Hello my name is Mari & I’m a Beachaholic
Oh summertime it’s always a pleasure to see you! You’ve always brought perfect weather, fun times, a glowing tan & unforgettable memories with friends & family. Thank you for your loyalty!
While living in Kuwait theoretically means it’s “nice weather” all the time, summers in Kuwait are a lot warmer than most people, including myself, are used to. June brought temperatures reaching up to 118*F & apparently “it’s not even summer yet”. Yikes! I enjoy the nice weather, but these sky high temperatures make me a bit uncomfortable, so I’m extra thankful for having the opportunity of being so much closer to all these summer destinations I’ve dreamt of visiting. Cyprus happened to be one of the places on my bucket list & after some friends recommended it, we got to planning & took off!
Kuwait –> Doha –> Larnaca
Airline: Qatar Airways
Duration: 7.5 Hours (inclusive of a 3 hour layover in Doha).
Overall rating: 8
My excitement of being able to have some bubbly to start my holiday was crushed when I found out Doha Intl Airport does not serve alcohol during Ramadan/Eid. All respect for the culture, but I figured that Hamad International Airport would consider its thousand of other travelers making a commute through their airport as well.
We arrived at Larnaca Intl Airport; a small & user friendly airport, with friendly customs, fast luggage retrieval & easy exit! That was nice, I truly dislike when airports make things extra complicated! We arrived in the early evening so we got to watch the sunset while cruising to our first stop Paphos, which is a coastal town located in the southwest part of Cyprus & just about 1.5 hours from the airport.
This coastal town reminded me of my times cruising through Cozumel, Mexico. Cozumel is known to be the more “laid back – not as crazy – older – family oriented – party place” in the Gulf of Mexico. Paphos had the same feel to it.
Most of the crowds were families or couples. There were plenty of pubs all filled with either locals or travelers alike & for the most part everyone was welcoming & friendly. From Archeological sites, to the beautiful beaches, outdoor activities & much more, there’s plenty of things to do suitable for all types of travelers.
Personally, I was feigning for an “island” get-away, where I could sleep on the beach, covered in sand, (without melting away) get a tan & relax. I wanted a calm place to run-away to for a few days & Cyprus was absolutely perfect for me.
Day 2-4: Yachts, Sand in my Toes & lots of tanning.
For our first full day in Paphos my friend booked us a boat day with Blue Lagoon Cruises: http://www.paphosseacruises.com/index.php/day-cruises/blue-lagoon/ Whoohoo!!
Our boat cruise included visits to the Sea Caves, Sacred Island, Akamas Western Coastline, Lara Bay & the Blue Lagoon. However because it was a little windier than normal, the cruise schedule had to change. We instead cruised the opposite direction where we docked at a couple of places to go for a swim, snorkel, kayak & sunbathe.
The water in Paphos is cold! Seriously, I even got a foot cramp when I jumped in (haha). The boat cruise was relaxing, exactly what the Dr. prescribed! We literally spent the entire day out on the water. The cruise had an open bar & a buffet. This particular cruise trip was mostly families, so the music or environment wasn’t as pumping as I would’ve preferred, but we made the best of it & had a good time.
Notes: If you’re interested in booking a similar excursion read through different online reviews & see what people have to say. Our trip was fun, but it wasn’t a “party boat”. We weren’t allowed to take “shots”, the drinks were limited to cheaper spirits & the music was really dated. There were a couple of other boats near us that were playing better music & their entertainment looked more fun.
I’m still kind of convinced that we were possibly on the wrong boat (lol). I’m assuming though, that if you’re really looking for a bad-ass yacht party, then you’d be better off in Croatia for Yacht Week – (which is next on my to do list!).
Our evenings in Paphos were pretty laid back. We spent a lot of time watching a few of the Euro Cup games, having drinks & catching up with local friends.
Hanging out by the Paphos Port & Harbor was pretty cool too, but be wary of all your typical tourist-trapping shops trying to sell you souvenirs. Oh & be specially careful with the couple & their pet Iguana, who are charging $5 per photo of their pet. By the way, I’m pretty sure there’s something wrong with that Iguana, I kind of felt bad for it.
The remainder of the days we spent laying out all day on the beaches of Coral Bay & the pool. We also did a lot of walking through the different areas of Paphos. I even found the time to check out the local shopping center, in which I spent about 2.5 hours in, and didn’t manage to find one thing.
I’ve never really been to any European or Mediterranean beaches before so it was a nice experience for me. The beach was packed with people from all the world & everyone seemed to be in their own zone.
We paid about 5 euros for a couple of chairs, umbrella and table, great deal! The water was chilly, but it was easy to get use to specially after laying out in the sun all day.
Paphos –> Ayi Napa
The last couple of days of our trip we spent in Ayia Napa, which was a little less than 2 hours away from Paphos & costs us about 120 Euros via a really comfortable, door-to-door, Mercedes Benz taxi. Ayia Napa is located in the South East side of Cyprus & it’s well known for it’s beautiful beaches, resorts & nightlife.
Earlier I mentioned that Paphos reminded me of Cozumel; well Ayia Napa reminded me of Cancun. It had a much livelier vibe, younger crowd, better nightlife options & more activities like bungee jumping, cliff pumping, foam parties & beach parties.
Views to do die for:
Nissi Beach Resort was absolutely stuning: http://nissi-beach.com
Our rooms were Sea View rooms & the views were to die for. You could see the entire resort, the pool, the beautiful gardens, & the winning view of the turquoise blue waters of the bay. The rooms were decorated with shades of tans & blues to match the natural background outside your window.
