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The world is my oyster

38 Articles in this blog

For a larger than life attitude to life, here I blog about all things daring, adventurous and unique. I am naturally drawn to experiencing life to the fullest everywhere I go, absorbing as much as I can from other cultures and blending into local traditions and customs.

From donning a carnival costume and joining tropical carnival marches to motorbiking off the beaten path in Vietnam or searching for pirate treasures in the Caribbean, I take every opportunity to soak up as much as I can from any destination I visit.

So, if you're interested in learning about my adventures and rare finds, follow my blog and draw some inspiration from my exciting experiences during my many travels around the globe. You'll find that wherever I go, there's no time for boredom in my itinerary.

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Claire Boobbyer's Been There Done That

  • Learning to become a cigar roller in Pinar del Rio
  • Motorbiking off the beaten track in Ha Giang province in northern Vietnam
  • Slow boating all the way from northern Laos down the Nam Ou river to Luang Prabang
  • Spending Holy Week with Maya idol Maximon in the town of Santiago Atitlan in Guatemala
  • Fishing for the once-in-a-waning-moon appearance of the 'teti' fish in Baracoa with local fishermen
  • Searching for treasure off the pirate coast of the Isle of Youth - famous for sheltering plundering buccaneers

Recent articles in The world is my oyster

  • 18 Jun 2018
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  • Travel Advice
  • Claire Boobbyer
Exciting News

Gibara - a celebration of cinema, caves, music and cuisine

The biggest low-budget cinema festival in Cuba takes hold of a small, unassuming eastern town next month, bringing about an entourage of local and international celebrities (including Benicio del Toro). Small in size but big in charm and character, it is here that a renowned and acclaimed Cuban film director founded the Gibara Film Festival (initially named Festival del Cine Pobre de Gibara) which put the city of Gibara on the map for its annual celebration of the independent film industry.
  • 04 Jun 2018
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  • Travel Story
  • Claire Boobbyer
There is another world out there

Digging deep - taking a South Africa township tour with Uthando

I'd read about township tours - visiting the sprawling settlements which inch up to the edges of South Africa's big cities - but I was interested in more than a voyeuristic look at South Africa's great economic divide. Uthando, 2017 winners of the African Responsible Tourism Awards for Best Tour Operator for Impact in Urban Areas, works with 41 social, agricultural, and cultural projects in a number of Cape Town townships helping create and celebrate different lives for the millions of South Africans who live in Khayelitsha, Gugulethu, and other townships.
  • 04 May 2018
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  • Claire Boobbyer
The finer things in life

Zeitz MOCAA - Cape Town's newest, glossiest attraction

Lovers of contemporary art are in for a real treat with Cape Town's brand new Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa - a beautiful, sleek, avant-garde space exhibiting the freshest, most thought-provoking pieces by the region's modern artists. Be inspired by local talent as your eyes dart from one installation to the next - from animal masks to extraordinary sculptures, from giant film screenings to colour-popping paintings - it's a visual dream that doesn't leave anyone indifferent.
  • 10 Apr 2018
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  • Claire Boobbyer
Back to nature

My Kiff Kombi Urban Safari in Cape Town

An urban safari I won't forget in a hurry - join me on my journey along Cape Town on a comfortable and colourful 90s Volkswagen Kombi, courtesy of Kiff Kombi Tours, a refreshingly new and cool company offering all-encompassing tours for first-time visitors with stops at the most photogenic stops. A memorable ride through an exceptionally vibrant town that I will fondly remember for years to come. Keep reading below to find out what made the journey so very special.
  • 06 Mar 2018
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  • Claire Boobbyer
Walking around

Exploring Cape Town's Victoria and Alfred Waterfront

What struck me most about my recent visit to South Africa’s Cape Town was all there is to see and do around the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront - from lovely al fresco cafes and ice cream stalls to shops, contemporary museums, vintage buildings, old castles, boutique hotels and an amazing indoor food market. And that goes without mentioning the aquarium! Keep reading to find out what I loved about Cape Town and what I plan to go back and see.
  • 29 Jan 2018
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  • Claire Boobbyer
Back to nature

The floral kingdom of Kirstenbosch - Cape Town's blooming botanical gardens

After venturing into one of the world's very few (and first) botanical gardens to be granted the prestigious title of UNESCO World Heritage Site, I found many a wildlife wonder and not only of the verdant kind! Read my guide on how to make the most of a visit to Cape Town's Kirstenbosch gardens with tops tips like why you should make use of one of the free daily guided tours and take plenty of refreshment with you as you meander through the blossoming paths under a radiant sunshine.
  • 26 Dec 2017
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  • Claire Boobbyer
Amazing cities

