Today, I woke up in the mountains outside of San Jose, Costa Rica on a coffee ranch. To say that this place was breathtaking doesn’t seem to adequately describe the experience. The property expands for acres until it reaches a small river running through the mountains. Every acre is perfectly manicured with tropical foliage and most importantly, heirloom coffee plants. My coffee this morning was served by the owner of the ranch fresh from their recent harvest. As an avid coffee drinker, this entire experience seems utterly priceless, a memory that will go down in the books!
COFFEE RANCH AND BNB: SAN PABLO, COSTA RICA
This isn’t the first time in my travels that I have had an unbelievable stay with locals. I recently road tripped through Morocco and found myself in a berber tent in the middle of the Sahara Desert. Again, I am at a loss for words to fully capture what this experience was like. The days were spent throwing botchy balls all around what seemed like endless sand dunes. Nights were wasted around the dinner table partaking in delicious Moroccan Tagine and attempting to learn traditional Moroccan dances. On the last day there, my friends and I woke in the darkness of the early morning, mounted camels, and trekked out to a tall dune to watch the sunrise over the Sahara Desert.
SAHARA DESERT, MOROCCO
Whether waking up overlooking the Acropolis in Athens or the unique beaches of Okinawa, my best memories traveling have been spent diving into the culture and living as much like a local as possible. I suppose this type of travel could be done staying in hotels or resorts, but, in my experience, nothing comes close to the flare and adventure found when staying in AIRBNBs. And, no, this is not an ad for the company, although, AIRBNB, if you are listening, I am available.
FRONT YARD OF BNB
I am often asked: “How do you afford to travel?” or “How do you find these places on the other side of the planet?” And, my answer is always AIRBNB. Airbnb is often, if not always, more affordable and more authentic than the average hotel. Instead of staying in a tourist ridden area of a city, you can stay in an apartment and live like a local.
RIGHT: VIEW FROM BNB IN NAZARENE, PORTUGAL
You can shop at the neighborhood markets, cook meals with local spices, and explore areas of the city you might not have visited otherwise. Plus, AIRBNB hosts act as your personal concierge answering any and all questions you have about your vacation. They often help in planning day trips like bike riding through wineries in Mendoza, Argentina or walking tours of the Vatican in Rome.
BNB IN ROME, ITALY
My hosts in Cuba found out that it was my birthday, picked me up in a 1950s car, and took me as their guest to their family's traditional New Year's Eve Boucherie. It doesn’t get more local or authentic than that. In my experience, the most common language spoken around the world is kindness and hospitality and with Airbnb I have certainly found this time and time again.