Redington Beach, FL Video: My Birthday Weekend + Local Tips

A Monday is even worse when you have just returned from your birthday weekend at the beach! I came back from one of my favorite beaches in the entire State of Florida, Redington Beach, yesterday. SO! Today, I’m going to share the short-and-sweet video I filmed at one of the beaches there last Saturday.

I just turned 29 on June 25th, by the way. Can’t believe it… I remember so clearly my first summer in Europe before I turned 18..

That was 11 YEARS ago. Absolutely insane how time flies after high school!

Redington Beach, Florida Video: My Birthday Shot!

The more I visit these beaches in Pinellas County, Florida, the deeper I fall in love with them. Sandwiched between the larger, ever-crowded Clearwater and St. Petersburg beaches, the small stretch made up by Redington Beach, Redington Shores, and North Redington Beach have captured my heart thanks to their local vibes.

Entertainment pricing and ample FREE parking, though, are the 2 huge pros that keep making me come back to for more.

It doesn’t matter which of the 3 Redingtons you choose: it’s hard to tell the difference between them, to be honest. You seamlessly go from one to the other, finding several family-owned businesses of outstanding value and quality sprinkled between the 3.

My Top Redington Beach Tips for Travelers

Again, all 3 Redingtons are so close together that these tips apply to Redington Beach and travelers in the vicinity.

Sunset at Redington Shores: one of Florida's best beaches

Top Spot for Happy Hour and Early Bird Specials: Seabreeze Island Grill

17855 Gulf Boulevard
Redington Shores, Florida 33708
Talk about not only the best deal in Redington Shores, but the best deal in any Coastal Florida town, perhaps: USD $12 for a three-course meal fromtheir Early Bird menu. Anyone showing up between opening and 6 PM can take advantage of this.

This deal includes their homemade, freshly-baked luau bread accompanied by either famous coconut macadamia butter as an appetizer; followed by one out of 10 entrée options that include things like Canadian-style lobster tacos or even a crab-meat-stuffed Mahi PLUS two sides; finished up with featured dessert of the day (typically a slice of their homemade cheesecake, drizzled with your choice of fruit, chocolate or caramel syrups).

Mah God. I’ve been there more than my toes and fingers can count and always come out of their stuff. Pair THAT combo with a USD $3 massive Margarita and then you understand why I have been going there almost every single weekend since I rung up 2016.

Best happy hour in Redington Beach

Top Spot for Breakfast and Brunch: Sweet Sage Café

16725 Gulf Boulevard
North Redington Beach, Florida 33708
Just tried this quirky café yesterday before we departed Redington and HOLY SCRAMBLED CRAB BENEDICT. I didn’t care much for the flatbread used as toast at the bottom, but the filler-free, perfectly-spiced crabby goodness topped by the fluffiest scrambled eggs I’ve ever seen in my life, then smothered with hot, creamy hollandaise sauce… It’s what egg Benedict lovers’ dreams are made of.

Oh, did I mention those just costed me USD $10.98?! God bless our waitress for recommending that! My partner got the waffles and they were equally-delicious and holy-whipped-cream presentation a plus.

If you are into buffets, Sweet Sage also offers a fantastic holiday and weekend brunch buffet for USD $12.99 per person.

best brunch in Redington Beach

Best-Value Accommodation: Carousel Motel

18202 Gulf Boulevard
Redington Shores, Florida 33708
There are many, many budget accommodation options in Redington Beach and beyond. If you have the time and patience, I actually recommend you drive down Gulf Boulevard between the 3 Redingtons and drop by any of the motels with a “VACANCY” sign and haggle.

No patience or just want the freedom to drop in and know you got a good rate, though? Stay at the Carousel Motel like I have done 2 times already, then.

Redington Beach hotel, Carousel Motel

Efficiency at Carousel Motel: double bed is on the right, tucked in a corner nook with a small closet

Their cheapest motel room, with 2 twin beds, is USD $65 a night in the low season. However, I believe their efficiency with one double bed is their best value, just USD $10 more a night (USD $75) in the low season as well. Remember the rates most local motels show in their websites typically do not include 12% taxes and are based on 1-2 people per room (although Carousel does allow additional people for USD $5 each).

