Experiencing Luxury: Our Unforgettable Time at Ritz-Carlton, Santa Barbara by Richard Uzelac

moonlight view in ritz carlton santa barbara by richard uzelac

Imagine a picturesque getaway to the Ritz-Carlton, Santa Barbara, California, with my dear wife, Alexandria. The anticipation and excitement were palpable as we embarked on this luxurious adventure. The thought of spending quality time with family in such a breathtaking location while building our business was truly heartwarming.

Upon arrival, we were immediately captivated by the grandeur of the Ritz-Carlton. The ambiance exuded elegance and sophistication, setting the stage for an unforgettable experience. As we explored the resort, one thing became evident – the impeccable service. From the moment we stepped foot on the property, we were greeted with warmth and hospitality, making us feel right at home.

Here are its amenities.

The Ritz-Carlton Santa Barbara offers superb amenities for a relaxing luxury vacation, including:

  • Poolside bar with skilled bartenders serving up delightful drinks
  • Private beach perfect for romantic strolls and quiet contemplation
  • World-class spa with indulgent treatments like:
    • Massages
    • Facials
    • Body wraps
  • State-of-the-art fitness center
  • Luxury retail shop onsite

With stunning ocean views and sophisticated yet comfortable spaces, this resort’s amenities provide the ultimate grandeur.


The Ritz-Carlton Santa Barbara offers delectable dining with culinary options to suit every palate:

  • Elegant oceanfront restaurant featuring fresh local ingredients and seasonal menus
  • Relaxed poolside cafe with delightful California cuisine and cocktails
  • Sophisticated lobby lounge perfect for afternoon tea or pre-dinner drinks
  • In-room dining is available 24/7

With skilled chefs and Sommeliers, the resort’s culinary offerings provide a true culinary journey with the area’s freshest flavors and finest wines.


The Ritz-Carlton Santa Barbara is a true paradise offering luxury and elegance for an unforgettable vacation. This Mediterranean-style resort features:

  • Impeccable service and hospitality
  • Sophisticated decor with grandeur
  • Amenities like the poolside bar and private beach

Room Type                 Starting Price

Oceanview Suite          $899

Club Level Room         $799

With delightful dining and indulgent spa treatments, this seaside oasis promises a taste of heaven and cherished memories.

The Ritz-Carlton Santa Barbara’s stylish accommodations include:

  • Elegant oceanview rooms and suites with romantic amenities like oversized tubs
  • Plush bedding and upscale toiletries for a relaxing stay
  • Sophisticated decor with Mediterranean influences
  • Private balconies to enjoy ocean breezes

Room Type                Amenities

Oceanview Suite    Separate living area, balcony, jetted tub

Club Level              Access to Club Lounge, personal concierge

With stunning views and luxurious details, the resort’s accommodations surround guests in comfort and grandeur.

Besides the superb service, we couldn’t help but praise the delectable culinary offerings. Every meal was a culinary journey, leaving our taste buds wanting more. For the sports enthusiasts, the resort offered top-notch tennis courts, where we indulged in some friendly competition and fitness.

Making Memories with Family in Ritz-Carlton Santa Barbara

The Ritz-Carlton Santa Barbara provides an idyllic setting for quality time with loved ones or focusing on your own business aspirations.

  • Share romantic dinners on the private beach
  • Indulge in couples’ massages at the luxurious spa
  • Attend wellness activities like beachfront yoga
  • Work uninterrupted in elegant accommodations
  • Network with colleagues over cocktails at the poolside lounge

With ample space for both connection and seclusion, the resort allows you to prioritize your relationships and goals. Create cherished memories and nurture your passions at this Mediterranean paradise by the sea.

Richard Uzelac’s Trip Highlight: “A Serenity with Ritz-Carlton Santa Barbara”

However, the most enchanting feature was the view beneath the hotel. It provided an idyllic setting for romantic strolls and quiet contemplation. Our time at Ritz-Carlton, Santa Barbara, was nothing short of magical. The luxury, the ambiance, and the company made it an experience that will forever hold a special place in our hearts.

As we bid goodbye to this paradise, I felt incredibly grateful for the chance to make special memories with our loved ones. In conclusion, Ritz-Carlton, Santa Barbara, offered us a taste of heaven on earth. The lavishness, accompanied by outstanding service, produced a memory that will remain in our hearts indefinitely.

A stay at the Ritz-Carlton Santa Barbara is a luxurious paradise for travelers seeking elegance and indulgence by the sea. With its impeccable service, stylish amenities like the poolside bar and private beach, sophisticated rooms, and world-class dining, this Mediterranean-inspired resort promises unforgettable memories. Guests are surrounded by natural beauty and grandeur that provides a true taste of heaven. It’s the perfect setting for a cherished getaway or romantic retreat along the stunning California coast. Here, luxury and comfort blend seamlessly for a vacation beyond your wildest dreams. And thanks to my dear cousin, my stay was elevated. We got exclusive access to places like the Club Lounge- the sophisticated yet casual vibe and personalized service; the Club Lounge provides an intimate escape within the larger resort to unwind in luxury.

If you’re seeking a destination where luxury meets love, Ritz-Carlton, Santa Barbara, should be at the top of your list. The resort is an oasis of elegance, promising an experience that surpasses all expectations. Richard Uzelac recommends this place. Enchanted rendezvous for unforgettable memories.

Richard Uzelac’s Top Japanese Living Destinations for Expats 

Nara City by Richard Uzelac

Japan is a country rich with diverse landscapes, bustling cities, and unique cultural experiences. It is filled with breathtaking destinations that are sure to leave you awestruck. This list showcases just a small selection of the beautiful places in Japan, and it is a work in progress as I hope to visit this country soon. I would appreciate it if you could share your insights with those who live or have visited Japan and suggest some incredible places to see in the comments.

Here are the destinations in Japan that captured my heart and left a profound impact on me. These are the places that exuded beauty and charm, further increasing Richard Uzelac’s fondness for this incredible country.


