La Isla Shopping Center in Downtown Cancun and the Benefits of Traveling Solo


Untitled (1 of 1)-70 La Isla shopping center in downtown Cancun in the hotel zone resembles that of any large American city with every high-end shop you can imagine, nice restaurants to eat at, and bars to grab a drink in the very hot weather that is prevalent in this part of the world.  This area of Cancun did not exist when I first visited in college.  All their were was outdoor markets where locals were selling their homemade goods that you could barter for.  Now this area is very attractive but looks quite similar to the shopping centers in large cities around United States.

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My Visit to Xcaret - Part 1


Visiting Xcaret was definitely the highlight of my recent trip to Cancun, Mexico.  There are some things that I would do differently when I return.  I definitely plan to return as I love Cancun and Xcaret is such an amazing way to spend a day or two.  I really wish that I had Spent two days at this amazing attraction as I felt there was too much to see in one day!   I will be writing two posts about Xcaret because I have so much to share. 

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The Royal Sea Aquarium Resort in Curacao

While in Curacao, I stayed in the area Willemstad at the Royal Sea Aquarium Resort.  This resort is in a lagoon area with many shops and restaurants,  There are beaches all around the lovely crystal water inlet where this resort is located.  There is also a nice pool and spa and every room is facing the ocean.  Guests are free to visit the Royal Sea Aquarium which is right next door for free as many times as they want. 

There are many advantages for Americans visiting Curacao.  Almost everyone speaks English and all of the stores and restaurants on the island take dollar bills so need to change your money for a fee.  Curacao is also not a really long flight for many living in the United States.  I flew from Tampa to Miami in less than an hour and then from Miami to Curacao in a little more than two hours.  I felt this Dutch island was safe, clean, and well taken care of.  You also will not need to use a power converter for your electronics as they have the same type of outlets we use in the United States.

Below is a photo of the lagoon.  The Royal Sea Aquarium and resort are right to the left in this photo.  The water is warm, but refreshing at the same time.  I visited Curacao in August which is one of the hottest months.  If I were to return, I would want to visit after October 1st when it cools off slightly.  This island does not have a history of being affected by hurricanes, but that doesn't mean your flight will not be affected by either getting there or leaving if you visit during hurricane season. 

Untitled (1 of 1)-77Here is a view of the resort's pool area from the third floor:
Untitled (1 of 1)-77Here is a view at sunset:
Untitled (1 of 1)-77Here is one of the wonderful refreshing passion fruit daiquiris I had at the resort's restaurant Augusto's
Untitled (1 of 1)-77A view of the resort from across the lagoon:
Untitled (1 of 1)-77Kayaking, snorkeling, and scuba diving are very popular activities in this crystal clear water.
Untitled (1 of 1)-77Just a few other photos taken at various places around the lagoon:
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Untitled (1 of 1)-89The sunsets rarely disappointed:

Untitled (1 of 1)-34Here is an area designated for bands and special events in the lagoon:
Untitled (1 of 1)-34There were just as many people out and about at night as the temperature was a little cooler in August.  The lights were really pretty and there was plenty to do:
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Untitled (1 of 1)-34Snorkeling at sunset:
Untitled (1 of 1)-34Have you ever visited Curacao?  If so, did you like it?  Thank you so much for visiting and please feel free to leave a comment as I value each one.  Have a wonderful week!


The Fabulous Beaches of Curacao

Untitled (1 of 1)-137Doesn't everyone wear a dress to the beach?  I'm kidding!  I was on a tour of some of Curacao's more popular beaches including Playa Cas Abou, Knip Beach, and Playa Kenepa Chiki.  I visited in late August.  August and September are known to be some of the hottest and driest months of the year.  I was on the island of Curacao for 7 days and it didn't even come close to raining while I was there.

Overall, I thought the beaches were very nice.  The sands were white, the water was clean and as transparent as glass so they are ideal for snorkeling and scuba diving.  I thought they were all clean and well kept. 

