Travel is not only about where you go, it’s also about what you do there. I always look for travel experiences to try for the first time. The trill of trying something new is definitely a feeling that should not be left to forget.

Here are my top 10 travel experiences from 2017:

  1. Masaya Volcano lava in motion

Masaya Volcano

Masaya Volcano

This was one of the best experiences and quite unexpected. I arrived in Granada around noon and asked the hostel staff what is there to do. He told me that I can join the night tour to see Masaya Volcano lava.

I didn’t know it was something I could do, I signed up right away. I had a little nap in the afternoon, just to be fresh for it. Then I shared the van with a few travelers who had incredible stories about diving in Belize and hiking in the Andes.

When we got to the crater, it was amazing! Because it’s dark, you can see the lava in bright and how it’s moving. I struggled to keep my mouth closed while looking at it. Unfortunately, you are allowed only 10 min, for safety reasons. But it’s totally worth.

  1. Zip-lining in Monteverde Cloud Forest

Zip-lining in Monteverde

Zip-lining in Monteverde

I’ve had in mind to try zip-lining for some time, but never got to it. Then, I finally reached Monteverde in Costa Rica, where it’s all about it. It’s hard to miss it while there. There are huge parks, kilometer long zip-lines, different styles, it covers all sizes and tastes.

It felt great to “fly” over the rainforest. The view is breathtaking, while you feel so small, in between to the enormous green jungle beneath you and the vast blue sky above you.

  1. Village hopping in Cinque Terre

View from Vernazza Castle

View from Vernazza Castle

Located in the beautiful Tuscany region, in Italy, Cinque Terre makes it for a great city break. Well, it’s not technically a city, it’s made up of five colorful villages. They are all similar but slightly different and linked by a train that pierces the mountains. I didn’t have time to fully explore each of them, but I think it’s a nice experience.

  1. A Medieval Castle for myself

Beaufort Castle door

Beaufort Castle door

I didn’t have many expectations from tiny Luxembourg, but I was pleasantly surprised. Gorgeous Medieval Castles are spread all over the country and it’s easy to reach them both by car and public transport.

But Sunday, when some of the public transport routes are closed, make it more challenging. Though I planned to get to the Beaufort Ruins during early afternoon, I barely made it in the late afternoon, 1h before they were closing. I thought it will be an issue initially, but once I got there I realized I have enough time to visit it all. And there were only a few other tourists, who soon left. So I had the whole castle by myself to wander around and take photos.

  1. Sit by a rooftop pool in LA

Marriott LA pool

That beer commercial kind of ruins it

Last summer, I went on a work trip with one of my colleagues. We had two weeks in the office in Sunnyvale, and we wanted to go somewhere new during weekend.

After giving it a thought, we decided to go to LA and stay at a nice hotel for a night. We still needed a good rest before the second week of work, but also to have fun and get a bit of tan, if possible. The pool was amazing and I got my vitamin D dose for the week. I find the West coast beaches a bit windy and the water too cold to swim, so the pool was a very good alternative.

  1. Explore the ancient Maya city of Palenque

Palenque. View from top of a pyramide

View from top of a pyramide

Hidden in and by the South Mexican jungle, the ancient Mayan ruins in Palenque were once a ceremonial center and one of the greatest Mayan cities. It takes a really bumpy and curvy five-hour ride from San Cristobal de las Casas, but it’s totally worth.

The stories and mysteries behind the Red Queen Tomb and Pakal Tomb are fascinating. Also, learning more about Mayan’s life and beliefs makes it a really great experience.

  1. Relax in a lavender field

Mayfield Lavender Fields

Mayfield Lavender Fields

The Mayfield lavender fields are great for a half day trip from central London. The best time to visit them is in summer when the flowers blossom and it looks all purple. The downside is that this timeframe is only for 2 months, and attracts lots of visitors (no wonder why). It can be quite crowded at times, but it’s still very pleasant.

They also have a small store and restaurant, and almost all products include or are made of lavender.

  1. Dine in a cave in Riviera Maya

Dining in a cave

Dining in a cave

Visiting a cave is a cool experience, there is a whole world there, which, maybe, you are happy not to be part of. But taking a cave and converting it into a restaurant, that’s even more impressive. I’ve been to Alux Restaurant in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and it was very nice.

  1. The pink lake of Las Coloradas

Pink lake

Pink lake

I’ve come across photos of pink lakes before but I always thought they are photoshopped. How there can be a PINK lake? Not related to pink being my favorite color, but it does look unreal.

I took a 5h ride from Cancun to Las Coloradas to see it. I was ready to be disappointed, as I was expecting to see a regular lake with a pinkish shade. But no, there it was, super pink, this gorgeous lake. I loved it and it’s definitely my favorite lake!

  1. Stylish afternoon tea in London

Cakes and Tea

Afternoon tea

I don’t usually celebrate my birthday, but last year I was in the mood to organize something. So I invited a few friends and had afternoon tea at a pretty decorated French bakery in the heart of London. I really enjoyed it and having afternoon tea in London is an experience I recommend, regardless of the occasion.

It was hard to decide which ones to pick, I tried to add a bit of everything. Can’t wait to try more travel experiences in 2018!