There is no doubt that Kyoto is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Japan. Its inviting mix of nature and traditional architecture, along with temples and shrines scattered throughout the city, nestled among picturesque gardens brightened by cherry blossoms in the spring and red maple leaves in the fall.


If you love nature and wildlife, then Arashiyama in Kyoto is an especially enjoyable district to visit. The forested hills not only make an attractive setting for temples, tea houses, and riverside parks, but the area is also home to the Iwatayama Monkey Park and Kyoto’s famous bamboo grove.

Miyajima Island

Miyajima Island is located in Hiroshima Bay. It has been recognized as one of the Three Most Scenic Spots in Japan for centuries. The island boasts miles of picturesque coastlines and mountain trails that offer stunning views of the Seto Inland Sea. A hike up Mt. Misen provides the opportunity to visit two observatories, allowing visitors to appreciate the island’s gorgeous setting.

The island is home to several spiritual sites characterized by traditional Japanese architecture. One of the most remarkable is Itsukushima Shrine, distinguished by its vermilion color and unique construction on wooden pilings. This design gives the impression that the shrine is floating in the sea during high tide.

However, the most captivating sight on Miyajima Island is the sunset behind the Great Torii. This iconic structure stands in the sea and is illuminated by warm, golden light, creating a truly enchanting and magical scene.

Miyajima Island
by Richard Uzelac
Miyajima Island


Nara is a city in Japan known for its rich history, cultural heritage, and natural beauty. It is indeed considered a beautiful place to live for several reasons.

One of the prominent attractions in Nara is its large population of freely roaming deer. These friendly deer have become a symbol of the city and are protected as a national treasure. Living in Nara means having the opportunity to interact with these gentle creatures on a daily basis, adding a unique and charming element to everyday life.

Nara is also home to numerous UNESCO World Heritage sites, including the famous Todaiji Temple. This temple houses the Great Buddha, a massive bronze statue that is one of Japan’s most important cultural treasures. The serene beauty of these historical landmarks, surrounded by tranquil gardens and park areas, creates a peaceful and picturesque atmosphere throughout the city.

A Guide to Becoming an Expat in Japan by Richard Uzelac

Living and working as an expat in Japan can be a really exciting and rewarding experience, especially for individuals under 30. To make this dream a reality, there are several important steps and considerations to keep in mind.

Visa Requirements: Obtaining a visa is crucial for living in Japan. For those under 30, the most accessible option is the Working Holiday Permit (WHP), allowing you to reside and work in Japan for up to one year. However, it’s important to note that the WHP has certain limitations on the types of employment permitted.

Work Visas: In most cases, expats will require a work visa. There are various visa types available, including Engineer visas for technology and engineering roles, Investor visas for managers and entrepreneurs, Mutation visas for company transfers, Specified Skills 1 and 2 visas for specific industries, Humanities Expert visas for teaching and translation, and Permanent Resident visas for long-term residents.

Certificate of Eligibility (CoE): A CoE issued by your employer is a crucial document in the visa application process. It is required to obtain a work visa and serves as an intermediary step.

Additional Documents: Depending on the visa type, additional documents may be necessary, such as a work contract or a certificate from the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) to demonstrate language proficiency.

Residence Permit: After receiving your visa, you must apply for a residence permit that will indicate the length of your stay and the type of job you are allowed to engage in while in Japan.

Special Programs: There are specific programs designed to facilitate the expat process in Japan. Notable examples include the ETP (European Training Programme) and the JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching) programs. The ETP program offers language and management courses along with internships in Japan, while the JET program focuses on teaching opportunities and language proficiency.

Japan also provides visa options for retirees and individuals of other age groups. The “Designated Activities” visa, for example, allows non-working stays in Japan and requires meeting specific financial and insurance requirements.

To pursue your journey as an expat in Japan, it is recommended to consult the respective program websites or contact relevant authorities for detailed information on application requirements and deadlines. With the right preparation and determination, Japan offers a wealth of opportunities for young individuals seeking an enriching international experience.

San Miguel de Allende City is a place for expatriates

san miguel de allende
san miguel de allende

San Miguel de Allende is renowned for its vibrant and diverse artistic culture. The town boasts a myriad of unique art galleries, souvenir shops, and clothing stores that showcase the talents of local and international artists. Visitors are treated to a feast for the senses as they immerse themselves in the creative atmosphere of San Miguel de Allende. From traditional Mexican artwork to contemporary masterpieces, there is something to captivate every art enthusiast. The town’s commitment to fostering creativity has attracted artists from around the world, further enriching the cultural landscape.

Whether you are an art aficionado or simply appreciate the beauty of artistic expression, San Miguel de Allende offers a truly unforgettable experience.

Is San Miguel de Allende Great for Expatriates in the USA?

San Miguel de Allende is an ideal place for ex-patriots from the USA seeking a safe and beautiful place to call home. The town’s charming and welcoming atmosphere, combined with its stunning natural surroundings, make it an attractive choice for those looking to settle in Mexico.
San Miguel de Allende is a safe and peaceful destination, which is important for planning to be ex-pat like you. The town’s low crime rates and friendly community contribute to a sense of safety and security, allowing ex-patriots to feel comfortable and at ease in their new surroundings..

Moreover, San Miguel de Allende’s beauty is undeniable. With its well-preserved colonial architecture, picturesque streets, and lush landscapes, the town offers a visually captivating environment. The pleasant climate and mild weather add to the overall appeal, providing ex-patriots with a pleasant and comfortable living experience.

Exploring the Artistic Culture of San Miguel de Allende with Richard Uzelac

The Timeless Charm and History of San Miguel de Allende


Steeped in rich history, San Miguel de Allende exudes a timeless charm that captivates both locals and visitors alike. At the beginning of the 20th century, the town faced the threat of becoming a ghost town due to an influenza pandemic. However, it was the arrival of foreign artists that breathed new life into San Miguel de Allende. These artists settled in the town, bringing with them a renewed sense of creativity and artistic expression. Today, San Miguel de Allende stands as a testament to the resilience of its people and the power of art to transform communities. Its historical significance and cultural heritage have earned it the prestigious title of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Exploring the streets of San Miguel de Allende is like stepping back in time, as its colonial architecture and cobblestone streets transport visitors to a bygone era.


