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Taking A Chalkboard Around The World
Taking A Chalkboard Around The World
A trip around the world has always been on my bucket list. I still can’t believe that Jeff and I finally did it. We’ve just returned home to our sunny island home of Phuket, Thailand and finally have a moment to look back on our amazing journey around the world.
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Before we started this trip, I knew that we wouldn’t have the space in our luggage for souvenirs as we were going to nearly 30 different countries. Even though we have been told we packed light, I can assure you that our bags were anything but light. This inspired me to think a little outside the box for souvenir ideas.
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My favorite part about traveling is looking back on my photos long after the trip. It is a great way to put you right back to where you were and bring back memories you had long forgotten about. I wanted to do something fun and different with my photos. So I thought, “Why not bring a chalkboard?” I decided to have a photo taken of myself  holding a chalkboard with the name of the country I was in. I wanted a way to visually see each country while having a reminder of myself in that place during that time. Even if I may have been up all night, had not showered in days or was only in a country for a few hours, I wanted to remember all of it.
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Now, 28 images later, I have a fun collection of pictures that for me, sums up our 159 day, 32,281 mile trip around the world!
Taking A Chalkboard Around The World
CANADA:
Even though Canada isn’t too far from my home county, it was still really exciting to go visit! Two days in Vancouver and I was in love! Canada is a great country and Vancouver is a beautiful city!
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Chalkboard around the world
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ENGLAND:
Since we only had two rainy days in London, and as it was my first time to England I knew I wanted the cliché photo with a red phone booth!

 

Chalkboard around the world

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BELGIUM:
Brussels was a beautiful city and I was surprised at how modern of a city it was. We had one of our favorite meals of the entire trip in Brussels, an absolutely amazing beef stew. This photo was taken at the bus station before we boarded to Amsterdam.
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Chalkboard around the world
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ISRAEL:
With so much history in Israel, I had a hard time deciding where would be best to take a photo here. While we were driving with a guide through the desert we went to this cliff where you could see a beautiful monastery in the hillside. I thought that this would be a great reflection of this historical importance of Israel.

 

Chalkboard around the world
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IRELAND:
Green! I knew I wanted this photo to be green, but I struck it rich when we just happened to get some sunshine since it was gloomy and raining during most of our stay. Ireland may have been our first stop, but it was also one of our favorites. Read our “Complete Guide to Ireland” for our best recommendations!
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Chalkboard around the world

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MOROCCO:
Oh Morocco! We were here for just a few hours while stopping during a cruise we took early in the year. I had always imaged Morocco as a colorful place, however Casablanca was not what I imaged. This is at the Hassan II Mosque which is the 7th largest mosque in the world.

 

Chalkboard around the world

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AUSTRIA:
Innsbruck, Austria is a beautiful little ski town nestled in the mountains. We were lucky enough to stay with some wonderful friends here for 2 weeks!
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Chalkboard around the world

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SPAIN:
We were lucky enough to be in Barcelona on my birthday in January! Once again, this was a quick stop during our cruise so I can’t wait to get back to explore more!
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Chalkboard around the world

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CZECH REPUBLIC:
We met some great friends in Prague and had an amazing time exploring this beautiful old city. While Europe has some of the best beer in the world, I’d bet most of it can be found in Prague, and at a cheap price too!
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Chalkboard around the world

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EGYPT:
Egypt just may have been my favorite place on this trip! Not only did I fulfill a childhood dream of visiting the pyramids, but we also got to spend great time with some new friends!
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Chalkboard around the world

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HUNGARY:
Budapest is one of the most enchanting cities in Europe. It is a great city where history meets a modern twist. I would live here in a heartbeat! This was the first time we have used AirBNB and found ourselves in this old apartment complex trying to find which apartment was ours!

 

Chalkboard around the world

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UNITED ARAB EMIRATES:
Even though we spent most of our time in Dubai, we were still able to get out and see the beautiful desert! Jeff and I were both really impressed with Dubai and can’t wait to get back to explore more.

