More than a day trip in Guatape, Colombia

It’s 5pm and you’re sitting in your Medellin hostel deciding on your next days activities. Paragliding? Communa 13 tour? Pablo Escobar tour followed by rooftop drinks at Envy? Guatape? All excellent choices but if you’ve decided on Guatape & have the time, make sure it’s more than one day.

Guatape. Tucked away deep in the Colombian hills roughly 2 hours from Medellin (depending on who you’re driver is) is an oasis that is much more deserving than a 6 hour tour. Escaping the concrete jungle of Medellin & cruising into the tranquil city of Guatape, it’s an easy place to relax for a few days & let nature work it’s magic.

Nature. The main reason for this venture is the obvious, El Peñon de Guatape Aka “the best view in the world”. After a 700 stair ascent to the viewing platform it’s obvious why people journey for this view, just look at it. The beauty far exceeds these shots & every step is worth it once reaching the top. Refreshments are available for those in need of that afternoon, early morning, or sunset cerveza.

As you can see from this viewpoint, nature is your playground. With an abundance of water, water activities range from wake boarding, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, swimming, boat cruising & many more. If you fancy your dinner to be moving, you can even dine on a moving yacht for your hearts desire.

Water isn’t the only playground here. With miles & miles of trails to choose from, the most adventurous can hike or hire a bike to some lightly trekked trails that finish at waterfalls, hidden lagoons, & secluded lookouts. Popular day trips include those to San Rafael.

Green & blue aren’t the only colors this place offers. Touted as one of the most colorful cities of Colombia, the city center & it’s adjacent streets offer a new color combo around every corner. Uplifting & inspiring, those with artistic visions will find it here. Go ahead and count the colors, you will lose track fast.

Now where do you stay after you’ve taken in all the sights for a day? Casa Rosa Hostel. More of a home stay than a hostel, Francesca is a wonderful host and especially great for those looking to improve their Spanish. With a perfect location a block away from the center & a low key vibe, Casa Rosa lets you slow down & find some tranquility.

Another popular option for backpackers is Lakeview Hostel. I didn’t stay here but many people I met in the city did and loved their time there. Also highly regarded is Thai Terrace which is above Lakeview Hostel.

Have you been to Guatape? Comment your favorite part of the city.

Paragliding in Medellin

It wasn’t until I arrived to Colombia that I heard about paragliding or “parapente“. The primary discussions about the country had been about coffee, the beautiful women, its drug filled past & the recent surge in tourism. This afternoon in a city just outside of Medellin would change all of that.

After a short taxi ride to the North bus station we caught our bus up into the some of the most scenic Andes mountain ranges you could experience just a little more than 45 minutes up an aggressive, death defying two way road outside of Medellin. With each turn brought a “wow & please maybe just take this next turn a bit slower”.

Thankfully, our maniac driver kept us between the lines

Gibbo getting set up
Gibbo getting set up

Signing up for a paragliding tour for about 130.000 COP or roughly $43 was one of the best choices we had ever made. The GTopik crew made the experience effortless with a walk through safety video (incredible dry & hilarious), more beautiful scenery, & perhaps the hardest part of the day, a torturous 10 minute walk up the stairway to heaven to the launch zone.

Straight up
Straight up

After catching our breath from the scenery & the workout, we were ready to fly. We were certain that they used these stairs to dissuade anyone who was on the fence about doing this activity as it gave you that “am I really going through with this?”. The zone was nothing but good energy & roughly 70 people partaking, waiting, watching & enjoying the scenery.

Once we checked in up top I was in the air 5 minutes later. Felipe my pilot was gregarious, experienced, & nothing but the perfect fit for my first time. Did I forget to mention? We also made it back to land so another box checked. We strapped in, took about 5 steps, and were off into the Andes mountain range. Unreal scenery, a bit of nervousness (mucho) & 15 minutes later we were back safely on the ground.

So was the $43 worth it? Best money I have ever spent, aside from buying the ticket to get to Colombia & being able to partake in this adrenaline pumping sport. Interested in getting your feet off the ground & soaring through the sky? Check out GTopik with the information below.

Weekend Getaway: Santa Cruz

 

The weekend is approaching and you want to escape for a few days but where to go? North to Point Reyes and the beautiful Mendocino coast? Lake Tahoe and Truckee for some fresh alpine air? South to Big Sur? All great choices but for this weekend getaway, Santa Cruz.

Santa Cruz, or Holy Cross, is much more than its shadow of the Beach Boardwalk and Mystery House. While these do draw significant tourist numbers, dive a little bit deeper into this quaint coastal gem and you’ll know that your time here is well worth the trip. Here are 5 reasons you should be Cruzing here.

Cliff Cruise
Cliff Cruise

Surfing. Surfing is king here and with breaks all along the coast, you’re sure to not get bored or be limited to a style of wave to choose from. Beginner? Great, plenty of waves to choose from. Intermediate? Excellent, got that covered too. Pro? Ya, well Santa Cruz is home to some of the best surfers in the world so those rights and lefts will be getting handled. Head over to Cowells for all your surfing needs.

https://www.cowellssurfshop.com

Beaches. Home to some of the most pristine beaches around, Santa cruz offers up to 29 miles of beach to choose from. Grab a towel, sunscreen and friends, and your beach day will be more than fulfilled.

Shark Fin Cove
Shark Fin Cove

Scenery. Being a coastal town, Santa Cruz has scenery for days. Whether it be a west cliff cruise, Pleasure Point stroll, Natural Bridges hangout, scenery is around every corner. Just ask Loggy, this local legend as he was spotted over at Cowells.

 

 

Food. Got a hankering for Mexican cuisine? Seafood? Freshly picked fruits? These three are at your fingertips daily as this region packs it all into one. Head over to La Hacienda for your al pastor burritos. Cruise the coast and pick some fresh fruits from one of the many U-pick farms. Book a table at the Crows Nest for some freshly caught seafood. These are just a beginning, come and discover your favorite.

Location. Being only 1 1/2 hours from San Francisco and just north of Monterey, Santa Cruz really does offer ideal location. Whether you want to cruise to the adjacent mountains for outdoor activities or even farther down the coast, location is prime here.

What are you waiting for? Cruise down , up or west to see what you’ve been missing out on. Shout out Rob, Peter, Ben, Eli, Terre, Jonah, Jazz, Pappas family, and everyone else down there.

 

 

National Ice Cream Sandwich Day & Oakland Drone

 

Yes, here is another one from the gem of the Bay, Lake Merritt. Not sure what brought you here but enjoy the views while they last. All hands, feet, and arms must be kept inside the fully autonomous drone at all times. Seatbelts fastened as well.

This is the full length feature rather than the teaser from my instagram of only a minute. Shockingly longer I know, but there are certain parameters we all have to follow and i don’t know if anything longer than a minute 10 you guys can stay glued to. Anyways, whats your favorite part about Lake Merritt? Below is an older post where I highlight my favorite spots:

https://ezmoments.com/2018/06/19/best-of-the-best-around-lake-merritt/

Share, like, comment so i can keep an updated list for those who are unfamiliar with the area and want to get the best trip to the Lake and Oakland. Whats worse than exploring somewhere new, have no clue what to do, and end up despising the place?

For any of my readers, where do you get your information from if you are going to a new city?

  • Google search ?
  • Friend ?
  • Family ?
  • Yelp ?
  • Stranger ?

I typically google and use a blog that covers the region so I can get a unique perspective rather than a possible paid yelp account or skewed / outdated tourist website. Instagram can be a gold mine too if you find an active account that is committed to their city.

As the title reads, yes it is “National Ice Cream Sandwich Day” which means its one of the best days of the year. If you’re in the Bay cruise through your local CREAM establishment (Walnut Creek, Berkeley, Oakland, SF) for a 1c mini sand. YES, 1 cent. TODAY ONLY. You’re welcome. And if you aren’t already aware of the acronym its Cookies Rule Everything Around Me (shout out Wu-Tang).

What are you waiting for? Get out to the Lake and holler if you see me. Maybe you will, maybe you won’t. There seems to be a solid amount of cats out there operating drones so if it happens to look like me drop a line and if its not maybe you will have a new friend and change the course of your life.

Happy National Ice Cream Sandwich Day. Hope there is no limit for how many 1 cent sandos I can order. Also praying the lines don’t wrap around the block. Guess I shouldn’t be telling everyone about the gold mine they are walking into.

