Lebanon

My boyfriend is from Beirut so we took a trip to see his family. I was pleasantly surprised how much there is to do and see. I ate so much amazing mediterranean food including salad, hummus and falafel.

Places to See

  • Beirut
    • Inhabited since 3,000 BC (top 10 oldest cities in the world)
  • Cedars of God
    • The Cedars of God is over a 2 hour drive from Beirut
    • Entrance fee to help keep preserved
    • Shops in the area for souvenirs build out of Cedar wood
    • Wood was exploited by Phoenicians and other empires to build merchant ships due to the strength of the wood
    • UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Rooftop bars
    • Capitole Restaurant and Bar in Downtown Beirut
    • Iris in Biel – Downtown Beirut
    • Spine – Beirut
  • Mount Lebanon
  • Beach & Pool resorts
    • La Siesta is about 10 minutes from the city of Beirut. It costs about $27 per person to get in, but you get access to a private beach and pools.
    • Orchid costs about $29 per person to get in and you also get a private beach, pool and towel service.

  • Lady Mary – Harissa – Our Lady of Lebanon
    • You can do the Lady Mary and the Jeita Grotto in one day for $12 USD. The cableway transports you from the grotto to the top of the mountains for a great view from Harissa.

  • Jeita Grotto
    • The limestone caves were on my bucket list to see. There were two parts of the grotto which you can’t bring your phone (of course I snuck mine): the upper and lower. The upper part you get to walk through and the lower part you take a small boat through.
  • Byblos
    • Byblos is an amazing, beautiful coastal city. It only takes about 30 minutes from Beirut. If you are looking to buy souvenirs, Byblos is the place to do it!
    • Oldest continuity inhabited city in the world from 5,000 BC (second oldest city overall dating back between 8,800 BC – 7,000 BC)

  • Paradise Waterfalls Bakkline
    • Here I go chasing waterfalls again. These are a little over a hour from the city of Beirut. When we got there we were a little confused because there’s two parts. One part is surrounded by a restaurant and the other is a pool that you have to pay to get into. If you have the time and it’s a nice day I would recommend bringing a swim suit and spending the day there.

How I Got There

I used my Chase bonus points and only paid about $100 for my ticket PHX>LHR>BEY then back to Phoenix. Review the best credit cards here.

I chose the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Check out my post here for the benefits.

48 Hours in NYC

So this is my third time in NYC and I can’t believe I’ve never posted about it!! My friend Keeley lives there so she did a great job planing our weekend.

First, I flew into JFK and split a taxi which was cheaper than Uber with my friend. It cost around $70 with tip in the the city to my friends apartment in West Village.

Work Out

I’ve been dying to try Barry’s bootcamp. Since we don’t have it in Scottsdale I had to try during my time in NYC. The one con is it’s $30+ a class, but it’s worth it. You can even pre-order shakes so they are ready for you once you are done with the class.

Eats & Drinks

Lil Frankies

Touristy Things

Get your steps in and head to Central Park. New York in the spring is absolutely stunning while all the flowers are blooming!

Cartagena Colombia

We flew from Cusco with two stops in Lima and Bogota before getting to the coastal city of Cartagena. We were lucky and were able to get on earlier flights for no extra cost. Originally we were going to waste almost a whole day of traveling. Cartagena reminded be in a way of Miami. My favorite parts were the amazing food and colored buildings.

Where We Stayed

We stayed at the Hyatt Regency Cartagena which was an amazing location right across from the beach, mall and tons of restaurants. We stayed a total of 3 nights which was a perfect amount of time to explore the city. It only cost 8,000 points a night (24,000 total) which I was able to transfer directly from my Chase credit card points directly to Hyatt points. We loved the amenities here including the gym, pool and restaurant. The breakfast buffet was amazing with fresh juices, omelet bar, and so much more.

Where We Ate

  1. Mangata for dinner!!
  2. Kai Sushi Wok one of the best poke bowls of my life!!
  3. Crepe & Waffles which we found out is a chain in Colombia
  4. Desayunos for breakfast
  5. Cafe Del Mar for drinks. Warning: self seating and hard to get a table during sunset. The service was pretty bad, but it has a great view of the ocean.
  6. Cookie Jaar- $2 ice cream sandwich combos

Old Town

Everything You Need To Know About Machu Picchu

How We Got There

Points. Duh. I found a one way on United for 20k points a person + $48 taxes from CMH to Lima, Peru. That is THE cheapest I’ve found for an international one way using points on United. So total 40k points for my boyfriend and myself. With that said, United is my favorite airline for international travel.

We bought flights from Lima to Cusco on Avianca for less than $100 a person. There are flights just about every hour.

From Cusco, we flew to Lima, to Bogota to Cartagena. We paid $392 total for two people using Kiwi.com. $392/2= $196 a person.

From Cartagena we paid $1535 for two people. $1535/2=$767.50. including 2 checked bags!

Our trip was a hotel of 10 days and that was the perfect amount of time. Two days in Lima, 5 days in Cusco (the Inca trail is a 4 day hike if you want to do that) and 3 days in Colombia.

Where We Stayed

We only stayed in Lima for 2 nights which was plenty of time. We got there late and stayed a Second Home Peru which was a recommendation from the Chase Sapphire Reserve Facebook group that I’m in. Second Home had THE best breakfast included and it was so cute. Located in Barranco we were able to walk to the parks, beach and sites. We paid $330 total for four nights and stayed in a room with our friends. We ended up paying $30 extra each since breakfast was included so make sure to put the exact amount of people staying in the room when you book. So $330/4 people = $82.50 for two nights… not bad. I’ll total everything at the end so you have an idea of how much I spent.

In Cusco, we stayed at the Esplendor which is a boutique Wydham hotel for 5 nights. It was a pretty central location and we walked to restaurants and shops. We paid a little over $100 per night. The room service we ordered was probably one of my favorite meals. The hotel staff was very helpful and sets you up with tours and gives you coco tea which helps with attitude sickness. Last, breakfast was included and you can set up transportation to and from the airport ahead of time through the hotel.

Pro tip: book on your Capital One Venture Credit Card at hotels.com/venture for 10x the points.

Where We Ate

One of our best meals of the trip was at Isolina in Lima. Literally a 2 minute walk from our hotel this place was very trendy and packed!! We made a reservation the night before. It was definitely one of our pricier meals, but totally worth it.

In Cusco, to be 100% transparent. We didn’t have the best food. There are chicken and pizza places EVERYWHERE. Plus, the food was pretty bland. Don’t expect a lot, but there is a McDonald’s and KFC if all else fails lol. Get drinks at Paddy’s Irish pub which is the highest own pub.

For a healthier option for to Las Frescas for salads and smoothies and avocados are so cheap and beautifully displayed below.

Machu Picchu

We did a day trip to Machu Picchu. We took an early train out at 6:40am. The recommend getting there 30 mins early so 6:10am. There is a cafe where you can buy breakfast, snacks, coffee and tea. Buy tickets in advance here. They only sell a specific amount per day. You don’t get a confirmation email, so make sure you print everything at the time you book. You can also buy your tickets on Peru Rail ahead of time here. The scenery is so beautiful and you can relax. We bought the cheaper tickets, but you can buy VIP with an open bar. The Peruvians don’t recommend drinking that much at such a high altitude.

Buy bus tickets when you get to Cusco ahead of time. We made the mistake of not and waited 2 hours.. in the rain. We could have bought them at the hotel for $25/person. You can’t buy these online or at Peru Rail. We only had about 2 hours inside Machu Picchu before we

Here are the steps:

  1. Taxi to Poroy train station from Cusco (less than 30 mins)
  2. Peru rail (3 hours each way from Poroy aka Cusco)
  3. Bus from Aguas Calientes up to Machu Picchu (30 mins)
  4. Bus down (30 mins)
  5. Peru rail back to Cusco (3 hours)
  6. Taxi back to hotel (less than 30 mins)

Once you get into the park it’s pretty crowded. Be sure to bring ponchos and portable chargers because it could be a long rainy day like ours. It was pretty clear during our 2 hours spent in the park.

We even found llamas❤️

On the way out of the park, make sure you bring your passport so you can get the Machu Picchu stamp!

Other Day Trips from Cusco

  1. Salinas aka the salt flats
  2. Rainbow Mountain

I highlyyy recommend private tours. We didn’t want to spend 18 hours in a car. Split between 4 people both tours were around $30/person. Salinas was about 2.5 hours to get there. Rainbow Mountain was about 3 hours each way. The hike took about 1.5 hours. It is HARD because of the altitude, but so rewarding. I recommend bringing snacks and water. I wore a ton of layers because you do get warm, but at the top it’s pretty cold in late December. I would look at weather ahead of time because during wet season can be hit or miss. I read a ton of blogs how people had horrible weather and it was foggy so you couldn’t even see anything, but we lucked out.

I’ll be posting soon on where we went from Cusco! I hope this was helpful. If you have any questions email me at jetsetbrunette247@gmail.com.