After not leaving my new home in Costa Rica for 2 years it was time to take a vacation to Mexico, hey I work hard in Costa Rica so give me a break. Moving to Costa was a big step, I took a lot of risks and it has been a fun learning experience becoming an expat and opening a business abroad. Even life in a beautiful exotic location can become strenuous and I have just started working on a new business so the timing seemed right given it was low season.
One of my favorite places to visit is Santa Cruz California. Mainly because I have friends there but also because the place is just epic. I’m lucky enough to be able to borrow a surfboard but if you are just visiting, renting a board will cost around $20 for half the day or $30 for the full day, which isn’t bad considering most airlines charge around $50-$100 to bring a board. My personal favorite surf spots in Santa Cruz are 26th Ave and The Hook because I’m an intermediate rider. If you are looking for more gnarly waves then check out Pleasure Point, Natural Bridges and Streamer Lane, but if you are a beginner head to Cowells Beach, Capitola or 38th Ave.
My all-time favorite place to eat a burger is at Betty Burger’s, you have to try one! If you are looking for a fancier meal then I would recommend Crow’s Nest, Fire Fish Grill for seafood or Laili Restaurant for a unique flavour. If you want to play a game of pool and chill then I can recommend Surf City Billiard Bar. The owner Kelly is super cool and makes a great drink. The party scene in Santa Cruz is good, my favorite place is Motiv; the atmosphere is vibrant but the drinks are a little on the expensive side.
Honestly there is so much to do in Santa Cruz, every time I go I find something new, this time I wanted to go for a hike so I did some research, found this web page which lead me to Big Basin Redwoods State Park.
My adventure was far from over and to be honest the most exciting part of the trip for me was a stopover in Guadalajara, Mexico. I had never been but after doing some research about cheap places to visit I found this gem. The flight to Guadalajara from LAX was only $115 and $150 back to Costa Rica so this was a no brainer for me given that the flight from LAX to Costa Rica was $250.
My favorite part about visiting Mexico is the quality of food you can find for reasonable prices. Guadalajara has such a huge selection, luckily for me I have a few friends there so some good recommendations came in. I always ask where the best burger is in town and I was told Pigs Pearl was the place to go so I took my date there and I have to say it was amazing. We also went to The Tequila, a restaurant my friend had heard good things about but had never been. We were both impressed, great upscale atmosphere and the price was around $40 for an appetizer, two drinks each and our meals.
I always feel very welcomed whenever I now travel to Mexico, the people are so friendly. My friend had a birthday party to attend so that was the only partying I did. If you ever get invited to a party or dinner in Mexico you will get the best hospitality and the drinks and food seem to never end. Many people see Mexico as dangerous but I have never felt like I was in a threatened state.
I highly recommend visiting downtown Guadalajara where you will find some amazing colonial architecture; check out the Instito Cultural Cabana’s, the Cathedral, Teatro Degollado and the Expiatory Temple. The largest market in Mexico is also located downtown Guadalajara. The city really blew me away with a mix of modern well designed architecture and colonial buildings that will make you feel like you are back in the day.
My new favorite location in Mexico is Ajijic which is located about an hour away from Guadalajara. I am not a huge city guy so I decided to go for a drive and found this cool town located on Lake Chapala, the biggest lake in Mexico. The town has attracted a lot of expats, mostly retirees from Canada and the United States; they come for the outstanding weather and cheaper prices. The most recommended place to dine in Ajijic is Tango, but you can spend a week eating at all the different restaurants. You will also find some eccentric shops with art and handmade crafts.
Why not visit Mexico soon – you won’t be disappointed.
Jason Mueller is a 33-year-old Canadian living in Costa Rica chasing and living his dreams. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Living each adventure,
Christine and Trevor
Empowering people to live a healthy, active, authentic and fulfilling life.
Adelaide, South Australia.
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DISCLAIMER: This article is written for informational purposes only and is based on Christine and Trevor’s own life experiences. No food featured on this site should ever be consumed or handled if known or suspected allergies exist. Nothing featured here should be taken as medical, professional or legal advice. It is always recommended that you consult the appropriate professional before changing any routine or adopting any new procedure.