David Haberer

David Haberer


Zephyr Palace


Zephyr Palace, a 5 start resort near Jaco in Costa Rica, is everything it claims to be and more. I’ve been watching this place for a while now, with plans to go there eventually. Somehow everything just worked out for us to finally take our first trip to Costa Rica and stay at the Palace. In all of our travels, this ranked as one of the greatest views. Visiting during the rainy season, we were lucky enough to have the entire 7 suite “palace” to ourselves all but one night. Each room is decorated in a different theme and makes you feel like royalty. We started out with 3 nights in the New World Suite, followed by 3 nights in the Egypt Suite. Both rooms had their own benefits and in the end, we were very happy to get to use both. There isn’t a bad suite at Zephyr Palace. The other suites available are similar or better than what we got to experience and we hope that some day we will be able to return and try them out.

About Zephyr Palace

Zephyr Palace is an add-on to beautiful boutique hotel Villa Caletas tucked up top of a mountain overlooking the Pacific Ocean about 10 miles north of Jaco. The drive here from the San Juan airport took us around 1.5 hours and completed with a 2 mile drive up the mountain ridge with some of the most amazing views. For those scared of heights, looking down may make you a bit squeamish. On the way from the airport, make sure you stop at Crocodile Bridge to see the crocs. We don’t see a reason to pay for an excursion there, but it’s definitely a sight to see.

Zephyr Palace was built in the 90’s but is still very modern with it’s amenities. We found Wifi to be available everywhere and Cable TV was available though we rarely watch tv, especially on a vacation. We did enjoy having a mini fridge to use and espresso machine in each room. All rooms also come with a personal hot tub which was cleaned spotless every day. Even after coming back from the beach and getting sand in the hot tub, it somehow disappeared the next day. This is one of the things we love the most about Zephyr Palace. Since we were the only ones there, we never saw any other guest, but we also rarely saw anyone working there. It was as if it was our own private home. They do have security cameras around the place and we’re pretty sure they used those to know when we left the room or pools. Once we left our room someone had to be there cleaning it up and was gone before we ever got back. Staff was also very accommodating and would bring us buckets of ice for our Champagne, and give us rides over to Villa Caletas. Room service was also very handy to have with their prices being very reasonable.

While we adventured out every day, we also made good use of room service. Food was always delivered within 30 minutes and was delicious. The prices were reasonable as well for the food, though high for drinks, but they have no problem if you bring your own. We were really surprised when we took a bottle of our own Prosecco to the pool to drink over at the beautiful infinity pool at Villa Caletas and they brought us a bucket of ice and two glasses, no charge. Also, these places believe in being as natural as possible, not using any pesticides for the greenery and pretty much just letting the jungle grow uninhibited.

I also have to give one of the employees, Alex, a shout out after he let me know we had a flat tire on our car and helped change it. It’s service like we received at Zephyr Palace that will bring us back for another stay.

New World Suite

We stayed our first three nights in the New World Suite. I picked this one out mainly for the balcony. The room is on the lower floor and it’s balcony jets out past the rest of the palace. As a result, it’s the only room with a balcony that has direct access to the sun directly above. For privacy there are blinds that you can pull around the hot tub and there is also a private set of stairs from the deck that leads directly to the pools. The room had a huge mirror over the bed which you eventually realize is a window to the bathroom and a tv that popped up out from the foot of the bed. When we were in our room, we spent most of our time on the deck. It had a couple of loungers, a table and chairs and the hot tub. The views are incredible and something to really take in.

Egypt Suite

Wanting to try out as much as possible, it was tough, but we left the New World Suite for the Egpyt suite. This was one floor above New World and thus had a slightly even better view. This room was decorated really nice, but the downside is that the hot tub is tucked away in the porch losing that view when you’re using it.

The Pools!

The pools here are one of the amenities that you don’t want to miss. They’re so beautiful, you feel bad even getting in them. The Piscina pool, the infinity pool at Zephyr Palace is the top pool and our favorite view, while the garden pool is a more private tucked away pool. I could see this pool being used for parties of larger groups or for your wedding, if you choose to have it here. In addition to these two amazing pools, you can head on over to Villa Caletas and use their infinity pool as well. That pool is incredible as well, with nature surrounding it, an infinity edge, and another view of the Pacific Ocean. For us, we didn’t use this pool as much because we were enjoying the solidarity of Zephyr Palace way too much.  Check out the videos below to get a really good look at what these pools look like and the views that accompany them.

Private Beach

If the pools and views weren’t enough, Zephyr Palace and Villa Caletas have a private beach. Their beach is usually described as being a rocky rough beach, but we found that there’s more to the story than that. There are three ways to get to the beach and we did all of them. First, you can hike down from the resort, more on that below.The second way down is by way of the Hotel’s truck. It leaves every hour down to the beach and back every hour on the half hour. The problem with this, in our opinion is that the last transfer back was at 4:00, too early for us. You can stay longer if you choose the third way down, by way of your own vehicle. They recommend only doing this if you have 4-wheel drive and I will agree with that. We booked a 4-wheel drive vehicle knowing this in advance and did drive it down once. The way back up is steep, but we were able to make it without iss aren’t any guard rails and it’s a long drop at points if you were to lose traction so be careful if you do choose this route.

Back to the beach…There are plenty of lounge chairs and even beach beds available for use here.  There is no charge for these like some resorts do.  This area is a rocky part of the beach with the waves hitting up against a rock wall.  Walk 50 feet to the north though and you’ll find a nice beautiful sand beach.

Hiking and Waterfalls

One way to get down to the private beach is to hike.  In order to take this hike, they ask you to sign a waiver then take you to the start of the trail.  Keep in mind that you’re 1200 feet up and it’s over a mile to the beach. This isn’t a walk in the park and though it starts our really nice with stairs and a paved walkway, that quickly disappears and the hand rail even disappears soon after that.  You’re left to your own devices to get down the rest of the way.  The best part about this hike though is when you’re about 75% of the way down, there is a small bridge to walk over a running stream of water. If you walk under the bridge and back up the stream about 100 feet, it turns to the left and there are some of the most beautiful waterfalls that you can enjoy all to yourself. We had a hard time leaving these, but knowing there was a beach at the end to enjoy, we eventually finished our journey.

If you’re looking for a romantic getaway, or even one with little chance of seeing children, Zephyr Palace should definitely be on the top of your list. Even if the place was fully booked that means only another 12 people would be around, which by most cases is still a very private vacation. We give Zephyr Palace 5 stars for the way they treated us and the overall beauty experience of our entire stay there. We hope to be able to go back, experience other rooms and/or stay at Villa Caletas in the near future.

As always you can find more pictures over on our feed in Instagram.  Follow us to get all of our updates.

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Pirate Adventures at the Texas Ren Fest


We had the opportunity to visit the Renaissance Festival in Texas this last weekend.  This is the 43rd year they’ve been doing this and it is considered to be the largest one in the US.  Each weekend is a different theme and there is lots to do for everyone.  The theme for the weekend was Pirate Adventures, though we aren’t quite fully in character.  Amanda was a Snow Queen, wishing it was much cooler than the 90 degrees we had to endure.  I just didn’t want to wear a shirt, so I threw on a piece a leather and called it a day.

This is a must do event that spans 10 weekends in the fall about an hour northwest of Houston.  In addition to the faire, you can camp out for the weekend, but beware, the activities going on late at night are no place for kids to be.  If you do decide to bring kids, keep them in your camp area at night.  No matter what, you’ll meet the nicest people and forget that you live in the 21st century for at least a little while.  I’d say that about 50% of the people there are dressed up and the costumes are some of the most amazing ones we’ve ever seen.  People really get into this and go all out.

On the camp grounds there is also a large building used each Saturday night for an “After Dark” party.  This weekend the theme was Burlesque.  Entertainment inside included different types of dance, and burlesque shows.  There is also a room for karaoke and a VIP lounge for those who decide to pay a little extra for the included appetizers.  This was our first time going to After Dark and it was amazing.  First, it was a nice break from the weekend heat as the place was cooled down very nice.  But we met a lot of really nice people, were entertained and had an excuse to dress up again, always a plus for us!

If you ever get a chance, go check out the Faire.  You can find more information on their site at: https://www.texrenfest.com/ and as always you can find more pictures over on our feed in Instagram.  Follow us and get all our updates.


Costa Rica Wild Life


Known for it’s diversity in Wild Life, Costa Rica did not disappoint on our latest trip there.  We were lucky enough to see all three types of Monkeys that live in the national park, Manuel Antonio, and thanks to our guide, much much more.

Manuel Antonio National Park

We nearly missed getting to visit this amazing park but since Hurricane Irma pushed back our return trip we got a couple of extra days in CR.  The first thing you need to be wary of is that the locals will be very much in your face while trying to get to this park.  There are many places to park if you have a vehicle, most of which are just local pieces of land that someone is trying to charge you for.  Near the park entrance there are a few open spot, but they may be hard to find.  Make sure you get as close as you can though because it could be a long walk just to the entrance.

Park Fees

Bring cash to purchase your tickets.  You can use a credit card or debit card, but expect to pay up to $10 in fees as a result.  They may also ask for your passport, so make sure to bring that as well.  Don’t fall for one of the locals trying to sell you their ticket.  Often, the park has free days for locals, otherwise locals get tickets highly discounted.  They won’t let a foreigner in with a local pass.

Park Guides

The guides are everywhere.  You’ll know who they are, because they all have telescopes with them.  The closer you get to the park, the cheaper they get.  For us, during rainy season, they were very much ready to negotiate as well.  We decided to try out the park on our own and quickly realized we were going to miss most everything that way.  We saw other groups of people looking at creatures we couldn’t even see with our naked eye.  Fortunately, one of the guides was on his way out of the park and eager to find more people to show around.  After a few minutes, we negotiated a very reasonable rate and he showed up things we would have just walked by.

So what about the animals?

Just a few of the animals we saw and were able to capture on film include, White Faced Monkeys, Spider Monkeys, Howler Monkeys, Sea Snake, Rainbow Cricket, Sloth, Racoon, Iguanas, Cutter Ants and so many more.  If you have any questions about any of these species, please leave a comment below.

Everywhere else?

Costa Rica is mainly a rain forest, so you don’t have to go to a park to see the local wildlife.  Much of what we saw in Manuel Antonio, we saw from our hotel room, on hikes, or just driving down the street.  The Scarlet Macaw were everywhere, always seen in pairs or threesomes.  White-faced monkeys were often spotted as well.  Also, while driving from San Juan you can stop at crocodile bridge and see dozens of crocs.  That alone made us shy to doing any type of river tour.


Costa Rica in the Rainy Season?


After booking our trip to Costa Rica, we quickly realized we had booked it during the wrong time of the year.  Apparently, we were going there right in the middle of rainy season.  This was going to be a horrible trip, but everything was booked and all we could do make the most of it.  As it turned out, this was probably one of the best times for us to visit and provided us with everything we wanted in the trip.

Costa Rica is known to have a very wet rainy season that spans from May to mid-November.  It is quite common for it to rain for days during this time of year, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will rain all day long.  Here are some of the benefits we found to going to Costa Rica during the rainy season.


Just the phrase, “Rainy Season” is enough to scare most tourists away.  Hotels are often empty or near empty.  Our trip left us alone in our resort with no one to bother us.  This isn’t true for all places, but you can be assured that even the more popular resorts and hotels won’t be fully booked.  If you’re looking for a romantic getaway then this is a great time to visit during the rainy season.  We have never experienced such relaxation on a vacation before.  This is one trip that didn’t require another vacation when we got home to de-stress.

Discounts Galore

The lack of tourists mean lots of discounts.  Hotels and resort are often 50% cheaper, or more.  Staying at a five star resort like Zephyr Palace, wouldn’t have been an option for us during Costa Rica’s “summer” (Nov-Apr).  We were also able to rent a 4×4 vehicle for only $5/day (plus the required insurance).  While shopping, vendors were also more inclined to negotiate their prices due to the lack of customers.

The Rain!

Believe it or not, the rain is actually an advantage.  Costa Rica is a beautiful country, but without rain, the trees and plants start to die like anywhere else.  Being so close to the equator, summer weather in CR is hot, very hot.  This also causes some of the touristy attractions such as rivers and waterfalls to dry up.  Hiking to waterfalls is always a fun adventure that we love to do, so I’m happy to report that viewing any of the many waterfalls in CR during rainy season is a definite must.

