I just finished about three weeks of travel for work. In between there, I went to Phoenix for my dad’s 60th and then extended one of the work trips for a weekend in San Diego, California. I decided to stay in La Jolla so I could squeeze in some scuba diving off the coast. Ever since I became a certified diver, swimming with seals and/or sea lions was on my bucket list. Happy to say I checked that off…
I fell in love with the La Jolla area and hope to be back soon. Everything I did was walking distance or a <$15 Uber ride (besides the airport). Here is how I recommend making the most of a weekend trip there.
Dive with San Diego Snorkel and Scuba – This was the highlight (and the purpose) of my trip! I did the Kelp Forest and Sea Lion scuba dive. I was the only one who showed up, so the guide and I had a great time! We saw tons of lobster, yellowtail and Garibaldi. We also ran into two horn sharks and several sea lions. I would definitely dive with this company, and the Dive Master, Rich, again! They provide everything you need for a fun, safe dive!
Hike at Torrey Pines – It was a Saturday so it was pretty crowded, but I didn’t mind while finding quiet spots to gaze at the views of the Pacific ocean, cliffs and the rare Torrey Pines. From Windansea beach, it was about an $11 Uber drive to the Torrey Pines natural reserve. I did all the hikes that were open at the time. They are very well marked and mostly flat. It was overcast the entire time which led to me experimenting with some moody photos… this is a first for me, so I welcome any feedback (see below).
Beach, duh! Next time I’m thinking of signing up for surf lessons.
The Taco Stand – I ate my meal so fast that I didn’t get a picture. BUT, these were some of the best tacos I’ve had in a LONG time. I think that means a lot coming from someone in Texas. I finished my meal with the churros. Highly, highly, highly recommend!
Promiscuous Fork – cute little spot for a craft beer and gastropub food a couple blocks from the beach! I got the mac n cheese with short rib.
El Pescador Fish Market – I’m not sure if I ever had a fish “sandwich” before, but WOW! Go to the counter, ask them what’s the freshest and order it as a sandwich with avocado. I had the yellowtail and it was PERFECT. 10/10 would eat again and again again. Just look at this bread…
The Living Room – delicious, smooth and flavorful nitro cold brew! I also had a chorizo croissant sandwich that was amazing!
La Clochette du Coin– this was right across from my Airbnb, but I only went on my way to the airport. I was disappointed I didn’t check in sooner! Delicious espresso (served with a chocolate!) and oatmeal topped with fresh fruit and almond butter.
Here’s another before and after photo editing experiment. The photos is of a California Sea Lion basking in the sun at La Jolla Cove. These are actually different pictures – I saved over the original, unfortunately. I wanted to show you how I cropped the photo, tilted the horizon straight and played with tint, shadows, highlights and saturation to make it a more vibrant and eye-catching photo.
I tend to be a bit heavy-handed on the saturation with my editing style. I may have overdone it a bit with this one, but practice makes perfect. What can I say? I love bright colors and want them to pop in my photos. Do you have any feedback on my editing techniques? What’s your favorite editing style (for example, mine is bringing out colors)? Tell me in the comments below!
Internet/cell service – get of the grid and go without it! However, if you need Wi-Fi you’ll have to purchase an internet card. We found a hotel cafe that sold a one hour card for $2 CUC and also included a coffee
Forget the credit card – you’ll need cash for everything. See below…
Currency – There is a 10% fee for exchanging USD. I got Euros from my bank before I left the US. Then in Cuba, I could exchange the Euros for Cuban currency without the fee. There are two currencies in Cuba, the CUC and the CUP. We did run into both types but didn’t have an issue with the locals giving us correct change. Read this article to educate yourself
Safety – while using common sense, I never felt unsafe in Cuba. Since we were two young females, we did get a lot of “cat calls” but ignored them and kept walking. We also ran into people trying to get us to eat in their restaurants, buy their cigars or give us recommendations – we also politely said no to all of these offers and kept walking
Buy bottled water – I do this when traveling to any foreign country. We would buy 2 liter bottles from a sandwich stand near our Airbnb for 2 CUC. All restaurants serve bottled water as well
Wear comfortable shoes – Havana is very walkable – save some money and take advantage of that