10 Reasons To Ditch The USA For An Extended Stay In Costa Rica

Almost all of us have had the feeling when we are on vacation of never wanting to return to our lives back home – the grind of work, the phone constantly ringing, and the sense of always having to be connected by technology, not to mention, the big house, nice cars, “keeping up with the Jones’” basically, what has become the normalcy in the United States. So the thought of never leaving your favorite vacation destination is quite appealing.

Often when we are engaged in conversation with either local Costa Ricans, tourists and expats like ourselves, we are asked if we came to Costa Rica on vacation and never left. While this would be a simple answer, it is not the truth, nor is it simple. Since we’re not surfers who need nothing in this world but a good wave; or hippie beachcombers who spend all day sipping margaritas on the beach; or survivalists wanting to live in the jungle Mosquito Coast style, the truth is, we need more. So these are the top ten reasons we quit our jobs, sold our houses, packed up the kids and our dog and moved to our favorite vacation destination we now call home: Costa Rica.

1.     CLIMATE

Costa Rica has the best climate in the world. It involves 12 different microclimates, appealing to just about everyone, whether you like it hot, or not so hot, even cool and dry to rainy. From cloud forests in the mountain peaks of Montverde to the steamy beaches of the Nicoya Peninsula, to the thick, lush, rainforests and jungles, there is the right climate here for living, gardening, sporting and just plain growing old. We live in the mountains West of the Central Valley between Atenas and Grecia and the temperature is moderate, subtropical with lows in the 50’s and highs in the low 80’s. Oddly enough, when we drive less than an hour to our favorite beach, the air is never as hot as it was in Texas. This is a picture of a Tamarindo beach sunset.



You don’t have to be a genius to know which countries are happy and which countries are sad, but thanks to Ted Talks and some research, we validated our love for Costa Rica. The Happy Planet Index (HPI) is an index of human well-being and environmental impact, in which Costa Rica ranks #1. After living here, we attribute a healthy mood to great weather, protected environment, slower paced lifestyle, active lifestyle, abundance of fresh foods and a culture that takes care of their own, often with extended family. The life expectancy is 78+ and in remote areas of the Nicoya Peninsula, Ticos live into the 100’s. We should only be so lucky to be so happy. We often joke that every day we take a walk in the park and eat ice cream, but we do, and so do all the locals. The parks are filled with grandparents holding the hands of their grandchildren while eating ice cream at 9am. Every city has a park in the center of town across from the church and each park is full of locals; morning, noon and night and most of them are eating ice cream with smiles.


3.     PURA VIDA!

The National Phrase is “Pura Vida” meaning pure life. Many Ticos use this phrase as Hello or Goodbye, what’s up, excellent, how’s it going, take it easy, enjoy life, and the list goes on. The phrase has been tattooed as an everlasting motto for locals and tourists alike. Living here, it is easy to see why the pure life is so important. Waking up to perfect weather every morning and appreciating every lovely minute of every day is the pure life. You can see it on every Tico’s face, whether they are sitting under a tree in front of a small, humble house, or working a field in the warm afternoon sun, they are always smiling, no matter how rich or poor. So next time you are having a bad day, or you think you might not have it so good, always remember there are other folks out there that have it way worse than you, so be thankful for what you do have. One day we walked back to our Ford truck (obviously from Texas!) and it was dirty, but someone wrote the words on the back of the truck – Pura Vida Costa Rica, gotta love it!


4.     FOOD

The national plate in Costa Rica is simple and full of starch. It is called the casado and usually features a grilled, fried or stewed meat, cabbage, lettuce and or beet salad always with lime and sliced tomato, potato hash called picadillo, rice and beans. While the plate may vary from soda to soda (a term for small restaurant) the casado has become one of my favorite dishes, especially for lunch, when a sandwich just won’t do. This house plate; however, is not the food I am talking about. The perfect climate also brings perfect fruits and vegetables, super-sized.  The first time we had a bite of pineapple in Costa Rica was orgasmic, it tasted as if it had been soaked in vanilla and honey. The first time we saw a beet at the local feria, my eyes popped out of my head because I had never seen a beet the size of a cantaloupe. The radishes are ruby red and the squash look more like pumpkins. The best part of it all, the price. Fresh food is incredibly inexpensive while processed, fast food is very expensive.  There is a roadside vendor just outside of Tárcoles who sells 6 watermelons for $2 US. We used to pay $6 US for 1 watermelon back in Texas. Watermelon translates to Sandia.

