Sedona Arizona Travel Guide – Reviews and Recommendations

Sedona, Arizona attracts nature lovers, geology enthusiasts, adventure seekers, foodies, art lovers, mystics, and curious travelers from around the world.  Located in the center of Arizona, Sedona is 100 miles North of Phoenix and a popular road trip for Valley residents. Usually a 2 hour drive between Phoenix and Sedona, allow extra time for holidays and weekend travel.

The iconic mountains of Sedona are formed from layers of sandstone in various shades of bright, bold red.  Many people believe that the red rocks of Sedona are an Energy Vortex of healing properties.  These power centers are a huge draw for New Age Enthusiasts.  There is much debate and discussion around the magical properties of the area, but most visitors will agree that the red rocks are stunning!

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Charco Azul, Patillas | Fresh Water Natural Pool Puerto Rico Travel Guide

Travel Guide for Charco Azul fresh water pool in Patillas, Puerto Rico. Hiking, swimming, picnic and camping guide.

Ever since moving to Puerto Rico earlier this year, I am beach and water obsessed.   Coming from the hot, dry desert the beach is still a magical, mysterious place.  I am always on the hunt for special, secluded little places and ask all of the long-term residents about their favorite spots.  So I was surprised when multiple trusted locals told me about the secret mountain pools around the island.  Intrigued by other natural water activities, we decided on a visit to Charco Azul.

charco-azul-natural-pool-puerto-rico

Charco Azul is a fresh water, natural swimming pool located in the southeast mountain region of Puerto Rico.   It is close  to our neighborhood in Palmas Del Mar.  It is also the most popular natural pool on the island.   We braced ourselves for huge crowds and (possible) disappointment, then drove out Sunday morning in the off season (August – November) to explore.

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First Visit to El Yunque Rainforest | Hiking La Mina Falls | Travel Puerto Rico

Travel tips for visiting El Yunque rainforest, perfect guide for your first visit! Updated to include new reservation system implemented in July 2020.

After Living in Puerto Rico for 3 months, we finally went to El Yunque rain forest on the Northeast corner of the island. The lush tropical rainforest is consistently one of the top recommended destinations in Puerto Rico, for good reasons. The unique landscape and sweeping views will take your breath away!

Everything you need to know about visiting El Yunque Rainforest in Puerto Rico
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South Mountain Park | Hiking in Central Phoenix, Arizona

Hiking is one of my favorite free activities in Phoenix.  Our desert valley is surrounded by mountains providing stunning views and wildlife.  South Mountain Park/Preserve in the heart of Phoenix is over 16,000 acres, approximately 20 times the size of New York’s Central Park, it is the largest municipal park in the country!  Now is the perfect time to Go Take a Hike!

South Mountain Park
South Mountain Park

South Mountain Park is easy access from anywhere in metro-Phoenix and offers trails for every level of athletic ability.  Horses, dogs, and mountain bikes are all welcome on the trails.

Desert Classic Trail
Desert Classic Trail

With nearly 60 miles of trails, I like to map out the hike before heading to a trail head.  Most trails are easily followed with metal signposts along the trail as a guide, and many of these were recently updated with trail name, QR code, elevation, and specific trail post information.  I always bring a hard copy trail map of the area I plan to be in.  A recent hike with friends was so beautiful we decided to add another couple miles to our hike, which was easily accomplished with a brief look at our trail map.south-mountain-park-map

 

 

There are at least 4 main parking lots, and many more parking areas near perimeter trail heads.2015_SM1There are excellent maps and detailed descriptions of trails provided by National Geographic at All Trails website.  Here is more information about the beautiful desert trails including petroglyphs and ruins.

Pima Canyon entrance from Guadalupe
Pima Canyon entrance from Guadalupe

Pima Canyon entrance is accessed from I-10 and Baseline road, just off of 48th street and Guadalupe.  This popular parking lot is usually packed with cars, and offers restrooms, water fountains, shaded benches, and areas for cooking/grilling.

Pima Canyon Gazebo
Pima Canyon Gazebo

 

Desert Foothills Parkway is a smaller parking lot located at the Southern tip of the park and offers shaded area, water fountains, and portable toilets.

Desert Foothills Parking and Gazebo
Desert Foothills Parking and Gazebo

 

 

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White Tanks Mountain Hiking Destination in Arizona

The White Tank Mountain range is located on the far West side of metro Phoenix, within the edge of Maricopa County. Not as popular with hikers in the summer due to the brutal heat, this becomes a popular mountain trail in the cooler months.

The views are spectacular with a variety of hiking trails of several levels of difficulty to accommodate everyone.  The Waterfall trail is even wheelchair & stroller friendly. Best of all, the park is dog friendly, so bring your pup along for a great day outside enjoying the spectacular desert beauty.

Don’t let the name fool you, the waterfall trail is often a small trickle in dry season. After a big rain storm, like the summer monsoon season, the waterfall is flowing and cool. A few special days, the waterfall is big enough to form a small pool for a quick, refreshing dip.

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