Montanita Beach in Ecuador – Globetrotter Girls

Author: , September 15th, 2017

Montanita Beach, Ecuador - Globetrotter Girls

After spending a week in Guayaquil, which was hot and sticky despite frequent rain showers, I was ready for some beach time. A cool ocean breeze sounded just about perfect.

When I looked into Ecuador’s beaches and tried to decide which one(s) to visit, two names came up over and over again: Canoa and Montañita. Both sounded equally as nice but what made me eventually go for Montañita was the fact that it was quite difficult to get to Canoa.

The bus from Quito takes nearly nine hours (with a change in between), and from Guyaquil around six hours. Montañita was only three hours from Guayaquil by bus. And so Montañita it was.

This little beach town is not only the number one surf spot in all of Ecuador, but it’s also known as one of South America’s prime party destinations. People come from as far as Argentina to celebrate there at massive open air parties in which DJ’s play their sets right on the beach, and the music blasts loudly out of giant speakers, resounding throughout the entire bay.

This little beach town is not only the number one surf spot in all of Ecuador, but it’s also known as one of South America’s prime party destinations. People come from as far as Argentina to celebrate there at massive open air parties in which DJ’s play their sets right on the beach, and the music blasts loudly out of giant speakers, resounding throughout the entire bay.

By Dani – Full Story at Globetrotter Girls

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Life Lately and Upcoming Travels – Globetrotter Girls

Author: , September 7th, 2017

Globetrotter Girls

WHERE I’VE BEEN

I spent the month between the two cities in Germany where my family lives, followed by a few days in Berlin, from where I flew down to Toulouse, France. I am writing this now in a small town deep in the Pyrenees Mountains, not far from the border with Spain.

WHAT I’VE BEEN UP TO

I had ambitious plans for my month in Germany, including visiting friends all across the country, like I usually do – but I ended up traveling much less than normal. My friend in Dusseldorf moved back to my hometown, my friends in Munich had planned a visit to their families not far from where my sister lives which saved me from making those trips. The only Germany-based friend I didn’t get to see was my friend Jo who I visited in Cologne when I was in Germany last summer.

In the end, I didn’t even spend as much time in Berlin as I thought I would, because my sister needed help with the new baby and was thankful for the support, and I felt unwell for a few days. All in all, August ended up being all about planning my next big adventure (more on this in What’s Next For Me) and about my family.

Considering how little time I get to spend with my siblings and the kids, I always soak up every little moment I get with them. I cooked, I baked (a lot!), and I caught up with old friends. I played with my nephew and even took him on his first ever train ride to spend a weekend with his cousins, at the same time giving my sister some much needed toddler-free time. I made time for long runs with Odie, and after all of this, I treated myself to some city time in Berlin before I will embark on month of hiking – more on that below.

By Dani – Full Story at Gl;obetrotter Girls

Fifteen Things To Know About the Galapagos Islands – Globetrotter Girls

Author: , August 25th, 2017

Galapagos Islands - Globetrotter Girls

My Galapagos Islands cruise was a trip I’d been dreaming about for years, but despite that, it still managed to exceed my expectations, which is rare. But, as well as exceeding my expectations, these far-flung, remote islands ended up being completely different to how I imagined them to be.

Until a few years ago, when I traveled to South America for the very first time, I had pictured the islands to be much more desolate than they actually are – basically only inhabited by wild creatures. Back then, I had already been told by other travelers that the islands are far more inhabited than I thought they were. And while cruising between several islands this year, I learned a few more things that I think are good to know if you are planning your own trip to the Galápagos Islands, or if you just want to find out more about one of the most remote archipelagos in the world.

Here are eleven things about the Galápagos Islands that you should know before you go:

1 THE GALAPAGOS ISLANDS ARE FAR OUT IN THE OCEAN

While the Galapagos Islands belong to the tiny Andean country of Ecuador, they are in fact very far from the rest of the country – 560 miles, to be exact. The islands are far out in the Pacific Ocean, and it takes just under two hours to fly there from Guayaquil, the closest airport on the mainland, and 2 hours 15 minutes from Quito, Ecuador’s capital.

By Dani – Full Story at Globetrotter Girls

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A Day in Brooklyn – Globetrotter Girls

Author: , August 19th, 2017

lesbian Brooklyn

It wasn’t Manhattan that made me fall for New York – it was Brooklyn that made me fall in love with the ‘Big Apple’. I had been to New York several times but it was in 2013, when I lived in Brooklyn for two months, that I fell so hard for the city that I decided I had to live in New York at some point in my life. While I had always enjoyed New York City tremendously on previous visits, it never felt like a place I’d want to call home – until the summer I spent in Brooklyn.