45.     BEACHES

While Costa Rica is smaller than the state of West Virginia at 19,700 square miles, it contains over 933 miles of beaches, half of which are not navigable by car since they are either protected or contain rivers, estuaries and mangroves with poor, winding roads and treacherous terrain. The natural beauty still leaves plenty of amazing beaches to wander, no matter where the vacation takes you. Since Costa Rica has plenty of volcanoes, some of the beaches vary from light brown to black volcanic sand, with only a few white sand beaches. The best part, in my opinion, about the beaches of Costa Rica is the natural shade offered by the towering Palm trees, Dragon blood trees, Centennials and many more. Not only do they offer shade for our Gringo family, they offer habitats for all the wonderful wildlife in Costa Rica. Since there is a Maritime Zone on over 95% of Costa Rica’s beaches, there are no buildings, hotels or homes within the first 200 feet from high tide, leaving the natural beauty to the beach. And since all beaches are considered public, no one may own beaches exclusively. We often see monkeys and macaws when we go to the beaches along the Pacific. This picture was taken in the Caribbean where you see many sloths.

56.     WILDLIFE

I don’t need to bore you with numbers, but there are over 840 different bird species in Costa Rica, more than in North America combined. Since so much of the country is protected National Parks and Reserves, Costa Rica offers the best birding in the world, for such a small country. Other notables include pumas, tapirs, 2 and 3 toed sloths, frogs and lizards of various types, alligators and crocodiles, monkeys and some scary snakes and spiders. Costa Rica is home to over 500,000 species of animal and insect making it one of the 20 countries with the highest biodiversity in the world. We have definitely seen some colorful insects from the size of a 1cm ladybug to an 8 inch cave roach. We have had tarantulas in our house and, we witnessed a 12 foot Boa Constrictor accidentally be driven over in the street across from our house. The kids kept saying, “That’s a big snake Daddy.” Every day is a new day to view wildlife in its natural habitat in Costa Rica, and sometimes in your home.


World Class: Surfing, Scuba diving, Snorkeling, Fishing, Hiking, Cycling and Mountain Biking, White water rafting, Wind surfing, Zip lining, Jungle tours, ATV’s, River boats, Waterfalls, Volcanoes, Lakes, Rivers, Mountains, football (soccer), volleyball, basketball, baseball, the only thing Costa Rica does not have is snow skiing and ice fishing…enough said

Max on the trail for some fishing with Coffee Dog on Lake Arenal


Costa Rica has an excellent location in the middle of Central America with 2 International Airports offering nonstop flights to the US and other Latin American countries. It has Pacific beaches on one side and Caribbean beaches on the other. A direct flight from Houston, Texas takes only 3 ½ hours. Cruise ships also port in Costa Rica bringing tourists from Florida and California. With the location and microclimate, Costa Rica does not receive direct hits from hurricanes. Being from Houston, Texas, this was music to our ears, considering we have endured our fair share of hurricanes. While there is a rainy season and a dry season, the weather is very consistent due to an excellent geographical location.


In 1949, Costa Rica abolished its military in the Costa Rican Constitution, dedicating the previous military budget to security, education and culture, maintaining a Police Guard forces. Costa Rica has not endured a civil war since and maintains law enforcement with no standing army. This is another testament to the National slogan, Pura Vida, choosing to embrace education and culture over war. The social services of Costa Rica are excellent in comparison to other Latin American countries and the medical care here can be equated to that of the states, offering public hospitals and some of the best private hospitals in Central America plus many specialists at a fraction of what it costs in the US. There are several International schools throughout the country offering International Baccalaureate (IB) education accredited by any university and college in the States.  We have had excellent treatment in a private hospital when we gave birth to our newest child, Sofi; and Max and Sara attend an excellent private school offering 1 hour of English. We attribute our quality experiences to Costa Rica’s government spending money on books, not bullets.