San Miguel de Allende: A City of Awards and Accolades


San Miguel de Allende has garnered international recognition and received numerous awards and accolades for its beauty and charm. In 2008, the town was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, acknowledging its historical and cultural significance. This prestigious status has only added to its allure, attracting a growing number of tourists from around the world. In 2017, San Miguel de Allende was named the world’s best small city according to the Conde Nast Traveler Reader’s Choice Awards, solidifying its reputation as a must-visit destination. The town’s unique blend of history, art, and enchanting atmosphere continues to captivate travelers and locals alike, making it a perennial favorite among those seeking an authentic Mexican experience. With its remarkable accolades, San Miguel de Allende stands as a shining gem in Mexico’s tourism landscape.


Discovering the Hidden Gems of San Miguel de Allende


While San Miguel de Allende is renowned for its popular attractions, there are also hidden gems waiting to be discovered by intrepid explorers. Beyond the well-known landmarks and bustling streets, the town holds secrets and surprises for those willing to venture off the beaten path. Exploring the lesser-known corners of San Miguel de Allende reveals hidden courtyards, quiet alleys, and quaint shops that offer a glimpse into the local way of life. These hidden gems provide a more intimate and authentic experience, allowing visitors to connect with the true essence of the town. Whether stumbling upon a charming café tucked away in a secluded corner or stumbling upon a local artisan’s workshop, the hidden gems of San Miguel de Allende add an element of surprise and delight to any visit..


Soaking in the Atmosphere of San Miguel de Allende’s Streets


Walking through the streets of San Miguel de Allende is like stepping into a fairytale. The town’s enchanting atmosphere and captivating architecture create a unique sensory experience for visitors. The cobblestone streets wind through narrow alleys, lined with colorful colonial buildings adorned with intricate ironwork and blooming bougainvillea.

Richard Uzelac's Perspective: Why San San Miguel de Allende is a Haven for Retirees

Located in the colonial Highlands region, San San Miguel de Allende has emerged as a sought-after destination for retirees seeking an idyllic and vibrant lifestyle. With its temperate climate, the active ex-pat community, rich cultural traditions, and dedication to the arts, this town offers a perfect picturesque for a fulfilling retirement experience.

San Miguel de Allende delights retirees with its culinary offerings. From local street tacos that cost a mere 75 cents to international cuisine that spans the globe, the town caters to diverse tastes. Savoring exquisite meals in restaurants specializing in Italian, sushi, vegetarian, and gourmet options becomes a regular indulgence. As someone who has a discerning palate, Richard Uzelac can say that San San Miguel de Allende is a culinary haven.

Richard Uzelac’s Travel Bucket List: Japan

Japan's Beautiful Places to visit by Richard Uzelac

I’ve always been a traveler at heart. I’ve been to Hawaii for over 50 times, swum in the crystal-clear waters of Bali, and tasted the mouth-watering paella in Spain. I’ve also visited the bustling streets of Cartagena and the beautiful southwest tropical of India, Kerala. But there is one place that I have always wanted to visit, a country that has captured my imagination since childhood: Japan.

I read books and watched movies about Japan’s unique culture, history, and traditions for years. I was fascinated by the country’s blend of old and new, its ancient temples, and modern technology. As time has gone on, I have been looking for places that are good to visit in Japan. But some say that the best way to explore a place is to just dive in head-first, without a plan and itinerary, just with your pocket and eyes thirsting for curiosity. 

Famous Places in Japan to Visit by Richard Uzelac 

Let me know your thoughts about these places.


Osaka, Japan’s third-largest city, offers a unique glimpse into Japanese culture. It is famous for its street food, traditional Japanese cuisine, and international options. Osaka Castle and Universal Studios Japan are popular attractions. The Shinsaibashi and Namba areas are great for shopping. This city also boasts a vibrant nightlife, with plenty of bars, clubs, and karaoke venues to choose from. 


Tokyo, the capital city of Japan renowned for its lively culture, retail outlets, and culinary delights. It’s home to some of the biggest and busiest street crossings, as well as impressive landmarks such as Tokyo Tower and SkyTree.


A metropolis that boasts a wealth of cultural heritage, housing numerous age-old temples, shrines, and traditional gardens. Kyoto is also known for its traditional handicrafts, such as kimono fabrics and pottery. These are all excellent destinations to visit in Japan, each offering a unique experience.


Hokkaido, the northernmost island of Japan, is well-known for its stunning natural landscapes and winter sports activities. Known for renowned ski resorts like Niseko, Furano, and Rusutsu, Hokkaido is a favored choice among those who love winter sports. I would also like to experience the famous Otaru Snow Light Path Festival. This enchanting winter festival occurs in the city’s charming canal and historic streets, creating a magical atmosphere. The freezing waterway comes alive with numerous floating lanterns, casting a soft radiance over the serene surroundings and turning it into an otherworldly wonderland.


A city with a sorrowful past and a very historic place history. It is known as a symbol of hope and peace. This city is known for being the first city in the world to suffer an atomic bomb attack on August 6, 1945, during World War II.


Nara, situated in Japan, is renowned for its historic temples and shrines as well as the untamed deer that freely wander around town. The Kansai region was governed by Nara from 710 to 794 AD when it served as Japan’s capital; hence, several UNESCO World Heritage Sites are located here. The Todai-ji Temple is a prominent landmark in Nara that houses Buddha’s largest bronze statue globally.


Located in the central region of Honshu island, the fourth largest city in Japan, and a major industrial hub, housing companies such as Toyota and Mitsubishi. The city is renowned for its iconic Nagoya Castle.

Things that Richard Uzelac wants to experience in Japan

Bucket list in Japan, things to do by Richard Uzelac

Watch Sumo

I am fond of martial arts, and that is why I want to watch a sumo tournament.

