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Ocean-bred and NYC-based fashion and lifestyle blog.

Filtering by Tag: travel guide

Tulum Travel Guide

Tiffany Geiger

Cory & I went to Tulum for our honeymoon last week and couldn't be more obsessed. We both love Mexican food and the beach (I mean, we got married on the beach - read more about that here) so you can imagine how excited we were to check out Tulum. On the plane we started to second guess that we'd built up our expectations too much but you guys, it somehow exceeded our high expectations! I can't wait to go back and am already planning our trip back. If you're looking for your next beach vacation destination. Tulum is it. Ok, so let's get to the travel guide. 

Where to stay: 

  • Encantada - This hotel is directly on the beach with only 8 rooms. It has such an intimate feel. The hotel employees know you by name and start to remember your breakfast order and where you went for dinner last night. It's adorable. They felt like family by the end of our stay and we will definitely return here. The breakfast is included in the room rate & is DELICIOUS. Ask Carlos to make you a Tulum smoothie, it's the best way to start your day. And pink mints by the beach (rosemary, watermelon & tequila)! Ugh I want both of these now. 
  • Casa Malca - Previously Pablo Escobar's mansion and now a hotel with 35 rooms directly on the beach. This is on the south end of the strip (Boca Paila). The hotel is beautiful and so unique and the service is impeccable. The concierge knew our names from the minute we checked in (Hey Jorge & Daniel!) and were ready to assist however they could to make our stay in Tulum perfect. We split our time between here and Encantada because neither hotel was available for our full stay and we loved getting to experience two hotels. 
  • Be Tulum - Luxurious and a little pricier than other options but gorgeous with a beautiful pool and fun rooms. Def a spot to do lunch if you don't stay here. 
  • Ahau Tulum - Super cute hotel right on the beach with a delicious juice bar. 
  • La Zebra - Lively boutique hotel on the beach with a great restaurant and beach scene. 

Where to Eat & Drink: 

  • Arca - Mexican seafood restaurant outside. The best fish we've ever had. Book your reservation in advance by emailing them. They say they're cash only but we were able to pay with a credit card. And order a mezcal cocktail!
  • Hartwood - Sceney farm to table Mexican seafood restaurant. Another one that you have to book 30 days in advance. Their reservations open the previous month for the following month (i.e.: June 1 reservations open for the month of July). We unfortunately didn't get to go here as none of it is under cover so our reservation got rained out but next time we definitely will! This place is cash only. 
  • Casa Jaguar - A great scene for drinks and dinner. We booked a table late on a Thursday night and then hung around after for their weekly Jungle party (every Thursday night). We had & would recommend the pork belly tacos and the whole fish. I'd also suggest making a reservation by emailing them.
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  • Chamicos - Stop here on your drive from Cancun or when you do the cenotes as it's about 40 minutes north from Boca Paila (the main strip on Tulum Beach). It's all outside on the beach so go on a sunny day and wear your bikini. Order the ceviche & a margarita and hang out in the hammocks afterwards. There's an imposter in town so make sure you go to the right location. It's on an unnamed road and on the beach! Google maps first took us to the imposter.
  • Gitano - Didn't have dinner here but the coolest most instagrammable restaurant for after-dinner drinks. They're known for their mezcal cocktails. You can also make a reservation on OpenTable
  • Antojitos la Chiapaneca - A taco stand in town and they don't speak English so break out your best Spanish. Get anything and everything. The best tacos I've ever had. We had 7 different things and it was $2 at the end. They're open until midnight so it's a good after dinner option too if you just can't peel yourself off the beach. Go crazy! 
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  • Nomade Tulum - Sit outside on the beach for lunch. I recommend the ceviche and a spicy margarita. 
  • Be Tulum - Didn't get to eat here but super cute hotel worth checking out. Stop by for lunch if you have time. 
  • Nu - MUST GO. A new restaurant that opened this year across the street from Encantada. Once the word gets out this will be a place that you'll have to book far in advance like Arca and Hartwood. The chef here also is the chef at Encantada during the day. We had life changing grouper carpaccio here. Also the beans & rice are delicious as an appetizer. And the corn dessert! I don't remember what it's called but it's corn ice cream and a corn cake of some sort. I dream of it every night. 
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What to do: 

