Good call on Canggu! I worked from Dojo in October and I’m planning to return in March after the rainy season. I loved the atmosphere there and I instantly met so many awesome nomads. Canggu is definitely a better spot for digital nomads than Kuta, which I didn’t like either. I also really like Ubud but the traffic there is a little too crazy and it’s hard to walk anywhere.
An overused travel cliché says that the toughest places to reach are often the most rewarding. This cannot be truer in the case of Ofu Island in the remote US territory of American Samoa. One of mother nature’s finest pieces of work, touchdown on the beachside runway in Ofu signals the start of the weekly rush hour – as locals greet relatives returning from the main island with a big smile, government workers change shifts, and a few lucky tourists begin the vacation of a lifetime. On the menu? Jungle covered peaks hiding rare coconut crabs under the canopy, sleepy villages waking up only for Sunday church service, and a beach worthy of an Oscar – if only ‘The Academy’ would be aware of its existence.
Some of the most relaxing vacations mean finding a secluded spot where you can unplug from the stress of modern life. The Cook Islands is a secluded paradise with welcoming people, great dancers, drummers and singers, with strong Polynesian traditions and culture that make visiting the islands so memorable. The largest island and the home of the capital Avarua, is Rarotonga. Avarua is famous for its fascinating churches made of white coral, and don’t miss the islands Saturday market. Northeast of Rarotonga, visitors to Atiu may want to learn about the local “moonshine” known as tumunu at a local bush beer school. Neighboring Mitiaro stands in water 14,750 feet deep and has white coral streets lined with bright orange Pumarumaru trees. Although it is surrounded by coral reefs and is home to many underground caves and lakes, Ma’uke is known as “the garden island.” Finally, the second largest and oldest island is Mangaia, a beautiful location known for its fossilized coral, otherwise known as “makatea.”
Snorkeling is simply swimming along the surface of the water and looking down at the oceanic activity below you. No special skills or training is required, and the equipment needed to do it is minimal. Scuba, or SCUBA, is an acronym for Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus, which is the pressurized air tank you need to wear as you dive well below the surface. It’s what allows you to be fully immersed (both literally and figuratively) in the ocean life around you. It’s a more extreme experience, and as such, more training and equipment are necessary.
I could have played a round of mini golf in the fading light or booked a hot air balloon ride for the following day or even watched The Simpsons at the theater named after a form of Indonesian puppet theater. Instead I went to the fanciest restaurant, where TI’s signature excess is best exemplified by a corn poulard dish that comes with corn on the cob and popcorn. Over a pretty good salmon teriyaki, I watched a hairy man wearing only a speedo get turned down when he requested a table. (Shirts were required, shoes were not.) It had been a long day of doing mostly things I really like—laying around reading, swimming, eating—but I didn’t feel rested or rejuvenated. I felt restless.
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