A day visit to Las cruces and El Paso
Continuing the journey from Shakespeare ghost town, we visited Las Cruces (“The Crosses”), New Mexico, and El Paso, Texas. El Paso is a border town and for foreigners, I would recommend carrying a US visa or green card as there are temporary CBP checkpoints set up in its vicinity.
Visiting Shakespeare Ghost town in Lordsburg New Mexico
Driving from Phoenix (Arizona) to El Paso (Texas), Lordsburg is a small town to stop over for a night. And here, we came across this hidden gem of a ghost town. It is only 7$ per person. The tour guide, a native of Ohio, who married the daughter of the owner, lives in this abandoned ghost town. He carries guns for the critters as there are tons of rattlesnakes around.
A day in Phoenix Arizona
We started with the Wrigley’s Mansion. The mansion of the famous Wrigley’s chewing gum. The self-guided tour is free. And the paid tour costs 17$. Then head to Roosevelt street, the downtown area of Phoenix. There are lots of eateries and art galleries here. I would highly recommend having lunch here.
A visit to Carlsbad Cavern
Carlsbad Caverns National Park is famous for the Carlsbad cavern. While Lava Beds National Monument is famous for its labyrinth of caves, Carlsbad is famous primarily for a single huge cave. There are several small caves around that require permits and specialized gear to visit.
I would highly recommend coming here early in the morning. You need to book a reservation in advance. The Carlsbad cave is huge. And while some people take the elevator, I recommend going down as well as up via the hike to have the fullest experience. It takes about 45 mins to hike up/down. And then there is a big room to explore at the bottom. There are ~50 marked stops to the bottom. Expect to spend about 3-4 hours in the cave.
5 days in Gorkhaland (West Bengal) and Sikkim
The northern part of Bengal known as Gorkhaland and Sikkim is the Nepali-speaking region of India. This part is known mostly for its mountainous beauty. If you are flying in, Bagdogra is the closest airport. The airside of this airport is congested, so, I would recommend not to check-in too early.
Where to go on your first Caribbean trip
If you are planning your first trip to the Caribbean and you want to decide where to go to then this post is right for you.
Dominican Republic in 5 days
The Dominican Republic is probably the most touristy Spanish-speaking Caribbean island. In my experience, it can be aptly called the tout capital of the Caribbean. We went there in the shadows of COVID-19.
- The island has pretty good intra-city and inter-city public transport.
- The local currency DOP, Dominican Peso, is about 1/60th of the US dollar.
Cave Exploration at Lava Beds National Monument
There are several caves at Lava Beds National Monument of varying levels of challenges. I would recommend starting with a few easy ones first before taking it to a higher level. The caves do get really shallow at times, sometimes, less than a foot in height, so, don’t go in if you get claustrophobic.
Gears to carry
- Helmet – even a bike helmet would work
- Knee Pads
- Good hiking boots
- A small chart summarizing which caves to do
- Detailed report with maps of the caves
When can you count on public transport while traveling?
I love taking public transport while traveling. One, not only, gets a chance to see the lifestyles of the locals but also becomes more familiar with the new area. So, when can one count on public transport while traveling? Peru and Ecuador had great public transport, both short and long-distance. Dominica had mediocre, Aruba had just one bus going around the island’s outer road. Hawai’i has mediocre. The Dominican Republic has great public transport for both short and long-distance. So, why is this the case?
Here’s my general rule of thumb: