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6 min read
Become Your Own Italian Chef with a Tuscan Cooking

"Eating and drinking well is more than just a pleasure; it is an unbroken link with the traditions of the past. It serves as a reminder of the Italian way of life: Staying healthy, eating home grown food, and taking pleasure in simple things like everyday food and wine" -La Scuola de Cucina de Lella e Giulia-

While the Chinese were busy building a terracotta army, the Italians instead turned the clay into pots.

It's from the depths of a maroon-tinted, terracotta pot that I find myself placing leaves of fresh basil into a simmering syrup of olive oil and garlic, a concoction which will eventually emerge as Pappa col Pomodoro. Taking part in a cooking class in Siena-an honest attempt at increasing my culinary repertoire above a bowl of cereal-I'm reminded by our master chef, Lella, owner of La Scuola di Cucina de Lella e Giulia, that since the basil leaves contain water they will cause the oil to splash when added to the pan.

As an 18-year veteran of the Italian Association of Cookery Teachers, Lella-who speaks through an English translator-has assuredly in her years of culinary instruction encountered someone of my pathetic skill. I nod my head in recognition of her advice about the basil leaves, only to feel the recognizable bite of oil on my fingers as I haphazardly plop them in the pan. Little more than a momentary spark, it's a gentle reminder that Tuscan cooking is harder than they make it appear. I'm definitely the student in the presence of a master, and advice should be heeded whenever it's given.

To my left, a retired American woman with short brown hair and a focused expression dutifully monitors a steaming pan of sauce which Lella has placed her in charge of. This is a hands-on class where over the course of the four-hour session we will make the sauce, hand roll the pasta, brew the soup, stuff the pork, and later, partake in a three-course feast of everything we've created from scratch. Matched with the school's own brand of Sangiovese wine, it's Italian culinary decadence at its finest.

Lella instructs the woman minding the sauce that it's time to add in the pepper.

"What kind of pepper are we using?" chimes her husband, a portly man with slicked back hair who is dutifully taking notes.

Taking a momentary break from the potatoes she's been chopping, Lella proudly announces that "in Toscana, the wine is red and the pepper is black."

It's obvious there will be no exceptions.

We add a bowl full of porcini mushrooms to the sauce, making special note they must be wiped with a wet cloth instead of washed under water, and a glass of red wine is poured for the group of ten. The remainder of the vino is added to the sauce to engulf it in a rich shade of rouge, and for a moment, the once sizzling saucepan-not unlike the rest of us-seems to mellow out a bit from the sudden infusion of alcohol. The difference, however, is that while our bodies slowly absorb the aged red elixir, Lella points out that when the sauce begins to sizzle again it means the alcohol is gone.

By using all of our senses, we are able to grasp the level of nuance which is involved in Tuscan cooking. You listen for when the sauce begins to sizzle, and you feel the splash of oil on your skin. When you can smell the garlic in the pan of oil, it means it's time to add the herbs. When kneading the dough for the pici pasta noodles, you need to look outside at what's happening with the weather; too much rain and the humidity will affect the dough, too much sun and you'll need to add more water.

More than anything, however, the most important is the taste, and under the diligent tutelage of Lella, our group of ten manages to churn out a meal which is a proper Tuscan feast. Our antipasti (appetizer) is the Pappa col Pomodoro soup, a thick red zuppa which is just the right combo of tomatoes, bread, and lightly cooked herbs. For the primi piatti (first course), we devour the hand rolled pici pasta noodles (which, when making them, is much like rolling Play-Dough), that sit gently beneath the sausage and mushroom sauce. Opening another bottle of wine, the secondi piatti (second course) of pork loin and potatoes makes its anticipated appearance, and the group marvels at the herbs which had been stuffed inside earlier are now infused with each tender bite. Finally, stomachs bulging and appetites satiated, the dolce (dessert) of almond-laced cantuccini biscuits provides a sweet cleanse for our happily exhausted palates.

