San Juan, Puerto Rico (Vegan) Food & Travel Diary

On the south east side of the Carribean between the North Atlantic Ocean and the Carribean Sea lies an island that is 100 miles long and 35 miles across. When you land in Puerto Rico and walk out of the terminal the last place you might think you are is in the United States, but in 1898 after the Spanish-American war we appropriated Puerto Rico under the terms of the Treaty of Paris. Now Puerto Ricans are natural born citizens of the United States. On the island they take US dollars and more people here speak perfect english than in Los Angeles (at least that was our experience). As a US Citizen, this is a fantastic place to visit. There are no customs lines to go through at the airport and a passport is not needed to travel to this colorful, richly cultured and majestic place.

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Thailand Travel Diary | Tales from 2013

Green Curry
Green Curry that I made at Alot of Thai Cooking School in Chiang Mai

It was the first week of 2013 when I bought a one way ticket to Thailand. The idea of escaping my life and wondering around the other side of the world for a while really suited me at that time. My heart had just been broken by my boyfriend and my best friend, and my life was in pieces, so really, what other viable option did I have? Over the course of a couple facebook messages my dear friend from Australia let me know she was traveling all over South East Asia for a year with her boyfriend and I should come. She bait the hook and I got caught on the idea of being a gypsy exploring the unknown and roughing it for a while. Afterall, in their eyes I was that crazy American girl who worked way to much and needed to live a little. I thought about the food, the colors, the new friends. I had that feeling you get when you meet someone amazing for the first time, and your stomach is in knots and your palms get sweaty. What was I getting myself into? I was so excited at the possiblities!

bangkok

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Favorite Finds at the Natural Products Expo West

NPEW ITEMS

A couple weeks back, as many of you might know, I went to the Natural Products Expo West in Anahiem. It is at the convention center, right near Disneyland, and it was the largest show to date. With over 1 million square feet of show floor, it is enourmous and the likelyhood of seeing everything is slim. Granted, I walked around the Expo salivating over all the new products and chatting with health nuts about their creations and the purpose they served. It is hard not to walk away from this event bursting with inspiration from the energy and excitment that we all share for healthy, wholesome food. This industry might not be growing as fast as cannabis, but as more and more people are becoming aware of the toxic ingredients in most foods in the supermarket, the demand for simpler, healthier food is increasing.  I am so excited to share with you what I discovered and what I love from the show with full disclosure: no one is paying me to write about them- I truly loved these products and the people who created them.

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Christmas in Mexico: Playa Del Carmen, Tulum 2014- Part One!

Morning in Tulum

“Traveling feeds in so many ways” became the tag line for this trip. Originally inspired by the crazy amounts of foods I was eating and later because of how full the trip made me feel; mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. 

Travelling allows you to see how other people live their lives which opens up a whole new realm of possibility. You get to see that there are so many different ways to exist and that you don’t have to choose the life that was given to you, rather you can create the life that you want. Traveling gives you perspective, an opportunity to see all that you have and to cherish it. 

In the states we get two weeks of vacation and for many it is an oppotunity for a break from their hectic life, a job they dislike, a life they don’t love. My 2 weeks is not a vacation from my life, it is always an adventure into the world. I hope to never get to a place where the purpose of my travel is to escape. My purpose is to grow, to explore, to have fun, to share new experiences, eat new food, and to step outside my comfort zone. Bon Voyage. 

friends ruins

We started our trip in Playa Del Carmen, a fun city south of Cancun and used AirBnB to find a super stylish condo right near 5th street, the main strip in Playa, for an amazing price. It was owned by a young New York guy so it was decorated with a masculan undertone, accented with bright red rugs and pillows, but balanced with nutral grey and black couches and counter tops. Sure enough, the fridge was stocked with ice cold Tecate upon arrival. Way to set the mood. 

