Amazing Beaches You'll Want To Add To Your Bucket List

If you Google 'world's most beautiful beaches' you are sure to find listicles naming pristine places in Greece, the Carribean Islands, the Phillipines and definitely Hawaii. But in addition to those dreamy destinations I want to share 5 beaches I absolutely adore. And once you see these photos I am sure you'll be adding them to your bucket list too!

In no particular order here they are...

Coastal Catalonia 


Coastal Catalonia is the southeastern most area of Spain on the Mediterranean Sea. Well known for being home to the beautiful city of Barcelona, this area is all home to many stunning beach towns with even more impressive beaches than those of Barceloneta Beach (pictured above).

Costa Rica


Costa Rica has some of the most diverse beaches, especially considering it is a small country. It is located on the Central American isthmus that connects North and South America. This geography gives it warm Caribbean waters (and vibes) to the east and cooler Pacific waters to the west.

Cote d'Azur 


The French Rivera, or Cote d'Azur, is known for is pebbly beaches and oh so relaxed French-ness. The Riviera spans the southern coast of France so there are many beach towns from Marseille to Nice (pictures above) from which to choose.

Italian Riviera


A bit further south of the French Riviera you will find the Italian Riviera. Rocky like it's French counterpart, it is home to Cinque Terre and many cliffside villages. At the base of the mountains are exquisite waters perfect for sunning beside and dipping in after an incredible Italian seafood pasta.

Riviera Maya


And the so called Mexican Riviera (aka Riviera Maya)... *swoon*. Last year I fell in love with the beaches (and everything else) in Tulum and nearby Coba. These beaches are unspoiled, and if you are traveling from the US like myself, easy to get to. I mean just look at these waters! Who doesn't want to be there right this moment!?!

So there you have it, 5 bucket list worthy beach destinations! Which beaches would you add to this list? Share them in the comments below!

Overcoming My Fears in Paradise

I have a fear of heights and this acrophobia comes up pretty often while I am travelling and this trip was no exception. While in Mexico my partner and I visited some of the beautiful Mayan ruins and Yucatan cenotes which challenged my fear and proved to me once again that I am more courageous and capable than I realize.


I had my first minor scare when visiting the ruins in Tulum. This beautiful place is the only coastal ruins site in the Yucatan and sit atop cliffs overlooking the sparkling Caribbean Ocean. Hiking the ruins were not a big deal until we came to climbing down the steep wooden steps to reach the beach below. I held the rail and scaled the steps slowly, fortunately escaping the scalding sun outweighed my slight hesitation and before I knew it I was in the water.


A couple of days after our visit to the ruins we boarded a bus to Coba, a small town south of Tulum with ruins we heard we could climb. The Coba ruins were very different from Tulum's; they were shaded by forest canopy with structures intact enough to easily identify (like recreational ball courts!). It was here that we climbed the Ixmoja pyramid. I didn't expect these ruins to be as high or steep as they were but I really wanted to see the view from the top. The climb up and down were far more difficult than the steps in Tulum (that I had since forgotten), and as soon as I made it to the top I found a safe place to tuck myself away. But I have to say, standing above the all the trees was an incredible sight.

Looking back now I see each adventure in Tulum was a ramp up our to our afternoon at the Coba cenotes. My honey and I decided hire a cab driver to take us to two: Choo-Ha and Tamcach-Ha. Choo-Ha is a relatively shallow underground swimming pool-like cenote while Tamcach-Ha is 30 feet below grade with an additional 40 foot water depth.


After a quiet swim in Choo-Ha we headed over to the far more "exciting" Tamcach-Ha. I began down the long, wooden spiral staircase but halfway down I panicked. The drop seemed far too high and a very shaky and frantic version of myself rushed back topside with my partner not far behind. After many minutes, the two of us in our bathing suits negotiated my way back down the stairs in an embarrassingly slow fashion.

A tour group was already diving from the 10 and 20 foot high diving boards. While I composed myself on the large platform at the water's surface my boyfriend went for a swim. I watched the old, the young and everyone in between jump from the 10 foot board, I even watched many (including my brave man) jump from the 20 footer. After nearly a half hour of just watching I began feeling some serious FOMO. Maybe it was the scared 10-year old that took the plunge or watching my boyfriend go up and down several times, but I realized that I wanted to be the type of person who could make that jump. I didn't want to go homing knowing I didn't do something I had the chance to try. And I didn't want to be ruled by an irrational fear. I wanted to make that jump, or at least try to. So I climbed up those scary stairs, stood 10 feet above the water (it seemed higher by the way!) and after a few minutes looking down at the water, deliberating my sanity, I jumped!


And it was terrifying, and a little painful, but I did it and it was INCREDIBLE. 

