Top 10: Bohemian Escapes

There's an old saying; it goes "if we were meant to stay in one place, we'd have roots instead of feet." This particular assertion is something that's always kind of stuck with me since my childhood. Ever since I was old enough to walk, I've had this sort of unquenchable wanderlust. It's somewhat paradoxical, but I've always felt like nowhere was home, yet everywhere was home.

Let's be honest, staying in one place is just so passéI know I'm not the only one who feels this way. If you find yourself relating to me on this, even ever-so-slightly, this article is for you. Over the course of the next few minutes, I'd like you to join me, as we explore my ten favorite Bohemian getaways. We'll talk about what makes these places wonderful, what to do, where to stay, and where to get a great meal while you're there. Whether you're planning your own escape, or just daydreaming about one, I hope you'll enjoy this list I've compiled for you. Let's get started...

 

10) Ibiza, Spain

ibiza spain

 

How could we start this list off with anyplace other than Ibiza? Once a modest farming community, now known as one of Europe's most popular nightlife destinations, Ibiza is quite possibly the original Bohemian island. Despite it's reputation, the alluring locale has much more to offer than just all-night partying. Spend some time in Santa Gertrudis, exploring the obscure shops and artisan eateries, then make way to Playa de Es Canar to catch the sunset. 

 

Hotel Cas Gasi

 

Where to stay: If you prefer a more folksy lodging experience, check out Hotel Cas Gasi between Santa Gertrudis and San Rafael. Away from the never-ending party, Hotel Cas Gasi is traditional Ibiza style villa. Family owned and operated, this hidden gem has its own vegetable garden on location, as well as a brood of hens that happily provide fresh eggs for the guests each morning. The family that owns Hotel Cas Gasi take great pride in what they do, and they most certainly won't let you down. -Rates start at $351/night.

Where to eat: If you don't mind being a bit touristy, I highly suggest going on an Ibiza Food Tour. You'll be welcomed to the tour with coffee and dessert, then you'll spend a few hours on foot sampling some of the island's premier offerings. 

 

 

9) Gili Islands, Indonesia

gili trawangan

 

Right off the coast of Lombok, we have Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, and Gili Air, all wonderfully distinct in their own ways. This trio of islands is considered to be a backpacker's paradise with a mix of contemporary amenities and a bit of a retro-Boho feel. Many of the hotels are updated bungalows and the sound of reggae music follows you throughout most of the enticing eateries. Furthest away from shore is Gili Trawangan, the party epicenter of the trio. It is there that you will find most of the restaurants and tourist activities. The heart of the islands, Gili Meno, offers a nice opportunity to relax in an undisturbed environment. Closest to Lombok is Gili Air, where you'll find a very tight-knit community of locals, as well as plenty of westerners who have chosen to settle there. 

 

Pearl of Trawangan

 

Where to stay: There's not much that's more relaxing than the beachside huts at Pearl of Trawangan. There's spectacular food, breathtaking views of the beach, marvelous staff, and not to mention, Pearl has a tiled in-ground swimming pool that will truly awaken your inner child. Another huge selling point of this hotel is the selection of mixed drinks that are available at the pool-side. While not exactly considered "budget drinks," the resort is certain to only use safe alcohol, which isn't something that you'll find everywhere on the islands. Many of the more budget friendly locations serve beverages made with methanol (cheaply and poorly made alcohol) that can make you sick or worse. Be aware of this if you're planning on imbibing. -Rates start at $120/night.

Where to eat: If you do choose to stay at Pearl, be sure to try their on-site restaurant, Pearl Beach Lounge for some of the best pad thai on the island. Another crowd favorite is Casa Vintage Beach, where the staff truly make you feel as though you're family. After a delicious dish of seafood curry, be sure to stick around to be serenaded by the guitar-wielding servers. There's a sign at the entrance says "Welcome home brother and sister," and you really will feel at home. You always know it's been a worthwhile experience when leaving is the hardest part.

