San Diego’s Best Sustainable & Holistic Businesses

San Diego’s Best Sustainable & Holistic Businesses

San Diego’s Best Sustainable & Holistic Businesses

San Diegos Best Holistic and Sustainable Businesses, Blue Eyed Compass

San Diego is a hub for entrepreneurs and exciting new businesses, so it’s no wonder that with our laidback, outdoor lifestyles that San Diegans love to support new and unique sustainable and holistic businesses.

You’ll want to save this post, because I have a feeling that this list will continue to grow as San Diegans continue to outshine the nation in sustainable businesses.

Check out these holistic San Diego businesses to support local, environmental and health conscious groups!

San Diego Holistic & Sustainable Businesses:

– Saffron & Sage –

Saffron and Sage is a holistic health club. They have a holistic wellness practice, multi-sensory wellness classes and offer a variety of in-house and highly vetted lines of clean beauty and body products. It’s like walking into a yoga studio combined with your Sephora and doctors office, but with the most calming and zen atmosphere that you could think of. The owner, Cristin has created a beautiful synchrony of modern medicine with holistic wellness.

Saffron & Sage offers a monthly membership that includes access to all of their services or you can drop in for appointments and classes. They also offer seasonal educational workshops throughout the year.

You can find Saffron & Sage at 2555 State Street San Diego, CA 92101

– Remedy Pharmacy –

Located in Little Italy, Remedy Pharmacy is exactly that – a pharmacy! But with a unique and holistic twist. They provide a holistic and personalized approach to medicine. Remedy Rx offers consultations for pharmacogenetic analysis, medication analysis, birth control consultations and more! You can pay a small fee to meet with a trained professional who will actually tell you how your medicines will react to your individual body because they evaluate you as a whole entity, and not just another customer. They also offer herbalist consultations, vaccines, and over the counter items such as skincare items and supplements. And trust me when I tell you that you’ll want to go in and explore this space. Their interior is beautifully done and is so well organized. Remedy Rx is female run and owned too!

You can find Remedy Rx at 320 West Cedar Street Suite 103 San Diego, CA 92101

– Eco Chic Salon –

Eco Chic Salon is San Dieos’ first full service vegan, eco-friendly,  and toxic free hair & nail salon. For anyone who enjoys treating themselves to a good manicure and likes to maintain beautiful hair care, Eco Chic Salon needs to become your go-to spot. If you didn’t already know, salons can be extremely toxic for your body and very wasteful. From the chemicals used in nail polish to the hair dyes used, and the amount of single use items being tossed daily. Eco Chic has completely transformed what a salon can be. They offer eco-friendly, 100% vegan products inside of a colorful yet relaxing environment.

Every step of the salon process has been meticulously groomed for their customers, as they believe that beauty and wellness are synonymous. From proper recycling of ALL materials at the end of each day, to minimal water use, and so much more, Eco Chic truly cares about their carbon footprint and having a sanctuary for toxic-free care.

Most importantly they care about their customers beauty and well-being (because the two don’t have to be exclusive!). The salon is certified sustainable through Green Circle Salons(GCS). Which to you as a customer means that GCS collects, recycles and repurposes their salong waste, and diverts it from landfills and waterways. Eco Chic Salon is also ammonia, PPD and resorcinol free (all three of these are incredibly toxic chemicals typically found in hair color), and their retail products contain high quality organic ingredients that are made ethically.

I can’t speak highly enough about Eco Chic, quite possibly because I’ve seen and met the owners on multiple occasions at local events in San Diego (which has shown that they immerse themselves into our community!).

You can find Eco Chic Salon at 1727 University Avenue San Diego, CA 92103

Eco Chic Salon, San Diego Sustainable businesses
Eco Chic Salon, San Diego CA Sustainable Businesses
Eco Chic Salon, San Diego Sustainable businesses 1

– Shop Good –

Shop Good is a clean beauty skincare shop and spa. Owner, Leah, is an expert in non-toxic beauty and all natural skincare. Each product sold in this store is carefully vetted by its ingredients and tested by the staff. Shop Good is also a spa and offers 100% customizable, holistic facials, known as the Shop Good Facial. Their other spa options include brow waxing, sugaring and beauty & wellness consultations.

You can find Shop Good at  3665 Paseo Place, Suite 960 San Diego CA 92130

– Tribe Medicine –

Within one of San Diego’s best vegan cafes and yoga studios is Tribe Medicine, a naturopathic and functional medicine practice, with a focus on hormone health, body and mindful medicine. While I haven’t personally utilized Dr. Leah Gordon (at least not yet), I have only ever heard raving reviews about her services as a naturopath.

You can find Tribe Medicine at 7650 Girard Avenue Suite 401 La Jolla CA

– Organifi –

Organifi is a superfood supplement retailer that provides some of THE best tasting & best for you products on the market. The level of scrutiny that they put behind any of the ingredients in their products is incredible and comforting. While they may be an online marketplace, their office is located in San Diego and they embody what so many San Diegans stand for – community, empowerment and being healthy. I can personally recommend their Green Juice, Red Juice, Pure, Immunity and Chocolate Gold (in fact, I may have an obsession with their Chocolate Gold and I drink their Green Juice every morning).

Laura of Blue Eyed Compass, a Sustainable Travel Blog

Hi!  I’m Laura, a sustainable travel blogger, as well as freelancing online brand strategist. I share real & honest information about traveling, how to do so sustainably, and ways to earn an income while working remote.

