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Roatan Port: A Perfect 24 Hours


Greetings Internet Stranger and welcome to 24 hours in Roatan Port! From the moment you get up in the moment to the moment your head hits the pillow at night it feels like you’re bombarded with trivial tasks. Do the laundry! File that report! Take your cockapoo to yoga class! The drama never ends! Wouldn’t you rather spend the day eating chocolate and napping on the beach? Then join me for 24 hours in Roatan Port.

During this 24 hours in Roatan Port, I’ll show you the hidden charms of this unusual island. Truly there’s no place in the Caribbean or Central America exactly like. You want to come here before the world knows of its charms! Let’s go!

If you’d also like to book a cruise to Roatan so you can find the best things to do in Roatan Port, just go ahead and click here. Then, follow me!

roatan port

Roatan Port

Where to Stay?

I mentioned that I spent my day in Roatan as a shore excursion on Royal Caribbean cruises. You can book a very similar experience on this or any other cruise line by using this search engine here to explore your best options.

But if you’d rather stay somewhere in town on your day in Roatan, I recommend the Guava Grove Hotel. It’s located right near Sandy Bay Beach, it has its own pool and wifi, and they’ll even arrange for an airport transfer for you if you need.

Click here to get a great rate on this hotel! Or if you’d rather explore, click here to see many excellent hotels available in Roatan. This search engine will help you find the best places for your taste and budget so you can really enjoy your time in Roatan Port.

roatan port

Roatan Port

Tools For Travel

  • A cell charger so that you’ll be able to keep taking photos all during your time in Roatan
  • The best international travel adapter because if you’re American like I am, you’ll need one to be able to plug in electronics during your day in Roatan
  • My book Get Lost, that I wrote myself with all my best travel tips. This book will show you exactly why travel is better than a man.
  • Want to learn how I saved enough money to travel 16 weeks a year? Check out my top secret How to Afford Travel course–complete with a guide and videos–on sale for a very limited time.
  • I always travel with travel insurance from World Nomads. You never know when something might go wrong, especially in this day and age. But with travel insurance, you’re protected even if you’re attacked by chocolate during your time in Roatan
Roatan Port

24 Hours in Roatan Port

Morning: Explore Roatan

Even though Roatan is part of the country Honduras, it’s separate from the rest of the nation because it is just a little island off the coast. During this 24 hours in Roatan Port , we’re going to find a local guide and see the major attractions of the island. Plus, we’ll be visiting Roatan Port on board Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas, one of their biggest ships! So even after we return to the cruise ship, we’ll never run out of things to do. 

Many people visit Roatan Honduras as a stop on a cruise ship. Ordinarily I recommend taking a shore excursion with the cruise line because it’s usually more convenient that way. But they didn’t have any sightseeing shore excursions available, and I figured my Dear Readers would rather see some sights than just sit on a beach all day.

That’s why I recommend booking a tour with a local company–I suggest using this one right here. Most of the tours of Roatan Port are private tours at an extremely reasonable rate. Your driver will take you anywhere you wish to go. You can see the places I visited on the itinerary, or you can follow your guide’s suggestions and do things like check out sloths. Totally up to you!

And now that the preliminaries are out of the way, let’s head for…

Approximately Top 5: Roatan Port

roatan port
1) Roatan Honduras History

Honduras, like many Latin American countries, is primarily Spanish speaking. But Roatan was colonized by the British, so English is widely spoken on the island. In fact, Roatan is home to many different ethnic communities, but the three most prominent are Latino, Anglo, and African. (Africans were enslaved and brought to Roatan by the British during the colonial period.)

roatan port

As you exit the cruise ship port, keep an eye out for busts of important people in Roatan’s history. My favorite was the bust of a prominent local education, the late Juan Brooks. As a former teacher, I can promise you that more teachers need to have statues dedicated to them. And Juan Brooks doesn’t just get his own statue; he also has a local school named after him. You go, Juan Brooks! 

roatan port
2) Viewing Point

Any tour of Roatan will take you to this viewing point, which is the highest point on the island. It’s located on the outskirts or Coxen Hole, the small capital of the island. You’ll be able to see the cruise ship port from here and wave to your giant home, which now looks like a toy.

This viewing point is quite popular with tourists, so naturally there are many souvenir stands set up here. You can buy local goods like coffee and vanilla here, but I prefer the shops in the cruise ship port, so I suggest holding off.

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3) Roatan Honduras Houses

The different types of housing is one of the most interesting and saddest things about Roatan. You can find mansions like the one pictured above, dotted all over the island. Our guide, who was from Roatan, told us that these mansions sell for around a million dollars, but they go only to Americans. No locals own a home like this.

roatan port

If you want to see what local housing looks like, take a drive through the Spanishtown neighborhood. Our guide told us this neighborhood was called Spanishtown a long time ago because it used to be the Spanish speaking neighborhood. Remember, the Spanish speakers arrived on Roatan after the English speakers. But nowadays Spanishtown is not only for Spanish speakers.

The economy of Roatan is entirely dependent on tourists. You might think I’m exaggerating, but our guide said that 90 percent of the economy comes from tourism. I’ve been to many Caribbean islands whose main industry is tourism, but I’ve never seen an island as dependent on tourism as Roatan. (PS. The other ten percent comes from fishing.)

roatan port
4) Cuckoo For Cocoa Puffs

One of the most fun activities on Roatan is the chance to watch real chocolate making in action. We got to watch how a local chocolate shop makes their products from bean to bar. And of course, some free samples of the goods were included.

Cocoa beans don’t grow on Roatan, but they do grow on mainland Honduras. So the company has them shipped to Roatan where they are processed on the island. First the cocoa bean is dried, then it is fermented, and finally it is mixed with cocoa butter. (You also get to rub a little of the cocoa butter on your hands, in case you are experiencing the dreaded Dry Fingies.) I’m not exactly sure how this statue of the monkey is involved, but I assume he’s crucial to the process.

There’s no pressure to buy the finished chocolate bars, but I think the price is a steal for this quality. I purchased a bar of their spicy chocolate. Heat + Sweet Can’t Be Beat, in my book. But they have more normal flavors, including milk and dark if that’s what floats your boat more.

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5) West Bay Beach

The number one reason to visit Roatan or buy a one million dollar mansion on Roatan is because of its stunning beaches. So thank goodness our last stop on the tour was a couple of beaches.

First we stopped at Flowers Bay, which was the first community on the island. (Do you remember what language they spoke in this community? I hope so! Always live like there could be a pop quiz any moment, as my grandmother used to say.)

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Image Credit

Our final, final stop on the tour was at West Bay Beach, which is the most famous beach on the island. It’s pretty easy to see why! Look at that stunning white sand and water as blue as the eyes of Prince Eric from The Little Mermaid. It’s like something out of a fairytale vacation.

Tragically, my camera ran out of juice right about here, so I couldn’t take pictures of the beach for you. Fortunately, Wikipedia has hooked me up with a picture so you can close your eyes, look at the photo, and dream that you are on West Bay Beach yourself. Thanks, Internet!

roatan port

Roatan Port

Afternoon: Roatan Port

The cruise port in Roatan is a little different from most of the Caribbean cruise ports I’ve been to. The cruise ports in places like Basseterre, St Kitts or St John’s, Antigua are within walking distance of museums, restaurants and other attractions.

But there’s nothing really within walking distance of the Roatan Honduras Cruise Port. In fact, it’s kind of hard to walk away from the port if you don’t have a car.

That’s why I recommend spending most of your time in port exploring the gorgeous island, and only a little bit of the afternoon in the cruise port. That should just give you enough time for lunching, drinking, snacking, and shopping. What more could you want from a cruise port?

Three Fun Facts: Roatan Port

roatan port
1) Where Can I Get Lunch?

Head straight for the man making tacos on a grill right by the entrance to a cruise ship. Food is almost always 100 percent better when it’s cooked fresh in front of you. And while you wait, sip on a cocktail from the restaurant near the taco grill. I suggest the Bahama Mama cocktail, a tiki classic. There’s so many different kinds of juice in this baby, you won’t even notice the rum until you’re dancing on tables with a lampshade on your head.

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As for the taco, you can choose the meat for each one. I suggest a taco al pastor, with pork, and the spicy sausage. Food for cruise ship passengers can be on the bland side, so it was nice to try something with a little kick.

roatan port
2) What About Dessert?

We’ve already sampled Honduran chocolate, so why not try some Honduran coffee next? Fortunately there is a Wellu coffee stand right next to the taco grill. This stand serves only Honduran coffee. You can get it ready made in a drink or buy some coffee as a souvenir! The coffee jelly, which is more of a sweet coffee syrup, is excellent in Greek yogurt.

I suggest getting something coconut flavored, so you know you’re in the Caribbean. As much as I love the ‘Bucks, the flavor in this coffee is so much fresher than the stuff they put in a Mocha Frappucino. 

roatan port
3) Where Can I Shop Til I Drop?

Great question, Internet Stranger! After all, if you visit Roatan port without shopping, can you even say that you have been there? I suggest that every regular traveler collect one type of souvenir in every place they visit. It should be something you can find in most places, and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Even a postcard collection can be beautiful and meaningful.

Regular readers of this blog know that I choose to collect earrings. You can find earrings in every city, there are a googily-jillion different cool versions, and they take up no room in your suitcase. Of course in the Caribbean, it’s possible to blow a huge chunk of change on expensive jewelry, but I would rather highlight locally made pieces.

Both of the earrings I bought in Roatan were made with unusual items. The pink ones are recycled soda can tabs. There was a special deal if you bought three, so you can get two for friends and keep one for yourself. Or keep all three for you! No judgment here.

The other pair was made with local seeds. I assume that means if you plant them in my windowsill, your apartment will turn into one of the Roatan forests, and you’ll be able to go ziplining in the comfort of your home.

roatan port

Roatan Port

Evening: Dinner at Chef’s Table

After the cruise ship has sounded the All Aboard, you’re going to be steaming away towards your next port. It’s very difficult to leave the cruise ship in the middle of the Caribbean to get dinner. So why not indulge yourself by making a reservation at Royal Caribbean’s fine dining restaurant, Chef’s Table. Especially if you’re a solo cruiser, this is a great way to meet other guests who are also passionate about food and travel. 

The Chef’s Table is a tasting menu restaurant, which means you don’t get to choose what to order. So it’s not the right experience for a picky eater. But if you love gourmet foods like scallop, steak, and lobster, you’ll be as happy as a pig in cocoa butter.

The meal starts with a refreshing scallop carpaccio in yuzu vinaigrette with crispy quinoa. The chef comes out with every course to explain how the dish was prepared and answer your questions. This definitely doesn’t happen in the main dining room!

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The next course was a roasted tomato soup with garlic focaccia croutons. I liked how each dish was getting slightly heavier, but not too much heavier. It made this decadent tasting menu more leisurely and enjoyable. The chef explained that this soup takes two days to make because of the lengthy process involved in roasting the soup. Definitely worth it!

roatan port

24 Hour Treat: Lobster

The seafood course was a Maine lobster salad with hearts of palm, pineapple, and vanilla dressing. I had never eaten lobster with vanilla, but the sweetness of both ingredients went well together. I was curious to know why they’d bring Maine lobster to the Caribbean when there’s so much seafood in the Caribbean to begin with. But maybe Maine lobster is just better than all the rest. USA! USA! USA!

roatan port

24 Hour Treat: Steak Time!

Here we have the piece de resistance, a filet mignon served with truffle potato puree, asparagus, and bordelaise sauce. Technically there were two choices for a main course, since a roasted branzino was available for those who don’t eat steak. But literally not a single person chose this option. I mean, fish is all well and good, but not when a gorgeous piece of beef and truffled potatoes are available. That’s just science.

The chef had a little moment of showing off when the steak was presented. We had each ordered our steak cooked a different way. I ordered mine medium rare like a civilized person, but some of my dining companions chose to murder their cow a second time by getting it well done. (I’m really very tolerant about most things, but not about eating well done steak.)

Then we cut our steaks open in front of the chef so he could see if the cook was to our liking! Mine was a perfect pink, not the sad brown of a well done steak, so I was thrilled!

roatan port

At this point in the meal, you might be thinking you don’t have any more room. But I bet you can find some in your tummy for Valrhona chocolate, salted caramel, and dulce de leche ice cream. Look at the smush on that fresh ice cream! You can tell this isn’t the stuff they serve at the All You Can Eat Soft Serve Booth. 

Our dessert was paired with a dessert cocktail called a Tiramisu Martini. I have no idea what was in it, except it got everyone at the table real drunk real fast. This is the moment at Chef’s Table when everyone starts spilling their darkest secrets, but I won’t tell even my Dear Readers what the other guests said. What happens at Chef’s Table stays at Chef’s Table.

roatan port

That’s 24 Hours in Roatan Port

What would you do in Roatan Port? Why would someone order a steak well done? And is that a towel dog on my bed or a towel demon? Please leave your thoughts below!

Note: If you want to know how I put my travel itineraries together, just click here. Keep in mind that while each article is about how to spend 24 hours in Roatan Port that doesn’t mean you should ONLY spend 24 hours in Roatan Port. If you’re looking for other Caribbean itineraries, try this one!

Best Playa del Carmen Excursions: A Perfect 24 Hours


Greetings Internet Stranger! You glance at your To Do list for the day. Buy groceries. Attend that meeting. Pick up some paper towels and cough syrup at the CVS. But what if your To Do list for the day involved exploring a secret cave and eating tropical ice cream? What if you were spending 24 hours enjoying Playa del Carmen Excursions, delighting in the shopping and other amazing things to do?

During this 24 hours with Playa del Carmen Excursions, we’re going to get away from the crowded beaches and learn what makes this stunning part of Mexico so very special. Plus, we’ll be visiting Playa del Carmen on board Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas, one of their biggest ships! So even after we return to the cruise ship, we’ll never run out of things to do. Follow me!

If you’d also like to book a cruise to Playa del Carmen so you can find the best things to do on Playa del Carmen excursions, just go ahead and click here. Then, follow me!

things to do in nassau port

Playa del Carmen Excursions

Where to Stay?

I mentioned that I spent my day of Playa del Carmen Excursions as a shore excursion on Royal Caribbean cruises. You can book a very similar experience on this or any other cruise line by using this search engine here to explore your best options.

But if you’d rather stay somewhere in town on your day of Playa del Carmen Excursions, I suggest the Grand Fifty Suites. It has a great location right by the beach, wifi and coffee in the rooms, and a helpful staff that’s there 24 hours a day to assist you.

Click here to get a great rate on this hotel! Or if you’d rather explore, click here to see many excellent hotels available in Playa del Carmen. This search engine will help you find the best places for your taste and budget so you can really enjoy your day of the best Playa del Carmen excursions.

best playa del carmen excursions

Best Playa del Carmen Excursions

Tools For Travel

  • A cell charger so that you’ll be able to keep taking photos all during your time exploring the best Playa del Carmen excursions
  • The best international travel adapter because if you’re American like I am, you’ll need one to be able to plug in electronics during your day of the best Playa del Carmen excursions
  • My book Get Lost, that I wrote myself with all my best travel tips. This book will show you exactly why travel is better than a man.
  • Want to learn how I saved enough money to travel 16 weeks a year? Check out my top secret How to Afford Travel course–complete with a guide and videos–on sale for a very limited time.
  • I always travel with travel insurance from World Nomads. You never know when something might go wrong, especially in this day and age. But with travel insurance, you’re protected even if you’re attacked by flying acrobats during your day of the best Playa del Carmen excursions
playa del carmen excursions

Playa del Carmen Excursions

Morning: Rio Secreto

Since I visited Playa del Carmen as a shore excursion from the Royal Caribbean Cozumel cruise port, I booked one of their shore excursions to the flabbergastingly stunning underground river known as the Rio Secreto. Yes, booking a shore excursion can be more expensive than booking a tour on your own.

But I always book a shore excursion through the cruise line because if something goes wrong, the cruise line is responsible for making it right. For example, if your guide on the shore excursion gets you back to the ship late, the cruise ship has to wait for you.

playa del carmen excursions

But if you’re enjoying the Playa del Carmen Excursions on your own, you can visit the Rio Secreto anyway. Just book a tour through this website. For a small additional fee, they will pick you up from Playa del Carmen. I was very impressed with this organization because it was extremely well organized and oodles of fun.

And now that the boring preliminaries are out of the way, let’s get straight to the fun with…

Three Fun Facts: Rio Secreto

playa del carmen excursions
1) Is it Scary in the Underground River?

Well, that depends on your tolerance for darkness and coldness, Internet Stranger! But I personally do not think most people will find the tour scary. Our guide, Angel, was with us the entire time, and he was expert at leading us around the magical underground caves.

As for the darkness and coldness, the gear that the Rio Secreto company gives you will help take care of that. When you arrive at the Rio Secreto, you’ll be given a wetsuit and a helmet with a light on it. You will also get a locker so you can keep all your valuables and clothes safe and dry while you journey to the center of the earth!

The wetsuit really will help you stay dry and warm, even though the water underground is freezing because it’s stuck where the sun don’t shine.

playa del carmen excursions

But the greatest proof that the Rio Secreto isn’t scary can be found on my face. Does this look like the face of terror or the face of glee? And if you think I’m just an exceptionally adventurous person, keep in mind that there were two little boys in our tour group, and they loved the Rio Secreto as well!

playa del carmen excursions

2) What is the History Behind this Cave?

Angel told us that people were living in these caves 10,000 years ago. We don’t know much about the indigenous people who lived in this area back then because they didn’t keep written records or have Instagram.

But eventually a group known as the Maya became the dominant group in this area. They used the cave for two purposes: water and religion. Apparently, the Maya believed that if you could survive a journey through this dark underground pit, that would prove you were a Real Man. I’m very glad to be female because no one makes me do insane and life-threatening things to prove that I am a real woman.

playa del carmen excursions

If you feel like exploring the Rio Secreto with our modern conveniences like flashlights and wetsuits is a challenge, think about what it would have been like for the Maya! They were only allowed to bring one torch with them, and it wasn’t even electric!

If it went out, good luck Little Maya! You have to find your way back out of the cave in the dark. I am grateful for so many things in this life, but mostly I am grateful that I’m alive in 2020 and not 1020.

cozumel shopping things to do

3) Any Interesting Science in These Caves?

Meep morp, Internet Stranger! That’s robot language for, “Of course! There’s always science”. The most beautiful part of the caves are the elaborate stalactites and stalagmites that grow throughout. Angel said they are created by the interaction between the limestone and the rainwater that seeps into the cave.

We all know about stalagmites that grow up from the ground and stalactites that grow down from the ceiling. (You can remember the difference because stalagmites has g for ground, and stalactites has c for ceiling.) But the Rio Secreto was the first place I ever saw stalagnates, which are columns created when a stalactite and stalagmite meet and grow together. I was amazed at their beauty–but disappointed that now I have another cave related science term to memorize.

playa del carmen excursions

If you’re more into gross animal facts, consider the bat. All the animals who live deep in the cave are blind, so they can’t venture outside the cave to get food. Their nourishment needs to be inside the cave. So most of their beasties feast on…bat guano! For the non-scientific among you, that’s a fancy way of saying bat poop.

I’m sure glad I’m not a blind creature living in this cave! Having to survive on bat turds is even worse than having to survive in an underground cave without even a torch!

Playa del Carmen Excursions

Afternoon: Explore!

Once your tour of the Rio Secreto is over, your guide will take you back to the locker area so you can change and pick up your valuables. Then it’s time to explore!

You’ll have a little time to hang out near the Rio Secreto, grab some lunch and do some shopping. Then we’ll be able to explore Playa Del Carmen! Allow me to guide your exploring with…

Approximately Top 5: Playa del Carmen Excursions

playa del carmen excursions
1) Lunch Time and Shopping!

Whether or not you book the tour through the cruise line, lunch will be included with the price. It’s a buffet style lunch, and the line moves pretty quickly, so you won’t need to waste time waiting for your meal. There’s an entire Playa del Carmen to see out there!

The food is a little bland, but fortunately there’s lots of salsa available to jazz it up. Watch out for the yellow habanero sauce because it has a serious kick! But if you like spicy foods, sauce it up! I think they have to make the food a little bland because they serve so many different international customers, so it’s nice that they add the sauce for those of us who want flavor.

playa del carmen excursions

There’s also plenty of shopping available at the Rio Secreto. If you’re wondering why my photos on this blog post are so gorgeous, it’s because I bought their package full of photos of me, the underground river, and the surrounding nature. It’s pricey but worth it because there’s no other way to take photos in the underground river.

Another great souvenir is xtabentun, a traditional liqueur from the Yucatan made from anise. You’ll get a shot of it for free at the end of the tour, so you can see if you like it first. But at the very least learn how to pronounce the word. (It’s shta-ben-toon).

playa del carmen excursions
2) Paleta Time!

After lunch and a little shopping, you’ll be driven straight back to Playa del Carmen! Now you’ll have time to explore and find other fun things to do. But if you’re anything like me, the first thing you’ll want to do is grab a little dessert.

