It was so much fun experiencing Bermuda with this crew! Courtney & Matt planned their wedding to perfection. It took place at Grotto Bay Resort in Hamilton, Bermuda. The hotel grounds were gorgeous. There’s a natural cave on the property that is open to guests for swimming.
We went on a private charter from Rising Son Cruises, which was incredible! We got to jump off the boat, swim & snorkel in the warm clear water.
The wedding was gorgeous and I’m so honored to have been a part of it!
When we go on vacation to destinations like national parks, rainforests, or jungles, it’s expected that we will see an abundance of exotic flora and fauna. Biodiversity is precious, yet all too often we take it for granted when we are on vacation.
A new form of tourism is emerging to promote sustainability and help the habitats of endangered wildlife species. It’s known as eco tourism, and it involves tourists travelling responsibly and giving back while they are on vacation. The exact definition of ecotourism, according to the International Ecotourism Society is “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people.” Below, we’ve compiled some examples of how eco tourism works and how it can make a huge impact on the lives of animals.
No matter where you are headed, you can move towards sustainable travel by following these guidelines.
As 25% of the land in Costa Rica is a rainforest, it is home to an incredibly rich array of wildlife, including many endangered species like the Hawksbill sea turtle. When you travel to this beautiful country, it’s important to book sustainable activities, accommodations, and restaurants that support the wildlife rather than harm it. For example, an eco-lodge like the Finca Luna Nueva is not only a beautiful place to stay, but it is also a center of learning. While you are staying there, it will feel like a vacation, but you can also learn about their practices of regenerative agriculture and research into the preservation of the land.
New Zealand is a stunning place to travel to, with volcanoes, natural black sand beaches, oceans, forests, and mountains. While there are endless ecotourism opportunities, one that we would like to highlight is the protection of their rare bird species. From the kiwi to the kākāpō, there are many endangered bird species that are incredible to view and even better to support while you are in New Zealand. Instead of a traditional vacation, consider going birdwatching to learn more about these rare species in their natural habitat.
Head to Cambodia and you can participate in the Chi Phat community based ecotourism project. The project will lead you on hikes in the Cardamom Mountains, where you can view the elephant corridor from afar. You can also take a tour through the jungle, explore a cave, and view gorgeous waterfalls all while staying in sustainable accommodation.
Many people enjoy safaris in Africa each year, but there is a way of having fun and experiencing the animals while also giving back. Kenya is a great country to visit in terms of ecotourism as there are many programs set up that are designed to help you enjoy the beaches, wildlife, and national parks in a safe and sustainable way. Enjoy stunning views from Mara Bushtops in the Bushtops Conservancy, then take a sustainable safari to view wildlife like big cats and elephants. There are small ways to support Kenya’s initiatives for conservation, from donating directly to a cause to purchasing goods like wildlife conservation jewelry from locals.
For more sustainable on sustainable travel, click here!
I had so much fun visiting Naples, FL with my mom!
Places we went:
Here are recommendations I got from regulars:
Things to see:
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For more travel goodies, check out this blog post on How To Be Sustainable While Traveling.
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As much as I love it, traveling, especially flying, is not typically sustainable. Over the past few years, I’ve been lucky enough to travel more than ever and it seems that on each trip I find another way to make my habits more sustainable. Even better, a lot of these tips will make your entire trip easier!
Bring a reusable water bottle – carry your empty bottle through security and fill it at one of the water stations in the airport. I’ve always been able to find a water station with fresh, filtered water at every airport. You’ll save money when you can refill for free instead of buying an overpriced bottle at the airport. After you board, you can ask the flight attendant to fill your bottle when they bring around the beverage cart to avoid the plastic cup. Keep in mind, if your bottle is really big, they may not be able to fill it all the way. I just ask for a small refill!
I love my Corkcicle bottles! They have the cutest colors & designs!
Reusable coffee/tea cup – whenever I’m on a plane, I love getting hot tea. I always bring a reusable metal cup and ask the attendant to fill that with my hot water. I’ve never had issues with this, and it’s so nice having my favorite cup with me for my mornings while traveling!