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San Diegos Best Holistic and Sustainable Businesses, Blue Eyed Compass
San Diegos Best Holistic and Sustainable Businesses, Blue Eyed Compass
San Diegos Best Holistic and Sustainable Businesses, Blue Eyed Compass
San Diegos Best Holistic and Sustainable Businesses, Blue Eyed Compass

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Top Craft Cocktail Bars in San Diego

Top Craft Cocktail Bars in San Diego

Top Craft Cocktail Bars in San Diego

It’s no wonder that there is no shortage of unique & delicious craft cocktail bars in San Diego. As one of the best vacation destinations in the United States, the city has become known for its incredible bar and restaurant industry, keeping locals and visitors excited to try the best quality & most ambient-filled places.

Below is a list of the best cocktails bars in San Diego. And don’t worry, in San Diego our bars don’t choose between ambiance and amazing quality. Here we pride ourselves on outdoing both. So no matter which location you choose to frequent, know that you’ll be getting a feast for the eyes & your taste buds.

Here are the:

San Diego’s Top Craft Cocktails Bars

Starlite

Starlite calls itself a hidden gem, and is true to its word. Few non-locals would happen to wander past their front doors, as it’s not central to the Gaslamp district or Pacific Beach’s beachside bars. And honestly, I’m more than okay with that. Starlite has an incredible architecture design starting with a hexagonal hallway and a sunken bar, and embedded lights throughout to create a truly ethereal experience. Their bar staff craft amazing cocktails & they keep an incredible menu of spirits. Another perk is that they serve drinks until 1am and food until midnight. It’s by far one of the best places to get a late night meal paired with a beautiful cocktail.

Trust

Located in Hillcrest, Trust Restaurant is community forward, with a focus on a fine dining experience that feels approachable. This may be the spot to round out a date night before heading out for the evening in Hillcrest, North Park or University Heights. Come in for fresh, local food fare and order yourself a craft cocktail here… and maybe one of their beautiful desserts as well.

Ironside

Ironside is part of a restaurant group called Consortium Holdings, who creates “public gathering spaces that help cultivate our neighborhoods through the fostering of creativity, dialogue, questions and conversations”. I don’t often put entire quotes in these posts, but their dedication to the San Diego community is felt throughout their spaces. Ironside is well known for their oyster & seafood menu, but as a vegetarian I go for the cocktails & interior design. With their large, open spaced warehouse-like interior that hosts soft teals and the perfect lighting, you’ll feel like you’re under the sea here.

Lion’s Share

Lion’s Share is known for serving uncommon meat options on their charcuterie boards, but more importantly for their deliciously fresh cocktails. Their staff prides themselves on giving customers their undivided attention. When you visit Lion’s Share be sure to keep an eye out for their unique artwork that will be sure to spark up conversation.

Kettner Exchange

Kettner Exchange has become a San Diego must visit due to their beautiful rooftop lounge, that is elegant, yet approachable. The ambiance adds an air of austerity that effortlessly pairs with their refreshing cocktail menu. Seasonal libations and views of Little Italy make Kettner Exchange perfect for an evening out.

The Grass Skirt

The name may give it away, but The Grass Skirt is a Pacific Beach tiki bar staple. This place has some of the best cocktails in San Diego that are perfect for celebratory occasions. It’s also one of the city’s speakeasies, so guests can enjoy the element of finding their way into the restaurant and reward themselves with a tropical cocktail.

Born & Raised

for table side cocktails

Born & Raised is praised as being the best steakhouse in San Diego, but I prefer the title of best cocktails in San Diego instead. Considered to be both swanky and elegant, I feel it’s best to enjoy your craft cocktail on their rooftop with panoramic views of Little Italy. Born & Raised may possibly have the largest scotch menu, but if you prefer a classic martini with your meal you can have it prepared on a rolling cart right at your table.

Tanuki

best saki list

A bit outside of the typical tourist area of San Diego in the Kensington neighborhood lies Tanuki Sake Bar. Tanuki is a great cocktail bar in San Diego, and you can feel confident with that as the owner was once the chef at San Diego’s upscale restaurant, Nobu. Tankui offers over 100 different saki’s, and is also a coffee bar by day!

False Idol

fun cocktails

False Idol hosts a fully immersed environment that celebrates the tiki lifestyle. Their cocktails are beautifully made and range from classic to tiki-eccentric. And better yet, False Idol is another speakeasy bar for you to explore in San Diego.

Craft & Commerce

Another Little Italy top cocktail bar is Craft & Commerce. Craft & Commerce embodies that feeling of ‘enjoying a craft cocktail while lounging in your library staring deep into your taxidermy work’. And not to reveal too much, you could visit both Craft & Commerce and False Idol in one afternoon.

Kindred

Kindred boasts its incredible cocktail menu alongside a delicious vegan menu. Their food menu often reflects their cocktail menu and aligns with seasonal availability, giving patrons a seasonally exciting menu to choose from. Located in South Park, Kindred has some of the most bold and eye-catching interior design in San Diego.

You & Yours

vodka & gin tasting

Personally, I love You & Yours as it’s a female run business that has masterfully intertwined delicious spirits with a beautifully designed tasting room. The tasting room is located in East Village and offers the city’s best vodka and gin tasting.