So how did the weather actually fare in mid-September?  It rained nearly every day we were there, with the exception of a couple of days, but the rain didn’t start till the afternoon.  It was dark around 5:30, with rain starting anywhere from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM.  Sometimes it only rained for a couple of hours and a couple of times it rained through the night.  As a result, we went to bed earlier than normal, for us, and were usually ready to tackle the day by 6:00 AM, which is extremely unusual for us.  The beaches were amazing in the morning and the sun was in full power.  Unfortunately, we never got to see the sun actually set on the horizon.  We got close, but in the last 15 minutes every day, the sun went behind clouds prior to making it to the horizon.

Overall, don’t let “rainy season” deter you from visiting Costa Rica.  We will not hesitate to go back the same time of year any time.

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Grand Oasis Sens


Update (May, 2019). The Grand Oasis Sens has been sold off and will now be a family friendly resort. We will keep this review up for archive purposes, but much of it may no longer be true. We will not be visiting the new resort, as we are focused on only staying at kid-free places.

Cancun, Mexico… This place is starting to feel like home to Amanda and myself.  We’ve now been here three times and know the routine pretty well, so there’s very little acclimation time for us.  There is something to be said for a place if we are going to be repeat visitors.  When we travel, we prefer to avoid anywhere that has kids running around and we rarely go to the same place twice, let alone three times.  In Cancun, there are numerous “adults-only” resorts, but the Grand Oasis Sens checks off all of our requirements for a great stay and is affordable.  This is an all-inclusive resort, so outside of anything above and beyond, you can stay here without spending a peso.

The water in Cancun is among the clearest and most beautiful we’ve experienced to date.  It seems like every time we go back it gets even better somehow.  Cancun itself has so many activities suited for adults, between their clubs, water sports, cruises, etc you’ll never be without something to do, unless all you want it to relax at your resort.  We could sit by the ocean day after day and never have a reason to complain.

Notice: Before I get started, let me address the situation about safety in Cancun.  We have talked to numerous people who are scared to go there citing this or that related to violence in the news.  Cancun is not an inherently dangerous place.  The majority of violence in Mexico is gang related and isn’t affecting tourists.  As always, don’t do anything stupid or be in places you shouldn’t be and you won’t have an issue.  We have traveled all over the city and even outside of it and have never felt unsafe at all.  Fortunately, because the news is being blown our of proportion, there are more vacancies than normal in the area and resorts are doing everything they can to fill rooms.  So, enjoy the savings and have a safe and great trip.  Back to the review….

The Check-In

This is the one area that can be frustrating at Sens, especially if it’s your first time.  At times you wonder why they haven’t updated their systems to be a little bit more organized, and while frustrating if you don’t understand it, their system still works.  At the Grand Oasis Sens, they have three categories of room types, Grand, Grand Plus and Sian Ka’an.  You’ll be given an bracelet to wear during your stay that indicates your level of stay with the Sian Ka’an affording you an upgraded band.  Note though that you can upgrade your band without upgrading your room.  This usually cost around $26/day/person and for us was well worth it (we’ve done it all three times).  Some of the benefits that come with upgraded bands are top shelf liquor and champagne, access to a VIP lounge with snacks and drinks, access to the beach beds in the Sian Ka’an beach club, the use of their Smart Cars for free + insurance, and a free dinner at Benazuza, the top restaurant in all of Cancun (normally around $50/person) and free room service.  The Grand Oasis Sens promotes itself as the only LGBT friendly resort in Cancun, though to us it didn’t seem any different than any other resort, and if it did, it wouldn’t have mattered.

Prior to our check-in we’ve always had some questions ahead of time.  Contacting the resort was easiest to do by email and were surprise by the quick and thorough responses we got from Valentina Biegun.  She helped put any concerns we had ahead of time at ease.

The Rooms and View

The Sian Ka’an will guarantee an ocean view and a deck outfitted with a plunge pool.  The Grand and Grand Plus are similar sized rooms, but with the Plus category, you will be sure of an ocean view and possibly a porch.  In our three trips, we’ve always booked a Grand room, but have been lucky to be upgraded depending on availability.  Our first trip put us into an Ocean View room with deck.  Our second trip, a Lagoon View Room and our latest trip, an Ocean Front room with balcony.   We can’t complain about any of the rooms, though the Ocean Front room had an A/C unit that was having trouble keeping up with the Sun that beamed in the room most of the day.