Fortunately, the Artik Pop stand is just a short walk from where the Rio Secreto people will drop you off. This stand is a Mexican company that serves tasty and refreshing ice cream and sorbet pops. They even have vegan and gluten-free options. I am neither vegan nor gluten-free, so I recommend the indulgent caramel and coconut. When you bite into this tropical treat, the grey walls of any office cubicle couldn’t seem further away.

playa del carmen excursions
3) Playa Del Carmen Shopping

Playa del Carmen is unfortunately full of tacky shops full of useless plastic gee-gaws that cater only to idiotic tourists. But we’re going to steer clear of those, Internet Stranger! Only the best for my readers and me! And there’s wonderful places to shop in Playa del Carmen if you know where to look.

My favorite shop in Playa del Carmen is the Gaston Charo Gallery, located in this whimsical secret garden off Playa del Carmen’s famous shopping street, 5th Avenue. They have artwork at every price point.

You can drop a serious chunk of change on one of Gaston Charo’s pieces, or you can find a smaller piece from one of the lesser known artists featured in the gallery for mere pennies. (That’s a slight exagerration, but I got a stunning blue photograph of some Mayan ruins for 25 dollars.)

playa del carmen excursions

I also like some of the shopping at the Paseo del Carmen shopping area, located at the beginning of 5th Avenue. But I recommend the smaller little kiosks instead of the big chain store.

I suggest that every traveler begin collecting something because it makes traveling more like Pokemon Go, and everyone loves Pokemon Go. You can collect normal things like magnets, snow globes, or shot glasses, but my collecting passion is earrings. They take up almost no space, and I use them every day. I got these beauties made from recycled glass at one of the kiosks in Paseo del Carmen. It’s right near the Harley Davidson store, so you can’t miss it!

playa del carmen excursions
4) Beach it Up!

You won’t want to go on Playa del Carmen Excursions without hitting up the beach. After all, “Playa” is Spanish for beach! But unfortunately, parts of the beach at Playa del Carmen are so crowded, you won’t be able to relax!

I suggest walking down 5th Avenue until you see this giant green statue called the Portal Maya dedicated to the Mayans. These Mayans seem to be having more fun than those poor schmoes who got stuck wandering about a pitch black underground cave with nothing but pooping bats to keep them company.

playa del carmen excursions

See! The crowds at the beach here are much more managable! Of course, that might be because the tide is high and there’s very little sand, but you can’t have everything. Don’t be afraid to dip your toes in that turquoise water, Internet Stranger!

playa del carmen excursions
5) Voladores!

Shopping and beaching are the only fun things to do in Playa del Carmen. If you’re in luck, you’ll see a performance of voladores in the Parque Los Fundadores, located just next to the Portal Maya.

The dance of the Voladores is a traditional performance from Mexico and other parts of Central America. A small group of men attach themselves to a large colored pole with ropes. Some of the men climb the pole, while others stand around it. Then they take turns jumping off the pole and swinging about like birds. Between this and the cave diving, those Maya sure knew how to live dangerously.

I had seen voladores before in New Mexico, but most of the tourists around me had no idea what was happening and were opening gawking and blabbing in confusion. Now that you’ve read this blog post, when you see the voladores, you’ll get to feel just as smug and superior in comparison with the other tourists!

playa del carmen excursions

Playa del Carmen Excursions

Evening: Dinner at Giovanni’s Table

So since we’re really spending the evening portion of our 24 hours with Playa del Carmen Excursions on board Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas, I suggest getting dinner at one of their speciality restaurants. They cost more than the meal in the main dining room (which costs nothing), but the food is better and the atmosphere is more fun.

We had a light buffet lunch, so why not indulge a bit at the Italian restaurant Giovanni’s Table. Who doesn’t love Italian food? Sad, lonely people.

I suggest starting with the buffalo mozzarella and heirloom tomatoes. It is the height of indulgence to eat Italian mozz’ and fresh tomatoes in the middle of the Caribbean, where neither of these things are naturally available. How do they get them on board the ship and keep them fresh??? I assume ninjas are involved some how.

playa del carmen excursions

24 Hour Treat: Double the Pasta, Double Your Fun

One slightly hidden secret on a cruise is that you get to eat as much food as you want. So you could order every single dish on the dining room menu every evening and not pay an extra meeting. At Giovanni’s Table, this meant I got to eat two different types of pasta for the price of one. Talk about living the dream!

playa del carmen excursions

I try to stick to the classics on a cruise ship. This isn’t necessarily the place to try squid ink pasta with a ragu di tonno. (Not that that’s an actual dish.) Keep it cozy with a spaghetti bolognese and a pasta carbonara. As you can see from the photo, the sauce on the carbonara wasn’t too rich, which I prefer. No one wants to eat pasta glue-bonara.

playa del carmen excursions

Cannoli are my all-time favorite dessert, so there’s no way I was passing these babies up. The filling wasn’t too sweet, and the shell was crunchy, not soggy, which are two things I look for when eating a cannoli. Plus there were three cannoli, and three cannoli are better than two cannoli, as my grandmother used to say.

playa del carmen excursions

That’s the Best Playa del Carmen Excursions!

What would you do on the Playa del Carmen Excursion? Which is better, eating two pastas, three cannoli, or even one bat poop? And doesn’t this towel bunny look like the bunny from Donnie Darko? Pleasant nightmares! And please leave your thoughts below!

Note: If you want to know how I put my travel itineraries together, just click here. Keep in mind that while each article is about how to spend 24 hours with Playa del Carmen Excursions, that doesn’t mean you should ONLY spend 24 hours with Playa del Carmen Excursions. If you want other itineraries for different places in the Caribbean, I have you covered here!

Things to Do in Nassau Port: A Perfect 24 Hours


Greetings Internet Stranger and welcome to 24 hours of things to do in Nassau Port! As you’re driving to work, the smog from the other cars streams through your window and down your throat like so many demon fingers. Looking around the city, you see the ominous grey cloud of pollution smudging your view of the skyline. Wouldn’t you rather be sipping rum on a beach in a gorgeous natural setting? Then this itinerary of the best Things to Do in Nassau Port is for you!

During this best Things to Do in Nassau Port itinerary, we’re going to get up close and personal with some stunning nature in the Bahamas that most tourists never get to see. Plus, we’ll be visiting the Bahamas on board Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas, one of their biggest ships! So even after we return to the cruise ship, we’ll never run out of things to do.

If you’d also like to book a cruise to the Bahamas so you can find the best things to do in Nassau Port, just go ahead and click here. Then, follow me!

things to do in nassau port

Things to Do in Nassau Port

Where to Stay?

I mentioned that I spent my day of the best things to do in Nassau Port as a shore excursion on Royal Caribbean cruises. You can book a very similar experience on this or any other cruise line by using this search engine here to explore your best options.

But if you’d rather stay somewhere else on your day of the best things to do in Nassau Port, I suggest the Ocean West Boutique Hotel. It has a perfect location near the beach, Wifi, a very helpful staff, and of course a pool! The perfect place to relax!

Click here to get a great rate on this hotel! Or if you’d rather explore, click here to see many excellent hotels available in Nassau. This search engine will help you find the best places for your taste and budget so you can really enjoy your day of the best things to do in Nassau Port.

best things to do in nassau port

Best Things to Do in Nassau Port

Tools For Travel

  • A cell charger so that you’ll be able to keep taking photos all during your time in Nassau
  • The best international travel adapter because if you’re American like I am, you’ll need one to be able to plug in electronics during your day
  • The best travel guide to the Bahamas.
  • My book Get Lost, that I wrote myself with all my best travel tips. This book will show you exactly why travel is better than a man.
  • Want to learn how I saved enough money to travel 16 weeks a year? Check out my top secret How to Afford Travel course–complete with a guide and videos–on sale for a very limited time.
  • I always travel with travel insurance from World Nomads. You never know when something might go wrong, especially in this day and age. But with travel insurance, you’re protected even if you’re attacked by ghost pirates during your time in Nassau
Things to Do in Nassau Port

Best Things to Do in Nassau Port

Morning: Blue Lagoon Island Nature Walk

Since I visited Nassau Bahamas as a Royal Caribbean cruise port, I booked one of their shore excursions to the private Blue Lagoon Island. Yes, booking a shore excursion can be more expensive than booking a tour on your own. But I always book a shore excursion through the cruise line because if something goes wrong, the cruise line is responsible for making it right. For example, if your guide on the shore excursion gets you back to the ship late, the cruise ship has to wait for you.

But if you’re visiting Nassau Bahamas on your own, you can visit Blue Lagoon Island on your own anyway. This is a privately owned island a short boat ride away from Nassau. It’s definitely one of the best Things to Do in Nassau Port.

The company that owns the island leads several tours here, but I recommend the Eco-Nature Walking Tour. You’ll be able to see parts of the island that no one else gets to visit. Plus it’s an amazing chance to get away from the crowds of tourists in the Bahamas.

Or you can go ahead and book this tour of the Blue Lagoon here. This one is a Segway tour. Then get ready for…

Three Fun Facts: Eco-Nature Walking Tour

things to do in nassau port
1) What Kinds of Plants Are on the Island?

Great question! There are about eleventy-jillion plants on Blue Lagoon Island, and they are almost all useful. Have you ever wanted to know how to survive on a desert island? Well, our intrepid guide Ashley taught us how to do it, using only the power of plants!

We met the coconut palm, which has everything you need to live. You can eat the coconut and drink its water, and you can use the bark to make shelter. You can even use the leaves to make a very fashionable outfit.

things to do in nassau port

If you get sick of eating coconut, you can chow down on the ripe fruit of the sea grape tree. As a bonus, the broad branches of this baby will provide shelter from the Caribbean sun. Between your sun-protected skin and your chic coconut leaf outfit, you’ll soon be ready for the cover of Vogue!

things to do in nassau port

One plant you need to be on the lookout for is the poison wood tree, which is basically poison ivy in tree form. How rude!

things to do in nassau port

But never fear, Internet Stranger! The nearby gumbo limbo tree is the antidote to poison wood. Just rub up against its bark and you’re good to go. Truly, there is a plant for every problem.

things to do in nassau port
2) Why is it Called Blue Lagoon Island?

The short answer is that it isn’t really. Ashley said that back when the Bahamas were a British colony, the island was called Salt Cay. (It’s pronounced “key”.) The lagoon on the island was a salt marsh, so a 19th century British businessman made money excavating and selling the little crystals.

The Bahamas got its independence from Great Britain in the 1960s, and in the 1990s, Salt Cay was turned into a tourist attraction. But even though everyone calls it Blue Lagoon Island, and there’s a big sign outside that says Blue Lagoon Island, Salt Cay is its official name.

If you want to be very pretentious, just go around calling the place Salt Cay Island and when people act confused, tell them the whole backstory in a withering and condescending tone. That will make you tons of friends!

things to do in nassau port
3) What’s the Best Story on the Tour?

Ah, this is an extremely simple question to answer, Internet Stranger! The best story on the tour is about a tower belonging to one Mr. John “Jack” McCutcheon, an American Pulitzer Prize Winning journalist. He bought the island in 1916 and temporarily renamed it Treasure Island.

The McCutcheons then rebuilt one of the island’s towers that had fallen into disrepair. (This tower still has its cannon, as well as some smashing views of the Bahamas.) But during the dedication ceremony for the tower, an actual pirate attacked the ceremony, possibly screaming, “I’m the captain now!”

Jack McCutcheon singlehandedly took the pirate down and locked him in the tower. Soon, the guests of the dedication ceremony could see the pirate swinging from a rope at the top of a tower. (It’s still unclear to me whether McCutcheon actually killed the pirate, or if this was a bizarre prank.) But either way, the ceremony went off without a hitch!

things to do in nassau port

Best Things to Do in Nassau Port

Afternoon: Explore!

Once the eco-nature walking tour is over, your guide will take your souvenir picture. (Every participant on the tour gets a photo included with the price. The company will email it to you.)

Then you’re on your own in the Bahamas for the rest of the afternoon! Poor you! Fortunately there’s plenty to do on Blue Lagoon Island, and there will be even more to do once we get back to Nassau.

Remember, Blue Lagoon Island is an island, so you’ll need the boat to get back to the port in Nassau and your cruise ship. Check the boat times back to Nassau very carefully. You don’t want to miss your ship and have to live on this island paradise forever!

And now that the preliminaries are out of the way, it’s time to get right down to…

Approximately Top 5: Nassau Bahamas Cruise Port

things to do in nassau port
1) Lunch Time

Lunch isn’t included in the tour, so you’ll want to pick it up as soon as the walking concludes. I don’t recommend waiting because the lines at the food kiosk will get crazy long. Be sure to get lunch at the food kiosk outside the restaurant, not inside. The food inside is for prepaid lunches, and the choices aren’t as good.

Order a food and your cocktail at the same time. That way while you’re waiting for the food to cook, you’ll have something to sip on. I recommend the Blue lagoon Sunset drink made with banana rum and fruit juice. It goes down so smooth you could probably drink about five before the rum would kick in. But don’t do that or you’ll definitely miss your boat because you’ll be passed out under a Poison Wood tree.

things to do in nassau port

For food, I recommend the conch (“konk”), the national food of the Bahamas. If you like fried squid, you’ll love its mild flavor. You can get cracked conch, which is fried and served with red hot Hurricane fries. It’s just the thin to make you feel greasy in your brand new bikini. But it’s so delicious, it’s completely worth it.

things to do in nassau port
2) Bahamian Village Shopping

 If you’re one of those people, like me, who can’t go several hours without shopping, then check out the colorful kiosks at the Bahamian Village. Even if you don’t buy anything, you can watch the local artists make woodcarvings and fresh conch salad.

If the line is long at the food kiosk, get the conch salad here. It’s pricy but delicious, and you get to keep the shiny conch shell afterwards, which will make it easier to reenact scenes from Lord of the Flies.

My favorite souvenir at the Bahamian Village is the sauces at the small culinary goods store. Get the tamarind if you like sweet and sour sauce and want to add a bit of kick to your next turkey burger dinner.

things to do in nassau port
3) Explore the Beach Area

I mean, I assume that getting a little beach time in is one of the reasons you came to the cruise port in the Bahamas. It wasn’t all for fun facts about sea grapes and tamarind sauce.

Blue Lagoon Island is also home to many types of animal life. You can participate in a dolphin or sea lion encounter on the island, but that’s not really my jam, though the people participating seemed very into it.

However, I did like the little touch tank filled with small spiky and scaly sea creatures. Probably this is meant for kids, but it was more fun to tell any children who approached that the touch tank was for adults only and then stick my tongue out at them.

things to do in nassau port

One final hidden gem on Blue Lagoon Island is the…rescue raccoons. Raccoons are an invasive species on the island, so they can’t be released or they’d eat all the sea lions or whatever it is that invasive raccoons do in the Caribbean.

I think Disney could make a fortune with an animated movie about these three raccoons busting out of their home and getting into mischief on the island. Disney, I give this idea to you with a free heart, and all I ask is ten percent off the gross.

things to do in nassau port
4) Enjoy the Boat Ride to the Cruise Port

 Even the boat ride back to the the rest of the best Things to Do in Nassau Port has oodles to see. Don’t miss the giant bridge dedicated to Bahamian icon, Academy Award-winning actor, and extremely handsome fellow Sidney Poitier.

Your guide on the boat will be a local who has forgotten way more fun facts about the Bahamas than I will ever know. But he’ll spend most of the time talking about the celebrities who have vacation homes in the Bahamas like Oprah and Jay-Z. Michael Jordan apparently likes to golf here, which is less exciting. Call me back when he is ready to play basketball again!

If you’re friends with Oprah, try to get her to book a night in the Bridge Suite in the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas. At 25k a night, it’s supposed to be the most expensive hotel room in the world. We peons will just have to be satisfied with catching a glimpse of the resort from our tour boat.

things to do in nassau port
5) Explore Nassau

When you get back to the mainland, you should have at least an hour to walk around and see the best Things to Do in Nassau Port before you have to return to the cruise port and board your ship. Enjoy the characteristically Caribbean colorful constructions!

things to do in nassau port

Don’t miss Pompey Square, which is dedicated to an enslaved man named Pompey who led a rebellion of the enslaved people of the Bahamas against their captors. He didn’t get their freedom right away, but he did get this…fountain. That seems like cold comfort to me.

The Straw Market is the most famous place to shop in Nassau. They used to literally sell straw here, but now there’s a lot of cheap mass-produced goods. I didn’t find anything I recommend. Instead head back to the Nassau Bahamas Cruise Port and buy some jewelry from Andeana Designs. The conch jewelry is made by a local man with Down Syndrome, and it’s quite lovely.

things to do in nassau port

Best Things to Do in Nassau Port

Evening: Dinner at Izumi

 So since we’re really spending the evening portion of our best Things to Do in Nassau Port itinerary on board Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas, I suggest getting dinner at one of their speciality restaurants. They cost more than the meal in the main dining room (which costs nothing), but the food is better and the atmosphere is more fun.

Since we had fried fish for dinner, why not keep the seafood theme going with dinner at the Japanese restaurant Izumi.

I suggest sampling a couple of different kinds of sushi. Start with something raw like the fresh tuna carpaccio with ponzu…

things to do in nassau port

Then go a little mad sometimes with lobster rolls wrapped in yuzu and drizzled with champagne sauce. You’ll feel like a Very Fancy Person indeed!

things to do in nassau port

Japanese cuisine isn’t really known for its desserts, so why not get a sweet cocktail like the She’s a Geisha, made with rose and sake. My young male waiter said it was his “favorite drink”, and I congratulate him on having the confidence to own his love for pink girlie drinks. They are delicious and all genders should feel comfortable drinking them.

After dinner, take advantage of being on such a large ship and take in one of the jaw-dropping spectacles like the ice skating show. That’s not a joke! Look, I have proof!

things to do in nassau port

Ice skating in the middle of the Caribbean! What will they think of next?

things to do in nassau port

That’s the Best Things to Do in Nassau Port

What do you think are the best Things to Do in Nassau Port? Do you think Oprah would give me 25k so I can try out the world’s most expensive hotel room? And how successful would that raccoon heist cartoon picture be? Please leave your thoughts below!

Note: If you want to know how I put my travel itineraries together, just click here. Keep in mind that while each article is about how to spend 24 hours with the best Things to Do in Nassau Port that doesn’t mean you should ONLY spend 24 hours with the best Things to Do in Nassau Port. If you want other itineraries for different places in the Caribbean, I have you covered here!

A Perfect 24 Hours in Miami


Greetings Internet Stranger and welcome to 24 hours in Miami! As you sit down to dinner, you poke your flavorless boiled potato and nothingburger with a spork and scowl at your plate. Is this meagre meal really all life has to offer? Wouldn’t you rather be feasting on roast meats? How about sipping on a pina colada and strawberry daiquiri–at the same time. Then this 24 hours in Miami: Little Havana edition is perfect for you!

During this 24 hours in Miami, I’ll guide you through the city’s three coolest arts districts: Little Havana, Wynwood, and South Beach. We’ll experience all the Art Deco, street art, and fine spirits that the city has to offer. There will even be a murder house thrown in! Let’s go!

24 hours in miami little havana

24 Hours in Miami: Little Havana

Where to Stay?

I mentioned that this 24 Hours in Miami itinerary would feature three of Miami’s coolest arts districts. But if you want to sneak in the fourth arts district, book a room at the Hampton Inn Miami-Coconut Grove. It’s in a peaceful and quiet location, which can’t be said of any of the hotels in South Beach.

I especially need to give this hotel a shout out because of the lovely welcome gift they gave me. As you can see from the photo, this gift was intended for Mr. Fuentes, and I am definitely not he. But I did very much enjoy his complimentary snacks and bottle of wine. #sorrynotsorrymrfuentes

Click here to get a great rate on this hotel! Or if you’d rather explore, click here to see many excellent hotels available in Miami. This search engine will help you find the best places for your taste and budget so you can really enjoy your 24 hours in Miami.

24 hours in Miami

24 Hours in Miami

Tools For Travel

  • A cell charger so that you’ll be able to keep taking photos all during your 24 hours in Miami
  • The best travel guide to Miami.
  • My book Get Lost, that I wrote myself with all my best travel tips. This book will show you exactly why travel is better than a man.
  • Want to learn how I saved enough money to travel 16 weeks a year? Check out my top secret How to Afford Travel course–complete with a guide and videos–on sale for a very limited time.
  • I always travel with travel insurance from World Nomads. You never know when something might go wrong, especially in this day and age. But with travel insurance, you’re protected even if you’re attacked by a gator during your 24 hours in Miami.
24 hours in Miami

24 Hours in Miami: Little Havana

Morning: Little Havana

Since our time in Miami is so limited, I suggest getting a local guide to show us around during our 24 Hours in Miami. I booked a tour with a local guide, Zarelys, who was originally from Cuba and taught me so much about Miami’s Cuban community that I never would have been able to learn otherwise.

You can book this tour for yourself easily by clicking here. I’ll be thrilled to share with you some of what she taught me!

24 hours in miami little havana

Approximately Top 5: Little Havana

1) Cuba Ocho

The Little Havana tour begins at a museum/bar/performing arts center called Cuba Ocho. The art collection at Cuba Ocho has one of the most fascinating backstories I have ever heard.

It all started with an art collector named Roberto Ramos who escaped from Cuba in a boat with several works on art, including a valuable painting of a saxophone player. He sought refuge in the United States in general and Little Havana specifically. That painting of the saxophone player became the foundation of a marvelous collection of Cuban art.

So don’t be afraid to dream big, my Internet Strangers! One minute you could be a refugee in a leaky boat, and the next you could own an awesome art collection and a bunch of sweet chandeliers over your very own bar.

24 hours in miami little havana
2) Cigar Store

I’m not advocating smoking, but you really can’t visit Little Havana without checking out a famous Cuban cigar store. You’ll actually be able to watch the master cigar rollers put one of these beauties together. 

I’m not using the term “master cigar roller to be funny. Cuban cigar making is the most complicated process I’ve seen since I tried to change my cable company. They use three kinds of leaf. One is the tobacco, another is filler, and the third is an outer leaf that feels like fine leather goods. 

You don’t get a free cigar with the tour (believe me, I asked, and I don’t even smoke), but you do get a “cup” of Cuban coffee. I use the term “cup” loosely because Cuban coffee is so strong that you can only have a teeny bit at at time, and it’s always mixed with sugar. I was tempted to grab a large amount of Cuban coffee and chug it down just to see what happens, but I was afraid my head would explode like Wil E Coyote.

24 hours in miami
3) La Casa de los Trucos

La Casa de los Trucos is a costume store, but we didn’t come here to go shopping. We came here to learn more about Miami’s immigrant community.

Zarelys told me that most of the people in Little Havana either came in the 1980s as refugees, or they came in the 1960s as Peter Pan kids. (The owner of La Casa de los Trucos was a Peter Pan kid.)

Peter Pan kids were refugee children who were relocated to the United States without their parents. The program lasted about two years, as it was quite controversial to separate minors from their parents. Some of the children were eventually reunited with their parents, but most were not.

I’d imagine a program like this would be illegal nowadays, with the whole taking children from their parents thing. But it’s hard to be sure government agencies couldn’t get away with it if they wanted to.

24 hours in miami
4) Cuban Memorials

Walking around Little Havana is like taking the Cuban history class I certainly never experienced in school. Americans do not study nearly enough Caribbean history, and by that I mean we don’t get any.

There are two memorials in Little Havana that you absolutely shouldn’t miss. One if the flame for Cubans killed in the Bay of Pigs invasion. (This was the major disaster of President John F. Kennedy’s administration, when the CIA tried and failed to overthrow Fidel Castro’s Communist government in Cuba. But Americans don’t remember it much because Kennedy’s assassination kind of overshadows everything else that happened while he was President. This just shows how important good PR is.)

The other is this monument to Jose Marti, a legendary Cuban freedom fighter. (I use the term legendary in a figurative way, as Marti was definitely a real person.) Marti predates Castro’s government by decades. During the 19th century he was a leader of the movement for Cuban independence from Spain. I gather than both right-wing and left-wing Cubans today argue over whether Marti would have agreed with them or their political opponents. But if the ghost of Jose Marti has picked a side, he isn’t telling anyone about it.

24 hours in miami little havana
5) Cuban Food

Aha! Here we’ve come to the number one reason to visit Little Havana. And possibly this is the number one reason to spend 24 hours in Miami. We had three different food stops and the first was at Old’s Havana for a Cubano sandwich, made with special fluffy bread, ham and cheese, and little potato fries on top.

24 hours in miami little havana

Just in case you’re worried about your health, I promise the snacks on the tour aren’t all ham and melted cheese. We peeked into a teeny local fruit market where no English is spoken. Fortunately Zarelys was with me, so she was able to get me a fresh papaya juice. (Zarelys whispered to me that the owner is really anti-Castro, so be sure to not say his name aloud. In general, that’s good advice in Little Havana.)

24 hours in miami little havana

The most impressive food stop was at Yisell Bakery, which is so old school that it doesn’t even have a website. It’s like a place your grandma might run, except even your grandma is on Facebook at this point.

Here you will get to sample a savor pastry, chicken empanada, and a sweet guava pastelito. Zarelys said that guava is usually combined with cheese in Cuban desserts, but this pastelito didn’t have cheese, just the guava goodness.

She also mentioned that while you can find pork and chicken in lots of Cuban cuisine, you won’t find as much beef these days because it’s illegal to kill a cow in Cuba. The cows are needed to provide milk. Zarelys even told me a story about almost getting arrested back in Cuba for having a piece of beef in her car. Well, if beef is outlawed, only outlaws will have beef, as my grandmother used to say.

24 hours in miami
6) Ball and Chain

Our final stop in Little Havana was a club called Ball and Chain. In the first half of the 20th century, this was a real Miami hot spot. But it eventually lost its luster and closed down. Fortunately it reopened back in 2014, and now offers live music and mojitos to all. (Well, if you’re not on the tour, you’ll have to pay for your mojito.)

Lucky for you, you are on the tour, so you get your very own mojito without having to pay extra.

24 hours in miami

If you’re even luckier, you might meet this distinguished Cuban-American gentleman who will try to teach you to dance. Unfortunately, I am the worst dancer who ever lived, so we never got further than him repeatedly telling me to not look at my feet. I never managed to dance, but by the end I was staring into space instead of looking at my feet, so I consider that progress.

Don’t you want to experience all this dancing and fun for yourself? Go ahead and book the tour right here!

24 hours in miami

24 Hours in Miami

Afternoon: Wynwood

It’s time for the second arts district of our 24 hours in Miami! There will be more bright colors, more snacks, and even more drinking. And lucky for me, there will be absolutely no dancing. But if you need a little more information than that before visiting Wynwood, I’ll be happy to share with you…

Three Fun Facts: Wynwood

24 hours in miami
1) Why is Wynwood Famous?

Zarelys said that Wynwood had been dangerous until a local real estate developer named Tony Goldman came in and decided to gentrify. Now Wynwood is famous for its flabbergasting collection of murals, all located within the open air Wynwood Walls Gallery.

24 hours in miami

I can’t guarantee that any of these pieces will be there when you spend 24 hours in Miami, but I can give you an idea of what to expect. I was excited to see a mural by a street artist named Deih, whose work I had admired in Valencia, Spain

24 hours in miami

Also, try to find a mural that matches your outfit. That will impress strangers on Instagram, which is entirely what travel is about.

24 hours in miami
2) Any Hidden Gems in Wynwood?

Of course! It’s not all giant murals that can be seen from space. Zarelys took me into a sports car and guitar museum, which might as well be subtitled A Museum For Bros. But this place has a more interesting backstory than you might expect. 

24 hours in miami

It was opened by a gentleman who made a bushel of dough in advertising, then decided to pursue his dream of collecting sports cars and high end guitars. It was smart of him to make the money first and then start collecting sports cars. If he’d done it the other way around, he probably never would have gotten the idea off the ground.

The best way to explore this museum is to wander around until you find the car you’d most want to steal. (Don’t actually steal it. This blog does not endorse Grand Theft Auto.) I chose this teeny green machine, which I like is a Mini Cooper. I’d feel like a British model from the 1960s in this baby, which is in my list of top 5 ways I like to feel.

24 hours in miami
3) I’m Hungry! Will You Please Feed Me?

Of course, Internet Stranger! How do you feel about tacos, ice cream, and beer? First on our 24 hours in Miami you’ll dine on tacos al pastor at Coyo Taco. This was way better than the tacos I usually can find back home in NYC because they used actual corn tortillas and the pork was appropriately spicy. I like how the pineapple in the tacos mellows out the heat a bit.

24 hours in miami little havana

For a sweet treat, you’ll stop at Cielito for an artisanal ice cream pop. I recommend the guava and cheese because Zarelys said that was a traditional Cuban flavor. I don’t think the chocolate coating is traditional, but who cares about tradition when breaking the rules is this delicious?

24 hours in miami

Finally, if you haven’t had enough murals for one afternoon, we’ll pick up a craft beer of your choice at J Wakefield Brewery. Zarelys said that fruity beers are the most popular in Miami, which is the least surprising Miami fact I have ever heard.

The owner is a huge Star Wars fan, so you’ll see everyone from Lando Calrissian to Han Solo on the walls. I just hope they add Baby Yoda by the time you visit!

south beach view 24 hours in miami

24 Hours in Miami: Little Havana

Evening: South Beach

We really can’t spend 24 hours in Miami without visiting its most famous neighborhood, and that is definitely South Beach. The evening is the perfect part of the day to visit this neighborhood because the Art Deco buildings are especially gorge in the dark.

But fortunately this part of our 24 hours in Miami begins in the daytime, so we can still hit up the beach.

South Beach is a great area to explore because there are so many architectural wonders. But I will guide your wanderings and wonderings with…

Three Fun Facts: South Beach

24 hours in miami south beach
1) Why is South Beach Famous?

Well it’s mostly famous for being the part of the city where the heat is on, where you can party on the beach ’til the break of dawn, ha ha, as Will Smith would say. But that wasn’t always the case. Zarelys told me that South Beach used to be a whole lot of nothing until the turn of the  20th century when a developer named John Collins tried to open it up to real estate development.

Unfortunately for John Collins, he ran out of money before his dream of a developed South Beach was completed. (Don’t cry for him too much because he made a killing in agriculture.) Nowadays, South Beach is developed like whoa, and I bet the ghosts of all those people who made fun of John Collins’s dream are very sorry.

Whenever you visit South Beach on your 24 hours in Miami, you’re sure to see locals exercising. Just about everyone in Miami works out, which makes sense in a city where you can wear a swimsuit year round. When Zarelys and I visited, there was literally a Model Volleyball Tournament on the beach, which is the least surprising thing to find in Miami after fruity beer and a sports car museum.

south beach
2) What Was That About a Murder House?

So obviously I am speaking of the Versace House, where Miami’s most famous murder victim, Gianni Versace lived. (There was a season of American Crime Story about this murder, which I fully intent to watch as soon as I finish writing this blog post.)

OK, I actually did watch the series and now I know that Gianni Versace was murdered by a young serial killer who was stalking him. It was a truly senseless crime, and it is disturbing that the killer managed to evade detection so long. Some say that the police didn’t care enough about his victims, who were mostly gay men.

The Versace Mansion was bought for about 40 million dollars and is now a luxury hotel. (If that creeps you out, it might make you feel better to know that Versace wasn’t murdered actually inside his home.) But we can still see the Versace Mansion without shelling out beaucoup bucks for a suite.

24 hours in miami

All you have to do is head up to the roof of the Tudor Hotel for a drink and you’ll get a great view of the Versace house. Plus the booze is included with the tour. When in Miami, do as the Miamians do, so I recommend the Miami Vice, which is a drink I’ve never seen outside Miami. It’s half pina colada, and half strawberry daiquiri. Young Don Johnson is not included.

24 hours in miami
3) Are There Hidden Treasures in South Beach?

Not like pirate treasure! But if you’re a fan of Art Deco architecture, you’ll love the Essex Hotel. Like many of the Art Deco buildings in South Beach, it’s white and looks kind of like a ship.

Zarelys said the Art Deco buildings used to be a lot more colorful back in the day. I wonder why they made this change? Is the white paint just easier to maintain?

24 hours in miami

But it’s really the interior of the Essex that makes it special. Most specifically, you have the greatest Swamp Mural in all Florida. The mural was originally done for the hotel by an artist named Earl LaPan in the 1930s.

When they restored the hotel 50 years later, they were actually able to track LaPan  down for the restoration. The only changed they needed to make was adding a gator because this is Florida, and if the gators aren’t properly represented in Florida art, they will go on strike and stop eating babies that fall into the swamps.

24 hours in miami little havana

That’s 24 Hours in Miami: Little Havana!

What would you do in Little Havana? Have you ever matched your outfit to a piece of street art? And how powerful is the alligator lobby in South Florida? Please leave your thoughts below!

Note: If you want to know how I put my travel itineraries together, just click here. Keep in mind that while each article is about how to spend 24 hours in Miami and Little Havana that doesn’t mean you should ONLY spend 24 hours in Miami and Little Havana. 

1 Perfect Magic Kingdom in One Day


Greetings Internet Stranger and welcome to the Magic Kingdom in one day. We’ve already experienced one Disney World Magic Kingdom itinerary with Adventureland and Liberty Square. So today’s Magic Kingdom in one day will start in Frontierland. The word Frontierland conjures up the image of making it big in the Wild West.

And sometimes when you head out on your travels, you want to experience unknown frontiers! You fantasize about diving underwater and emerging soaked to the bone, exploring the depths of a hidden mine, or making friends with especially ridiculous bears.

But other times you’d rather play it safe. You want to be pampered and protected by the omnipotent white glove of an ageless cartoon mouse. For those times, there is the Magic Kingdom at Disney World in Orlando, Florida. I promise this Magic Kingdom in One Day will be truly magical.

magic kingdom in one day

The Magic Kingdom is the most popular and busiest park in Disney World, so I recommend taking two different Magic Kingdom in One Day itineraries to see the whole thing. This itinerary will focus on three different areas of Disney World: Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, and Frontierland.

One final tip: I strongly suggest spending the Magic Kingdom in One Day on a weekday during a not-holiday because the lines will be much more manageable. I once visited the Magic Kingdom on a Monday during a hideous rain storm and I basically had the whole park to myself. But those circumstances might be difficult for you to arrange.

epcot festival of the arts

Magic Kingdom in One Day

Where Should I Stay?

As a solo-traveling non-driver, I recommend staying at one of the Disney resorts for your Magic Kingdom in one day because the transportation to and from the parks to the hotel is so convenient. I like to stay at one of the Port Orleans hotels because I am ride or die for The Princess and the Frog.

In order to get the most out of your Magic Kingdom in One Day, I suggest you get coffee at your hotel, hop on the free shuttle, and arrive at Disney in time to enter the park at 9AM when it opens. If you’re able to get in even earlier for Extra Magic Hours for Disney resort guests, so much the better.

magic kingdom in one day

Magic Kingdom in One Day

Tools For Travel

  • A cell charger so that you’ll be able to keep taking photos all during your Magic Kingdom in one day.
  • The best guide to Disney World and the Magic Kingdom in one day.
  • My book Get Lost, that I wrote myself with all my best travel tips. This book will show you exactly why travel is better than a man.
  • Want to learn how I saved enough money to travel 16 weeks a year? Check out my top secret How to Afford Travel course–complete with a guide and videos–on sale for a very limited time.
  • I always travel with travel insurance from World Nomads. You never know when something might go wrong, especially in this day and age. But with travel insurance, you’re protected even if you’re attacked by a giant mouse and his minions during your Magic Kingdom in one day.
magic kingdom in one day

Magic Kingdom in One Day

Morning: Fantasyland

Fantasyland is really the centerpiece of Disney World. It’s where a lot of the most popular rides are. If you have a little princess, are a little princess at heart, or just really like hearing the “It’s a Small World” song over and over, this is where you are going to spend most of your Magic Kingdom in one day.

We’re not hitting up all the Fantasyland rides on this itinerary because we’ll save some for our next Magic Kingdom in One Day.

magic kingdom in one day

Don’t miss the attention to detail in the decor of Fantasyland. Even the ladies’ bathroom is decorated with Wanted Posters of characters from the movie Tangled and designs made to look like they were painted by Rapunzel.

We’ll get much more familiar with the hidden Mickeys in Fantasyland. But first: breakfast!

THE APPROXIMATELY TOP FIVE: FANTASYLAND EDITION

magic kingdom in one day
24 Hour Treat: Cheshire Cat Tail

You want to jump straight on the lines before they get too long, so I suggest grabbing a quick breakfast at the Cheshire Cafe located near the Mad Tea Party ride in Fantasyland. The specialite de la maison here is the Cheshire Cat Tail. That sounds disgusting, but I promise it’s fur-free.

This treat is basically a chocolate croissant with purple and pink icing on top. Escoffier would scoff, but your belly will smile.

Anyway, take your Cheshire Cat tail in front of Cinderella’s Palace and get your obligatory photo of Walt and Mickey.

magic kingdom in one day

Now that you’re full of sugar and wishes, it’s time to really get into Fantasyland!

magic kingdom in one day
1) THE MANY ADVENTURES OF WINNIE THE POOH

This is probably my favorite ride in Fantasyland. The lines get long, so start your Magic Kingdom in one day here! But the good news is that even if the line is long, there’s oodles of games for the kids to play as they wait. Or if you don’t have kids, you can watch other people’s children play and mourn your lost childhood.

This ride is the bee’s knees because it feels just like stepping into the movie. There’s a blustery day, lots and lots of hunny, and even Heffalumps and Woozles.

magic kingdom in one day
2) MAD TEA PARTY

I do not recommend eating just before going on this ride because the whole point of the ride is that you spin around like a tea cup while sitting inside a giant teacup. The lines here are never very long, unless the Mad Tea Party has recently malfunctioned. (After all, we all go a little mad sometimes, even theme park rides.)

I make a point of doing the Mad Tea Party Ride every time I am at the Magic Kingdom. This is because I went on it when I was four and the ride malfunctioned so I never got to finish it. I was so mad about this that I would sometimes wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat. Every time I go on the ride now, I consider it man’s victory over teacup.

magic kingdom in one day
3) IT’S A SMALL WORLD

Do not take this ride if you hate earworms. The agonizingly catchy tune will definitely be stuck in your head all day. But I enjoy IASW for two reasons. First, as you can see from the Animatronic Taj Mahal above, many of the recreations of scenes from around the world are quite stunning.

Also, at the end, there is a board that will flash your name on the screen and say goodbye. True story: last time I took this ride, there was a little Brazilian girl with my name, Stella, in the same boat and our names flashed on screen at the same time. We squealed and high fived! It really is a small world!

magic kingdom in one day
4) DISNEY’S PHILHARMAGIC

No one wants to spend their Magic Kingdom in One Day on line. But even though Disney’s Philharmagic show is always a rollicking good time, there are never any lines here. So step inside this theater for a charming 4D movie about how Donald Duck is the dumbest.

Basically the plot of the film is that Mickey is the conductor of an orchestra, but he steps away briefly and Donald tries to take over. This results in Donald destroying the Space Time Continuum and getting flung about through various Disney movies from Fantasia to Beauty and the Beast, ruining everything as he goes.

In a way, it’s a charming homage to one of Donald’s first appearances in the short film, “The Band Concert”. Also, Donald gets his butt stuck in the wall of the theater at one point and duck butts are always funny. 

magic kingdom in one day
5) LUNCH AT BE OUR GUEST

Be Our Guest is a restaurant lovingly modeled after the Beast’s Castle from Beauty and the Beast. Make a lunch reservation around noon and you will be able to enjoy a decent sandwich, a really tasty dessert, and all the Beauty and the Beast Easter Eggs your little heart can handle.

My favorite was this replica of a medieval French unicorn tapestry. It added that little touch of realism that I so appreciate in my theme park fairytale castles.

Disney Magic Kingdom Fantasyland be our guest

Be Our Guest gets very crowded, so be sure to make a reservation in advance or you won’t get in! You don’t want to feel like this guy:

Disney Magic Kingdom Fantasyland be our guest
24 HOUR TIP 

You’re going to pay and order upfront and then they bring your food to you. So you find a seat after placing your order. My tip is that you should be sure to not stop in the first dining room. There’s three rooms to choose from!

magic kingdom in one day

I recommend the croque monsieur, which was very rich but pretty tasty. It was especially admirable that they used whole-grain bread and real ham. But the true treasure of the meal was the Master’s Cupcake for dessert.

magic kingdom in one day
24 HOUR TREAT: THE GRAY STUFF

You may be asking, “Why is that cupcake gray?” Well, you remember how Lumiere tells Belle during the song “Be Our Guest” to “try the gray stuff, it’s delicious”? This is the gray stuff! And it is delicious–just a cookies and cream cupcake. I should listen to the dining recommendations of candlesticks more often!

magic kingdom in one day

Magic Kingdom in One Day

Afternoon: Tomorrowland

Amusingly enough, Tomorrowland is probably the most dated of all the areas of Disney World. (Disney is updating Tomorrowland with a Tron Ride, among other things, but I’m not sure how much that will help. Everything about it gives off a 1960s Space Race vibe, especially the marquee attraction, Space Mountain. But if you can handle a little cheese with your sci-fi, Tomorrowland will be just the ticket.

APPROXIMATELY TOP 5: TOMORROWLAND EDITION

magic kingdom in one day
1) MONSTERS INC LAUGH FLOOR

You might have to wait a little bit to get into this show, but it’s worth it because the show is so adorable. Do you remember how the monsters in Monsters Inc decided to harness the power of laughter instead of the power of screams? Well, the premise of this show is that the monsters need to make you laugh in order to get energy. 

A lot of the gags in this show work by putting random audience members on screen with silly captions underneath. I got my face onscreen with the caption, “Is Glad We’re Not Making Fun of Her”. Too true, fictitious monsters, too true!

magic kingdom in one day
2) CAROUSEL OF PROGRESS

This a 20 minute show performed by Disney robots that was actually created by Walt himself for the 1964 World’s Fair. The first scene takes place in the day in the life of a family in the 1900s, the second in the 1920s, the third in the 1940s, and the last in the present.

magic kingdom in one day

Each scene emphasizes how technology affected the lives of the people in the family, so in the 1900s family they talk about Edison’s amaaazing new invention of the lightbulb, and in the present day, the son is teaching the grandmother how to play virtual reality games.

In between each scene is a rousing chorus of the song, “There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow“. I suggest listening to that song before attending the show. If you find the song unbearably cheesy, you won’t like Carousel of Progress, but if you dig the retro vibe, you’ll probably get a kick out of the experience.

magic kingdom in one day
3) SPACE MOUNTAIN

Space Mountain is THE reason to go to Tomorrowland. It’s arguably the best roller coaster in the park. It’s one of the very few rides that could be classified as thrilling because you go around loops and whirls mostly in the dark.

If it were not for the hideous lines, I would go on it about fifty times a day. Be sure to use the Fast Pass for this one because I’ve seen lines go up to 90 minutes and I usually visit in January when the lines aren’t so bad.

magic kingdom in one day
4) COSMIC RAY’S

If you are looking for a healthy snack, I suggest the seriously tasty green beans at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe. You probably won’t be eating a lot of veggies at Disney and these buttery beans are a good way to get your greens. Thanks to the Disney Food Blog for the tip!

magic kingdom in one day
5) Tomorrowland PeopleMover

This title is a little vague and confusing. Isn’t every ride at Disney World technically a people over? But this people mover is more than meets the eye.

The tram will take you all over Tomorrowland, even inside the rides like Space Mountain. I’m from New York City, and I only wish our subway worked this efficiently. It’s a great ride when you need a break from the Orlando crowds/sunshine/baby-eating alligators.

Magic Kingdom in One Day

Evening: Frontierland

magic kingdom in one day

Frontierland is a misnomer; it should really be called Waitingonlineland. There are two major attractions in Frontierland: Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and if you don’t have a Fast Pass, you’re going to have to wait on line for both of them for at least 45 minutes to an hour. Bring a good book!

Fortunately we thought ahead and got our Fast Passes, so we won’t have to wait on line! Instead, we’ll get to dive right into…

approximately top 5: frontierland

magic kingdom in one day
1) SPLASH MOUNTAIN

Splash Mountain is a log flume, which means you have a good chance of getting wet. Some people bring a raincoat for this reason. When I took it last, the ride paused under a little waterfall, and the poor kid sitting behind me got absolutely soaked. It was pretty funny.

Splash Mountain is based on Disney’s TOP SECRET BANNED movie Song of the South. Aside from Splash Mountain, Song of the South is known for two things: the song “Zip-a-dee-Doodah” and being considered racist because of its idealized depiction of life in the Reconstruction-era South. (Some people think the main character, Uncle Remus, is an enslaved person, but the movie takes place after the end of the Civil War.)

magic kingdom in one day

I happen to have seen Song of the South and I understood all of images of Brer Rabbit and Brer Fox we saw while waiting on line for the ride, but I was amused by seeing how many people on line asking things like, “What is a Brer?”

I am glad Disney took my advice to change the ride to The Princess and the Frog, which is actually set in and on the water. Tiana deserves her own ride and if we can’t show Song of the South in theaters, I don’t think there should be a ride based on it either. Also, RIDE OR DIE FOR THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG!

magic kingdom in one day

They do take your picture while you’re going down the ride, which is fun to look at when the ride is over. Disney wants you to pay for the photo, but you can cheat them by taking a quick and blurry photo of this image instead. YOU’RE WELCOME!

magic kingdom in one day
2) BIG THUNDER MOUNTAIN Railroad

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is a fast and furious train-themed roller coaster, also in Frontierland. After Space Mountain, it’s the closest the Magic Kingdom comes to a real roller coaster. And I remain impressed how Disney imagineering allows you to keep even full-sized purses and backpacks with you on these rides.

As you head down the line towards the ride, keep a look out for the fake ads for saloons and mining equipment. Just don’t think too hard about how many real miners died in mountain related calamities in the Non Disney version of Frontierland. Their pain is forgotten, but the roller coaster will last forever!

magic kingdom in one day
3) CLASSIC MICKEY ICE CREAM

Looking for something to eat in Waitingonlineland? Why not a snack you can eat on line? I suggest picking up a Mickey Ice Cream from one of the ice cream carts. The vanilla is creamy and you can have your revenge on Mickey by chomping on one of his ears as a punishment for making you wait on so many lines.

magic kingdom in one day
4) Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and cafe

I consider myself something of a Disney food connoisseur, and Pecos Bill is my favorite place to eat in Frontierland. I suggest getting the taco trio, which you can fill with your choice of meats. (I think the pork is the best quality meat, but you can also get chicken and beef.)

But the best thing about Pecos Bill is the unlimited toppings bar. Even the blandest chicken is livened up by salsa, jalapeno, cheese, sour cream, the tears of a grizzled miner, etc. And you can go back for toppings as many times as you want! This is Disney World; no one is judging you.

magic kingdom in one day
5) country bear jamboree

And speaking of judgment, here is the Country Bear Jamboree. Sometimes, even in Orlando, it can get chilly at night. So if you forgot your jacket or just need to sit, then set right on down at the Country Bear Jamboree show in Frontierland!

This show is so odd, I hesitate to give any information at all to spoil the first time experience for you. Suffice it to say, if you’ve ever wanted to see a sexy lady bear sing “Tears Will Be The Chaser For Your Wine” in front of a group of small children, this is the show for you!

magic kingdom in one day
24 Hour treasure: main street at night

After you’re all frontiered out in Frontierland, Main Street will be all lit up and ready to pose for pictures. This is my favorite time during my Magic Kingdom in One Day itinerary to do a little shopping on Main Street. Normally the fireworks show “Disney Enchantment” is at Cinderella’s Castle around closing time, so you will be able to find a great spot to view them here.

magic kingdom in one day

My favorite store on Main Street is Main Street Sweets. You get to watch the cast members (aka Disney employees) make old fashioned candy, everything from candy apples to marshmallows. My favorite is the chocolate peanut butter fudge! You can get just one square–the perfect way to end your Magic Kingdom in One Day.

Now that you have your fudge in hand, take a spot on Main Street and get ready for the actual literal fireworks! My Happily Ever After already came true because I had chocolate for breakfast. Thanks, Disney!

magic kingdom in one day

That’s the Magic Kingdom in One Day!

What would you want to do in the Magic Kingdom in One Day? Would you go to Disney World just to eat green beans? And when are they going to give me my Princess and the Frog ride????????? Please email me at [email protected] and let me know!

Note: If you want to know how I put my travel itineraries together, just click here. Keep in mind that while each article is about how to spend 24 hours in a place, that doesn’t mean you should ONLY see the Magic Kingdom in One Day. If you want to add itineraries for my favorite Disney park, Epcot, I’ve got one here, one here, and another one over here.

Epcot Festival of the Arts: A Perfect 24 Hours


Greetings Internet Stranger and welcome to 24 hours with the Epcot Festival of the Arts. All our lives we hear people telling us we need to grow up. “Grow up and get a job!” your parents say. “Grow up and make a commitment!” your lover pleads. “Grow up and pay your rent!” your landlord leaves on a note attached to your front door with a knife. But what if you don’t feel like being a grown-up? Then the Epcot Festival of the Arts is the destination for you!

At the Epcot Festival of the Arts, you can chit chat with people who have dedicated their lives to making art for Disney. You can stuff your face with cakes shaped like modern art. And you get to cuddle up with Figment, arguably the cultiest of all cult fan faves at Disney. Let’s not waste another second of our day here!

epcot festival of the arts

24 Hours with the Epcot Festival of the Arts

Where Should I Stay?

As a solo-traveling non-driver, I recommend staying at one of the Disney resorts because the transportation to and from the parks to the hotel is so convenient. I like to stay at one of the Port Orleans hotels because I am ride or die for The Princess and the Frog.

In order to get the most out of your 24 hours in Epcot, I suggest you get coffee at your hotel, hop on the free shuttle, and arrive at Disney in time to enter the park at 9AM when it opens.

epcot festival of the arts

24 Hours with the Epcot Festival of the Arts

Tools For Travel

  • A cell charger so that you’ll be able to keep taking photos all day
  • The best guide to Disney World and Epcot
  • My book Get Lost, that I wrote myself with all my best travel tips. This book will show you exactly why travel is better than a man.
  • Want to learn how I saved enough money to travel 16 weeks a year? Check out my top secret How to Afford Travel course–complete with a guide and videos–on sale for a very limited time.
  • I always travel with travel insurance from World Nomads. You never know when something might go wrong, especially in this day and age. But with travel insurance, you’re protected even if you’re attacked by Figment and his minions.
Epcot festival of the arts

24 Hours with the Epcot Festival of the Arts

Morning: Future World

For those of you who’ve never really spent time in EPCOT, it’s one of four main theme parks at Disney World in Orlando, Florida. EPCOT is basically a permanent World’s Fair. It’s currently divided into two parts: Future World, which displays examples of human ingenuity and technology and World Showcase, which displays cultural products from many lands. (But not even once will the song “It’s a Small World” be played.)

World Showcase doesn’t really open until 11, so I always recommend starting in Future World. Keep in mind that EPCOT’s Future World is going to be completely redesigned over the next couple of years, so I’ll be sure to keep this post updated. Even if it means flying down to Florida and faffing about in the sunshine every single year, I will suffer through it just to keep you happy, Internet Stranger!

Even though Future World is definitely the lesser of the two halves of EPCOT, there’s still plenty of wacky hijinks to get up to here. I’ll start you off with…

three fun facts: epcot festival of the arts

Epcot festival of the arts
1) where can i get breakfast?

One of the best things about attending the Epcot Festival of the Arts is that you can eat festival-exclusive treats. I suggest getting breakfast at Sunshine Seasons. This food court is located inside the Land Pavilion building in Future World. Just follow the signs or ask a Disney cast member for help if you’re lost. (I’m not exactly sure what happens to a Disney cast member who refuses to help a guest, but I think they are dropped into a pit containing sharks with laser beams on their heads.)

You can get normal breakfast food at Sunshine Seasons, but you shouldn’t. Instead get one of the cakes they prepare just for the Epcot Festival of the Arts. I have no idea what is in this cake, but it was as light as a magic carpet ride and it tasted like my favorite sesame seed candy, halvah. Ask the cast members what’s in it if you have a nut allergy, but I doubt it’s Nut Free.

The coolest part of this cake is that the palette and brush are made of fondant, so they are edible. Find a gullible child, tell him they’re a real palette and brush, and then eat them before his eyes to see if it makes him cry!

epcot festival of the arts
2) where can i avoid the sunshine/crowds?

If the Central Florida sunshine is frying your brains or the lines and swarms of tourist babies are getting to you, stop in the Short Film Festival. It’s located in the Imagination! Pavilion which is the perfect Future World Pavilion to see at the Epcot Festival of the Arts. You’ll be able to take a load off your tootsies, and there’s never a line here.

Plus you can see three Disney and Pixar shorts in the glorious third dimension! There’s three shorts and the exact line-up can change any time. But every time I’ve gone, the spectacular Disney short “Get a Horse” has been showing. (Do yourself a favor and don’t watch this short until you can see it in 3D. You’ll thank me later. And if you forget, I’ll just show up at your house in the middle of the night and demand thanks, Internet Stranger!)

epcot festival of the arts
3) who is this figment guy?

First of all, let’s treat Figment with the respect and dignity he deserves. Figment isn’t a guy; he’s a ridiculous purple talking dragon. He is also the mascot of Epcot. I wonder if Epcot sometimes feels bad that everyone knows about the Magic Kingdom’s mascot, Mickey Mouse, but only Dis-Nerds like me know about poor Figgy.

Epcot Festival of the Arts

The Epcot Festival of the Arts is really Figment’s time to shine, as he represents the imagination. You’ll see the purple fellow all over the Epcot Festival of the Arts. Figment also has his own Journey Into Imagination ride in the Imagination! Pavilion, right next to the Disney and Pixar shorts.

There’s usually not a long line here, but pro tip! The lines for Figment’s ride are longer during the Epcot Festival of the Arts than any other time. So you might want to use a FastPass for the Figment ride if and only if you’re visiting Epcot during the Festival of the Arts.

If you’ve ever wanted to see an imaginary purple dragon inflict psychological abuse on a member of Monty Python, this is the ride for you!

Epcot Festival of the Arts

24 Hours With Epcot Festival of the Arts

Afternoon: World Showcase Part One

All right, Internet Stranger! It’s time for me to show you the best part of attending a Disney festival: the food! There are several different festivals at Epcot every year, and during each festival there are booths with international and thematically appropriate foods for you to snack on!

Of course, not every dish is a winner. (Not that I was able to taste every dish. After all, I am not an imaginary purple dragon.) But I will steer you only towards my favorite treats. The lines at the Epcot Festival of the Arts food booths can look long, but I promise you they’ll move quickly. You’ll have more than enough time to try…

approximately top 5: epcot festival of the arts foods

Epcot Festival of the Arts
1) popcorn and beer tasting

One of the things that makes Epcot the best Disney park is the delightful amount of quality booze! Don’t sleep on the fun alcohol/snack pairings at the Epcot Festival of the Arts. I tried this beer and popcorn pairing at the Painter’s Palette booth, but at the 2022 Festival of the Arts, you can get popcorn at Pop Eats and a beer flight at The Artist’s Table or Deco Delights.

I suggest starting with the light beer and working your way up. The pilsner is paired with barbecue popcorn for a classic American taste. The IPA goes with jalapeno but somehow the two “love em or hate em flavors” go together as swimmingly as Dory and Nemo. And speaking of “love em or hate em”, the final pairing is dark beer and blue cheese. You really need a strong beer to stand up to the Ultimate Power of blue cheese.

Epcot festival of the arts
2) blood orange tart

We’ve kicked off our lunch with beer and popcorn, now we need to continue this wholesome treat with dessert and wine! Follow your Festival of the Arts map (they are available for free everywhere at Epcot) to the Deco Delights booth where we will indulge in sweet snack like this blood orange and lemon tart and Florida Orange Groves Winery Black and Blue Port.

I’m a totally curd head, and I approve this tart. The curd was neither too sweet nor too heavy, and the crust was as crunchy as one of Thumper’s carrots. I was surprised at how much I liked the port considering it came from Florida. I didn’t even think it was legal to make port outside of Portugal. But then they don’t really need to obey international laws in the swamps of Central Florida. It’s the famous Central Florida Gator Exemption.

epcot festival of the arts
3) el artista hambriento

There are two main kinds of food booths at the Epcot Festival of the Arts. Some have a theme only related to the arts, and others sell the cuisine of a particular country. The Mexico pavilion hosts El Artista Hambriento, which I’m sure is Spanish for the Hamburger Artist. Or maybe it’s the Cheeseburger Artist because brie is a cheese.

The scallops I ate at this booth aren’t available in 2022, but you can still get the a smoky margarita like my Diego margarita. (I assume the Diego is for Diego Rivera who probably didn’t consider himself a Hamburger Artist. After all, he was a Communist.)

My Diego margarita was made with passion fruit because he was so passionate, but the 2020 margarita will be made with blackberry because…I’m not exactly sure. But the Mexican pavilion is top notch at margaritas, so I’m sure you’ll enjoy it even if the blackberries aren’t logical.

epcot festival of the arts
4) pop Eats

See what a classy event the Epcot Festival of the Arts is, Internet Stranger? I bet you didn’t expect to be eating a cake that was inspired by a Mondrian painting at Disney World! This treat, which is one of the most popular dishes at the Festival of the Arts year after year, is an almond frangipane cake layered with raspberry jam and rich chocolate.

Raspberry and chocolate go together like Timon and Pumbaa! The cake is so moist you could cut it just by looking at it. Plus this is one of the most affordable dishes at the Festival of the Arts. #eatit #apologizestoweirdal

epcot festival of the arts
6) Gourmet Landscapes

I think each art-themed food booth at the Epcot Festival of the Arts is supposed to focus on a different type of food, but it wasn’t always clear to me what the theme was supposed to be. But I think the theme at the Gourmet Landscapes booth is “class out the wazoo”. The dishes are all European classics like bone marrow and beet carpaccio.

But my favorite was this risotto with Parmesan cheese and truffle shavings. First Mondrian paintings and now truffles and Parm! It’s too bad when you tell non Dis-nerds that you go here for the fine dining and fine art they will probably not believe you.

epcot festival of the arts

24 Hours with the Epcot Festival of the Arts

Evening: Even More World Showcase!

Ordinarily I suggest doing two entirely different things in the afternoon and the evening. But at the Epcot Festival of the Arts, it’s just more of the delightful same! Continue snacking, slurping down quality booze, and staring at pictures of masterpieces that have been defaced with the image of a giant purple imaginary dragon!

approximately top 5: epcot festival of the arts (again)

Epcot Festival of the Arts
1) deconstructed dish

The Deconstructed Dish has the coolest theme of any of the art food booths. They take classics and give them an oddball twist. Their most popular plate, at least according to the interwebs, is the deconstructed BLT. Instead of bacon it has pork belly, and instead of a tomato it has tomato jam. Plus there’s an egg on top, so it’s kind of like BLT and eggs. Clever and yum-alicious!

epcot festival of the arts
2) l’art du cuisine francaise

France never disappoints at these food events, possibly because a legit French restaurant group runs the France pavilion. And you won’t be disappointed with the Creme de Brie en Petit Pain. It’s warm bread, warm cheese, and it has a freaking Eiffel Tower on it! I should have bothered to take an actual cute Instagram photo that didn’t have my skirt in it.

epcot festival of the arts

If you only get one drink at Epcot, let it be from the martini selection at the French pavilion either. They make their drinks with the French premium vodka Grey Goose. Considering how smooth the vodka is and that it’s always blended with fruit juice, you could probably down three of these bad boys before feeling any pain. But please don’t! This is Disney World! Think of the children!

epcot festival of the arts
3) Morocco

Another pavilion that usually has tasty snacks is the Morocco pavilion. Again this is probably because the actual Moroccan government helped build the pavilion. Smart on their part because spending time here would make anyone want to visit Morocco. The staff here all comes from Morocco, and they’re extremely enthusiastic about discussing the country with you.

I recommend the flatbread topped with whatever goodies they have to offer, like this one above with zaatar and artichokes. Given the large size of the dish, it’s one of the best bangs for your buck at the Festival of the Arts.

The bread is a little doughy, but the tangy tasty of the zaatar spice is quite addictive. And unlike the Grey Goose, if you have three of these you won’t run the risk of getting evicted from Epcot for intoxication!

epcot festival of the arts
4) goshiki

The Japanese pavilion is the final pavilion that never, ever disappoints me food-wise at Epcot. Again, the sponsorship matters and the Japanese pavilion is under the aegis of the legendary Japanese department store Mitsukoshi. Just look at that majestic sushi donut! I was impressed with how well the sushi rice stuck together to form a perfect circle. And there’s Mickey-shaped wasabi on the side if you need a little kick.

If your blood alcohol levels can stand it, pick up the sake cocktail at the Japanese pavilion. The one I tried was a combination of sake and Calpico. Sake is Japanese rice wine and Calpico is a Japanese soda made with milk. It sounds like they’d be disgusting, but the drink is as pink and dreamy as a ballgown entirely made by singing mice.

epcot festival of the arts
5) disney on broadway concert

Even though the food is the best thing at the Epcot Festival of the Arts, it’s not the only thing. Make sure to hit up at least one of the cultural offerings that don’t involve stuffing your face. I suggest the Disney on Broadway concerts. (They’re free with admission to Epcot, but show up a bit before the show begins to make sure you get a seat.

Showtimes will be posted at the concert stage in the American pavilion.) But you can see the list of performers here. The emphasis at Disney on Broadway is Disney’s Broadway productions, not the films. That means you might hear songs from Newsies, so prepare yourself accordingly. I was surprised to learn that there had actually been a stage production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Oh, so you’ll put on a musical of that notorious flop, Disney, but when I keep begging you to do a live-action remake of The Great Mouse Detective, you keep blocking my calls? Typical!

epcot festival of the arts

That’s the Epcot Festival of the Arts!

What would you do at the Epcot Festival of the Arts? Are you satisfied with Figment tormenting a member of Monty Python or should he move on to the cast of Saturday Night Live? And who should play Live-Action Ratigan in my dream remake of The Great Mouse Detective? (I think Bill Hader because he does a great Vincent Price impersonation.) Email me at [email protected] and let me know!

Note: If you want to know how I put my travel itineraries together, just click here. Keep in mind that while each article is about how to spend 24 hours at the Epcot Festival of the Arts, that doesn’t mean you should ONLY spend 24 hours in Epcot. If you want to add itineraries for the Magic Kingdom I’ve got one here, one here and another one for Epcot over here.