A weekend in Martinique

 Martinique is beautiful. It’s one of the more untouched and pristine islands I’ve been to. Drive along any road and you will past stunning scenic view after scenic view. There is a lot of green and not many hotels. However, the relative lack of tourism has its drawbacks. Restaurants are never open. And I mean ever. I don’t know how these people pay their rent. We tried going to one place 3 different days at 3 different times and had no luck. Customer service is subpar. You will likely have trouble getting by if you don’t speak French. But it is beautiful and there is plenty to do. 
We got a little lost going to Mount Pelée. Somehow we ended up in fields of sugar cane. Talk about beautiful… Obviously we took advantage of the opportunity for an impromptu photoshoot.
 
We drove by a sign for this place and decided to stop. Château Dubuc is a gorgeous old sugar mill on the water. The history is fascinating and the views are stunning. 

To be honest, I have no idea where this is. We woke up at 4:30am to see the sunrise, and after many, many wrong turns, ended up here.   

Watch the sunset at Le Diamant. It is STUNNING.

  

A Few Beaches for Different Travel Types

It’s cold outside.  Winter is a great time to get away to a tropical destination.  If you need a warm getaway, but can’t decide where to go…I’ve got you covered:

  1. For the Scuba Diver: Belize.  So, it’s pretty cool to scuba dive the Blue Hole.  I’m pretty sure that’s on most diver’s bucketlists.  The Blue Hole is an awesome dive, but don’t forget about the other dive sites in the area.  After I dove the Blue Hole, I went to a dive site where I was surrounded by about 10 sharks.  Remember that the Blue Hole is deep.  Really deep.  So be careful with your underwater camera.  I learned that lesson the hard way…
  2. For the Nature Lover: Maui.  If you love nature, go to Maui and drive the Road to Hana.  It’s so incredibly diverse.  From bamboo forests to red sand beaches, the Road to Hana has it all.
  3. For Pristine Beaches: St. Lucia.  St. Lucia is still relatively unaffected by tourism compared to other Caribbean destinations.  The roads are unpaved and there are potholes everywhere.  It is still very lush and there aren’t hotels upon hotels like other islands.  I know St. Lucia has a reputation for being a romantic destination, but I went alone and had the time of my life.  Also, make sure to hike the Pitons.  Gros Piton is the taller and easier Piton.  The views are incredible.
  4. For the Partier: Aruba.  Aruba is filled with bars and casinos.  People in Aruba like to party and it’s definitely one of the more lively islands I’ve been to.
  5. For Diverse Experiences: Virgin Islands.  The Virgin Islands – both U.S. and British – have a lot to offer.  The hustle-and-bustle of St. Thomas is a stark contrast with calm St. John.  The Baths at Virgin Gorda are absolutely stunning rock formations.  And you can easily take day trips from one island to the other – they are all relatively close.
  6. For the Family: Bahamas.  The Atlantis in the Bahamas could not be a better destination for families.  Children can be entertained for days on end with the water parks, and parents can have fun in the casino and at the new adult-only pool.  Plus there are plenty of excursions and day activities.

Things to Do in Brazil…Besides Partying

I just got back from a wonderful week in Brazil.  It was Carnaval week, but I’m not much of a partier, So I opted for a more laid back trip.

I found very reasonably priced flights direct from DC to Sao Paulo.  I spent the week in Lencois Maranhenses, Salvador, and Sao Paulo.  I certainly wish I had time for Rio, but I’ll check it out next time I’m in Brazil!

Lencois Maranhenses is a national park in northern Brazil with water-filled sand dunes that are truly out of this world.  It’s a bit tricky to get to – I flew into Sao Luis then took a 5 hour bus to Barreirinhas, but the journey is well worth it.  This place looks drastically different based on the season – the water level changes.  July/August is the best time to visit Lencois Maranhenses, because the dunes fill up with bright blue water, but I believe it is still beautiful anytime of year.  A plane tour of the dunes is an absolute MUST!  The beautiful photos you will see if you search for Lencois Maranhenses are taken from a plane.  Plus, the flight is pretty cheap – about 300 Reals per person.

Salvador is a cute city on the coast.  A boat tour to some of the islands in the bay is a great way to see some pristine and untouched beaches.  A walk around the old city is also a lot of fun.

Sao Paulo is bigger and much more expensive than other areas in Brazil.  You won’t need much time here – a day or two should be enough.  Renting a bike in Ibirapuera Park is a great way to start the day.  Then make sure to head up to the Italian building for a cocktail at some point and get a beautiful city photo.

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