Sycamore Den

late night

Sycamore Den is a neighborhood staple in Normal Heights that serves classic craft cocktails while embracing a ‘feel at home’ atmosphere.. This place is loved for its 1970’s interior design that pays homage to the living room style of our grandparents, offering a comfortable atmosphere to enjoy your drink.

The Guild Bar

The Guild Bar lays inside the lobby of one of San Diego’s newer boutique hotels, The Guild. The entire hotel was previously a YMCA that’s been completely transformed into one of San Diego’s top hotels, while maintaining its historic 1920’s exterior. Visitors can enjoy their craft cocktails at the chic lobby Guild bar or at Luca, their outdoor Mediterranean restaurant.

Rendezvous

Located within the historic US Grant hotel, lies Rendezvous, a vintage French cocktail bar in San Diego’s Gaslamp district. This hotel bar offers a historic feeling as it was opened just after Prohibition was repealed and continues to offer the quality of service and cocktails that many feel has been left in the past.

Laura of Blue Eyed Compass, a Sustainable Travel Blog

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Travel Guide to Kauai Hawaii

Travel Guide to Kauai Hawaii

Travel Guide to Kauai Hawaii

This page contains affiliate links to products and tours that I have used for my own travels, purchased & enjoyed. Clicking these links does not cost you anything, however doing so will support Blue Eyed Compass and allow the site to continue.  THANK YOU!  You can view our disclosure page for additional details

Kauai is one of the smaller islands that travelers frequent in Hawaii. It’s known as the ‘Garden Isle’, and for good reason – this island is extremely lush & still feels a bit wild. We loved the wildness of Kauai, especially since it’s the oldest of Hawaii’s islands, and travelers can still enjoy a less crowded Hawaiin getaway (compared to Oahu’s Waikiki beach).

Who is Kauai best for?

Kauai is best for those looking to explore the great outdoors. There are endless hikes that lead to gorgeous view points, and stunning beaches worth the two hour drive to get to for beautiful snorkeling & scuba diving.

While you can, of course, enjoy some epic lounge time at a five star hotel in Kauai, if you visit here you should enjoy the lush landscape that locals proudly boast about.

Getting to, in and around Kauai

As it’s an island, you need to get to Kauai via airplane. You can fly from another Hawaiian airline or from the US mainland.

If you need help finding great airline deals save your destinations & dates here.

The Kauai airport is quite small, which makes it easy to navigate for travelers who feel anxious when traveling. The airport is shaped like the letter ‘T’ with the airport gates essentially being open spaced/outdoors.

Visitors to Kauai will immediately notice that the whole of Kauai is stunningly green as soon as they walk out of the airport doors. If you’ve visited any other Hawaiin islands then you know there will be frequent sightings of wild chickens. Well in Kauai, the wild chickens are even more prevalent!

Enough about the adorable wildlife… Kauai does not have a ton of infrastructure (which is something to love about the island), so you will need to rent a car if you wish to explore the island beyond your hotel.

If you’re a fan of saving money & good deals, then I’d recommend renting a car through your Costco membership.

 

There seems to be two versions of getting around Kauai; either seamlessly with no traffic or being stuck in traffic behind the same car for hours. This is because Kauai has only a few main roads on the island. Single lane roads, not highways. So, when it’s commuting time for the locals, traffic will be dense. Keep that in mind when you drive around on your trip to Kauai. *Also, as much as we innately dislike traffic, try to keep an open mind & love the fact that Kauai is still somewhat underdeveloped compared to its counterparts like Oahu & Maui. You can still enjoy a more laid back and authentic time in Kauai than you can elsewhere. Embrace that!

Top things to do in Kauai

Every Hawaiin island has so much to offer to travelers, and Kauai is no different. Except, think of Kauai as the wild, older sister to the other islands. There are over 60 beaches & so many less traveled hikes waiting for you to explore them!

This list of top things to do in Kauai is in no particular order, so be sure to create a map to visualize the best way to spend your time here.

Enjoy cocktails at Lava Lava Beach Club

Located at the Kauai Shores Hotel Club, Lava Lava Beach Club is a beautiful mix of hotel comfort without the extreme price tag, plus it’s the only ‘toes in sand’ restaurant you may find in Kauai.

I’m still in awe over their ‘Skinny Dipper’ cocktail that has fresh passion fruit juice & mint. Order one of those bad boys and sit at one of the tables in the sand under their gently swaying string of lights. All while enjoying your view of the ocean, Kauai’s mountains, and live music strumming in the background. 

*Dress is low key

Catch sunrise on the beach in Ka’paa

The sun rises near Ka’paa so it’s the best area to catch a gorgeous sunrise 

 

See Kalalau Valley from above

Drive to the Kalalau lookout & witness the view point that’s been in many feature films. This peak into the Kalalau Valley is what any novice Hawaiin traveler would expect to experience, and an excellent way to fall in love with Hawaii easily.

View Waimea Canyon from above & below!

Waimea canyon is known as ‘The Grand Canyon of the Pacific’! And it does not disappoint.

It’s located about one and a half hour drive from Kapaa. If you aren’t a fan of hiking you can enjoy the gorgeous views of the canyon at the Waimea Lookout. There is a short trail to get to the good view point & it can get muddy, but is only a short five minute walk from the parking lot.

There are multiple hikes down into the canyon. I almost always use the All Trails app to find hikes when traveling. You can find Waimea Canyon hikes here.

Relax on Kekaha Beach

I love that Hawaii has a variety of beach types, but I know many who prefer those miles of soft sand, smooth water type of beaches – which is exactly what Kekaha beach is like.

Spend an afternoon lounging at Kekaha’s long, soft sand beach and teal, calm waters.

When you’re ready for refreshments at Kekaha go to…

 

Waimea for lunch

There are only a handful of local joints in Waimea, and I can happily recommend the thai food place. They offer fresh smoothies & coconuts which will make any vegetarian traveler happy.

Visit the Na’pali Coast

Visitors can explore the 15 mile stretch of the Na Pali Coast from a boat or hikes. The hikes are quite strenuous & will require careful planning to do, where as a visit by boat is much more manageable for many.

Capt Andy’s was recommended by quite a few people when we researched which boating company to use in Kauai. And they have a great compilation resource about hiking around Na Pali here

Be adventurous & get to Palihua Beach

I love this wild beach. The journey to get to Palihua beach is a blast (worth the laughs & jostling) and you never know what kind of weather you will get here.

Be sure your rental car can handle terrain, as driving to Palihua beach requires three miles of dirt road and then some sand. In fact, once you find the large tree near the beach, park your car there. We found a poor guy who tried to drive the sand dunes & got his car stuck. Insert hilarious video of Marcus helping with the car.

Palihua is a long, sandy beach with gorgeous views. However, as it’s on a more secluded side of the island has the possibility of lots of wind.

Don’t let the dirt road or the wind deter you. As Palihua is more difficult to reach, it means you will basically have this beach to yourself. If you know of or have experienced Over Tourism before then you know that having a beautiful Hawaiian beach to yourself is a rarity.

Stock up on Kauai Coffee

Once you leave Palihua beach you’ll be close to the Kauai Coffee Company! Yes, there will be tour groups here, and there is a strong possibility it will be a lot of elderly, but there are free samples of every flavor they offer, and typically a bulk discount. Imagine, a one stop shop for all of your souvenir gifts for friends & family!

 

Hike the Sleeping Giant Trail for sunrise

I’m a sunrise lover, sorry to those who aren’t fans of early birds. But, I promise hiking in mud, in the dark, is worth it to get the sunrise views at the top of the Sleeping Giant Trail.

We took the Nounou Mountain WEST trail, so I can’t speak to the other trails to the top. The west trail was muddy, involved rock climbing (not very high, at most four feet tall) and stellar views. And I can’t forget all of the wild chickens we saw!

Check out the viewpoints of Wailua River State Park

Soak in the views of the Wailua river on one side & ocean views on the other

 

Spend a day (or more!) in Hanalei Bay

Hanalei definitely feels like a local neighborhood. Located on the northern side of the island, it requires driving a winding road to get down to the bay. En route you’ll experience stunning views and quite a few scenic overlooks.

*If the weather is rainy or stormy the main road to get to Hanalei Bay could be closed.

Relax on the beach at Hanalei Bay – you may even catch a local surfing competition. The north side of Kauai has much moodier weather than you may anticipate any Hawaiin island to have. It reminded me of the beaches in the US Pacific Northwest, but the low key vibe is extremely relaxing, so worth a visit regardless of clouds.

Taste the local flare at the Hanalei Bay food trucks

While all of the food trucks had delicious sounding menus we chose Fresh Bite & Tumeric for vegan & vegetarian friendly fares. My advice, try the house made hot sauce from Fresh Bite (I may have tried to convince them to sell me a bottle of it, it’s that good).

 

Make your way to Makua “Tunnels” Beach

Makua Beach is best known for its stellar snorkeling, and gorgeous backdrop of the island. It’s located near Hanalei Bay, so plan your trip to this area accordingly. Parking can be difficult to find at the actual beach, so if you see a spot at Haena beach park there and walk to Makua.

Enjoy Kauapea Beach

Kauapea beach is a bit difficult to get to but so worth its secluded views. Set your GPS to the trailhead at Secret Beach. You can park your car along the dirt path. Wear shoes you’re comfortable getting dirty since you have to hike down a muddy path to get to the beach. (I did it in men’s flip flops – typical hawaiin lifestyle where I forgot my shoes at home – and was fine on the hike down, albeit shaky). Once down to the bottom you’ll enjoy a relaxing afternoon soaking up the sun on this secluded & pristine beach.

Sample local kombuchas at Potions

Potions is a kombucha bar located near Kapaa town. Each one is handmade by the owner & delicious.

 

Walk around Kapaa town

The store fronts in Kapaa town are reminiscent of an old western town but with far more color. Here you can find restaurants, water adventure rentals, an antique shop & so much more.

 

Walk along Shipwreck beach & the Heritage Trail

Located on the Hyatt’s property, Shipwreck beach is the start of the Heritage Trail – if you go to one, you might as well visit both. The trail offers beautiful coastal views & is a nice easy walk along the cliffs. Know that the currents at Shipwreck beach are powerful so it’s not ideal for casual ocean swimmers.

Snorkel at Poi’pu beach

Poipu beach is such a fun & cute beach area. There will be more tourists here, but that’s because the water is clear and calm. Be sure to bring your snorkel gear to Poipu! There are two bay areas that combine to form Poi’pu beach. One is best for children & novice snorkelers… I’ll be frank, I’m a fan of calm waters for snorkeling, so feel confident knowing I swam in both. Visitors can easily find parking across the street.

Interested in sustainable travel? Learn about how you can help prevent Overtourism

Where to Stay in Kauai

You can read about where you should stay in Kauai, Hawaii in this post:

Where to stay in Kauai, Hawaii

Tips for visiting Kauai

✔ Stock up on fresh food & snacks at Papaya’s Natural Food Store, outside of Kapaa town. Kauai is expensive at many restaurants, so enjoy local fruits & vegetables and splurge your money on water adventures instead. Papaya’s has a fresh made to order area too that was great for our flight home.

 

✔ There is only one road to all places on Kauai, so there may be traffic. Plan your days accordingly so you don’t waste time sitting behind the wheel of your car.

 

✔ Kauai is a much more laid back hawaiin island compared to Oahu and even Maui. I would suggest visiting Kauai if you are interested in lush settings, lots of outdoor activities & discovering hidden beaches.

Laura of Blue Eyed Compass, a Sustainable Travel Blog

Hi!  I’m Laura, a sustainable travel blogger, as well as freelancing online brand strategist. I share real & honest information about traveling, how to do so sustainably, and ways to earn an income while working remote.

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Where to stay in Kauai

Where to stay in Kauai

Where to stay in Kauai

This page contains affiliate links to products and tours that I have used for my own travels, purchased & enjoyed. Clicking these links does not cost you anything, however doing so will support Blue Eyed Compass and allow the site to continue.  THANK YOU!  You can view our disclosure page for additional details

There is no one answer for where you should stay in Kauai. The best answer you could get would be- it depends! It will depend on your personal preference & travel style based on the type of accommodation you prefer, what activities you want to do while there and the overall vibe of the area you’d like to experience.

Overview of the areas/regions of Kauai island

There are four main regions to the island of Kauai:

North Shore

South Shore

East Coast &

West Side

Each area of the island has its own unique vibe, typical weather & sights to see.

Keep reading for details on each area to help you choose where to stay in Kauai.

North Shore

South Shore

East Coast

West Side

Hanalei Bay

Kilauea

Princeville

Koloa

Lawai

Poipo

Kapaa

Lihue

Wailua

Hanapepe

Waimea

Don't Forget to Pack:

click image to find out more!

Zip Up Snorkel Top

Flowy Boho Dress

Reusable Cloth Bags

Where to stay in Kauai

NORTH SHORE

✔ beautiful, lush greenery & mountain backdrops

✔ waterfalls

rainy from November through March

 

Most well known for Hanalei Bay, the north shore area of Kauai is the most verdant on the island. Upon entering this area you’ll see waterfalls and mountainscapes as your backdrop, and be well within the more popular beaches such as Kee & Haena.

*Keep in mind that ‘rainy’ weather in Hawaii can often mean rain for a few hours & then sunshine soon after.

Check out these sustainably made travel backpacks! – Sustainably Made Travel Backpacks

SOUTH SHORE

✔ sunny & dry year round

✔ plenty of beaches to enjoy

✔ lots of dining available

beaches are popular with visitors, so they can feel crowded compared to other parts of the island

 

The south shore of Kauai is home to the warmest & driest parts of Kauai. It’s definitely popular with travelers, but you can’t beat the stunning beaches here.

Interested in sustainable travel? Learn about how you can help prevent Overtourism

EAST COAST

✔ more affordable lodging compared to other areas of the island

✔ in between the North Shore & West Side, so is convenient to access most of the island

many beaches here are local – some think they are less beautiful/accessible compared to the North & South parts of the island

 

The east coast of Kauai is the second most popular area of the island which means there are lots of accommodation options. It’s also close to many beautiful areas such as Wailua Falls & Wailua River and the Fern Grotto

WEST SIDE

✔ great home base for those looking to do lots of hiking

much more isolated than the other parts of Kauai

 

You could technically split the west side into northwest & southwest.

The northwest area, also known as the Napali coast, is essentially inaccessible save for boats, which makes it a beautiful place to experience as there is no infrastructure there. Whereas the southwest part of the west side is dryer and has beaches like the stunning Polihale beach.

This area isn’t built for tourists, so it still maintains that local Hawaiin vibe.

With so many beautiful options to choose from where would you choose to stay in Kauai?

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Laura of Blue Eyed Compass, a Sustainable Travel Blog

Hi!  I’m Laura, a sustainable travel blogger, as well as freelancing online brand strategist. I share real & honest information about traveling, how to do so sustainably, and ways to earn an income while working remote.

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San Diego Speakeasies

San Diego Speakeasies

San Diego Speakeasies

This page contains affiliate links to products and tours that I have used for my own travels, purchased & enjoyed. Clicking these links does not cost you anything, however doing so will support Blue Eyed Compass and allow the site to continue.  THANK YOU!  You can view our disclosure page for additional details

There’s something to be said about the air of mystery & excitement behind visiting a speakeasy. And San Diego has its handful of hidden gem speakeasy’s to enjoy. While a traditional 1920’s speakeasy was for providing a space to consume alcohol when it was outlawed, our SD local joints are all about atmosphere, experience & most importantly specialty cocktails.

*Some of these San Diego Speakeasy’s would prefer to keep their location a mystery – part of the fun is finding them yourselves! – so, this list has the speakeasy’s listed but not their exact location. But ask around while you’re here & someone will happily oblige you.

*Almost every one of these speakeasy’s requires a reservation & even if it’s not required, I suggest making one to guarantee you’ll have a seat when you want to visit.

San Diego’s Speakeasies & Secret Bars

RAISED BY WOLVES

One of our newer speakeasy’s, Raised by Wolves is a gorgeous & traditionally designed spot located in one of the San Diego malls. Find the fireplace mantle as the hidden door to enter here.

REALM OF 52 REMEDIES

Realm of 52 Remedies is located in the Kearny Mesa/Convoy Street area of San Diego (I cannot wait to dive more into this area of San Diego & write about it here!). Hidden within a restaurant, this place is adding some serious cocktail envy to an already excellent dining neighborhood. Visitors with reservations will enjoy a mix of Chinese & Koren heritage within the interior design, and possibly their own ‘Emperor’s Bar’ experience.

Discover San Diego like a local – San Diego Attractions at Night

NOBLE EXPERIMENT

Known for its hidden door at the back of a downtown restaurant, Noble Experiment is a true homage to traditional speakeasies. Order the dealers choice & tell your server what your favorite cocktail ingredients are for a one of a kind drink just for you.

PROHIBITION

You can find Prohibition by entering through an unambiguous lawyer office door somewhere in the Gaslamp district of downtown San Diego. While there are many reasons to enjoy Prohibition, it’s unique for enforcing a 1920’s dress code on the weekends. Step back in time & enjoy it for yourself.

ROOM 56

Room 56 is a speakeasy in San Diego that is known to be ‘hush-hush’. It’s hidden within a downtown hotel & accessed through the library (how very Game of Clue of them). After descending down, guests are received in a 24-seat cocktail sanctum. A reservation to Room 56 will give you an intriguingly sophisticated experience.

OCULTO 477

Oculto 477 loves to maintain its hidden entrance, but I will give you the hint of its location being in Old Town & near a cemetery. It’s known for its candlelit interior that marks the resting places of each tombstone in the graveyard. With a cozy seating space & limited time (2 hours max allowed inside), guests will truly enjoy Oculto 477’s accurate, albeit spooky, prohibition-era atmosphere.

THE GRASS SKIRT

The Grass Skirt is fronted with a daytime poke restaurant in Pacific Beach. But inside maintains a traditional tiki atmosphere, with equally tropical drinks. Find the poke, find the tiki!

VIN DE SYRAH

So, technically, Vin de Syrah isn’t a speakeasy, however it is found through a hidden door beneath a popular chain restaurant downtown. I’ve included Vin de Syrah on this list because of its unique Alice in Wonderland ‘come to life’ interior & vibe. Come for drinks & appetizers in the afternoon and stay through the evening for its late night club (which feels more like a fun lounge).

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BAR THREE PIECE

Located within a well known North Park establishment, Bar Three Piece was inspired by Japan’s whiskey bars. Meaning, you’ll be able to sample some of THE best whiskeys you can find in San Diego. And if you’re a whiskey fan AND an SD local, you should take advantage of their locker program that allows you to purchase a bottle & keep it at the bar for your following visit.

FALSE IDOL

Imagine a hidden Polynesian tiki bar & tropical cocktails all at your fingertips. False Idol, in Little Italy, doesn’t require reservations, but I recommend one so you don’t have to worry about enjoying your tiki drink. In order to find this speakeasy just know that when you’re getting warmer, you’re actually getting colder (If you’re a fan of The Office, I dare you to tell me which episode this is from)

I love how San Diego is such a foodie & cocktail city, so I hope you can enjoy its unique speakeasy’s.

Laura of Blue Eyed Compass, a Sustainable Travel Blog

Hi!  I’m Laura, a sustainable travel blogger, as well as freelancing online brand strategist. I share real & honest information about traveling, how to do so sustainably, and ways to earn an income while working remote.

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Travel Guide to Amsterdam

Travel Guide to Amsterdam

Travel Guide to Amsterdam

This page contains affiliate links to products and tours that I have used for my own travels, purchased & enjoyed. Clicking these links does not cost you anything, however doing so will support Blue Eyed Compass and allow the site to continue.  THANK YOU!  You can view our disclosure page for additional details

Amsterdam is a wonderful mix of modernity, history, quirkiness and cozy comfort. This picturesque city maintains its popularity with visitors from around the world for good reason – it’s beautiful streets, is easy to navigate around and never short on exciting things to do and see. Known for its canals, heavy bicycle ‘traffic’, colorful homes and delicious cafes, read on for an in-depth travel guide to Amsterdam.

How to get from the Amsterdam airport to the city center:

The Amsterdam airport is located southwest from the city, and takes about 20 minutes to get to via their direct train. Once you land in the Amsterdam airport, travelers can take the direct train to the center of the city. The train is easily found at the center of the airport past the security area.

 

Purchase your ticket(s) for the direct train at either a ticket booth or one of the easily spotted yellow machines with a credit card that has a chip reader. Tickets are only 5 euros for the direct train from the airport to the main Amsterdam train station. And for only a 20 minute ride, I would definitely recommend this form of transport.

 

If the direct train is not running due to construction (an issue sometimes found late at night), you can also take a bus into the city. Take one that is going in the direction of Leidseplein. You can pay in cash on the bus, and when you get off at Leidseplein you will be in the city center.

 

If you prefer to take a taxi, you will find the official taxi line outside of the airport. The largest cab company in Amsterdam is Taxicentrale Amsterdam. They accept credit cards and are available 24 hours a day. Here is their number: +31 020 777 77 77.

*Do NOT go with anyone who approaches you in the Schipol Airport about a taxi. In case you need it, the number to dial the police is 112.

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Where to stay in Amsterdam

Amsterdam, like any other city, has plenty of unique neighborhoods, each offering its own charm. The city has no shortage of cute cafes, delicious restaurants and plenty of historic sites to explore. So, where you choose to stay will depend on affordability and what you prefer to be within close proximity to.

 

There are eight districts within Amsterdam, and each district has neighborhoods nestled within. For travelers looking to get the most out of their stay and be close to the main sights you will want to stay in the Centrum district.

Image Credit : Amsterdam Insights

Of course, this will also be one of the more expensive districts to stay in, but you should consider how much time you will be spending in Amsterdam and the convenience of staying close to public transportation and the main sites.

 

Within the Centrum district are the following neighborhoods:

  • Nieuwmarkt : home to the oldest part of the city, Nieuwmarkt is oozing with local culture & history.

  • Spui : Spui is the heart of the old city and is a great central point to explore all of Amsterdam

  • Jewish Quarter (Jodenbuurt) : The Old Jewish Quarter is home to many popular sites to see; including the Hortus Botanicus. This neighborhood has done a great job preserving its history and architecture too.

  • Dam Square : Dam Square is the heart of the city of Amsterdam, so if you stay here you’ll be conveniently close to almost everything, however it will also be crowded anytime of day.

  • Canal belt/the 9 Streets : The Canal belt area, also known as the 9 Streets, is fairly self explanatory. It’s the area where the semicircular canals breathe the charm of Amsterdam to life. This area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site as well.

  • Jordaan : west of the Canal belt area lies Jordaan. Jordaan consists of tightly packed streets and has been completely renovated to become a very popular area for young artists, entrepreneurs and travelers looking to immerse themselves in the community.

  • De Wallen/Red Light District : the infamous Red Light District is home to one of Amsterdam’s top places to visit. The draw for this area is that it’s an officially desginated area for legal prostitution. The name ‘Red Light’ comes from the red lights surrounding the doorways of the individuals ‘ready for business’ as someone so lovingly phrased it to me. It’s a unique area, and one you should definitely explore, but it is loud in the evenings, so if you prefer quiet, I’d suggest staying in a different neighborhood.

  • Leidseplein : Leidseplein is known for its nightlife, and has plenty of great hotels and restaurants.

  • Rembrandtplein : Rembrandtplein is another nightlife square, however it is closer to the city center than Leidseplein. There are well known outdoor cafes and restaurants in this area. If you stay just slightly off of the square you can enjoy a quiet evening and be within close proximity to plenty Amsterdam has to offer.

  • Spiegelkwartier : this area is home to the facades that you’d expect & hope to see in Amsterdam. If you enjoy art and antiques this area will be your haven – it’s home to over 70 art & antique shops!

  • IJ Waterfront : located north of Amsterdam Centraal station, the IJ Waterfront area is further removed from the Centrum district than the other neighborhoods (as it’s separated by the train station), however if you prefer more modern and industrial designs you may really enjoy IJ Waterfront. The area is quickly developing, and home to a few popular museums.

I would personally suggest that staying anywhere on the outer semicircles of the Centrum District. It will be the most ideal if you are looking to be comfortably close to the main sites, but not within a high tourist traffic area.

We stayed at the Amsterdam Canal Residence hotel, and could not recommend enough – we LOVED it here. The location was ideal as it’s only a five minute walk from a metro station, ten minutes from the Museum Quarter and had the cutest view of the canals. Each staff member we encountered was very cordial, friendly and helpful.

The room itself was very modern, with a luxurious bathtub and great amenity kit for each of us. The bed and linens were very comfortable, and of course, I can’t say this enough – the canal view! We also really enjoyed the free snacks and drinks they offered to all guests from 4-10pm daily. I repeat, free drinks and snacks daily for four hours daily! *jaw has dropped, this is an unheard of deal. I would absolutely recommend the Amsterdam Canal Residence hotel to anyone traveling to Amsterdam. And yes, you can totally book your stay through booking.com, which is what I did.

Booking.com

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Best Time of Year to Visit Amsterdam

When deciding when to visit Amsterdam, you really can’t go wrong, as there is no ONE best time of the year to visit. The city is beautiful year-round. Of course the summer season will be hot and more crowded as it’s a high tourist season. With spring having the infamous Dutch tulips in full bloom, fall boasting an array of autumn colors, and winter with the city lit up for the holidays.

How many days/how long should you stay in Amsterdam?

You could spend anywhere from a  minimum of three days to two weeks (or more!) in Amsterdam. I may be slightly biased with this response, as I could move to Amsterdam in a heartbeat, however you will need at least three full days in the city. There are many historic sites and museums that you should check out, and the food scene is incredible too. Plus you’ll want to make sure you take time to enjoy wandering the canals and hidden cobblestone streets.

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How to get around Amsterdam (Public Transportation)

Amsterdam has excellent public transportation. If you take the direct train from the airport to the main Amsterdam train station, Amsterdam Centraal, then you’ll have a peak at its efficiency and convenience.

 

There are buses, trams and ferry’s within Amsterdam’s Public Transportation system, but if you are staying within the centre of Amsterdam then you will most likely be utilizing the tram and metro systems.

 

For the tram and metro you can purchase day passes for 7.50 euro for one day ; prices decrease with 2-4 day passes. Tickets can be purchased online in advance, or you can get single ride passes on the trams; either at the front or sometimes at a desk area towards the rear of the tram.

 

 Amsterdam is very walkable, so you could take one tram line to get across town and then walk to wherever you may want to explore. You can find everything you need to know about public transportation in Amsterdam at GBV.com.

 

Of course, there is also biking. Amsterdam is known for its commuters favoring bikes (the city is not able to accommodate cars and is focused on having clean air quality). If you are a visiting tourist, riding a bicycle in Amsterdam may seem like a bucket list item to cross off. However, be understanding that the majority of locals commute to and from work via bicycle. If you aren’t a great cyclist, I would avoid doing it. At least avoid it in busy areas.

Imagine someone visiting your city and trying to drive a car on the highway with little experience. They’d probably get in your way and potentially cause accidents.

Top things to do & See in Amsterdam

Don’t worry this list of things to do & see in Amsterdam goes beyond the typical museums and historic sites. You can find that list anywhere, so instead of things that you wouldn’t normally hear or read about for what to do in Amsterdam (…mixed in with only a few of those typical places).

 

Enjoy a sandwich and gourmet cheeses at Tromp :

Tromp is an amazing cheese shop in Amsterdam. In fact, they have a few locations throughout the city. They are small and chock full of the best, most delicious cheeses you could find. You can of course purchase blocks to bring home, but the best part of Tromp is their fresh sandwiches. Choose bread from their freshly baked selection for your sandwich, and within minutes you’ll have a warm, delicious meal that’s under 10 euro!

 

Select your ideal museum :

Amsterdam has a ton of amazing museums. And I don’t say that lightly, as I’ve been to way too many museums over the years (I love history!) There is no possible way that you could or even should visit every museum that Amsterdam has to offer, so research the ones available and decide on one to two to visit during your trip.

I personally loved the Van Gogh museum and the Rijksmuseum.

Riijksmuseum : the Dutch National museum that is dedicated to art and history. It’s the most famous museum in Amsterdam, and it does not disappoint. There are over 8,000 pieces in its permanent collection, including multiple pieces by Rembrandt. *If you know when you want to go, purchase your ticket in advance online. If you purchase ticket(s) in person go to the entrance on the right side (facing away from the I Amsterdam sign), and go downstairs to the left. Set aside at least half a day here as the museum is massive.

Van Gogh Museum : fairly self-explanatory, this museum features pieces by Vincent Van Gogh. They do a marvelous job not only showcasing his work, but also painting a picture of what his life was like and how his artwork come to life.

Here are other unique museums that are worth a visit.

-Museum Van Loon : museum of a traditional canal home from the 19th century. The name Van Loon is actually the family name. William van Loon was a co-founder of the Dutch East India Company (1602) and the family opens their home for visitors seven days a week.

-Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder : means ‘Lady in the Attic’ and is a museum that’s actually composed of three canal houses that were connected (in secret) by a Catholic businessmen at a time when Catholics were not allowed to practice publicly.

 

Enjoy a peaceful canal ride :

While it may be a little cliche’ to go on a large ferry through the canals, you can experience the serenity and beauty of Amsterdam from the canals on a smaller boat. *The hotel I recommended above offers FREE canal rides to its guests!! Find other canal tour companies & link

 

 Enjoy traditional Dutch dishes :

Such as gouda cheese, stroopwafels and oliebollen (typically served around New Years)

 

Sip sweet liquors from a 300 year old distillery :

This is by far one of my favorite hidden gems of Amsterdam is the Wynand Fockink Proeflokaal Distillery (geez that’s a mouthful to say & type!). This distillery is tucked away in an alley off of a main, busy pedestrian road but remained relatively calm throughout our time there. The bartenders do a wonderful time explaining their products so well that you may be like us and easily be convinced that you have to check your carry on luggage in order to bring home a few bottles with you. Everything is distilled there and they only produce 400 bottles per week! You can ONLY purchase their products there so stock up on their ginger bitters, fruit flavored liquors and barrel aged treats. Tastings are free too!

 

Visit the stunning Hortus Botanicus :

What was once a medicinal herb garden to help fight against the Black Death in the mid-1600’s, is now a plant nerd labyrinth of blooms & flora.

Day Trips from Amsterdam

-Zaans Schaans- Zaans Schaans is known for its beautifully preserved windmills and has a precious historic town center where visitors can walk around and dive into the history of the Netherlands.

-Keukenhof Garden- visit this beauty during the tulip blooming season for out-of-this-world Alice in Wonderland experience.

-Rotterdam- the Netherlands second largest city and home to some very unique architecture

-Giethoorn- Giethoorn is a classic Netherlands village that can be explored by gondola!

-The Hague- visit the International City of Peace and Justice, The Hague. It’s home to so much modern and historic cultural significance to the Dutch.

-Utrecht- a university city with plenty of 14th-century Gothic architecture and a medieval castle.

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Laura of Blue Eyed Compass, a Sustainable Travel Blog

Hi!  I’m Laura, a sustainable travel blogger, as well as freelancing online brand strategist. I share real & honest information about traveling, how to do so sustainably, and ways to earn an income while working remote.

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