While there is no doubt that everyone in the group learned something-perhaps even myself-there is one piece of advice which ultimately proved the most telling: During many parts of the preparation, from the amount of water added to the dough to the amount of mushrooms added to the sauce, Lella forgoes an exact recipe in lieu of having us "measure with our eyes".

"Look around the group", she explains, "and measure with your eyes how much or little you're going to need to add." Obviously, from the sensory explosions bombarding the recesses of my mouth, Lella's eye-measuring ability is pretty finely calibrated.

For me, it just goes to show that while Tuscan cooking can definitely be taught, it still takes time for it to really ever be learned. The first step, however, begins by taking a single class, and with the recipes in hand which were ours to take home, I'm hoping my second attempt at the Pappa col Pomodoro is as wildly successful as the first.

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8 min read
Uruguay One of South America's Best Coastal Road T

Uruguay can be a forgotten country that many travelers pass over. Despite a coastline that runs for 410 miles and an area the size of Washington, too often the country is erroneously passed off as a suburb of Argentina.

Sure, both nations officially speak Spanish and have a passionate love for soccer, and both have locals who habitually sip mate and feast on the finest of beef, but when you dig a bit deeper you'll quickly find that Uruguay is not Argentina. It's a laidback country with a low population and minimal violent crime, and it's a unique country which has noticeable influences from Portugal as well as Spain. Then, of course, there is the diverse stretch of coast, where cobbled alleyways and glitzy resorts aren't far from villages and sand dunes. There's room to spread out and room to explore, yet nothing seems too far.

In other words, it's the perfect country for loading up your gear and embarking on a coastal road trip.

With the exception of Motorcycles Diaries, most travelers don't associate South America as a place you go on road trips. Uruguay is different, however, and there is a feeling of freedom that comes with cruising down the coast on entirely your own agenda. Add in the fact that that there aren't any freeways and you can cross the country in six hours, and Uruguay sits high on the list of the continent's best coastal road trips.

For those interested in making the trip, here's a guide to six destinations you'll find along the coast of Uruguay according to Borneo.

Colonia del Sacramento

The most convenient way to road trip across Uruguay is to start the journey in Colonia del Sacramento, a UNESCO World Heritage site which was established by the Portuguese as a colony in 1680. Colonia is a short ferry ride from Buenos Aires, and the skyline of Argentina's populous capital is visible across the Rio de Plata. Prior to renting a car, take some time to wander the old town and get lost amongst its cobbled alleys. The pastel buildings and historic lighthouse provide a maritime, colonial feel, and enjoy some lunch at a quiet café in a square which has been unchanged for centuries. When renting a car, be sure to pay extra attention to the forms you'll have to sign, one of which states that you're aware of road laws which may be different than you're used to at home (such as driving with your lights on and keeping two hands on the wheel).


When leaving Colonia, it doesn't take long for the buildings to give way to ranchland. Agriculture and ranching are staples of the nation's economy, and the 2.5 hour stretch between Colonia and Montevideo provides a glimpse into the rural interior. All of that changes, however, when the road approaches the shoreline and Montevideo. Far more tranquil than neighboring Buenos Aires (pop: 13.5 million), the 1.3 million inhabitants of the nation's capital comprise over a third of Uruguay's population. During the warm summer months of December-April, hundreds of joggers line the promenade which parallels the city skyscrapers, and the seashore is a festive collection of locals out for a midday stroll. In the old town, plumes of smoke billow from the entrance of the famous Mercado del Puerto, a wrought-iron train station turned carnivorous meat market that serves as the local gathering place. Uruguay is regarded as having the best meat in the world-even better than Argentina-and in the energetic confines of the market's interior, the sizzle of meat is met by the clink of glasses and an ebullient port town atmosphere.

