A few weeks ago, my family and our best friend's family did a tag-team road trip to Mount Rushmore. Neither of us had ever been, and the area is a quick 5-6 hour drive from Denver. So we decided to pack as much as we could into a 3-day weekend... but as I started to research the Black Hills area of South Dakota, I realized there were many things we would not be able to fit in! I will describe where we went, and some alternatives/add-ons you may consider if you have more time. I definitely recommend planning at least the driving route fairly well because we lost cell service many times over the weekend - and, as always when driving in the west - be mindful of how full your gas tank is. [caption id="attachment_13118" align="alignnone" width="700"] My teenager. Hanging out with buffalo. As one does.[/caption] We pretty much did a loop, since we were coming in from the south. The map below shows our route, and while this seems like a huge amount of ground to cover, we did Hot Springs to Deadwood in one (long) day.
When I returned to Costa Rica for the second time, there was one place I knew we had to visit that, since I had missed it the first time around. Manuel Antonio National Park is in the central Pacific Coast side of Costa Rica and is well-known for its diversity of plants and animals - pretty astounding considering the whole country is the most biologically diverse in the world.
Note: A portion of our trip was provided by Riu Hotels. However, all words and photos are mine.It's been ten years since we visited the Riviera Maya area of Mexico. And the last time we were there, I broke my ankle! Lucky for me, this trip - and our time at Riu Palace Riviera Maya - were totally incident-free. In fact, everything was exactly what you want from a beach vacation. Well, the weather was maybe a touch cool (75 F) for Mexico, but I will let Riu off the hook for that. As in 2006, our best friends Danielle, Jeff and their son joined us. We consider each other "framily" in that we spend holidays and vacations together. This time was extra, extra special because we watched the Denver Broncos win the Super Bowl while drinking cervezas on the beach. WOOT!
Note: Part of my stay was covered by Parador Resort. All words and photos are mine.When I was searching for a hotel during the Manuel Antonio portion of our recent trip to Costa Rica, one resort popped up over and over again: The Parador in Quepos. Manuel Antonio is a must-see travel destination: a national park with beautiful beaches and the most bio-diversity in Costa Rica, within a country that touts the highest density of bio-diversity in the world. So, of course, I knew we wanted to visit the area and was happy to come across Parador Resort, which combines luxury accommodations with environmentalism.
I am First Generation American, after my mother and grandparents moved to Maryland from Germany. I was very lucky to visit Bavaria all through my childhood. During that time, Germany was still divided - and for various reasons, I have never been to Berlin. Hopefully that will change in the next few years! But until then, I have been scouting the web and the German tourism site, compiling my wish list for places to see when we do go.