Visiting a Tobacco Farm in Viñales, Cuba

Vinales Tobacco Farm

Cuba was a destination I had been wanting to visit for years, but the idea of spending a week at an all inclusive wasn’t appealing.  When I was booking my trip there, Viñales was one of the towns I knew I wanted to explore. Viñales is a World Heritage Site, but the main reason why I wanted to visit was to explore the tobacco fields and see how cigars are prepared. My trip was with Cuban Adventures, on the New Years Rumba tour. In Viñales, they did a wonderful job, arranging a guide for us who lived in the area and knew it as only a local could. He had a wealth of knowledge on tobacco, vegetation and the people who live there. Even for those not big on tobacco, Viñales has lots to offer: its surrounding farmland is lush and plentiful, with organic farms, caves, horseback riding, beach excursions,  swimming and lots of day hikes. Valeri, our main guide for the tour, gave us plenty of tips about what we could do, joined us for lunch and made sure we were taken care of in our homestays. Continue Reading

Celebrating Christmas Eve in Cuba – Las Parrandas de Remedios

Las Parrandas de Remedios 2014

I'm home from Cuba and it has been a hard transition back to my everyday life in Vancouver. I miss my travel companions from the Cuban Adventures tour, the delicious and cheap mojitos, the hot weather, smoking Cuban cigars, walking around exploring new cities and towns and the people that I met. The photographic opportunities ranged from crumbling old buildings in Havana to white sand beaches at sunset in Varadero and lush, tropical fields of tobacco in Vinales. I can't wait to share my stories and photos of my Cuban trip. One of my adventures was heading to Remedios to celebrate Noche Buena (Christmas Eve), a night that I won't forget anytime soon. Las Parrandas de Remedios is a night of partying in the streets and celebrating Christmas Eve on a rooftop. We enjoyed fireworks, dancing, partying, wandering the streets, exploring the stalls and squeezing past locals drinking rum and Cristal, all while the final touches were being made to parade floats. Las Parrandas de Remedios Continue Reading

Jumping in at Lake of the Woods

Lake in the woods

Have you ever had the desire to pull your car over and jump into a cold but refreshing body of water? Well, go for it! I was on my way home from a road trip to Lytton, BC, driving along Hwy #1 when I pulled over on the shoulder of the road. I was hot, sweaty and a bit tired, I needed something refreshing and drinking water wasn't doing it. I did a Google search and found out that there was a lake only six minutes away just before Hope, BC.  I decided that Lake of the Woods (Schkam Lake) would be my next stop. As I pulled closer to the lake, cars were parked along the side of the road and the parking lot was full. It was British Columbia Day and the place was packed. As the view of the lake came into view, the colours drew me in, crystal clear blue waters with a hint of green. I climbed down a small, dirt hill to enjoy a spot away from the families enjoying the lake. I threw my sandals to the side and walked in, the cold water was exhilarating. No bathing suit was available so Continue Reading

Road Trip to Lytton, British Columbia

Lytton White Water

One Incredible Road Trip to Lytton, British Columbia I needed an escape from the hot weather for a weekend and wanted some time to myself. I decided a road trip would solve this dilemma. In August, I picked up a Modo car and headed east towards the Fraser Canyon, along Hwy #1 to Lytton, British Columbia. The Fraser Canyon was on my left as I drove through tunnels in the mountains and stopped off at a view points along the way. After stopping for breakfast, I pulled into the small town of Lytton, BC. Lytton was my destination for the weekend full of white water rafting and exploring. Lytton is a small town of approximately 228 people, most people would drive right past the small town, but I encourage you to stop and get out on the river. You don’t know what you are missing until you experience it. If you aren’t up for paddling, jump in one of the motor boats and get a unique view of the Thompson River and the Fraser Canyon. My highlights of the weekend are included in the video Continue Reading

Birthday and holiday plans!

https://www.flickr.com/photos/cesar_fernandez/9669173900 By Cesar - Creative Commons

  As I pull on my sweater, grab my tea and open the front door, I realize that colder weather will soon be coming. I was walking to my day job, when I was wished that I had taken my gloves with me. The summer had flown by! Granted, I was recovering from my accident for most of it but I still can’t believe fall is here! It is sitting by a fire, sipping hot drinks and wearing rain gear season again. I do love winter in Vancouver but the rain can get to you. The temperature hardly ever goes below zero, and the snow usually stays on the mountains; the rest of Canada laughs at Vancouver at how we handle snow if it does fall in the city. This year, I’ve planned a winter escape as a celebration for a milestone birthday. The big news is I'm going to Cuba for my 30th birthday! I’m excited for this trip. As I enter into a new decade, I want to do something memorable. I could have booked an all-inclusive package for the two weeks but I wanted to see Cuba that is outside of Continue Reading

Taking the ferry to Bainbridge Island

Washington State Ferry

Day trip to Bainbridge Island Do you enjoy a ferry trip while travelling? Yes please for me! One of the things I love about travelling is when I get to go out or be by the water. If I can't be in a kayak or a canoe, I'll take any boat that I can. I thought about renting a sailboat when visiting Seattle with family but it was out of the question as none of us knew how to sail! After searching for different options, I stumbled upon one that was accessible and inexpensive, the Washington State Ferries. There are a couple of different route options but we chose one of the short ones, a trip to Bainbridge Island! What I love about this ferry is that it leaves right from downtown Seattle, no commuting out of town to the terminals. You have the option of walking on and off or driving on. A tip, you don't need a car if you are exploring the small but cute downtown area of Bainbridge. We drove on the ferry as we couldn't find a good deal for downtown Seattle parking and didn't Continue Reading

Road trip tip: cell coverage in the States

Download Seattle

As I prepare for my next road trip to Tofino, I'm reflecting back on a road trip that I took in July, when my father came out to visit. I wish I could spend every weekend going someplace new and travelling but work limits that. After spending time in Vancouver, we booked a rental car and headed into Washington State. After a couple of stops, we were pulling into our Airbnb ready to settle in for a multi-day trip. Road trips hold a special place in my heart, I love the open road, driving on the highway and having the freedom to stop when and where you wish. One problem that I've experienced when crossing the border is my cell phone goes into roaming and the costs are ridiculous. I use to stand in front of a big coffee chain every time I went down, just to check my e-mail or to look up directions. The one time I didn't, I came home to hundreds of dollars on my cell bill. I learned my lesson! This time, I was looking at buying an upgrade plan with my carrier, Bell, however it Continue Reading