LandLopers.com is an experiential luxury travel blog with reviews and tips for everyone from the novice to the pro traveler. Previously dwelling in a cubicle, Matt decided to escape the normal life and head out to explore what else the world had to offer. He encourages his readers to do the same and helps them see the world through his eyes.
Carnival Corp. CEO Arnold Donald said a new agreement in Dubrovnik, Croatia, illustrates how fears about crowding in favorite tourist areas can be managed by the cruise industry.
Speaking as part of a CEO panel at the Seatrade Cruise Global convention here, Donald took the occasion to disclose that major cruise lines have agreed to coordinate their schedules this summer in Dubrovnik.
That could mean some ships arrive later or depart earlier to keep their time in port from coinciding, or it could mean moving some ships to arrive during the week rather than on weekends.
The Dorchester Collection is famed the world over for its European ‘grande dames’, with a portfolio of luxury hotels that includes the Plaza Athénée in Paris, Hotel Eden in Rome and, of course, The Dorchester on London’s Park Lane.
But now the group appears to have set its sights on fresh pastures with the announcement of a contemporary five-star hotel in Dubai, set to become the first Dorchester hotel in the Middle East.
The gleaming steel and glass tower, by far and away the Dorchester Collection’s most aesthetically modern hotel, is currently under construction on the banks of the Dubai Canal, in an area of the city’s Downtown district known as Business Bay where it will count such Emirati landmarks as the Burj Khalifa and the Mall of the Emirates as neighbours.
United Airlines had its third dog-related mishap this week, following up on the death of a puppy its flight attendants allegedly insisted be stuffed in an overhead bin and the accidental shipment of another dog to Japan by putting a third dog in the wrong plane.
Per the Washington Post, a United flight from Newark, New Jersey, to St. Louis, Missouri, on Thursday was diverted due to the presence of a dog that should have been put onto a different flight to Akron, Ohio. CNN reported that at least 33 passengers were on the flight, all of whom were given an undisclosed amount of compensation for the diversion.
Southwest Airlines has taken a step closer to bringing a little aloha to its mainland customers this week, after receiving a permit for space at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu, Hawaii.
The Dallas-based airline, which first announced its intent to serve Hawaii back in October, received the month-to-month permit from the Hawaii Department of Transportation after the agency was granted approval by the Department of Land and Natural Resources. According to sources, Southwest will pay $19,900.
Travel is a funny thing. Sometimes we connect with foreign lands so profoundly that we ache for them even years later. I’ve been fortunate enough to spend quite a bit of time in Australia, at least comparatively, and have traveled to nearly every state and territory, gradually learning what makes this massive country tick. Along the way I’ve found many a kindred spirit and have deeply fallen in love with the Land Down Under. It’s a strange and quirky place, which is maybe why I love it so much, but I also enjoy my time there thanks to the very unique and unusual adventures you can only enjoy in Australia. From the wet and wild north to the sparkling cities of the south and the vast deserts in between, there’s a lot to love and admire about Australia, including these remarkable experiences you can only enjoy in Oz.
Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb
It’s no exaggeration to say that Circular Quay and the landmarks that surround it are amongst the most recognizable on the planet and from my own experience there’s no better way to see them than by taking on the legendary Harbour Bridge climb. Even considered a bucket list activity by Australians, the climb is one of those over the top (literally) activities that everyone really should experience at least once. Visitors ascend the mighty bridge in small groups, carefully harnessed to the steel rails at all times and from the top you’ll enjoy amazing views of Sydney’s famous landmarks. I’m not a fan of heights but not even I was bothered, that’s how well done the safety and overall experience really is. Treat yourself on your next trip to Sydney, you won’t regret it.
