A Guide to the Different Tickets for the Colosseum

So, you’ve decided to visit Rome on your next holiday to Italy. We don’t blame you!

The Colosseum is a symbol of the Eternal City, with around 8 million visitors every year. You’re probably also considering going on a Colosseum tour, which is no shock, as it’s one of the largest and most famous landmarks in Italy.

But even though millions of people visit the Colosseum every year, getting tickets for Colosseum can be pretty challenging if you don’t know where to start.

Don’t worry – we’ll tell you everything you need to know about visiting the Colosseum in Rome, including recent changes that ticket holders need to know.

See also: Visiting Rome: Sights to Book in Advance

A guide to visiting the Colosseum in Rome, Italy
A guide to visiting the Colosseum in Rome, Italy

Why should I visit the Colosseum?

The Colosseum is the most significant ancient amphitheatre globally – and in human history in general. Construction for this massive monument began in 72 AD under the Roman emperor Vespasian. The builders only completed it in 80 AD under the reign of Titus, Vespasian’s heir and successor. 

It’s made chiefly of travertine limestone, volcanic rock and brick-faced concrete. In the early days, the Romans most famously used it to host gladiators and their contests and other public spectacles such as animal hunting, executions, battle reenactments, and Roman dramas.

As the years went by, its function transformed into housing, quarters, a fortress, a quarry and eventually, a Christian religious shrine.

Currently, grand restoration plans are in place to bring the Colosseum back to its former glory. The first restoration began in 2013 and became the first complete cleaning and repair in the history of the Colosseum. 

Since 2017, enough progress has been made that the top two levels have reopened for guided visits. However, you’ll need special tickets for Colosseum if you want to visit the top levels. 

See also: Things to Do in Rome: Our Rome Activity Guide

A guide to getting tickets for colosseum
Visiting inside the Colosseum, Rome – depositphotos.com

What will I find when I visit the Colosseum?

Before you arrive, you’ll find impressive construction at the monument outside. One of the best places to see the enormous exterior of the Colosseum is through Via Dei Fori Imperiali. This street provides one of the best views of the most well-preserved facade of the entire Colosseum. 

The Colosseum had 80 entrances and, at its peak, could fit 50,000 visitors in just 15 minutes. Today, visitors can visit from the Southside, and it now takes a bit longer to enter due to the long queues. The architects designed each of the five different levels in a unique style. 

Today, its designs for corridors and stairs are still being used as references for modern sports stadiums. At present, the essential ticket Colosseum visit begins on the 2nd floor. 

See also: First Time in Rome Itinerary

Different types of tickets for Colosseum

Before you enter, you should know that there are a few different kinds of tickets for Colosseum that you can choose. 

The basic tickets for Colosseum include access to the main floor and second-tier only, which will take around an hour to visit. You will also gain entry to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill on the same day.

However, suppose you’re after a Colosseum underground tour, including the arena, underground section, and third tier. In that case, you will need to purchase a Full Experience Arena ticket. This type of ticket is also valid for two days instead of one and often offers better insights into some of the best-preserved sections of the site. 

You can also find tickets for a group Colosseum tour or even a special night tour of the Colosseum.

Please note that you will need to print your ticket, or you can show your ticket receipt on your mobile device. 

The official website does not mention changing reservations or offering refunds, so be sure that you’re buying for the correct date when you’re ready to visit.

Buying Colosseum tickets online

One of the simplest and cheapest ways to get to the Colosseum is to buy Colosseum tickets online. We recommend buying tickets from either GetYourGuide or Tiqets.

One thing to note is that there are different Colosseum ticket price ranges for various visitors.

When looking at the Colosseum ticket price, Adults aged 25+ can expect to pay €18, youth between ages 18-25 pay €4 and children under age 18 can enter for free. 

If you want to purchase an Audio guide for your colosseum tour, it will set you back €5.50.

Additionally, if you don’t enjoy waiting in queues and are booking last-minute, get the last-minute priority pass.

The unique tickets for Colosseum

You can also find a few different kinds of tickets for Colosseum that offer far more than a typical touring experience.

Some excellent tickets for Colosseum you can find are:

The different types of Colosseum tours in Rome
The different types of Colosseum tours in Rome

Summary

When buying tickets for the Colosseum tour, remember that you need to be specific and cannot rely on a basic ticket to grant you access to every section.

If you want to spend less time waiting, get a skip the line Colosseum ticket to gain priority entrance to this marvellous landmark. There are also unique Colosseum underground tour options available if you’d like to delve deep into the historical significance of the world’s largest amphitheatre.

Another great tip to remember is the colosseum ticket price can vary. Whether you want a basic package or a combination tour that lets you access every level, you can expect prices to adjust accordingly. 

Perhaps you are looking for a more extensive Colosseum tour coupled with visiting another famous Roman landmark on the same day. You can find Colosseum tickets online for all of the above and many other unique tours of the Colosseum that are updated every year.

We hope we’ve made it easier for you to buy tickets for Colosseum when it is time for you to visit!


Family Sailing Holidays on a Catamaran Charter in Croatia

Taking a sailing holiday as a family is something that has grown in popularity in recent years. Possibly the biggest reason for that is that every stage of such a holiday can now be booked online with very little stress or sweat involved.

That includes everything from selecting the place to visit to chartering a boat for duration of your trip. It can all be done very simply using the internet these days and the prices are a whole lot more reasonable than might be expected.

That just leaves you to decide where to go and what boat to take. Here we will look at why you should consider sailing around Croatia on a Catamaran.

Family holidays in Croatia

Set on the coast of the Adriatic Sea, Croatia is one of the smaller European countries and is comparatively undiscovered by the tourist trade compared with many others. It is referred to by the people who live there as “our beautiful homeland” though and once you have visited you will not find that motto hard to understand.

The country presents a particularly fine holiday prospect for families because there is something to please everyone there. Croatia has nightlife and historic sights to delight any adult visitors as well as numerous national parks and outdoor activities that will allow the kids to burn off their energy.

Exploring Croatia by boat

The single biggest reason to opt for a sailing holiday in Croatia is that you will not be restricted to one place. Chartering a boat means that you can explore much more of what the country has to offer, moving on at your own pace whenever you are ready. You can now quickly and easily charter a catamaran from Borrowaboat, a site that have a wide range of Catamaran boats to choose from while on your travels around Croatia.

The water surrounding Croatia is clean and clear as crystal and there are plenty of little islands that can only really be experienced properly on a boating holiday. These include Brac, with its white stone buildings, the scenic Maslinica and Hvar, which offers glorious food and wine that can be enjoyed while you bathe in its summer sunshine.

Of course, the mainland of Croatia also has plenty to offer families and taking a boat means that you can sample as much of it as you want. If you are looking for some after dark fun once the children are in bed, Hvar town is known as the Ibiza of Croatia for its nightlife revels.

Entertainment that is more child-friendly can be found on Paradise Beach. While some Croatian beaches are rather rocky, this one is very sandy and will allow the children to swim in the warm sea or build sandcastles.

The country is also home to several national parks that the whole family will relish exploring for the day.

Mljet National Park is the only coastal one and can be found if you sail to the island of the same name. Alternatively, if you want to dock the boat and go inland for a while, there are seven to be found scattered throughout mainland Croatia.

All of these boast lakes, rivers and waterfalls that the family can dive into, alongside canyons and mountains that can be climbed by those who are adventurous – and fit – enough! Croatia is generally blessed with beautiful weather during the summer, so it is likely that you will want to get outside as much as possible during your family holiday there.

It is a country of fascinating sights like the Museum of the Krapina Neanderthal that is full of fascinating technology-based exhibitions detailing the birth of humanity. Its interactive, cutting-edge displays will delight children of all ages.

The sort of boat to take to Croatia

As you can see, there are plenty of good reasons to take your family on that sailing holiday to Croatia, but that still leaves the question of what sort of boat to charter. There is no shortage of boat types available, but a Catamaran offers many advantages.

One of the biggest of these when sailing with small children is that a Catamaran does not heel, unlike other boat types such as Monohulls. Heeling means when the boat tips to one side or the other, either due to wind in its sails or weight, and it will greatly increase the likelihood of seasickness in children or anyone who is not that familiar with the water.