Piriapolis and Punta Ballena

While Montevideo marks the official beginning of the "Uruguay Riviera", the most notable town along this coastal strip is undoubtedly Punta del Este. First, however, the road passes through beach resorts which are often overlooked by tourists. In Piriapolis-90 minutes east of Montevideo and 40 minutes west of Punta del Este-visitors will find a popular beach resort which is far more relaxed than its neighbor. A coastal promenade runs the length of a large white sand beach, and small hotels and oceanfront lodgings provide an alternative to Punta del Este. A good choice here is Hotel Colon, a coastal fusion of a Victorian townhome and the German architecture of Alsace. 20 minutes up the coast, take a side trip to Punta Ballena and the eccentric Casapueblo, a sprig of land with views of the coastline and a wildly artistic hotel. Built by the artist Carlos Paez Vilaro, the whitewashed hotel looks like a cross between a sand castle and a villa on Santorini. In the distance to the east, the high rise of condos of Punta del Este spring from the coastal waters, and it's only a 20 minute drive from Punta Ballena to the heart of the thumping action.

Punta del Este

Love it or hate it, Punta del Este is the chic beach resort of the see-and-be-seen, jet-setting crowd. Prices here can be twice as high as anywhere else in Uruguay, and surfboards and bikinis dominate the sand before the casinos take over at night. A South American combination of Monaco and Miami Beach, high-rise hotels and all-night clubs dominate the popular shoreline. While the beaches downtown are the daytime hot spots, most of the clubs are in nearby La Barra, as are a number of high end accommodations such as the lavish Mantra Resort. Public transport can be sporadic between Punta del Este and La Barra, and this a place where having your own car is definitely a logistical bonus. In town, take time to stop at the famous sculpture popularly known as "The Hand", where five fingers reach out of the sand to warn swimmers of the hazards of the ocean. For those who want the beautiful beaches without the hype and scene, consider staying in Jose Ignacio, located 40 minutes east of Punta del Este in a relaxing coastal commune.

Cabo Polonio

East of Jose Ignacio is when the coastline turns wild and the trip takes on a sense of adventure. From here to the border with neighboring Brazil, the coast is a collection of sleepy fishing villages, towering sand dunes, and numerous colonies of hippies and transients. It's not a coastline that's going to be for everyone, but for those looking for a coastal retreat and a dose of old-fashioned simplicity, the beaches and villages of eastern Uruguay are one of South America's most refreshing outposts. Turning inland to skirt a lagoon before the joining the shore at La Paloma, one of the most adventurous stops along this stretch of coast is the community of Cabo Polonio. With no electricity, empty beaches, and an ad hoc collection of dwellings, Cabo Polonio can only be accessed by 4WD jeeps which traverse the coastal sand dunes. Be sure to pack a headlamp if you plan to stay overnight, and the hostels and inns which populate the shore are a far cry from the five-star variety. Nevertheless, the remoteness aside, this is a place where you can completely tap out and actually hear yourself think. It's a sliver of shoreline where sea lions rest in a protected coastal colony, and friendly locals smile and wave and treat you as one of their own.

Punta del Diablo

Finally, one hour further up the road and only 45 minutes from the Brazilian border, the fishing village of Punta del Diablo has become one of Uruguay's trendiest getaways. Beaches, beer, and plates of freshly-caught corvina punctuate a lazy schedule, and basking in the sun beneath a thatched-roof hut is the toughest activity for the day. A happy medium between the flashlights of Cabo Polonio and the strobe lights of Punta del Este, Punta del Diablo offers just enough modernity to provide a level of comfort, but just enough of a coastal escape that it completely recharges your soul.

On the return journey, you can either make the 6.5-hour trek back to Colonia del Sacramento, or arrange in advance to drop the car in the capital at Montevideo. From here you can catch a direct ferry back to Buenos Aires, and reflect on your time spent scouring the beaches of one of South America's best stretches of coastline.

