Best Travel Bucket List Ideas

Indonesia - Bromo by Lenka Sediva via Flickr
When I first saw this incredibly impressive Best Travel Bucket List from Thrillist Travel, I was intrigued. Are any of these ideas on my list? Have I already crossed any destinations off my list? I'm happy to say that I have I completed 10 or 11 of them, but would love to complete them all!

Here are the Top Travel Bucket List goals from this list for me:

1. Hit all Seven Continents

2. Live or Study Abroad for at least Four Months

3. See Your Favorite Animal in the Wild: I'd like to expand this to animals, plural, which includes wanting to see the Big Five, plus pandas and koalas, of course. But I can cross Bengal tigers off my list having seen them on my amazing trip to India!!

4. Walk along the Great Wall of China

6. Take Your Time in Italy

7.  Drink Scotch in the Scottish Highlands/Make 5 New Friends in an Irish Pub: while I'm gluten free, not by choice, this might prove to be challenging, so I'll stick with just visiting Ireland and Scotland!

8. See Lost Ancient Cities: I would love to see Machu Picchu, Pompei, Angkor Wat, Easter Island and Petra. I was so close to Petra once, I'll never forgive myself for not making the trek!!

9. Spend Enough Time in a Beach Paradise that you Forget Everything Else: I've been to many a beach paradise, but I've never stayed long enough to experience this. It's definitely a travel buck list goal :) Love what the article says here: do it for long enough that you lose track of the days of the week, then couldn’t begin to guess what your work email password ever was, and eventually forget your return flight altogether. -- Sam Eifling

Love them all!! 


Costa Rica on a Budget!

Photo Courtesy of Marvin Garcia, Mardigi Tours
Are you still dreaming of visiting Costa Rica? Well, how about visiting Costa Rica on a budget??! While we can't help with airfare (although we an provide a list of airlines flying into Costa Rica) we can offer you a great deal on the best affordable condo with beautiful ocean views in Playas del Coco, Costa Rica!
Playas del Coco is a small fishing village with shops & restaurants in the northwestern province of Guanacaste on the Pacific Ocean. It's just west of Costa Rica's second largest international airport, Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport in Liberia, about 20 minutes by taxi or local bus from our condo.

Our condo is located in a small, quiet complex of only 17 units (not like you'll find with some other bustling condo developments in Playas del Coco, eek!). It's a 2-story condo that offers views of the beautiful Pacific Ocean and Tortuga Island from the second-floor bedroom balcony and/or the spacious rooftop terrace. You'll also get mountain views - and maybe monkeys! - at the back of the property.

Our condo offers a beautifully kept pool just 7 steps down from our door! We have spacious 10-foot-high ceilings that create an airy feeling, plus it's fully air-conditioned throughout to keep you cool and comfortable during your stay. We have a custom kitchen featuring Costa Rican wood cabinets, granite countertops and all the necessities. There's a dining room (plus a shared poolside outdoor dining area) and a living space. We offer a safe for personal belongings, a flat-screen TV and of course, free Wi-Fi! The bedroom features a plush, king-sized pillow-top bed so you can get a restful night's sleep after a day of fun in the Costa Rican sun.

Please Note: We have several sets of stairs leading up to our condo, plus a roof top terrace that's accessed by a spiral staircase, so unfortunately if stairs don't work for you, our condo may sadly not be the best fit :(
We purchased our condo in 2011 and are proud to say we've never raised the rates! During high season, November to March inclusive, our rates are as follows:

  • $75 (US) per night, with a 3-night minimum stay
  • $400 (US) per week
  • $1,100 (US) per month

Photo Courtesy of Marvin Garcia, Mardigi Tours
Essentially everything you've imagined doing in Costa Rica can be accessed while staying at our condo - and just think of all the money you'll save so you can enjoy more snorkeling, scuba diving, beach combing, horseback riding, mountain biking, sea kayaking and sunset sailing! Within an hours' drive, you'll also find turtle watching, zip-lining, white water rafting, surfing, bird watching and even Parque Volcan Rincon de la Vieja, with its' steamy volcano. And, we can help you arrange any tours you'd like with our friends at Mardigi Tours!

Want More Information About Playas del Coco & Rent Our Costa Rica Condo? 
Our website is chock full of information for visitors including weather, finding the best beachesdriving tips and car rentals in Costa Rica and general fast facts. Check them out! If you have any questions, please just ask ;) 

Email us today at: Wondering if our condo is available for your chosen dates? It's just a click away to find out by checking Our Availability.

Pura vida! 🐵


Castlegar, BC: Heritage and Culture of the Russian Doukhobors

Super Natural British Columbia, Canada.There's really nothing like it! Having lived in the West Kootenay area between 2 small towns for years - Trail, with its Italian heritage, and Castlegar, with its Russian Doukhobor heritage - the West Kootenay area provides a wealth of culture for visitors of all ages.

The Russian Doukbobors migrated to Castlegar in the early 1900s, prior to and just after the establishment of a Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) station in the town. By 1913, there were approximately 5,000 Doukhobors in the West Kootenay area, many of whom settled into Castlegar and its surrounding lands. After the Great Depression ended in 1939, the Doukhobor population in Castlegar had grown to 10,000 residents.