Oakland & the Bay Areas best sunrise/sunset spots

With great location comes great opportunities for scenic moments. This is a collection of some of my favorite spots I’ve had the chance to frequent over the years. With these spots listed your eyes will be happy they rose early or extended themselves into the evening.

Twin Peaks

If you’re in San Francisco and need the ultimate spot, THIS IS IT. Without a doubt the best views & with a 360 perspective, you get a taste of it all.

Lake Merritt

Merritt won’t give you any type of heightened view or advantageous vantage point, but the lake vibe & vibrant lake reflections make it all worth your while.

Berkeley Marina

An easily overlooked stop to take in the beginning or end of the day. Insider tip: grab a Mai Tai from Trader Vic’s before the glory unfolds in front of you.

Treasure Island

This used to be my favorite spot for sure but with recent island renovations that has changed. With limited access to avenue of the palms the beauty & ease has drastically affected the viewing pleasure. However, this is still a great option.

Mt. Tamalpais

Mt. Tam is a photographers dream and is my favorite spot for sunset in the North Bay region. With windy roads & unobstructed 360 views depending on where you position yourself, Mt. Tam can’t be missed. Bring your camera so you can catch the coastal fog lingering on the hillsides.

Middle harbor Shoreline

Definitely a hidden gem here but will require little more of an effort getting here. Tucked away next to Oakland’s shipping port this lightly trafficked park gives you the closest view of the bridge & Treasure Island. Just watch out for duck droppings as they are everywhere.

Grizzly Peak

Grizzly Peak aka Fish Ranch is the top dog in the East Bay. With ridge line views of the surrounding area & into San Francisco, this spot never disappoints unless it’s cloudy. Even when cloudy, still worthwhile to enjoy your time up in the clouds

Katchafire live @ Cornerstone Berkeley

Katchafire. No these guys are not arsonists but they do bring the flame with their electric reggae sound. Hailing from Hamilton, New Zealand, these Kiwis are a testament to timeless reggae spirit. Turning the clocks back, these guys started as a Bob Marley cover band and as their skills and popularity grew, transformed into one of New Zealands and the worlds top reggae acts.

Coast to coast, country to country, Katchafire has played with almost and everyone who has a reggae pulse and usually can be found headlining some of Reggaes grandest festivals. Family runs deep in this group with father Grenville and sons Logan and Jordan, accompanied by Tere Ngarua (bass), Hani Totorewa (keyboards, vocals), James Ferguson (keyboards, saxophone, vocals), and Leon Davey (percussion, vocals). Opening up for Katchafire was local artist Nocean & renowned reggae artist E.N. Young. E.N. Young was apart of the band Stranger which won the 2009 San Diego Music Award and Tribal Seeds.

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About halfway through their tour Katchafire took aim at a packed house at one of Berkeley’s newest venues, Cornerstone. Cornerstone was once an old famous Berkeley Pool Hall, but has transformed into another Berkeley music gem. With music in its bloodstream, Berkeley adds to the list of quality music venues. Aside from ample seating, an outdoor patio equipped with fire pits, delicious and generous food portions, Cornerstones real attraction is the Beer. With over 40 beers on tap and 100 offerings at your disposal, deciding is probably the only blemish this place has.

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Cornerstones venue space is a real treat. The design and size make it intimate but at the same time gives you some space to work with if you want to spread your wings a bit. If you want to take in the show from above, there is a 2nd floor option that gives you a nice vantage point while keeping you close enough to not feel isolated from the action.

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When the music isn’t pumping in the venue, Cornerstone uses the space for corporate events and bar games such as Ping-Pong & Cornhole. With an inviting vibe, modern aesthetic feel, and all these other offerings, Cornerstone is a place to not miss out on. Get here before all the beer is tapped out, which i don’t expect to be happening anytime soon.

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Bay Area Drone – Oakland’s Grand Lake Theatre

Here is one of my latest productions that I am glad to show from Oakland, California. It is of the Grand Lake Theatre. The Grand Lake Theatre is a haven for Bay Area photographers/movie goers. With its beautiful exterior, especially lit up at night, it’s easy to see why its been crowned as the top Bay Area movie venue 3 years running. Aside from its stunning exterior, the interiors aesthetic is breathtaking as well.