910.  FAMILY

Last, but certainly not least, family comes first in Costa Rica. This was the most important aspect of all, for us, since we are now a family of 5. While it may not be high up on someone else’s vacation scale, it is for us. Traveling with kids can be challenging, but Ticos embrace children. We noticed that even in restaurants, the servers and restaurant owners will come and take your kids for a walk around the kitchen to give you a break, without asking. If you have a baby, they will beg to hold the baby, because they simply adore children here. Instead of getting an eye roll like in most restaurants back in the States, they smile and repeat, “muy linda” and “muy lindo”, meaning so cute. We don’t need to worry about constantly keeping our kids quiet and sitting in their seats, which is so hard for a youngster. Often, our son Max will greet someone at a table next to us and they will offer him a seat and start feeding him. We always appreciate this since their food is obviously better tasting than ours. We have never felt embarrassed because our kids are being kids; in Costa Rica, a child can do no wrong. An elderly local told us that the life expectancy of children in the early history of Costa Rica, like many under developed countries, was very short. Therefore, the culture has adopted letting children live their lives to the fullest. Also, the Costa Ricans do not like confrontation in general, so they try to keep kids happy instead of suppressing their natural childhood curiosity. Beyond children, we have noticed the extent of family living. It is common to see a small piece of land with 3 or 4 houses, all being shared by an extended family. Ticos are extremely family oriented and love music, dance, and the occasional party. Whether they are on the beach or in their homes, the family is the most important role in their culture. We are so proud to be a part of the Costa Rican culture and celebrate our love for family in the park. When we travel, we always stop in every town and let the kids run around in the park, usually with some ice cream and smiles.


In our view, Costa Rica boasts the best of all worlds. It is a place that marries the well-being of its people and the preservation of its precious natural resources. Our favorite vacation destination began and ended in Costa Rica so I guess we will never have the feeling of never wanting to go home again. Pura Vida!

About The Authors

We are the Meeks Family, Matt, Niki, Max age 5, Sara age 3 and Sofi 2 months. We packed up some belongings and our dog and left Houston, Texas 1 year ago and moved to Costa Rica to begin a new life focused on quality time with each other, our family. We just opened a beef jerky company using Costa Rican beef smoked with local Costa Rican coffee wood and share our funny, interesting and playful to serious experiences traveling, opening a business and parenting through our blog and website. We write about our experiences in the Happiest Place on Earth, Pura Vida!

Top 7 Reasons To Go Glam-Camping AKA Glamping On Your Next Vacation.

Planning your next vacation? Make certain you consider glamping as an option.

Here are 7 reasons why.

1.  Glamping locations tend to be located in the most beautiful parts of the country,  often in spots where hotels and resorts can’t go.

Imagine Waking Up To These View?

Rockwater Secret Cove Resort and Spa offers unique Tenthouse Suite accommodations on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia Canada.  Nestled in the arbutus trees, overlooking Secret Cove, each suite opens onto an endless expanse of Pacific Ocean.

2.  Return to a a simpler way of living.  You are practically one with nature, almost living outdoors, yet without giving up luxury creature comforts.


River Dance Lodge On The Clearwater River

River Dance Lodge in Idaho, features luxurious glamping tents and a  range of  outdoor adventures including horseback riding, rafting, biking, fly-fishing, hiking and simply being in nature.

3. Glamping isn’t limited to traditional “out of the way” campsites.   New glamping areas feature stunning beachfront locations,  guest ranches, mountain retreats.

The Resort At Paws Up Montana

Pinnacle Camp situated on a bluff overlooking the confluence between the Blackfoot River and Elk Creek is a truly special camp that offers its guests one of the most spectacular views around.

5.  Glamping is about the experience –  it’s a way to truly experience the best of life.  The best that nature has made and the best luxuries created by man.  Glamps tend to offer you the amenities of 5 star resorts, some even including your own Glamping Concierge.

Beautifully Appointed Interiors 

Glacier Under Canvas is located in one of the most breathtaking spots in the world. 7 miles from Glacier National Park, where peaks reach to the sky, glaciers move the earth, waterfalls carve rocks, and the wildlife roam free, as they always have.

6.   Privacy and connection to the rhythm of nature.   Luxury in nature, amongst the trees,  hearing the sounds, sights and smells, that are missed when staying at a traditional resort.

Treehouses designed by Kevin Mooney and Pete Nelson. Animal Planet and The Discovery Channel filmed the building of one of the tree houses and it was shown on a show called Tree House Masters.

7.   No setting up shop.   Camping typically brings to mind tents, hard grounds, uncomfortable nights,  wet sleeping bags, chilly feelings, annoying insects,  dirt,  hauling equipment and getting a fire started.   Gone are those days. Glamping is about sleeping in a world-class bed,  in a warm and beautiful accommodation, surrounded by the healing sounds of nature.

