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Sayulita’s Surfing and Stand Up Paddle Board Competitions

There has been a lot of surfing competitions in Sayulita since I got here in October. March 7th – 9th was the 5th Annual Punta Sayulita Long Board & Stand-Up Classic. Previous competitions had a few sponsors and mostly locals participating, however this event was huge. There were a dozen or so large sponsors including Jack Daniels, the tourism board of Riviera Nayarit, and several others. Many were offering free drinks.

There were hundreds of people on the beach watching the competition and perhaps more throughout the entire beach area. Music was blasting and all of the tables were packed. We managed somehow to grab a table next to all the booths and where the action was. The tables in the front row were all reserved awhile ago but third row was still great. We ordered a few buckets of beers, ate some quesadillas, and chatted with some friends that joined us. We sat out there for over five hours enjoying the sun, beach, and scene all around us.

In the evening we were surprised by the huge concert stage. We were even more surprised to learn that the headliner was G Love and Special Sauce. You might recognize them by one of their most popular songs called Milk & Cereal. Sayulita might be a small beach town but they do big things! We sat on the beach with some friends and beers and listened to the funky and awesome tunes.

SUP Classic Sayulita-2

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SUP Classic Sayulita


G Love in Sayulita

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Partying in South America VS SE Asia

Full Moon Party Buckets

Partying is fun and great while traveling but what we often miss are the cultural differences in where we are partying and how we are partying. Has tourists partying in the country affected the culture? Is it hurting the economy or helping it? These are thoughts I’ve had for awhile ever since I went to Vang Vieng several years ago.

Vang Vieng was my first party town into SE Asia. I never had a bucket and was only one month into my travels. Yes, I did swing into the river drunk as most people did but I didn’t even realize some had injured or even died from that same swing or slide. The locals were taking advantage of the huge influx of backpackers wanting to party and created a crazy environment for them to spend money. The locals were making some nice cash. Although the party is over at Vang Vieng, other locations throughout SE Asia are similar to this. Some say Ten Thousand Islands in Laos is next, there’s the Full Moon Party in Thailand, and Siem Reap party street.


In SE Asia the majority of those partying are foreigners from Europe, Australia, US, and the UK. You might find a couple of Thai’s partying with you at the Full Moon Party but it’s quite rare. However in South America you will find that all beach party towns are not exclusive to foreigners. Montanita, Ecuador is one of the most popular beach party towns in Ecuador and yet you will find just as many Ecuadorians, as you do foreigners.

The main reason for this I believe are the cultural differences between SE Asia and South America. In SE Asia you are less likely to be partying with a local than you are in South America. It’s not so much that SE Asians are not partying but rather the definition of partying is different. In SE Asia, it seems more likely that the locals would prefer to party among friends and family than go to a huge party. In South America however there are parties in every possible street from chiva buses in Colombia to beach party towns like Montanita.


I don’t feel like a jerk partying in South America. It’s not like I go out and have a crazy time but I can walk around with a beer in my hand and fit in just as well as everyone else. In Buenos Aires for example, locals typically go out to clubs and bars at 1am and stay out until morning and this is perfectly normal.

The exception in South America I think is Bolivia. I found that La Paz had a huge party scene mostly for foreigners that Bolivians were not as interested in partaking.

Oddly, I found the partying in SE Asia a lot more intense than South America. More alcohol, more drunks, and you can get away with dumber activities. I’m guessing that’s because most of the partying in SE Asia is concentrated within small areas while in South America it’s spread out. Another huge factor could be age. I found that in SE Asia many of the travelers were young while in South America it’s been more couples and an older crowd.

What are you thoughts on this? I would love to hear whether you agree or disagree.

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Not Missing an Opportunity of a Lifetime

eagle rays

eagle rays

Last time I tried to dive, I puked. It was in Fiji and the water currents were extremely rough as I was on my way to go diving with sharks. I felt too ill to go diving so I had missed on an opportunity of a lifetime. The opportunity to dive with sharks rose again when I was invited to go shark diving in the Galapagos with Contiki and Céline Cousteau. This time I was going to go to the Galapagos prepared for diving.

