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15 Easy Instagram Spots in NYC (in less than 12 hours)

Reading Time: 3 minutes

1. Washington and Water Street (DUMBO)

2. York Street Subway on the Way to Washington & Water Street (Murals)

3. Washington Square Park & 5th

4. Nomo Soho (9 Crosby Street)

5. Graffiti on a Wall (Outside Nomo Soho)

6. Staten Island Ferry Ride with The Statute of Liberty

7. NYC Food or Amazing View

Below from the Mandarin Oriental (Central Park-35th Floor) The View, the Dessert, and Chihuly Glass. (80 Columbus Circle)

8. Audrey Hepburn Mural (176 Mulberry)

9. Mickey Mouse Mural (E. Houston and Mott)

10. A Pic in the Subway

11. Rockefeller Center

12. Skyline of NYC (taken on Staten Island Ferry)

13. Central Park (Bow Bridge)

14. Times Square/ Theater District

15. Any random spot that matches a part of your outfit (World Trade Center Area)

Follow me on Insta @trendywithapassport or trendywithapassport.com for more on travel or outfits.

Xoxo,

Heidi

0 In Bucket List/ Budget/ Couples/ Europe/ Family/ Female Travels/ Itinerary/ Random Musings/ Spain/ Travel/ Travel Advice/ Travel Tips

Why Mallorca is A Great Vacation Spot

Reading Time: 8 minutes
Mallorca is an island off the coast of Barcelona. It is a two hour plane ride from the mainland of Spain and provides a variety of things to do and see. Mallorca is a great vacation spot If you are a beach lover or an adventure seeker; this island is for you! If you are visiting for a day on a cruise ship; this will also help you decide where to spend your day!

What You Should Know About Visiting Mallorca:

-Travel guides suggested that a bus was adequate for travel around this island, but ……not really!

-We discovered how big Mallorca was and opted to take a taxi to our hotel and then try to get a rental car. The airport to the Marriott……………30 euros

-Michael Douglas has a house between Cala Deia and Valldemossa

-We rented a car for 325 euros (approx)for a week

-Most cars are stick shift

-You must want to drive a lot when you come here…………everywhere is an hour

-Mountains, beaches, desert, and grasslands are on this island…………very unique

-Boat rides available to Menorca

-Snorkeling tours available (don’t need to do that, but you can snorkle anywhere there is water)

Marriott is located in Son Antem (middle of nowhere) but no good hotels have beachfront because they do not own the beach………..Hilton is the same way.

-If you are coming in for a day in Mallorca; talk with a taxi driver about driving you all day where you want to go and negotiate a set price!

-Marriott resort is quite large and you could spend the week here.

-I would not suggest renting bikes because there are no road names and if you got lost….you could die (overexaggeration, but you are in the middle of nowhere)

-Would highly recommend the Marriott Resort in Son Antem even without the beach for a few reasons: you stay in a villa, you have pool per villa, entertainment at the hotel nightly, the hotel grounds are beautiful.
 

What You Should Know About Port de Soller

When we went to Port de Soller, you head toward Palma from the Marriott and then toward the mountains. There are no “street signs”
-If in doubt, head to Palma
-In order to go through the tunnel, it is 5 euros each way. You can go through the mountains but it will take you an extra 40 minutes to get there.
-At Soller, also spelled Soiler they speak Cantonese, French, Spanish, German, and some English
-in the summer watch for jellyfish…they are plentiful on the beach.
-If you walk up the hill (opposite the lighthouse) around the bend, there is a beautiful spot to swim
-Lots of people rent paddle boats that have slides
-You can take a boat ride (2 hours to Sa Calobra) you can also drive which we did. Take a passport or you can not go.
-Anywhere you go, you should load up on snacks and drinks in case you break down.
-There is a train that can take you from right outside Palma to Port de Soller but there is not air conditioning on the train

What You Should Know About Visiting Sa Calobra

One of my favorite places in the world…Sa Calobra , minus the drive…………..it was the scariest drive I have ever been on…
-Along the way, the random donkeys…………we stopped and petted them.
-The road from Soller is about 20 km, but took about 3 hours because it is steep and back and forth.
-You have to pay to park and its per 30 minutes (no credit cards)
-You walk through 2 caves to get to this beach.
-2 places to get food, both only accept euros (NO CREDIT CARDS)
-Again, pack food and drinks for the ride
-Don’t get ice in your drinks (water is not safe to drink)
-Evian water from the grocery store is the best bet and its cheap.

What To Know About Formentor

Formentor is a long drive to get here..highest point on the island
-on the way, there is a beach
-most popular for British people
-you can park on the street but watch for stones (puncture tires)
-go early to Formentor (otherwise traffic will be a nightmare)
-take cash because no credit card machines at Lighthouse, beach, etc.
-really nice beach area
-running water to clean off when finished at the beach.