Tea Ceremony

I am interested in immersing myself in Japanese culture by participating in various activities, such as attending a tea ceremony


There are places that Alexandria and I have been to, but we would love to experience Hanami together. They say that the essence of Hanami is not just about the experience itself but also about the person you are sharing it with

Also Read:

Top Japanese Living Destinations for Expats by Richard Uzelac

Hanami in Japan by Richard Uzelac

Japan Festival 

Everyone enjoys a festival, right? With good food and vibrant performances. But the true feeling of being fully immersed in the spirit of matsuri or festival would be one of a kind.

To wear a Kimono

Japan is a very unique and fascinating country that is rich in culture and history. Therefore, my goal is to set foot on the Land of the Rising Sun and be welcomed into a world unlike any other. I am drawn to Japan’s stunning natural beauty, including cherry blossoms, hot springs, and scenic mountains. Moreover, I am also attracted to Japan’s advanced technological innovations. Japan is renowned for its delicious cuisine, which includes sushi, ramen, and many other tasty dishes. Additionally, Japan has a reputation for being safe, clean, and well-organized, making it an ideal destination for tourists. I can’t wait to explore all the wonders that Japan has to offer! – Richard Uzelac

Richard Uzelac’s Guide to Big Sur, CA

The small town of Big Sur, nestled on the rugged coastline of California, is unlike any other place in the world. With its towering cliffs, winding roads, and mysterious forests, it has a magical quality that draws people from far and wide.

As I walked down the main street, lined with quaint shops and charming cafes, Richard Uzelac was dazzled at the beauty that surrounded him. Something else about Big Sur set it apart from other coastal towns. It is something beneath the surface, a world of magic and wonders that few had ever seen.

The Wonders of Big Sur Ca by Richard Uzelac

1. Carmel By The Sea

This small village, nestled among the rocky cliffs and crashing waves of Big Sur, California, is a place of enchantment and wonder.

The town is full of quaint shops and restaurants, each one more charming than the last. The smells of freshly baked bread and roasted coffee waft through the streets, drawing you in like a siren’s song. It’s hard to resist the temptation of a warm croissant from the Carmel Bakery or a cup of steaming hot chocolate from The Chocolate House.

But it’s not just the food that makes Carmel By The Sea so special. There’s a magic in the air that can’t be explained, a feeling that anything is possible. The rugged coastline and the stunning views of the Pacific Ocean are enough to take your breath away.

2. Garrapata State Park & Beach

Garrapata State Park, nestled along the Big Sur coastline, is a place that inspires wonder and awe. The natural beauty of the park is nothing short of mystical, transporting visitors to a world beyond their imagination.

Flora and fauna within its borders are nothing short of magnificent, each one more fascinating than the last. Redwoods tower over the landscape while wildflowers bloom in a vibrant display. And what is impressive is that the place is free to visit for all. 

As one follows the winding trails, one can’t help but feel as though they’ve entered a fairy tale. The sounds of streams and birds fill the air, while the scent of pine and cedar awakens the senses. And with the Pacific Ocean stretching out before them, “The views are nothing short of breathtaking”- Richard Uzelac

3. Point Lobos State Natural Preserve

The Point Lobos State Natural Preserve is a place of raw beauty, where the land meets the sea in a fierce and unrelenting embrace. Here, one can find solace in the simplicity of nature, in the quiet moments between the thundering waves and the rustling leaves. For those seeking adventure, there are trails to be hiked and creatures like seals or sea birds you can find here. And for those seeking peace, there is nothing but the sound of the sea and the wind in the trees. Point Lobos is a place that demands respect, and it is important to keep in mind that there is a parking fee, so be sure to take note of this before entering

4. Bixby Creek Bridge

The Bixby Creek Bridge, a masterpiece of engineering, spans the rugged coastline of California with graceful ease. The arch of its towering pillars mirrors the arc of the distant cliffs while its cables stretch out like sinews across the chasm below. It is a work of art that stands as a testament to the ingenuity and vision of man.

As one traverses its length, the sound of the sea rises up to meet them, mingling with the hum of passing cars. The misty air swirls around the bridge, casting a hazy veil over the ocean below. And at that moment, one is transported to a world beyond words, where the beauty of nature and the power of human creation collide in a breathtaking display.

5. Pfeiffer Beach

The waves crashed against the shore with a steady rhythm as the sun began to dip below the horizon. Pfeiffer Beach is a hidden gem of the California coastline- for it entails a two-mile drive before you reach this place of solitude and wonder. The sand, unlike any other, glowed with purple and pink hues in the fading light. It is a place where one could feel the weight of the world lift off their shoulders and simply be. The sound of the surf and the salty air filled Richard Uzelac’s senses, and that helped him feel alive. Pfeiffer Beach was a sanctuary, a place where one could escape the chaos of life and find peace in the simple beauty of nature.

6. McWay Falls

The mist from the waterfall lingered in the air, creating a mystical ambiance at McWay Falls. The water cascaded down the cliffside, gracefully falling into the turquoise waters below. It was a sight that left me speechless, a natural wonder that could only be appreciated in person. Even though accessing the beach or falls is currently restricted, the view from above is utterly sublime.

Get to Know The Philippines by Richard Uzelac

The Philippines is an island nation. It is situated on the western part of the “North Pacific Ocean” It’s part of the Southeast Asian countries where you’ll find mountain ranges, fertile valleys, and a beautiful coastline. The Philippines was once ruled by Spain. It later became a United States commonwealth. The country has struggled for its independence from its conquerors, the Spanish, Japanese, and Americans, for more than 380 years. The country finally gained its independence in 1946. Since then, the republic of the Philippines has been its official name. 

The Philippines has always been known for its renowned beaches and its several islands surrounding the Pacific Ocean. It’s in Southeast Asia, situated in the northern part of Malaysia and Indonesia. The Philippines is a popular destination place to visit in Asia. 


The Philippine archipelago is divided into three major Islands, Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. 

Each island has its own beautiful style, so no matter where you go, you can never go wrong. 

