Pick Bahía when picking Mexico

This whole trip was done through Silver Shark Adventures out of Los Angeles, CA

It can be overwhelming when choosing where to go on vacation. Many choose Mexico because it’s warm, easy to get to and for their beautiful culture and cuisine. Not too many choose Bahía de Los Angeles though. This little town is located on the Baja California Sur and it’s pretty much a secret ocean safari.
One of the reasons why tourists don’t tend to travel to Bahía is because the only dependable way to get there is by car. Most will fly into LAX because TJ can be a little unpredictable but from LAX it is a 12-hour drive down to this desert oasis.
I think there is something to be said to vacationing where many choose not to. It feels untouched, more serine and like you’re apart of the place that you’re staying. On our first night, I had the beach all to myself and could just hear the waves crash against the shore. I couldn’t wait to go sleep so I could wake up and embark on our first boat ride.
We started our ocean safaris around 7 am to beat the heat and be able to see as much marine life as possible. We were all eager to see everything but we all also had the same goal in mind, to swim with the whale sharks.
There were definitely other headliners though along the way. I fell in love with the dolphins, they traveled in large pods and found the boat to be one of the most interesting things. Their love for the waves produced by the boat was unmatched.
I honestly couldn’t get enough of these guys. They were so playful and we even got in the water with them at one point. Once in the water, you could really hear how they communicate with each other using their echolocation
The water in Bahía was like glass on most days and felt like a warm pool when jumping in. Just some more reasons on why to choose Bahía.
We were on the boat for about 7-8 hours a day for 4 days. This might sound like a lot but it was perfect. We had lunch breaks and were able to jump into the sea anytime we got hot. It was a great way to all get to know each other since all of us girls were solo travelers.
*Please excuse the swearing, it was very exciting*
On the second day, we saw two huge fin whales. There were only 5 of us on a small boat so we were able to really get a sense of how enormous these whales are, coming in as the second-largest species on earth behind the blue whale.
We saw everything from sea life to birds, here are some blue-footed boobies! I wasn’t able to zoom in enough to see their feet but here’s a link from Nat Geo!
a handsome pelican!
This is Norma, we saw her a handful of times. She’s currently the largest whale shake in the Sea of Cortez and in my option, the sweetest. She’s 38 feet long and I was lucky enough to swim with her one day for around 20 minutes!
Here you’re able to get a sense to just how large these creatures are when you’re swimming next to them.
Exactly what the doctor ordered after a long day on the boat. We stayed at a hotel on the ocean that was stacked with more of Mexico’s finest.
One of the best parts was simply waking up. All four mornings I had the beach to myself and was able to soak in the sunrise. I even saw some of the hotel owner’s dog fishing for their breakfast while the tide was low.
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Must Do New Zealand Adventures: South Island

Last winter break I did a winter session course to New Zealand. It is even more amazing than what is portrayed in The Lord of the Ring movies. It is literally paradise on earth, you have the best of everything. There are a range of climates from mountains, beaches, rainforests and volcanoes. No one-cent and five-cent coins, which means that most prices end in a zero, or are rounded up. Crosswalks have no lights so you can basically cross the road whenever you like, though there are a few exceptions in very busy areas. It doesn’t mean that you should stop watching for cars, not everyone stops for pedestrians. Restaurant bills are not delivered to your table you will either pay beforehand or have to go up to the register to pay. In some places they don’t keep track of what you have ordered; they will just trust you to tell them what you had. There is no tipping! There are also no snakes, venomous insects, scorpions and only has one venomous spider, which is very rare up to the point it has an almost mythical status. These are just a few things that make New Zealand even better. Though you can’t forget about the amazing sites and activities. Listed below are some must do adventures on New Zealand’s South Island, in no specific order.

Queenstown 20160101_211016

Queenstown is your typical tourist town, high prices and many people. Disregarding those things it is a very picturesque town on Lake Wakatipu with street performers, stores and restaurants lining the streets, a gondola and a beach. It is a great town to stay at for holidays, night life and shopping. There is also a gondola where you can get breathtaking views of Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu.  Queenstown also has a mouth- watering burger joint called Ferburger. Their line is usually a half block if not a block long and their wide varieties of burgers are about the size of a young child’s face. The half-hour wait is soo worth it. To end, Queesntown is world-famous for adventure, this leads into my next topic…

Extreme Sports:20151229_14500520160101_14251420160101_143416

Since Queenstown is the tourist destination in New Zealand they offer a wide range of extreme activities such as skydiving, jet boating and bungee/bungy jumping. If you don’t know, jet boating and bungee jumping was invented in New Zealand. And many times we do spontaneous things while on vacation, so might as well do one of these activities. Jet boating is the ultimate water sport where you power your way through narrow river canyons. You all know what bungee jumping is, and there are two iconic spots to bungee jump a hour away from Queesntown. The first is Kawarau Bridge, a 43 meter (~141 ft) jump into the river below. It is one of the most popular bungee sites, attrackting thousands of thrill seekers every year. For the more daring there is the Nevis Bungy which is New Zealand’s biggest at 134m (~440 ft) above the Nevis River. There are age, weight and medical restrictions for many of these activities. Unfortunately, I ran into this problem at the Nevis jump, I was a few pounds short for their weight limit. At least I was allowed to travel to the jumping site that is held above the river by two wires to watch.