This little experience was big for me. I learned more about the woman and partner I want to be. I want to make memories a push myself outside of my comfort zone. It's that little step that did just that for me.

Tulum's Best Beach Clubs

Tulum has some of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen, and while the beaches alone are enough for a dream vacation the abundance beach clubs only make Tulum better! My sweetie and I bounced around a few clubs on our vacay and these are a few of our favorite places to lounge around cocktail in hand.

Zazil Kin

Zazil Kin beach club was our favorite spot in all of Tulum. Not only were the beaches the most pristine (I'm talking about you Playa Pescadores) but the club was the least pretentious and the people watching the most interesting! After accidentally stumbled on it our first morning in Mexico we came back 2 more times and chose to spend our last day there as well! 


The club, like most beach clubs in Tulum, is an extension of the hotel. But unlike a lot of places most of the club business comes as "walk-ins" and they maintain a large section of beach beds specifically for those not staying at the hotel. Beds are rented for the day (around $5 USD) which includes one cocktail and lots of lovely palm tree shade. And I highly recommend making sure you are around for their 2 for 1 happy hour! I particularly loved the beach bar including the very Tulum-esque bar swings. The bar serves snacks and daily specials depending on what the local fisherman bring off their boats.


Om Tulum

Om was exactly what I imagined Tulum to be, hippy at heart with a little bit of polish. The restaurant/bar has a fantastic terrace that overlooks the beach and while we were there they had the best caribbean tunes playing that we came back with an entirely new shazamed playlist!


Coco Tulum

Ahhhh Coco Tulum... what can I say that the pictures don't already!? Coco ranked the chicest of all the places we visited in Tulum. The all white everything somehow popped against the white sand and all the details made me go camera crazy.


Tulum has so many incredible spots packed with personality, these are just a few clubs I know for a fact I will return to again and again!

Where to Eat in Tulum

Tulum House Tour

My partner and I have had many excellent airbnb experiences and a few so-so ones over the past few years. Our most recent place in Tulum shot right to the top of the excellent list, and since it was so great I just have to share!

Front entrance located on a no-outlet drive
Front entrance located on a no-outlet drive
The entire property is perfectly landscaped
The entire property is perfectly landscaped

Without being very familiar with Tulum we booked the Greenhouse, one of six condo style apartments in a residential area of the pueblo. It was the modern aesthetic, great reviews and infinity pool that really won us over. 


We arrived late at night via shuttle from the Cancun airport. After a long immigration line and a one and a half hour drive we arrived to no running water! Uh oh! But actually our host was super responsive and quick to fix the issue and by the time we had unpacked and connected to wifi. 

Bike parking and more common space
Bike parking and more common space
Private back terrace & a peak of the shower
Private back terrace & a peak of the shower

The next morning we were able to see the Greenhouse in all its glory. The airbnb included 2 bikes per unit, an awesome "indoor-outdoor" shower, and a private patio area where I wish I could take coffee every morning! But the best part of the whole experience was the pool [insert emoji heart eyes]which I wish I could have spent even more time in!


Logistically the Greenhouse was a about a 5 minute (or 40 peso) taxi ride to the town center and 10+ minutes to the beaches (100-120 peso taxi ride). The overall experience the airbnb was overwhelmingly positive. Despite minor bumps such as the water and electricity briefly going out here and there, and more bugs than we are used to (it is the jungle after all!) the hospitality and value were excellent. There was a day time maid service who stayed at the house during the day and we felt safe staying there. All in all such a great stay and so happy we took the chance and booked!

Travel Photography - How I Edit

Last week I shared how I like to shoot travel photography. This week I want to expand on that and show how I edit my photos. My aesthetic is clean and I prefer true to life images so here are my general tips on achieving that look. 

1. Tools

I used to use Adobe's Lightroom to process my imagery but I found that it can be time consuming even when using the awesome mobile app version. Currently I am loving the vsco (visual supply company) app, which is far less expensive and good enough for my style of editing. Vsco has all the editing tools I need in one place, I can use it on the go, and it has lots of fantastic filters. 


2. Lighting & Exposure

I think every good photo starts with considering lighting. I prefer natural sunlight and diffused light in my pics to give good clarity and color. That means enough light to ensure your camera can capture your subject without producing much grain or losing detail. I also avoid harsh and dark shadows generally. Lighting is something you definitely want to consider when you are shooting, but it will also play a role when editing. If an image is a bit dim I like to bump up the exposure (aka brightness) to brighten it up. I often look for something that should be white in my picture and make sure it is white and not grey or yellowish. I do this just enough as to not overexpose the image (remove all the blacks and shadows) but just enough so the photo feels light and happy.



