How Time Flies – Lóndrangar and the Malariff Lighthouse on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula in Iceland

It is hard to believe that it has been 7 years since our trip to Iceland.  One of our favorite memories in Iceland was driving around the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. It was recommended to us by the staff at the hotel and it was certainly one of the highlights of our trip. The Golden Circle is certainly an absolute must, but you will be surrounded by crowds and tour buses while driving around the peninsula, at least in winter, will have you enjoying the natural beauty of the island on your own. Two of our favorite sights while driving around the peninsula was Lóndrangar, which is a pair of volcanic rocks that jut up along the coast and the Malariff Lighthouse located nearby. It is also a perfect place to see the “black beaches” of Iceland, which are beachs covered in black volcanic rocks.

Lighthouse at Malariff
Amazing Black Beach
Lava Rocks on the Shore

Seeing the twin peaks of Lóndrangar is certainly an amazing sight and pictures don’t truly do it justice. Centuries of erosion have left these volcanic rocks looming over the edge of the coastline. The entire area is volcanic crater that has been enveloped by the ocean and now only lava rocks remain. We were fortunate to see Lóndrangar from two angles, first looking at them with the ocean sitting behind them and then later from the Malariff Lighthouse. Since we were there during the winter, the black lava rocks really stood out against the snowy landscape and glacial mountains off in the distance.

Rock Formations at Lóndrangar
Blue Sky and Lighthouse
Lóndrangar with Ocean in the Background

Next we drove to the Malariff Lighthouse, which is truly dramatic and well worth visiting. You are able to walk all around the lighthouse, which stands as a lonely sentry to protect ships from crashing into the rocky coast. As we arrived, the cloudy skies temporarily parted to provide an amazing backdrop to the white lighthouse. It is supposed to be a great location to see different water birds and even seals, but perhaps the weather was too cold for even them during our visit.

Sun Along the Shore
Rough Water
View of Lóndrangar from the Lighthouse

After walking around the lighthouse, we continued on to walk down to the shoreline and see the waves crashing against the lava lined coast. It certainly provides a sense of how powerful the ocean can be in this rugged land. It also provides evidence as to the clear need for the lighthouse when you see the waves splashing high above the rocks along the shore. Iceland is such a beautiful country and this little snippet of the coast will give you a true sense of the destructive forces that have created not only Iceland, but the world as a whole.

The Beautiful Beaches of Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic has some gorgeous beaches, which is definitely the case in Punta Cana. Located on the eastern coast of the Dominican Republic, or “DR” as some people say, Punta Cana has a variety of beautiful resorts. All of them require that you purchase an all-inclusive package, which can make them quite expensive and also discourages you from leaving the resort to visit the surrounding area. We stayed at the Paradisus Palma Real during our trip to Punta Cana a few years ago and were definitely impressed with all of the amenities.

Paradisus Palma Real in Punta Cana
Paradisus Palma Real in Punta Cana
View of the Beach from the Resort
View of the Beach from the Resort
View of the Resort from the Beach
View of the Resort from the Beach
The Resort
The Resort

When staying at a large resort, such as the ones in Punta Cana, there are usually many restaurants to choose from, which provides many different options for dining, from casual to fine dining. We took advantage of upgrading to something that the resort called “Royal Service”, which provided us with an ocean view room, access to a concierge to make reservations to restaurants and shows, as well as private pool. It also provided us with a reserved cabana and lounge chairs on the beach without having to get up early and put a towel on it to reserve them.

Main Resort Area
Main Resort Area
Royal Service Area
Royal Service Area
Beautiful Beaches
Warm Water for Swimming

Obviously, the highlight of going to Punta Cana are the beautiful beaches with plenty of opportunities to partake in water activities. In addition to spending time on the beach or at one of the many pools, there are also shows every evening for anyone that wants with music and dancing. During the day, you can also participate in activities such as yoga on the beach, volleyball, cooking lessons, and more for those that need more than just sun and relaxation. We use trips like this as a vacation and a break from our hectic schedules, so we tend to simply sit back and soak up the scenery as we sip on tropical drinks.

Cabanas on the Beach
Cabanas on the Beach
Secluded Boardwalk
Secluded Boardwalk
Dos Mai Tai's at the Pool Bar
Dos Mai Tai’s at the Pool Bar
Blue Skies and White Beaches

We hope to enjoy other beaches in the Caribbean, but Punta Cana, with beaches that face both the Atlantic and Caribbean, is definitely worth a visit.  We would also recommend the royal service to anyone who has the opportunity.  It is a bit of a splurge, but truly worth the extra expense, especially if you’re not travelling with children.

Fountain at the Resort
Fountain at the Resort
Beautiful Beaches
Beautiful Beaches
Our Room at the Resort
Our Room at the Resort
Tropical Fruit
Tropical Fruit

La Quebrada Cliff Divers in Acapulco, Mexico

One of the highlights of visiting Acapulco is going to see the famous La Quebrada Cliff Divers. La Quebrada is the name of the cliffs where the divers climb to perform the death-defying dives into the narrow water below. The divers are all professionals of various ages that perform daily for the crowds that come to cheer them on. We chose to watch them from the La Perla restaurant in the El Mirador Resort that made them famous, but there is an observation deck where you can see them even closer without the expense of a meal.

Divers Waving to the Crowds
Observation Deck Across from the Cliff
Diver Doing a Flip
La Quebrada Cliff Lit Up for the Performance

The divers perform one show during the day at 1pm and then they do four performances in the evening at 7:30, 8:30, 9:30, and 10:30. While the afternoon performance might be best from a photographic perspective, seeing them in the evening is quite impressive. We chose to go to the 7:30 show as we were able to watch a beautiful sunset around 6:30 as we enjoyed our meal and waited for the divers to start their performance. Just sitting and enjoying the beautiful views of the La Quebrada cliffs and the water crashing into the “Gulch” is a worthwhile experience.

About to Dive
Starting to Climb the Cliff
Setting Sun
Diver Entering the Water

Prior to the start of the performance, some of the younger divers came out to dive from the smaller cliffs below the observation deck. In addition to practicing the diving skills and warming up, it was also their responsibility to clear away any seaweed that had been brought in by the tide. It was surprising to see how young some of the divers actually were, but they made sure to dive from the lower cliffs. Once the main divers arrived, also working they way down through the crowds on the observation deck, they also dove into the water and swam around in order to loosen up for the performance.

Divers Gathering Before the Performance
Lobby of the Resort with Famous Tarzan Actor Photograph
Young Diver
Water in the “Gulch”

Once it was time for the performance to begin, the first of the divers began the climb up the steep cliff wall using only his hands and his bare feet to scale to the top of the cliff. Then other divers started to climb the cliff with several of them going to a perch just below the summit. Each diver then patiently eyed the water below before leaping from the cliff and soaring through the air and into the water below. It is quite a fascinating show and certainly worth seeing when visiting Acapulco.

Beautiful Colors as Sunset Ended
Warming Up