The Beach & Pools

There are two main pools at the Grand Oasis Sens.  The main pool by the beach is a multi-level pool with multiple swimming areas.  In the main area there is a bar so you don’t even have to get out of the water to get a refill on your drinks.  The pool on the Lagoon side is normally the quiet pool, except when they have parties going on.  Next to that pool is also an area with half a dozen hot tubs, that most people never even realize exist.  The hottubs are often empty, needing to be filled like any normal bathtub.  Don’t worry if they are, just turn them on and let them fill up.  All pools are topless optional and you may end up seeing some women topless, but it’s actually pretty rare (this isn’t the Playboy mansion).  If this is something that will upset you, then this isn’t the place for you to go.  Then again, women often go topless just about anywhere in Cancun on the beach, so you may want to check out another location all together.

The beach at GOS is the amazingly beautiful white sand and blue water beach you can expect to see in Cancun.  As with most places there though, you may be bothered by all of the vendors that continue to try to sell you their “unique” (to them and a thousand other vendors) goods.  Here’s an area where it really pays to do the VIP upgrade at the resort.  On the south side of the beach is a roped off area with beach beds, mostly covered, but a few that aren’t.  These are only for VIP and must be reserved in advanced for the mornings.  After noon, any VIP person can use them.  Since it’s roped off, the vendors can’t come and bother you either.  On top of that, there’s also full service drinks and food after noon.  The food here can only be gotten here and is amazing.  If you are on the other part of the beach, you will have to get up and go for walk for a refill on your drinks.  This is yet another reason why we highly recommend the VIP upgrade.

Down in the Sian Kaan beach area, Bodereck and Lizette were always attentive and ready to take care of us.  Make sure you take good care of them.

Tip: While it’s not required to tip at this resort, we highly recommend you take care of the people who take care of you.  There is a noticeable difference in how well they take care of you when you’re generous to them.  It doesn’t take much, but your stay will be better overall if you do.

The Food

The food at the Grand Oasis Sens is hands down the best we’ve had at any resort.  This isn’t your standard all-inclusive buffet, though they do have one of those as well.  Their buffet is the main place you can go without worrying about a reservation, though we don’t recommend it.  By our third trip we didn’t even need to eat there once.  The other options fall into two categories.  First, they have three restaurants that require reservations in advance.  These include the Black Hole, Benazuza and Sakura Sunset.  In order to get a reservation, make sure you’re up early and at the reservation table before 8:00am in the lobby.  Depending on how booked the resort is, they’ll only let you get a reservation a day or a few days ahead of time.  Space is very limited at these restaurants, but you don’t want to miss eating at any of them.  The next level require reservations, but you can’t get them until the same day and just a couple hours before they open.  You have to show up at the restaurant ahead of time to get on the list.  They include, The Box, Schillibar and Makitaco.  These are all great places to eat as well.   For those who just want to wander in to any place, you’re left with Coba, the buffet, Moonlight Trattoria and Pizza and Muerdeme Mucho.  We’ve eaten at every place and multiple times, so here’s our take on them.

Black Hole:  This isn’t to be missed, but you have to be brave as well.  You’re asked to wear all black and when you go in it’s more of a show than just dinner.  They only have two sets of seating times with a limit of 16 people each time.  You’ll eat your meal in the dark with nothing more than a black light to illuminate the waiters white gloves.  Don’t be too scared though because the food isn’t always what you expect.

Benazuza: This place is constantly winning awards and is considered to be one of, if not the best, place to eat in Cancun.  You’ll experience a 20 course meal that is top notch.  Dress nice and enjoy, it’s definitely worth it.  If you have an upgraded band, you can eat here once/week for free.  Otherwise it will cost around $50/each.

Schillibar: Another great restaurant that’s considered a must eat at.  Located at the back pool area.  Make sure you get here early in the afternoon to get a reservation.

Makitaco: We loved eating here as well.  This is a smaller Mexican Japanese fusion restaurant.

Muerdeme Mucho: Straight up Mexican food and some of the best!

Moonlight Trattoria and Pizza: Italian food, pizza, and no reservations needed.  Great food and service as always.

Coba: Your standard all-inclusive buffet.  There isn’t much that stands out here, bu there isn’t much that is missing as well.  For those roll out of bed and need something quick to eat, this fits the bill perfectly.