I knew about the trip a few months before so I had plenty of time to prepare. I started to Google seasickness and found an array of solutions that wouldn’t affect my diving. I was recommended by a dive master to take motion sickness pills a couple of days before and take them daily to get them into my system. That seemed to have worked a bit.

The last time I dove was in 2009 for my Open Water Certificate with PADI. It’s been awhile and I had forgotten many of the basic stuff you should know like what to do when you run out of air and clearing the mask. I was told that the Galapagos is very strict about who’s diving too. Every diver needs to have dove within the last year for safety reasons. Since it’s been so long, I had to make sure I took a refresher class before I went to the Galapagos. I found a refresher course in the DC area for less than $100 for a few hours. The first two hours was with a teacher, videos, and a written test. Afterwards it was another two hours in the pool. We did the basic drills and I felt so relieved, confident, and happy by the end of the course. I was ready and leaving for the Galapagos in one week.

galapagos diving

I was on my way to the dive site in the Galapagos. The waters weren’t nearly as rough as they were in Fiji so I wasn’t seasick at all. I was nervous though and especially nervous when I was about to go in the water.

Our first dive site was shallow to get us ready for the actual dive. We went over a few drills to make sure I remembered how to clear my mask. This was a fantastic idea because it made me more comfortable for the deeper end. I was nervous in the water but I cleared my mask perfectly and passed all the tests. Now for the sharks.

I was still nervous but mostly because I haven’t dove enough. Not once was I nervous of the sharks.

I descended down and I dropped like a rock straight to the bottom. One of the dive masters picked me up and guided me until I got used to my buoyancy. After awhile, I was on my own and followed the other divers in the water. It felt relaxing and calming. A few minutes later I spotted a few sharks. Then without warning dozens of sharks. Literally all around me in every direction. Just swimming along out in the distance. They were beautiful.

galapagos sharks

After my tank ran out I decided to go snorkeling around the area. That’s when I saw more sharks and eagle rays than I could have ever possibly counted. My guess was over 50 galapagos sharks and whitetip sharks. Others saw over 100. What impressed me the most were the eagle rays. They had perfect formation and all swam in unison. A school of them was coming straight for me and they just all went around me ignoring that I was there at all.

I got back on the boat feeling a bit emotional and happy. In Fiji I thought I had failed and missed an opportunity that I may never get to do again. The reality is you never really know where life will take you. In the last four years of traveling, I’ve been to places I thought I would never go back to or experience again. It can be hard but I need to reminded myself that missed opportunities can come back again for another chance.

[disclosure]Disclosure: This amazing experience was thanks to Contiki. I went on part of their Ecuador & Galapagos Island Hopper tour. The chance to dive with Celine Cousteau is not part of their regular tours.[/disclosure]

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Speed Boat Dance Party

Speedboat in Rotterdam

Speedboat in Rotterdam

Who would have thought that Rotterdam would have so many adventurous activities. I had no idea. Across the street from the Euromast where I went abseiling is the river where you can get on a speedboat, blast some music, and see Rotterdam from a different viewpoint. The boat goes pretty damn fast and it’s a bumpy ride. We nearly laughed and screamed the entire time. I was also with some good friends which made it more fun as we cheered and raised our hands.

As the sun was shining and we were laughing and enjoying the ride through Rotterdam I thought to myself, my life is pretty great.


  • Funjet
  • Where: Rotterdam, Holland
  • You must make a reservation on the Funjet website, by e-mail  by phone or at the restaurant Zwarte Zwaan.
  • The Fun Jet only departs if six or more passagers have booked.
  • The ride lasts for about 20 minutes.
  • On different days, times or during other months, bookings can be made on request for groups of at least 6 passengers
  • Funjet 20 minutes Tour €28,50, Funjet + Lasergame package €44,50, Funjet + Dinner package, from €46,45, Funjet + Rum tasting package €53,50, Funjet + Abseil package €89,00.