A little background on the history of the Theatre. The Grand Lake opened in 1926 by the Reid Brothers for West Coast Theaters Inc. A serious of expansions have happened over the years to increase size and update its rustic appearance. Tuesday is the day to enjoy a show here as it offers a $5 all day admission price. On other days you’re cost of admission is $11 and $6 matinees.

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Have you been to the Grand Lake Theatre recently? What is your favorite bar and or restaurant in close proximity that I haven’t mentioned here on my blog? For those who are looking for some of the best places to spend your hard earned dollars in The Town, look at some of my old posts where I lay it all out for you.

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I have always wanted to get on this rooftop for a photoshoot but for now this drone shoot will have to suffice. As a fanatic of drones and this area, is there a particular spot in the area you wish to see highlighted on one my posts? If so, comment below and or send me an email so i can take dreams to realities.

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I am a movie fanatic but I really don’t get inside to see many. However, this July 13th don’t miss out on the release of Boots Riley, Sorry to Bother You. I mention this because the movie was filmed in Oakland and has had a few pre release view parties to get people buzzing about this hometown made flick. See you there.

Some of my favorite shots from Backpacking Mexico

If Mexico isn’t on your radar or if it is, you should make it a priority to visit to take in the sights, sounds, and tastes of this diverse country. Here are some of my favorite shots from my 2 months throughout this massive country. If media portrayals of excessive violence and unsafe conditions are influencing your decision, let them go. But do be cautious of where you are going. Just like ANYWHERE, danger is around any corner but by staying out of certain regions where most tourists won’t go anyway, you are sure to have an excellent adventure.

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The shots featured in this post come from four different regions of the country: Mexico, Puebla, Oaxaca, & Chiapas. To be exact, Mexico treaties shots of Mexico City. Puebla features shots from Cholula and Puebla. Oaxaca includes Puerto Escondido, Zipolite, & Mazunte. Chiapas has some action from San Cristobal de Las Casas. These photos aren’t in any particular order at the moment. Posting as they come, so many more are on the way.

Most of my pictures that come from Mexico are from Markets, Beaches, Museums, Buildings, & food. With the gastronomy of this country its hard to not capture any type of food that is put in front of you. As the pictures upload you shall see what colorful, unfamiliar, caliente, and what other adjective you want to fill in the blank with will come along.

Do you have a favorite part of Mexico I missed or have a memory from any region I mentioned? If so, don’t forget to drop a line and let others know where the best of the best is at.

Oakland’s Kaiser Rooftop Garden

Whether or not you are from the Bay, theres a good shot you haven’t been to Kaisers rooftop garden. Situated on the 5th floor of Kaisers parking structure, this hidden gem shines bright like a diamond (Rihanna, yes) when you actually make it there. Take a nap, snap some pictures, gander at the geese, grab a snack, its all there waiting for you.

 

Reflectos at the Rooftop
Reflectos at the Rooftop
Kaiser Garden Rooftop
Lounge, Lunch, Nap
Do you have the courage to cross?
Do you have the courage to cross?
Scenery all around
Rooftop Scenery

Read more

Oakland Street Art

If your eyes have been open while cruising the streets of Oakland, you’ve definitely had the chance to take in some pretty incredible art. Aside from the art being so moving, the artists themselves really come to life when getting the chance to talk about the meaning and the message they are trying to portray. Here’s a teaser for some upcoming interviews and what inspires these artists to showcase their talents.

 

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More to come. So stay tuned.

KD artwork credit:

@Vogue_tdk

@localeditionmktg

@jettyextracts

@montana_colors

 

 

Lake Merritt Warriors Parade Day

Rolling through Oakland its almost guaranteed that you will see or hear something that will make you smile or catch your attention. A city of energy and eclectic characters fill the streets and undoubtedly carries on wherever they may roam. A few days back at the Warriors parade, Lake Merritt was full of the above and provided not only a gang of laughs, but some candid shots while the camera was rolling. Enjoy and comment which one is your favorite.

 

 

Saucey at the Lake
Saucey at the Lake

 

Short and sweet, the warriors sweep.

4-0 as we seem them go.