Tropical North Queensland
It’s hard not to enjoy yourself no matter where you are in Queensland, but I particularly enjoyed my time exploring the Tropical North – including Port Douglas and the surrounding areas. A big part of any travel experience in this lush part of Queensland is the remarkable Daintree Rainforest. The Daintree Rainforest is part of the UNESCO recognized wet tropics and is one of the oldest rainforests in the world. It’s a lush and adventurous place, where plants and animals found nowhere else in the world exist here in abundance, just as they have for millions of years. The forest has somehow survived for more than 135 million years, containing plant life that exists nowhere else on the planet; snacks once enjoyed by the dinosaurs. Australia is a continent of superlatives, a place of extremes and the Gondwana rainforests are one of the most beautiful examples of those extremes, a veritable walk back through time.
Train From Perth to Adelaide
I don’t think enough people consider an epic train ride to be a bucket list worthy experience, but for me it was. Granted, the opportunity to embark on an old-school, classic journey on board a train is shrinking in number, but there are still a few around the world that combine the luxury of another era with adventurous exploration, like the one I embarked on in Australia. The Indian-Pacific rail service onboard the Great Southern Rail explores the width of Australia in the most comfortable way possible. Crossing the mighty red continent from Perth to Sydney (or the reverse) takes several days and along the way passengers get to experience one of the few truly trans-continental train experiences in the world. We traveled in Platinum class, complete with a private cabin for our trip from Perth to Adelaide, the midway point for the service. Along the way we stopped at ghost towns and gold mining communities, not to mention the miles upon miles of beautiful Australian Outback in between. While the stops and views were great, chatting with our fellow passengers was perhaps the most entertaining part of the trip. It takes a special traveler to embark on such an epic train ride and their stories were all as unique as the train journey itself.
Driving Around the Northern Territory
No list of Australian experiences would be complete without adding one of its most famous sights, Uluru or as most Americans still call it, Ayers Rock. I’m not sure why this massive rock in the middle of the country’s Red Centre speaks to so many of us, but it does. It’s a siren call that demands answering. Sure, you can fly there but why not get to know the Red Centre properly by driving around it? Start in Alice Springs and rent the appropriate off-road or 4×4 vehicle and then start your epic journey along the shifting red sands of the Red Centre Way. There are sights along the way, and even places to spend the night, like at Kings Canyon known for its luxury hotel and epic hikes. It’s a fun way to reach Uluru and is one of those fantastic instances where getting there really is part of the fun.
My True Love Melbourne
I fell in love with Melbourne almost right away, something that rarely happens to me. I’m not sure why, but there’s just something special about this metropolitan hub that speaks to me in a way that not only other cities in Australia don’t, but few others around the world can even manage. There’s a lot to do here, from fascinating museums to food tours and of course the nightlife. To really feel like a local though, seek out the nearest laneway, order a flat white and just people watch for a few hours. I think you’ll soon fall under the city’s spell just as I did.
Investigating the Golden Outback
Western Australia is huge, half of the Australian Continent to be exact and to see everything would take years. But one place to consider is the so-called Golden Outback. A century ago, it was the city of Kalgoorlie and the region as a whole where thousands of people from around the world descended upon to strike it rich in the mines. The mines are still running and that feeling of exploration and adventure is also still alive and well. The best way to experience this region is by renting a truck and heading out into the great Outback. There are routes you can follow that take you along the Ghost Town Trail, sharing the Old West history of the region and providing some really interesting insights to the people who settled it. Along the way stop off at places like the Broad Arrow Tavern for a great burger and spend the night at the Hoover House, the unlikely former estate of the 31st President of the United States. Of course there’s also Lake Ballard, a normally dry lake that is also home to an unlikely art installation. In 2003, famed artist Antony Gormley created 51 statues along 4 square miles of the lake, each figure a scale representation of a nearby resident. It’s eerie, it’s unusual and it’s not to be missed. No matter what you decide to do in the Outback, make sure you expend the effort to visit.