What You Should Know About Cuevas del Drach

These caves were amazing.
-Known all over the world.
-Martel lake, one of the world’s largest underground lakes.
-concerts in the caves (boats with an organ)
-beauty of the caves is exceptional because of the lighting and music.
-located in Porto Cristo

What You Should Know About Cala Mondrago

This is an unbelievable place! There are three coves you can swim in and out of.
-Bring a raft to float
-bring goggles/ snorkel
-About 7 feet deep in the deepest spot.
-One snack stand, cash only

What to Know About Platja d’es Trenc

Follow the signs to Platja d’es Trenc
-Best Sand Beach in Mallorca
-Go past the first parking lot all the way to the beach.
-It is 7 euros to park, but if you eat at the cafe; it will be 7 euros off your parking or 2 drinks for free, depending.
-The middle of the sand beach is a nudist area; pass by and you will have a piece of the beach to yourself
-2 restaurants on the beach (both cash only)
-take a raft to float

What You Should Know About Camp de Mar, Andratx

-If you had to stay on a beach, Grupotel Playa, Camp de Mar was the nicest we found.
-Pool/ beach and restaurant over the water (takes credit card)
-Nice drive about 40 minutes from Palma

What You Should Know About Valdemossa

Valdemossa, A different perspective of Mallorca
-this chatelet is where Prince Albert vacations (14 rooms)
-Mountain area
-the town is quite lovely
-15 minutes from the ocean
-Peaceful and tranquil.
-Smokey Mountain like drive

What You Should Know About Cala Deia

Cala Deia is a Long drive to the bottom, but make the drive
-Pay to park
-1 euro an hour

What You Should Know About Banyalbufar

When you arrive in Banyalbufar, follow the signs to the beach.
-There are parking spots along the way or you can park on the boulder.
-It is a long, steep walk either way.
-Take water (you will need it)
-Rock beach
-At the top of the hill, there is a cute cafe with reasonable prices and wonderful food.
-Croissants with powered sugar (a speciality)
-Spaghetti was amazing

What to Know About Palma

-You need about an hour in the city of Palma driving around to see everything.
-Cathedral is the best sight in the town.
-Give money to the guys posing!
-Hard Rock is near the harbor
-There is shopping and boutiques

Mallorca is an amazing place to visit! The most difficult challenge is deciding where you spend each day! If it is your first time visiting and you have 6-8 hours; you may want to get a driver and negotiate the price for the day. My recommendations would be: Platja En Trenc Beach for a few hours and have the driver go to Port Soller if time allows or Valdemossa Area where the boutiques and Pearl Shops are located. If the beach is not something you want to spend time at, the Cueva del Drach is spectacular and is a unique experience that is hard to beat!

Mallorca is known for pearls…if you are looking for a neat souvenir to bring home.

Questions, Just Ask!

 

0 In Airlines/ Bucket List/ Budget/ Couples/ Family/ Female Travels/ Itinerary/ Machu Picchu/ Peru/ Random Musings/ South America/ Travel/ Travel Advice/ Travel Gear/ Travel Tips

Machu Picchu: On A Budget: 4 Day Itinerary

Reading Time: 5 minutes

 

Before you go; make sure you do these 3 things: 1. Book train tickets 2. Book Hotel Accommodations 3. Have Machu Picchu Tickets in Hand

Itinerary

Day 1: Cusco to Aguas Calientes

Day 2: Machu Picchu

Day 3: Machu Picchu; return to Cusco

Day 4: Fly out of Cusco

Make sure you know:

  1. Altitude Cusco 11,152 feet
  2. Altitude Ollayntambo 9,160 feet
  3. Altitude Aguas Calientes 6,693 feet
  4. Machu Picchu 7,970 feet

Train tickets: make sure you book a late train from Ollanytambo to Aguas Calientes

Flights from Lima into Cusco often get delayed. (mine was delayed 5 hours)

Day to Day Specifics

Day 1: Arrival in Cusco; from here; Plan going straight to Aguas Calientes (below Machu Picchu). When you arrive in Cusco (11,152 feet altitude) and if you are from a lower elevation it can wreck havoc on your body if you stay without acclimating.

Take a taxi from the Cusco Airport to Ollanytambo (get some food in the airport before you leave; the taxi ride is 2.5 hours)

Ollanytambo is in the Sacred Valley so if you flight is on time; you have time to walk around and see the ruins. If not, you will catch it on your way back to Cusco. The cost of a taxi is around 40.00 USD or 100-120 soles; at the airport, taxis will start at 240-440 soles or for a private car 350.00 USD; trust me, negotiate and offer 40 USD or 100 soles.

At the airport, there is a money exchange; the three of us exchanged 200.00 dollars to Soles.

The ride from Cusco to Ollayntambo is winding, on dirt roads, and on bumpy paths with a beautiful landscape the entire drive; with the elevation, fatigue, and car sickness; Coca Cola and Pringles actually made me feel a lot better.

Peru Rail: Ollanyntambo to Aguas Calientes (get some food in the store before leaving). The ride is around 2 hours.

Remember that things in South America do not always go as planned and there is a slower pace; it took over an hour for the bags to get off the plane because there was a festival going on.