  • Ride bikes - Most hotels offer bikes to borrow included in your rate. There is a main strip with all the hotels and restaurants and biking is the best easiest way to get around. It was also super fun to just ride up and down the street throughout the day and pop into shops or bars for drinks and snacks. 
  • Cenotes - Cenotes are natural sinkholes and absolutely gorgeous. It's such a cool thing to check out! Wear your bikini for swimming. We did Cenote Calaveras it's $5 per person. It's small and beautiful and wasn't very crowded when we went. Also heard Sac Actun and Gran Cenote are great! They're bigger and about $35 each. This was a great rainy day activity since you're already planning to swim anyway.
  • Tulum Ruins - Go first thing in the morning (opens at 8a) before it gets busy and you can head to the Cenotes from here. I don't remember how much it cost to enter but it was less than $10. It was beautiful but it started pouring while we were here so we ran through it very quickly. 
  • Yoga - Tulum is known for yoga. Most hotels offer classes daily including: Sanara, Be Tulum and Casa Malca. 
  • Beach - Spend the day(s) at the beach. This is why you're really in Tulum. Beach days! The beach is beautiful. There is a lot of seaweed but the hotels do a good job at clearing it daily. A few of our favorite beach clubs were: Coco Tulum (do it for the insta), Ahau Tulum and La Zebra. We also loved spending the day at the beach at Encantada (super small and not much to attract you here unless you're a guest) and Casa Malca (the service is impeccable - an attendant offered to clean my sunglasses!) but not sure if Casa Malca allows non-hotel guests.

Travel Tips:

  • Get pesos before you go - lots of places are cash only and the ATMs there have had trouble with skimming. Plus the exchange rate will be better from your bank. All the hotels take credit card but lots of restaurants are cash only. 
  • Read everything about your hotel before you book. Tulum is very eco-friendly so some don't have AC or only have AC available at certain times of day. Some don't have showers. Some have shared bathrooms. Just do your research so you get what you want and aren't surprised if you show up and have a shared bathroom. 
  • Rent a car - Tulum is about 2 hours from Cancun. You can book a car for $100ish each way but we were able to rent a car for our whole trip for $55 for 6 days including gas! And it was great to have to drive into town for tacos or drive to the cenotes. The rental car place will try to sell you insurance (that's where they make their money) but you can refuse it. We rented from Hertz and I'd recommend doing the same. Book your car with your credit card that includes insurance (we used our Amex but I know Chase Sapphire and other major travel cards offer it also). 
  • Wear sunscreen - Cory and I are from Florida so we're familiar with some serious sun but Mexico is another level. If you're outside, just wear sunscreen. Gross but real talk - Cory's whole body is currently molting from a sunburn he got in 2 hours on our first beach day. I love SunBum, it's lightweight, not greasy & smells like bananas!
  • Drink the tequila, the mezcal, eat the local fish and produce - The food here is incredible. It's all so fresh and everything we had was amazing. Try new things! If you don't usually drink Mezcal, try it. You're in Mexico!

Tulum is one of our favorite places in the whole world now and my absolute favorite beach town. We will certainly make it an annual trip for years to come and hope to get it in twice this year by returning for our first anniversary this November. Any great Tulum spots I missed!? Let me know in the comments! We definitely want to spend some more time in town next trip. 

Philadelphia Travel Guide

Tiffany Geiger

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Cory and I recently took a day trip to Philadelphia. We're trying to get in a better habit of exploring our immediate surroundings and Philadelphia is surprisingly close to Jersey City. It was only about a 1.5 hour car ride and is about the same by train. 