Exploring the Great Barrier Reef
One of the primary reasons why I wanted to visit Queensland was to experience the Great Barrier Reef. It’s long been on my own travel bucket list, and even though I’d visited Australia a couple of times before, I never made it to the Reef. Luckily, the years of anticipation were worth it and seeing one of the world’s truly great natural wonders was everything it promised to be and more. I experienced the reef in a few different ways several times throughout my trip, it’s just that big, but my favorite way to enjoy the mighty reef was through a scuba dive. This wasn’t just any scuba dive though, it was my first attempt and I was pretty nervous. I love snorkeling, but the thought of breathing underwater freaked me out to be honest. It was a mental hang-up and I wasn’t sure if I even wanted to shake it. But there I was, at the Great Barrier Reef and I figured if I was going to try it anywhere, that was the place. And I’m so glad I set aside my fears and gave it a chance. I traveled out to the Reef with the company Cruise Whitsundays, and their team of expert divers were all used to first-timers like me and showed more patience than I’ve seen any tour operator show in recent memory. It was thanks to their insistence and instruction that I was able to literally take the plunge, my fears instantly vanishing as soon as I was underwater. I’ve snorkeled all over the world, but the Great Barrier Reef is without a doubt the best I’ve ever seen. The sheer abundance of fish and coral in every color of the rainbow was extraordinary and I could’ve spent hours exploring it to new depths while scuba diving. This is just one of those once in a lifetime experiences that aren’t only nice to do, I think they are important to do.
Japanese railway operators are making the most of local sightseeing spots along their routes to attract more foreign tourists, with social media proving an excellent promotional tool.
At Gotokuji Temple located on Tokyu Corp.’s Setagaya Line in Tokyo, foreign tourists snapped shots of a cluster of “Maneki-neko” beckoning-cat dolls. The temple is known for its extensive collection of the beckoning cats, a good-luck charm believed to bring prosperity to shop owners in Japan.
American Airlines is now onboard with the city of Chicago’s plan for an $8.5 billion, eight-year renovation and expansion of O’Hare airport.
“The mayor [Rahm Emanuel] and his team worked tirelessly and creatively to structure an agreement that keeps competition thriving at O’Hare,” American CEO Doug Parker said in a statement Thursday. “We look forward to growing at O’Hare in the years to come.”
American sparked headlines earlier this month by refusing to participate in the lease agreement that Emanuel and the Chicago Department of Aviation negotiated with air carriers to lay the groundwork for the expansion project. Both American and United maintain hubs at O’Hare, though Chicago-based United is the airport’s largest tenant.
Millennials are embracing family travel, which could translate into economic growth in tourism-heavy destinations like Southern Utah, according to new research by the auto club AAA.
In fact, Millennial travel is expected to accelerate this year, according to the report, which showed 44 percent of Millennials are planning a family getaway this year.
That means the Millennial generation is for the first time more likely than any other to take a family trip. By comparison, 39 percent of respondents from Generation X and just 32 percent of Baby Boomers travel plans.
When it comes to dreaming up (and actually executing) bucket-list-level excursions into some of the most far-flung parts of the world, you would be hard-pressed to find a company that does it better than Black Tomato. The luxury travel outfitter is known for creating bespoke and highly personalized itineraries for clients, ranging from exclusive tours through Europe’s most beloved cities to treks through untamed nature designed to test the limits of even the most intrepid travelers. Now, the company is bringing its unique mix of luxury service and outdoor savvy to the dramatic and often otherworldly landscapes of Bolivia.
Blink in Bolivia, an extension of the brand’s Blink itineraries, launched in late 2016 and has Black Tomato’s team of experts working closely with guests to design and build luxe temporary accommodations almost anywhere in the world, giving them once-in-a-lifetime access to untouched places like the banks of Cambodia’s Mekong River, the foothills of Argentina, and the coasts of Oman. Typically, the accommodations built for the Blink excursions are dismantled and removed after guests have gone home, leaving little to no trace on the pristine environments in which they were built. But in Bolivia, the igloo-like structures created by the brand will remain standing from August through October, giving more travelers a chance to immerse themselves into typically inaccessible areas of the country.
