Tag Archives: Ocean

South Africa and Mauritius Itinerary

10 Dec

Are you interested in traveling to South Africa and Mauritius?  Well, check out my 2 week itinerary!

Day 1:  Depart for Cape Town.

Day 2:  Arrive in Cape Town.  Hotel:  An African Villa.  Transportation from airport provided by Discovery Tours.

Day 3:  Cape Point morning tour with Hylton Ross (penguins, Cape of Good Hope).  Lunch at V&A waterfront (in particular, the market).  City & Table Mountain afternoon tour with Hylton Ross of Cape Town including Table Mountain, Camps Bay, City Hall, a market, and Malay quarter.  Dinner at V&A Waterfront.

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Day 4:  Great White Shark cage diving with Great White Shark Tours.  4:10am pick up.  Returned to Cape Town around 3pm.  Dinner near hotel – Sawadee (Thai food).

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Day 5:  All day wine tour with lunch through Wine Flies.

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Day 6:  All day Cape Town cultural and Robben Island tour through Hylton Ross.  Visited District Six Museum, Langa Township, and Robben Island.  Dinner at Raj in Camps Bay.

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Day 7:  Depart Cape Town for Kapama Game Reserve.   Hotel:  Kapama Karula.  Afternoon game drive.

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Day 8:  Morning elephant-backed safari.  Afternoon game drive.

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Day 9:  Morning game drive.  4+ hours at the spa.  Afternoon game drive.

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Day 10:  Morning game drive.  Afternoon depart for Johannesburg.  Hotel:  D’Oreale Grande Peermont.

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Day 11:  Depart Johannesburg for Mauritius.  Hotel:  Sugar Beach Resort.

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Day 12:  Beach day.

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Day 13:  Beach day.

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Day 14:  Catamaran – snorkeling, see dolphins, visit an island and lunch.

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Day 15:  Beach day.

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Day 16:  Depart Mauritius.  Return home.   7 hour layover in Johannesburg was spent exploring airport shops, lunch at City Lodge Hotel, and working out at Phela Live Wellness Centre.

Day 17:  Arrive home.

Video

Our Honeymoon to South Africa and Mauritius

2 Dec

 

I created a video of our honeymoon to give you an idea of what can be done in two weeks in South Africa and Mauritius.   Soon I will be posting our itinerary and more detailed information about each of the locations.  Stay tuned to CourtneyMara.com!

Iberostar Rose Hall Suites Review

1 Jun

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Arrival/Check In – B

We never got a welcome drink!  We also arrived at 1pm and were not able to check in until 3pm.  This is one of the few times where a resort really has not allowed us to check in before the designated check in time.  However, you are allowed to enjoy the resort (including the restaurants) until check in time.  You just leave your luggage at the front door with the bell hop.

Resort – A

Beautiful grounds, beach was beautiful, lazy river is super lazy, but still a ton of fun to go around with a big group, the pools were awesome, there were always activities going on from dancing next to the pool, volleyball on the beach, volleyball in one of the pools, etc.  The lobby and other areas inside the resort are very classy.

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Room (Oceanfront) – A

The beds were comfortable, the balcony was huge and had a gorgeous view.  I only turned on the TV once but was able to find our home baseball game on and the show “Friends.”  The shower and tub are big.

Nightclub – A

Best all inclusive night club I have ever been too.  Good music, fun lights, big bar.

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Breakfast Buffet – A

Lots of choices and really good.  Great fruit, bacon is crisp, and LOTS of fresh juice choices.

Lunch Buffet at Aunt Rubys – B+

Food was good, just not so many choices.   Although, my brother was able to get a huge turkey sandwich one day, which I don’t think is that common at all-inclusive resorts.  Convenient location (next to beach).

Dinner at Aunt Rubys – B

My pork was ok.  My husband and his mom didn’t like the tenderloin.  Most everyone else seemed to order the rib eye and really enjoyed it (it was HUGE).  Plus, the dessert was the best for any of the restaurants.  I LOVED the apple pie.

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Dinner at Calabash Gourmet Restaurant – C

My husband’s steak was really good.  The lamb was only ok.  The appetizer of asparagus soup was really good and so was the salad they gave us.   My husband who is the pickiest eater and doesn’t like to try new things even liked the asparagus soup.  The dessert they gave us was some chocolate soft thing – it was terrible.

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Dinner at the Mexican Restaurant – A-

Loved the special tacos.  The appetizer bar is really good with a lot of Mexican and non-Mexican options that I almost didn’t need to eat the meal.  The dessert table was really lacking.  Nothing I wanted to eat.