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9 min read
Things You Didn't Know About the Big Island of Haw

The Big Island of Hawaii (technically known as Hawaii Island), is a sprawling land of superlatives and a trivia lover's dream. Whether it be the highest, the biggest, the longest, or youngest, this remote island in the middle of the Pacific seems to take the cake across a range of categories. If you plan on traveling to the Big Island soon, impress your friends with these little known facts and you'll come off as an expert on your way back from the islands.

1. Hawaii Island is the largest island in the United States

Most visitors know that the Big Island is larger than the other Hawaiian Islands, but did you know that the Big Island is also larger than the states of Rhode Island and Delaware combined? At 4,028 square miles the Big Island is larger than other American islands such as Puerto Rico or Kodiak, Alaska, and if you were to combine all of the remaining Hawaiian Islands into a single island the Big Island would still be larger. Given its size, distances are a bit more pronounced when visiting the Big Island, so expect to do a little more driving if you're the type who likes to get out and explore.

2. It has the tallest mountain in the world

While you might have learned in elementary school that Mt. Everest is the tallest mountain on Earth, when measured from the ocean floor, Mauna Kea on the Big Island dominates the famous Everest by over 4,400 ft. If you were to drain the world's oceans and look again at the mountains, you would notice that Mauna Kea rises an astonishing 33,476 ft. from its base, which easily trumps the 29,000 ft. summit of Mt. Everest. Since the oceans haven't been drained, however, only 13,796 ft. of Mauna Kea exists above sea level, which is still high enough to make it the tallest mountain in any state other than Alaska, California, Washington, or Wyoming.

3. It also has the most voluminous mountain in the world

Not to be outdone, even though neighboring Mauna Loa is 119 feet shorter than Mauna Kea, in terms of total volume it is much, much larger. In fact, Mauna Loa (which means "long mountain") is "bigger" or "heavier" than any mountain on Earth, and an easy way to think about it is if you were to squish every mountain in the world flat like a pancake, Mauna Loa would have the largest area. Not only is Mauna Loa enormous, but it's also active, with the most recent eruption having occurred in 1984.

4. It is home to the longest continuously erupting volcano in the world

Although the 1984 eruption of Mauna Loa only lasted for three weeks, it's eastern neighbor-Kilauea-has been erupting continuously since 1983, thereby making it the longest continuously erupting volcano in the world. Kilauea is the centerpiece of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, and the steam vents, lava flows, and explosive fountains have been a major tourist draw for over three decades. Over the course if its 30-year eruption Kilauea has overtaken a number of towns, most famously the town of Kalapana which now lies buried beneath a fresh layer of rolling, pahoehoe lava rock.

5. It's also home to one of the largest ranches in America

Many visitors are shocked to find out that there is any ranching in Hawaii at all, much less one of the largest ranches in America. Cattle were gifted to King Kamehameha in the early 1800′s by the explorer George Vancouver, and after they were allowed to run amok for 30 years, the wild cattle problem became so extensive that Spanish and Portuguese cowboys were brought in to round up the herds. The Spanish vaqueros taught the Hawaiians how to rope and ride, and one rancher in particular-a New Englander by the name of John Palmer Parker who jumped ship in Hawaii-developed such a prowess at roping cattle that he married the daughter of a local chief and was given two acres in the marriage.

Gradually, Parker worked to acquire neighboring tracts of land, and the Parker Ranch today encompasses over 225,000 acres that surrounds the town of Waimea.

6. It is the birthplace of King Kamehameha

While the exact date is disputed, all historians agree that King Kamehameha-the great king who would unite all the islands to form the Hawaiian Kingdom-was born in the windswept pastureland on the northern tip of Kohala. Hawaiian legend speaks of a fiery crack in the sky on the eve of the future king's birth, a note which leads historians to believe it was on the night of Haley's Comet streaking through the skies overhead. Born to royal lineage and raised as nobility, King Kamehameha would go on to conquer all the island through brutal warfare and treaty. Today, visitors can make the sojourn to Mo'okini heiau, a remote outpost which not only ranks as one of the oldest heiau in Hawaii (estimated to have been built in the 5th century), but also believed to be the general area of the king's momentous birth.