The climate in the Philippines is tropical and maritime. It is characterized by high temperatures, high humidity, and abundant rainfall. It is similar in many respects to Central American climates.

Beautiful Places in the Philippines by Richard Uzelac


The Visayan Islands are located in the center part of the country, and it’s the smallest group of Islands among the three. One of the coolest places you can find here is Cebu and Bohol. Cebu has many beautiful beaches. Among its famous beaches are Sta Fe Bantayan, Sumilon

 Island, Badian, Daan Bantayan, and Oslob, where you get to enjoy seeing whales. From Cebu, you can go on an hour boat trip and visit the amazing Bohol. A lot of things you can enjoy here, like looking at the beautiful “Chocolate Hills”, walking on the long sandy beaches of Anda, or having a buffet while touring the Loboc River on its floating restaurants 


It is also the biggest island in the archipelago and the most populous. It is the home of the capital city of Manila. The Philippines does not only have breathtaking beaches and world-renowned natural wonders. Manila also has interesting tourist attractions worth checking out, like Rizal Park, the National Museum of Fine Arts, beautiful cathedrals, and great shopping places like Divisoria Market. 

Another island in Luzon is the famous El Nido, Palawan. It’s a secluded island, but it has its own wonderful airport and many amenities. In the Philippines, El Nido in Palawan is highly recommended by locals and international travelers because of its pristine white sand beaches, limestone cliffs, and lagoons.


Located in the south of the country, the Mindanao island group consists largely of mountainous terrain. It is the second largest group of islands among the three. A few of Mindanao’s most breathtaking tourist spots, as well as some of the most breathtaking places to visit in the Philippines, including the laid-back surfing hotspot known as Siargao Island, the tropical beaches on Samal Island, the secluded and beautiful island of Camiguin, which has white sand beaches, and the numerous waterfalls in Iligan.

“Only In The Philippines” – Richard Uzelac

Will you be able to discover – a place that radiates happiness from its people, its culture, its cuisine, and its unique tourist spots. Filipinos are known for their resilience and positivity. Once hit by a big storm, Yolanda, yet can still find people smiling across the streets even though they’ve lost their homes. Filipinos value family, and most of the population is Christian Catholic. Since its Spanish Colonizers reigned in 1521, it has become the predominant religion. Languages vary here, but the national language is called Tagalog. Luzon mostly speaks Tagalog, while other places have their own dialects. 

Travel Trips When You Visit the Philippines

  1. Plan your visit. Avoid jumping into many flights and get a direct flight to your destination. Check out the nearest airport close to the location on your bucket list. 
  2. It’s always best to bring a companion on your trip. Whether you have someone to bring along from your place or book from a tourist agency when hopping on to different locations in the Philippines. 
  3. Filipinos can understand English and they’re friendly so don’t be afraid to approach anyone.
  4. When going to places outside the metropolitan area, always bring along a little bit of extra cash, as there are not so many atm machines. 
  5. You can enjoy so many cheap foods from local restaurants called “Carenderias”. These are more preferred to eating fast food. (They don’t accept cards, only cash)
  6. The Philippines being a third world country, comes with vexing problems like poor hospital facilities.

What are Filipinos like?

Education is important to Filipinos. Children here attend elementary school when they are six or seven. Children are taught English along with its respective dialects and national language, Tagalog. 

Filipinos are very friendly and hospitable. This is a common trait amongst all people in the Philippines. Hospitality is a huge part of their culture, so don’t be surprised if you see locals helping out strangers with directions or “Only in the Philippines”, where you can see the friendliest in Asia. 

Richard Uzelac’s Guide to the Big Island of Hawaii and Other Islands in Hawaii

Richard Uzelac, Haleiwa Hawaii, coast of Island Cliffs and Surf
A picture of

If you are looking to find out about Hawaii. I could definitely go over and tell you the story about it, particularly about the beautiful big Island and its other Islands. So here we go. Hawaii is named after the Hawai’iloa – a legendary figure from Hawaiian myth who was said to be the first to discover the islands. As time went on, after battles from 1780 to 1790s, all the islands were subjugated under one ruler, known as King Kamehameha the Great, and the rest is history, I strainedly say.

Hawaii has four main Islands: Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and Hawaii Island, or “The Big Island”. I’ve been to Hawaii over 60 times. I built a home there in 2003.

Oahu: The Most Crowded and Big City Like by Richard Uzelac

This is the most populous Island among the rest. It’s like you’re visiting Tenessee, the 15th most populous state, or like New York. Oahu is also the third largest of the Hawaiian Islands. The island of Oahu and the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands makes the consolidated City and County of Honolulu. This place is nicknamed “The Gathering Place” for sure. It got its nickname from how populous it is. While the most common reason why people would love to visit Hawaii is the beaches, but between the crowd and beaches in Oahu, what’s famous here are scuba diving, helicopter tour, and hiking. Long before, after a hard week of working as an aircraft controller, my friends and I would take off from California every time we take our off from work. It was fun and amazing! Lets start with Kaneohe. A place located in the City and County of Honolulu. For most of the residents of Kaneohe, as we descend the east section of the island, they are like what’s the point to be here it’s like you’re back in California but on a condensed scale, It has its long bay like the Bay Area, California with its big body of water and sandy beach. It’s a nice little town and what makes it beautiful is that it is all happening on a condensed scale. There are a lot of restaurants to dine in and enjoy shopping. You can do all these fun stuff with just a few miles and reset from the hustle and bustle in the city. 

Big Island ‘Hawaii’ Richard Uzelac’s Favorite.