Yes, the motel’s decor is a bit outdated, but it is always clean and you can’t beat its location. Carousel is right next door to the public parking of Redington Shores and a street away from direct beach access. Additionally, it’s an easy walk to several restaurants, a great pizza place, and 711 right across the street. Ad of course, it is at the doorstep of all 3 Redingtons, so you can walk to either Redington Beach (like I did to shoot the video above) or North Redington Beach.

Like Redington Beach? PIN THIS!

WATCH the beauty of Redington Beach! VIDEO

I’m obsessed with this area of Florida, I know. Visit Tampa Bay yourself!

I can’t wait to go back after my trips to South Carolina & Cocoa Beach 😀

Luquillo Puerto Rico: Attractions, Sights, Food [Beach Thursday VIDEO]

I’m so freaking excited that I can barely speak into my voice recognition software…BUT! Before we move on to the AMAZING news I got for you, let me warm you up with my latest travel video. I’ve talked a bit about it before, but today we dig deeper into the beautiful beach town of Luquillo Puerto Rico: this week’s Beach Thursday pick!

Luquillo Puerto Rico: attractions, sights, FOOD!

You heard (or watched?) right: my second Chief World Explorer video. Which means? Out of more than 3,000 applications from 99 countries, I made it to the Top 50 [semifinals round!] of Jauntaroo’s Best Job Around the World Competition. And to think that, due to fear and past failures, I almost didn’t apply…WOW! Can you believe this?! Announcement was made on Tuesday and I’m still shaking of excitement!

Help me make it to the TOP 5: vote by clicking ‘LIKE’ on my video here!

My Luquillo Puerto Rico video might even make it to Puerto Rican TV and the island’s leading newspaper, which is why I couldn’t come here to blog about this amazing accomplishment until today 😉 Yah, I’ve been busy hustling!

I would GREATLY appreciate it if you take me one step closer into fulfilling my dream career: to volunteer and travel around the world, all while getting paid for it. And filming amazing videos. While being all crazy and fun and energetic in front of the camera. Tweeting pinning Facebooking. The works!

Don’t leave yet though: I got some more Beach Thursday content before I ttyl 😉

Luquillo Puerto Rico photos + bonus video

Luquillo Puerto Rico Balneario La Montserrate

Balneario La Montserrate

Luquillo Puerto Rico St. Joseph's church altar

Intricate altar at St. Joseph’s church (photo by j.lowrydoyle, Flickr)

La Parrilla Luquillo kiosk

Probably the nicest kiosk/restaurant in Luquillo: La Parilla (photo by Joe Shlabotnik, Flickr)

Have you been to Puerto Rico? VOTE for my Luquillo video here!

Puerto Rico travel video and photos: my first hosting bid!

Last month, I had the opportunity to shoot my first travel hosting bid! Yes, I had my very own cameraman and even a director. The following Puerto Rico travel video was made for a competition that will hopefully send me around the world for 6 months btw, taking you to the most exciting places on my biggest, baddest travel bucket list! 😀

Puerto Rico: The Land of a Thousand Blessings

Liked it? Then VOTE FOR ME here! All you have to do is go to that page, then click on the social media icons beside my Puerto Rico travel video there. Share that entry page on Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Google+ and even Pinterest!

Puerto Rico travel video, Puerto Rican girl

The Making of: more work than you think!

Remember that old MTV series “Making the Video”? I loved going behind the scenes of my favorite music videos, learning about special effects, how storylines are written, and how hard the artists actually work for what comes to be a mere 3-5 min. video clip.

That being said: how long you think it took us to shoot the previous 3-minute Puerto Rico travel video? C’mon, take a wild guess!

Puerto Rico travel video, Luquillo Beach

Luquillo Beach, Puerto Rico by Ard Hesselink

More than 20 hours!

We worked for 14 continuous hours the first day of shooting, visiting over a dozen locations (scattered throughout the island!), taking video clips, stills, and different commentary. Then, on the second day, we worked a couple more hours to capture a glimpse of the nightlife.

But of course, with only 3 mins. to work with, a lot of good material had to be sacrificed…which makes me sad! All in all though, a great learning experience.

Puerto Rico travel video, La Guancha Ponce

Pelican at La Guancha, Ponce, Puerto Rico by José Zayas

While filming was hard work, I had a blast. I honestly wouldn’t mind working more than 14 continuous hours on a single day, all while travel hosting! It didn’t feel like work. It felt like a great adventure, road tripping all over Puerto Rico 😀

What did you think of my Puerto Rico travel video? VOTE FOR ME here!