And since then, not only have I made Brooklyn my home, but I’ve also spent countless months exploring this massive borough, and I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ll never be done exploring it – because there are so many different neighborhoods to see, cool spots to stumble upon and hidden gems to discover.

Over the past few years, I’ve made it a point to introduce everyone who comes to visit me in New York to Brooklyn. Sure, I get it: Manhattan is still the biggest draw for 99% of people who come to NYC, but I feel like they’re missing out on such a big part of the city when they never leave that tiny island – they should at least add a couple of stops outside of Manhattan to their itinerary. Plus: There are plenty of cheap places to stay in Brooklyn – if you are familiar with Manhattan hotel prices, you know what I’m talking about.

I’ve started to run Brooklyn tours this year which I hope I’ll be able to launch on a larger scale later this year, but for now, let me take you on a virtual tour of Brooklyn and tell you all of the reasons why it’s well worth venturing into Brooklyn for a day while you’re visiting New York.

By Dani – Full Story at Globetrotter Girls

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My Galapagos Islands Cruise – Globetrotter Girls

Author: , August 12th, 2017

Galapagos Islands - Globetrotter Girls

The Galapagos Islands have been a dream destination for me for as long as I can remember. I had this image in my head of remote islands with stunning volcanic landscapes and free-roaming tortoises and giant iguanas. I pictured the islands to be mainly uninhabited, and if there were people living on them, they would be outnumbered by wild creatures.

I knew the best way to see the islands was to take a cruise, to sail around the islands for a few days, go on land excursions and snorkeling trips while enjoying life on the water in between. A few weeks ago, I finally boarded a plane to the Galapagos Islands and I was curious to see how the reality of a Galapagos cruise would compare to the picture I had in my head.

After a two-hour flight from Guayaquil, we arrived on the island of Baltra, a small island that, other than being home to one of two airports in the Galapagos, is uninhabited. Flying in, we could see barren reddish ground below us. Baltra is the world’s first “green” airport, which means it is running on renewable energy sources, such as solar energy, wind farms, and seawater desalination.

Galapagos Islands - Globetrotter GirlsBefore we were allowed to leave the airport, we had to pay the $100 National Park fee, and our carry-ons were searched. I quickly learned that it’s not allowed to bring apples onto the islands – or any agriculture goods, for that matter. Later I learned that it is strictly prohibited to bring any food on land with us when we set foot on the islands for land excursions.

From the airport, we took a bus to the ferry pier – everyone who arrives in Baltra has to go to the island of Santa Cruz, the second largest island in the archipelago. Within minutes of having boarded the ferry, we already saw wildlife: a pelican watched us suspiciously as we were boarding the boat, massive crabs crawled around the shore, and a myriad of birds were flying above us.

By Dani – Full Story at Globetrotter Girls

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Life Lately and Upcoming Travels – Globetrotter Girls

Author: , August 5th, 2017

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Where I’ve Been

I finally left New York City! I spent two weekends out of town: the first weekend I went on a hiking trip upstate, and then I went to Long Island for some beach time. After two months of no travel, it felt great to go on these two little adventures – as well as planning my big adventure that I just left the U.S. for. Yes, I’m traveling again, and I won’t be back in New York for quite some time.. but I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s look back at July first.

What I’ve Been up to

July was the month of hosting friends. Three different friends, all of whom I met during different stages of my travels, visited New York this month and I got to spend some quality time with all of them, as well as lots of time spent with old friends I made in New York.

Knowing that July was going to be my last month in the city and my last month of summer in New York, I wanted to make the most of it, which meant I cut down on work and spent more time frolicking around the city.

I went to outdoor movies, several picnics in the parks, had rooftop breakfasts and rooftop drinks, covered hundreds of miles on my bike, enjoyed Sunday brunches, went back to the Whitney Museum for the first time in two years, stuffed myself at several food markets, went to see a pop-up art installation in Prospect Park’s Rose Garden, went on a brewery crawl and to a speakeasy bar, checked out new street art in Bushwick and went to another yoga in the park.

By Dani – Full Story at Globetrotter Girls

Lesbian Tacoma – Globetrotter Girls

Author: , July 31st, 2017

lesbian Tacoma

I knew that during my month in Seattle, I wanted to explore Washington beyond the ‘Emerald City’ and the first place on my list was lesbian Tacoma, which shares the international airport SEA-TAC with Seattle. The cities do not only share an airport, but a stunning location right on the shores of Puget Sound, one of the most beautiful bodies of water in the Pacific Northwest.

While I found that most Seattleites tend to look down on Tacoma, I found the city to be surprisingly charming with lots of things to offer visitors – so many that I returned several times. So if you are visiting Seattle or the surrounding region, or road tripping around the Pacific Northwest, I’d recommend stopping in Tacoma. And since Tacoma is less than one hour from downtown Seattle, you may even consider booking your accommodation here – hotels in Tacoma are much cheaper than a Seattle hotel.