Big Island ‘Hawaii’ is my favorite. I built a home there in the 2000s. Have friends and family there and go there the most. Most microclimates and has the highest number of active volcanoes. It is estimated that Hawaii has five major volcanoes that are considered active and four of which are already in Big Islands. So Richard Uzelac gets to enjoy his fair share of seeing volcanoes. Now lets start with  Kailua-Kona  As the name implies, Kailua-Kona is an unincorporated community and a census-designated place (CDP) in Hawaii County and also known as Kailua which is the same name as its shared community in the windward side of Oahu. Kona has a lot of access to great shops and dining. One of the top hikes you can take while on Big Island is Kīlauea Iki Crater Trail located in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park on the Kona side of the island. This trail offers unparalleled views of an active volcano and is perfect for beginners looking to challenge themselves with a great view of the crater and a chance at seeing lava flowing into the ocean. Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park is located on the west coast of Big Island. It is one of the best places in “Big Island Hawaii”. About the park, it is said to be “The place of Refuge”. And there’s just something so peaceful and beautiful about this place I can’t even describe it- perhaps calling it Richard Uzelac’s Refuge Place. This is a must-see spot on the Island whether you’re a history buff or not. Regardless, you can definitely immerse yourself in Hawaiian Culture. There is so much to share about Big Island Hawaii but I’m done scoping up on my favorite island and it’s time for you to do some research as it’s gonna be more exciting to view from the tour guides perspective! Definitely a worth visiting place now let’s get on to..

Richard Uzelac Loves This Small Beautiful, and Fun Island: Maui

This is a place that I have to see again. I had so much amazing time with my friends on this island. Once you get to Kahului Airport, grab your bags and take the bus uber or taxi into town to pick up your rental car. While you need to stay focused on your itinerary, you may want to consider taking it easy and checking out some of Maui’s famous beaches along the way to soak up some Hawaiian vibes. My trip to Maui was short but very sweet. I found myself in paradise with my best friend and we decided to explore the south shore of Maui. There are so many great things to do and see in this area of the island. From beautiful beaches to waterfalls, it is the perfect place to relax and unwind.


Kauai: the Garden Island, Oldest but Least Built Up. 

Kauai: the Garden Island, Oldest but Least Built Up. 

There’s so much to do and see around Kauai let me, Richard Uzelac show you around! Kauai is the second oldest of the Hawaiian islands, but it’s also one of the least built up. That provides a unique opportunity to see things up close from the regular Hawaiian now like how they speak. Kauaʻi was known for its distinct dialect.

This island has a unique geography and a tranquil atmosphere. It is a circular island, so it is best to look at it like a compass. one thing about it is you have to spend so much on gas to get around the island because most of it is out of the way and there’s so much of it. most of the people who live on this island are from off-islands and own a vacation homes there that they use on weekends or vacations like honeymoon. It has a very beautiful mountains and waterfalls and is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean and is known for its natural beauty. You can enjoy an unforgettable evening awaits you as you bask in the splendor of Kauai’s Na Pali Coast in the company of friends and family here.

The Day Richard Uzelac Didn’t Die on Kauai 

Short story: I was swimming in a resort’s protected lagoon, snorkling, following a sea turtle. It was so tranquil following and watching the beautiful turtle swim effortlessly before me with the Sun’s rays dancing over his shell and all around him.
I was so entranced I didn’t notice how dark the water had become, and how deep the ground was below me. In a few more minutes, while swimming further into the see, the floor of the ocean disappeared into an inky blackness below me. The water was markedly colder, the surface waves more rough.
All of a sudden the turtle vanished in a split second, speeding down into the blackness as if he too was becoming afraid.
I raised my head and spun around in place. I was a couple hundred yards out into the deep dark ocean. I had swam through the narrow protected keyhole of the man-made circular lagoon, created to keep vacationers safe from the ocean’s more dangerous species. 

While I dropped my head to see if the turtle had returned I began to hear a loud thumping sound above me. It was so loud and strange I thought it was other worldly. I raised my head to see.

Above me was a Coast Guard helicopter! It was just about 30 feet above me and it’s rotor wind was flattening the waves around me and creating a spray of ocean water like a mini tornado with me as the center of the tornado. 

I was dumbfounded. Their was a soldier in the helicoptor pointing at me and then pointing back to the lagoon, 200 yards away! I was at first angry at being told to leave the ocean, but then….

It took just a few seconds for me to figure it out: There was something sinister in the water, and it was interested in me as it’s next meal: Tiger Shark!

All at once i started swimming fast towards the keyhole, and safety. I remembered that sharks are attracted to erratic movement in the water, so I made a special effort to swim fast, but strong and smooth as I could.
As fast as I was swimming, the helicopter tornado was still all around me: The pilot was escorting me back to the safe lagoon, he obviously things I’m in grave danger. I was.

Once getting back through the keyhole passageway from dark deep ocean, to shallow clear warm-watered white sand bottom lagoon, I was tapped on my back by a life guard who had swam out to meet me. 

He was actually laughing, “Hey Dude! You were totally be circled by two 14-foot Tiger Sharks! I saw their fins and called the Coast Guard to save your ass!”

That day, and that night were the most carefree of my life. I smiled at everything. The grass was greener, the women were lovelier, the sky bluer. That night I bought a round of drinks for everyone at the poolside Tiki Hut bar, and I toasted and said ‘Mahalo’ to Tiger Sharks for not eating me, and the men who probably saved my life. 

I hope you enjoyed my short tour of the Islands of Hawaï! I have been lucky enough to travel to many amazing places in my lifetime, but Hawaii holds a special place for me in my heart.


Richard Uzelac

Cartagena: A Beautiful Caribbean Region in Columbia by Richard Uzelac

cartagena columbia by richard Uzelac

Once in a while, we pay a visit to Alexandria’s country home- Columbia. Before anything else, let me tell you about Columbia. Columbia is a country in the northwestern part of South America and has a coastline on the pacific ocean, Caribbean sea, and Atlantic ocean.

Cartagena is located on the northern tip of Columbia, thus located on the Caribbean coast. It’s a tropical place and a port city and that’s what even makes it hotter. The official language of the country is Spanish. The Caribbean region of Colombia is the most diverse in the region because it is considered the only tri-racial region, composed of African Colombians, the indigenous people, and the “Pardo” predominantly Spanish or European. 

Some Facts about Columbia

The country has a tropical climate with two well-defined seasons: the dry season, from December to May, and the wet season, from June to November. It is mostly sunny with an average temperature of 30°C all year round. Some months of the year can be very humid with a temperature of over 40°C, while others can be slightly cooler than usual at around 25°C.

