Cruising Around Corfu, Greece 2021

View of the Old Fort in Corfu town.

To reach the island of Corfu we took a ferry from Igoumenitsa that takes an hour and a half and costs 10 euro. There is also an international airport from which we’ll be leaving after spending five days exploring this large island. There is also a cruise ship port, so there are plenty of ways to reach Corfu.

A half carafe of local white wine and saganaki (fried cheese with honey and sesame seeds) in Corfu town.
A cafe next to a Venetian well in Old Town.

We rented an apartment in Old Town Corfu for 60 euro per night and stayed 5 nights. It was a great home base. The Old Town is mostly a walking town with tight alleyways but there are definitely larger avenues full of touristy shops and plenty of tourists.

Shopping in Old Town.
A walk in dream time, Corfu.

There is an Old Fortress and a New Fortress in Corfu Town. We chose to visit the larger and slightly more impressive Old Fort. Built in the Byzantine era it had a revamping when the Venetians arrived and again when the British took over in 1814.

The impressive gate at the Old Fortress.

Corfu is a large island, 40 miles long and 17 miles at its widest spot. We rented a car for two days (70 euro total) and explored the Northern areas.

Paleokastitsa is a beautiful cove with clear water and two sandy beaches. You can rent a boat or take a tour to several other beaches nearby.

Paleokastitsa has gorgeous water!

The village of Sidari has a long beach with umbrellas and sun chairs in the sand. This is also the location of the canal d’amour, a limestone formation with a tunnel through it. Legend says if you swim through the tunnel with someone you will marry them, so be careful who you’re swimming with!

The dramatic white limestone cliffs and formations at Cape Drastis, near Sidari.

We drove to the highest peak of the island where a monastery was hidden in the clouds. Pantokrator Peak is 2,972 feet high and up a crazy hairpin road that looks like it only fits one car at a time. Add to that the extremely fast driving Greeks and you are in for an adventure.

The monastery at the top of cloud shrouded Pantokrator Peak.

My personal favorite cove is Kassiopi on the Northwest side of the island. It even has a castle that supposedly had a dragon in it so no one entered for a hundred years. There’s also a church where a statue of Mother Mary restored a blind boy’s sight when he spent the night there. Tons of famous people have visited Kassiopi, ranging from Cicero to Princess Margaret.

Kassiopi with its dragon castle on the hill.

We loved our time on Corfu and can easily imagine spending several months there because of all the different areas to explore. There are beaches everywhere, museums, mountains, kumquats (only in Corfu, no where else in Greece), great food, friendly people and of course, cats.

Beautiful Beaches of Oaxaca Mexico, January 2021

At the north west end of Puerto Escondido is this gem of a beach: Playa Carrizalillo.

We rented a car for $60 US a day for 3 days (including insurance and a one way drop off fee) and drove from Oaxaca city over the mountain pass to the Oaxacan coast. You can do it in a day but it’s a bit gruelling so we broke up the trip with a night in San Jose del Pacifico. A super twisty road but gorgeous views of cloud frosted valleys below was very rewarding.

View from our cabana in San Jose del Pacifico.

We stayed in mellow, hippie vibe Mazunte for a couple nights before driving to Puerto Escondido to return the car.

Street art in Mazunte.
Bone marrow appetizer in Puerto Escondido.
Sunset in Puerto Escondido.

There are several small cove beaches and one very long beach to explore in Puerto Escondido. We stayed in a small apartment with a pool at the quieter north west end and had the choice of walking to beaches, restaurants and bars or taking a taxi to the long, busier beach.

Playa Manzanillo (within walking distance of our place) was a great place to sit in the shade of an umbrella restaurant and drink pina coladas.

Then we took a two hour air conditioned taxi back down the coast to our new favorite beach spot, Huatulco. We made ‘home base’ the town of La Crucecita and rented a scooter for 8 days so we could explore all the bays we could possibly drive to. Parque Nacional Huatulco prevents you from driving to every bay but a snorkel charter can get you there.

White throated magpie jays are common in the jungle of Huatulco.

There are 9 bays and over 30 beaches to explore in Huatulco with clear waters and tropical fish. Since we travel light we don’t pack actual snorkel gear. We just have one pair of goggles that we share and we know how to float!

Xquenda Huatulco Spa, where we stayed for Ian’s birthday.
Playa Entrega became one of our favorite beaches with calm water and good snorkeling.
San Augustine had some of the best snorkeling and gorgeous water.
Playa Cacaluta is a tropical dream come true. Bring water because there’s nothing out there except you!

