The Perfect 48 Hours In Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

The Perfect 48 Hours In Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

  For the past five years, we’ve celebrated each of our wedding anniversaries in a new destination. Given our lifestyle and penchant for wanderlust, it’s hardly any surprise that to us, there’s no better way to celebrate another year together than by making more travel memories! This year, we decided to drink to special year number five in the Dominican Republic. This was in large part due to the fact that we won an auction for five nights at the spectacular Casa Veintiuno, a boutique bed and breakfast in Sosua. More on that to come soon!     To bookend our beach adventures, we spent a bit of time exploring charming Santo Domingo. The Dominican Republic’s capital city and the oldest European settlement in the Americas, Santo Domingo is renowned for its long history, rich culture and vibrant art scene—all things that we love. Most people who travel to the Dominican Republic head straight to their all-inclusive resorts in Punta Cana or Puerto Plata. But even if you’ve only got an extra day, you don’t want to miss experiencing the highlights of Santo Domingo. Here’s our guide to get you started:   48 Hours in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic     Explore Old Town The highlight of any visit to Santo Domingo is easily the Zona Colonial. This romantic historic zone is home to some of the oldest buildings in the Americas, many of which boast UNESCO World Heritage status. What’s more, you’ll also find many of Santo Domingo’s best restaurants, hotels and boutiques conveniently located here. History buffs could easily spend multiple days exploring the Zona Colonial’s best...
Travel Roundup: Our Favorite Memories From Oaxaca, Mexico

Travel Roundup: Our Favorite Memories From Oaxaca, Mexico

It’s no secret that I have a terrible memory. Casey even lovingly calls me “goldfish” sometimes. In fact, one of the reasons we’ve kept blogging all these years is to have a diary of sorts to remember our travels. And it has become one heck of a journal. From our honeymoon road trip to cycling 1,000 miles across Vietnam to celebrating the World Cup in soccer-crazy Brazil, there are certain moments on our travels that we’ll remember forever. But there are smaller details, destinations and encounters that likely would have faded into the background if it hadn’t been for the photos that we took and the stories we wrote here. The phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words” gets tossed around a lot. I find this is especially true when referring to travel. That’s not to say that words aren’t important, of course. They certainly help put you on the right path and give you the information you need to see a destination. But for me personally, photographs are where true travel inspiration starts. When I look at a photo from a trip I took years ago, it’s almost like traveling back in time. I can close my eyes and feel myself back in that crowded smelly market with the dangling pig heads. I can feel the enormous cathedral in all of its stained glass glory. Photos allow me to relive that wonderous feeling of our travels every day. That said, on our most recent trip to Mexico, I hardly took any photos at all. Not because I wasn’t inspired—we visited some of the most beautiful regions of Mexico...
An Inside Look At The Art Of Making Mezcal—Oaxaca, Mexico

An Inside Look At The Art Of Making Mezcal—Oaxaca, Mexico

    Think of Mexico and chances are that a few of the first beverages to come to mind are tequila and Corona. But visit Oaxaca, Mexico, and you’ll quickly discover it’s actually mezcal that tops the list for beverage of choice.     We had never heard of mezcal (let alone tasted it), so we were immediately intrigued by the intimate mezcal bars we found tucked away in ever-so-charming Oaxaca City. Naturally it only took one spicy mezcal margarita to convert us into avid fans of the artisanal liquor. However, it wasn’t until we received an inside look at the process of making mezcal from a local farmer that we truly began to appreciate mezcal for the art form that it is.   An Inside Look At The Art Of Making Mezcal—Oaxaca, Mexico   Photo by Cantimplora Travel  What Is The Difference Between Mezcal and Tequila?   Mezcal, like tequila, is made from the agave plant. But while true tequila can only be made using the Blue Agave plant, mezcal is produced from over 30 varieties of agave. Additionally, most tequilas are made in industrial size, stainless-steel pressure cookers. Artisan mezcals are hand-crafted using a variety of more traditional techniques.     Talk to many Mexicans and they’ll tell you that they much prefer organic mezcals to chemical-laden tequilas. This is especially true in Oaxaca, where up to 90% of mezcals are produced, and each batch of mezcal has its own unique, wonderful flavor.   Meeting A Mezcal Farmer   We had the one-of-a-kind opportunity to meet an inspiring mezcal farmer and learn more about the mezcal making...
Why We May Pack Up Everything And Move to Oaxaca, Mexico