I travel a lot, which probably doesn’t need to be said. I’ve visited around 90 countries or so and all 7 continents and because of that, I am very often asked to name favorite places. Of course, that’s an impossible question to answer and I can never come up with anything great to say. The honest truth is that I enjoy almost every new place I visit. It’s much more rare for me to actually dislike a new destination. That being said, there are some that rise above others in my list of preferred places to travel and so for today’s photo series I want to highlight those 18 countries I always love to visit.
Royal Caribbean’s private island in the Bahamas, CocoCay, is about to get a massive makeover that will include the addition of one of the largest water parks in the Caribbean or Bahamas.
The $200 million overhaul of the 125-acre beach hideaway, to be renamed Perfect Day at CocoCay, also will bring the largest freshwater pool in the region, a helium balloon ride that takes cruisers 450 feet into the air and several other over-the-top features.
InterContinental Hotels Group has followed through on its plan to buy a luxury brand, agreeing to acquire a 51% stake in Regent Hotels and Resorts for $39 million in cash.
When the transaction is complete, IHG will form a joint venture with Formosa International Hotels, a Taiwanese company that has owned Regent for almost eight years. IHG will have the right to acquire the remaining 49% interest in a phased manner from 2026.
What was once exclusively the domain of ultra-low-cost carriers such as Spirit and Allegiant is now being embraced by the nation’s biggest carriers. Delta Air Lines was the first to experiment with no-frills fares on select flights in 2014. Last year, United and American adopted the model. Now all three have expanded such offerings, with American offering the fares on selected international flights.
Airlines have long worked to differentiate themselves, encouraging loyalty by offering generous perks for frequent fliers and those who can afford to fly first class. But the reality is the vast majority of the nation’s travelers fly infrequently, and for them, price is paramount.
That’s part of what’s driven the success of bare-bones carriers such as Spirit and Allegiant.
Airlines say basic economy fares are about offering choice. Travelers can pick and choose the options that appeal to them instead of having to pay for things they don’t want.
Gather all the pixie dust you can, because Walt Disney World hotels will soon begin charging guests for overnight parking. Pricing, which varies based on Walt Disney World Resort’s three hotel categories, will begin with reservations starting March 21, 2018.
Overnight self-parking at value resorts, including Disney’s Art of Animation, Disney’s Pop Century, and All-Star resort hotels will cost $13. Moderate hotels like Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort and Disney’s Port Orleans will charge $19 each night, and both Disney Deluxe and Deluxe Villas, which includes Disney’s Contemporary, Grand Floridian, and Polynesian Resorts among others, will charge $24 for standard self-parking. (Valet parking, available at select resorts, will increase from $25 to $33 nightly.)
One doesn’t normally think that a German city will be inherently weird. I mean, it’s Germany after all, a country known for its stoic adherence to orderliness and things that just make sense. But the northern cities have always been a little bit separated from the rest of the country; proximity to sea routes bringing in customs and traditions from around the world. Because of this unusual history, Hamburg today is an unusual place, and I mean that in the very best way possible. It’s liberal, it’s quirky, it’s creative and it’s fun – what’s not to love? There’s a lot to see and do in this large city, but if you’re new to Hamburg these experiences are amongst my favorite and shouldn’t be missed.
Hamburg’s newest landmark is one I’ve wanted to visit for a while, always unable to because it wasn’t quite finished. Celebrating its grand opening in 2017, the Elbphilharmonie isn’t just the city’s latest architectural achievement, but one of the most remarkable in Europe. From afar it’s hard not to be impressed with this massive glassy building, meant to resemble either a hoisted sail or a wave, depending on your point of view. Located in the newly interesting warehouse district, the Elbphilharmonie is meant to be at the center of life in the HafenCity neighborhood of Hamburg. First impressions are everything, and I find it impossible for anyone not to be impressed by the long escalator ride up into the heart of the building itself. Looking around at my fellow visitors, everyone had their phones out, snapping as many photos as they could undoubtedly for their own Instagram galleries. And there’s plenty to admire from a design perspective both inside and out. The lines and angles of the interior are beautiful in their own way, from the stairways to the concert hall itself. A terrace allows visitors to enjoy amazing views of the city, showing that this architectural achievement really was built with the user in mind. The Elbphilharmonie is fun to visit just as a voyeur, but also be sure to enjoy a performance in what is one of the largest and most acoustically advanced concert halls in the world.