7. You can ski and snowboard on the Big Island

There aren't any ski lifts and there definitely aren't any resorts, but novelty-seeking skiers can take to the slopes of Mauna Kea in the days that follow a huge winter storm. Given its height of nearly 14,000 ft. it should come as no surprise that the mountain can see generous snowfall, and the name Mauna Kea literally translates to "white mountain" in the Hawaiian language. Skiers need to take turns shuttling each other to the top in a 4×4 vehicle (although the road is mostly paved), and on days after a good snowfall the runs can be as long as 3,000 vertical feet. While adventurous, this island snow experience comes with its fair share of dangers; the air above 13,000 ft is markedly thinner than it is at other ski resorts, and when the snow runs out you are met with jagged lava rocks and harsh, unforgiving cinder. Suffice to say, this isn't a ski trip for beginners. For more information, please visit

8. There is a green sand beach

The black sand beach and red sand beach of neighboring Maui always seem to get a lot of hype, but not only does the Big Island have black sand beaches, it also has a green sand beach formed by olivine crystals which are nestled inside an ancient caldera. This is one of only two green sand beaches in the world, although accessing the beach can be more than a little challenging. Green Sand Beach (officially known as "Papakolea") is a two to three-hour drive south from most visitor hotels, and unless you have a 4×4 vehicle requires a five-mile round trip hike.

9. It is home to some of the world's largest telescopes

While snowboarders and skiers might periodically venture to the upper reaches of Mauna Kea, some of the world's greatest astronomers regularly make the trip to the summit as part of their daily commute to work. Perched above much of the earth's atmosphere and mostly free of light pollution or weather disturbances, the clear, dry summit of Mauna Kea makes the perfect perch for gazing into the heavens. The twin Keck telescopes that sit atop the mountain aren't exactly your backyard telescope, however, as they are eight stories high, weigh 300 tons, and have a lenses with diameters of nearly 40 ft. across. The images gathered by the telescopes are accurate down to a nanometer and have the ability to "untwinkle stars" and peer into their core. While the telescopes themselves are closed to the public, anyone visiting the mountain is encouraged to visit the Onizuka Center for International Astronomy, which is located at the visitor center at 9,200 ft.

  1. It is the southernmost point in the 50 United States

Although all visitors are aware that Hawaii is located a long way west of the U.S. mainland, there can be some confusion as to where exactly Hawaii sits in relation to the relation to the rest of the world with regards to distance from the equator. The island of Hawaii is at 19.5°N latitude, and Ka Lae, or "South Point", is at 18.5°N, thereby making it the southernmost point on the island of Hawaii and the southernmost point in the United States. By comparison, Key West, Florida is at 24.5°N latitude (approximately 420 miles north of Ka Lae), and Brownsville, Texas is at 25.9°N latitude (approximately 500 miles north of Ka Lae). By international comparison, the Big Island of Hawaii is 22o miles south of Cabo San Lucas, 70 miles north of Puerto Rico (which ranks as a U.S. territory), and about directly in line with Mexico City.

10. It is the youngest Hawaiian island

The Hawaiian Islands were all formed by a hot spot in the core of the Earth which bubbled up numerous volcanoes, and as the Pacific tectonic plate shifted to the northwest over millions of years, the hot spot essentially created an island conveyer belt. As the islands drifted to the northwest the forces of erosion took over, and the mountains consequently got shorter and smaller. The island of Kauai, for example, is estimated to be four to five million years old. The Big Island, on the other hand, has added 5oo acres of new land since Kilauea volcano began erupting in 1983. There will come a time, however, where the Big Island is no longer the youngest island. A seamount by the name of Loihi is set to be the next Hawaiian island in the chain, and even though it's already a massive, underwater volcano located 22 miles southeast of the Big Island, it isn't estimated to break the surface for another 100,000 years.