When you walk onto the beachside there are plenty of options for you to camp out & catch some rays. We opted for the area closer to the “party” side because one of the beach bars was playing cool music & it was closer to all the water activities. We paid about 7 Euros for the umbrella, chair & table, and it also included a lock box that was attached to the umbrella pole.
This was a pretty cool idea, because we could stuff all our valuables away & enjoy ourselves out in the water without any worries. Also conveniently enough there are plenty of “Snack Bars” & changing rooms everywhere along the coast of Nissi Bay.
After the beach we headed straight to our resort pool for a few dips. On our way to the pool we ran into a cute litter of kittens, this was a game changer for me. I literally was trying to come up with a way to try and keep one of them to take back to Kuwait. They were so cute!
Once our bodies turned completely wrinkly from being in water for far too long, we headed back to our rooms to get ready for the evening festivities. By the way, did I mention how happy Champagne Sunsets make me? Especially with a room with stunning views like mine. It was pure bliss.
Night Life in Ayia Napa
A few friends had made comments about the nightlife in Ayia Napa, but I stayed open minded & looked forward to a fun night out. There. Are. So. Many. Bars. In. Ayia. Napa. – Seriously there’s an area in the city that is filled with all types of bars. A Flintstone bar, a Rock bar, an Irish Bar, an English Bar, a Night Club, a Crazy club & much more. At one point I was trying to take a Snap of all the madness around me & almost got ran over by a scooter, which wasn’t even suppose to be going through that area! It was pure madness, drunk people everywhere. All of them in their own zone, looking for the next best fun spot to spend their night at. Every place was offering specials, “3 Drinks for 3 Euros, ladies drink free, no entry fee” just about anything to try and get a crowd in.
After walking around & realizing that we were probably the oldest people in this place (haha), we decided to chill at one of the bars and just people watch. The bartender was shocked when I ordered a top-shelf spirit & gave him a tip. By the second time I went up he already knew what I wanted, he got another tip for that. By the third time, he made my drink extra special & gave me free shots of I don’t know what they were. I spent 20 euros on 3 drinks of top-shelf spirits & tips; coming from Miami & Dubai I thought this was a great deal. To be fair, I had a good time, the scene may not have been up to my standards of fun, but the experience was worth it. The party in Ayia Napa stayed out until about 5AM, we barely made it to 1AM, am I getting old, please say it isn’t so!
The following day I checked out a couple of shops near the resort because I wanted to get one of those fancy waterproof – ziplock bags for my phone; this was also my second attempt at trying to shop for myself. I found the waterproof case, but I was unsuccessful at shopping for anything else. The remainder of the day I spent lying out on our resorts beach.
I was so at peace with being so close to the water. The weather was perfect. The water was perfect. It was pure bliss & I wanted to stay forever. Once the sun started to set, we stopped by to say hello to my kittens (yes, my kittens lol), headed to the pool & back to the balcony where I attempted to have a sunset photo shoot & failed miserably (lol).
After realizing that the bar scene in Ayia Napa wasn’t really the scene we wanted to be a part of we planned a few different activities for our last night. We opted to have dinner at Quadro, which according to Trip Advisor, was rated the best Italian restaurant in Ayia Napa: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g262055-d1900087-Reviews-Quadro-Ayia_Napa_Famagusta_District.html
Quadro is located in the heart of Ayia Napa surrounded by different shops and bars. When we arrived they were pretty busy, but were able to accommodate us. I may be biased because I love Italian food, but this restaurant was right on the money with the reviews on TA. The service was good, the food was delicious, and the environment was cozy.
After dinner we walked aimlessly looking for a place to watch the Euro Cup game. We finally came up to a place called Jello Café: https://www.facebook.com/JelloCafeRestaurant/ – This place had a pretty cool outdoor concept and had a big screen set up for the game. It was pretty busy, but they managed to find a table for us in a good area, so we took it.
Everything was cool about this place, even the menu looked appetizing, but unfortunately the service was terrible and it was really irritating. I always check through the menu to see what type of drinks they have, this is just to educate myself so I know what to order for myself. I’m pretty easy to please, it’s either a glass of champagne, an old fashion or a vodka soda, nothing that requires too much preparation or knowledge.I asked the server for an Old Fashion and gave a brief description of the drink, she literally looked at me and said “the bar is too busy to make drinks that are not on the menu”. My facial expressions speak for themselves & I wasn’t going to let her ruin my mood on my last night in Ayia Napa, so I just ended up ordering a glass of Champagne & carried on with my night.
Reality finally set & it was time to head back to Kuwait. I woke up a little early so I could get some breakfast at the resort and do some last minute looking around & shopping. Our flight was schedule for a 2pm departure from Larnaca Intl Airport, which is located about 35 minutes from Ayia Napa. Our taxi costs us about 50 Euros to get to the airport, but the ride was comfortable & quick. The airport was really busy, so I’m glad we arrived with plenty of time so we didn’t have to feel rushed. After check-in and security we had about an hour to kill, so I ended up getting a 30 minute foot massage that was conveniently located near my gate – that was pure bliss!
Our travels back to Kuwait had me feeling a bit of nostalgia. I was sad to leave because I enjoyed being disconnected & relaxed, but it was also time to go back to my own bed & schedule.
Cyprus has always been on my bucket list of places to visit. I always heard about it’s beautiful beaches and friendly locals. I’m so glad I was able to escape for a relaxing & fun trip. Paphos has a really relaxed feel to it; it was the perfect place to escape to for a few days. Ayi Napa was definitely a new experience, & I enjoyed being able to have some “normal” fun, like go to a bar and watch a game live! (Keyword bar…). Cyprus is a beautiful country offering plenty of activities for all travelers alike. Don’t think about it! Just book & go!