Zuckerburg Island Heritage Park
One of the coolest ways to experience the Doukhobor culture in Castlegar is by visiting Zuckerburg Island Heritage Park along the confluence of the Kootenay and the Columbia Rivers. This one-of-a-kind nature experience includes a suspension bridge, a 1930s Russian Orthodox chapel house, sculptures and a cemetery, along with 2 hectares of forested paths to explore at your leisure. Zuckerburg Island Heritage Park is open seasonally from May to September. But if you're visiting the area in October, there's always a popular, and some say scary, haunted house on Zukerburg Island!

Doukhobor Discovery Centre
Another great way to experience more of the local Russian culture is by visiting the Doukhobor Discovery Centre across from the West Kootenay Regional Airport. Here you can wander around to view some of the early 1900s carriages, and then check out more than 1,600 items tracing the history of this vibrant way of life in the centres museum. It's a wonderful way to immerse yourself in the traditional Doukhobor culture. The Doukhobor Discovery Centre is open seasonally from May through September.

Linotype Wapiti by Carl Sean McMahon
Beyond learning about the heritage and culture of the Russian Doukhobors, Castlegar is also home to the Kootenay Gallery of Art, the Castlegar Station Museum (the old CPR railway station mention above), and to the super popular Sculpturewalk, which has gained Castlegar the nickname of being the Sculpture Capital of Canada. And don't miss summertime fun at Millennium Park with its swimming ponds and a concession stand.

For more information on the beautiful city of Castlegar and its proud Russian heritage - where Russian language classes are still provided in local schools today - visit And one of my personal favourites when visiting Castlegar? Kelly's Doukhobor Borscht. Got to have it, and it's gluten free!! It's just like having to visit the 'world famous' Colander Restaurant in neighbouring Trail, BC, don't miss out!!

Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte

On a 500-hectare estate only 45 minutes outside of Paris in Maincy, France, lies the magnifique Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte - a quintessential example of 17th-century baroque architecture and elegance. 

17th-Century Opulence
While not as widely known as Fontainebleau or Versailles, the 41,000 square-foot Vaux le Vicomte showcases an array of lavishly decorated apartments and bedrooms, a stunning double-height Grand Salon with embellished ceilings painted by Charles Le Brun, and its signature formal French garden with 26 ponds. Of course, there's also a moat and a carriage house full of period carriages.

A Brief History of Vaux le Vicomte
Designed in 1653 by famed architect Andre le Notre, Vaux le Vicomte was built for Nicolas Fouquet, the soon-to-be Superintendent of Finances for France. His extravagance in building his masterpiece came to the attention of politician Jean-Baptiste Colbert, who claimed Fouquet had embezzled his fortune. On August 17, 1661, Fouquet threw a lavish party in honor of King Louis XIV, which included spectacular fireworks. The plot worked as only 2 weeks later, Fouquet was arrested and Colbert became the finance minister.

"On 17 August, at 6 o'clock in the evening, 

Fouquet was king of France;

at 2 o’clock in the morning, he was nothing.” 

- Voltaire

After Fouquets' arrest, the entire contents of Vaux le Vicomte were auctioned off. Eventually, Vaux was abandoned for 30 years and was again auctioned off in 1875, which is initially when it's elegant restoration started. The Fouquet coat of arms is a squirrel, based on an Angers dialect translation of the word foucquet, meaning squirrel. I mention this because you'll see this little critter displayed throughout the chateau. 

Celebrating Vaux le Vicomte Today
Today visitors are welcome to step back in time to experience Vaux le Vicomte at its 1600s prime. On Saturday from May through the end of September, guests can enjoy a magical Candlelit Evening complete with a pop-up restaurant in the garden and a period character walking tour. There's also family dining and am exquisite champagne and macaron option.

How to Get to Vaux le Vicomte
From Paris, it's easy to take a 1-hour train ride on Line P from Paris Gare de L'Est while disembarking at Verneuil l’Etang. There's a cash-only shuttle available to the chateau. There are also coach tours available through Paris CityVision.  

The Ultimate Way to Visit Vaux le Vicomte
If you'd like to see the chateau in a unique way, consider taking a hot air balloon ride high above the beautiful French countryside. Or, the ultimate and most extravagant way to visit Vaux le Vicomte is by helicopter. Imagine being whisked out of Paris on a private helicopter, landing at the chateau at dusk, savoring a gourmet 3-course dinner, to be followed by a limousine transfer back to Paris. What could be more romantic??

On Sunday, June 3rd, 2018, Vaux le Vicomte will once again play host to it's extremely popular Grand Siecle luncheon and fashion show event. Visitors can join in on the fun by renting period costumes, or just enjoy watching the carriage promenades, falconry and entertainment including minuet performances.

Jean de la Fontaine is offering unique underground river tours, April through November, and an exhibit of movies filmed at the famed chateau, running from September to November - both in honour of the 50th anniversary of Vaux being open to the public.

For more information or to make your reservation, visit Vaux le Vicomte and be sure to take advantage of their 10% discount on a Day Visit admission.

Want to read more: Check out what to wear in Paris:Tres Chic Little Black Dress and 9 Reasons to See Van Gogh & Monet in France!