The luxury that a Catamaran provides compared with other boats is another major argument in its favour. The size means that the cabins are apart from each other, affording a lot more privacy than other types of boats – which is essential if you have teenagers in tow.

Many Catamarans also offer clear separation between sailing and relaxing sections, so the family can sunbathe or lounge on board away from any crew that are helping to sail the boat.

Croatia is beautiful and there is no finer way to find that out than by taking a relaxing sailing holiday there with your family.

It will let you explore the peaceful islands off the coast, swim in the blue Adriatic Sea and stop off at points of interest.


Ecotourism in Mauritius: How to Have an Eco-Friendly Holiday

Located off the east coast of Africa, Mauritius is a small island nation that’s known for its pristine beaches and luxury 5-star resorts. 

It’s not all about the sand and sunbeds though. Mauritius also offers a rich cultural heritage and incredible food scene – partly to do with its diverse mix of Indian, Creole, Chinese and French ethnic groups. 

What’s more, the island’s pristine landscapes have made it a bucket list destination for nature lovers. So, if you want to experience the island in a more mindful way, here’s your guide to ecotourism in Mauritius. 

See also: Mauritius Accommodation: Where to Stay on the Island

Ecotourism in Mauritius: Why it’s important 

Mauritius’ position as a small island makes it perhaps more vulnerable than most to the effects of climate change. 

Rising sea levels have already impacted the island and the pristine beaches it’s known for are under threat. In fact, some beaches have shrunk by more than 10 metres over the last decade!

The island’s location in the Indian Ocean puts it in the cyclone belt. Thanks to climate change, flash floods and tropical storms are becoming increasingly deadly. 

Despite these threats, tourism is a vital part of the island nation’s economy as it helps fund many of its economic and sustainable developments. 

Just like many African small states, the arrival of the pandemic caused conservation and sustainability efforts to suffer. 

Many nature reserves and wildlife parks had prolonged closures and the decreased income resulted in shrinking budgets for conservation, according to a Commonwealth report. 

As a sustainable traveller, seeking out activities and accommodation that benefit the environment and local people is a way to support and strengthen conservation efforts for generations to come. 

See also: Mauritius: The Island of Incredible Colors

Ecotourism in Mauritius
View of Mauritius from Sublime Point Lookout

The best ecotourism activities in Mauritius 

Here’s a quick guide to the best ecotourism activities to help you enjoy Mauritius responsibly.

See also: Top Things to Do and Highlights of Mauritius

Meet giant tortoises 

Did you know Mauritius is home to giant tortoises? Sadly the native species suffered the same fate as the dodo and went extinct sometime in the 1700s. 

In an effort to restore the island’s natural ecosystem, the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation introduced the Aldabra Giant Tortoise from the Seychelles in 2000. The best place to see them is on a tiny islet called Ile aux Aigrettes which is a protected nature reserve. 

Here you can see babies and full-grown tortoises eating and dozing across the land. It’s a fantastic spot for seeing rare birds and plants too. What’s more, your money goes directly to supporting giant tortoise conservation. 

Meet giant tortoises in Mauritius
A giant tortoise in Ile aux Aigrettes

Go hiking in Chamarel 

See a different side to Mauritius beyond the beaches and lagoons. Head inland to Chamarel’s Ebony Forest Reserve where you can go hiking and support rewilding projects. 

Join guided or self-guided tours up the 300m raised walkway through native bush to Sublime Point Lookout. Here you can get phenomenal views across the island to the coast. 

Stop for refreshments at the tiny cafe or continue up for another hour or so to the summit of Piton Canot for even more views. 

Chamarel also has a small number of giant tortoises and a stunning natural spectacle called the Seven Coloured Earth. The small area of sand dunes is streaked with different colours just like Rainbow Mountain in Peru! 

See also: Great Hiking Spots in Mauritius

Visit a nature reserve 

Head to the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in Bel-Hombre to experience one of the last strongholds of the island’s endemic flora and fauna. 

Featuring 3,500 hectares of protected land, the reserve is vital to the survival of rare endemic birds such as the Pink Pigeon and Mauritian Fody. 

Look out for giant fruit bats too (don’t worry, despite having a wingspan of up to 5ft long, they’re fruitarians and completely harmless)!

You can support the conservation work by doing tours of the reserve. Do a 5-hour trek with a ranger which takes you deep into the island’s unspoilt nature. 

Alternatively, opt for the 2-hour 4×4 drive or quad bike tour with an experienced guide from the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation. 

UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in Bel-Hombre
Heritage Nature Reserve

Go snorkeling in a protected reserve 

Meet the local marine life the eco-friendly way by snorkelling in a protected marine reserve. 

Anse la Raie lagoon in the north of Mauritius is home to a Voluntary Marine Conservation Area (VMCA) which means no fishing or other destructive activities are permitted. 

The best snorkelling tour you can do here is through Lagoon Attitude resort on the shores of the lagoon, a key supporter of the VMCA project. 

The guided tour takes you on a glass-bottomed boat to the marine reserve where you can spend a few hours enjoying the local marine life.

See also: Canoeing in Mauritius: Scenic and Adventurous 

Do an eco tour 

One of the easiest ways to support ecotourism in Mauritius is to plan your trip with a tour operator that’s done all the research for you. 

Pure Breaks offers tailor-made responsible holidays that are personalised to your interests. 

The self-guided tour operator has partnered with certified eco-resorts and activities that help you explore the island in an authentic and eco-friendly way. 

Eco-friendly places to stay in Mauritius

These eco-friendly resorts and lodges offer places to stay that harmonise with nature. There’s enough to suit a range of budgets too! Check out these top three eco resorts: 

Otentic Eco Tents 

For those on a budget, Otentic Eco Tents offers an eco-friendly escape in the arms of nature. Accommodation is in the form of safari tents, complete with cosy beds and a shower at the back. Furnishings are rustic and cleverly fashioned from upcycled materials. No plastic here. 

There are two Otentic glamping sites to choose from: one by the Grand River and the other at the foot of Bambous Mountain. Both sites are small and intimate, which puts them in high demand for tourists. 

They have gardens where they grow their own food. Home cooking is a speciality here with local people from the village cooking coming every day to cook some of the best food around! 

Otentic Eco Tents
Otentic Eco Tents on booking.com

Lagoon Attitude

Lagoon Attitude is a chain resort that’s committed to making a difference. A great mid-range option, the resort has taken huge steps to mitigate its environmental footprint. 

All rooms are free of single-use plastic and they have safe water refill stations all over the grounds. 

There’s a marine on-site discovery centre where scientists, schools and local tour operators can work and learn about marine conservation. It even sells its own reef-safe sunscreen too.

Perhaps the most impressive of all is the free on-site zero-waste refill station for tea and coffee. Simply fill up glass pots of what you need and take them back to your room! 

Lagoon Attitude eco resort in Mauritius
Lagoon Attitude eco resort in Mauritius

Heritage Le Telfair 

Heritage Le Telfair is a luxury 5-star resort that’s part of the Heritage Resorts chain. It’s Green Key certified and regularly trains staff on sustainable development initiatives. 

The resort works with local NGOs to donate surplus food to those in need. It also has its own recycling plant for paper, glass and plastic packaging. Even excess oil is turned into biofuel. 

It also owns a 1300-hectare nature reserve which is a protected area of conservation. Anyone can visit and activities here have a strong focus on education and protecting the environment. 

Heritage Le Telfair pool - Heritage Resorts
Heritage Le Telfair pool – Heritage Resorts

Mauritius eco-friendly travel tips 

Check out these eco-friendly tips to help you travel better and support ecotourism in Mauritius.

See also: Sustainable Travel Tips on a Budget

Offset your carbon footprint

Mauritius is not an easy place to get to as it’s a small island in the Indian Ocean. This means you’ll likely have to fly which isn’t the most eco-friendly way to travel. 

However, tourism is a vital part of the country’s economy. So, offset the carbon footprint of your travels by supporting ethical and sustainable businesses while you’re there. 