A year in travel (and life): My 2012 roller coaster ride

Welcome to the roller coaster ride of my year in travel — and life. 2012 was full of not only travel bucket list adventures, but also several struggles and personal growth. In fact, it was one of my toughest years to date. Let’s take a look back and breath in the positive, breathe out the negative, learn from the mistakes, and most importantly: move forward!

year in travel, my first snowfall

There’s no rainbow without some…SNOW! 😉 My very first snowfall in Frisco, Texas

Local tourism: Tampa Bay’s Mardi Gras and the Dalí Museum

As I currently live minutes away from downtown, I took part of the Gasparilla Parade (Tampa Bay’s Mardi Gras) on January 2012. “The Invasion” celebrates the legend of José Gaspar (better known as Gasparilla). Rumor has it that the Spanish pirate captain invaded Florida’s west coast between the late 18th – early 19th century. No evidence of such “attack” or even the capt. himself appears in writing until late 20th century though, which makes his existence dubious. But who cares? It is still a heck of a party!

year in travel, Tampa Bay Mardi Gras Gasparilla

“The Invasion”! (Christopher Hollis for Wdwic Pictures)

Also, I finally went to the new Dalí Museum in nearby St. Petersburg. It was an amazing experience see the works of my favorite painter, in addition to having some random fun by the Tree of Wishes in the courtyard!

Year in travel, Dali Museum Florida

By the courtyard and Tree of of Wishes of the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida (Matthew Paulson, Flickr)

My first travel conference: The NY Times Travel Show

In March 2012, I went to the New York Times Travel Show for the first time. For being my very first travel conference period, I feel it was a success! I later contacted some of the media agents I connected with throughout the weekend — and even got some comped trips later in the year. The networking that ensued forced me to think about my brand, how I market myself, and where I want LatinAbroad to be. Professional and personal lessons.

Also, I finally got to meet some fellow travel bloggers! Including some of my “idols” 😀

year in travel, NY travel Show Expedia party

NY travel Show Expedia party with travel bloggers @CaptainandClark @MidlifeRoadTrip @live_for_travel

year in travel, New York Times travel show

Top: Woman travel session (with legendary @JourneyWoman, Evelyn!). Bottom: Asia section with lovely dancers from Sri Lanka (left) and Thai display (right)

Life after studying abroad: My post-travel depression

Around April, my life after studying abroad was starting to get to me. More often than not, I was quite sad, unable (or unwilling?) to accept my new life. This post-travel depression hit me hard. I started to fight a lot with my new beau. In fact, it was one of those fights that helped me see that I really had to improve my day by day.

While I still struggle from time to time,  I keep reminding myself that my long-term goals will allow me to travel for the rest of my life! I just have a wee-bit left to get done stateside 😉

year in travel, Tampa FL local tourism

Local tourism in Tampa! Part of my life after traveling the world

American work culture and illness: More struggles ahead

In May, even more hurdles were put on my path. I struggled with the difficult American work culture and a new illness: RSI/carpal tunnel. Due to not having health insurance, I have still not been officially diagnosed, but the pain in my hands and dainty fingers doesn’t lie. I found a way to move forward by buying voice recognition software and learning to relax. A journey, not a destination…

Year in travel, American work culture

Stressed.Out (Deborah Leigh, Flickr)

June: More domestic tourism, TBEX and my 1st Blogiversary

I define domestic tourism as traveling to states or provinces of the country you are living in. This summer, I saw more of America by visiting the number 1 beach in the USA and going to the West for the 1st time. Where to? Keystone, Colorado for TBEX!

Year in travel, Siesta Key Beach FL

Me at Siesta Key beach FL: Number 1 in the USA

While TBEX was my 2nd travel conference, it was my 1st (official) travel blogger trip. I got to meet even more of my travel blogging idols and long-time online friends face-to-face. Among them, the legendary Lola DiMarco, Jodi Ettenburg, Michael Tieso, and Stephanie Yoder. Furthermore, I got my first translation deals! They are still on the works (none have gone live), but I know 2013 will bless me in that department 😀 As a TBEX 1st timer, this meant a lot to me.

Year in travel, TBEX conference

Me (bottom) surrounded by some big names and travel bloggers! Guess who?

