Yosemite National Park

Spent some time in late April visiting Yosemite National Park. First thing I noticed was the snow. It's still melting from this years' winter, which makes for some great shots (you'll see later). There are a few spots I ended up going to enjoy the scenery, and then I ended up at Yosemite Village to start my hike. Before I get to my Quick Tips, I would like to emphasize that this can be treated as a day trip and can also be expanded over a few days if you have the time. There is so much to see and no site/hiking trail is the same. 

Quick Tips:

  • You're going to want to bring a light jacket, if you are hiking up misty or vernal falls prepare to get wet
  • You'll notice I say this a lot, bring sunscreen!! The day started out pretty cloudy for us, but towards lunch we were directly under sunlight. I love hiking and love sunny weather... and I also love my skin and prefer to not look like a raisin when I'm 30. 
  • Our first day at Yosemite happened to be Earth Day. Which meant everyone and there mother was at Yosemite. Plan accordingly and check if you are visiting during any unique holidays (i.e Memorial day, Earth day, etc). If you are, just prepare to sit through traffic, large crowds and if you are camping; make a reservation. I ended camping right outside the park at Indian Flat, and I felt it was a little pricey due to the high demand. 
  • There is a fee to enter Yosemite (unless it's earth day and all National Parks are free)
  • If you forgot to pack food and water or sunscreen ;) you can shop for these things at the village store. They open at 8am, and have anything you would need for your hike. 
  • There's a shuttle bus that picks you up and can take you from your parking spot/campsite to where you need to get to (i.e the starting point of your hike or visitor center).
  • If you're considering doing Half Dome (permit required), know they don't place the ropes up until late may. This means the hike is at your own risk. (Snow was 3ft high at the base of half dome)
  • Consider time to pause! At the top of Nevada Falls (misty Trail) theres a great opportunity to bask in the sun and enjoy a nice snack. It's also a great time to do some stretching. The hike is pretty steep and your hamstrings are going to scream!

 

 Hey little guy!

Hey little guy!

 Taking a break on top of Nevada Falls to dry off. 

Taking a break on top of Nevada Falls to dry off. 

 When you're mindful AF

When you're mindful AF

 See y'all next time, and hoped y'all enjoyed the post!

See y'all next time, and hoped y'all enjoyed the post!

Big Sur

I decided to end my weekend by spending my third day in the bay area traveling to Big Sur. My biggest advice would be to consider adding an extra hour or two when calculating your drive time. Trust me, you will be taking frequent stops to enjoy the scenic pit stops alongside HWY 1. Below are some pictures of my journey to Julia Pfeiffer Burns State park. I totally recommend adding a hike to your day. Also check the parks official website to be updated on any road closures. 

8 hours in San Francisco

I decided to spend the second day of my weekend trip to the bay area in San Francisco. The city is truly breathtaking. 

                              Grace Cathedral - 1100 California St, San Francisco, CA 94108

                             Grace Cathedral - 1100 California St, San Francisco, CA 94108

                                 Grace Cathedral - 1100 California St, San Francisco, CA 94108

                                Grace Cathedral - 1100 California St, San Francisco, CA 94108

            Enjoying the view  - Golden Gate Bridge (Photo Taken while standing on Fort Pointe)

           Enjoying the view  - Golden Gate Bridge (Photo Taken while standing on Fort Pointe)

                                                                Golden Gate Bridge 

                                                               Golden Gate Bridge 

                                Palace of Fine Arts - 3301 Lyon St, San Francisco, CA 94123

                               Palace of Fine Arts - 3301 Lyon St, San Francisco, CA 94123

                                  Palace of Fine Arts - 3301 Lyon St, San Francisco, CA 94123

                                 Palace of Fine Arts - 3301 Lyon St, San Francisco, CA 94123

                                             Oakland Bridge (Heading towards San Francisco 

                                            Oakland Bridge (Heading towards San Francisco 

Quito - Mitad Del Mundo

I have put visiting Quito on hold for so long, it was about time I made my way up there. The capitol is filled with so much excitement and diversity. It has the hustle and bustle of your average city and the people still take time to enjoy a good night out. I loved watching a soccer game at a local sports bar at Plaza Foch followed by a night of dancing and great food. The following day I kept it more casual, starting my morning with a gentle yoga class at Dharma Yoga (taught in Spanish) and then enjoyed a wonderful light breakfast back at the hotel Casa Q. My brother and I decided to visit the famous "Mitad Del Mundo" site. I mean how cool is it to stand on the equator! After that, we ended the night a little more low key at Zazu. (Disclaimer: We did not realize how fancy this place was, I believe my brother tried to trick me on spoiling him. The food, however, was AMAZING). The following day (our last day) we spent our time visiting the beautiful Basilica del Voto Nacional  and walking around the city and exploring the beautiful architecture Quito has to offer. 