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10 min read
Things To Do in Cabarete When There Isn't Wind to

Cabarete-a small, oceanfront town on the northern coast of the Dominican Republic-is the type of place where it's dangerously possible to accidentally get stuck. Not in the sand, not in the mud, but in the actual town itself.

Why, it seems, would you ever leave a town where you can surf all morning, kitesurf all afternoon, and then decompress beneath the shade of a palm with a $2 Presidente beer? Maybe eat some fried plantains, catch up on a good book, and then standup paddle as the sun goes down before hitting the oceanfront beach bars. For people like myself who love watersports and beach scenes, it's little wonder why Cabarete has been voted as one of the coolest beach towns in the Caribbean.

Despite all of its charms, however, Cabarete above everything else is known for its world-famous kitesurfing. Here, in this warm-water paradise of white sand, clear waters, and perfectly sideshore winds, most years have close to 300 days where there is strong enough wind to kitesurf. In fact, the conditions are so prime for kitesurfing in Cabarete, that Discovery has ranked it as one of the 10 best kitesurfing places in the world.

For those of you doing the math at home, however, even though there can be 300 days where there is enough wind to kitesurf, it also means that there are 65 days where there is basically no wind at all. In theory, you could travel all the way around the world, fly for 14 hours, arrive in Cabarete frothing at the mouth for kitesurfing, and then spend the next 4 days staring at a windsock which hangs limply in the afternoon sun.

I know, because it happened to me. In fact, the whole reason I traveled to Cabarete was for the chance of learning to kitesurf. Lessons were arranged with Laurel Eastman Kiteboarding School, I took some lessons at home in Maui, and I journeyed 7,000 miles just for the chance to finally get up and ride. On the afternoon we arrived it was 5pm, and there were people kiting as you can see from the photo above. The next day, however, would be the start of a four-day stretch where the wind simply failed to blow.

Luckily, there are far more things to do in Cabarete than strap into a harness and kitesurf. If you, too, end up becalmed in Cabarete, here is a list of ten things to do in Cabarete when there isn't wind to kitesurf.

1. Go Surfing

Even though there are waves directly in front of town (on the outer reefs), one of the most well-known surf breaks in the Caribbean is only a five-minute motorbike ride down the coast. At Encuentro, rows of surf schools and oceanfront beach bars occupy a shoreline with consistently pumping waves. Far less tony than the beach bars in Cabarete, Encuentro is closer to a frat-row of surf bros who are living the surf town dream.

A tropical canopy provides shade from the sun, and plastic-chair beach bars and small thatched huts double as surf schools and hangouts. For visiting surfers, schools such as Pau Hana Surfing offer everything from soft top longboards to fiberglass shortboards. One of the great things about Encuentro is that on most days, beginning surfers can catch the whitewash on the inside section, while advanced surfers can choose from multiple A-frame peaks. Granted, on most days of the year it's blown-out by the afternoon, but the glassy conditions continue unabated on days when the wind doesn't blow.

To reach Encuentro, simply pay a motoconcho driver about 150 Dominican pesos ($4 US) and he'll drive you down the bumpy dirt road.

2. Go Snorkeling or Scuba Diving at Sosua

Sosua is the nearest major town to Cabarete, and it's approximately 15 minutes away by motoconcho. During World War II, the town famously accepted close to 100,000 Jewish refugees who were fleeing from Germany and Austria, and a handful of German stores and cafes can still be seen today.

Unlike Cabarete which is exposed to the wind, Sosua has a sheltered, protected bay where the calm waters are perfect for snorkeling. You can either rent snorkel gear and swim directly from the beach, or, for those who would prefer to dive, companies such as Northern Coast Diving can take you to nearby reefs. While the snorkeling and diving are the biggest draws, you can also spend time at the numerous beach bars which exude a vibe a bit more "local" than Cabarete.