Santiago de Cuba - what's new in Cuba's second city

Famous for its hypnotising, percussive music, and its unique take on Cuban history, the city of Santiago in Cuba has had a makeover. Founded by Spanish colonists in 1515, who laid a tangle of narrow streets, climbing up from the Bay of Santiago, the city pulled out all the stops for its 500th anniversary in 2015, and the sprucing up has made this city - 540 miles east of Havana - a much more attractive and lively place to visit. And, since late last year it has a new ‘site' for visitors - the tomb of Fidel Castro - which authorities acknowledge has driven tourist traffic to the city.
  • 06 Dec 2017
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  • Claire Boobbyer
Amazing cities

Exploring the secrets of Matanzas

Not many know it but Matanzas once was one of Cuba's most avant-garde and rich regions. It's the birthplace of Cuban rumba as we know it, with a French accent in some areas, American in others and an architecture that whilst somewhat neglected is worthy of admiration. Here I give you the main reasons why you mustn't overlook this Cuban city while on your way to Varadero's dreamy beaches. Matanzas is experiencing a revival, now is the time to get to know it.
  • 23 Nov 2017
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  • Claire Boobbyer
A walk in the past

Heading to the Cuban farm where Fidel Castro was born

Few travellers have heard about the farm where Cuba's Revolution leaders Fidel and Raul Castro were born. It's a remote plot close to the Sierra Cristal national park in the east of the island, 500 miles from Havana, and doesn't get a huge amount of press. But, to understand the Castro brothers who have ruled Cuba for nearly 60 years, a visit to their birthplace - now a museum - in eastern Cuba offers an up close look at the lives of this secretive family. As the first anniversary of Fidel Castro's death approaches, I went to visit the brothers' birthplace in Biran, bumping along in a sidecar attached to a 1963 Ural motorbike.
  • 21 Oct 2017
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  • Claire Boobbyer
A walk in the past

Following in the footsteps of Che Guevara in Cuba

To mark the 50th anniversary of the death of revolutionary leader Che Guevara, we take you back in time through some of his life's most defining moments in Cuba; the island he conquered alongside the now diseased Cuban commander-in-chief Fidel Castro. In fact, you'll see how meeting the Cuban rebel forever changed the course of his life and led him to the Cuban places you'll read all about on this post. Keep scrolling down to follow in Che's Cuban footsteps.
  • 27 Sep 2017
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  • Claire Boobbyer
Practical advice

New Cuban and European luxury in the heart of the Cuban capital

As exquisitely elegant as its polished exterior façade, the interiors of Havana's newest luxury boutique hotel are as impressive as can be expected of the Kempinski brand. The first of its kind not only in Cuba but in all of the Americas; the new Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski La Habana is the city's most refined lodging option for discerning guests. I got to sample its sophisticated décor and stylish facilities during a recent stay, which confirmed my suspicion that this is Havana's chicest hotel yet.
  • 24 Aug 2017
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  • Claire Boobbyer
Practical advice

Cocktails and cabanas on the beach in Cuba at new seaside resort

As we lolled about in the shallow water looking out on to a horizon of infinite blue, it was hard to get up and go. There was nothing pressing, really, just more sunbathing, drinking cocktails, and unwinding at Cuba's most famous beach spot.
  • 30 Aug 2016
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  • Claire Boobbyer
There is another world out there

Hopping aboard the Hershey train in Cuba!

One of the least explored off the beaten track experiences in western Cuba, riding the Hershey train all the way from Havana to Matanzas, was sitting atop my bucket list of Cuban adventures. Here I unveil the secrets to venturing through this part of the island like locals do, with no other tourist in sight. Read on to find out more about my captivating three-hour Hershey train ride, the places to stop at and wander around, the must-do attractions worthy of getting off to see, and what lies at the end of the journey. This time I did it right and proper, I rode the whole 52 miles of track to Matanzas and back, discovering a rare, raw side of Cuba few are privileged to get to know upclose and personal.
  • 05 Aug 2016
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  • Claire Boobbyer
Looking for inspiration

My long weekend in Luang Prabang - the golden city of Laos

Join me on my discovery of former Laos capital, Luang Prabang and learn all about its dazzling, captivating attractions; from aesthetically pleasing French colonial buildings to awe-inspiring Buddhist temples and a growing variety of coffee shops, restaurants and bars. To celebrate its 21th anniversary of being declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, I ventured into this small and glistening South-East Asian jewel. Read on to see what I found out about it here.
  • 04 Jun 2016
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  • Claire Boobbyer
There is another world out there