Siwash Lake Guest Ranch

Perhaps the worlds premiere, luxury dude-ranch experience. Personal yet sophisticated, Siwash is dedicated to the most discerning travelers, adventurers and active travelers seeking freedom, and a life-enriching experience.

Things to consider when going glamping.

There is no “one size fits all” definition for glamping.   Different locations offer varying services.   Where you sleep will also vary depending on the glamp.   Some glamping resorts features canvas safari-style tents, others yurts, to teepees, trailers and tree houses.

Experiential travel comes alive at El Capitan Canyon situated minutes from Santa Barbara. Just bring you and your bags and experience the Californian Riviera at this beautiful glamping resort.

The one thing that is the same is that these offerings are designed to be comfortable and luxurious. Structures typically are very sturdy,  set atop platforms, keeping you and your guests off the ground.   Amenities vary, though often include:  high quality beds and linens,  beautiful bathroom facilities,  heaters,  down duvets,  rugs, pre-made fires,  morning coffee service and built at the best locations in the most beautiful parts of North America.

Lake Superior’s Magical Ice Caves Accessible To Adventurers

Apostle Islands National Lakeshore located in the northern region of Wisconsin are beautiful.  So beautiful that they have been named the “Jewels of Lake Superior.”    More intriguing though for travelers in search of the path less traveled is  the area here known as “Apostle Island Sea Caves.”

The Sea Caves recently ranked in the top #10 out of “160 amazing places that people may never have heard of” in an active discussion on Quora.com, the Question and Answer Community.

Submitted by Jason Nelser,  from Minnesota  who says they are “pretty amazing sight to see. I’ve kayaked through them over the summer once before, but apparently people go in them during the winter as well.”

It has been possible to see the caves in winter.  Winter is when these caves turn into a magical ice palace.  The problem in recent years is that warmer winters have taken this striking natural wonder from us.  This winter frigid temperatures have returned this miraculous place to the people of southern Lake Superior – and for those travelers looking to experience a part of the world, that is relatively untouched by guides, guide-books and tourists.

The reward for this cold journey, as seen from the following instragram pics, is a real-life fantasy world comprised of stunningly gorgeous icicles.

The lake’s ice hasn’t been thick enough to walk on on since 2009.

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Almost 11,000 people walked to the caves last weekend.

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The National Park service, offers in depth information on their site about making the trip, says to get to the caves, and then back, visitors must walk about 2 miles over the frozen lake.

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The cave formations change from day to day and the look is completely different depending on the amount of sun and light.

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The area is no stranger to frigid winters though this year’s temperatures have been consistently low making the  formations particularly beautiful, according to park officials.  The limited temperature fluctuations have stopped “freeze-and-thaw cycles” that cause blurring.

About 35,000 have made the trek and it’s expected to be passable until March.  If the thought of ice has you thinking about staying in doors or visiting a more tropical location, then consider traveling to this hidden gem during spring, summer or fall.  A wonderful place to stay on Lake Superior,  is at a home on Madeline Island.  The island is one of the Apostle Islands,  which itself is beautiful and a vacation wonderland.

When the mood to explore the other 21 Apostle Islands arises get on board the ferry from Madeline Island over to Bayfield.

You’ll love absolutely love the trip.  “Better Homes and Gardens'” Travel section highlighted Madeline Island Ferry Line and the great lakes by saying that:

“There’s no better way to explore these mighty water-ways than from the decks of ferryboats.”

From Bayfield you’ll have a number of ways of getting to the Caves including by kayak.  The National Park Service website is packed with useful information about the Apostle Islands as well as the Caves.

Beauty Is Far From Skin Deep In The Virgin Islands.

It would be a mistake to judge St. Thomas by its pretty face or more accurately its gorgeous beaches, luscious vegetation and stunning blue waters.

St. Thomas is far more than skin deep.  It is an island steeped in history.  After you’re finished snorkeling, scuba diving, and taking in the natural wonders of this island paradise dig a little deeper.  It may require extending your trip, though we can assure you that an additional few days will be more than worthwhile.

Failing to delve into this other side of St. Thomas would be a shame.  The team at VacationDiggs has put together the following mini-cultural tour of the Island of St. Thomas, for your pleasure.

  • First stop is Slave Market. Well it never went by that name, though this spot is a must.  The market goes by the more politically acceptable name of Market Square.  Doesn’t every good city need a Market Square? This is a market square with a difference.  Today it’s a bustling produce marketplace though during the 18th-century this square served as the center of one of the West Indies’ busiest slave markets.
  • Second stop, the 99 Steps of Charlotte Amalie.  Well it isn’t quite a stop and more of a climb. Walk the 99 Steps of Charlotte Amalie.  These step streets, or frigangs  as the Danes call them, were built in the mid 1700s, and are particularly colorful and picturesque. The reward of climbing these steps is a spectacular view plus time to think. Yes a very good thing.  You will have just climbed the 99 Steps of Charlotte Amalie each one constructed out of bricks once used as ballast on Danish and British ships.  If curious you may ponder, if you didn’t count them, whether there are really 99 steps.  Please let us know.99
  • If you’re still thirsting for cultural history, and can delay getting a Bailey’s Bushwacker then a visit to Fort Christian is in order.  Fort Christian is the oldest standing structure (standing is key because if it weren’t standing would it qualify as a structure?)  in the Virgin Islands. The Fort is home to the Virgin Islands Museum,  where you’ll discover plenty of early island memorabilia and maps the retell the “sordid” stories   of the islands’ past.
     Fort Christian on the NRHP since May 5, 1977. At Saint Thomas Harbor, Charlotte Amalie, US Virgin Islands. The Danish fort is the oldest structure in the U.S. Virgin Islands
  • Next stop is one for the kids.  Blackbeard’s Castle towers over Charlotte Amalie and while the name references the infamous pirate,  the Castle actually is the remains of  Skytsborg, a 17th-century fortified watch tower, that served as a place to guard Charlotte Amalie.  Though don’t break this to the kids until after the visit.
    Black Beard Castle
  • Did you know there were Synagogues on the Virgin Islands?   You did?  Well, there were and in fact are Synagogues here. Perhaps more interesting  is that the oldest synagogue in continuous use in the United States, Synagogue of Beracha Veshalom Vegmiluth Hasidim is on St. Thomas.  It also happens to be the second-oldest Synagogue in the Western Hemisphere. Could it be possible that the founders believed they had discovered “Garden of Eden’?Sand floor at St. Thomas Synagogue-Beracha Veshalom Vegemiluth Hasadim on the NRHP since August 15, 1997. At 16AB Krystal Gade, Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands.
  • For the women travelers its always important to remind the male members of the family, who is  in charge of this island paradise.   Do this by taking a trip to Three Queens Fountain.  The fountains commemorate Queen Mary, Queen Agnes and Queen Josiah,  the three women that led a successful 19th Century insurrection against the Danish Government demanding better working and living conditions and higher wages.
  • Next stop….  now it’s time for that Bailey’s Bushwacker!

Who said that beauty has to be skin deep?

Despite Its Tiny Size, St Barts Delivers The Ultimate In Chic Caribbean Delights.

The island has rightfully earned the nickname: “St. Moritz of the Caribbean.”  Only slightly more than 8 square miles it goes by more names than square miles, including its official name of St. Barthélemy,  given to it by 17th century French settlers and St. Bart, St. Barth, St. Bart’s and St. Barth’s.  For those “that know”  – the “official” Island name is St. Barts, with a silent “s”.


St. Barts is also pretty close to officially being called “paradise”.  It’s only out of respect for island, a little superstition, favor to its people, and a belief that the Eagles were “right on” when they sang  the words …  “they called it paradise, I don’t know why. You call some place paradise, kiss it goodbye “… that we will refrain from adding another name.


We can tell you about St. Barts that what you don’t find on the island may well be more important than what you do.

What you won’t find:

1.   No beach lined high-rise hotels.  Only one and two-story buildings are allowed.

2.   No fast food and fast talking time share salesman.

3.   No crime to speak of.

4.   Very few cars and little traffic.


What you will find are:

1.  Countless, breathtakingly beautiful, soft, white sand beaches.

2. Exceptional duty-free shopping, sin hordes of tourists, as large cruise lines aren’t allowed to dock here.

3.  Cuisine that rivals the best in the world – with many chefs possessing the goal of making their mark on the gourmet food world stage.


All this wonder causes challenges. The most complex may be deciding what beach to visit  – made even more complex because many of the beaches boast swimming pool like calm waters,  ideal for snorkeling, while other beaches feature waves that are perfect for surfing.  Your next challenge will be deciding what to wear and which restaurants to eat at.


St. Barts is a beautiful island destination that has long been an escape for the rich and famous.  It will likely remain one for time to come, as prices are unlikely to decline.  The reasons for this are that all goods are shipped onto the island and the island caters almost exclusively to an upscale clientele.