Colombia’s Capital City: Bogota 

Other major cities are Medellin and Cali currencies:

Currencies: Peso 

Major religions in the country: Catholic Christianity followed by over 80% of the population. The majority of the population is also Christian but other religions are also represented in the country, like Islam and Judaism.

The major holiday in Colombia is a religious celebration called ‘fiestas’

Cartagena, Columbia by Richard Uzelac

The city is famous for its colonial architecture, built during the 18th century in fortified bastions surrounded by thick walls. There is that one of the famous monuments of the city, is the church of La Popa, which is located on top of a mountain overlooking the city and is one of its most famous buildings; the Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas, with its famous dungeons and impressive defensive system; and the old centre of the city, known as the walled city which includes the world-famous plaza de Los Coches. Another very important attraction in Columbia is the Gold Museum which is home to a collection of pre-Columbian gold works, which are among the world’s most valuable pieces of art.

“We had so much in Cartagena and  I love coming back to this place all the time. Cartagena has a very colourful and vibrant culture due to its diverse population, which consists of several different ethnic groups. In the early morning hours after a long night of partying, you wake up late, step outside and feel the salty air blowing in from the Caribbean. You buy some tropical fruit from a smiling lady wearing a vibrant, colourful dress and embark upon your day with it. Your mood is elevated by the abundant supply of Vitamin D. You have a lot of things planned for your time off the beach that you are sure will fulfil your adventurous side as well as satisfy your need for some relaxation. As you enter the crowded market area, your senses are stimulated by all the sights, sounds, and smells. You see brightly coloured fruits, vegetables, and fish piled high; you hear the laughter of children playing as they chase each other through the stalls selling souvenirs; and you smell the delicious aroma of freshly cooked meats cooking in the outdoor food stalls. This place is like no other!”

Richard Uzelac

One of the things I love about Cartagena is the variety of activities you can do here. If you are into history or want to learn more about it, there are many historical museums you can visit where you can learn the history of this fascinating region, like Museo del Oro Zenu, Museo Historico de Cartagena de Indias, and Galeon Bucanero

If shopping is more your thing, you will love spending time exploring the markets to find unique items you can’t get anywhere else.

Bocagrande Plaza Mall

Mallplaza Cartagena – El Castillo

Bazurto Market

Centro Comercial La Serrezuela

 If you enjoy the outdoors and being out in nature, there are a lot of beautiful beaches where you can enjoy a day in the sun or go for a swim in the ocean. Here are some beautiful beaches I’d recommend exploring in this beautiful Caribbean city.  

Playa Castillo Grande

Playa de Bocagrande

Isla Baru

Beaches Cartagena Plaza

During our visit to Cartagena, Columbia, we got to check out what Colombia has to offer: The country has a diverse population, which makes this place even more interesting! There are many things to do in Cartagena and the best spots to visit when you’re here. You can travel along its stunning coast and take a trip up the stunning Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range or relax with soothing beauty in the Las Piedras waterfall–all without leaving the city of Cartagena!

Whether it’s your first trip to Colombia or you’ve already been here and want to come back, there are many things to do in Cartagena. The city is full of things ranging from museums and international markets to parks and beaches. As the arrival of Spanish long before, Cartagena attracts many interesting history buffs–like me! There is something for everyone here.

-Richard Uzelac

Kerala The Beautiful Southwest Tropical India by Richard Uzelac

kerala india

There is a great deal of diversity in Indian culture and lifestyle that I’ve discovered when I visited the country last few weeks ago. The differences are astounding: culture, religion and lifestyle are astounding, and we always learn something new when we travel to each part, but the one thing that remains the same is the food. Like in Kilimanoor, Kerala – north of Trivandrum, where we saw so many top-notch restaurants with delicacies that would cater to all tastes of an Indian Cuisine: Madhuri (sweet), lavana (salty), amala (sour), katu (pungent), tikta (bitter) and kasya (astringent).

Kerala is a state in southwestern India on the Malabar Coast. It is a state on the Malabar Coast of India in which Malayalam is the most widely spoken language, and it is also the official language of the state.

In addition to pepper and natural rubber production, the state is also a massive producer of coconuts, tea, coffee, cashews and spices. These are all important components of the agricultural sector. Between the Arabian Sea, on the one hand, and the Western Ghats, on the other hand, this state is situated.

The state also has a rich biodiversity with a large number of national parks and wildlife sanctuaries, including the Periyar Tiger Reserve. This is the location of the Asian elephant’s northernmost habitat and is regarded as one of the last pristine forests in India. Kerala is a paradise and one of the most beautiful places in India. It is renowned for its picturesque beaches, backwaters and lush green landscape. It is located on the southernmost tip of the country.

Richard Uzelac Takes a Trip to These Beautiful Places in Kerala:

Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum)

Trivandrum is the capital city of this state, which is known for its coconuts and coconut products. In terms of greenness, Trivandrum is considered one of the ten greenest cities in India.

Apart from the cuisine of Kerala itself, one can find some of the best dishes in the world here, like in Kilimanoor, a panchayat and town of Trivandrum. The place is well known for its seafood preparations and the boat races held in the backwaters of Kerala. Trivandrum is often used as a gateway to nearby beach resorts and has a lot to offer travellers who wish to stay for more than a few days. Kerala’s capital offers a wide range of attractions, from South Indian cuisine and sophisticated art to architectural treasures and historical landmarks:

  1. Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple- As a Hindu temple in Thiruvananthapuram or Trivandrum (former name), the capital of Kerala, India, the Shree Padmanabhaswamy Temple is the place where the temple is located. In Tamil and Malayalam, the name of the city translates as “The City of Lord Ananta.” – Anantha is the infinitely coiling serpent that Padmanabha or Vishnu lays on. It is one of the world’s riches temple only, and only Hindus can enter. 
  2. Kuthiramalika Palace Museum – When visitors come to the palace of horses, which is known as ‘Kuthiramalika’, they will be greeted by 122 smiling wooden horses. There is a pristine two-story palace in Thiruvananthapuram known as Kuthiramalika Palace Museum or Puthenmalika Palace Museum, which is located near the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple. It has been built by Swathi Thirunal Balarama Varma, who was Maharaja of the Kingdom of Travancore in British India, in the 1840s when he built it.