Here are five reasons why Tacoma is well worth a visit:

1 THE BRIDGE OF GLASS AND GLASS ART

What Tacoma is best known for is its glass art, and if you are not a fan of glass art already, you will be after a visit to the Museum of Glass. The famous glass sculptor Dale Chihuly was born here, and his remarkable glass blown sculptures can be seen all over the world. If you are planning to visit the Chihuly Gardens in Seattle, you also have to add the Tacoma Museum of Glass to your itinerary. In addition to installations by Chihuly, glass blown pieces from other glass artists around the world are displayed here, and there is a glassblowing studio on site.

By Dani – Full Story at Globetrotter Girls

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Los Angeles Area Gems – Globetrotter Girls

Author: , July 19th, 2017

Long Beach - Globetrotter Girls

While Los Angeles itself has plenty to offer, the city can be quite overwhelming, especially for people who aren’t used to cities of this magnitude. During the month I spent in the West Coast metropole last year, I became increasingly frustrated about the long drives and traffic several times – can it really take 90 minutes to cover an eight mile distance?

I found myself wishing for small town conveniences on various occasions (usually while stuck in a traffic jam on the 405), and that’s when I realized it may be a good idea to check out some nearby cities of a more manageable size to see what they have to offer. Luckily I had enough time to check out several cities right in Los Angeles county, some along the coast, some just outside the L.A. city limits. Each one was special and unique in their own way, and worth a visit for things that the others didn’t have.

If you visit L.A. and want to escape the ‘Big Smog’ for a day, here are five nearby cities that you should visit:

1 LONG BEACH

Long Beach is LA’s big neighbor to the south, California’s 7th largest city and second busiest container port in the U.S. The massive port has led people to believe that Long Beach is nothing more than a big industrial city, but I found out that the city itself is actually a fine escape from L.A., offering a downtown area that is walkable and, as its name suggests, a pretty long beach.

By Dani – Full Story at Globetrotter Girls

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Life Lately and Upcoming Travels – Globetrotter Girls

Author: , July 13th, 2017

Dani - Globetrotter Girls

Where I’ve Been: I crossed the bridges between Manhattan and Brooklyn countless times, but for the entire month, not once did I make it out of these two boroughs.

What I’ve Been up to: After stressing myself way too much in May with work, immigration matters and trying to find a place to live, I decided to take things a little slower in June. I cut my work hours in favor of a new business pursuit (which I’m excited to tell you more about next month, but it hasn’t officially launched yet), and gave up on the apartment hunt since it was not only time consuming and frustrating, but it also didn’t look like I was going to even get a place I really liked. I have to say that I was extremely lucky how everything came together for me in terms of sublets and housesits – so far. This month I’ve had several options and haven’t even had to share a place. Amazing!

One of the main reasons why I stopped looking for a place? Because it’s almost time for me to leave New York! Yes, that’s right, my 3.5 month travel break is nearly over, and I am getting ready for my next big trip. Since I’ll be gone for several months, there was no point anyway to look for a permanent place now, which would’ve meant having to deal with finding a subletter, and hoping that the sublet goes well.. but this also means that when I get back to New York, I’ll have to start the apartment hunt over again. Oh, well.

By Dani – Full Story at Globetrotter Hirls

Visiting Cuba: 10 Things To Know Before You Go – Globetrotter Girls

Author: , July 10th, 2017

Visiting Cuba - Dani

Cuba had been on my travel wish list for a long time. Every time I visited the Yucatán, I thought about hopping on a flight to Havana from Cancun, but somehow it never happened. The restrictions for Americans to travel to Cuba played a big role in this during my first two visits to Mexico in 2010 and 2012, but in 2017, the timing was finally right.

I found a $100 flight deal from Cancun to Havana, and thanks to the ease of travel restrictions for Americans along with new flight routes from the U.S., my friend was able to fly directly from New York to Cuba. (Side note: The joy was short-lived. After Trump’s new restrictions, I am glad that we went to Cuba this year. If you are a US citizen, read this NYT article to find out how you can visit Cuba under the revised Cuba policies).

Even though getting to Cuba from North America has become easier, the country itself is not particularly easy to travel in. I did a lot of research before my trip to make sure I knew what I’d be getting myself into, and that I would be able to prepare accordingly, from dealing with two currencies to arranging transportation around the country in a place where I couldn’t just hop into a rental car like I’d done in Mexico a couple of weeks prior.

Of course, despite detailed research, it was impossible to find out everything I needed to know, and some things I learned as I traveled the country (the fact that there are more tourists than available seats in public buses, for example!).

To help make sure your trip goes as smoothly as possible, I wanted to share with you the ten things I think you need to know before traveling to Cuba.

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