St. Barts is the place to visit if you are looking for glamour and glitz while simultaneously being touched by the inner Caribbean soul of sunshine and warm people. Once here you will discover a captivating and alluring destination, that’s casually elegant,  brimming with class, yet managing, perhaps because of its exclusivity and high prices – yes it’s one of the most expensive destinations in the world –  to be extremely laid back and intoxicating, in ways that will leave you desiring to return time and again, even if only in your imagination.

Photographs Copyright SaintBarth-Tourisme.com

Most Luxurious Caribbean Island Vacations for 2014

We traveled the Caribbean,  read reviews,  talked to travelers,  drank many beach cocktails,  walked many sandy beaches, all for the sole purpose of uncovering what may just be the ultimate list of vacation rentals in the Caribbean. Yes, it was rough but as they say …. “someones goto do it.”

These choices are not based on affordability, in fact all are ultra-luxurious.  They aren’t based on being quirky and weird either.

These accommodations offer the ultimate in luxury, amenities and service – in many instances rivaling and exceeding the services offered by the world’s most exclusive hotels.  Hyperbole? We think not.

How many hotels have a full-time staff catering to the needs and whims of one party, one one island, for an entire week, month or year?

The List

Caneel Bay, USVI

There may be no finer antidote to over stressed life than an escape to this gorgeous place. Caneel Bay is a tech-free ethos and a sanctuary to life.

Over Yonder Cay,  Exuma Chain, Bahamas

Over Yonder Cay welcomes you and 27 other guests, in four villas and is best described as a unique private haven for people seeking an authentic,  barefoot luxury experience.

Peter Island,  British Virgin Islands


Peter Island is the ultimate in island fantasies. This tropical island paradise may be reserved exclusively for you and your selected guests.

Guana Island, British Virgin Islands

Guana Island may just be the Garden of Eden. A lush, tropical oasis, Guana Island spans 850 acres, of undisturbed natural beauty and it can be all yours, with cocktails,  umbrellas and snorkeling gear.

 Caya Espanto, Belize

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The ultimate resort experience on your own private island. Casa Espanto offers you your own island paradise, total privacy and 5 star resort amenities.  It is  a place where paradise and luxury come together for the ideal Caribbean getaway. This place was especially created for travelers looking for the best that life has to offer.

Fowl Cay, the Bahamas

Enjoy a casual, carefree environment. Swing like a castaway in one of the hammocks, walk one of the beautiful beaches, while enjoying unrivaled tranquility. Then after your day is over, allow the sounds of ocean waves to lull you to sleep.   The team at Fowl Cay deliver the ideal blend of a vacation home experience combined with a full service resort.

These vacation opportunities and others can be found as part of VacationDigg’s Private Island Collection.

The island mecca of Ibiza is losing its title as the hedonistic 18-30’s party capital of the world.

It’s no longer just a voyage of partying and ecstasy fueled 90’s raves, and the days of the 15 euro all-you-can-drink booze cruise have  -thankfully- been, well and truly, laid to rest.


So what’s the draw? What is it that’s still attracting people en-mass to the mysterious isle each year?


Millions of tourists spilled out of the Aeropuerto de Eivissa arrivals hall every month last summer and the numbers are expected to increase in 2014.

Could it be the magical magnetic pull of the legend of Es Vedra that is luring people here in such drastic numbers? Maybe. It’s evident to me though that there’s more here on offer and that Ibiza has evolved gracefully from the era of the cheap party holiday destination to a stunning world class resort with endless facilities, history, authentic Spanish culture, and yet the same laid back Mediterranean charm that captured the hippies back in the swinging sixties is still very much alive.

So, despite the shocking decline of the San An booze-cruise industry Ibiza is better than ever. There are private jets landed at the airport and a plethora of high-end chauffeur driven rides from Mercedes to Hummers to get you to the start of your holiday.


The summer months see an endless stream of politicians, royals, and high profile celebrities pictured on beaches across the island, and in bars where drinks cost more than a budget airline flight ticket. It’s attractive.


Everyone wants a slice of this new luxury Ibiza. You only need to look at the changing face of the beaches here to see why – they’re becoming lined with fancy bars offering champagnes, fine dining, and complimentary dingy service to and from your yacht, t’s easy to see the attraction.