After plenty of sunshine, sunscreen, cervezas, micheladas, margaritas, too much food and a flat tire on our scooter it was time to head back to the mountains! We bought tickets at $37 US pp for an eight hour overnight bus to San Cristobal de las Casas in the state of Chiapas. Woo hoo!

Sunset from the lighthouse in Huatulco.

Sayulita, Mexico September 2020

Sayulita is a small surf town located 20 miles north of Puerto Vallarta.

Morning breaks with a cacophony of sound. Flocks of green parrots screech as they fly from tree to tree. Roosters compete for loudest morning greeting. Chachalaca birds cackle and a small dog barks. The Sonic propane truck plays its cheery song. Quietly the air conditioner hums beneath it all at a comfortable 22′ C. I open my eyes to see the burnt orange tiles of the arched ceiling above me. Some of the bricks are crumbling from water damage and little piles of dust have accumulated on the floor in the night. Turning my head I see the lavender sky brightening to light blue through the shaggy palapa roof of our rooftop penthouse airbnb. Soon the clanging and banging sounds of construction will begin next door with the tinny sounds of Mexican radio filtered throughout. Good morning Sayulita!

Our place was much more affordable because of Covid.
A refreshing pool at your vacation Airbnb is highly recommended to beat the heat.

Our research told us that Sayulita would be a more subdued version of itself due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. We arrived on August 31st and even though there is evidence of disease prevention in town the beach and streets are buzzing with activity. Restaurant employees are wearing masks, as well as hotel staff and store employees. Some tourists are wearing masks but the majority are not. There are square matts at entrances to wipe your feet on with I’m assuming antibacterial liquid and many places have hand sanitizer on tables and at entrances. Some restaurants are checking temperatures before allowing patrons to enter.

Bright and beautiful downtown Sayulita.
Sayulita Beach.

Besides that life is ‘normal’ here. There are tables with umbrellas in the sand. Surfers in the water. Vendors selling hats, dresses, sunglasses, toys, sculptures, jewelry, cuban cigars, massages and hair braiding. We got a couple one hour massages for $20 US that were excellent. The sun is hot, humidity high and water is warm. Bath tub warm but I really enjoy it. I can stay in for a long time just bobbing up and down watching the pelicans and frigates fly over head and crash into the water to catch fish. It’s very soothing to let my gaze wander over the brightly colored umbrellas dotting the dark sand with the palapa roofed restaurants and hotels behind them. Colorful spanish styled villas with arched windows climb the surrounding hills.

A fisherman shares the spoils with the sea birds at the south end of Sayulita Beach.

At the south end of the beach the fishing boats lay in the sand. It’s fun to watch the gulls, frigates and blackbirds swoop down to snatch up discarded fish carcasses in a churning circle that almost seems choreographed. The fishermen use their trucks to pull the boats to the waters edge as well as pull them out.

Playa los Muertos.

Playa los Muertos is a smaller beach just a short walk south of Sayulita. You can either walk around the rocky point or take the road that first winds around some fancy rental homes and then through a colorful cemetery.

Los Muertos Cemetery.
Playa Carricitos.

A longer hike (about 30-40 minutes) up some hills and through the jungle takes you to secluded Playa Carricitos. With hardly another soul in sight this beach is a quiet get away from the main Sayulita Beach. Along the way you’ll see skinks on the ground, parrots in the trees, and hear hundreds of tropical birds that are hidden in the deep foliage. Palm trees, strangler figs, tamarind and the giant parota tree are just a few of the species competing for sunlight.

An iguana suns itself at Playa Carricitos.

Downtown is hopping at night with drum circles and fire dancers in the streets, break dancers in the square, and the general hub bub of tourists driving golf carts and children and dogs running about.

The view from Aaleyah’s, Sayulita. Best drinks and chile rellenos in town. Also, they treat you like a local.
Delicious tacos and toppings at El Itacate.

We enjoyed a relaxing two weeks in this bohemian surf town with not much to do but surf, drink, shop and eat. The nightlife was entertaining, but we really enjoyed sitting in our patio furniture and listening to everything going on in town. There was modern DJ music, Mexican music, families singing, drum circles drumming, lightning flashing and occasionally….thunder booming. We’ll be back!

Hasta luego Sayulita!