Sakura Sunset: Great seafood in the best spot of Cancun for watching the sunset.  Make sure you get a reservation just prior to sunset to enjoy a truly amazing experience.

The Box: Another great place to eat.  Portions are small, but you get a few.  They’re also open late at night with snacks for when you’re finally done dancing away at the Kinky Club.

Coffee & Me: This is your own Starbucks in the hotel without the price.  If you’re a coffee drinker, you’ll get to know this place very well.  Located just behind the VIP bar on the way to the back pool.

Siankaan: The VIP bar.  There is usually a concierge here, who’ll you need to make reservations for the beach beds if you want one.  Full service bar with premium liquors and snacks are usually available as well.

The Kinky Club

Most nights of the week, the Kinky Club is the only thing open after 10pm.  If you like to stay up late and have fun, you’ll most likely find yourself here at least once.  On different nights they have different shows that are a lot of fun to watch.  After the show, the club turns into a normal night club with a DJ, dancing and drinks.

Pirates Ahoy!

One activity that’s completely free of charge that you shouldn’t miss is the Pirate Cruise.  Every Thursday night at 10:00pm they bring in a few buses and take everyone over to the Pirate Ship at one of their other resorts.  Room on the ship is limited, so make sure you get signed up on their list at the same concierge that does the dinner reservations.

Once aboard the ship, it will set sail out into the Lagoon (smooth water, so you won’t get sea sick) and a short show is followed by lots of music, dancing and free drinks.  We have done this twice now and both times were a ton of fun.  This was actually the easiest place to make friends and meet new people because there are so many people in such a small place.  On this night, the Kinky Club won’t be open as their entertainers will all be on the boat.

Everything Else

We have very little negative to say about the Grand Oasis Sens.  In addition to all of the amenities that are offered here, you can visit any of the other Oasis hotels in Cancun and Tulum including The PyramidGrand OasisOasis Cancun LiteGrand Oasis PalmSmart Cancun OasisOh! the Urban Oasis and Grand Oasis Tulum.  The resort will arrange a transfer for you between resorts.

Amanda and I actually took advantage of the free Smart Car at the resort and drove down to Tulum.  Along the way we stop by some of the Cenotes and have a detailed write up of that stop, here .  We also took some time at the Ruins of Tulum and when we were done, stopped by the Grand Oasis Tulum to relax and check out the resort.  Unfortunately, we only stayed there for a couple of hours, so we can’t give you a full review of the resort.  The Grand Oasis Tulum was a beautiful resort, with a beautiful beach, but didn’t seem to have the activity and life that Sens has.  The Sens is a great resort if you’re looking for some activity during your stay, while the Grand Oasis Tulum seems to be more oriented towards relaxation (oh, and they have kids there too).

Make sure you get a copy of the weekly activities as well.  They have pool parties almost daily, including a foam party that you don’t want to miss, night parties, and other entertainment.  There is always something fun and adventures to do at the Grand Oasis Sens.

As always, if you have any questions about the Grand Oasis Sens, drop us a line or leave a comment below.  We’d be happy to answer any questions you may have and even help you get booked for your stay there.  You can see more pictures and video of our stays here on our instagram feed.


Cenote Adventures in Mexico


There are so many things to do in Mexico, but one you’ve probably heard of or possibly done is to visit some of their cenotes.  A cenote is a natural reservoir of water created from limestone bedrock that collapses.  The water underneath is exposed and beautiful swimming areas are formed.  Some cenotes are completely open with everything collapsing, while others form caves nearly completely covered, with scattered openings to access them.

Using our free smart car from the Grand Oasis Sens, Amanda and I went out on an adventure to enjoy some of these natural wonders and weren’t disappointed.  Knows as Los 7 Cenotes, an area about 30 minutes south of the hotel zone in Cancun, there are multiple cenotes ranging from enclosed to open.  We were warned ahead of time that a 4 wheel vehicle may be needed to get to these cenotes, but we were just fine driving that little smart car.  There are numerous tours you can take if you don’t have a vehicle or prefer a guide, but we usually find that doing things on our own is not only a lot cheaper, but also a fun adventure that doesn’t make us feel rushed to move on to the next stop.

