Meet the Bon Vivants is a series that showcases my favorite thinkers and good-lifers, all personal friends with important ideas and interesting musings.
Flor Reyes, LA native and citizen of the world, travels on a whim. Over a long weekend, you are more likely to find her hiking the volcanoes of Costa Rica than at home in San Jose. Flor shares her international recommendations with us here:
Best hotel: Skuggi Hotel, Reykjavik, Iceland http://www.keahotels.is/en/hotels/skuggi-hotel
Best hostels: The Flying Pig (Downtown) -- Red Light District, Amsterdam http://www.flyingpig.nl/hostels/flyingpigdowntown.php; Pariwana Hostel -- Lima, Peru http://www.pariwana-hostel.com/hostels/lima/; Kex Hostel -- Reykjavik Iceland http://www.kexhostel.is
Favorite museum: Centre Pompidou, Paris https://www.centrepompidou.fr/en
Favorite places to photograph: Jokulsarlón (Glacier Lagoon), Iceland; Muir Woods, Mill Valley, CA; Kings Canyon National Park, CA; Machu Picchu, Aguas Calientes, Peru
Most hospitable city: Mexico City, Mexico -- one of the most vibrant, large, and welcoming cities I have ever visited.
Favorite restaurant: El Sushi Loco, La Puente, CA
Best bar: The Red Lion Tavern -- Silver Lake, CA: "Cozy German tavern and beer garden, serving traditional German food close to downtown Los Angeles;" The Rose & Crown English Pub, Palo Alto, CA
Favorite rental vehicle: The 2014 Jeep Patriot that I drove around Iceland. It crushed snow like a machine, had surprisingly good gas mileage, and the sound system was bumpin’!
Favorite tattoo parlor: Reykjavik Ink
Best seafood: Puerto Nuevo, Baja California. Lobster world! Best seafood I have had in my life, oh my God!
Best street food: The best street food, hands down, can be found on 8th St and Irolo St in Koreatown, LA. There are many vendors serving up delicious and hearty Mexican meals, sweets, and other goodies from Latin America (in Koreatown). Large portions for under $4!!!
Favorite souvenirs: Artisan goods from San Salvador, El Salvador
Qualities to look for in a travel buddy: I recommend traveling with someone who understands the importance of a good mid-day nap and who is willing to wake up at 5:00 AM to hike up a mountain to be first in line to get to Machu Picchu.
Best place to travel solo: Definitely Iceland. And Barcelona.
Best party spot: Downtown Los Angeles and Barcelona
Best concert: Daft Punk at the LA Sports Arena, July 2007 -- "What followed was a performance that had the energy and emotion of a religious experience, not only living up to the hype, but shattering my concepts of how amazing a live performance by an electronic music act could be." http://laist.com/2007/07/22/daft_punk_live.php
Best festival: Outside Lands, San Francisco
Most relaxing: Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica and Maui, Hawai’i
Most stimulating: Lima, Peru (Miraflores District and Historic District)
Most colorful: Puerto Maldonado in the Peruvian Amazon
Favorite sunrise: Höfn, Iceland. It was at 10:45 AM and dark until then, so it was beautiful.
Best climate: Berkeley/Oakland, California
Favorite form of transportation: Flying in small planes — they are so scary, but they have the most scenic views because they fly so low. Also public buses.
Favorite airline: Aeromexico — Free food and free alcohol, even on short flights! And of course, Icelandair. Best in-flight entertainment and customer service, and they play BJORK’s music!
Favorite sunset: Nothing beats LA sunsets. Nothing.