You know what else happened in June? It was LatinAbroad’s 1st anniversary! I can’t believe my baby travel blog is over a year old already. Thanks to YOU for all the support! This will keep going for years and years, I assure you 😉 I love it too much.

Year in travel, TBEX Colorado

Champagne and a view: Couldn’t ask for a better ride! (Photo: Jennifer Huber)

Puerto Rico gringo invasion — and partial media trip!

In July, I had the great opportunity to go on a partial media trip to my island, Puerto Rico. With my gringo in tow, we visited my family and other quirky attractions in the island. The highlights?

The sensual Hotel OK and Motel Villa Arco Iris:

Year in travel, sex Hotel OK Puerto Rico

Hotel OK suite: Complete with stripper pole, heart-shaped Jacuzzi, and the mandatory ceiling mirrors over the bed and hot tub!

Year in travel, Puerto Rico sex Motel Villa Arco Iris

Our romantic suite at Motel Villa Arco Iris. And yup, that’s a ceiling mirror over the bed — and over the Jacuzzi as well!

Going down the tallest zip line in the world:

Small plane ride over the ocean from mainland Puerto Rico to Vieques:

Year in travel, Vieques plane ride

Gorgeous views of mainland Puerto Rico! This flight was courtesy of Vieques Air Link

Laid-back Vieques Island beaches:

Year in travel, Vieques Beach Playuela

Entrance to hidden gem Garcia Beach in Vieques, Puerto Rico

 …and my gringo trying to drive!

A Russian restaurant, the Olympics, and a patriot’s dilemma

The end of the summer brought an unexpected local outing. I got to travel through food and visit an authentic Russian restaurant in Florida. I drank some Soviet-era vodka and ate some interesting Eastern European food.

year in travel, Russian food

I ate the Eastern European lobster pierogi. It was an interesting cream sauce with caramelized onions, plus the perioges seemed to have been stuffed with crab too

Additionally, I got into some arguments around the Olympics due to my strong Puerto Rican patriotism and ignorant Americans’ inability to understand it.

year in travel, Puerto Rico patriotism

Who would have thought this moment would cause so much commotion — in a negative way!?

A new travel cooking series — and financial anorexia

October brought with it some exciting new plans — and some old struggles. Hostel Cooking recipes debuted thanks to my good friend Josh Snore; while the Black Dog showed its ugly face again. I even accepted I suffer from financial anorexia. However, I pulled through — and they won’t beat me!

Year in travel, hostel cooking

Never thought you could cook Moroccan chicken with couscous in a hostel, did you? Get the recipe here!

Playa Del Carmen, Mexico: My 2nd trip to the Yucatán Peninsula

In November, I had another great opportunity to go on a partial media trip to check out 2 of the boutique Xperience Hotels. This time, I would be heading to Mexico for the 2nd time to check out the laid-back beach town of Playa Del Carmen! I was beyond excited, as I could not see many attractions my 1st time around.

I sampled Mayan cuisine, went rappelling and tubing in a cenote, visited the lesser-known Ek Balam Mayan ruins, and even got a 70-minute beach massage for only USD $18! Oh, and sure thing, la gente esta muy LOCAAA in Playa Del Carmen nightlife (and I absolutely loved it).

year in travel, cenote rappelling

Cenote rappelling! Don’t I look excited?!

year in travel, cenote tubing

Our group tubing in a cenote. Of course, I’m the one posing pretty haha

year in travel, Ek Balam Mayan ruins

Ek Balam “Jaguar” Temple: Mayan carvings

Christmas in Texas — and MY FIRST SNOWFALL!

Last month, my partner surprised me with tickets to go see his family in Texas for Christmas. It was a pretty laid-back trip, but with some great highlights!

Right out of the airport, I was taken to sample some good ol’ Texan barbecue. Omg.

year in travel, Texas barbecue


year in travel, Texan BBQ

Texan brisket and sausage

The Downtown Frisco musical light show and surrounding homes brought out the kid in me. I squealed like a little girl, I was so happy! 😀

The next day it was all about the spanking-new Perot Museum of Science was so much fun — but extremely crowded. I recommend you be the first through the door and have fun at the bottom floors first, as they are the most interactive. My favorite sections were the oil drilling and minerals, in addition to the human anatomy floor. There, you could see the many wonders of the human body via some excellent experiments and quirky gadgets. It was so unreal —  perfect for kids, by the way.