Once we arrived, it looked like any other area.  For $20 USD we were able to access everything on our own and were given life jackets to use.  Normally, I’d forgo the life jacket, but we had just been told that the cenote we’re about to swim in is 300 feet deep.  We eventually lost the life jackets for a little bit once we were more comfortable.  Anyway, after getting ready, we had to head down a ladder to access the water.  I got in first, never really thinking about what I’m doing, then had to slowly coerce Amanda to join me.  I tried to keep it a secret as long as possible, but once she looked up, she realized as I just had, that the top of the cave was covered with bats.  The bats never bothered us more than a couple of close flybys, but it’s something to keep in mind in case you’re deathly afraid of them.

This particular cenote actually had 5 openings to the ground level.  300 feet deep, we arrived when a group of scuba divers were just wrapping up a dive.  Once you’re in the cenote, there are ropes you can hang on to if you wish and pull yourself around to the different areas.  And for the more daring, “cliff” diving into the cenote was extremely exhilarating (see video below).  The water was also fairly cool considering it’s not exposed to the sun.

I definitely see us checking out more cenotes when we return to Mexico as each one is completely unique.  If you wish to see more of our adventures here, check out our Instagram feed.

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Yachtcations Review


Time for a quick review because Amanda and I had a chance to experience an amazing time on the water this weekend and want to share this amazing company with you.  A bunch of friends pitched in to do a Yachtcations baby shower!  Yachtcations is a private yacht/catamaran that’s available to rent out for the day or even a customized adventure.  They’ll take you anywhere you want to go provided they can get you there by sea.

For us, this was a chance to get out on the water, one of our favorite things to do, see Kemah, TX from the water and spend time with good company.  Chris, the US Coast Guard licensed captain, and owner of Yachtcations welcomed us aboard and was every bit welcoming that you could hope for.  This trip couldn’t have gone any smoother.  All we had to do is show up and enjoy our time.

For those of you who are worried about getting sick at sea, this is a very large and stable boat.  The hulls of the boat also include a couple of room and bathrooms, so you aren’t exactly leaving behind the luxuries of home.  Overall, this was the most fun we’ve ever had at a baby shower and highly recommend using Yachtcations if you ever have a chance.


Stonefield Villa Resort – St. Lucia


It’s honeymoon time!  Amanda and I finally got married and took the trip of our dreams to St. Lucia.  I spent a lot of time researching this trip ahead of time along with many other possible destinations.  St. Lucia has always been near the top of my bucket list but I didn’t want to just go sit at some resort and not actually enjoy the location.  If that is the experience we wanted, we could have done that anywhere.  For that reason, we looked high and low for the best location to stay, near lots of activities and with a great view.  I really wanted to be near the iconic Pitons and have a view of the Ocean.  Since it is our honeymoon, privacy would be something treasured as well.  There were a few options around the Soufriere area, but Stonefield Estates ended up being exactly everything we hoped for and more.  We got the kind of luxury, privacy and features that most think they can only get at Jade Mountain, but at a fraction of the price.

Tip: If visiting St. Lucia, no matter where you’re staying, we highly recommend getting a vehicle.  The normal vacation in St. Lucia involves staying at a hotel and never leaving, or taking a single high priced excursion to something touristy.  If you drive yourself, you can do all the touristy stuff at a fraction of the price and you can do it on your own time.  There is so much to explore.  Most of the people we talked to that had been to St. Lucia before us never wondered outside of their resort.  Just be warned, if driving in St. Lucia, you’ll be driving on the right side of the car and the left side of the road.

First Impressions

We flew in to Hewanorra International Airport and drove ourselves the hour drive up to StoneField.  When we first pulled up to Stonefield, we were blown away by all the vegetation.  It was if we just drove into the Garden of Eden.  We weren’t sure which way exactly we were to go to check in, but finding out way there was enjoyable none-the-less.  I really wanted this to be the best honeymoon possible, so I did my research ahead of time and made sure we had an amazing villa.  We got a Hillside Oceanview Villa that had a view of Petit Piton, the Ocean and no other Villas.  It was as if we were there all alone.  We couldn’t hear anyone else or see anyone else.  Our 1200 square foot villa included our bedroom with a king bed, bathroom with outdoor shower, kitchen and living area.  Outside we had a pool, and two decks.  One of the decks was covered and had a hammock, the other open for a full view of the sun above, with two lounge chairs.  One of the great features that you get here that is absent at Jade Mountain is air condition in your bedroom.  The rest of the view villa is open for fresh air including the shower which is outside.  There is nothing more serene than taking a shower under the moon and stars.

