

Getting to this secluded paradise is no easy task, but it’s half the fun! It takes about a 15 minute walk down steep steps and passing through some houses. It sits on Bingin beach, one of the more secluded and beautiful beaches on the island. The hotel is literally right smack on the sand and it doesn’t get more secluded than this. 

Cute Places to Stay in Bali

The pathway to the secluded Inn Possible

The views from the main hangout area/lobby are stunning. You can order food from their restaurant and eat it at the bar overlooking the ocean and it’s really incredible. 

The vibe is super chill and laid back and the owner is super friendly and helpful with any info you need. 

It takes about a 10-12 minute scooter ride to get to Uluwatu temple, perched high up on the plunging cliff side. While the temple itself is nothing spectacular, the dramatic setting makes up for it!

Cute Places to Stay in Bali

The rooms are huge and come with either an AC or fan (make sure to book the room with the AC because it’s very hot!)

As resources are limited in this secluded spot, there is no hot water. But you won’t even care, trust me! The Inn Possible is one of those places where you go to relax and enjoy the serenity. I didn’t ever wanna leave (also because of those evil stairs haha). Tip: I wouldn’t even think about taking a large suitcase down there!

Pricing: $40/night 

How I booked: Booking.com and paid in cash at the resort (they don’t take credit cards).

♥Coconut Boutique Resort♥ | Cute Places to Stay in Bali | Senggigi, Lombok

This hotel was very visually stunning with private bungalows all with pool views. The pool had a swim-up bar and illuminated blue LED lights. The bungalows were huge with a comfy bed, cable TV, mini fridge, and a beautiful outdoor bathroom.

Cute Places to Stay in Bali

There was an onsite restaurant and room service available that I took advantage of several times. The food was great and the prices were reasonable. 

My favorite part about the hotel was the onsite spa services out by the pool. You also had the choice of spa services in your room at no extra cost. I got 1-2 services each day, including a foot massage, shiatsu back massage, and a facial. The prices were really low, even at the inflated hotel prices, so that was an extra plus!

Cute Places to Stay in Bali

Onsite scooter rentals were 70k/day (~$5.25). Or it took about 10 minutes to get to Senggigi port, but I loved the peace and quiet of seclusion. 

Pricing: on sale for $38/night 

How I Booked: Booking.com link here

♥Airbnb Bungalow w/ Lush Pool♥ | Cute Places to Stay in Bali | (just North of Ubud)

This was the most secluded place I stayed and it’s exactly what I wanted! Comprised of only 5 private villas overlooking the lush pool area, this Airbnb was a total steal! Breakfast is included and can be served by the pool or on your patio. 

Cute Places to Stay in Bali

A free shuttle service 4 times a day to Ubud was included. And if you stay 3 or more days, a free motorbike rental is included. It took about 10 minutes to get to the center, but the tranquility is exactly what I asked for. 

The bungalow is equipped with a coffee maker, Cable TV, AC, a huge comfy bed, and multiple charging plugs. Even though I was solo, it’s a romantic place away from the busy and noisy center of Ubud. I even met a couple on their honeymoon staying right next door to me. 

Pricing: $40/night

How I Booked: You can find the Airbnb listing here. Also, don’t forget the $40 OFF coupon if you’re new to Airbnb.


Where to Stay if you Want to “Splurge” a Little Bit in Ubud


♥Alaya Resort Ubud♥ | Cute Places to Stay in Bali | Ubud

Alaya Resort Ubud is a quiet oasis right in the middle of the city, literally. This elegantly designed 5-star resort is the perfect place to feel pampered and taken care of.  

Alaya Resort Ubud has 2 pools, 2 restaurants, a fitness center, and a world class spa. 

Cute Places to Stay in Bali

The rooms had a California king size bed with plush comforters and pillows. A little detail that I thought was awesome was the built-in outlet converters in the rooms so you don’t even need to bring any!

Turn down service was provided nightly with a robe and slippers. All rooms come with a patio and sitting area outside. You will either have a view of the pool or the rice fields. My room with the rice field view was incredible. There is something just so peaceful about the rice fields that you forget you’re right in the middle of the city where all the action is. But don’t worry, you’re tucked away from all the sound so you’ll get a good night’s rest.

Where to Stay in Bali

The staff was incredibly helpful and kind and the breakfast was fresh and delicious. There were several choices on the menu and not your typical buffet style breakfast. I really appreciate when you actually have choices from a menu!

The location is great and just a few minutes from the famous Monkey Forest. It is also right next door to the popular Yoga Barn, where you can take a yoga class or eat at the cafe (which has amazing healthy juices and vegan/gluten free choices).

Fun fact: Alaya Resort Ubud was voted Eco-Hotel/Resort of the Year in 2016!

Pricing: prices are as low as $112 night (for a 5 stat hotel! Gotta love Bali).

How to Book: You can check the listing here on Booking.com

♥Alaya Jembawan♥ | Cute Places to Stay in Bali | Ubud

Fifteen minutes away from Alaya Ubud is their sister resort Alaya Jembawan, a boutique wellness center. It’s also in the center but a little more serene and secluded. Alaya Jembawan has 2 infinity pools overlooking lush tropical scenery. It is a bit smaller than Alaya Ubud, but also a bit cozier. 

This location made you feel a little more like you were out in the jungle and completely distant from the city. Yet it was conveniently located and a great base to walk around the city and enjoy great nearby cafes. 

Cute Places to Stay in Bali

Alaya Jembawan is more focused on wellness and healing and provides the perfect serene setting. In addition to the wellness spa offerings, there is an Ayurvedic doctor and yoga instructor on site to help encourage a more slow paced lifestyle.

Breakfast was served at the cutest little restaurant called Herb Library decorated in earthy pastels. They implement local seasonal and organic ingredients and serve raw or living food. They had many vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free options on the menu and everything tasted so fresh.

I really appreciated that they adopt an eat anytime policy where you are not bound to time constraints and can have your breakfast literally whenever you want (starts from 7am). Why can’t they have this everywhere?

Pricing: prices as low as $103 (how is that possible for a 5-star resort? It still baffles me).

How to Book: Check the listing here on Booking.com

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where to stay in Bali

Disclaimer: Some links in this article may include affiliate links, meaning I may receive a small commission if you book through these links, at NO extra cost to you. It’s what keeps this site ad free (I hate ads!). Also, I was a guest at Alaya Ubud and Alaya Jembawan. However, all opinions are my own and I am in no way obligated to leave positive feedback. I had an amazing time in the beautiful properties and I highly recommend staying at either one. Plus, they are super affordable for 5-star resorts!

Do You Have Any More Cute and Affordable Places You Recommend in Bali? Please Comment Below!