 

Chalkboard around the world

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ESTONIA:
Tallinn, Estonia is a quant little old city and has so much culture and lots to see. We were only here for one night but enjoyed walking around the old town watching the snow fall.
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Chalkboard around the world

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FINLAND:
Finland is also on the top of my favorite places we’ve been to this year! Helsinki is a great design oriented town that is hip and embraces its rich history, although I had to take this photo while up in Lapland exploring the arctic circle and seeing snow fall for the first time in my life!
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Chalkboard around the world
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ITALY:
We went to many places in Italy, but it was in Venice during Carnival that I wanted to take this photo. Carnival was such a unique and beautiful way to explore all that Venice has to offer.
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Chalkboard around the world
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NORTHERN IRELAND:
While in Dublin, we decided why not take the 3 hour drive with some friends up to Northern Ireland to see the Giant’s Causeway and while we got there right after sunset we were able to catch some light for this photo!
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Chalkboard around the world
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GERMANY:
Germany has always been on the top of my list of places to visit in Europe and this year it finally happened! Although we only had 2 days in Berlin, it was great to learn more about Germany’s vast history and how the city has transformed to a modern city with tons of artistic expression.
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Chalkboard around the world
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HOLLAND:
I didn’t know if I should write Holland or The Netherlands but in the end it didn’t matter since we had such a great time in Amsterdam exploring the canals!

 

Chalkboard around the world

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PORTUGAL:
This photo is in Lisbon near the port while it was pouring rain. We had to be quick since the rain just kept washing the chalk off the board, but it made for a fun experience!
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Chalkboard around the world

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TURKEY:
Although Istanbul has so much history and culture, it was this pop of color while walking around that caught my eye. I wanted to show a different side to such an old city.
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Chalkboard around the world

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SWEDEN:
Since we spent an entire night at the airport in Stockholm we though it would be fun to take photos in the nearly abandoned airport at 2 in the morning.

 

Chalkboard around the world

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VATICAN:
The Vatican is such a beautiful place and it was very surreal to see all the paintings and murals in the museum, but it was here that meant the most to me. It really is amazing to stand here and thing about all the people that come here to see the pope.
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Chalkboard around the world

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MALDIVES:
Holy blue ocean! The Maldives are such a beautiful place. There are 1,190 different islands so it is hard to pick just one. We stayed in Maafushi which is a local island, but as you can see we still had a resort like beach to spend our time.
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Chalkboard around the world
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FRANCE:
Paris is a place that every girl longs to go to at least once in her life and I was no exception, I absolutely fell in love with Paris. We had an amazing 5 days here with a good friend who was kind enough to show us around this memorizing city. I can’t wait to get back and eat some more macaroons!

Chalkboard around the world

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SINGAPORE:
While it was not my first time in Singapore, it was great to be back and see how much this city has grown. Singapore is a beautiful city which great people and beautiful architecture.
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Thailand
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THAILAND:
Phuket will always be a second home to me and it is where we began and ended our around the world trip. Living here has really opened my eyes and taking this photo was really important. This photo was taken in a little lagoon in Koh Phi Phi Ley near where the majestic beach from the movie The Beach was filmed. You can see another hidden beach in the background that we could swim to. Taking a long tail boat out to this preserved island and spending the day snorkeling and soaking up the sun is my favorite thing to do in Thailand.
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MEXICO:
Growing up, my family always spent at least once if not twice a year in Mexico. This year I was fortunate enough to get the change to travel to a new place in Baja called Loreto. It is a great little fishing town located right on the Sea of Cortez.
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SRI LANKA:
Sri Lanka is a beautiful island nation located just southeast of India and visiting was a great treat for me. There are many elephants, beautiful landscapes and beaches. If you ever get the chance to visit this beautiful country, take it!
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Bio Photo Marina 150x150 My First Time: Taking a Cruise Marina Dominguez is the co-founder of Latitude 34 Travel Blog as well as a photographer and documentary film maker.

As a maturing women, Marina has dedicated her life to travel and new experiences. After working a 9-5 cubical lifestyle, Marina sold everything she owned, left her job and begun a new life with her boyfriend and travel companion, Jeff Johns. Together they relocated to Phuket, Thailand and founded Latitude 34 in which they seek to share their alternative lifestyle with the world. 

Marina is a Visual Journalism graduate of Brooks Institute of Photography where she studied photography, videography and ultimately caught the travel bug. Through creating several international documentaries, Marina realized there was more to the world than work and wanted something more. 

Top 10 Places To Visit in 2015

Top 10 Places To Visit in 2015

Need some help deciding where to travel to this year? We have put together a list of the top 10 places to visit in 2015 to help you out! So whether you want to go camping in a magical jungle or spend time in a thriving city, there is somewhere for everyone and we hope that you will experience some of these beautiful places if you haven’t already!

10. San Francisco, USA Belgrade, Serbia Matagalpa, Nicaragua Maafushi, Maldives Haida Gwaii, Canada Cape Town, South Africa Myanmar Helsinki, Finland Iceland Havana, Cuba

 


 

Photo Credits: 1. Jaume Escofet, 2. www.turnerfitch.com, 4. Staffan Scherz, 6. Sam Beebe, 8. Thomas Frost Jensen, 9. lab604 | All images have been altered


 

Bio Photo Marina 150x150 UPDATED: Taking A Chalkboard Around The World (PHOTOS)Marina Dominguez is the co-founder of Latitude 34 Travel Blog as well as a photographer and documentary film maker.

As a maturing women, Marina has dedicated her life to travel and new experiences. After working a 9-5 cubical lifestyle, Marina sold everything she owned, left her job and begun a new life with her best friend and travel companion, Jeff Johns. Together they relocated to Phuket, Thailand and founded Latitude 34 in which they seek to share their alternative lifestyle with the world.

Marina is a Visual Journalism graduate of Brooks Institute of Photography where she studied photography, videography and ultimately caught the travel bug. Through creating several international documentaries, Marina realized there was more to the world than work and wanted something more.

Maldives On A Budget

How to Visit The Maldives On A Budget

 

The Maldives are a cluster of 1,192 islands in the Indian Ocean that lay 250 miles south-west of India and is one of the most beautiful places in the world.  The islands are so picture perfect that even when you are there it is hard to believe it is real. The water is the perfect shade of teal and you can see your feet at the bottom even when you are standing up to your neck in the ocean. The sand is crystal white and the weather is tropically warm which makes for the ultimate island vacation. Only 185 of the Maldivian Islands are inhabited due to lack of land and the island nation is ranked as the third most endangered nation in the world due to climate change, which is creating rapid flooding. Mohamed Nashee, the islands former President has famously stated, “If carbon emissions continue were to stop today, the planet would not see a difference for 60 to 70 years. If carbon emissions continue at the rate they are climbing today, my country will be underwater in seven years.”

 


Maldives On A BudgetAlthough climate conditions are not on their side, the Maldivian government is working hard to save their beautiful country. Now they are working on creating floating islands to save their country as well as trying to eliminate all of their greenhouse gas emissions by 2019.

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The Maldives are paradise. With a huge growth in tourism the islands are housing more and more resorts. Over 100 of the 185 inhabited islands are resort islands, most of which only have one resort, which makes for the ultimate island holiday. Chances are, if you are visiting one of the private island resorts, you will have to take a flight on a Seaplane with Trans Maldivian Airways.

 

With such beautiful resorts you may think that in a trip to the Maldives would cost a fortune and while you can easily spend thousands on airfare and resorts there is a budget way to visit without sacrificing luxury.

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Maldives On A Budget

Jeff and I visited this past April and didn’t break the bank. There is one island that houses the countries only airport, which is just a 10-minute ferry ride to Male, the nations capital. There are a few local islands that have plenty of budget hotels. The ferry from the airport to Male is less than $1 USD.

 

The island of Maafushi is a local island that is about an hour-long ferry ride from Male. There is one ferry to and from Maafushi everyday. You can call any of the hotels on Maafushi and they will gladly provide you with all the information you need to get there. The ferry to Maafushi leaves Male at 3pm everyday and a return ferry departs Maafushi to Male at 7am everyday. the ferry from Male to Maafushi is only $3 USD one way.

 

The Beachwood Hotel is a great place to stay on Maafushi and runs about $90 a night. It is the only hotel with a pool on the island and they have a small van to drive you to the ferry or even to the beach. Because the Maldives are a Muslim nation there is no alcohol allowed on local islands. If you stay at a resort they do serve alcohol, but with such beautiful beaches the absence of alcohol wasn’t missed. Also, because the country is so conservative, the beaches on the local islands are sectioned off so that tourist can enjoy the beach with privacy and feel free to wear swimsuits and bikinis.

 Check out our review of The Beachwood Hotel! 

The Beachwood Hotel - Maldives

 

The local people on Maafushi Island are extremely friendly and helpful. You can walk around the whole island in about 20 minutes and see a glimpse into the local lifestyle. The Beachwood hotel also offers night fishing with the locals and was a great way to experience life on an island.  Jeff had so much fun he decided to go twice and even caught a barracuda! The next day the chef at our hotel cooked up one of the big fish for us and it tasted amazing!

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Maldives

 

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Overall our trip was perfect and we can’t wait to go back and enjoy more of the island life. Without airfare our whole trip cost us way less than we had anticipated and it was worth every penny! Don’t miss out on a chance to see this beachy nation!

 

 

Bio Photo Marina 150x150 Hotel Review: Park Hyatt Dubai Marina Dominguez is the co-founder of Latitude 34 Travel Blog as well as a photographer and documentary film maker.

As a maturing women, Marina has dedicated her life to travel and new experiences. After working a 9-5 cubical lifestyle, Marina sold everything she owned, left her job and begun a new life with her boyfriend and travel companion, Jeff Johns. Together they relocated to Phuket, Thailand and founded Latitude 34 in which they seek to share their alternative lifestyle with the world. 

Marina is a Visual Journalism graduate of Brooks Institute of Photography where she studied photography, videography and ultimately caught the travel bug. Through creating several international documentaries, Marina realized there was more to the world than work and wanted something more. 

Flying a Seaplane in the Maldives

Flying a Seaplane in the Maldives (VIDEO)

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The Maldives are some of the most beautiful and remote islands in the world, but if you are lucky enough to visit, you will most likely have to take a seaplane to your island hotel once you land at the Male International Airport. As the Maldives are comprised of nearly 1,200 islands and spread out over a vast distance, only a few resorts are close enough to Male to have speed boats which can bring guests to and from the airport. For all the rest there is Trans Maldivian Airways, the largest fleet of seaplanes in the world who fly over 400 flights per day around the Maldives picking up and dropping off guests at the various luxury private islands resorts the Maldives are famous for.

Landing in Male you will immediately see the TMA counter and shuttles which carry passengers and their luggage to the other side of the island, a short 5 minute drive, to the TMA “airport”, a small dock with prepped with planes to take you on to your final destination. TMA has an amazingly comfortable terminal with special VIP lounges for almost all of the different luxury resorts guests. Most flights are between 20-45 minutes, and depending on your final stop, you can get off the plane in Male and be at the door of your hotel in only an hour or so.

In addition to transporting passengers around the islands, Trans Maldivian Airways also offers scenic tours around the islands. We jumped aboard one of the their flights and tagged along with them as they dropped off and picked up guests at a couple islands and what an amazing journey it was!

Once you get up high you really see how vast the nothingness is surrounding the Maldives and out of the deep blue sea can pop up the most tropical island you have ever seen with the whitest sandy beaches and turquoise waters. A trip to the Maldives might seem like a total fantasy but with a little planning and help from Trans Maldivian Airways you can have those dreams come true and be sitting on the beach, sipping a cocktail in no time at all.

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.H . jeffjohnsheadshotJeff Johns is the co-founder and editor of Latitude 34 Travel Blog. Through 65 countries on 6 continents he has accumulated a seemingly endless stream of odd information, interesting stories and helpful tips and tricks to better travel. Jeff’s goal is to visit all 204 countries on Earth before he is too senile to remember them all. A graduate of the Visual Journalism program at the Brooks Institute, his true passions lay in honest visual storytelling, documentary filmmaking, Thai food and a good laugh. Together with his girlfriend Marina, they run Latitude 34 Travel Blog as a source of helpful information for those who love to travel or those who simply dream of it. If you have a comment or suggestion, send them an email at hello@latitudethirtyfour.com and they’ll respond super fast!

Hotel Review: Beachwood Hotel, Maldives

Hotel Review: Beachwood Hotel, Maldives

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As far as tourism destinations, the Maldives is not only one of the more remote destinations for many vacationers from the West, but also relatively new to the tourism scene. While the infamous stilted luxury huts over the water, private island hotel resorts get all of the attention, there are some 1190 islands which make up the Maldives, and the local islands are starting to embrace tourism as well.

No matter if you are staying on a luxury private island or a local island, you will be either boarding a small seaplane or a ferry once you land at Male International Airport, as the airport itself is a small island, a quick 2 minute ferry ride to Male, the actual capital city, the smallest capital city on the world.

Our trip to the Maldives was quite last minute, and while the idea of a luxurious private island was of course appealing, the idea of spending out week long holiday on a local island had its perks as well, the least of which was the reduced cost. We chose the small (and we mean tiny) local island of Maafushi, a 90 minute ferry ride from Male. The island home to some 3,000 locals in an area you can walk around in about 15 minutes. Surrounded by white sandy beaches and picturesque scenes, Maafushi is as close to paradise as you can get.

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Hotel Review: Beachwood Hotel, Maldives

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The locals are strict Muslims who has embraced the tourism trend and made Maafushi home to about 10 small boutique guest houses and bungalows. While alcohol is prohibited on the island, they have made nearly every amenity you would desire available to all guests who visit the island. With only sand roads, no stoplights and only bikes or golf carts to get around, Maafushi really is an island paradise. We chose to stay at the Beachwood Hotel, a 4 star boutique hotel located just a short 5 minute walk from the boat dock.

Remember that this is a Muslim island and while there isn’t much that will affect you there are a couple things to remember. Friday is a day of rest and few of the handful of shops will be open but most importantly the twice daily ferry to Male does not run on Fridays, so make sure to plan your travel around that. The Beachwood does have a speed boat you can reserve to pick you up from the airport, however the cost is quite a bit higher than the ferry. Also, the is no alcohol of any kind on the island, and although we mentioned it before it is worth repeating. Do not attempt to bring alcohol to the Maldives as it will be taken from you when you land. Also, be modest and respectful when on a local island.

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Hotel Review: Beachwood Hotel, Maldives

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The locals have done gone out of their way to welcome you to their home so be extra respectful. The island has set up a long stretch of gorgeous beach with small barriers for tourists to swim in bikinis while making the locals feel comfortable as well.

The staff  of the Beachwood was incredibly warm, welcomed us with a drink, showed us around the property, which not only sports a spa and delicious restaurant but also a game room and Maafushi’s only swimming pool. The hotel, opened in late 2013, is shockingly up to date and hip, someone was clearly familiar with Pinterest before designing the hotel, and it shows. The rooms are simple but elegant, with everything you would need in a luxury hotel stay. The Beachwood brand, logo and colors are everywhere, making you feel you are in a larger resort while still in a boutique setting.

Free wireless internet is available in the rooms and throughout the hotel and while it might not be as fast as you are used to, you are seriously on an island in the absolute middle of nowhere, and were shocked there was internet at all. The restaurant serves delicious Western and Maldivian food, and while the Western food is better than we expected, you’ve got to try the Maldivian food, it is such a delicious cuisine. You’ll recognize items on the menu from other Asian countries, but all are done with a local flare, which is fantastic.

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Hotel Review: Beachwood Hotel, Maldives

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Beachwood offers a complete list of local excursions as well, including night fishing, dolphin watching, island hopping, etc. We opted to try out the night fishing and it was so much fun that I went again a second night.

Maafushi is new to tourism and the Beachwood is as well, and it shows. While still working out all the kinks dealing with tourists from around the world, the Beachwood staff is learning how to run their hotel like any other luxury hotel and within no time at all we believe they will be the number 1 hotel on Maafushi as they have the perfect mix of location, luxury settings, a good restaurant and a dedicated staff.

The Maldives are truly one of the most beautiful places we have ever been, and one of the only places that really does look exactly like the postcards we’ve all seen. While one could easily spend a fortune on a visit to these beautiful islands, it really is easily possible to have a luxury stay for a very decent price, without giving up any of the comforts you are used to, and to do it all on a local island with more culture, color and vibrance than a secluded private resort. While we all dream of staying on a private island we are excited to book a return trip to the Maldives and think we know exactly where we’ll be staying, we miss Maafushi already – and I’ve got to go night fishing with the boys from Beachwood again!

Rooms start around $70 and include free internet, welcome drink, free transportation to and from ferry and breakfast.

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Hotel Review: Beachwood Hotel, Maldives

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.H . jeffjohnsheadshotJeff Johns is the co-founder and editor of Latitude 34 Travel Blog. Through 65 countries on 6 continents he has accumulated a seemingly endless stream of odd information, interesting stories and helpful tips and tricks to better travel. Jeff’s goal is to visit all 204 countries on Earth before he is too senile to remember them all. A graduate of the Visual Journalism program at the Brooks Institute, his true passions lay in honest visual storytelling, documentary filmmaking, Thai food and a good laugh. Together with his girlfriend Marina, they run Latitude 34 Travel Blog as a source of helpful information for those who love to travel or those who simply dream of it. If you have a comment or suggestion, send them an email at hello@latitudethirtyfour.com and they’ll respond super fast!

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