Missed 3’s, made 3’s. Nothing less while Lebron pleads

Late game confusion, obviously someone’s snoozin (JR)

2 of the last 3, with the future as bright as I take flight

 

Best of the Best around Lake Merritt

The Jewel of Oakland, Lake Merritt, encompasses 155 acres of land with a circumference of 3.4 miles. It’s clear to most locals that Lake Merritt is so much more than an estuary, but a gathering place for events, an excellent spot for photography, & a enjoyable destination for exercise. Aside from these options, Lake Merritt’s provides close proximity to a number of delectable restaurants and outstanding bars. Need inspiration to check out the surroundings of the lake? Well keep on reading.

 

Drone View of Lake Merritt
Drone View of Lake Merritt

Grand Lake Theatre

This is THE SPOT near the lake. With a history that stretches back almost 45 years, the Theatre has been awarded the best place to see a movie in the Bay Area for 3 years running. $5 movies all day Tuesday.

Burma Superstar

Burma Superstar has really exploded in recent years as its original location has expanded into 4 different locations around the Bay. Luckily enough there is one in close proximity to the lake providing Oaklanders the opportunity to savor some Burmese cuisine. Inside tip –> Tea Leaf Salad is off the charts

Arizmandi 

Arizmendi Promise
Arizmendi Promise
Arizmendi
Grab a slice of pie or joe and post outside

 

Whole Foods

I mean its not a proper restaurant but being aware of a full scale grocery store within walking distance of the lake is a game changer for anybody on a picnic day at the lake.

Lake Chalet 

A classic upscale Lake Merritt spot provides restaurant goers with a lakeside retreat and some delicious offerings. For those on the lower end of the budget, hit this spot up on a Taco Tuesday for Happy Hour from 4 to close for excellent taco and drink prices.

Lake Chalet Drone
Lake Chalet from above

 

Mad Oak

Outdoor patio, rooftop bar, and an extensive draft list. Hard spot to beat especially when surrounded by friends and animals. Yes, pet friendly. Cheaper options around but the vibe and setting is definitely worth a stop in.

Athletic Club 

One of Oakland’s newest Bar, The Athletic Club, is one for those who want a good dosage of viewing options to take in any sport offered that day. With a plethora of Tvs, 10+ beers on tap and variety of food options, The AC is a solid spot for your drinking pleasures. The  original AC started in SF and has done so well, the East Bay was lucky enough to put one one in. If you go with enough people, and or thirsty enough, order a Bathtub of beer. Yes, a BATHTUB.

The AC
The AC, one of the newest additions to Oakland

 

The list goes on for days but who has time to read all that without missing the beauty of being there. If I missed anything comment below so I can add it. I know I missed a lot but the full guide will be updated as we go.

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Lake Merritt Drone and upcoming Bay Area events

Grand Lake Theatre Overlook of Lake Merritt

 

For those who don’t have access to my instagram @errythang_19 here is a recent video i threw together of a pull back over Grand Lake Theatre. Fancying a visit to the historic theatre or Lake Merritt, or even Oakland?

Have you been to any of the spots I have featured? Let me know if there is anything I have missed that is to good to be true. With so many choices and so little time, any additional words from you guys help. Read some of my older posts to find out where I like to spend my time and so you don’t waste yours.

As summer is here, so is the Bay Areas gorgeous weather. With this smile providing weather means one thing, well actually way more than one thing but OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES. For some upcoming Bay events that you surely don’t want to miss, keep reading. Also keep that sunscreen handy as the sun will be shining constantly in the coming months.

  • First Fridays –  August 3rd / Oakland 
  • A’s Baseball 
  • Outside Lands – August 10-12th / San Franciscos Golden Gate Park
  • Friday Nights at OMCA: Night Market, DJs & Off the Grid / Oakland
  • North Beach First Fridays Art Crawl / SF

Aside from these events, the Bay will provide you with an endless array of options. Which ones are you most looking forward too? Comment below so I don’t miss out on any of the action.

Lets not forget about the Oakland Athletics at this point in the season. With a formidable offense and a late inning lock down bullpen, the A’s have poised themselves as a threat in the West. Whats enticing about these guys at this point in the year is that the next 20 of their games will be played at home here in Oakland. Will you find yourself to the Treehouse Bar or will your heart be the pulsing factor of the pregame tailgate? Either way don’t miss out on these guys and their new 2019 season ticket plan. More info below.

https://www.sfgate.com/athletics/article/A-s-eliminate-season-ticket-plan-introduce-new-13116686.php