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Where to stay: 

  • Hotel Monaco - A Kimpton property in an updated historical building in the middle of Center City
  • Loews Philly - I love a Loews property and this one is in the middle of center city and absolutely gorgeous. 
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Where to Eat & Drink: 

  • John's Roast Pork - the ultimate cheesesteak. It's super small so plan to get it to go and it's cash only! 
  • Barcelona Wine Bar - A cute wine bar with lots of offerings
  • Vesper - A cocktail bar with great seafood and a hidden speakeasy
  • Sabrina's Cafe - Delicious for brunch and BYOB!
  • Reading Terminal Market - One of the first public food markets before they were trendy with lots of food options! 
  • Root Restaurant & Bar - The trendiest little spot in Fishtown (reminded me of Williamsburg in Brooklyn) that was delicious. Great for a date night. 
  • Weckerly's - the cutest ice cream spot in Fishtown with home made ice cream sandwiches and artisan flavors.
Dinner at Root. Clams special, cauliflower & caper zeppole & fried chickpeas 

Dinner at Root. Clams special, cauliflower & caper zeppole & fried chickpeas 

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How cute is the inside!?

How cute is the inside!?

What to do: 

  • Liberty Bell - Sort of disappointing to be honest, but quick and easy (and free) to do so might as well check it off the list. 
  • Rittenhouse Row - A cute little street with beautiful townhouses.
  • Elfreth's Alley - The oldest residential street in America.
  • Fish Town - The Williamsburg of Philadelphia, a little hipster and young with some solid restaurants and bars.
  • Rocky Steps - Enough said.
  • City Hall - Right near the Liberty Bell
Adorable Elfreth's Alley

Adorable Elfreth's Alley

Tips & Advice

  • We were surprised by the number of restaurants in Philadelphia that were cash only so be prepared. 
  • Philadelphia is a walking city but honestly it was way more spread out than we expected and ended up driving places more than we planned.
  • So much great food! Beyond the Cheesesteak. 

SHOP THE POST

Lisbon Travel Guide

Tiffany Geiger

We spent 4 days in Lisbon and completely fell in love with the city. I can't wait to go back and am dying to see more of Portugal. 

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Getting There:

  • Plane - Depending where you're coming from, a plane is the easiest. If you're within Europe RyanAir and EasyJet has cheap flights. If you're coming from the US, I'd suggest Tap Portugal as you can actually do a free stop over in Lisbon for up to 5 days. 
  • Train - The trains in Europe are all very nice. Book in advance and arrive early though as the doors close 5 minutes before departure. 

Getting Around:

  • Walk - Everything is pretty close to each other so everything is pretty walkable. Just be ready to climb some hills. 
  • Subway - If you don't want to walk or climb another hill, the subway is a great option. It's a small line and definitely my suggestion to get to or from the airport. 

Where to Stay:

  • Baixa - Right in the middle of everything & beautiful! 

WHERE WE STAYED: Short Stay Apartments Baixa

The hotel we stayed at was so fun! Each room had their own funky theme and a small kitchen. It also has the cutest rooftop with the most amazing view. And it's connected to the Navegadoors Restaurant and bar. The bar has live music every night and the best Caipirinha I've ever had. It was also really convenient to grab a drink and take it upstairs with you while getting dressed.

[Photos c/o Lisbon Short Stay]

Where to Eat & Drink:

  • Time Out Market - an upscale food court with food stands by some of the best chefs in Lisbon. It has something for everyone - seafood, chicken, thai food, pizza and of course wine and cocktails! Cory and I stopped for a snack and a glass of wine and it was so fun to see all the different food people ordered. 
  •  A Taberna Da Rua Das Flores - A small local Portuguese restaurant whose menu changes daily and is written on a chalkboard. Go expecting a wait. We had clams in a sauce so good I ate it with a spoon afterwards, a white fish cooked medium rare and a plate of mixed vegetables. It was all to die for. The staff was lovely and everyone spoke English. They served us Ginja (a sweet Portuguese liqueur) while we waited, recommended a Portuguese red wine to complement our dinner and brought us each a glass of port with our dessert. Dessert was the best chocolate cake I've ever had. Calling it chocolate cake isn't even fair because it was so much better than what you think of when I say chocolate cake. Ok, I'm done trying to describe this. Just go. 
  • Liquid - A smoothie shop near our hotel. The smoothies were so fresh they made the juice that went into the blender to order. 
  • As Bifanas Do Afonso - It was the only Bifana I had in Lisbon but it had to be the best. It might've been the best sandwich I've ever had. Add this to your must eat in Lisbon list.
  • Cod à Lagareiro - A Portuguese way of preparing Cod with olive oil, it's delicious and worth trying.
  • Frangasqueira Nacional - The best piri piri chicken ever. It's a little bit of a hike (I mean literal - like uphill type hike) from the Baixa and surrounding areas but it's through another cute area of Lisbon so it's worth the adventure. The guy was cooking so many chickens at a time and it's so moist and the sauce is so perfect. Just get it. 
  • Park - A bar on top of a parking garage. Def go to this bar at sunset if you can but arrive early as it fills up. The views are incredible & the drinks are great too!
  • Manteigaria - Pasteis de Nata for breakfast or a sweet snack. A must do. 
  • O Prego da Peixaria - Pregos are a sandwich they're known for in Lisbon. It's a steak sandwich that's delicious. I 'm not much of a steak person and it was better than I expected.
  • Ginja - Try it. It's delicious! 
  • Caldeirada de Peixe - A traditional Portuguese fish stew. It's delicious! Make sure you ask for extra bread to sop up all the broth. 