From party town to adventure capital: Vang Vieng in Laos

Discover how Van Vieng transformed and evolved throughout the years to leave its past as potentially dangerous party town to glorified adventure capital with a wealth of attractions for serious travellers in search of raw experiences. Follow me on my journey along this incredible part of Laos, tasting authentic cuisine from ingredients grown in an organic farm, enjoying insightful cooking classes, tubing down the Nam Song River and diving into the pools of the Nam Theam Waterfall. A truly memorable experience.
  • 24 Mar 2016
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  • Claire Boobbyer
There is another world out there

The Burial of Pachencho in Cuba

Watching the burial of a live man in Cuba is one of the most bizarre events that I have ever seen. Every year on February 5th, the townsfolk of Santiago de las Vegas - just south of Havana - come together to re-enact this peculiar event played out with local characters who play the part of the corpse, the widow and the priest.
  • 29 Sep 2015
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  • Claire Boobbyer
Unforgettable experiences

A guide to Las Parrandas de Remedios

Read my insider's guide to the legendary festivities of Las Parrandas de Remedios, a massive street party that's been celebrated in the little traditional town of Remedios for centuries (it's Cuba's oldest) and which is full of fascinating and quirky aspects. A spectacle not to miss, this personal guide gives you an insight into how best to enjoy it all as a visiting tourist and become part of the action.
  • 14 Apr 2015
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  • Claire Boobbyer
Walking around

A walk around Remedios on its 500th anniversary

One of Cuba's most wondrous little towns, big in history and charm but quaint in size; Remedious is turning half-a-millennium-old this year. To mark the occasion, I'm taking the time to write about its rich past, its pirate legends and the wealth of colonial beauty to be admired on its streets as well as its famous festivals and carnivals. Read on to find out more about magical Remedios and all its hidden treasures.
  • 23 Oct 2014
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  • Claire Boobbyer
Back to nature

Cruising Cuba's Caribbean coast in style

Cuba, the dreamy isle that has captured the hearts of so many, mine included, is now available to cruisers aboard StarClippers' Cuba cruise, on their StarFlyer ship; ensuring you make the journey in style. Throughout the sailing adventure you'll be stopping off at amazing UNESCO World Heritage Sites such as Trinidad, the beautiful archipelago of Los Canarreos and even a short hop to the Cayman Islands for a different Caribbean experience altogether. A memorable trip for all the right reasons.
  • 07 Oct 2014
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  • Claire Boobbyer
Back to nature

Monteverde, nature and adventure in Costa Rica

Learn about what makes the Arenal Volcano in Costa Rica so special with my handy guide along this amazing volcanic peak and what you can see and do at the beautiful Arenal National Park and its spectacular lake. From amazing forest trails to vigorous climbing feats and fantastic wildlife spotting opportunities, this is an experience to remember and make the most of during a holiday in Costa Rica.
  • 26 Aug 2014
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  • Claire Boobbyer
Back to nature

Arenal Volcano and its national park

Join me on my incredible hike to Costa Rica's amazing Arenal Volcano, a national park in its own right and one of the most spectacular sights you're likely to ever come across in your lifetime.
  • 31 Jul 2014
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  • Claire Boobbyer
Walking around

A walk through Trinidad - the jewel in Cuba's Spanish colonial crown

Walk along Cuba's quirkiest, best preserved 19th century town of Trinidad and get to know each nook and cranny of this wondrous little city by following in my footsteps. This way, next time you visit you can ensure you don't miss a thing, leave no stone unturned and no little wonder unexplored. From the best places to drink traditional "canchanchara" to the best spots to join in with the locals, learn a dance step or two, or dine in style at a former 19th century mansion, you'll find it all here; I've done it all and seen it all in magic Trinidad.
  • 30 May 2014
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  • Claire Boobbyer
Walking around

Havana on foot - Paseo del Prado

Follow me on my journey along Havana's Paseo del Prado, a long and iconic promenade, flanked on each side by buildings of historic importance, most of them decaying, some rescued from oblivion and transformed into cafes and restaurants on the lower grounds. From theatres, schools and hotels to aged art deco marvels, this is a magnificent promenade and landmark that no one should miss if they really want to immerse in the city's culture.
  • 21 Apr 2014
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  • Claire Boobbyer
Walking around