And where’s there to stay? Well if you want the privacy and seclusion highly guarded to the aforementioned well known island frequenters, and want absolute dictatorship over the poolside track playlist throughout your holiday then you absolutely must stay in one of the hundreds of exclusive villas in Ibiza that are on offer.


You can have a stunning minimalist glass fronted mansion with infinity pool and endless sea views into the horizon, or stay in a traditional white-wash finca packed with typical Spanish character and acres of outdoor sunbathing space.


If you don’t mind the company of others poolside then you might want to try Ushuaia, there’s also Ibiza’s one and only art boutique hotel, or maybe a spa retreat is more fitting for perking yourself up in the morning after one too many sangrias.


Whatever your accommodation preferences you’ll be well catered for. There are businesses on the Island providing no other services but to simply make sure you have an unforgettable experience here and be there to arrange anything you could so desire during your stay on the Island. Local experts that can source even the most unusual of requests.

There’s a never-ending list of bars and eateries to fulfill every palate and the dress code here is just as varied. Bohemian traders hustle souvenirs alongside hippies who haven’t set foot on a high street since the sixties, all this just a stonesthrow from exclusive beaches with perfectly preened girls on plush white day beds. It’s a good mix. You can’t possibly avoid the good vibes.

If you’ve any time left after taking in all the good vibes then make sure you get some culture in your system. Dalt Vila in Ibiza Town is a UNESCO world heritage site. Ibiza is a tiny island with a massive old castle. It’s unusual but definitely a must-see.

So, we’ve established that there’s something for everyone in Ibiza. The Spanish are a welcoming bunch so whatever you’re here for you’ll be encouraged by all those around you to have the time of your life. Businesses here have really taken time to understand whats going on around them and have realised that the market is changing. They have adapted perfectly to the changes and the result is that Ibiza is thriving.

As long as the islands business owners keep providing what tourists want they’ll hopefully continue to arrive in the thousands.

Do you have what it takes to Step Into the Void?


Employees at “Step into the Void” 

On the top terrace of the Aiguille du Midi mountain peak, high up in the French Alps,  overlooking Chamonix, stands a five-sided glass structure named “Step into the Void.”  Inspired by the Grand Canyon’s glass-skywalk, the Chamonix glass room takes things to an entirely new level – the Void!.  Rather than looking over a railing, here guests stand 3,396 feet in a completely glass box,  hanging over the valley below.


During Construction of “Step into the Void.”
Photography Compagnie du Mont-Blanc Chamonix

“Step into the Void” is made of three glass walls, a glass floor and glass ceiling panels,  offering spectators the opportunity to manage, their vertigo and experience “space,”  all while admiring the outrageous views from a rather dramatic perspective.


Chamonix ‘Step into the Void’ – architect’s design. Credit Compagnie du Mont-Blanc Chamonix

Safety is clearly of utmost importance.  Each of the glass panels is custom built,  12mm thick, and consist of three layers of glass that have been bound together. According to creators, the structure can withstand winds of more than 220km/ h and a maximum temperature of 60° so a few humans hanging in the room aren’t too much stress on the structure.


Credit Compagnie du Mont-Blanc Chamonix

Designed by Pierre-Yves Chays,  “Step into the Void”  is reached by The Aiguille du Midi cable car. The summit of Aiguille du Midi is the closest point you get to Mont-Blanc without climbing it.   The  Aiguille du Midi is the starting point for the ascent of Mont-Blanc to the Three-Mont-Blanc Route and many other sports such as off piste skiing in the winter season, or hiking, and paragliding in the summer and autumn seasons.

Brave enough to “Step into the Void”?  Visit Compagnie du Mont Blanc and make your plans to visit Chamonix, France.

Beautiful Big Sur “OFF THE GRID” Vacation Rental is not for sissies!


Photography thanks to Richard Wagnoe of Big Sur

Richard Wagnoe operates a salvage lumber mill for reclaimed redwoods in the hills of Big Sur, California. When mill workers aren’t staying in the trailers, that dot the land, Richard rents them to adventurers.


Photograph thanks to Richard Wagnoe of Big Sur

Travelers to his 54 acres are immediately immersed in nature and surrounded by the elements –  the beautiful landscape,  water, gorgeous views, cool nights, and the fog that rolls in at different times of the day.  “This is a place for people looking to get  lost in nature,” says Richard.  “It’s pretty rugged – not quite as luxurious as a hotel however not quite like ruffing it camping. ”


These off-the-grid accommodations are for those souls seeking an eco-adventure that begins when you meet Richard – at the gate to his property, from where you will travel up a rugged driveway terrain to your secluded destination.