I went with Peru Rail and was extremely happy with the experience; booked the Vistadome and on the return, the Expedition. With a 5 hour delay in Lima, we were able to rebook with Peru Rail in the airport with no additional charges. Very thankful that Peru Rail was so awesome.

When arriving in Aguas Calientes, there is no one who carries your bags and most hotels are up the hill. My hotel happened to be at the top of the hill; 15 minute walk and it was challenging with a pack on my back.

Day 2: Get up in the morning (Aguas Calientes) and pick up bus tickets (you will need a passport to purchase a ticket per person) It was around 79 Soles roundtrip or around 20 USD roundtrip. You can buy the tickets at the stand for a couple days so you do not have to visit the bus tickets again. (credit card machines were not working, so make sure you have cash)

Stand in line for the bus to the top. Make sure that while standing in line, someone checks your ticket and stamps it; if you have no stamp, you have to run to the top of the hill and find the person stamping.

You must show your passport and entrance ticket to get in.

Again, take snacks and drinks with you to Machu Picchu.

No tickets for Machu Picchu are sold at the top; so have your tickets with you.

There is a free stamp for Machu Picchu for your passport.

Restrooms are 1 sole per person.

Walking through Machu Picchu and taking pictures on day 1 for us took about 5 hours. We sat and talked and appreciated the amazing views. The weather was spectacular and watching everything was wonderful.

After the visit to Machu Picchu, we had lunch at the Belmond Sanctuary Hotel: lunch was a buffet and 40.00 USD per person. A bit pricey but well worth it. 3 drinks (water and Cokes) about 9 USD.

A few things to remember at the top of Machu Picchu: everyone who came up has to go down, so be strategic with timing. We waited an hour to go down; others were in line over 2 hours. It can be hot while waiting; so stay hydrated.

When returning to Agua Calientes, there are a lot of little shops/ cafes/ market to go shopping and eating.

Day 3: Get up early and see Machu Picchu at 5:30 AM. It is spectacular. On this early morning, we ran into heavy rain, but the structure of Machu Picchu and the architectural design allows for a drainage and no puddled water; within 2 hours, it was clear and beautiful. We went down around 10 AM; went to the hotel and showered; then stopped by a cafe next to the river and then had lunch before leaving; our train from Agua Calientes was to leave around 2 PM arriving in Ollayntambo around 4 PM.

The two hour train ride allowed for a quick nap before the taxi ride back to Cusco. This cost was around 80 soles to Cusco (cheaper than leaving the airport). We walked around the Cusco Plaza del Armas where there are quite a few Catholic Churches, shops, KFC, and McDonalds. Our hotel, the JW Marriott Cusco (top 5 in South American Hotels) was around the corner and worth the money. Oxygen available for altitude sickness, free buffet breakfast, free internet, and walking distance of the shopping.

Day 4: Getting up and heading to the airport. Quick trip!

 

Considerations:

Vaccinations:(talk with your travel physician or check with the CDC)

-Hepatitis A

-Hepatitis B

-Typhoid

-Yellow Fever

-Flu

Medicines:

-Z Pak in case of Traveler’s Diarrhea

-Diamox (Altitude Sickness)

-Tylenol (Altitude Sickness)

-Pepto Bismol (Just in Case)

Few things to know about the area:

-Do not drink the water (or even the tea)

-Do not shave

-Do not eat fresh salsa or vegetables

What I learned:

-Give yourself extra time in case of issues. Book the train after 6 PM (from Ollanytambo to Aguas Calientes)

-Peru Rail was easy to navigate and book (in English)

-Machu Picchu tickets were not as easy to get online (I will post a tutorial in the next few days; the translation is not particularly helpful).

-The Culture of Ministry can change the Machu Picchu visiting times on a day’s notice; I received information from Peru Rail about this so we entered Machu Picchu earlier on the first day than expected since the entrance was closing at 2 PM.

-Book 2 days at Machu Picchu (if you arrive in the morning, you can stay all day, but make sure you can be there before the morning hours end)

Ways to Save Money:

  1. Sign up for ebates: use referral code: https://www.ebates.com/r/HEIDIL357?eeid=28187 and you will get some free money as well.
  2. Go through ebates, now search for hotels.com
  3. This will allow you a % for going through ebates on your hotel stay & 9 nights=1 free on hotels.com
  4. Negotiate and Know the Costs (see below)

Estimated Costs:

  1. Taxi to and from Ollayntambo: 80 USD for 5 hours of driving (2.5 hours each way)
  2. Train (rt) to Aguas Calientes: 80 USD for the cheapest option
  3. Hotel: 4 Star = 100.00 USD per night  5 Star: 450.00 USD-1200.00 USD
  4. Food cost = 8-10.00 USD per person / meal
  5. Bottled Water =2.50 USD per person
  6. Machu Picchu 2 days of tickets: $65.00 USD/ day
  7. Plane tickets run from $400-1550.00 to get to Cusco. (I used flight miles which I will talk about soon)

Questions? Please just ask!