Pack light! – Not only does this make moving around easier, but it saves you money and helps you create less waste. When you can fit all your essentials into a carry on, you won’t need to check your bag and get plastic stickers attached to your things. This may seem small, but imagine how all the luggage tag stickers add up! All of those plastic stickers end up in landfills after your flight.
Digital boarding passes! – Almost every airline now has a free app which allows you to check into your flight and download your boarding pass to your phone instead of printing it out. This makes your day easier as you’ll have less items to keep track of and you’ll get updates about your flight status, which tends to change way too often, haha! Any time you choose to go digital, you avoid production emissions of paper and nothing ends up in the landfill!
Pro travel tip – as much as digital documents can help us, technology sometimes fails. Always print your important confirmation numbers for things like your hotel and rental car. Unlike boarding passes which can be easily printed at the airport, these could be lost if your phone fails!
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My first tip of advice for any trip is to check your travel reservations! While booking this flight, I somehow booked my flight home on a different day than everyone else in my group. Flight change fees are frustrating, but unavoidable if you make a mistake like this, but it’s better to know ahead of time if you need to make changes!
Coming from New Jersey, we arrived at the Aguadilla airport at around 1am. The airport was still completely open and actually quite busy at that time! All car rental counters were open, so don’t worry about not being able to pick up your car if you arrive in the middle of the night.
We stayed at Fisheye View in Rincon. It is on the West side of the island, and sits on a (very steep!) hill above Maria’s surf break. Travel time from the airport was about 35 minutes. Fisheye is absolutely beautiful, and is owned by a sweet couple of surfers. It is comparable to staying in an AirBnb villa; there are multiple apartments that share a pool + a main house that is larger and has a private infinity pool and swim up bar. We stayed in a 2-bedroom apartment with a pull-out couch in the living room, which was perfect for 4-6 people! The guests that were staying in the main house invited us up to use the infinity pool at sunset, which provided for one of the most beautiful views I’ve ever seen!
We were warned to not drink the tap water, so unfortunately you’re going to need to either bring a water purifier or buy bottled water. If you choose to buy water there, the best thing to do is buy large, multi-liter jugs from the supermarket! They cost us 89 cents from Econo! Bring your reusable water bottles from home so you can refill them from your water jugs there.
PRO TIP: If you’re eating out and want to save a few extra bucks and avoid single-use plastic, fill your reusable water bottles before you leave the house/hotel. Restaurants serve water in small plastic water bottles and charge $2-$6 per bottle. If you bring your reusable bottle, already filled from your supermarket jugs to get the most bang for your buck!
We decided to cook at home for a few meals to save some money. The restaurants in the area are very Americanized; most of the menus are in English and pricing is comparable to typical restaurants in vacation areas on the mainland. Food prices can definitely add up, so I highly recommend picking up food from the supermarket and cooking at home for at least a few meals while you’re there. Veggie tacos and fresh fruit are my favorite choices!
If you are going to eat out, here are a few suggestions! (Just a few because we didn’t eat out much!)
El Bohio – great smoothies, Acai Bowls, coffee (I don’t drink coffee but I heard it’s great!) & they even have drinks!
Beach House – a little pricy but really good breakfast & happy hour
Calypso Cafe & Tropical Bar – good dinner food & happy hour. It was calm when we were there but I heard it is very crowded in season!
Maria’s Surf Break/Beach
There is a parking lot at Maria’s if you’re not staying close. I heard to not leave any valuables in your car as theft is pretty common. The beach is relatively small, so if you’re looking to hang on the beach all day, it might be better to go down the road a bit to a larger beach (we checked out the beautiful Steps Beach)! There’s a lot of trees lining the beach that made for a lot shade, which I love! Especially because of how hot it is in the sun. The surf here depends on the day and the wind. It could be pumping with huge waves and it could be small and perfect for beginners. When we were there in November, it was in the middle. There are rocks and reef all along the water and the “inside” of the break is pretty rough, so it’s not ideal for swimming.