[disclosure]A travel blogger in our group won a group ticket in a raffle. I was invited along with the others in the group.[/disclosure]

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Abseiling in Rotterdam

Abseiling in Rotterdam

I went abseiling off the Euromast in Rotterdam.

Abseiling, also known as rappelling, is a slow and controlled decent with a rope off a cliff. Very little equipment is used. Just a rope, a descender device, and harnest. The descender device controls the speed of which you go down. By pulling the rope outwards, you start to go down. Pulling it inwards stops the movement. The rope is tied into a figure eight within the device. It’s pretty simple really and the further you go down, the easier it becomes to pull the rope down as the weight of the rope gets lighter.

I was a nervous wreck though. The guys who worked there calmed me down and had me going over the ledge very slowly. My legs were shaking. As I was instructed to go further down off the ledge, I became less nervous. It happened so slowly and calmly that it really wans’t a big deal at all. Suddenly I was hanging with just the rope and my feet were against the windows of the building. On the other side of the windows were people having lunch.

Unfortunately it was raining and the clouds made it difficult to see far. Still the view from up there was amazing. I took my time and just enjoyed the view. The rest of the ride was more calming still had an adrenaline rush. It took less than 10 minutes to go all the way down. It was one of the best things I did in Holland.

Abseiling in Rotterdam Abseiling in Rotterdam Abseiling in Rotterdam Abseiling in Rotterdam Abseiling in Rotterdam


  • Euromast
  • Cost: €49.50 per person (book here)
  • Where: Rotterdam, Holland
  • Ziplines are also available.
  • We were told you should make reservations as they often get booked up.


[disclosure]The activity was comped by Rotterdam tourism during Travel Bloggers Unite conference.[/disclosure]

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Beer Biking in Berlin

Beer Biking in Berlin

Peer pressure makes you do amazing things. Never would I have thought I would be on a bike that serves beer. I’ve seen them around in other cities but it never came across my mind to ride on them. It was Jennifer’s (Jdomb’s Travels) birthday and we were invited to go beer biking with her and some friends in Berlin. Turns out beer biking is actually a lot of fun.

We were with Pete of Hecktic Travels, Peter Parkorr of Travel Unmasked, Emma of Emma’s Travel Tales, Michael of Go, See, Write, Stephanie of Twenty-Something Travel, and of course the birthday girl Jennifer with her husband Tim (Jdomb’s Travels).

The activity was provided by Beer Bike Berlin.

Beer Biking in Berlin

Each side of the bike can hold 6 people totaling 12 people that can peddle. A few can fit in the back making it have enough room for 16 people. If you fill up all the seats, it makes it easier to peddle because there’s more power. The driver sitting up front is steering us and showing us around Berlin. He takes us to many of Berlin’s famous attractions for the next two hours.

The best part is of course the beer. The keg is up front in the barrel. As you peddle, you continue to serve yourself and get drunk. Unfortunately for the driver, he needs to stay sober. In my drunk state of mind, I told everyone we should drink faster so the bike weighs less which doesn’t really make sense since it’s just going into our system anyway.

If I’m going to drink, I need music. The bike is equipped with speakers and loaded with random fun 80’s and 90’s music. If you got an iPod, they can plug that in as well. We weren’t prepared so we just let them play whatever which was awesome because it was all classic fun tunes.

We laughed hysterically almost the entire time. We knew we looked ridiculous but that was the best part. Everyone watching us from the side was taking pictures of us, cars driving by had to take a second look, we cheered people on, and we had an amazing time. Yes, we were freezing but after peddling for awhile and drinking, it got warmer.

It’s €299 .00 per group and if you split that with 12 people, it comes out to only close to €25 a person. It’s €4.5 per litre of beer too. More info here.

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Want to learn more? Jdomb Travels also has a review up of Beer Bike Berlin.

[disclosure]The activity was provided by Beer Bike Berlin. The activity was comped and we paid for our drinks. All opinions are my own, obviously.[/disclosure]