I don’t think I’m speaking out of turn when I say that Hamburg is a little weird, but in the very best possible sense of the word. Famously liberal, forward thinking and just downright odd at times, Hamburg has long attracted like-minded individuals, creating a city that is original and innovative in almost every possible way. While a more ethereal concept, a good way to start to understand this unique spirit is to tour some of its neighborhoods including the famous St. Pauli neighborhood but also more residential areas like the Schanzen- and Karolinen districts. Both neighborhoods are famous for being alternative, hip and undeniably cool and residents are a curious mix of pram-pushing young couples to anarchists ready to join the next protest. Cool shops line the streets and it’s a place where you can get everything from an expertly crafted cappuccino to that 1970s LP you never knew you needed. A fun stop though for me was at the neighborhood favorite, Ratsherrn Brewery. Once a famous name in the region, new owners are now creating small batch beers that reflect the creativity of the neighborhood. With both a restaurant and biergarten though, it’s also just a really nice place to relax with friends, especially on a warm summer’s evening.
Hamburg is still celebrating the addition of its first UNESCO sites, areas of town I visited before their inclusion on this important list. I wanted to see them again though and as I thought, the buildings were just as amazing a second time. Listed as one entry, the Speicherstadt and the adjacent Kontorhaus district show off the architectural prowess of Hamburg in both the 19th and early 20th centuries. I particularly love the Speicherstadt, which seems plucked out of someone’s steampunk fantasies. Hamburg has long been an important port city, fueling the imperial ambitions of many a leader. At the heart of this commercial success was the turn of the century Warehouse District, nearly a mile long it’s the largest timber-pile founded warehouse district in the world. More than just a utilitarian storage area, the district was constructed with design and grace in mind. Small little alcoves and ornamentation can be found everywhere, an Easter egg hunt for the curious. The nearby buildings of the Kontorhaus district also reward the curious. Exemplifying the best of Art Deco design, these office buildings were created between the 1920s-40s and not only show off the beautiful design of the era, but also speak to the rapid growth of the city’s commercial side during the time period. When put together, wandering around both neighborhoods is a fun way to spend some time in Hamburg.
In 2000, twin brothers Gerrit and Frederik Braun made the improbable decision to build the world’s largest model railway. No one believed them, no one wanted to finance it and no one thought visitors would ever come. Seventeen years later and more than 10 MILLION guests later, the brothers have definitely had the last laugh. I’ve been to a lot of transportation museums, but nothing quite prepared me for the Miniatur Wunderland experience. The name suits it well because it truly is a miniature world, built across multiple floors are dozens of recreated cities and countries; everything from Las Vegas to all of Switzerland and even a functioning airport that is deceptively fascinating. I hate to use a tired cliché, but from my brief time there it became obvious to me that the Wunderland really is one of those activities that everyone, young to old can enjoy. I’ve never been a big fan of model railways in particular, but even I couldn’t help but be drawn into the imaginary worlds created by the brothers Braun. Thousands of miniature people living an automated life, where night turns into day and back again during the course of your visit. It’s strange and incredibly odd, but fascinating in its own fun way.
One of the aspects I love most about revisiting cities is the opportunity to try more offbeat experiences and to get to know different areas of the city. That was my goal on what was my third trip to Hamburg and at the top of my to-do list was to take the world famous Beatles Tour. The brainchild of musician turned guide Stephanie Hempel, this top rated tour is a unique look at the formative years of the Beatles when they learned how to be a band in Hamburg. When the Beatles arrived into the city they were still kids and had no experience performing as a band. The years spent on the stages in Hamburg taught them how to perform and, ultimately, is what created one of the best bands in history. Stephanie takes guests through this history by visiting the clubs they played, meandering around the still quirky St. Pauli neighborhood. Since Stephanie is also a musician, the tour is accentuated with the strum of a ukulele and her melodious voice, bringing to life the early years of the Beatles. The tour is fun and informative and a great experience for just about any type of traveler.
Emirates will increase frequencies on flights to the U.S. this month for the first time since reducing U.S. service last April in response to Trump administration policies.
“Demand is back up,” Emirates vice president of North American sales Matthias Schmid said. “We see very, very strong demand, and we are again in a position to manage some moderate growth in the U.S. network.”
Forget the usual travel playbook: proper hotels, predictable services, planned itineraries. There’s another, more adventurous way. At travel’s cutting edge, all the world’s your stage, and the trip designer is your genie in a bottle. Bespoke does not begin to capture the possibilities: You can sleep luxuriously in an uninhabited wilderness. Dine lavishly on a desert dune. Get beamed, Star Trek–style, from your Mediterranean cruise to the landlocked vastness of Mongolia. Few will follow in your footsteps (that’s bragging rights), and no trace of you will remain behind (tents and props will be packed up). But you can relish the environmental correctness of that. And the adventures will last where they matter most: in your memory.
La Jolla is everything we want Southern California to be. One of the country’s most exclusive enclaves, tourists amble alongside the fabulously wealthy all there to capture a piece of that California spirit. While visiting San Diego, I spent a couple of nights in La Jolla so I could experience a different side to the San Diego area. And different it was, this coastal community exists in its own little bubble, and I mean that in as positive a way as possible. I loved my time exploring La Jolla and the areas around it, so today I want to share what I think are the key steps for any visitor who wants to experience the best that this tony community has to offer.
Retro Chic at the Hotel La Jolla
Part of Hilton’s Curio Collection, this renovated boutique luxury hotel brings back all the retro-California style we crave on a visit to San Diego. Walking into the lobby I instantly knew that I had chosen well. The chic and open public spaces are reflective of a design aesthetic that carries on throughout the property and certainly into the rooms. Spacious and incredibly comfortable, my room was the ideal retreat after a long day of sightseeing and exploring. An unexpected highlight for me though was the culinary side of the house. Dining options are usually unique and delicious at Curio properties and the Hotel La Jolla is no exception. At the heart of the culinary experience is the top floor restaurant, Cusp. Expansive windows not only create a light and airy lounge and restaurant, but they allow for incredible views of La Jolla Shores and the ocean from the top floor of the hotel. For a light bite or just a drink, there are plenty of options including a special happy hour menu featuring local beers and wines and snacks that combine comfort with high-end appeal. Mealtimes share that same sensibility, mixing a relaxing dining experience with top-notch culinary skills.
Drinks and Nibbles
Like many cities around the world, San Diego has also enjoyed a culinary renaissance in recent years and especially in La Jolla. The city’s central business district is buzzing with outstanding bars, cafes and restaurants – far too many for just one trip. My first night in La Jolla I started the evening off with incredible sunset views at the popular George’s at the Cove. This multi-level restaurant and bar complex offers a little bit of everything from an exceptional menu, unique cocktails and a view of the ocean that just won’t quit. I was there to enjoy the scenery, but also to meet expert mixologist Stephen Kurpinsky. He and the entire team at George’s have created a selection of special drinks dedicated to the many neighborhoods of San Diego. The resulting book – yes, book – and cocktail menu go beyond just superficially representing the city, mixologists also bring to life the unique personalities of each neighborhood. Barrio Logan with rum and Mezcal or the Little Italy with Prosecco and Apertivo Rinamato, each cocktail is featured in bespoke glassware that matches the neighborhood and the drink itself. Starting the evening here is an absolute must for any visitor, just make sure you’re in time to see one of the best sunsets in the world.
After a cocktail or two it’s time to decide where to enjoy dinner, a nearly impossible decision in a town as food-centric as La Jolla. I had reservations though at one of the most popular restaurants in town, Puesto. A popular go-to place for gourmet Mexican street food, the menu is simple but delicious. Starting by choosing from one of the guacamole options, I then enjoyed a flight of tacos, all made using natural meats and local organic greens. One of the best meals I enjoyed while visiting San Diego, my only regret is that I couldn’t try more of their fabulously creative tacos.
Caves and Seals
As I drove into downtown La Jolla I struggled to find a parking space. The winding road was packed with tourists, all there to visit the big draw to the town, La Jolla Cove. One of the most popular places to visit in the greater San Diego region, the beauty of this small cove and beach can’t be denied, especially at sunset. One of the reasons has to do with the many seals who bask themselves on the nearby rocks. Although I was uncomfortable with how close some tourists were to the seals, it’s a remarkable opportunity to see these beautiful animals up close and personal. While you’re at seal rock, venture a little further up to visit Sunny Jim’s Sea Cave Store. The only sea cave with access from land, for a small fee you can venture down below to see this natural wonder for yourself.
Walking along the promenade there are many other scenic overlooks and special spots to enjoy, including the Children’s Pool. The wealthy philanthropist who very much created the modern allure of La Jolla, Ellen Browning Scripps, paid for the breakwater that created the pool – designed as a place where kids could play and swim protected from crashing waves. It’s now home to a colony of harbor seals who have made it their own and which, thankfully, is closed off to the public for about half of the year. Next to it though I noticed a concrete set of stairs leading down to a small beach. While definitely not a secret – several tourists were there trying to capture shots with a small group of seals – I decided to investigate and found a great spot to watch the golden sunset. I ended up spending a couple of days in La Jolla and had plenty of time to walk its streets getting to know it as well as I could which is why, I think, it really does represent everything we want Southern California to be. A little glitzy, a little laid back and radiating with beauty, there’s no place quite like it and I know that I definitely fell under its spell.
Don’t Forget About La Jolla Shores
My hotel was in La Jolla Shores, just 2 miles from the center of La Jolla proper and a wonderful neighborhood in its own right. Joining a kayak tour with local operator Everyday California, I spent the morning out and about, paddling into sea caves and keeping an eye out for wildlife. The waters surrounding La Jolla are protected, which means paddlers often encounter birds and seals. Although I didn’t see more than a snoozing seal, it was a fun way to get out, enjoy some exercise and see a different side to La Jolla. Afterwards, I grabbed a quick sandwich at a La Jolla Shores institution, the La Jolla Cheese Shop. Since 1972, owners of the Shop have been selling fine meats and cheeses along with making their own tasty sandwiches. Meats are cured or cooked on-site and don’t forget to try one of their famous homemade oatmeal cookies. They sell more than 70,000 of these cookies every year, which have developed a cult following all of their own.
Murals and More
As usual, one of my favorite experiences in La Jolla was just aimlessly wandering around the town, veering away from the main tourist thoroughfare and getting to know the community a little better. To aid me in my quest, I decided to try to find as many of the Murals of La Jolla as I could. Started in 2010 as a way to enhance the civic character of the community, city leaders commissioned public art projects on private property throughout La Jolla. With handy map in hand, I wandered the streets finding about half of them, getting to know La Jolla in the process.
Get Out of Town
One great feature of La Jolla is its location, making it easy to explore other coastal communities north of San Diego. One of the most popular without a doubt is Torrey Pines. A popular natural retreat for locals and tourists alike, Torrey Pines State Reserve features 1,750 acres of unspoiled land and some of the most stunning coastline in the world. For great cliffside views, I drove to the Torrey Pines Gliderport. You don’t have to go paragliding to enjoy the sights and sounds of this picture perfect landscape and if you’re lucky you’ll see some gliders in action. Nearby is another photo-worthy spot, the Salk Institute. Here the appeal is all about the architecture, a progressive design that is hard to ignore. Afterwards I jumped back in my car and visited still more coastal communities including Moonlight Bay, Swami’s Beach and Seaside State Beach.
La Jolla has a lot to offer visitors and it should be a big part of any visit to San Diego. With its laid-back vibe and postcard-perfect views, it’s the version of California we all yearn to experience, if only briefly.