Time Out Market

Chocolate Cake at Taberna da Rua das Flores

Ginja

Smoothies at Liquid

Bifana at As Bifanas Do Afonso

Cod à Lagareiro

Chicken at Frangasqueira Nacional

Chicken at Frangasqueira Nacional

Soft shell crab bao at taberna da rua das flores

Soft shell crab bao at taberna da rua das flores

SHIRT | JEANS | SHOES | SUNGLASSES

What to do:

  • Sao Jorge Castle - The view from here is stunning! And in typical European fashion (which is my favorite part) they were serving wine and had a small little cafe/restaurant where you could sit outside and enjoy the weather and the view. Cory and I sat for 30 minutes or so to just enjoy the view and do some people watching.
  • Cais das Colunas - This is where people used to arrive into Lisbon by boat and now a beautiful place to sit and watch the world pass. Cory and I sat and enjoyed the view of the Tagus River and a man there playing guitar before continuing to walk along the river. 
  • Sintra - A beautiful town outside of Lisbon on the coast where the Royals used to summer. It's full of castles and a great day trip from Lisbon. While there we visited the top two castles - Pena Palace and Castle of the Moors. You can take the train up but be sure to check the train schedule before you go (which we forgot to do which is how we ended up taking an uber). 
  • Restaurant/bar hop - We'd come to love hopping around different restaurants and bars while in Spain so we wanted to do the same here in Lisbon to get to check out a bunch of different places. We hit 3 different places but unfortunately I don't know what any of them were called. NBD though they weren't incredible must do's.

Pena Palace is beautiful. With a quick walk around the grounds and through the palace, we walked down the hill to the Moors Castle, a much older castle with some of the best views of Lisbon. Here I plotted how I could become queen, stay in Portugal forever and move into the Pena Palace. 

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View from Park at sunset.

View from Park at sunset.

These are the boys. Pretty sure this is the moment they started a boy band.

These are the boys. Pretty sure this is the moment they started a boy band.

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Lisbon was incredible and we will definitely go back. It is one of my favorite cities now - so clean and beautiful! 

SHOP THE POST

Barcelona Travel Guide

Tiffany Geiger

We spent 3 nights and 2 full days in Barcelona. Going into the trip Barcelona was the city I was most excited to see and I was a little disappointed we weren't going to be there longer. But TBH, 2 full days and we got all the hot spots in! I'm growing to love writing these guides for you all as they allow me to relive my trip so I hope you love reading them! And they become helpful to you as you plan your trip! 

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Getting There:

  • Train - I love the train in Europe. They're so nice and you can see the areas/cities you go through on the way. I suggest booking in advance and getting there early though as you go through security and the doors close 5 minutes before departure.
  • Plane - There's small airlines throughout Europe (i.e.: RyanAir) who you can book a quick flight through pretty inexpensively. However, they do charge for bags including carry ons. 

Getting Around: 

  • Subway - The subway is easiest here. I suggest taking this or walking and do not rent a car. You can also take a taxi or uber to get around.