Then, it was Max Donuts. And family banquets. Just SO. MUCH. FOOD.

Year in travel, Max Donuts TX

Max Donuts and other delicacies

Year in travel, veal sausage

Southern veal sausage: spicy, juicy, delicious

Year in travel, southern brisket

Southern brisket right out of the oven

Year in travel, Texan bacon cheeseburger

Just look at that sexy Texan bacon cheeseburger

Year in travel, Midwestern food

Midwestern food in Texas

Year in travel, Southern biscuits

Southern biscuits: garlic, cheese, herbs, and a lot of butter!

But nothing, I mean NOTHING this year could top this one off:


That’s right: up until Christmas 2012, I’d never seen snow fall from the sky. Ever. And yes, it snowed right on Christmas Day! It was so so perfect, I even teared up a little, especially as my partner stepped outside in order to kiss me under the snow 🙂

Year in travel, my first snowfall

It started to snow! It started to snow!

Year in travel, my first snow storm

This is what extreme happiness looks like. Very 1st snowfall in my life, I even teared up!

Indeed, happiness is an understatement here. So of course, I had to shoot not one, but 2 videos. It was freezing cold, but I was so overjoyed I couldn’t even feel it!

New Year’s in Tampa Bay

In comparison to other years, the last few hours of 2012 were very laid-back. However, I spent them among friends and, most importantly, the man I love. 2012 taught me that I could love again, even though travel and a broken heart had stripped hope.

year in travel, fireworks

A great start to 2013 <3

And so, with a kiss and embrace, we said goodbye to 2012 — all while watching a good ol’ firework show over Tampa Bay:

2012 resolutions: Moving back to Egypt, Arabic degree, Oceania — FAIL

Last, but definitely not least, are my failed 2012 resolutions. Last year, I wanted to not only improve my Arabic and even earn a Master of Professional Studies degree, but also move back to Egypt. Plan A didn’t happen, as the federal government stopped funding that program and the situation in Egypt deteriorated (so did my job prospects).

What about Plan B, to become a flight attendant and fly all over the world, or even Plan C,  which involved me moving to Australia and traveling all over Oceania? Well…

I started to take my finances so seriously that I set a plan to get rid of all my debt (about $50,000 of it) in 3 years or less. I just wanted to be free, be free of all Western world strengths and the flawed American work culture.

I decided I want to be a full-time nomadic translator, travel writer by 30.

And, most importantly: DEBT-FREE by then!

It might not be a perfect plan, but it didn’t matter in my head — it still ruled out Plan B. Then, I got a promotion in Florida and decided to stay put longer, as the new salary and benefits were in line with my new financial & other important long-term goals. There went Plan C

But was my toughest year yet ruined because of all these changes? As you could see throughout this post, definitely not. Yes, I struggled. Yes, I didn’t travel as much as I wanted to.

But I grew. I learned a lot.


So: Cheers to 2013! I’m ready to learn, to be amazed, and to be blessed once more. Shall this post be a reminder of John Lennon’s words:

Year in travel, John Lennon quote

A motto to remember

How was your year in travel (and life) in 2012? Share your milestones!

Simple Venezuelan food recipes: Arepas and cachapas (videos)

Craving some Latin food? You are in for a treat! This week’s Cultural Tidbits Monday will showcase some simple Venezuelan food recipes. Learn how to cook arepas and cachapas!

Arepas and cachapas: What are they?

Arepas are like thicker tortillas, made with flour and/or ground corn dough. Sometimes even coconut is added to the mix! While they are one of the most popular Venezuelan dishes, arepas are also part of Dominican cuisine and Puerto Rican fast food.

simple Venezuelan food recipes, arepas

Venezuelan arepas stuffed with sausage chimichurri (bottom) and glorified tostones (“canoes” with cheese on top) at Caracas Arepa Bar in NYC

Another Venezuelan specialty is the cachapas. Also popular in neighboring Colombia, these are basically South American pancake tacos. That’s right: a thicker batter, but made of fresh corn dough, with the slight sweetness of a plain American pancake.

