Travel

10 things you need to do in La Jolla, California: scuba, tacos, coffee and more

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.

Activities

  • 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!
  • Watch the Sea Lions at the Cove – because after swimming with this playful creatures, I couldn’t get enough of the sea lions. I walked down to the Cove to watch them bark, play and nap on the beach.
  • 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.

Lodging

Food

  • 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…

IMG_0248

Coffee

  • 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.

Advertisements

Before and After: Seally Beach

Excuse my inappropriate pun. 🙂 Funny? No… OK.

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.

This was last weekend at La Jolla Cove. Check out the full post of my weekend here!

Sea Lion on California Beach - La Jolla Cove

After Edits

sealbeforeeditting

Before Edits

Camera: Fuji Film XT-2 Editing: Adobe Lightroom

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!

Cuba Travel Tips

I recently wrote about my recent trip to Cuba, which I highly recommend you look into if you’re interested. I wanted to share a few tips that I learned from researching the trip and from experiencing it myself!

  • DSCF0093Brush up on your Spanish – at least some basic phrases. I took classes in college, but use the Duolingo app to get a refresh
  • Visa – if you’re traveling from the United States, you’ll need a Visa. I bought mine in advance from Cuba Travel Services ($85)
  • Documents – speaking of Visas, a general international travel tip is to make photocopies of all relevant documents (passport, ID, accommodations, visas, reservations, etc.)
  • DSCF0149Taxis – be sure to negotiate price before getting in the car. Almost every driver came down from the original price they offered
  • Airbnb – go for it! This is the best way to find affordable, trustworthy lodging and stay like a local and with locals! 
  • 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
  • Have fun – meet locals, try new food, take tons of photos, see everything you can while staying safe!

DSCF0122