You can also donate to carbon offsetting projects, but make sure they’re Gold Standard certified as it’s the best way to guarantee that they’re legitimate. 

Have a plastic-free packing list 

If you’re travelling sustainably, it’s good practice to keep single-use plastic out of your backing list. This helps you avoid bringing excess waste for this small island to deal with. 

Removing plastic is as easy as doing a few eco-friendly swaps. For example, swap out plastic bottles for a reusable water filter bottle. 

Take zero waste solid toiletries instead of mini travel toiletries. If you can, try to take any plastic waste home with you at the end of your trip. 

See also: Eco-Friendly Gifts Ideas for Eco-Conscious Travelers

Wear reef-safe sunscreen 

Keep yourself and the environment safe by wearing eco-friendly sunscreen

Chemical-based sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate have been found to kill or bleach coral at a very low concentration. 

Choose a reef-safe mineral-based sunscreen with non-nano titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. It’s just as effective and better for marine life and your health! 

Leave your resort 

Resorts are well-known for having everything you need all in one place. You don’t ever have to leave, right? But if you do leave your resort, you’ll have a much richer and more authentic experience. 

For one thing, you’ll see the real Mauritius beyond the beaches and sunbeds! 

And another reason? You’re supporting local businesses and giving back to the economy rather than allowing big chain resorts to horde all your tourist money for themselves. 

So, leave your resort even if it’s for a day or as part of a tour. 

The Seven Coloured Earth Geopark in Chamarel
The Seven Coloured Earth Geopark in Chamarel

Do ethical, eco-friendly activities 

As you start to plan your Mauritius itinerary, think about the type of activities you want to do. 

Many resorts and hotels offer experiences you can book directly through them. Some of the most common ones are marine and wildlife activities – particularly if the resorts are on the beach. 

Before booking anything, interrogate how these activities are operated and who runs them. Look at how many tourists they take on the experience, how they portray and interact with the wildlife and whether or not they make an effort to reduce their impact. 

If it’s whale or dolphin watching, do they have boats that minimise noise pollution? If you’re snorkelling, do they tell you not to touch or step on coral reefs? 

Avoid activities that invite you to touch or hold animals. Even though the tour operator might deny it, there’s no guarantee that the animal isn’t stressed or suffering. 

If none of these issues above are overtly addressed, don’t be afraid to ask questions directly and let them know it’s important to you. 

Support local businesses 

Where possible, support local businesses. This is a guaranteed way to make sure that your money is going directly into the local economy and strengthening the local community. 

This could be staying in homestays or small, family-run accommodation. You could also check out the local markets, eat at local restaurants or book with small tour operators. 

Waterfall in Heritage Reserve in Mauritius
Waterfall in Heritage Reserve

Final thoughts on ecotourism in Mauritius 

The island nation of Mauritius knows perhaps more than most the value of ecotourism in preserving its fragile ecosystem. Travellers that make sure to support it are guaranteed an authentic and enriching experience. 

The small island in the Indian Ocean is fast becoming a bucket list ecotourism destination for nature lovers, adventurers, foodies and luxury travellers who are mindful of their footprint. 

So, if you’re planning a trip to Mauritius, put your money into initiatives that have a positive impact on the environment and community. 


A Guide to Visiting Sagrada Familia in Barcelona

On your next trip to Spain, there are lots of things you might want to do. Something that you don’t want to miss is a visit to Sagrada Familia basilica. 

Whether you’re religious or not, it’s an architectural masterpiece and famous landmark in the heart of Barcelona that is visited by around 5 million tourists every year. 

But don’t let the prospect of large queues keep you from visiting! If you weren’t convinced before, here’s how why you need to visit Sagrada Familia on your next holiday to Spain.

See also: The Best Tourist Attractions in Barcelona

Sagrada Família, Barcelona Spain
Sagrada Família

The History of Sagrada Familia

While Gaudi is the most famous name behind the Sagrada Familia towers, nine architects have taken on the project since his death, and it’s still incomplete today. 

In case you didn’t know, Gaudi was a dedicated Catholic, and he was notably obsessed with both nature and religion. His plans for the Sagrada Familia towers involved representing the entirety of Catholic history. This project was to become his grandest legacy. 

Despite changing hands, every architect involved has remained true to Gaudi’s original plans from 1883. The original completion date was set for 2026. However, this has been delayed due to the Coronavirus pandemic of 2020 – with no new end date in sight.

Currently, all ticket sales are funding the completion of the project – churches or the government do not back it. So, when you visit Sagrada Familia, you’ll be financing the completion of Gaudi’s famous landmark. 

Private donations are also accepted to build the Sagrada Familia towers further. Whenever it is eventually completed, it will become the tallest church globally.  

Another of the fantastic Sagrada Familia tips is that Gaudi was buried there in 1926, located within the El Carmen Virgin chapel. Despite being incomplete, it’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site – another amazing fact to tick off your bucket list!

Is visiting the Sagrada Familia towers worth it?

If you’re asking if visiting the Sagrada Familia towers is worth it during your next trip, the answer is a resounding yes!

That’s because the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia was built in 1882. It is a monumental church with ties to the Holy Family and was consecrated by Pope Benedict XVI in 2010.

What’s even more amazing about the Sagrada Familia is that it features breathtaking architecture by Antoni Gaudi, one of the world’s most famous architects. He pioneered a new era of architecture called Catalan modernism, which features free-flowing curves and organic forms. 

You can find nine completed spires, of 18 in the original design, with plans for further completion in the coming years.

See also: Things to Do in Barcelona: Our Barcelona Activity Guide

Visiting Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain
Visiting Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain

Tips for visiting the Sagrada Familia

As this monument is one of the most popular in Spain, and because it’s in the middle of the city of Barcelona, you can expect queues to be extremely long. The best time to visit Sagrada Familia is as early as possible in the morning. 

The Sagrada Familia opens at 9 am when queues are at their shortest. The period between 9 to 11 am is generally less crowded.

However, you may want to get inside the monument for the best photographic opportunities later in the day. For amazing pictures, the best time to visit Sagrada Familia is between 5-6 pm, when the sun sets. 

The sunlight shines through the colourful stained glass at this hour, producing dream-like sights and images. It’s also possible to attend evening Mass at 6 pm, which comes at no charge. Here, visitors must dress and act appropriately.

Some other things to consider include:

  • Length of visit. Most tourists want to know how long to visit Sagrada Familia towers to make the most of their trip. The recommended time is around 2 hours, but you can stay as long as intended. 
  • The price. Sagrada Familia ticket cost is between €33 and up to €99 for an 8-hour guided tour that includes Montserrat.
  • The best time to visit Sagrada Familia. The Sagrada Familia hours of operation are from 9 am till 6 pm every day. Sagrada Familia’s hours of operation for Mass is 6 pm. 
  • Different kinds of tickets. You will need a special ticket to visit the Sagrada Familia towers that include tower access; this is not granted with a basic ticket. 
  • Ticket availability. Make sure to get your tickets in advance, as tickets can sometimes sell out by 5 pm. It’s also an option to buy online tickets to streamline the process. Look for availability and book your tickets below:
  • Extra packages. You may find a higher Sagrada Familia ticket cost for inclusive packages, such as a Sagrada Familia and Park Güell combination tour
  • Guided tours for foreign visitors. There are several guided group tours available in different languages. When you visit Sagrada Familia, the currently available options include English, German, Italian, French, and, of course, Spanish. 
  • Can I get a Sagrada Familia audio guide free? You can find free audio guides online, but these cannot compete with guided tours. 
  • Planning your arrival. You can find public transport links that will take you to visit Sagrada Familia – the L2 or L5 via the metro or one of many dedicated buses, including the 19, 33 and 34. 
  • What to wear. Remember that when you visit Sagrada Familia, it is a holy place of worship. Visitors need to dress appropriately, meaning that tops should cover their shoulders, and shorts/skirts should come mid-thigh. Hats are not allowed at the Sagrada Familia.
  • Navigating the Sagrada Familia. You should download the official app to manage tickets, find audiobooks and more. The app costs €26 from the official website. However, it is possible to visit without downloading the app, too.
Visiting inside Sagrada Familia, Barcelona
Interior of Sagrada Familia cathedral in Barcelona, Spain – depositphotos.com

Summary

We hope we’ve answered the question ‘is visiting the Sagrada Familia towers worth it?’ The answer is yes – it’s great to visit year-round!

You should add Sagrada Familia to your itinerary next time you go to Barcelona. 

Don’t miss out on your chance to visit Sagrada Familia and its massive cultural and historical significance. Whether planning how long to visit Sagrada Familia or finding the Sagrada Familia ticket cost price, we hope our Sagrada Familia tips have made planning much easier for you!

Looking for more things to do in Barcelona? Check out the below posts:


Best Places to Visit in the Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic: you’ve probably heard of it, maybe heard of the baseball players it has given Major League Baseball. Maybe even been there already, but no matter what you know (or don’t), the Dominican Republic is a place with someone for everyone from solo travelers to those with families. So whether you’re looking for a relaxing beach, a night out in the city or kite boarding in one of the best places on Earth, there are many incredible places to visit in the Dominican Republic.

Before we delve into what you can do in the Dominican Republic, you first need to know when is the best time to visit. The Dominican Republic is a tropical island, located just south of the Tropic of Cancer. This means the summers can be warm and brutally humid, while the winters dip down to the perfect, low-humidity temperatures for enjoying everything it has to offer.

See also: Tips for Travel to the Dominican Republic

The beach is one of the many incredible places to visit in the Dominican Republic.
The beach is one of the many incredible places to visit in the Dominican Republic.

When to visit the Dominican Republic

Summers (verano e infiernosummer and hell) in the Dominican Republic are not as warm as you might expect, with averages reaching around 80-85˚ F (27-29˚ C), but the humidity can reach as much as 90-100% making being outdoors difficult at times. However, you should note that most places to stay will offer air conditioning. As a nation in the Caribbean, the DR is also under Hurricane Watch from June-November and while it has been spared from large hurricanes in recent years, it is something to take into account in your travel planning. All of that said, the months of March – October are the low season in the Dominican. However, prices of accommodations and plane tickets drop off and it’s still a wonderful time to be in the country!

Winters in the Dominican run from approximately November through March when humidity reaches much more manageable levels, while temperatures remain in the low to mid 80’s. This is the ideal time to visit the Dominican, though be warned, it’s also “high” season when prices for accommodations, plane tickets and everything else peak. Yet, you’ll still be able to find great deals on places to see and things to do during the Dominican winter.

Getting around the Dominican Republic

Getting around the Dominican Republic is best done by car. All the major car rental companies are present in the DR and driving there, while intense, can generally be done with ease. When you’re driving in the Dominican, especially in cities, you’ll need to pay attention to motos (people on motorbikes) as they can take over the roadways, especially outside Santo Domingo. You might also have to have a keen eye out for potholes. Leave a major roadway and potholes could end up being the bane of your trip. There are speed limits, which are mostly obeyed by other drivers as are stop lights and signs. If you’re comfortable driving normally, you’ll be plenty comfortable here. 

Best places to visit in the Dominican Republic

Although there are many more places to visit in the Dominican Republic, some of which are more “off the beaten path”, we are focusing here on looking at some of the places in the Dominican Republic that may be better known, or easier to access thanks to having international airports, and giving you some options of things to do outside of the typical beach vacation most people tend to think of the Dominican Republic for. 

Let’s start with Santo Domingo, the first city of the Americas, for those of you who think you can’t see anything “old” on this side of the world.

1. Santo Domingo

Getting to Santo Domingo

Santo Domingo is only second to Punta Cana in airline traffic. Depending on where you are, it may be more or less easy to find a direct, affordable flight, but it’s certainly not impossible. The airport code for Santo Domingo is SDQ. 

Flights to Santo Domingo typically come from the following places: 

From North America

Many of the largest cities on the East Coast of the US, such as New York, Boston, Altanta, and Washington, D.C. offer nonstop flights to Santo Domingo. To get to Santo Domingo from the West Coast, you will need a layover somewhere in the East to hop down. The three largest US-based airlines (Delta, American, United) all offer nonstop flights to Santo Domingo from the East Coast, in addition to some of the major lower-cost airlines (Spirit, JetBlue). 

You can also fly nonstop to Santo Domingo from Toronto, Canada, and Mexico City, through their flagship airlines.

From Central and South America

There are daily nonstop flights from Bogota, Colombia, and Panama City, Panama. Panama is also a great layover option if you’re flying from the West Coast, as it’s only a two hour flight to Santo Domingo from there. 

From Western Europe

You can fly nonstop to Santo Domingo from Madrid, Paris, and Frankfurt. From Europe, however, you have a much greater offer of flights if you fly to Punta Cana instead, which is a two and a half drive to Santo Domingo.  

You can also visit Santo Domingo as part of a Caribbean cruise itinerary. Major cruise lines such as Carnival, Ponant, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Seaborn are stopping at the Santo Domingo Port in some of their itineraries, which allows you, in most cases, at least enough time to visit the Colonial City. As the first city in the Americas, the Colonial City is the crown jewel of Santo Domingo. If you only do one thing in the city, do this.

The Highlight of Santo Domingo: the Zona Colonial

Founded in 1496 by Bartholomew Columbus (Christopher Columbus’ brother), Santo Domingo was the founding capital of the Spanish Empire in the Americas. As such, it boasts many of “the firsts” of its kind in terms of government buildings and infrastructure, including the first fort, the first courthouse, the first hospital, and the first cathedral. The whole Colonial City was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990. 

Easily walkable despite the cobblestone streets, the Zona Colonial features remarkably preserved examples of Gothic and Renaissance architecture, most notably present in the Catedral Primada de America. 

Start your journey at the Colonial Zone at Plaza España, an open square facing the port, which gives you access to landmarks such as the Alcazar de Colon (the Palace of Diego Columbus), and the Calle Las Damas, where many of these “first of the Americas” buildings are. Give yourself at least a morning to explore and enjoy one of the multiple cafes or restaurants spread across the different streets of the Zone.

The Highlight of Santo Domingo: the Zona Colonial in Dominican Republic
The Highlight of Santo Domingo: the Zona Colonial

A Seasonal Highlight: Winter Baseball

While many, if not most, people don’t visit the Dominican Republic to watch baseball, it is one of the most fun activities you can do while visiting. Baseball is the country’s national sport, something evident by the large number of Dominican players that end up playing professionally. Running from late October to mid-January, the games are held in venues around the country. Tickets are extremely affordable and you’ll have the chance to see some big names from the MLB come down and play winter baseball as well as glimpse future up and coming stars. Unlike games in the US, baseball games here are a bit wild with a vast array of drinks and cheerleaders. That’s right, cheerleaders! All in all, Dominican games are a highlight when visiting the country and if you get the opportunity, it’s one you should take. Weekday games are usually in the evening and weekend games start in the late afternoon. 

Watching baseball in the Dominican Republic is a popular activity for visitors
Watching baseball in the Dominican Republic is a popular activity for visitors

2. Punta Cana

If you are familiar with the Dominican Republic, or have been before, chances are you visited Punta Cana or that came up as an option for your vacation. And while Punta Cana is the prime destination for resort vacations in the Dominican Republic, there’s more to it.

Getting to Punta Cana

Punta Cana is easily the Dominican’s top destination. With the island’s busiest airport (and 2nd busiest in the entire Caribbean), getting there is not difficult. Punta Cana has year-round flights from everywhere in the Western Hemisphere; you might want to arrive from either eastern North America, South America, or Europe. With a new highway built, Punta Cana is also only a short 2.5 hour drive from the capital – Santo Domingo should you choose to rent a car.

What to do in Punta Cana

Punta Cana is the Dominican’s top destination, boasting many of the best activities and accommodations on the entire island and possibly in the entire Caribbean. Punta Cana boasts all-inclusive hotels as well as themed hotels, such as the Nickelodeon Resort, where everything, from the rooms to the restaurants and rides, is themed after some of Nickelodeon’s most popular shows. You can even stay in a SpongeBob SquarePants-themed pineapple suite, which is a townhouse shaped like a pineapple on the outside. Or the Hard Rock Hotel, which hosts some of the top concerts and shows in the country, including world-famous Cirque du Soleil in recent years. 

Punta Cana also boasts pristine, extensive beaches for every beach taste. Here are some examples: 

  • Macao Beach is the preferred destination for those looking for adventure in Punta Cana, with its buggy rides and surf-friendly waves. 
  • Juanillo Beach in Cap Cana, a postcard-perfect beach of white sand sprinkled with palm trees, is perfect for swimming and water sports like kayaking and Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP), as well as lounging under perfect blue, breezy skies. 
  • Cabeza de Toro is a beach area northeast of Punta Cana where you can go out fishing and snorkeling. This area of the country often sees competitive fishing tournaments, so fishing is some of the best you can do. You can book a fishing, snorkeling, or sailing excursion through most hotels. 

Last but not least, the Ojos Indigenas Reserve in Punta Cana is a welcome respite from the beach-heavy environment Punta Cana can bring across at times. The Ojos Indigenas Reserve includes 12 freshwater lagoons in 1500 acres of land. The reserve includes species endemic to the Dominican Republic and intends to preserve the natural habitat of the area as it was experienced by the Taino people, the indigenous inhabitants of the island. 

Top places to visit in Dominican Republic - Punta Cana
Aerial view from the plane over Punta Cana, Dominican Republic – depositphotos.com

3. Dominican Republic’s North Coast

Next, let’s talk about the original tourist destination of the Dominican Republic: the North Coast. The north coast is home to many of the most popular places to visit in the Dominican Republic.

Getting to the Dominican Republic’s north coast

The North Coast of the Dominican Republic offers a wonderful reprieve from the resorts of Punta Cana and the business of Santo Domingo.  Getting there is as easy as flying into Puerto Plata’s Gregorio Luperón Airport with a number of seasonal flights from the eastern US, Europe and Canada as well as a few year round flights from the US East Coast and Canada. Puerto Plata is about a 10 minute drive from the airport, while Cabarete is about a 20 minute drive.

Puerto Plata

Puerto Plata is the Dominican Republic’s largest city in the north, with a population of around 330,000. Founded in 1502, Puerto Plata offers a whole host of sites to see and do. You can visit Fort San Felipe (completed in 1577) as the main colonial remnant on the North Coast of the DR.

Puerto Plata is a popular place to visit in the Dominican Republic
Puerto Plata is a popular place to visit in the Dominican Republic

You can also take a cable car up Mount Pico Isabel de Torres to see a smaller Christ the Redeemer Statue than Rio, but a taller mountain and take in resplendent views of the city and ocean. If you are there at the end of February to early March, you can also enjoy Carnivál in Puerto Plata when Dominicans go out and celebrate with masks, parades, and much more.

Top attraction in Dominican Republic’s north coast: The 27 Waterfalls

One of the main attractions in the area, however, are the Damajagua Falls or 27 Waterfalls (Veintisiete Charcos), but keep in mind you’ll need to be 12 or older. If visiting in the winter when water levels are higher, you can visit this wonderful natural wonder and enjoy a truly experience. You’ll have a guided tour and two options to make your way up. You hike (quicker and easier) or swim and climb up through deep, gorgeous caverns. You can go up to the first stage (7 waterfalls), 2nd stage (12 waterfalls) or the 3rd and most difficult stage, all 27 waterfalls, but be warned it’s a difficult swim up. Upon reaching your destination, you’ll be able to jump and slide your way back down with falls landing from 5 feet up to around 15-20 foot jumps. If you’re willing and able, the 27 Waterfalls of Damajagua can be one of the highlights of your trip!

When planning, you’ll find a host of accommodations for everyone from boutique hotels to all-inclusive resorts. Options within the city are available for those looking for a more low-key, authentic Dominican stay, but all-inclusive resorts around the city and surrounding area. If you’re unfamiliar, all-inclusives charge by person (not room) and include room, food, and drink. We recommend doing your research as some of the all-inclusive have seen better days.

4. Cabarete

A short drive from Puerto Plata and about 20 minutes from the airport, you can find yourself in Cabarete, a thriving beach town where many young people and snow-birds alike end up. Cabarete is one of the top kiteboarding locations in the world and just west of the town (1-2 miles) you’ll find hundreds of surfers in the winter months.

Cabarete has many great food options including a whole slew of wonderful beach bars. There are fewer resorts available here, but plenty of amazing options in town and next to the beach. Many places available to stay have full kitchens available as well and the grocery store is stocked well enough to satisfy all travelers. Cabarete is also one of, if not the, best spot on the island to find large sweets for boogie boarding and surfing. Like everywhere else in the Dominican Republic, Cabarete has something for everyone: beaches, outdoor activities, and great food and drink. 

Kite surfing in Cabarete, Dominican Republic
Kite surfing in Cabarete, Dominican Republic

5. Samaná Peninsula

Continuing on the Atlantic coast, Samana is a definite change of pace from what we see in the largest resort destinations in the Dominican Republic.

Getting to Samaná Peninsula

While one of the most beautiful parts of the Dominican Republic, it can also be one of the more difficult to arrive at Samaná does have an airport with a few year round flights (all from Canada – Toronto & Montreal and Europe – Madrid) with seasonal flights from these same places, but Miami in the US. As such, many travelers rent a car and drive. From Santo Domingo it is a 2.5 hour drive on easy going roads. There are several tolls along the way, but the alternative route is not worth avoiding these costs as the roads are far worse and it takes far longer. 

Las Terrenas

Las Terrenas is one the main places you’ll want to visit on the Samaná Peninsula. With a population hovering around 15,000, it has become a go-to spot for expats, especially from France, looking for a more relaxed lifestyle. Despite its size, however, Las Terrenas has plenty to offer for everyone! Like many places to visit in the Dominican Republic, Las Terrenas is surrounded by beautiful beaches. If you’re staying in the city, the beaches are just a short walk away. Playa Las Terrenas and Punta Pops are right there and provide plenty of shade with crystal clear blue waters. Unlike other places in the Dominican Republic, the beaches here are going to be far less crowded as Las Terrenas provides a quieter time (though still with a great nightlife, more on that later!).

If you’re staying outside the city, the beaches are not nearly as vast, but are even more peaceful with plenty of places to relax and enjoy the warm waters, whether its Playa Carolina Portillo to the east or Playa Bonita to the west. Playa Cosón, a short drive further east from Playa Bonita, offers wide swaths of gorgeous golden sand beaches, with towering palms. It is also as isolated a beach as you may ever find. 

Las Terrenas in Dominican Republic
Las Terrenas in Dominican Republic

While Las Terrenas is not as lively as say Cabarete or Punta Cana, it still offers an exciting nightlife. A row of restaurants and bars along the waterfront in downtown Las Terrenas offers a slew of places to go for families and singles alike. As with the beaches, just outside the city to the East and West, many small bars and restaurants also exist, many as part of hotels for those looking for a quieter night out.

Final thoughts

This is, by no means, an exhaustive travel guide on the Dominican Republic. Hopefully, it gives you some ideas for your next vacation. Thanks to its natural beauty and rich history, the Dominican Republic is a prime Caribbean destination for all travelers. Ready to go?


Best Bora Bora Overwater Bungalows

Bora Bora is one of the most popular island destinations in the world. 

This fantastic place in French Polynesia (also known as Tahiti) is a popular honeymoon and holiday destination – and we can understand why! This small island features Bora Bora huts on the water unique to the island. You can wake up to the ocean right beside you, complete with cerulean seas, island huts and clear skies.

Want to find the best Bora Bora overwater bungalow to visit for your next vacation? We don’t blame you!

See also: Tahiti vs Bora Bora: Which Island is Ideal for a Honeymoon?

The best overwater bungalows in Bora Bora, French Polynesia
The best overwater bungalows in Bora Bora, French Polynesia

Best Bora Bora overwater bungalows

Here’s our list of the best overwater bungalows in Bora Bora in no specific order.

The Black Pearl 

Are you looking for a private Bora Bora overwater bungalow that you can enjoy any time? The Black Pearl is an excellent choice if you’re looking for Bora Bora huts that offer a luxurious stay and include full amenities on the water. 

This lodging is a privately owned overwater bungalow that overlooks the lagoon and offers air conditioning and simple swimming access. 

You can expect a modern kitchen, spacious bedroom, clean bathroom, large outside deck and even a barbecue for the perfect summer cooking. You’ll also enjoy a private dock where you can swim and enjoy an outdoor shower. 

Book your stay at The Black Pearl

The Black Pearl overwater bungalow in Bora Bora
The Black Pearl overwater bungalow in Bora Bora

InterContinental Bora Bora Le Moana Resort

Perhaps you are looking for a Bora Bora overwater bungalow that offers a hotel-like atmosphere? The InterContinental Le Moana Resort in Bora Bora offers the best Bora Bora huts on the water, with various bungalow rooms on offer. 

It features a private beach, shared swimming pool, restaurants, room service, and more. There’s a good reason that this four-star hotel is popular! 

Previous guests enjoyed the tasty breakfasts, unique Bora Bora bungalows and views, central location on the island and friendly staff.

Book your stay at InterContinental Bora Bora Le Moana Resort

InterContinental Bora Bora Le Moana Resort, an IHG Hotel
InterContinental Bora Bora Le Moana Resort, an IHG Hotel

The St Regis Bora Bora Resort

You may be looking for the best overwater bungalows in Bora Bora for a honeymoon or similar romantic getaway. Then, you’ll enjoy the luxury of the St Regis Bora Bora Resort, a five-star experience with some of the best views on the island.

You can book from many deluxe Bora Bora overwater bungalow villas at this magnificent resort. Each villa looks toward the main island and has a private bedroom, lounge and bathroom, complete with glass viewing panels throughout the structure. 

You will find tasteful, modern finishes designed for comfort and an on-site spa, sun terrace, live music, restaurant, hot tubs, and a fitness centre. 

This place is truly one of the most luxurious Bora Bora bungalows you could imagine – and it is also one of the priciest lodgings on the island. 

Book your stay at St Regis Bora Bora Resort

The St Regis Bora Bora Resort
The St Regis Bora Bora Resort

Conrad Bora Bora Nui

Sticking to the theme of the best overwater bungalows in Bora Bora is the Conrad Bora Bora Nui. This Hilton-owned hotel boasts a five-star rating and different sizes of Bora Bora huts on the water. It features a clean lobby, outdoor swimming pool, hotel restaurant and bar, relaxing spa, fitness centre and dedicated kids area.

Guests enjoy the Conrad Bora Bora Nui for its modern finishes, exceptional service and stunning views. 

You’ll want to book here in advance, as it is extremely popular with families, couples and solo travellers.

Book your stay at Conrad Bora Bora Nui

Conrad Bora Bora Nui luxury overwater bungalow
Conrad Bora Bora Nui

OVERWATER BUNGALOW N ° 3

This fantastic private Bora Bora overwater bungalow is a 1-bed, 1-bath home that sits on stilts to offer a truly spectacular panoramic view of the island. 

It’s also stated that famous Hollywood actor Jack Nicholson once owned this bungalow. It’s located in the north of the island and is a quiet residential block with a small beach. There are only 5 Bora Bora huts in this little area, so it is pretty secluded and private compared to some of the hotel offerings.

Other guests gave this bungalow a perfect score, describing it as ‘literal paradise’, complete with kayaking facilities, a well-supplied house and masseuse available for proper relaxation. 

Book your stay at Overwater Bungalow No 3

Private overwater bungalow in Bora Bora
Private overwater bungalow in Bora Bora

Gorgeous Over Water Bungalow in Bora Bora

If you are looking for an exclusive Bora Bora overwater bungalow, look no further than this. 

Previous owners of similar Bora Bora huts on the water include Jack Nicholson (as previously mentioned) and renowned actor Marlon Brando. 

This home is a large bungalow with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and lagoon and mountain views. This fantastic bungalow offers privacy, making it perfect for couples or families. It also provides air conditioning, a full modern kitchen, a large living room and beach access. 

This location is one of the Bora Bora huts perfect for snorkelling, swimming and kayaking in the waters. 

Book this exclusive bungalow

exclusive Bora Bora overwater bungalow
exclusive Bora Bora overwater bungalow

Budget stays – Royal Bora Bora

Are you on a budget but are still dying to visit Bora Bora? We’ve found one of the best Bora Bora huts for those looking to save money on accommodation. 

Royal Bora Bora is a three-star hotel that offers a private beach, restaurant, swimming pool and fitness centre. There are also standard hotel rooms available. 

Please note that this is not one of the exclusive Bora Bora huts on the water. However, it will let you experience tropical paradise at a fraction of the cost of typical Bora Bora overwater bungalows. 

Book your stay at Royal Bora Bora

Royal Bora Bora
Royal Bora Bora

Other pocket-friendly options you might consider are Lokai House or Sunset Hill Lodge. You probably will not have the best overwater bungalows in Bora Bora at these places. But you may likely be able to spend less money while still having a fabulous holiday. 

These smaller lodges offer apartment-style accommodation – so don’t expect Bora Bora bungalows over the water. Young adults, students and solo travellers on a budget may prefer these cheaper options for Bora Bora accommodation. 

Enjoy the magical experience of Bora Bora

The magic of staying in one of many Bora Bora bungalows is hard to beat. You can expect sweeping ocean views, modern furnishings, an accessible beach and ocean access, water activities and more. 

Whether you need an excellent honeymoon location, want to visit with friends and family, or want to decompress with an island paradise, Bora Bora huts are a great choice when deciding on your next vacation spot. 


Zanzibar Nightlife: The Island’s Magical Nightlife

Let your hair down, feel the music, grab a drink and let the Zanzibar nightlife take you on one of the most epic evenings of your life! So, bookmark this blog, book your ticket and let’s get the fun started.

See also: Where to Stay in Zanzibar

Zanzibar nightlife

The truth is that Zanzibar bars aren’t like the ones you may be more familiar with back home. You see, given its British colonial influences and Muslim culture, most of Zanzibar nightlife centres on the sundowner tradition. You don’t have to wait for night to strike before the fun begins.

The culture is very much as soon as the sun begins to descend, the lights are up, the music is up and so are your spirits! You will surprisingly notice that things tend to quiet down a little after midnight, which makes sense since sundowners start pretty early. That being said, don’t let that deter you from visiting this incredible island as there is still a terrific scene for dancing and drinks.

Stone Town, the island’s urban center, offers the most opportunity for a night on the town. Nungwi, at the northern tip, and Jambiani and Paje, on the eastern coast, also have popular bars and beach clubs.

Here are some of the constant favorites among tourists and locals alike:

Stone Town nightlife

Some of the most vibrant Zanzibar nightlife can be found in Stone Town! This is definitely one of the go-to spots to have a few drinks, take in the views and let loose after a long day.

See also: The Best Markets in Stone Town, Zanzibar

6 Degrees South

This café on Shanghai Street gets high marks for its happy hour from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on weeknights, and Friday nights with live Afro Jazz and themed disco. This way you get cheaper drinks and some of the best entertainment. What more could you ask for?

Dharma Lounge

Located near the State University of Zanzibar, the Dharma Lounge is a natural for students and the younger international crowd who are looking for a modern club where they can boogie into the wee hours of the morning on a large dance floor. Give the youth a run for their money and show them how its done!

Garage Club

Get ready for some dancing at this eclectic (and air-conditioned!) disco with house, hip-hop, reggae, and Afro-European pop; the club rocks until sun-up on weekend nights, making it the most popular disco in Stone Town. Look for the black and white zebra striped walls across the street from the Starehe Club.

Kendwa Rocks

On those Saturdays that fall during, or near, the full moon, Kendwa Rocks Beach Hotel hosts its famous Full Moon Party, right on the white-sand beach, for music and dancing under the stars. The rest of the month, partiers can dance the night away Monday through Saturday at the hotel’s lounge bar, The Rocks.