Just down the road from Maria’s is Steps Beach. It was so beautiful and actually reminded me of the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii! The beach was much bigger, so it would be perfect for a family beach day! The water was rough on the shoreline, so be careful swimming here!
Domes Surf Break/Beach
Also right down the road from Maria’s. We walked there, but I’d suggest driving if you’re going early in the morning or if you have a lot of stuff to carry! Similar to Maria’s, the size of the surf depends on the wind. There’s a cute little open-air restaurant/bar on the hill next to the lighthouse near domes, which is a great place to watch the sunset!
I hope these little tips help you plan your trip to Rincón! Feel free to reach out if you have any travel questions!
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After attending my first destination wedding as a guest, I realized there were many things I didn’t consider before leaving! I was traveling from New Jersey, all the way to Nosara, Costa Rica. Nosara is a small surf town, made up of dirt roads that lead to boutique hotels and homes. It is such an amazing place, but because of how different the culture is from my home, there was no option to run to the store to quickly pick up a the things I forgot! So much more goes into a destination wedding than a wedding at home, so I hope these tips help you when you’re prepping to travel for a wedding!
1. Leave the gift at home! – Send a card in the mail when you get home! This way, that valuable gift won’t get lost during travel and your newlywed family and friends will have less to carry home!
2. Consider the weather of where you’re going! – I didn’t consider that Nosara would be such a hot & humid climate, so my dress of choice may not have been the best! I wore a stunning convertible maxi dress that would have been perfect… if it wasn’t so hot! The dress was made with a lot of extra material that made it quite heavy, and extra hot! For the next tropical wedding, I’ll choose a dress with a short cute, or one that’s made of thinner material!
3. Bring an extra dress option, and pack it in a second suitcase! – It’s always nice to have an extra dress option when you wake up the day of the wedding. Pro-tip: Pack two dress options in two different suitcases/bags. This is a great way to make sure that your wedding attire will make it to your destination, even if one of your bags is misplaced during travel!
4. Don’t forget a purse/clutch to carry with you to the wedding! – While packing my bags for a wedding in Costa Rica, I brought a beach bag and a bag to carry around with me during day trips, but I forgot to bring something a little bit nicer to carry to the wedding! I ended up borrowing one from the bride herself, LOL! This is definitely on my packing list for my next destination wedding!
5. Clothing steamer! – It’s never a good feeling to put on a wrinkly dress or suit while getting ready for a loved one’s wedding! And at many destination weddings, running to the store to grab a cheap steamer isn’t an option. I recommend bringing a small, packable streamer or calling the hotel prior to your trip to see if they have one for you to borrow! If you’re traveling with a small group, chat with them about bringing just one for everyone to use! Take turns using it to prep your clothes in the days leading up to the wedding. This way, everyone won’t be looking for it on the wedding morning!
6. Consider the other events happening during the wedding weekend! – Typically at destination weddings, there are other fun events going on throughout the weekend! Remember to pack extra cute outfits for any rehearsal dinners, welcome parties or post-wedding brunches!
I hope these tips will help you prep for your wedding travels and be prepared when you arrive at your destination! Most importantly, try not to stress! In every group, someone is bound to forget something. Don’t worry! Check in with other guests to see if it’s something you can borrow… ps, aunts are great at having everything you’ll need and then some! Weddings are meant to be fun, stress-free and happy! Although prepping and having all your accessories is great, you’ll have an amazing trip with your family and friends even if you forget your evening bag or if your dress is a little wrinkled.
Such a fun afternoon running around Manhattan Beach with Eryn! We bonded over our love of whale sharks and the Earth! We finished off the night by eating pizza and attending the premiere of Bethany Hamilton’s new film, Unstoppable. So thankful for this day in California!
It has been a dream of mine for YEARS to see Pipe Masters in person, so being there on the beach was literally a DREAM COME TRUE! We saw Joel Parkinson retire after an amazing career and Gabriel Medina win the world title, and then go back in the water for the final heat to win Pipe Masters. I feel so lucky to have the opportunity to see this event and I’d love to make it back again in the future!