 

8) Kathmandu, Nepal

kathmandu

 

Where do we even begin? Kathmandu has been a hippie-hub ever since Nepal opened its borders to foreigners in the 1950's. Trust me when I tell you, unless you've been there, you'll never see anything like it. Only in Kathmandu will you find Journey cover bands singing in Nepalese English, or Mexican restaurants that specialize in curry dishes. If you're looking for a romantic getaway, be sure to spend time at Garden of Dreams, a quiet oasis in the heart of the city. Our favorite place in the city is Sankhu Village, where you'll get the real Kathmandu experience. Unfortunately, due to the earthquakes, the village is currently in a state of disrepair. Things are getting better, and the locals are incredibly resilient through everything, so be sure to visit the village and spend some money locally. 

 

Dwarika's Hotel Poolside

 

Where to stay: A tranquil sanctuary in the bustling epicenter of the city, Dwarika's Hotel is a not-so-hidden gem. With their unparalleled quality of service, stunning architecture, and spacious rooms, the hotel rivals some of the best boutique hotels in the world. -Rates start at $268/night.

Where to eat: The general consensus seems to be that Hello Kitty Restaurant is the best place to get food in Kathmandu, outside of some of the more upscale fine dining establishments. You absolutely have to try the momos pakhodas, which'll set you back about 200rp (about $3) for a plate. If you're looking for something a bit more upscale, head back to the hotel. The finest dining in Kathmandu is right inside Dwarika's Hotel.

 

7)  Tulum, Mexico

Tulum

 

One of the last cities to be build by the Mayans, Tulum is nestled into the eastern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. Tulum is the Yucutan Mayan word for wall, and the town got its name because it used to be encompassed by a defensive wall. Well preserved ruins are abundant, so be prepared to explore while you're there. If you're someone who likes to venture into the unknown, be sure to visit the Temple of Doom. You won't find any official entrance there, and it's slightly less known than the other attractions that Tulum has to offer, but it's well worth the trip. Just ask a local for directions, or I guess you could probably just pull it up on your phone, seeing as this is 2017 and all.

 

temple of doom

 

Where to stay: Tulum offers a plethora of incredible hotels, but there's one that really stands out from the rest. In a league entirely its own, Suenos is the place to be. In an effort to keep things natural, they don't have a driveway to the resort, and the courtyard is entirely composed of pristine, soft, white sand. Regardless of where you are at Suenos, you're always just a few feet away from a body of water. The pool is nice, but the beach is better. Be sure to get a room facing the coast so you can watch the most remarkable sunrise of your life in the morning. -Rates start at $290/night.

Where to eat: Suenos has an on-site restaurant that is exclusive to guests of the hotel, which eliminates a lot of the more negative aspects of dining in Tulum. Some other excellent choices are Taqueria La Eufemia for the best tacos in Tulum, and Unico for some really amazing seafood.

 

6) Goa, India

goa

 

There are so many unforgettable places in India, and Goa is one of the most remarkable of all. The saying "big things come in small packages" really rings true in reference to Goa, considering the fact that it's the smallest state in all of India. Visit the pristine beaches, see the classic architecture, and eat as much Goan curry as you possibly can. A word of advice, however...try to look for restaurants off the beaten path. The more well known places can get a bit pricey, and we all know that cost isn't always the best indicator of quality. Always be sure to dress conservatively while visiting religious places, and take your shoes off before entering any Hindu temples.

 

goa spa

 

Where to stay: Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the city, close to the beaches, Novotel Goa Resort & Spa is the perfect little home away from home. Upon arrival, you'll be welcomed with a necklace made of shells, and your bags will be taken to your room by an attendant. After checking in, take a dip in the pool and have a drink at the sunken bar. Rates start at $90/night.

Where to eat: Goa is famous for its unique seafood curry, which is plentiful and well made almost everywhere. If you're looking for a nice goan vindaloo or some fresh chicken tikka, stop by Fatima's Corner for lunch. 

 

5) Dali, China

dali1

 

Rich with antiquity, Dali is a pleasant oasis in the southwestern province of Yunnan. Rich with alluring hippie-esque cafes, with dew-shrouded mountains in the backdrop, it's a true Bohemian delight. Take a boat out on pristine Erhai Lake or have a stroll through Shaxi Ancient Town. Spend some time at a teahouse. Buy a round for your friends, and you'll be welcome to come back and sample as much free tea as you'd like. Just be sure to make a purchase every once in a while, and you'll be taken care of as though you were family. Your trip to Dali is certain to be unforgettable. Here's a small piece of advice for you: if you've booked a room in advance, or have a specific one in mind, be sure to have the hotel arrange for an airport pickup. There are no buses at the airport, and the cabbies will rarely take you to the right hotel, as they're paid commission by certain hotels to bring tourists in. 

 

Dali Palace Hotel

 

Where to stay: Dali has a myriad of inexpensive hotels, but there is one that really stands out from the rest. Rightfully named Dali Palace Hotel, guests are certain to be treated like royalty. Situated inside Old Town, this hotel has a vintage facade with modern amenities, and the rates are very affordable. -Rates start at $59/night.

Where to eat: Tucked away in an alley off the beaten path rests a small Korean eatery very simply named "No. 3 Korean." All dishes served at No. 3 Korean are freshly made to order, and artfully crafted using locally sourced ingredients. One of very few authentic Korean restaurants in Dali, it's well worth a visit. 

 

4) Sucre, Bolivia

Sucre, Bolivia

 

Also known as "La Ciudad Blanca," or "the white city," a trip to Sucre almost feels like a journey back in time. Once a getaway for the wealthy silver miners of nearby Potosi, Sucre has always catered to the wealthy. Despite the history, it's not all that expensive to visit. Whether you're a paleontology buff or not, you absolutely have to visit Cal Orcko Parque Cretacico, the collection of dinosaur footprints (yes, real dinosaur footprints). You can take a ride there for just a few dollars, and you can secure permission to take photos for just a few more. If you're in the mood to learn, why not try a Spanish in Sucre tour, where you'll be given a Spanish lesson during a walking tour through the city center. Sucre is a destination for the curious, as it's rich with history and full of residents that are eager to educate others. 

 

El Hostal de Su Merced

 

Where to stay: One of the most wonderful things about Sucre is that it's not at all difficult to find five star lodging for under $100 a night. If that sounds like something you'd be interested in, you may just fall in love with Hotel de Su Merced. A colonial style building, built around a centralized atrium, with rooms starting at just $65/night.

Where to eat: Abi's Cafe is a must-try. A well managed establishment with a warm and inviting owner, Abi's has a wide selection of food and dessert to accommodate most dietary preferences. One visit probably won't be enough.  

 

3) Huacachina, Peru

Huacachina

 

A collection of restaurants and resorts, situated around a wonderful blue-green lagoon in the middle of the desert, lies Huacachina. This literal oasis is relatively small and can be walked in its entirety within just a few minutes. Surrounded by sand dunes, the Huacachina sunset is quite possibly the most mesmerizing sunset you'll ever have the privilege of seeing. Take a trek to the summit of a dune and simply admire your surroundings, but be sure to pack water. Speaking of water, the lagoon is wonderful for boat trips, but you may want to think twice about swimming. Folklore states that there is a man-hungry mermaid in the lagoon who claims one victim a year, and we would hate for it to be you. I suppose that means that you're safe if you're a woman, however the water is fairly unclean, so if you must swim, you may want to do it at your hotel. 

 

Banana's Adventure, Huacachina

 

Where to stay: Although this may be somewhat unconventional sounding for some, there is a wonderful hostel in Huacachina called Banana's Adventure, where you will have the time of your life (no, this isn't a commercial for Sandals). Included in your stay, you'll receive complimentary sand board rentals as well as dune buggy rides. Banana's has communal showers and restrooms, and you can choose to stay in a room with others, or by yourself. The guests are usually on the younger, more adventurous side, and are incredibly respectful of your right to a peaceful stay. Rates start at $53/night.

Where to eat: Excuse my French....err, Spanish, but you absolutely have to stop by Huacafuckingchina. Restaurant by day, club by evening, and always a great place to grab a bite. The servers are always in a great mood, which is probably because the owner totally radiates positivity and is such a blast to be around. Between the excellent service, comfortable environment, and great food, Huacafuckingchina gets five stars in our book.

 

2) Pisac, Peru

Pisac Market

 

Often overlooked by folks touring ancient ruins, Pisac is a lesser-known hotspot for Bohemian culture. The main plaza is abundant with stalls overflowing with handmade artisan crafts, local produce, and homemade Peruvian food. This is a good area to get a feel for the local culture, and inevitably spend more money than you probably should. If you want a more authentic experience, and I know you do, you need to look beyond the plaza. Pisac is full of hidden gems. If you're looking for a meal on a budget, head to the food market where you can get a full three course meal for as little as .5 Sol. The true draw of Pisac are the ruins, which definitely rival some of the bigger-name ruins in South America. Pisac is a destination for all sorts of eclectic folks, who you can mingle with almost anywhere you go. If you're in need of spiritual cleansing, there are plenty of Ayhuasca ceremonies available. Just please ask around a bit to be sure you're in good hands prior to engaging in one of them.

 

Dome House

 

Where to stay: Unlike most of the other lodgings we've explored so far, Pisac has something very unique to offer, and it may seal the deal for you. Roughly 7km outside of Pisac on the Apu Pachatusan hillside, you'll find a dome-shaped bungalow called Dome House in the Sacred Valley. It will be necessary to book in advance, but is well worth the added effort. Dome House has a full kitchen, restroom, bedroom, and a fairly large living room complete with a fireplace. The property includes over 5,000 square miles of mountain land to explore, and is a great place to partake in the ceremonies we discussed just a few seconds ago. Rates starting at $158/minimum two nights.

Where to eat: Exploring mountaintop ruins has the potential to build quite an appetite. Luckily, Pisac is home to a plethora of amazing dining options. A local favorite, Mullu seems to be the general go-to for a warm, fresh meal. Serving a wide variety of unique items, one can choose from an alpaca burger, asian curry, and just about everything else in between. It's a bit on the pricey side, but trust me, you won't regret it. 

 

1) Valparaíso, Chile

Valparaiso

 

A large port city just two hours from Santiago, Valparaiso is about as Bohemian as they come. Lined with colorful dwellings, and home to an ever-growing group of street-artists, the city is a giant dynamic mural. The city was recently declared a World Heritage Site for its unique architecture, and it's the perfect place to visit if you're looking for a good balance between engaging in tourist activities and getting a feel for the daily life of the locals. The residents are working-class folks who take great pride in their city, with good reason. Many of the homes are made from re-purposed sea-faring equipment. Spend time engaging with the locals, visiting their shops, and eating at their restaurants. Valparaiso is a getaway for the type of person who prefers to spend their time expanding their horizons.

 

Grand Hotel Gervasoni

 

Where to stay: The city seems to have more hostels than hotels, which is not abnormal for a tourist destination in South America. If you prefer a more private stay, Gran Hotel Gervasoni is worth a shot. The antiquated home-turned-hotel can be somewhat difficult to find at first, but you won't be let down whatsoever. Gran Hotel remains consistent with the overall feel of Valparaiso. Rustic, working class, and rich with history. You won't find a bed more comfortable in all of Chile, and the views of the harbor are to die for. Rates start at $94/night.

Where to eat:  Valparaiso is home of the Chorillana. For those who aren't privy to Chorillana yet, it's a pile of french fries topped with fried onions, fried eggs, slices of beef, and sometimes sausage, depending on where you get it. The best Chorillana in the city lives in a little hole-in-the-wall called El Pimenton. The portions are huge, so bring a friend or two!

 

What's your favorite Bohemian getaway? Leave us a comment and let us know!

 

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