Starehe Club

This chill nightclub is very popular with the Zanzibaris, making it a great place for visitors who want to meet and chat with locals. Quiet ambiance and a great location on the balcony overlooking the bay make the Starehe club the place for a tranquil evening on the town.

Sweet Easy

Plenty of seating, a pool table, good food, and a well stocked bar make this restaurant and lounge a popular evening hangout for visitors and locals alike. The Sweet Easy reportedly has the best beer selection in town, with a wide range of choices from around the world.

Forodhani Gardens

If you’re looking for fun after dark, but want to avoid the usual clubs and pubs, try heading down to Forodhani Gardens.  The street market comes alive at night with performers, food stalls, and vendors. Don’t forget to bring a picnic blanket and come early to find a great spot on the grass. A lively scene for people watching, this seafront park is the place to be for visitors and locals alike. When you spend an evening at Fordhani Gardens, you really get a feel for the local community.

Nungwi nightlife

Gerry’s Bar

On the beach, Gerry’s gets high marks for its friendly staff and laidback atmosphere.  Though a bit further down the beach than other Nungwi beach bars, visitors say it’s well worth the hike. Called an “excellent place to chill” by one TripAdvisor fan, Gerry’s enjoys a perfect spot right on the water in Nungwi Beach. Be sure to arrive early to catch the sunset.

Cholo’s Disco Bar

Right on the sand, Cholo’s is party-central on Nungwi Beach, attracting a more adult crowd of 30-somethings for drinking and dancing. For great food, a fun atmosphere, good drinks, music, and crashing waves in the background, head for Cholo’s; past visitors say you’re in for a very fun evening.

Zanzibar Nightlife
Beach nightlife in Zanzibar.

Paje nightlife

Paje by Night

The beach bar at the Paje by Night hotel is a fun place for tourists to hang out, and it holds regular theme parties for the bold, such as its Glow in the Dark and Bubble Bath Jacuzzi parties. Offering plenty of dancing and cold beer, this is a “come as you are” kind of bar, perfect for after a day on the beach or kite surfing.

Jambiani nightlife

Red Monkey Lodge

Usually a quiet bar on the beach at Jambiani, the Red Monkey Lodge hosts a weekly Monday Blues that is a huge hit for locals and visitors alike.

From casual beach parties to discos, and performing arts to people watching, Zanzibar has an abundance of evening entertainment options for everyone.

The Star Hotel

This local hotspot has all of the things you would need for the perfect night out. This spit features an impressive bar, a large, shared lounge area and a gorgeous garden. There is also evening entertainment to get you dancing the night away!

Apart from the great Zanzibar nightlife…

Now that your evening plans are sorted, why not look into planning a Zanzibar spice island sailing adventure to explore the islands during the day, go parasailing, join a guided jet ski tour or go all out and book a Zanzibar all day excursion tour.

You can also head to Mafia Island in Tanzania, it’s just a 30-minute flight south of Zanzibar. Also, check out the other day trips from Zanzibar.


All You Need to Know about Dune Bashing in Dubai

If you are ever in Dubai in the UAE you must go dune bashing on a Desert Safari Dubai tour! Regardless of whether or not you are a thrill seeker at heart, dune bashing in Dubai is a great way to go exploring the vast sands and have some fun. Drifting over the soft dunes of Dubai continues to top most traveller’s bucket lists because it truly is a thrilling experience.

To add to the experience, you are surrounded by a plethora of dune bashing locations, camel rides, dinner in a Bedouin-style camp, henna hand painting and belly dancing. There are loads of different desert safari companies to go with, but we highly recommend this desert tour.

See also: Where to Stay in Dubai

Dune bashing in Dubai

What is dune bashing?

Dune bashing in Dubai means driving at increasing and decreasing speeds over sand dunes. As the surface of the sand keeps shifting, it takes a special skill and a special type of car to navigate the terrain – usually a sports utility vehicle (SUV). Expect a stop to let the air out of your tyres as reducing the pressure gives the vehicle more traction against the moving sand.

What to expect when going dune bashing in Dubai

Oftentimes these Dubai desert tour experience starts with pick-up at your hotel or home stay, followed by a 45 minute to an hour-long drive out to sparse desert landscape where there are no city noises to obscure your hearing and no towering buildings to block your view.

The dune bashing part of the trip is a bumpy and thrilling ride that lasts about an hour. The vehicles travel in convoy and stick close together as they perform their stunts. If you’re like me, you will enjoy the slipping and the  sliding, the skidding and the spinning – all punctuated by sporadic seat-gripping and different decibels of screaming and shouting. And sand, lots and lots of sand!

Tip: Try to secure the front passenger seat or a window for the best views!

What to wear for dune bashing in Dubai

Dress comfortably because inevitably the sand gets into everything. I recommend a hat or a scarf to cover your hair, and long pants and a light shirt or t-shirt. I wore sneakers and socks in an effort to cover my feet but the sand got into them anyway, so I could very well have worn sandals.

For persons who wear contact lenses, I suggest wearing shades as well because small grains of sand get into your eyes very easily when you are outside the vehicle. With no running water nearby, eye-drops alone won’t be enough to clear them.

After the drive, you are allowed to exit the vehicle, walk around and take pictures. The evening drives are timed to end just before sunset so be ready to capture some pretty cool shots then.

The Dubai desert safari tour with a trip to a Bedouin-style camp where the Middle Eastern-influenced dinner menu includes a variety of meats and salads with some desserts. Optional camel riding, henna painting, shisha smoking and belly dancing often complete the evening’s activities.

If you’re visiting in the winter months, then take a light jersey or scarf for the evening as they can get quite chilly. Some evenings can get a bit chilly once the sun sets.

Why should you consider dune bashing?

I could honestly write an entire blog on just this question alone, but simply out: it truly is an authentic Dubai experience. You cannot really claim that you were in Dubai unless you can brag about dashing your way through its sandy dunes. These native Dubai desert tours will not only offer you a new form of adventure but show you the adventurous sides of Dubai – of which there are many! These desert safaris will push you to new speeds, sights and thrills!

How much does dune bashing in Dubai cost?

Budget for the AED 360.00 price range but please check various tour sites for the most up-to-date information. I did my tour with Arabian Adventures and the adult rate is a little cheaper in the summer months, from June 1- August 31st. But bear in mind you will be in the desert and it is at its hottest temperatures at that time of year.

See availability and book for your tour below:

The most popular spots for dune bashing experience in Dubai

If you want to go dune bashing by yourself rather than with a tour, these are the best spots to go to.

  • Bidayer: Known as ‘Big Red’ for its red sand, this is the most popular spot for Dubai dune bashing as the dunes are easy for beginners and less skillful drivers. It’s about 45 minutes from the centre of Dubai.
  • Sweihan: This spot requires more technical experience with some big dunes. It’s not recommended if you don’t know what you are doing.
  • Liwa Desert: The largest desert in Arabian Peninsula and the most tricky place for dune bashing. Most of the dune bashing stunt festivals happen here, and it’s where the professionals hang out.

There are so many bold and daring activities for you to embark on when you visit the gorgeous escapes of Dubai. Dune bashing is one of the most popular activities and it is one that you should definitely consider. Take my word for it when I say that it is an experience you will never forget. Checking that off of your bucket list is one of the best feelings and one that we hope you will get to experience yourself too!

Check out these posts for more Dubai experiences


Everything you Need to Know about Dia de Camões

Dia de Camões, also known as Portugal independence day, is one of the most important holidays in Portugal.

There is much more to understand about this special occasion in Portuguese history. We’ll discuss everything you need to know about Portuguese independence day, also known as Portugal day.

Portugal day 10 June

Dia de Camões famously commemorates the death of Luís de Camões, a Portuguese poet and literary icon, on 10 June 1580. 

Luís de Camões is famous for writing Os Lusíadas (The Lusiads). This epic Portuguese national epic poem celebrates the history of Portugal and its achievements. The poem focuses on 15th-century explorations, which brought a lot of fame and riches to the country. Today, it is considered one of the most important works of Portuguese literature. It remains a symbol of the Portuguese Empire.

Think of Camões as the Portuguese equivalent to William Shakespeare or Homer to make it more straightforward. 