Where to Stay:

  • El Born - In the heart of the old city surrounded by adorable shops and amazing restaurants & bars.
  • Barceloneta - If you're going for the beach, stay in Barceloneta. This is a little further from the sights but beautiful.
  • Las Ramblas - This is where we stayed as it's in the heart of the tourist everything. But I would not suggest staying here. It's a little grimey of an area and a friend we were traveling with had his bags stolen out of the hotel and the area is swarming with pick pockets. 

WHERE WE STAYED: Hotel NH Barcelona Ramblas

The hotel was nice and conveniently located and close to the subway and most things but honestly if I were to do it again, I wouldn't stay on Las Ramblas again. 

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JACKET | SWEATER | JEANS | SHOES | BAG | SCARF

Where to Eat & Drink:

  • Boqueria - A big food market with produce and meat as well as some snack foods and a few restaurant-type food stands. 
  • Arume - Go. So good we went twice. Get the paella & the blueberry mojito.
  • El Diset - Didn't get to go but supposed to be amazing for tapas. Make a reservation. 
  • Ziryab - Tapas in the El Born area. 
  • Paradiso - A speakeasy in the back of a pastrami deli. You walk in and the guy awkwardly loitering at the door judges you asks how many and ultimately lets you in to get you seated. The cocktails were delicious! Sweet but really good. I'd go for the vibe more than anything else - it was a really cool spot to check out and we felt pretty 'in the know' as tourists. 
  • Dr Stravinsky - A small cocktail bar with a cool bar in El Born. 
  • Espit - A bar with more than 600 different shots and the bartender puts on a show when he makes them. 
The food & cocktails at Arume

The food & cocktails at Arume

Espit

Espit

Cocktails at Paradiso

Cocktails at Paradiso

What to do: 

  • Camp Nou - FC Barcelona's stadium. You can take a tour through the stadium and the field. 
  • Cathedral Barcelona - Beautiful and the view from the top are really cool. It's not a standout cathedral in Europe so do it if you have time but nbd if you can't fit it in. 
  • Sagrada Familia - Incredible. A MUST do. Buy your tickets online here in advance so you don't have to wait in line and can just walk right in. They're timed tickets to book in advance and plan accordingly. Get the audioguide! 
  • Casa Mila (aka La Pedrera) - Cory is a structural engineer so I knew he'd be fascinated by Gaudi's work. It was cool but honestly, not worth it. Def walk by but skip it - there's really no need to go inside.
  • Park Guell - A beautiful park with a few Gaudi buildings in it that you can walk through - we didn't have time so we didn't. 
  • Montjuic - Go for the views. Travel Tip: Easy to get to via cab or vernacular but take the Fernicular at least one way. It was a pretty cool experience. From Sagrada Familia, we grabbed a quick lunch nearby and jumped in a taxi to head to Montjuic. Travel Tip: The cabs only take cash so have your Euros ready. The cab to Montjuic is only like €15. 
Cathedral Barcelona

Cathedral Barcelona

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Sagrada Familia

Sagrada Familia

Park Guell

Park Guell

View from Montjuic

View from Montjuic

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Travel Tips:

  • They eat lunch around 2 so plan accordingly or you'll be left hungry or stuck somewhere you don't really want. 
  • Drink the rioja and the cava.
  • Cabs are cash only. 
  • Beware of pick pockets. Barcelona can be a dangerous city and as a NYC girl I don't say that lightly. The first day we were there one of the guys we were traveling with had his bag stolen out of the hotel lobby. Another night we were on our way back from dinner and our friends walking behind us started screaming Cory's name. When we spun around there were 2 pick pockets face-to-face with us so close we could've kissed them. And we had no idea! They didn't get anything thanks to our friends who saw them but it's such a violating feeling. I don't tell you this to scare you but to warn you. Keep your bag close to you (I frequently carried mine inside my coat) with your arm on the strap so no one can grab it, keep any items in your pockets in your front pockets only and be aware! Like VERY aware. I know everyone says this about Europe and they're right but Barcelona was on another level. I hate to even put this in here and bring the vibe down but safety first ladies! 
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Drink the cava, the rioja, hit the cocktail bars and enjoy! The city is beautiful.