I have a thing for symmetry and spatial balance in photos. I try to find lines whether they actually appear or just give the illusion of one and then rotate my photo to make that line straight. For this I use the vsco straighten, horizontal perspective and vertical perspective tools. The latter 2 tools are great if you picture is a bit askew because you shot it from an awkward angle and the straighten tool can do full rotations or very minute straightening. 



I don't often crop my photos because automatically it reduces the number of pixels and thus resolution so if I go to print or display in large format the pictures could become blurry. But in some circumstances a photo could do with a bit of strategic cropping. Often I will remove unwanted objects. I also like to crop in order to better frame the subject of a photo. In the photo of the ruins below I both removed the tourist rope in the bottom right corner, an artifact in the blue sky, and framed the ruins with the natural plant life in the shot.



Filters help create a mood and bring cohesion to a series of images. I try to find ones with minimal color shifts and decrease its intensity a bit. There are many free filters on vsco but my favorite right now is A6 which I bought (for a dollar) in a set of 3 as part of vsco's "Aesthetic Series." I also love the "Legacy" collection that gives a very analog and serious vibe to photos. Now check out the previously edited photos with the A6 filter. The changes are subtle but give the images that extra polish.


This ends it for part two of my travel photography series! I hope this was helpful, and if you haven't yet check out part one with my shooting tips!

Travel Photography - How I Shoot

I love photography and ever since I started embracing a more minimal lifestyle I depend on my travel photos as souvenirs. Both my partner and I aren't big fans of bringing things back for ourselves or friends and family from trips (for a few reasons that I will get into in another post sometime soon!). Since photos will pretty much be the only tangible memory of my travels I take a lot of them and I put quite a bit of care into editing and storing them. Today I want to focus on my shooting "technique" if you can even call it that 😅! These are a few things I noticed about how I take my travel photos.

1. Look with the eyes first

Although I am all about getting a great picture and documenting every moment of a trip I try to make sure I am actually experiencing each moment. If the camera has been to my eye for too long or I get sucked into reviewing pictures while still on vacation that means I am not being present and I need to step back for the camera for a while. And if I don't catch myself, my partner has gotten really good at doing it for me. I'm all about creating real memories first, pictures second.


2. Content

Now that I am enjoying my vacation there are a few things I like to have pictures of:


Part of the thrill of visiting new lands is a change of scenery. That's why I end of taking soo many pictures like the one below documenting all of the foreign beauty I see.



I love architecture and design. Part of what gives a destination charm are the buildings it has. Thats why I inevitable come home with a gigabyte of pictures like these...


Food & Objects

I may be basic but I love taking pictures of my food. Food evokes some of the strongest memories because it takes you back to place using almost all of your senses. I love having pictures of delicious meals like these amazing traditional tacos I had in Coba below. Similarly I take picture of interesting objects I wouldn't find at home.


Candid Portraits

Some of my favorite portraits are those taken when your subject is caught off guard. Candids have the power of recreating a moment and taking you back in time.


3. Style

Most photographers have a definitive style that makes their work recognizable. Although I certainly haven't developed a real style (yet at least!) I do have a few specific ways I really enjoy shooting right now. 

Flat, straight on

The flat shot is one of my favorite photos to take. I usually have a specific subject in mind  (below my subjects are those gorgeous cacti) and shoot in such a way so that my camera lens is parallel to a wall (or floor) behind what I am shooting.


Up close & minimal detailS

Sometimes you just need to get a little closer. Photos like those below highlight one item in detail with very little context. I take photos like this when shooting food, little objects or when I have taken a few wide photos of a place and want to capture more of its unique details.


Wide & contextUAL

Other times it helps to take a step back. An wide photo has the potential to capture and entire setting including tons of information (and beauty!).



I honestly don't think equipment really matters that much. I have taken pictures with the front facing camera on an iPad before (I implore you not to do this) and although not the best quality I have photos form my trip to Paris I still hold dear! When traveling I alternate between my iPhone and my Sony mirrorless camera - on my last trip I had the 5s with which I took all of my instagram photos. Both of these devices are easy to operate, lightweight and produce very high quality images.


I hope this little how to helps you take more photos you can cherish forever. Look out for part 2 on how I edit my pics coming soon!

See Part 2 on how I edit photos here

Tulum in Pictures

My honey and I just returned from a wonderful week-long trip to Mexico. Neither of us had ever been before so we thought we would make our first trip to the beautiful city of Tulum located on the caribbean side of the Yucatán Peninsula. Here is a first look at and some of my favorite snapshots of this gorgeous locale!


Hasta luego from me and my photogenic cat friend!

For more photos from the trip check out my instagram and #seesoomuchMexico