Once ready, you may stuff it with all types of meats and cheeses: Pulled pork, chicken, beef, and even shrimp! The most traditional cachapa, however, is plain cheese: made with delicious queso de mano. Meaning “handmade cheese,” it resembles mozarella in texture, although it has a milder flavor to it.

cachapa, simple Venezuelan food recipes

A Venezuelan cachapa with pulled pork, sliced tomato, avocado, side of aioli (entitee, Flickr)

Simple Venezuelan food recipes: VIDEOS and other resources

Want to see how easy it is to bake arepas? All you need:

2 cups of Harina P.A.N. flour
2 cups of water
A pinch of salt

Once baked, you pan-fry them until golden. That’s it! For the full recipe, click here. Once they are done, however, you have just created the canvas — it is time to paint on it!

Mmmm. And that’s not all: You’ll learn how to cook cachapas today as well! Go get:

Freshest corn you can find
1/2 cup of flour
1 teaspon of salt
5 tablespoons of sugar (you want tthat sweet afterbite)
1 egg
A bit of heavy cream (for density)

Enjoy! Let me know how your arepas and cachapas mixtas come out 😉

Have you ever tried any of these simple Venezuelan food recipes?

Driving in Puerto Rico: The gringo perspective (interview & video)

Following up on one of the Puerto Rico random facts we mentioned last week, I caught up with my partner Blaine to talk more about his experiences on this trip. My typing could barely keep up with him. He had so many things to say about driving in Puerto Rico that I had to publish a post just about that gringo’s perspective. Here it is!

Driving in Puerto Rico: The gringo perspective

* The roads? Uneven. What we went through to go zip lining in Puerto Rico:

* It’s how you’d imagine driving in South America would be like.

* The cars are fast, due to men acting all macho, trying to impress the homies.

* Your own personal breaking has to be judged by the car in front of you and its family chemistry: Are they all getting along? Is there a giant secret being told right before your eyes, causing the woman to slap the man?  This all needs to be taken into consideration. All of a sudden, you become very in-tune with shadows.

* After 2 days of driving, you come to a realization: The signs are built by men in the local towns. Meaning, they look at them and say: “C’mon, you know where you are! You don’t need this sign any higher.” This, in turn, makes you start driving in Puerto Rico like everyone else: Suddenly cutting people off, changing lanes without signaling, making turns in areas you should not been turning in, etc.

* I was comforted to know that at police blockades, they mostly check for paperwork and not automotive safety standards such as working break lights.

Driving in Puerto Rico, Orocovis

Driving in Puerto Rico: Dirt road at Toro Verde Adventure Park, Orocovis

* After 2 days driving in Puerto Rico, I realized that I had broken break lights in the middle of a rural town. In the states, this would cost me a hefty fine. But in the island, after seeing broken break lights in 1 out of every 5 cars, I realized I was among amigos.

* After driving in Puerto Rico for a few hours, you’ll suddenly start speaking (I mean cursing) in Spanish.

* If you are following a Puerto Rican, you must stay on their ass. Otherwise, you’ll be panicking at a red light as you see your Boricua girlfriend’s mother stop in the middle of a 4-lane road after running the yellow-to-red light.

TLTR – Puerto Rico: You’re in South America, so drive like it.

Stay tuned as I interview locals for their take on driving in Puerto Rico next week!

Have you ever gone driving in Puerto Rico? What was it like?

Zip line videos: My thrilling travel bucket list rides

Welcome to another edition of Travel Bucket List Wednesdays. More adventures await this week, as I upload some of my first travel videos. Zip line videos? Absolutely!

Zip line videos Toro Verde Puerto Rico

Me in the middle of The Beast zip line: Among Top 2 Highest ones in the world!

I’m quite busy writing articles for one of my clients, as my press trip to Puerto Rico last week was part of an assignment. Yes, I also happen to be a freelance travel writer part-time 😉

So! For the time being, I want to give you a taste of some of the exciting activities I crossed off my travel bucket list. What better way to do so than to post some of the zip line videos and photos we captured?! Hope you enjoy the rides!

Toro Verde Adventure Park zip line videos: Orocovis, Puerto Rico

BEST zip line ride and among Top 2 Highest in the world: THE BEAST! Unfortunately, it was quite windy, meaning I would stop half-way through the zip line and had to be rescued. So wait…who shot this video, then? My partner in crime Mr. B! I’m the tiny woman he passes mid-way through the ride 😀 He did a good job capturing the amazing views:

Zip line ride: Flight of the Phoenix!

One of our first zip line rides: Canopy # 2

Got thrilling zip line videos or other travel bucket list items? Share below!

