Our Best of the Best #2: favorite places to stay and cities for good food

Deciding what has been our best in almost every category involved a lot of discussion with a few notable exceptions: one was “favorite places to stay” and another “cities for good food”. We knew exactly what those would be, no discussion required.

Our best place for cheap eats: Hoi An, Vietnam. We stayed in Hoi An for two weeks and ate very, very well. What a surprise! For the amazing low prices we paid, and the great food we dined on, we’ll always remember Hoi An as our favorite town for dining well – and best of all, on a budget.

We ordered at Baby Mustard and then watched them out in the farm field gathering the produce for our supper. How's that for fresh?

After we placed our order at Baby Mustard,  we watched a woman go out into the farm field to gather the produce for our supper. How’s that for fresh?

Our best city for mid-priced dining: When we went to Paris, we had high expectations. Same for Rome, Tokyo, and San Francisco… But our best so far is Lima, Peru. We read that Lima had many great restaurants and couldn’t wait to try a few. We stayed in the Miraflores district and walked a short distance to a highly rated place for our first meal in a city famous for good food. It turned out to be one of the worst of the trip! But after that, we discovered one gem after another, and right in our neighborhood.

We ate at Edo Sushi twice. The melding of Japanese and Peruvian cuisines is brilliant.

We ate at Edo Sushi Bar and then went back again. The melding of Japanese and Peruvian cuisines is brilliant.

We also ate at La Mar twice. The first time we enjoyed sitting at the seafood bar where we watched the finishing touches added to dishes before they were served – at the same time watching Euro Cup soccer on the TV monitor. Great food in a relaxed setting!

We also ate at La Mar twice. The first time we enjoyed sitting at the seafood bar where we watched the finishing touches added to dishes before they were served – at the same time watching Euro Cup soccer on the TV monitor. Great food in a relaxed setting!

We read that Lima has 3 restaurants in the top 50 restaurants in the WORLD. Maido ranks #13. When we discovered this, we emailed a request to Maido for a table the next week, knowing that it usually takes many weeks, if not months, to get a reservation. A few days later we got a call saying that if we could come on Monday at 1pm, they had an opening. Yes! And how was it? Superb!

 

Our best places to stay: La Paloma Lodge in Costa Rica and 2 lodges in Tanzania

For us, best places to stay have to be in great places to visit. Ten years ago (too many years ago to have good digital photos), we visited La Paloma Lodge on Drake Bay in the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica. Our 5-day stay was perfection and will always be the benchmark to judge all others. So far, nothing has come close.

The lodge could only be reached by small plane, which landed on a grass airstrip. Staff in a jeep met us for a brief rough ride through a stream before we reached the water’s edge. We boarded a small boat for the trip down the river to the La Paloma Lodge, perched on a hill over the Pacific Ocean. A true get away!   Days were spent with guides at Corcovado National Park or snorkeling in the Pacific. The food was healthy and wonderful and the staff pampered all their guests. Our stay could not have been better.

We spent an afternoon kayaking on the river at La Paloma Lodge in Costa Rica.

We spent an afternoon kayaking on the river at La Paloma Lodge in Costa Rica.

We usually stay in budget or moderately priced lodgings so were astounded with some of the lovely, luxurious, and amazing places we stayed on our Tanzania trip, arranged by Mark Thornton Safaris  in Tanzania.   The lodges were set in the most scenic of places, where we felt transported to another place and time.

We stayed at Maramboi Tented Lodge near the shore of Lake Manyara in this little cottage.

We stayed at Maramboi Tented Lodge near the shore of Lake Manyara, Ernest Hemingway’s favorite lake in Africa.

The view from the porch at Maramboi was the lake, but we kept a look out for all the wild animals roaming nearby. One, right outside the window, woke us from our nap.

The view from the porch at Maramboi was not only the lake, but all the wild animals roaming nearby.

Another lodge where we stayed in Tanzania, Lemala Tented Lodge, was inside the Ngorongoro Crater.  The crater is 2,000’ deep with an area of 100 sq mi. It’s like a virtual zoo for animals with about 25,000 large animals living there.

We stayed in a huge tent in this most amazing place. This tent is not like 2-person tent we use for camping in the US. Just look at our tent bathroom. This is tenting at it finest!

We stayed in a huge tent in this most amazing place. This tent is not like the 2-person tent we use for camping in the US. Just look at our tent bathroom. This is tenting at it most luxurious!

Let us know what your own “best of the best” are so it’s our turn to get inspired!

 

To be continued…with best destinations for food and places to stay. Our previous post covered…. best wildlife, beaches, and snorkeling.

 

 

November 2016

About simpletravelourway

Beth and Joe enjoy simple travel.
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4 Responses to Our Best of the Best #2: favorite places to stay and cities for good food

  1. Cliff Mail says:

    Love the tent. I think I’ll suggest that type of tent for our next camping adventure.

  2. Cliff Mail says:

    Our most memorable stay was in Hanoi. Apart from being a more genuine taste of Asia, we stayed in a small hotel (5 rooms) in the chaos of the old city. The rooms were great but the service was beyond anything we expected. We left our bags at the hotel for a two night trip on Halong Bay. When we return to collect our bags and head off to the railway station they showed us to a room so that we could shower and relax. They gave us food for the train trip, provided transport to the station and the porter cycled down and took our bags to the train berth. All at no cost.

    Best food was at another small inn in the village of Fontvielle, that we stayed at while cycling in Provence. The madame provided meals on a small terrace each evening, the food was magnificent and the cheese trolley at the end of the meal was legendary.

    Another memorable location was Santorini, our little cave hoie was ho hum but it sat on the edge of the Caldera away from the throngs that choked the island. It was a very specisl experience.

  3. It’s always good to have some recommendations for accommodation. In Australia, we call those kind of tents “glamping” – glamorous camping!

  4. plaidcamper says:

    A wonderful round up!
    A colleague is from Lima, and every break longer than a week, she heads to the airport and back to her home town – she loves Lima! Last summer, I think she returned to school, first day, straight from the airport. Her enthusiasm, and your food report has put Lima on our list of future travel.
    Favourite countries for good food? France, outside of Paris – you can find the same or better, for a fraction of the cost. Italy, particularly in the Marche region, and where even the airport offerings were excellent!

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