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Being a Floridian, I'm used to beautiful beaches.  The only thing we are missing is mountainous landscapes and large rocky structures which I did get to see on Curacao's beaches.  The below photos were taken at Playa Kenepa Chiki:

Hard to get lost on Curacao:
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Below is Playa Casa Abou:

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Untitled (1 of 1)-137My favorite place to photography people is at the beach.  It's rare for me to meet anyone who isn't happy or doesn't want their photo taken.  I think most people would enjoy helping children build their sand castles or look for sea shells!
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Thank you so much for stopping by.  Have you been to Curacao?  If so what is your favorite beach.  Please feel free to leave a comment as I treasure all of the,  Have a wonderful week my friends.

~ Michelle


Island Girl's PSA: Tanning is OUT and Your Skin is IN!!!


I had a wake up call this week regarding sun exposure and wearing sunscreen.  I live in sunny Florida and have visited some very nice places with great beaches that are near the equator.  I've mistakenly thought that my olive tone skin would protect me.  While darker skin is less likely to be affected negatively by the sun, no one is immune.  I want to share my experience in case it can help someone else.

1535385_10202946244611175_2027794919_nPaia Beach, Maui, Hawaii




when I am out exploring beaches and Islands.  I grew up in Vermont where we only had a few weeks of really hot and sunny weather during the year.  We didn't really think about sunscreen because we wanted to soak in as much of the sunlight as we could.  I was a tomboy and I was always outdoors. We also had a pool and I never really worried about getting a sunburn.

I  As a teenager we used baby oil when laying in the sun.  When I went to college, we made a point of being out during the PTH 's - also known as the prime tanning hours between 10 AM and two PM.  I will tell you in this post are the hours when the sun is the strongest and most dangerous and we need to be the most careful. 

When I was in my 20s I discovered tanning beds.   At that time most people believed that tanning beds were better for you than the sun.  That belief is now said to be very untrue. 

I went to a dermatologist last week and pointed out some moles that I have developed in adulthood.  I also pointed out a small spot on my nose which the doctor might not have noticed if I hadn't pointed it out. It was on the side of my nose which is a very typical area for certain types of skin cancer to develop.  When the doctor saw it, she immediately said that it needed to be removed. 

I had to wait nearly 2 weeks for the biopsy to come in it came back as a pre-cancerous lesion so it is not cancer and basically had about a one in five chance of becoming cancer.  If it had come back as cancer, I would have faced 15 days of radiation five days a week for three weeks.  She did recommend that in the fall I go back for a very deep chemical peel.  She wants me to wait because having something like this done in the summer can make your skin extra sensitive. 

So what will I do differently in the future?  I will do my best not to spend a lot of time in the sun between 10 AM and 2 PM if I do need to be in the sun I will make sure that I use a broad-spectrum sunscreen of at least 30 SPF or above.  I will wear a wide brimmed hat and reapply sunscreen every hour or so.  One should also need to make sure that the expiration date on my sunscreen is good as it doesn't last forever. 

I have also learned through this ordeal that everyone should check their skin frequently for any changes.  Our skin is the largest organ in your body and it's not a bad idea to have a yearly check up or more often if you are at risk for skin cancer.  If you have a relative with the most serious type of cancer called melanoma, you are more likely to develop it.  Any moles that are larger than the size of a pencil eraser or that are very dark colored or have an asymmetrical border should be looked at by a doctor.  Melanoma is almost always curable if caught early.  If is if it is not caught early it is extremely serious. 

I will still visit beaches, but thankfully I stopped just lying on the beach in the past five or six years.  I prefer to sit under umbrellas or inside.  As I've gotten older I don't really like just to sit still.  I like to explore and walk around so just laying on the beach and baking in the sun is no longer fun to me. 

All of this said I will still be very vigilant when it comes to my skin and visit a doctor at least once a year.  Unfortunately it can take as much is 20 to 40 years for the full effects of sun damage to show up on your skin. You can read more about skin cancer here:  Skin Cancer Facts

Here is a list of what I will do differently in the future:

1.  Avoid the sun and or be extra careful between 10 AM and 2 PM

2. Wear a broad spectrum sunscreen of at least 30 SPF making sure to check the expiration date and re-apply every 1-2 hours.

3.  Wear a wide brimmed hat at the beach - sunglasses are good too.

4.  Visit a doctor at least once a year for a skin scan check.  Anything suspicious especially unusual moles need to be checked immediately.

Luckily I love stormy weather - even at the beach:


Thank you so much for stopping by please leave any comments or questions.  I hope you all have a wonderful week.