Havana on foot - La Rampa and around

Surrounded by cinemas, lively bars, the city's most famous ice cream parlour and a host of historic hotels, La Rampa is the most concurred area in the Vedado district and with good reason. Ultimately leading to the sea and the Malecon promenade, read on to find out just what makes this zone so special to city dwellers.
  • 18 Mar 2014
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  • Claire Boobbyer
Walking around

Havana on foot - The Malecon

Join me on my walk along Havana's Malecon promenade for a guide on all the stops to make and the sights not to miss if you venture out on foot on this part of the city. From the places most frequented by youngsters, to the nicest restaurants, bars, cafes and hotels.
  • 03 Mar 2014
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  • Claire Boobbyer
Walking around

Havana on foot - Old Havana's Plazas

If there's one way that Old Havana should be seen and experienced is on foot, and rightly so as many streets here have pedestrian access only and many others will soon be. But this time I want you to walk with me along Old Havana's squares and discover the enchanting piece of history behind each and everyone one of them. So, read on and join me on this plaza tour of Havana, you wont' regret it and soon will want to be there yourself.
  • 10 Feb 2014
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  • Claire Boobbyer
Walking around

Havana on foot - Quinta Avenida

Join me on my walk along Havana's leafy Quinta Avenida and admire the collection of lovely homes and interesting buildings found on either side of this long avenue. Follow my footsteps and learn about all the sights to be seen, the history to be learnt and the beauty to be absorbed through my personal guide.
  • 17 Jan 2014
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  • Claire Boobbyer
Walking around

Havana on foot - Avenida del Puerto

Join me on my walk along one of Havana's longest and most famous avenues, lined by interesting colonial and historical buildings as well as museums. It is located in the oldest part of the city and as such it's full of history and old world charm. If you happen to be on Havana, a long and leisurely promenade along this avenue will give you a rare insight into the city's heritage and culture.
  • 26 Nov 2013
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  • Claire Boobbyer
Back to nature

Coffee and crafts tour, Costa Rica

Join me on my trip to Costa Rica and learn from my fascinating tour, taking in the Doka Estate Coffee Plantation and seeing the largest oxcart in the world! Read my detailed guide along this amazing plantation and follow the coffee trail, right from where the beans are planted to when they are roasted and poured into a mug. Find out about this region's tradition for crafting the most colourful and intricate oxcarts - a real must-see!
  • 06 Oct 2013
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  • Claire Boobbyer
The finer things in life

Introducing all-inclusive holidays in Cuba

Learn about Cuba's best all inclusive resorts, where you can make the most of the everlasting sunshine, the warm crystalline waters and, of course, the long list of all-included facilities. From top of the range, five-star resorts to smaller, cheap and cheerful hotels, Cuba has a varied array of all inclusives to suit every budget and every travelling party.
  • 05 Oct 2013
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  • Claire Boobbyer
All you need to know

Introducing family holidays in Cuba

If you plan to bring the family along in your next trip to Cuba, read our guide to the best places to take them to, the best resorts catering for little ones, the best sites for curious little minds and the best natural reserves for little explores. In Cuba there are plenty of educational attractions for parents and children as well as fun recreation under the sun for everyone in the family. Read all about it in our family holiday guide to Cuba.
  • 30 Sep 2013
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  • Claire Boobbyer
Back to nature

Introducing Birdwatching in Cuba

If you're an avid birdwatcher and plan to travel to Cuba in the pursuit of catching sight of some its rare endemic species, read our guide to the best places in the Caribbean island for spotting the most beautiful of these flying creatures. From the largest swampland in the West Indies to beautiful mangroves, virginal keys and lush mountain regions, Cuba has a wealth of birdwatching sanctuaries.
  • 27 Sep 2013
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  • Claire Boobbyer
Back to nature

Taking the Discover Costa Rica Tour

If you want to explore Costa Rica to the fullest and really soak up all its natural and cultural riches then there's only one way to do it - by taking the Discover Costa Rica Tour. In this post you can read about my personal experience discovering the many Costa Rican wonders, trekking through its lush countryside, immersing in its colourful culture, zip-lining along its treetops on the rainforest and bathing in its warm beaches.
  • 25 Sep 2013
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  • Claire Boobbyer
Back to nature

Beaches, wildlife and adventure in Guanacaste

Join me on my wild Costa Rican adventure tour through the lush Guanacaste region. Learn about the many spectacular natural wonders I witnessed, the giant waves of the Pacific beaches lapping the golden shore, the exciting nature tours I went on, and the guided birdwatching walks I enjoyed. Guanacaste is sure a place to be experienced with all the senses!