Dinner at Iberostar Rose Hall Beach’s Japanese Hibachi Restaurant – B

The atmosphere and experience deserve an A, but the actual food deserves a C.  The chicken was really good, but the rice was burnt and the steak was terrible.  SAM_6370Pool Bar – A

The drinks were great.  I recommend the Dirty Banana.

Beach – B

Beautiful.  I just wish there was more room to swim out and around.  There are a lot of parts with seaweed or maybe it was coral – but where you couldn’t swim too easily.   Lying on the beach is awesome though.  Lots of shade and sun areas.

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Pool – A

Multiple pools.  Lots of activities.  The pools really made my husband and me into pool people.

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Water Activities – B

The kayaking is fun and relaxing.  Just reserve it in the morning for your afternoon time.  Parasailing was $120 per couple.   Our friends liked the sailing which was free.

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Spa: A

Get a long massage!  I had the best massage I have ever had and I tend to be picky about massages.  Plus, the atmosphere they have in the room and rest of the spa makes you feel that you are at a five-star spa.  Also, they have spa pools that are free to use.  Check them out.

Fitness Center:  C

We didn’t use it because I like to run with a TV and they didn’t have it set up so you can do that.  I remember there being one TV, but either you couldn’t see it from the treadmills or there was no noise.

A Couple Days in Venice

17 Jan

Matt and I spent a couple days in Venice in November 2012.  Venice is a MUST DO sometime in your life.  It is incredible.  Venice is made up of 144 islands.  We spent our two days there just walking, walking and walking.  We tried to explore as many islands as possible.  Below are some of our recommendations:

  • Eat, eat and eat!  We loved dinner at Hosteria Al Vecio Bragosso (see picture below).

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  • Take a ride in a gondola.  MUST MUST MUST.  

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  • Visit the Venetian/Jewish Ghetto.  There is a very interesting history that can be read about here.

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  • Drink Prosecco and eat tiramisu near Piazza San Marco.  It is totally touristy and over priced, but the area is so romantic and iconic.

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Have a great trip to Venice!

Please post your recommendations in the comments section below.

Virginia Beach, VA

2 Jun

Every summer Matt and I go to Ocean City, MD for one night – just to get away.  Well, this summer we decided to switch it up and try Virginia Beach, VA.  Neither of us had ever been there so we thought it would be a great, new ocean adventure.  We booked one night at the Econo Lodge on the Ocean and drove down the four hours from DC.

Things to know about Virginia Beach, VA:

  • If you need some place quiet, reasonably priced ($200/night holiday weekend in summer), conveniently located (on the ocean with balconies – if you are a non-smoker – see our view below), and you are ok with a motel, then the Econo Lodge on the Ocean is a good option.  They offered us free bikes to use one hour a day, which was an added bonus.
  • The boardwalk has great biking and walking paths that are separated so you don’t have to worry about hitting anyone.  The boardwalk is three miles long, so it is very bike-able and there are no real “boards” that are coming apart or nails sticking out so it is also walk- and run-able. We spent a lot of time just walking up and down the boardwalk exploring.
  • If you are used to Ocean City, MD or Atlantic City, NJ, get ready for a completely different layout of a beach town.  The cheesy beach shops, eats, and amusement rides aren’t really on the boardwalk.  Instead, they are on a street over called Atlantic Street.   The actual boardwalk is a lot cleaner, smoother, and really just has the hotels with a few hotel restaurants.  Different layout, but easy to learn – just walk the boardwalk for relaxation and walk Atlantic St. back to see all the shops.
  • If you like frozen yogurt, try Sweet Frog.  It was the BEST frozen yogurt I have ever had.
  • There are A LOT of free events in the summer.  The one night we were there, we were able to see two outdoor concerts (there were more, but we only went to two of them) and watch a movie on the beach.  Check out the schedule that they post near the beach and in their local magazine and take advantage!
  • Beach chairs near the ritzy hotels are more expensive.  Two beach chairs + an umbrella in front of our motel was $39 for the day.  The same set up a couple blocks down in front of the Hilton was $50 for the day.
  • Nightlife:  We were told about “the block” where the 21 age group goes = around 21st Street.  We were recommended to go to Calypso.  It was ok.  Can’t really speak to any of the other places.
  • Parking in the Hilton parking garage for the day is $10.  The Hilton is on the beach, so it is a great location.

Enjoy Virginia Beach, VA!