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HUFFINGTON POST: My Love-Hate Relationship With Island Hopping

To see original post on Huffington Post click here.

Everyone always says how amazing it is to island hop in Greece, Croatia, Thailand, or anywhere with islands for that matter. After years of it being on my bucket list to island hop in Greece, I was left with some mixed feeling on the whole experience. Here’s why:

It’s Expensive

This can go a lot of ways. Traveling in Europe is always gonna cost you a shiny penny or two but when it comes to the islands, there’s a lot more to think about. There’s no alternatives for transport other than a ferry or a flight if you’re lucky (only flight I did was Athens to Santorini). On top of the transport, being on an island makes it a monopoly on a lot of costs. Almost every drink at a bar at night was around 10 euros for a single mixed drinks. I felt like I was in college all over again, pre-drinking as much as I could before it was too late!

The Ferry Schedules

When you’re anywhere else, you can show up at the train station usually and find many different train times and options to fit your needs and schedules. As I said before, I flew from Athens to Santorini; this wasn’t because I couldn’t handle the 5-10 hour travel time on the ferries, it was because of the inconvenience of schedules. All the times were meshed around the same, either leave at 7 am from the port with a fast ferry (it takes minimum 30 minutes to get to any port if you’re in central Athens) and give up your night prior because you have to be up so early or leave mid-afternoon and arrive at midnight to only loose a whole day in the new island you’re seeing. There was no winning. So a flight it was.

 

Getting To the Ferry or Airport

Public transport is not the the most straight forward on any islands. Santorini was a huge example of this. There was no straight forward way to get from the airport to the port and same with the other way around. You could spend an hour one what should only take 10 minutes at best to get somewhere.

My Suggestions To Make Your Island Hopping Better

  • Spend your time in each island – I made the mistake of only having 2 days in each, so any travel travel day longer than a few hours made a big impact on my days
  • Plan in advance – A friend I was traveling with didn’t plan right and had a flight in Athens for 9 am without thinking about how she had to take a minimum 5 hour ferry to get there in the first place. She had to book a brand new flight so she wouldn’t loose one of her only two nights in Ios.
  • Try out a yacht week – This isn’t necessary as I usually would never suggest doing anything other than on your own but I know I would have appreciated the boats much more if I was doing a week on a yacht and didn’t have to deal with the hassle of it all!

Island hopping was still an amazing experience with beautiful islands, architecture and nightlife which makes it all the more a love-hate relationship to go! Take my advice, save yourself the struggle with the transport and spend the time you got while you’re there!

10 Reasons to Visit Costa Rica in Rainy Season

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By Angelica Troeder

 

Costa Rica is one of the most visited countries in the Northern Hemisphere. In 2015, over 2.6 million tourists came to frolick in the country’s cities, beaches, and rainforests. Visiting when the sun is out all day is what most travelers prefer, but what about when it’s Costa Rica’s rainy season? Is the rain a damper or does it add to the adventure? To fill you in, the rainy season is roughly from May through November and visiting during that time can be the best time to go.

 

Here are 10 reasons why you should visit Costa Rica in rainy season:

 

  1. Rainy Season is Green Season

Sunny days may be beautiful but Costa Rica is actually very dry and brown outside of rainy season! Much of the land dries up and does not look like what the world and social media has shown it to be. To see the luscious greens and rolling green hills we see in photos, you have to visit when it rains. Otherwise, you will be disappointed.

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  1. Nature at Its Best

Not only will the lands be green, but the rainforest adventure you have been picturing comes to life in rainy season. Huge green leaves, lush trees, and bountiful plants will be everywhere.

If you love a good storm, then you will get to watch plenty during Costa Rica’s rainy season. Get your camera out or turn off the lights and grab a bag of popcorn. Some of the best lightning and thunder occurs during these months and if sun does peek out, a rainbow is sure to show.

 

  1. Cooler temperatures

Although humidity comes with rain, the temperatures will cool down in the day and night compared to high season. This will make it more comfortable for everyone, especially if you hate sweating after a day at the beach. Sleeping becomes a bit easier also as you might not need the air conditioning some nights.

 

CR croc river

 

  1. Less Crowds

During rainy season, you can have more room and more of everything for you. There are less crowds overall, which means it is faster to get around and do what you like. Excursions will not fill up as quickly and if you go out to a popular club or restaurant, chances are your service will be much quicker too.

CR rained on rocks

 

  1. Less Expensive

With the rain and less clouds come lower prices. It is cheaper to fly to Costa Rica during rainy season and hotels drop their prices. There still is a cost, as nothing is free, but you can get a better deal and put your savings aside for something else. Negotiate on the prices also in town, especially for locally sold food on the streets and tours.

 

  1. The Waterfalls

Back to nature – we could never forget the waterfalls. During dry season, they are smaller and those cool pools you want to plunge into may not even exist. During rainy season is when the waterfalls are at their fullest size. Find one, grab a rope, and jump in for a swim.

 

  1. The Rivers

Some of the best activities in Costa Rica include white water rafting, kayaking, and going for walks in the mud! Without rain, many of these activities would be impossible and some of the rivers dry up too much in the dry season. When it’s raining, these rivers are flowing and so are you with them.

 

  1. Ripe Fruits

This is the time of the ear when the fruits of Costa Rica ripen and are at their juiciest. June is the best time to eat their mango. Also try their papaya, cas, and guaba fruits which are available usually at the beginning of summer.

 

  1. Surfing the Waves

If you are a surfer, then surfing is at its peak in Costa Rica during the rainy season. Waves are plentiful, larger, and easier to find at the beaches. It gets much more calm in the dry season when some beaches can be like bays with almost no water. Catch those waves and hang ten.

CR surfing

  1. Turtle Watching

Although wildlife is around year-round in Costa Rica, the rainy season is a special time for the turtles. It is easier to catch them mating and their eggs hatch in September. The most famous are the arribadas in Ostional where the turtles take up the entire beach usually and there is hardly any space to walk!

 

Have you visited Costa Rica in rainy season? What would you most look forward to doing while there?

All images in this article are by Angelica Troeder.

And The Winner is….

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Congratulations to Megan Hatt! You have until June 2 to email info@backpacksandbudgets.com to claim your prize!

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