Your car will be left at the property gate – “so pack light” he says, because while the walk to your car from where you are staying is just 5 minutes,  going back to your abode, will be a lot tougher, as the climb is steep.


=Plan on arriving in the afternoon, before sunset, as there are no lights on the roads.   This is a requirement as the road is impassable at night.  There are no exceptions.  Arrive late and no one will be at the gate to meet you.

5 “Big Sur Cabins For Rent is NOT for sissies. Off the Grid – is just that,” says Richard. “The restored trailers are warm, dry and lovingly restored. You’ll experience luxury views,  sleep on high thread count sheets,  get to choose whether to shower indoors or outdoors,  and enjoy the beautiful bath house with its luxurious amenities.”


Richard has lived in the wilds of Big Sur & off-grid since 1991.  He is a shepherd to this land.  By trade a master, Richard is a stone mason, builder, carpenter and skilled horticulturalist.    Visit and you’ll get to enjoy the fruits of his labor.   The terraces, he has built to the fresh fruits and vegetables that he has planted on the land.


Photograph thanks to Richard Wagnoe of Big Sur

 And when you depart,  as all must,  perhaps you’ll leave feeling the way Richard does about this spot:

“…the place [he has] come to love and create are gracious spacious and comfortable. A hot shower – or bath – overlooking an incredible view a place to cook an amazing meal, a warm, dry, quiet and peaceful place to sleep.”

Richard has placed the trailers with Privacy, Ocean Views and Natural Beauty in mind and is “offering you the chance to experience the magic of the land.”

For more information please visit: Richard’s website.

Vacation off the grid in an “Earthship.”

“For 35 years Architect Michael Reynolds has been experimenting with radically sustainable living in New Mexico’s desert…. he believes that progress evolves through making mistakes…but not everyone sees it his way.”

~ Garbage Warrior

1Photos thanks to Earthship Biotecture

When it comes to the planet, renegade architect Michael Reynolds,  believes that humanity is like “herd of buffalo and stampeding  toward a 1,000 foot drop-off,  and … we are just running off the edge….and he’s not going down that way.”   To Reynolds this is not an option.

2323Photo of Michael Reynolds thanks to Earthship Biotecture

“We know that in the future we are rendering this planet….uninhabitable” says Reynolds.  So he’s dedicated his life to devising methods of living that allows us the ability to take care of ourselves.


Photos thanks to Earthship Biotecture

Known as Earthships,  Reynolds’ homes take “every aspect of life and put it into your own hands.”  His buildings are made of natural and recycled materials  – including earth-filled tires, beer cans and water bottles.

Each is designed to work as autonomous building, and off-the-grid to minimize reliance on public utilities and fossil fuels.    Based out of Taos, New Mexico, Reynolds’ “Earthship Biotecture”  has created a self-sufficient, off-the-grid community where design and function seem to converge in eco-harmony.


Photos thanks to Earthship Biotecture

Today,  after much battle with the law, Reynolds’ Earthships are “taking flight” and inspiring people around the world to do the same.  Reynolds’ is sharing what he has learned through sessions, offered at his Earthship Academy, where he instructs people on “an owner builder approach to creating self-sufficient Earthships and Earthship communities.”


Photos thanks to Earthship Biotecture

Reynolds is also spreading the word by offering anyone looking for an eye-opening vacation, the opportunity to stay in one of the most versatile and economical building designs in the world.

When you stay in an Earthships no luxury is given up.   Each is a fully furnished homes with modern amenities that provide an experience of living in a sustainable home with Wifi Internet, TV, growing food, and the ultimate in green buildings.


Photos thanks to Earthship Biotecture

This is one vacation where you will discover what it’s like to live in a carbon zero, sustainable, green building and an experience that is certain to change the way you view the need for a new approach to housing.

Pleas visit Earthship Biotecture to learn more about Earthships,  Michael Reynolds and his team at:

 website |   facebook | rentals

As you can guess, this hasn’t been a smooth journey for Reynolds.   The renegade with big ideas to save humanity during this journey has defied state standards resulting in much conflict with authorities.  For more on the story to get to where he is, watch the following  video, Garbage Warrior, and see how Reynolds and his crew have attempted to work with authorities in anyway that they can to ensure that they lend their pioneering skills to ensure that we don’t go off that cliff.