Quick Tips:

  • Quito is 9,350 ft above sea level, make sure to drink a lot of water and it helps to work on your breathing (i.e take a yoga class ;)
  • Quito is a big city, don't over estimate its size. I found Casa Q to be centrally located and the hotel staff was very helpful in arranging transportation.
    •  Taxi from the hotel to mitad del undo site costs around $15
    • Most other taxi rides to more local spots were around $2.00
  • Wear lots of sunscreen! Do not let the cloudy scenery fool you. 
  • Carry cash for taxi's (no high bills) and also for shopping. I did notice that 90% of shops that I went to accept credit cards. 
  • My next trip back, I plan to visit Cotopaxi. But if you have time I hear it is highly recommended. It was just a long drive for me, next time I will plan accordingly.  

 

 

 

Santa Cruz, Galapagos - Entering a Whole New World

While on a recent trip to Ecuador, I decided to plan a 3 day trip to the Galapagos with my brother.  I flew into Baltra Island from Guayaquil airport; Keep an eye out on prices, I've seen some get as low as $400. From there I took a ferry to Santa Cruz, where I enjoyed the rest of my visit. Note that they're are opportunities to take a boat to other islands, If you decide to stay a little longer, I would catch a boat ride to San Isabel and see the blue footed boobies. My trip consisted of kayaking, a guided snorkeling tour, being beach bums and of course tortoises. The trip overall was an amazing experience where I was exposed to a whole different world. The wildlife is unbelievable, and again if you have more time  I would consider exploring other islands. Different islands in the galapagos will introduce different species not seen anywhere else. 

Things to know:

  • There are certain fees when traveling to the Galapagos, depending on whether you are a tourist or national. ($100 fee if you are a tourist, which you pay when arriving to Baltra airport)
  • Bring your essentials such as toothpaste, sunscreen (lots of it), etc. Or else you would be paying a fortune for basic items (think $25 for generic sunscreen)
  • restaurants along the shore in santa cruz can be a little pricey. At night, If you walk a couple blocks away from the shore you'll find a whole street converted into one big dining hall. It was quite awesome getting to eat with strangers and $10 gets you enough food for two people!!
  • A day tour including snorkeling can cost you up to $100 (includes equipment). And to rent the kayaking equipment you are looking somewhere around $20-$30. Take some time to talk to the locals, we got a very good deal from our airbnb host who introduced us to one of the travel agents. 
  • Be prepared in to workout. Kayaking was no joke, my arms were sore and beware of fellow boats that are crossing, they sometimes create a tide that feels like you might tip over. When we went snorkeling we spent hours in the oceans. Also the boat ride is extensive and bumpy, if you easily get sea sick, I recommend bringing some medicine. 
  • Be aware of your surroundings and have respect for the galapagos. The travel guides as well as the local love their land and do their best to keep the wildlife untouched. It truly is amazing to see the world in a natural state.

Below are some photos of my trip. If you want to see more make sure to follow me on instagram!

 Taking the $2.00 Ferry ride from Baltra to Santa Cruz (make sure to carry cash). P.S it must be something in the air but Ecuador has done wonders to my skin! Covergirl material??

Taking the $2.00 Ferry ride from Baltra to Santa Cruz (make sure to carry cash). P.S it must be something in the air but Ecuador has done wonders to my skin! Covergirl material??

 These guys are every where! 

These guys are every where! 

 On our way to find Nemo!! Again, look how great my skin is!

On our way to find Nemo!! Again, look how great my skin is!

 The views are unbelievable! This was taken 1 hr off the coast of Santa Cruz while on tour.

The views are unbelievable! This was taken 1 hr off the coast of Santa Cruz while on tour.

 Right before a sea lion jumped in front of me

Right before a sea lion jumped in front of me

 If you're into birds, then you will not be disappointed. Even you aren't an avid bird watcher, these guys will definitely impress you with their unique colors and patterns.

If you're into birds, then you will not be disappointed. Even you aren't an avid bird watcher, these guys will definitely impress you with their unique colors and patterns.

 These guys are huge. 

These guys are huge. 

 Turning Heads...

Turning Heads...

 The guy in the middle kept staring at me. I guess we had something going on

The guy in the middle kept staring at me. I guess we had something going on

 When the water looks like this, you just have to take a dip

When the water looks like this, you just have to take a dip

 Kayaking through Las Grietas. 

Kayaking through Las Grietas. 

 You'll see these guys everywhere while kayaking Puerto Ayora. 

You'll see these guys everywhere while kayaking Puerto Ayora. 

 T H E Y    S W I M !!!!!!!!!

T H E Y    S W I M !!!!!!!!!

 MR. Crabs!!!

MR. Crabs!!!