Why We May Pack Up Everything And Move to Oaxaca, Mexico

    Ok, so maybe we won’t be moving to Oaxaca, Mexico immediately, but from the first night we arrived in this charming town, we knew we were going to love it.     Oaxaca City was the first stop on our road trip through Oaxaca with Cantimplora Travel. Led by our awesome Mexican guides and professional photographer Sam and Bernie (founders of Cantimplora Travel) our small group met in Oaxaca City for a few days of off-the-beaten-track adventure before continuing on to discover one of the most diverse and artistically gifted states in all of Mexico. As we wandered down the cobblestone pedestrian street in Oaxaca our first night, we heard loud music and drumming coming from the church plaza. Surely it’s just a street band looking for some tips from passersby, we thought…until we noticed the giant dancing puppets.   Photo by Cantimplora Travel  These wedding puppets were about 15 feet tall and on long wooden poles, dressed in the form of a bride and groom. The music was pouring out of the church and a large group of friends and family were dancing in the courtyard. After a while, the party started to make its way down the main avenue through town as the bride and groom danced in the streets past cheering onlookers. This wedding parade, called a calenda, perfectly expressed the colorful, fun-loving and friendly community vibe of Oaxaca. And this ambience of celebration, arts and culture would set the tone for the rest of our journey with Cantimplora Travel.   Photo by Cantimplora Travel  Though you may not be as lucky to catch...
14 Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day Around the World

14 Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day Around the World

  Love it or hate it, Valentine’s Day is right around the corner.   We don’t particularly enjoy all the commercialism that surrounds the holiday, but we do love any excuse to celebrate. So if it means getting dolled up, eating scrumptious food and sipping on good wine… well, we can handle that.   Last year we celebrated Valentine’s Day in Taiwan. Taiwanese celebrate February 14th with fanfare—teddy bears, glittery flowers, and decorations. Stores often have Valentine’s Day discounts. Taipei 101 even lights up with cute hearts. But in addition to the Western date, Taiwanese also celebrate traditional Chinese Valentines Day on the 7th day of the 7th month of the lunar calendar. Honestly we never knew much about this other Valentine’s Day, and from a foreigner’s eye, it certainly didn’t receive as much attention as its Western counterpart.     But it got us thinking. How do other countries celebrate Valentine’s Day around the world?   We set out to the handy dandy Internet to see what we could find. Perhaps not surprisingly, we discovered that many countries celebrate Valentine’s Day with roses and chocolates and perhaps a dinner date; many cultures have embraced the Western influence. Other cultures protest the holiday, some even going so far as to set fire to Valentine’s Day merchandise. And finally, some cultures have looked for a way to make the holiday more their own, finding a bit of balance.   Before we set off, we want to be clear that we haven’t experienced any of these celebrations firsthand; the information was sourced from around the web (you can find the original...
5 Reasons To Experience Mexico With A Private Travel Photographer

5 Reasons To Experience Mexico With A Private Travel Photographer

    As some of you may know, Dan’s photography skills have landed him a prime spot behind the scenes. While he may never complain about it, even the most passionate of photographers occasionally want to put down the lens and simply enjoy the present moment. That’s why we decided to try something new: Take a trip with a private travel photographer. We are super excited to have an opportunity to just enjoy our surroundings while someone else documents our once-in-a-lifetime memories.     We’ll be headed to the sunny sands of Mexico as guests of Cantimplora Travel. These guys are the real deal. It’s not easy to trust another photographer to make sure you return home with photos that do justice to your adventures. But scrolling through their photo gallery is enough to see that we’ve got nothing to worry about.   Not sure if traveling with a private travel photographer is right for you?   5 Reasons To Experience Mexico With A Private Travel Photographer     Put Down That Camera And Actually Connect With Your Surroundings     How often do we miss out on the moment at hand because we’re glued to our phones? I’m not even talking about texting or checking your Instagram feed.   Taking photos can be just as much a culprit as any, stealing our highly sought after moments of peace, adventure, laughter, and joy. The constantly nagging fear of missing the perfect shot can easily steal away the precious memories we’re traveling for in the first place.   That’s precisely why a private travel photographer is such a bonus. You don’t...