We were originally upset that we arrived later in the day and wouldn’t get to enjoy the beach already, but the sunset we witnessed that first night was second to none.  It was soon followed by the moon over the ocean providing a spectacular view all night long.  We stayed up until 4am just sitting outside and swimming in the pool, enjoying the serenity of this magnificent place we were lucky enough to be experiencing.

The location of Stonefield was very desirable.  Within a short drive there were waterfalls, an active volcano, a couple of towns and of course the Pitons.  We review some of the places we got to experience in another post, here.

The View

This is the best view we have ever experienced for a beach resort.  Not only is the beach just below you, but to the south was that incredible Petit Piton.  It may sound petite, but it is actually the larger of the two pitons and not too safe to climb.  I did climb it before knowing that, which you can read about that in our St Lucia Adventures review.  Every single night we took the time to stop everything and watch the sun set.  And every single night we enjoyed the Moon passing over head.  During our stay, the moon rose from the east and set in the west.  There isn’t much to do in Soufriere at night, so we were usually in early and up early.

Again, we couldn’t see anything or anyone else from our villa.  Some of the others may have views of a backside of another Villa, but ours had completely unobstructed views.

Our Villa

We were blessed to have a very large pool, big enough to not consider it a splash pool, two decks, a living area, bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and outdoor shower.  The kitchen has most of what you could need for a short stay, though getting groceries isn’t as easy as we had hoped for.  There is a small store in town, but very little to choose from.  Fortunately, breakfast was included at the Mango Tree restaurant and we often ate out for dinner.  The bedroom does close off and has an A/C unit which was nice to have.  The open air resorts are a great idea, but depending on the time of year you’re visiting, I’d had to not have the option of controlled temps when needed.  One of our favorite features was the outdoor shower.  We didn’t have any issues with mosquitoes or other critters, so it was very relaxing to use.  The living area was nice as well, but never used considering we had two porches to enjoy being outside instead.

The Beaches

Stonefield doesn’t have a private beach, as all beaches in St. Lucia are public.  But, you can catch a ride down to the beach, or drive (as we did) and find a fairly quiet, often empty, beach to enjoy.  The beach ranges from beautiful sand to rocks depending on the area you decide to stop at.  In addition to this, Stonefield will shuttle you to the other side of Petit Piton to enjoy Sugar Beach for free.  This beach is nestled between Petit Piton and Gros Piton with extremely white sand, and clear water.  I’d recommend visiting this beach at least once to enjoy a view you won’t find elsewhere.  We also took the time to check out the beach at Jade Mountain as well as another one further north on the island, Anse Conchon Beach, which is know for glittery sand, a mixture of dark volcanic sand and white sand.  Every one of these beaches, except the one at the base of Stonefield have bars for food and drinks.

Mangos, Mangos & the Mango Tree

There is a very good reason their restaurant is called the Mango Tree.  There is a very large Mango Tree on the cliff full of fruit.  We’ve always enjoyed the taste of mangos, but never like this before.  We weren’t sure if we could just pick them off of the trees so we played it safe and called the front desk to ask.  Sure enough, we didn’t have to pick anything, the gardener would pick the best fruit for us and deliver it to our villa.  We had the bring half a dozen mangos and other fruit to us daily and ate up every bit of it.  The mango’s in St. Lucia are amazing, soft and delicious.  We’ve yet to have another mango since that has come close to comparing to them.  Don’t miss out on eating fresh fruit every day picked straight from the trees.

The Mango Tree restaurant was also very nice.  The view was similar to that of our Villa, though probably 50 feet higher.  They had entertainment a few nights during our stay, a small bar, and amazing food.  Breakfast, made to order, was included in the stay and amazing every day.  You could even order to have the food delivered to your villa instead.

Overall, we highly recommend Stonefield and could definitely see staying here again.  They even offer larger villas for big groups that would make for a really fun group trip.  It was very difficult driving away from here when our trip was over.  Feel free to comment below if you have any questions that we could answer or want to know more.  You can find more pictures of our trip over on Instagram and Facebook as well.