  1. Kovalam Beach- Located around 13 km from the city center, Kovalam is a region in the city of Trivandrum in Kerala, whose beaches are a major tourist attraction.

There is a distinct feel to the coastal south of India. India isn’t just Delhi, Mumbai and Rajasthan. The south and northeast of India are totally different. The south is warm and friendly, with a relaxed vibe. And the cuisine is incredible! Just think about it – it’s home to coconuts, curry spices, rice and tropical fruits. Fish dishes are also very popular in Kerala. Deep-fried fish served with rice, lentils, and a spicy sauce is a firm favourite.

The Beautiful Lakshadweep Islands

Although my trip was short, I would have loved to see some of the Islands of Lakshadweep. This is a group of 36 islands, well known for its exotic and sun-kissed beaches, an abode of bewitching landscapes, and an experience to dive into the underwater beauty of the sea. The island is considered to be a precious heritage of ecology and culture. Lakshadweep Islands provide a lot of opportunities for water sports over the serene blue water and pearly white beaches. It is situated in the Arabian Sea off the western coast of India. These islands are noted for their wonderful beauty and pristine beaches. The islands are an oasis of greenery, with lush emerald forests and bewitching landscapes.

Before I forget it is true that you can never go wrong when you get to their barbershops!

Top Places to Visit in Italy by Richard Uzelac

The pictures of Italy make me want to visit. The country is a magnificent one, with beautiful cities, intriguing sites, and jaw-dropping attractions that draw people from all over the world. 

The regions of Italy excites and extends my horizons. It is unquestionably worth visiting the country as every traveler will find something special in this beautiful country that will entice them to return again and again, especially for those architectural lovers like me. 

From the North to the South, Italy is full of magnificent destinations that range from stunning cultural metropolises like Rome, Florence and Venice to gorgeous cities such as Milan that are dominated by majestic cathedrals and steeped in history. 

Richard Uzelac’s Top 6 Places to See in Italy

From the North to the South, Italy is full of magnificent destinations that range from stunning cultural metropolises like Rome, Florence and Venice to gorgeous cities such as Milan that are dominated by majestic cathedrals and steeped in history. 


1) Rome – Vatican City is a tiny piece of land in Rome and it has been the pope’s residence since the year 1377. While the main area is closed to the public, there are many attractions to see such as St. Peter’s Square and Basilica which are impressive examples of Renaissance architecture. When you venture into the world of art history Vatican City would be the top list you would like to visit. 

Vatican City

Florence, Italy

2.)Florence, Italy- Something interesting I read online is Florence, Italy. It is said that any time of year is a good time to visit Florence, but summer and peak August months are not the best times. One should visit Florence between April and September when it’s warm, you can eat outside, and you can get art festival tickets all summer long. One of the must-visits in Florence, Italy, is the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore – A typical Italian Gothic building, Florence’s Cathedral is dedicated to “Santa Maria del Fiore.”

Florence, Italy

 Milan, Italy

3.) Milan, Italy- There are over 1.3 million people living in Milan, which is one of the world’s most unique cities. It’s also home to Leonardo davinci’s arguably most famous work, the last supper. Milan is one of the four fashion capitals of the world, and it’s also home to the first Starbucks in Italy. When reading through the history of Campari and realizing it was invented in Novara, Italy, the West of Milan. I wanted to see the place. 

Duomo di Milano  –  All of this over 600 years in the making and to this date there are debates about who is the original architect. The Duomo is one of Italy’s most celebrated artworks and has been awarded many times for its beauty.

Montenegro Street – Located in the heart of Milan, Montenegro street is the third most expensive street in Europe. As everyone is paparazzi in Milan, I would love to ask my wife to yell out my name in the street and see how it would turn out.  

Cinque Terre

4.)  Cinque Terre-  My dream vacation would be to visit some of the most stunning places in Europe. I would like to explore beautiful villages, enjoy vibrant resorts, and discover new cultures along the way. This then would have checked my bucket list. 

Known for its beauty, the Cinque Terre has been growing grapes and olives on this rugged, steep terrain for centuries. A memorable holiday with breathtaking views of harbors far below the wild but hospitable coastline, medieval fortresses, abundant vines, and vibrant colors. The six towns that make up the Cinque Terre, nestled in the stunning Appennino hills of Italy, are justly famous for their breathtaking views and friendly communities. A classic Italian rural setting complete with medieval fortresses, extensive vineyards and pastoral views, this is a holiday that will have you ready to soak up the sun and relax.

Amalfi Coast

5.) Amalfi Coast – When you get to search around the top places to visit in Italy, I was in awe to find pictures of this beautiful coastline. I have never seen such a beautiful coastline like this. I’d make it to see this beautiful place if I got to Italy. There are fields of lavender and yellow, olive groves, lemon trees, and fig trees all along the road. The Amalfi Coast is also home to some of Italy’s most impressive hillside villas. These luxurious residences are located high on the hillside overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. The views from these homes are spectacular!

Sorento and Capri Island

Sorrento- Sorrento used to be called Surrentum during Greek and Roman times. I planned on visiting this as I go along the Amalfi Coast. Why not visit it if the place has a very welcoming atmosphere. Sorrento is a small town that’s been around since Roman times. It’s known for its beautiful beaches and restaurants and is a popular spot for tourists from all over Europe who want to experience the Italian lifestyle. Greek mythology says Sorrento was home to sirens who lured passing sailors onto its rocks with their beautiful songs.

Sorrento Italy

Capri – I would love to visit Capri Island, and I’ll bet it’s worth it! It is an island of striking natural beauty surrounded by crystal-clear seas and cliffs – it is dotted with baroque villas and gothic churches with stunning views of the Mediterranean far below. You could just see how stunning the place is.