The first day we cliff jumped into a Cenote, which is a natural swimming pool of sorts. The water was cool and it was an extremely beautiful setting. Next, we snorkled at Turtle Bay, and I am still suprised at how many turtles are hanging out that close to shore. We had a dinner there on the beach and the resturant was playing the best music that I heard on the entire trip. Instrumental house, and I was blissed.

Turtles

The next day was easily my most favorite part of the trip! I met a Squirrel Monkey named John Travolta. He melted my heart and I really got present to how much I love animals. I’ll be honest, animal cruelty was a very small part of why I transistioned to a prodominetly plant based diet. It was mostly for the enviornment, my health and taking a stand against big agri-business. But on this trip, I enteracted with so many different animals and I was really moved.

John Travolta

After a few nights in Carmen we made our way to Tulum, again another destination further south. We took a guided tour at the Tulum Mayan Ruins, and one of the pieces of information that stuck out was the Mayans use of psilocybin for spiritual, mental and emotion growth. It was a ritual experience for them and yet it is illegal in present day. There are so many ancient civilizations who use these substances not in an abusive way but as a way to open themselves up to a different realm of exsistence, and thought.

 

Mayan Ruins

Curious, curious, curious.  Maybe Steve Jobs was on to something.

Tulum was breathtakingly beautiful, filled with eco-resorts, organic vegan spots and yoga studios on the beach. I mean, what more could a girl from SoCal ask for?

Our hotel, Sanara Tulum, which was opened by a friend of a friend, was easily the most picture-esq and stylish hotel I’ve ever been too (see picture below). I am remodeling my apartment and using it for inspiration. The staff was friendly, the coffee was hot and vibe was comfortably laid back. I highly reccommend it.

Sanara Hotel Tulum Sanara

The only draw back to Tulum is the price. Granted, we went during peak season, also known as high season, when prices are a little higher due to demand. Everything from food, lodging, to shopping was as if I was still in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills specifically. Polyester dresses, although beautful were $500+. Beers were $7-$8, wine $10-$12, cocktails $14-$16. Thats pretty standard at a mid-range resturant in LA. However, you can find more affordable options in the city, away from the main strip of beach front real estate.

In Tulum, we ate at a resturant called Simple, where the services was painfully slow (I MEAN PAINFULLY S-L-O-W) but the food was fantastic. I had Yellow Fin Tuna Tostadas. If you followed me on Instagram, I shared about a new word I learned on the trip… “Flexitarian.” I fully embraced that flexible lifestyle on this trip and I am ok with it. I’ve learned you should never beat yourself up about food, it results in an unhealthy relationship and bad habits. Having the mindset of being present and thankful really made a difference and allowed for new space in my relationship to food so I was able to eat things enjoyably. I can confidently say my eating disorder is a thing of the past.   Other resturants we tried: Casa Banana, Ahau Tulum, Casa Violeta We thought about waiting in the crazy line for the popular Hartwood, but decided to pass even though I read so many raving reviews about it. Next time.

fancy sandwhich - Copy chips and guac - Copy Pina Colodas

Speaking of things of the past, I am so happy the overnight ADO bus ride from Tulum, Mexico to Belize City, Belize is over. ADO is the premiere bus line in this part of the world, and the busses are nice, but the AC was blasting (something I read online about from other travelers too), there are speed bumps the entire way so its unlikely you will sleep and when 4am rolls around you make a 1.5 hour pit stop at the border to go through customs and immigration. We all had to get off the bus and wait in line. We were ushered into a room in groups of 2-4, the door than closes and you are questioned by Mexican officials with guns. Remember its 4:00am?

SCARY!

We paid at $25 USD tax exit fee and made our way to the Belize office to have a new stamp stamped in our passports (the best part)!

Belize was beautiul, playful, and bustling. Truly a place in the Caribbean worth visitng. Stay tuned for Part Two of my trip in Belize, where I spent time in Caye Caulker, San Pedro, Placentia, and Belize City… coming to a blog near you. 

xoxox,
Cara