Over view of Fajardo, Puerto Rico | Beaches, Bio Bay, and More

Overview of Fajardo, Puerto Rico for Seven Seas beach, Bio Bay kayaking tours, scuba, dining, and the El Conquistador hotel.

Our first experience with Puerto Rico was Old San Juan, and I was hooked!  When planning our next visit, we knew we needed more time, and we wanted to explore several areas of the island.  We started in beautiful Isla Verde, just outside of San Juan, then rented a car and headed out to Fajardo for a few days.  Six months later, I find myself back in Fajardo.

2016_Fajardo Sign

Fajardo is an hour East of San Juan, at the meeting point for the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea on the Northeast tip of the island.  Fajardo boasts one of the world’s rare bioluminescent bays, a must-see at night during the new moon, when it is darkest.

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El Conquistador Resort Review | Fajardo, Puerto Rico

For the luxury portion of our Puerto Rico vacation, we checked into paradise, officially known as the El Conquistador Resort, a Waldorf-Astoria property.  It has that Latin America laid back culture, but quite posh at the same time.

El Conquistador pool view from lobby
El Conquistador pool view from lobby overlooking the Ocean
EC room

Our room was simple, with sunken bathtub and huge walk-in closet.  The real in-room feature is the balcony!

View from the Balcony
View from the Balcony

The resort property is massive, with a little bit of everything.  Just getting there involved driving through the enormous golf course (slight pun intended).  There are several pools on each level, complete with poolside cafes, and many different restaurants.  The engineering geeks (us) were very excited for the funicular, an inclined plane cable car, to carry passengers safely up & down the steep incline from the Lobby to a lower room level and the marina.

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Sanctuary Spa on Camelback Review and Spa Tour | Arizona Spas

Travel Zoo promo photo
Travel Zoo promo photo

I love a good spa experiance, and I am a sucker for a great pool.  The promotional photo for Sanctuary Spa on Camelback is stunning and serene.  Travel Zoo offered a fantastic deal, so I immediately bought a spa deal and booked an appointment.

Sanctuary Spa on Camelback is nestled at the base of Camelback Mountain.  There is no indication of being in the middle of metro-Phoenix, it feels like you are far-far away.

Sanctuary Infinity Pool
Sanctuary Infinity Pool

This is what the pool really looks like, not as exactly the same as the promo photo using the super wide angle lens to make the pool look much, much bigger.  The slate tile surrounding the pool is beautiful, but dark gray and horribly hot (not a good plan for a pool in Arizona).  The only shade is from the few cabanas (in the photo) and the umbrellas for the majority of the lounge chairs to the left of the pictured pool. The pool was refreshing, but lacking any breeze or shade, I cut my time short.  The pool is shared between the resort & the spa and was starting to get crowded when I left.  The view is beautiful, just not quite as remote as the promo photo indicates.

Relaxation room
Relaxation room

The spa front desk staff were polite and after a quick check-in and payment (the mandatory tip is applied before treatment when using a discount voucher), I was escorted to the Ladies locker area.  I was not offered a tour of the spa facilities, even after I explained it was my first visit, and I had to ask for directions to the pool.

I purchased a voucher for the Sanctuary Jewel 60 minute facial.  The aesthetician asked very few questions and really did not explain what products she was using or why.  One of the masks smelled delicious and she confirmed my theory that is was indeed a Pumpkin mask.  Everything felt really nice and smelled wonderful.  I opted for the additional foot moisturizer and eye treatments.  My face is soft and glowing, so whatever she did, it was a good treatment. Continue reading “Sanctuary Spa on Camelback Review and Spa Tour | Arizona Spas”

Revive Spa JW Marriott Desert Ridge | Spa Review and Tour

Just like reading, the more your spa the more you know.  So, if I had little less spa experience, I would probably like the Revive spa at JW Marriott Desert Ridge in north Phoenix more.  Perhaps ignorance is bliss.

Marriott spa10

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Chichen Itza Travel Guide | Explore the Mayan History in Mexico

Explore the incredible ancient Mayan city of Chichen Itza! Travel Guide with transit time, tours, the pyramid, beyond the pyramid, Mayan History in Mexico, and more!

Art, Museums, History, Science, Natural Wonders, and Archaeology are a few of my favorite things!  So what could be better than an archaeological site full of art, culture, science, an ancient pyramid, an astronomical observatory, and more located in a jungle? That was my motivation to spend the day at Chichen Itza Mayan archaeological site.

The Chichen Itza site is located in the Yucatan state of Mexico, the nearest village is Piste (pronounced pis-tay).  Our adventure started in Cancun, Mexico on the far East coast.  The cheapest way from Cancun to Chichen Itza is by tour bus, it is also the slowest and most restrictive.  We skipped that and arranged for a private car through our resort, paying $250 USD for private driver all day including fuel.  Slightly more expensive, but we set the schedule and our little car passed all the buses so we arrived before the crowds.  By car, it is a 2 hour drive using toll roads, or an extra hour to avoid the tolls.  Tolls are charged by type of vehicle, meaning that our private car paid approx $500 pesos for both tolls (approx. $42 USD) but van or bus is more expensive.

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