Mount Cook20160102_143204
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Mount Cook is the highest mountain and longest glaciers in New Zealand. There is a lovely day hike (more like 4 hours) to a small lake at the base of the mountain. The hike is pretty flat and has several suspended bridges that are fun to bounce around on. The scenery is amazing, mountains, a river, and flora that were unlike anything I’ve seen. The flora actually somewhat reminded me or a Dr. Seuss book, there were rolling grass areas with these
spiky looking plants that shoot straight up in the air. The trail ends at the small lake which was the chalky white color with small ice blocks. There was a small rocky beach you can walk down to to get to the lake from the picnic area. I have to say, the hike to the lake was more enjoyable than the ending destination.

Kaikoura20160105_210731

Kaikoura is a very cute, small town that is on the ocean and has rocky beaches. Kaikoura itself wasn’t that outstanding as a town but it too had amazing views and was home to many Maori people, the indigenous people of NZ, consisting of 3% of the population. There is a Maori tour ran by a Maori that I thought was worth doing, to learn about their history and culture. Kaikoura is also a popular spot to go whale watching and swim with the dolphins. I was fortunate enough to swim with the dolphins and it is something that I will always remember. As I have never been snorkeling I really got the full experience in this activity. Everyone had to wear a head to toe wetsuits with goggles and snorkel. Since the suits were so buoyant there was no need for life jackets. This was an activity I highly recommend. You are delivered as close as possible to a pod of dolphins. The time I went there were 30 or more dolphins swimming around you,  it was awesome! If you are somewhat claustrophobic this might not be for you. Being encased in a wesuit add in being in the ocean you feel alone and closed in. Even I had a tiny anxiety attack. Also don’t worry if the dolphins move away you get back into the boat to follow them. The time I went we were on and off the boat 5 times before we headed back. And like many similar businesses if the weather is bad or no dolphins are to be found you get a refund and are able to reschedule.

Christcurch20160105_110507 20160104_110230

Christchuch is the largest city on the South Island. In 2010-12 Christcurch experienced devistating earthquakes which forever changed the city. When I visited the destruction from the earthquakes could still be seen around the entire city. This was eye-opening to see since in Montana earthquakes are almost nonexistent.  It was definitely surprising and heartbreaking to see all the damage left. But what surprised me the most was what the city did after the earthquakes. They turned a horrible natural disaster into a new beginning. All around the city there were little innovated places. One was an area of temporary trailer sized businesses, another a musical park made out of recycled material. There was an area testing out 3D printed designs to grow plant and shops made out of train cars. The street art all over the city was outstanding. I just happened to be there during the Spectrum Street Art Festival that consisted of street art, graffiti, video etc. all around the city.

Abel Tasman National Park20160109_101241

Abel Tasman is a coastal National Park that has several beaches and has a wide variety of Flora and fur seal rookeries and little blue penguin populations. It is usually recommended to plan a whole day just for this. There is a very easy trail that stretches along the coast that leads to several different beaches, depending on how long you want to walk. If wanting to stay overnight there are a couple of lodges and campsites throughout the park. I would recommend kayaking one way and walking back the other. By kayaking you get a better view of the seal rookeries and maybe a little blue penguin. You also get a better view of the smaller islands just off the coast. I kayaked to this small, somewhat secluded beach for lunch and relaxing and then walked back. If plan to go all day take water, sunscreen and a swimsuit. The burning time this far south is 10 minutes, yikes! There are water faucets available at some areas but they are more for washing and rinsing, not drinking. The water is so beautiful and clear it would be hard to stay away, hence the swimsuit. Warning the one bathroom that was at the beach I was at was awful, it stank to high heaven. Not sure this applies to all but approach with caution!

Milford Sound20151230_140805 20151230_125349

Milford sound is within Fiordland National Park. This too is an all day trip. Even though from Queenstown it is located an hour away, straight across, due to road regulations in NZ getting there was more like a 4 hour trip. If you do a bus tour you pass through stunning landscapes including mountain ranges, glacier-carved valleys, crystal clear lakes and native rainforest. There are several things to do at Milford Sound such as, hiking, kayaking and cruises. The cruise was an ideal way to see Milford Sound. It is just over two hours, you get to see wildlife as well as the stunning waterfalls and steep mountain sides. The sights rival that of Glacier National Park, daresay, maybe even surpass those of Glacier.

 

How many road signs can you guess right?

When did you get a driver’s license? I assume that it was a long time ago and you are an expert of the road signs in the United States. What if it’s road signs from other countries? I found some unique road signs around the world! Let’s try to figure out what they say so you can drive in foreign countries 🙂  The answers will be at the end of these signs.

 

  1.  What does this sign mean?

 

Road sign in New Zealand

HINT: This is a road sign from New Zealand.

 

 

2.  The sign says “_____” in Japanese.

Road sign in Japan

HINT: It’s a hexagon in America.

 

 

3.  What does this sign mean?

Road sign in China

HINT: Explosion! This is in China.

 

 

4.  What does this sign mean?
UK sing

HINT: What is the red car trying to do?

 

5.  This is an exaggerated depiction of ______.

Road sign in UK

HINT: The car is not in a gymnastic class.

 

 

6.  What does this sign mean?

Road sign of school ahead

HINT: It’s not a giant lollipop.

 

 

7.   Can you guess what country this sign is in?

Road sign in South Africa

HINT: It’s not in America.

 

 

The answers are here:

  1. “Kiwis are crossing the street so be cautious.” (New Zealand)
  2. ”Stop” (Japan)
  3. “Do not load explosives in your car and drive” (China)
  4. “Do not pass” (United Kingdom)
  5. “Accident Ahead” (United Kingdom)
  6. “School Ahead”
  7. “High-Jacking hot spot” (South Africa)

 

 

How did you do? Did you guess all the road signs correct? I hope you enjoyed these quizzes!