|The Beach Shirt|
Just "hanging around" at our posada on the island of Gran Roque - the only inhabited island in the archipelago known as Los Roques, off the north coast of Venezuela. Enjoy your spring break. We certainly will be.
Dan (& the rest of The Beach Shirt Team)
We recently checked out Alto de Chavon, the 16th Century *replica* Tuscan village on the high cliffs above the Chavon river in the beautiful South East coast of the Dominican Republic. Alto de Chavon is flush with everything from wonderful shops, 5 star restaurants, cafes, a beautiful amphiteater and views that you will never get tired of. This village is tucked away in the area known as Casa de Campo - a private "neighborhood" of about 200 b-e-a-utiful homes, condos, and villas with polo fields, golf courses, horse pastures, and water features sprinkled throughout. It is so choice that the cell/satellite antennas in the community are made too look like trees.
All visitors have to pay an entrance fee to enter Casa de Campo, but we know how to get in for free. Tweet this post by clicking here (or below) and we'll let you in on our secret.
(All photos were taken with our iPhone on a breezy afternoon last week.)
Clean water. Poverty alleviation. Sponsored education. And...Hammocks??
On a recent service trip to the Dominican Republic, I was blessed to connect with a righteous dude named Tim. He is the Managing Director at a revolutionary place called Doulos Discovery School (check it out). More than that, Tim is co-owner of a SoCo Hammocks. SoCo stands for Socially Conscious because they are exactly that. Twenty percent of their net profits are donated to help the poor around the world through clean water, poverty alleviation, and sponsored education via different non-profits.
These handmade hammocks are simple, durable, lightweight and set up in about 60 seconds. They come in a variety of colors from Sky Blue to Classic Red to Vintage Yellow. I had the pleasure to try one of these out during my time in Jarabacoa. The second I fell into the hammock it was like: "Holy understatements, Batman! This thing is more comfortable than it looks!" I thought maybe they should have called it SuCo for Super Comfortable, but Socially Conscious is probably more fitting. I've listed some of my favorite features below. Global impact has never been more relaxing.
~ Each hammock comes with two free 6 ft. hanging straps
~ The Bomber Buckles attached to SoCo Hammocks are the best solution for fully adjustable suspension ~ The name "Bomber Buckle" sounds bada$$
~ Hammocks have a 450lb weight capacity but only weigh a pound in it's attached pouch!
~ The silk nylon material is breathable, mildew resistent, triple stitched, and feels absolutely blissful
~ You have a choice in the cause you want to support
Find out more at www.socohammocks.com
By Travel + Leisure Staff Appeared as "25 Secret Island Escapes" in T+L Magazine
Hollywood scouts were on to something when they skipped over Mykonos and chose a secret island in Greece as the location for Mamma Mia. The movie was a $600-million hit, in part because it fueled peoples’ fantasies of escaping to a secluded island (and yes, those catchy ABBA tunes didn’t hurt). Surprisingly, that picture-perfect movie location, Skopelos, has stayed under the radar. When you hop off the ferry, you’ll be wowed by the view of the shimmering Aegean Sea, the island’s tile-roofed tavernas, and a decided lack of travelers.
There are still gems like Skopelos hidden all around the globe, if you know where to look. T+L editors have done the hunting for you to uncover secret islands where you can truly unwind, from the rugged Chilean spot that inspired the novel Robinson Crusoe to a tiny island in the Caribbean that was virtually deserted for decades until a luxe resort opened in 2010.
Similar high-end resorts have been popping up across Southeast Asia, where many islands are vying to be the next Phuket. So those looking to get far off the grid head to Con Dao, an archipelago 110 miles off Vietnam’s southeastern coast. Sheer granite cliffs border deserted beaches and crystal-blue water, and a private guide can lead you by motorbike to remote spots like the spectacular Dam Tre Bay lagoon.
Diving enthusiasts should opt instead for the secret island of Mabul, off the northeastern coast of Malaysia, where the marine life is on a par with the Galapagos. Even better, the native sea moths, bobtail squids, and elusive paintpot cuttlefish are some of the only inhabitants.
Travelers looking to commune with nature can also find solitude on Nicaragua’s acre-wide Jicaro Island on freshwater Lake Nicaragua. The nine casitas at Jicaro Island Ecolodge were built from storm-felled trees, and all the food is locally sourced; you can sip a passion-fruit-banana cocktail as you sit by the infinity pool.
Prefer something closer to home? On Washington’s Lummi Island, a nine-square-mile oasis on Puget Sound, you can sample the region’s bounty (net-caught salmon, spot prawns) while watching orcas ply the waters.
Whatever your daydream, you’ll find a destination to match by checking out our slideshow of secret islands around the world.
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