Travel bucket list adventures: world’s tallest zip line and rappelling Puerto Rico

The items on my travel bucket list have always been pretty crazy–you know that by now, right? No, I’m not going to talk about the rest of my R-rated travel bucket list today 😉 but I do have an equally-exciting announcement to make!

Next week I’ll cross two amazing adventures off my travel bucket list: The world’s tallest zip line in Puerto Rico and even some rappelling! How unbelievable is that?! I’ve always wanted to partake in such heart pumping activities. However, due to the universe and its mysteries, I did not have the opportunity to do so until now.

Video in Spanish – time to practice! 😉

World’s tallest zip line: The debate

South Africa tries to claim that title, at over 918 feet high. However, I give the title of the best and tallest zip line in the world to Puerto Rico’s The Beast anyway! I might be slightly biased here, but I’m sure many of you agree with me on this one: Breathtaking beaches, a Spanish-speaking culture, and exhilarating adventure all in one place? Sign me up!

Where in the world is this magical place?

The Beast zip line is located at the Toro Verde Adventure Park. It is a new eco-tourism reserve where you can not only go zip lining, but also go climbing, rappelling and/or walking across rickety bridges over tree canopies. Needless to say, the scenery is breathtaking. I can’t wait to see my Puerto Rico’s beautiful, lush mountains again — I’ve missed them dearly in Florida!

Special thanks to special people

Thanks to Marta (Puerto Rico Tourism Company, PRTC) and Sylvia, I will cross The Beast off my travel bucket list, in addition to several other zip lines and repelling throughout the park. It’s a dream come true and I am grateful for this opportunity.

In passing, I want to thank Marie from Ogilvy Washington for connecting me with the tourism board and other local establishments. This adventure budget travel writing assignment wouldn’t be the same without her amazing support and staff. Once again: ¡Gracias!

My adventure begins Sunday, July 1st

While I’m not going to Toro Verde until next Thursday, I leave for my travel assignment to Puerto Rico in 4 days. Can’t wait to share all those articles, photos, and pictures with all of you!

travel bucket list, world tallest zipline Puerto Rico

“Climb up on some hill at sunrise. Everybody needs perspective once in a while, and you’ll find it there.” ~Robb Sagendorph (Toro Verde Facebook page)

What’s on your travel bucket list? Share your posts below!

1. Submit a link related to an item you crossed off or plan to cross off your travel bucket list on a comment belowIt can be any type of travel inspiration, Pinterest board, photo galleries, blog posts, etc.

2. Tweet all your travel bucket list ideas and inspiration with #TravelBL and I promise an RT.

Ain Sokhna, Egypt: Beach Thursday video and naughty Arab lesson

It is Beach Thursday and I have a video that will teach you something naughty 😉 I didn’t even dare to post it on my Travel the Middle East site! See it until the end, as the lesson is on the last half of the Ain Sokhna video:

Beach time! Naughty Arab lesson found at 1:55

Yes, I just taught you the middle finger or Arab sign language for “f**k you.” You know, travel brings many things with it. I can’t just paint a pink picture on my blog every single time. Keepin’ it real! 😉

About Ain Sokhna, Egypt

Literally meaning “hot spring” in Arabic, Ain Sokhna is located in the Eastern Desert and happens to be the highest peak there (Wikipedia). It is a popular beach spot, but mostly to Egyptians. In fact, I didn’t even see one other foreigner during my visit, except for the fellow Couchsurfers that were with us. As I was told by my host Moussa, the resort we stayed at is of mostly middle-class Egyptians.

Photo time!

For your entertainment, photos of the grounds. Enjoy! (Note: Yes, I know I blatantly ignored all rules in regard to how to dress in Egypt or any conservative country, but I was told by Moussa this was a safe spot to wear my tank top. And, as a Latina, feeling ubber liberated, I so did…!)

Ain Sokhna beach, Egypt

Me at Ain Sokhna beach. The sandy part

Ain Sokhna sandy beach, Egypt

Ain Sokhna sandy beach teni (again)

Sokhna mountains

Barren mountains, too! This is from the rooftop of Moussa’s apartment, with his cousin and fellow traveler Jaimie (Aussie)

Sokhna resort view

Ain Sokhna resort view from our friend’s flat

Sokhna hookah

Hookah time! We went to a café/resort on the road from Ain Sokhna to Cairo

Have you been to any off-the-beaten-path spots in Egypt?