According to popular legend, Luís de Camões was an adventurer who lost an eye while fighting. Around this time, he wrote the epic poem while travelling and later surviving a shipwreck in modern-day Vietnam. The legend also states that Camões was able to save his poem by swimming with one arm and keeping his other arm above water. 

It’s noteworthy to mention that in 1850 when Camões died, Portugal also lost its independence to Spain. A new period of Spanish rule lasted for three generations after this. It took another 60 years before Portugal regained independence again in 1640. 

Additionally, Camões’ date of birth is unknown, and his date of death is now celebrated as the main Portuguese independence day. 

The Portuguese flag to celebrate Dia de Camões
The Portuguese flag to celebrate Portugal day

Who celebrates Portugal Day? 

In Portugal, the official celebrations for Portugal’s independence day occur throughout the country. Every year, a particular city is chosen as the central celebration city. Elvas has been selected as a celebration city numerous times, has since become a World Heritage Site and is one of the most important military cities in Portugal. 

On Portugal day 10 June, you can expect official celebrations in Portugal that involve the President, Prime Minister and other high ranking officials. Typically, it is a day where awards and honours are given out, followed by a military exhibition.

It is celebrated by Portuguese communities in Portugal and all over the world. 

Where do communities celebrate Dia de Camões outside of Portugal? 

Did you know that Portuguese is the 6th most spoken language globally? It has over 230 million speakers and nine countries’ official languages.

Due to its popularity, Portugal has made it a custom to split Portugal Day celebrations between a city within Portugal and a foreign city with a sizable Portuguese presence. Some previously paired cities include Rio de Janeiro and Paris, as examples.  

There are also large Portuguese American communities in the USA, particularly in Massachusetts, Hawaii, Florida, Louisiana, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Louisiana, Nevada, and California. 

Countries with large Portuguese populations include Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Switzerland, India, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Australia, Angola, Mozambique, Brazil, South Africa, Argentina, and Venezuela. 

Celebrating Portugal independence day

The best way to celebrate Portuguese Independence Day is to indulge in traditional Portuguese food and drink. It’s an excellent chance for those of Portuguese descent to remember their heritage and enjoy a celebration together. 

It is mainly celebrated by eating Portuguese dishes and drinking Medronho, a speciality drink similar to brandy with an alcohol content of 48%.

Related read: Ordering Coffee in Portugal

Some local dishes you might find on Dia de Camões are:

  • Pastéis de nata, the famous Portuguese egg custard tarts.
  • Bacalhau is dried and salted codfish that soaks in water or milk before cooking. It is also the national dish of Portugal. 
  • Chargrilled sardines are very popular, especially in summer. They are typically cooked over a hot charcoal grill and served with bread. 
  • Soup dishes are popular, such as Caldo Verde (a green soup) and cataplana (a seafood stew). 
  • Port wine was also invented in Portugal and is a famous dessert wine worldwide. 
  • Arroz Doce, also known as rice pudding, is another traditional Portuguese dessert.
  • Chicken Piri Piri has become synonymous with Portuguese dishes around the world.
  • Famous drinks to enjoy on Dia de Camões are Vinho Verde (Portuguese wine), Madeira wine and Ginja (sour cherry liqueur).

Related read: The Art of the Galão

Pasteis de nata - a traditional Portuguese dessert
Pasteis de nata – a traditional Portuguese dessert – depositphotos.com

Summary: Dia de Camões

Whether you are Portuguese or enjoy learning about different cultures while traveling, we hope you learned something new about Portuguese independence day!

Wherever you are in the world, you can likely find a Portuguese community to celebrate with on 10 June when it’s time for Dia de Camões on 10 June every year. You can also look out for a new global city pairing to be announced annually. 

What once started as a celebration of a literary icon has transformed into a celebration of Portuguese cuisine, culture, heritage and tradition. It’s no surprise that Portugal independence day is a big deal! 


The Feast of Sant Joan Barcelona 24th June

The Feast of Sant Joan is a big deal in Barcelona, also known to Catalans as the “Nit del Foc” meaning the “Night of Fire”. The celebration takes place on the Summer Solstice, the shortest night of the year. This public holiday is renowned for its electric atmosphere and the crazy parties which take place.

This is a date you will not be able to miss if you’re in the city, you’ll see fires in the street and hear constant fireworks throughout the city. 

See also: The Best Tourist Attractions in Barcelona

Celebrating Nit del Foc in Barcelona
Celebrating Nit del Foc in Barcelona with bonfires

The celebrations begin on the 23rd of June and end on the 24th of June and take place across the country in many forms. The 23rd is known as the feast day and the day which many celebrate and the 24th is the non-working day. In Barcelona, everyone celebrates in their own way, bringing friends and families together for meals, parties, bonfires and fireworks. 

Visiting Barcelona in summer?

Make sure to book your accommodation early!! Here’s our Barcelona accommodation guide for the best places to stay in Barcelona. We also recommend booking skip-the-line tickets online for all of the top Barcelona activities. For example, the Barcelona Pass includes a fast-track ticket to Sagrada Familia along with access to many other top landmarks in the city.

History behind the feast of Sant Joan / nit del foc

Sant Joan is one of the most important feast days for Catalans. The festivities take place firstly to celebrate the summer solstice, but also to celebrate the birth of St. John the Baptist. On the night of this celebration the sun reaches its highest point, before beginning to drop. The sun is seen as a symbol of fertility and wealth, and therefore must be given strength. This strength is passed on through the bonfires and fireworks, hence why they are so popular on this day. Another reason behind the use of flames on this day is to frighten off and dispel evil spirits. These festivities have been around since the 18th century and still continue today. 

Feast of Sant Joan in Barcelona
Celebrating the feast of Sant Joan in Barcelona with a public holiday

Traditions of the Sant Joan Celebration

The night is known to be very loud, beginning at dusk till dawn, with fireworks taking place all night long. In various districts throughout Barcelona you can experience parties in the streets as well as a large culinary offering. You will find plenty of music, with DJ’s and musicians taking over, and you can also find interesting traditions at places like Barceloneta such as the fire-spitting Correfoc. 

Fireworks during the feast of Sant Joan
Fireworks during the feast of Sant Joan

The majority of parties take place in the Old Town District (Gothic Quarter). Here you can find the Canigó flame which reaches Plaça de Sant Jaume on the afternoon of the 23rd and is received by the municipal authorities. As well as the old town you will find people partying all night at the beach in Barceloneta, and you will be able to dance your way through every beach bar there! 

By the beach you will also find that local restaurants put out extra chairs, tables and decorations, so that people can begin their celebrations off with a large dinner. They also often build special bars at the front to sell drinks and snacks for the party people as they arrive

See also: The Best Beaches in Barcelona (Including the Nude & Gay Beaches)

Barcelona harbour
Barcelona harbour

There are said to be three symbols of Sant Joan; fire, water and herbs. The fire symbolises purity and is the reason that fires are lit. The water represents healing, as on the night of the 23rd some people bathe in the sea. The herbs symbolise remedy, with some claiming that on the night of Sant Joan their healing qualities are enhanced

On Sant Joan day, the city is much quieter than the celebration the night before. Many bars will be closed, as well as shops and many supermarkets, you will also rarely see taxis or even people in the streets. The day of Sant Joan is known to be a day of rest. 

Feasting for Sant Joan

An official food of Sant Joan is the ‘Coca’ or ‘Coques’ in plural, which is a bread style cake you will see in bakery windows throughout the city. You can buy both sweet and savoury Coques and those which contain crackling, fruit, nuts or cream. They have a distinct aniseed flavour however which is shared among all Coques. 

Food to eat on Sant Joan in Barcelona
Food to eat on Sant Joan in Barcelona

There are not any other traditional foods for Sant Joan, however traditionally many Catalans will eat out for dinner on the evening of the start of the celebrations day. It is smart to book a table in advance to ensure you are not disappointed as it can get very busy during this celebration. 

The Feast of Sant Joan is one of the most exciting celebrations of the year and one that is not to be missed. If you’re in Barcelona, aim to make the most of this holiday by celebrating like a local

Check out the below posts for more things to do in Barcelona during the summer months: