Before I travelled to Cuba, the notion of Casas Particulares to me was just a general term for a homestay, a nice and more local alternative to the usual hotels/hostels that the majority of tourists, travellers and holiday makers alike use as a form of accommodation. Little did I realise just how significant a concept the Casas Particulares in Cuba has become. These government-run ‘homestays’ have all but taken over in Cuba as not just the most economical, but most popular and rewarding way of travelling for the majority of tourists visiting the island. It has especially taken off in the last few years since 2011 when bureaucratic regulations relaxed, allowing some Casas to turn into a kind of private business employing staff and even advertising online where possible. It’s definitely a hugely positive step in the ever evolving economy of the country. It’s not an exaggeration to say that you see the familiar Casa Particular logo hanging off almost every other house on every street, even in the smallest of rural villages. I think …
“The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun. If you want to get more out of life, you must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life that will at first appear to you to be crazy. But once you become accustomed to such a life, you will see its full meaning and its incredible beauty” – Extract from Into The Wild, Jon Krakauer.
If you’re heading to the beautiful Byron Bay on your travels around Australia and looking for a chilled out, secluded hostel with an easy-going hippy vibe, then the Arts Factory Lodge couldn’t be a more perfect choice.
As you may or may not know, I have just returned from an entire year of travelling, visiting 6 countries and 45 cities, flying 46,925km, driving 2071km, as well as numerous treks, swims and boat trips! There had to be some way to go out with a bang, to finish this trip of a lifetime, and to say goodbye to a country which had become my second home…So what better way than to spend my last day in Australia jumping out of a plane into the clouds?
The Gilis, a group of 3 small islands just off Bali, are a tiny piece of paradise. Whether you’re heading there for a few days relaxation after partying in Kuta or Seminyak on mainland Bali, or just after a peaceful getaway, you are guaranteed to forget about whatever it is you came to forget, as the hustle and bustle of real life escapes you.