Yes, you'll be haggled to buy something, and yes, you'll be encouraged to rent a cabana, but you'll also have the chance to see Dominicans playing chess while they sip on sugary black coffee. You'll see local families enjoying a day at the beach, or watch a man with a bowl of fruit on his head haggle over prices for his selection of mangoes. Between the colorful reefs offshore and the colorful characters onshore, Sosua is a great day trip from neighboring Cabarete on days when the wind fails to blow.

3. Jump off of waterfalls at Damajagua

Although it's a pretty far day trip from Cabarete (60-90 minutes), the pools and waterfalls at Damajagua are a great way to experience the Dominican jungle. Also known as the 27 Charcos, this series of waterfalls and refreshing pools can only be experienced with a local guide. Prices fluctuate with how far you hike, and the price for the best (and most expensive) tour is $500 pesos ($12 US) to visit the top waterfall.

For those who choose to begin at the top (highly recommended), the experience begins with a jungle trek that winds its way through the forest. For 40 minutes you'll walk across bridges that sway above the river, and scramble up paths of finely-packed dirt. Along the way, various fruits such avocado and breadfruit poke through a canopy which is a dozen shades of green. You'll also be accompanied by a guide who may, (or may not), offer engaging conversation. Once at the top, you'll spend the next hour splashing through the river as you slide, jump, and swim your way down through the waters of the Rio Damajagua.

Here's the catch with Damajagua, however. If you visit as part of a prepaid tour, you'll only have the chance to visit as high as the 7th or 12th waterfall (inquire with your tour operator). The only way to visit all 27 waterfalls is to arrange your own transportation. The problem, of course, is that private transportation from Cabarete can be expensive. A taxi will cost about $100 US, or renting a car and driving yourself is about $35 US. Regardless of how you get there, be sure to visit towards the beginning of the day so that you beat the majority of the crowds.

4. Grab Some Drinks at a Beach Bar

If the wind doesn't blow and your afternoon is free, well it's never too early to simply start drinking. Luckily, Cabarete has a string of beach bars set right beneath the palms where it's all too easy to kick back with a cocktail and start the gradual descent into tomorrow.

While choosing a bar in town can be tough, I recommend Mojito Bar for their affordable combination of sandwiches and cocktails. The location is prime, the vibe is strong, and the tax is already included in the menu price, which is something rare for this stretch of beach.

5. Go Mountain Biking

Even though Cabarete is definitely a beach town, the mountains of El Choco National Park are only a short drive away. This protected area covers 48 sq. miles of jungle and pastureland, and it's also criss-crossed by mountain biking trails which range from easy to technical. Local tour operator Iguana Mama offers multiple mountain biking excursion within the park, or, if you'd rather explore on your own two feet, there are also trails which depart from outside Cabarete into the hinterlands of the park.

6. Take A Walk or Jog Down the Beach

If you were looking forward to the workout you'd get from an afternoon of kitesurfing, you can always get your cardiovascular fix by taking a long walk or a jog down the beach. At a leisurely pace, it would take about 30-40 minutes to walk all the way from Kite Beach to the very eastern end of Cabarete. Round-trip, walking from one end of the beach to the other can occupy the better part of an afternoon if you stop and linger at any of the shops in town. What's more, the beach is wide and largely-empty, although you should refrain from walking down the beach at night when unsavory characters can lurk in the darkness.

7. Go Shopping for Larimar or Amber

Like black pearls to Tahiti or rubies to Myanmar, Amber and Larimar are two precious gems which are native to the Dominican Republic. In fact, the northern stretch of coastline where Cabarete is located is often referred to as the "Amber Coast". While the northern mountains outside of Cabarete are pockmarked with amber deposits, larimar is mined in the southwestern mountains towards the southern border with Haiti.

Larimar, with its rich blue hue that can be easily confused for blue turquoise, is a native gem of the Dominican Republic found nowhere else in the world. From Santo Domingo to Punta Cana to the stores of Cabarete, Dominicans and jewelers pride themselves on the beauty of their precious gem. For those who are into collecting jewelry, it should go without saying that the larimar prices in the Domincan Republic will be more affordable than you'll find back at home.

8. Go Stand Up Paddling

When the wind fails to blow and the water is calm, you might as well take advantage of the tranquil waters by getting on a stand up board and paddling the lagoon. While those who want waves can paddle at Encuentro, paddlers who would prefer to have placid waters can hang in the lagoon in front of Kite Beach. Or, for a combination of the two, consistent waves break on the outside reef where you can relax in the lagoon before heading outside to surf.

For paddleboard rentals in the vicinity of Kite Beach, Dare2Fly Kitesurfing School has a selection of stand up boards in their oceanfront rental center facing the water. $20 US for a one-hour rental is an average price for a paddle and a board.

9. Ride A Horse on the Beach

If you aren't going to zip at top speed along the waters of the lagoon, then you may as well do the next closest thing and gallop a horse down the sand. Check with Iguana Mama about horseback riding tours that visit the shoreline and mountains, and you could easily find yourself cantering along the beach on an isolated stretch of coast.

10.Relax and Do Nothing At All

Finally, if the wind fails to blow and you're left with no plans, there's nothing wrong with finding the nearest patch of shade and relaxing and doing nothing at all. Remember, you're on vacation, and the laidback pace of Dominican life allows for moments of lengthy relaxation.

If you're looking for a perch to sprawl out on a pillow and simply listen to the waves, Vaca Bar at the Agualina Kite Resort has a crow's-tower view looking over Kite Beach. It's the perfect spot for cracking open that book, stretching out in the shade, and devoting attention to that long-lost activity of simply relaxing and slowing down for a while.

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3 min read
Top Most Tourists Attractions In Accra, Ghana

Accra is among the most enjoyable and lively town of Ghana. The majority of the vacationers to Ghana get to Accra Airport Terminal for this is the biggest and most popular airport terminal of the nation. It's also the gateway towards the country. The reason behind countless site visitors visiting the town is area points of interest which are well-liked by site visitors of any age and all sorts of types. Site visitors take plane tickets to Accra because of its College, countrys biggest airport terminal, historic museums, exotic beaches plus much more.

Probably the most important popular features of the region are.

Osu Castle: A brief history of the monument goes back to 16th century. This is actually the site that's been visited by many people foreign rulers and authorities. Evidence of their importance is the fact that many Worldwide dignitaries including Gerhard Schroder (German Chancellor) and Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon (U.S. Presidents) required cheap plane tickets to Accra and compensated a trip to this area. This is not merely becoming the federal government chair but can also be probably the most visited vacationers attraction from the city. Tempat Wisata Osu Castle has its own distinct importance to be home of the very first leader of Ghana.

National Museum: Established in 1957, National Museum is among the earliest museums in the united states. The museum has its own significant importance to be the place to find a large assortment of Ghana's historic treasures plus some local craftsmanship. Cheap Accra plane tickets takers take keen curiosity about the humanities shows of local pottery, lamps, drums, and metalwork within the museum.

Independence Square: This can be a historic square that's built in the place were three males shot through the military once they desired to show their issues towards the Governor. This is among the greatest points from the city from to begin to see the grand Gulf of Guinea. Site visitors taking Accra plane tickets arrived at this area in high number and also the place has the ability to accommodate 30,000 people.

The Nation's Art Center: Site visitors all parts around the globe arrived at National Arts Center and prefer to buy different items came from here including masks, beadworks, wood designs and carvings and embroidered clothes. To be the feature of African arts work National Arts Center is becoming a marketplace. It's also where people arrived at buy an accumulation of rare and exotic things. Site visitors take cheap plane tickets to Accra from United kingdom along with other areas of the world to obtain an concept of the African arts work.

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