December 22, 2013

My favourite places of 2013

It’s the end of another fabulous year of travel for me so I thought I’d give you 3 picks for where I’d send my friends – if they asked!

Cabo, Mexico

Cabo sunset

The sunset view from my balcony at Riu Palace in Cabo San Lucas

I visited here in March, my first trip to Mexico, and absolutely loved it. Cabo is much more accessible for Kiwis and Aussies as it’s only a 2 hour flight south of LA to the tip of the Cabo Peninsula. Once you get there you need to decide if it’s Jose del Cabo, the historic town, you want to be in, or Cabo san Lucas which is on the marina and has nightclubs and shops. They’re only 30 minutes apart so I’d suggest you stay in the latter and just spend a day wandering around the art galleries, Catholic church and go tequila tasting in Jose del Cabo.

Mexican resorts are usually all-inclusive. It’s a great idea for families or if travelling with a group of friends, no awkward bill splitting at the end of the night and usually more than one restaurant to choose from. I stayed at the Riu Palace Hotel and they have 4 restaurants serving different cuisines. But do make sure you get into town to eat at a taco bar and try handmade empanadas from a hole in the wall.

I had the best fish tacos I’ve ever had for about $2 at Sammy Hagar’s (of van Halen) music bar Cabo Wabo Cantina in Cabo san Lucas. Then go to the Giggling Marlin for a margarita and to watch the hilarity of people being strung up by their feet (like a marlin) and given a shot – while their parents take photos!

Here’s my blog post about the Riu and pics >>>

 

Galway, Ireland

Galway

Just a cute street in Galway

I just loved Galway. If I was planning a trip to Ireland, I’d base myself here for a few days. For pub crawling and shopping – or a little mix of both – start in Eyre Square and follow your nose along the cobblestoned streets. The King’s Head (this was the home of the executioner of King Charles I) is three levels of music, story telling, beer and a great vibe.

You’ll enjoy shopping along the streets and finding all sorts of nooks and crannies to disappear down. But take a day trip out to the Cliffs of Moher (about 1.5 hours away), or go south to Limerick (about 1.5 hours away). You could even go to Cork and kiss the Blarney Stone (about 2.5 hours away by car).

You’ll pass the countryside with ancient towers and go through cute villages with brightly painted buildings standing shoulder to shoulder, strung with hanging baskets. Sometimes there’s a creek running past, other times there’s beach views.

Here’s my post on the 5 best pubs in Ireland, if you’re planning to do a tiki tour >>>

 

New Orleans, USA

New Orleans

The French Quarter is home to an eclectic mix of entertainment

I love America and have probably visited 50 times being an exchange student in Maryland a gazillion years ago. But this year I went twice to New Orleans, and have been 4 times in total, but there is so much to do, see and listen to that I really need to go back for a 5th.

My advice is to stay right in the French Quarter (here’s 5 hotels I checked out to help you decide >>>) so you can wander Bourbon Street which is closed to traffic every evening, shop, visit art galleries, tap your toes with the buskers on every other street corner and pop back to your hotel for a swim (it gets hot in the south).

Eat sugary beignets at Cafe du Monde or Cafe Beignet. Take a cooking lesson and learn how to make gumbo, or just go to a demonstration class and eat the spoils at the end. I also really enjoyed my cemetery tour. Graves are above ground in New Orleans and tell the story of the history of the city with Spanish, French and Caribbean pioneers, military vaults and musicians – and even actor Nicolas Cage’s pyramid he has built for when his time comes.

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I’d love to know your favourite cities. Feel free to add your comments!

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About Megan Singleton

Megan

Megan Singleton is a travel writer, blogger and radio correspondent. She's been gallivanting around the world telling stories for the last 16 years and has her suitcase always half packed (or half un-packed!) Follow along on Facebook or Twitter and sign up for monthly newsletters if you want to keep up with the journey!

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