ADRIATIC PARADISE

Travel

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CROATIAS BEST KEPT SECRET

The island of MIjet hugs the Dalmatian coast.  Known for its beautiful scenery and serenity, it is not the typical stop for a group of 18 year old inter railers. However, wanting to relax after three weeks of roughing it in European cities, MIjet seemed ideal. We were all glad we chose, albeit completely randomly, to visit this Croatian gem.

The AirBnB we used was situated in Sobra, a sleepy costal village in the north of the island. Our apartment had a private beach accompanied with panoramic views of the Adriatic ocean. This luxury came at £14 a night each. Fair to say we were very happy with our internet trawling.

Our first day was spent in the national park of MIjet. We arrived in Pomena port mid-morning after catching the 3 hour ferry from Split. Our hospitable AirBnB host took our rucksacks in his car and we were free to explore for the rest of the day.

It cost 50,00K, roughly £6.00, for student entrance into the national park, which included a boat trip to the island of St Mary. The park encompassed two salt water lakes, surrounded by forest trails and greenery. The day was spent lounging in the sun and swimming in the warm waters. We practically had the park to ourselves, unlike Krka Falls in Split.

Before we left to catch the late afternoon ferry to Sobra from Poláce, we took a boat to Sveta Marija, in order to eat lunch at the converted monastery. You could easily spend a week at the park swimming, cycling and canoeing. We wished we had more time here.

 

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We spent the remainder of our days eating fresh seafood at one of the two restaurants in Sobra, lazing at the beach and on our balcony recuperating from our past month of euro travelling and partying.

Mljet is a place for true escapism. Regardless of your age or budget it is an amazing place to visit to relax and unwind. Not as popular as other Croatian islands, you don’t have to contest with annoying tourists- you have it all to yourself !

Me and my friends only experienced a glimpse of Mljet island life, yet from what we saw we loved. I would recommend it to everyone… but I don’t want anyone knowing about real life paradise of course!

 TOP TIPS FOR MLJET ISLAND

  • Bring a book to help you chill out, internet is unreliable so you may as well disconnect for a while!
  • Don’t rely on public transport or taxis. We had the fortune of a helpful host who aided us with transport. You may need to consider a car.
  • Make sure you have enough cash, only a few businesses take card and cash machines are sparse, only located in ferry ports and big hotels.
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View from our Air B&B 
https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/6441509

PURA VIDA

Travel

RUM, RACOONS AND RAINSTORMS- A DAY IN QUEPOS

The costal port town of Quepos is situated on the Pacific south of Costa Rica. Known as the gateway to nearby national park Manuel Antonio, as well as for it’s edgy, laid back, “I want to spend my gap year here and surf” feel.

We drove to Quepos from Monte Verde the Mountainous highlands. With little regard for our safety, our bus careered down crumbling mountain roads, as we left the cloud forests behind. The tantalising glimpses of the Pacific Ocean, did however compensate our anxiety ridden journey. We stopped of at El Rio Tarcoles, an emergent stop off point turned tourist destination by some lucrative locals. Under the bridge rested over 20 6ft crocodiles, a mere stones throw from the road. Apparently a local tradition was to entice the crocodiles by tempting them with meat.

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After settling in, we got a public bus from our hotel in the neighbouring port to the seaside resort of Manuel Antonio. The bus station itself an eventful occasion, a bin overflowing had a swarm of bees, one which stung a child. The natural response of this child’s parent was to set the bin on fire in the crowded bus station!   

Arriving during torrential rain, we didn’t complain for it was pleasant, warm and we needed the refreshment. Clutching  a coconut water freshly cut with a machete as long as your arm ( slightly alarming), we walked through jungle lined paths with howler monkeys scrambling over our heads, sloths sleepily hanging and the dense sound of the forest encompassing us. Finally an opening to a beach beating anything I had seen before. Clear blue water and pure white sand stretched before us nestled amongst with the lush jungle foliage backdrop.

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How could we resist but to scramble head long to the warm inviting waves of the tranquil bay. Paddling in the warm water was absolute bliss. Yet beware! Racoons were opportunistically ransacking peoples bags, scouting for a cheeky snack. Luckily our bags were unscathed, but some fellow beachgoers were not so fortunate. 

After exploring the other side of the bay barefoot, we soon realised the abundance of hermit crabs necessitated the worlds worst combination of sand and trainers. We discovered another beach around the peninsula, with a wonderful absence of any tourists we thought ourselves lucky to find a private slice of paradise. After I bravely took a dip the strong current and powerful waves explained the empty waters. Whilst a wave knocked me off my feet dragging me under, my caring mother, oblivious to my potential danger continued to take pictures of the scenic panorama surrounding us. A reminder of the danger of relaxing too much in a place so wild.

Unfortunately the park closed at 5pm to provide a peaceful sanctuary for all the amazing wildlife. We left along the winding paths through the forest seeing a three toed sloth just hanging  wonderfully camouflaged right there from the tree, our first of that kind.  To round off a wonderful day we sat on the nearby public beach whilst the locals galloped their ponies and watched the sunset.

Dinner was an interesting affair we went to a restaurant recommended by our guide Brian, he seemed to be connected to at least someone in every place in Costa Rica. As the sun set the music got louder, a mixture of Jamaican bass and reggae roots played by colourful characters in the restaurant we ate at. I had the best fajitas accompanied by strawberry mojitos!!! A young, free and easy vibe permeated through the seafront restaurant, bars and clubs, oozing summer freedom. Even the tropical rainfall on our outdoor tables did not dampen spirits. A few too many strawberry mojitos and it was time to leave and catch the chicken bus back to our hotel, but that’s another story!

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