Gitana Del Mar ~ Gypsy of the Sea

 

Want to cut yourself a delicious little slice of heaven?

A piece so tasty you could indulge in it for a lifetime?

 

 

Allow me to introduce you to GITANA DEL MAR, the brain child of delightful and passionate owners Nina & Ryan. After a romantic night together camping under the stars of Sierra Nevada in Colombia, they decided that they had found their home away from home, the place where they would make their future together, to fulfill their dream of building a luxury eco resort.

 

 

It didn't take long for Gitana Del Mar, meaning gypsy of the sea (an ode to the fishermen of the Colombian coast), to cast its spell over me. I was completely spellbound with this magical place. So much so, that during my time there, I never once left the property. I had everything I could have wished for, a comfortable bed, the cooling ocean, an empty beach, an outdoor shower, a yoga studio, the company of man’s best friend, world class food, books galore and hammocks hammocks hammocks. (Now we know how much I live for hammocks!). 

 

Dress by TALULAH LABEL

Bikini by MIKOH

 

I’ve been lucky enough to stay at a number of beautiful hotels of late and each one leaves a specific mark or imprint on me. Sometimes it’s the architecture or design, other times it’s the majestic surroundings the hotel is nestled within, but in the case of Gitana Del Mar it was the food! To say that I ate like a King would be an understatement. Geroge Bernard Shaw once said “There is no love sincerer than the love of food”. Well if this is the case then Gitana Del Mar jam packs nothin’ but pure unadulterated love into each dish, (Or maybe it was that sneaky Sea Gypsy bewitching me once again). I could honestly go on and on about just how incredible each meal was… The combination of fresh ingredients, the colourful presentation, the vibrant flavours, I could literally taste the chef’s creativity… should I go on?

 

 

As each sunny day inevitably blanketed itself with stars, I would plonk myself on the sand, switch off my mind, and listen to the crackle of the bonfire gently battle it out with the sound of the crashing waves. I’ve never felt more at peace. 

In recent times of travel stress I find myself transported back to that very moment allowing me to regroup and recharge. Thank you Gitana Del Mar for providing me the perfect little parcel of escape!

Love Miss. Peanut x

 

Gemma Pranita

Photography | Gemma Pranita & Matthew Rooney

Location | Gitana Del Mar | Sierra Nevada | Colombia

For more information on Gitana Del Mar, click the link to their website HERE

 

Sailing from Panama ~ Colombia

 

The biggest lesson I learned about myself during the 5 day sailing trip from Panama to Colombia is that I am NOT a boat person. Allow me to be a little more specific… And don’t get me wrong, I love being out on the ocean. I would welcome a day out on a boat with open arms and will most likely race you to the dock. But 5 days at sea? Turns out it was quite a challenge for me. But with every action there is an equal and opposite reaction and I can honestly say that I wouldn’t trade the experience I had on the Jacqeline Catamaran for the world!

One thing not guaranteed on this boat tour is an awesome crew of people to spend 5 days with in very intimate quarters. I hit the jack pot. I struck gold in this department. My reason for loving everything about this tour (aside from the absurdly beautiful San Blas Islands of course!) is the incredible group of people I met on board.  We were a rather motley crew of 20 peeps from all corners of the earth. A mix of Australia, New Zealand, England, Switzerland, Spain, Sweden, Israel, Colombia, and Canada.  A rather delicious little international cocktail if you ask me.

Together, we survived the cramped sleeping conditions (I affectionately called my bed “the coffin”), the eternally blocked toilets and the completely unappetizing (almost inedible) food.

We whiled away the time island hopping, swimming, snorkeling, playing cards, getting festive, exchanging travel horror stories and day dreaming about our favourite food. However, our daydream bubble was brutally burst on a daily basis with sad servings of a spam/gruel concoction. And me, being the only vegetarian on board, was expected to eat an omelet for breakfast, lunch and dinner for 5 days! Needless to say I couldn't look at an egg for a long time after the trip. I’d like to dish out minus 10 points to the chef for creativity.

But there are so many incredible highlights I must mention. While sailing out in open water for two days we saw flying fish, dolphins and whales. Something I will cherish forever, especially since our Captain said he had sailed this route for years and had never once seen a whale in his life.

Now to get to the photos. Because they really do paint the fun we all had together. I want to sign off from this post by saluting “The Jacqueline Crew”. What a bunch of legends!

Love Miss. Peanut x

 

Photography | Gemma Pranita & Matthew Rooney

Location | Sailing from Panama to Colombia along the San Blas Islands

Costa Rica you beauty!

 

As promised, here is my photo journal of the five most outrageously beautiful spots I recently visited in Costa Rica. I am still in awe of the bio diversity this country has on offer. Unbelievably, Costa Rica is often skipped by travellers making their way through central and south America. I can't deny it is more expensive than its neighboring countries, but I implore you to save up the extra pennies and venture off on a tour of these glorious national parks.  I still catch myself day dreaming about the cobalt blue waters of Rio Celeste and the Cloud Forest of Monteverde. Sigh! These truly are sights not to be missed. I promise you, you won't regret it!

Love Miss. Peanut x

 

RIO CELESTE 

The sky blue river found in Tenorio Volcano National Park. It is notable for its distinctive turquoise coloration, a phenomenon caused by a chemical reaction between sulfur and calcium carbonate.

MONTEVERDE

This heavenly Costa Rican cloud forest reserve is located along the Cordillera de Tilaran mountain range. The reserve consists of 10,000 hectares boasting over 2,500 plant species, 400 bird species and 100 species of mammals. It is breathtakingly beautiful!

MANUEL ANTONIO

This national park has one of the most impressive landscapes in the world with several coves and sandy beaches amidst great mountains and tropical forests. The perfect playground to frolic around in.

NAUYACA WATERFALLS

Nestled deep within the a tropical rainforest, an hour south of Manuel Antonio, Nauyaca waterfalls sits in a large canyon covered in lush greenery. After a challenging yet invigorating hike, this is the perfect place to cool off with a swim, a picnic and a siesta. 

THE OSA PENINSULA

The ecological variety of The Osa Peninsula is quite stunning. National Geographic has called it "the most biologically intense place on earth in terms of biodiversity". The peninsula is home to at least half of all living species in Costa Rica. It is a land where animals rule the jungle and locals still pan for gold. I was lucky enough to see every species of poison dart frogs! A definite highlight of my time a The Osa Peninsula. 

Gemma Pranita

Location | Costa Rica

Photography | Gemma Pranita, Matthew Rooney, Madeline Kelly & Serge Negus


The Romance of El Remanso...

 

Thoughts of my time at El Remanso release a warm hearted sigh. Relaxing, delightful and romantic are words that spring to mind!

Before I get ahead of myself, (because there is so much deliciousness to share about this place), allow me start with the greater setting of where El Remanso is situated. Costa Rica has to be one of the most nature rich, aesthetically beautiful countries I have ever had the privilege of visiting. It boasts the most abundant and diverse flora and fauna and is bursting at the seams with very well protected and cared for National Parks. So much so that I plan on writing up a blog post taking you guys on a tour of these parks with bucket-loads of photographs for you to feast your eyes on.

And now to segway back to enchanting El Remanso. This lodge is nestled within the heart of a rainforest above a secluded and wild beach. The property itself is like its own national park microcosm. It is a staggering 185 acres with thirteen cabins, four extensive walking trails, three hidden waterfalls, wildlife galore and its very own private beach. You could spend a couple of weeks here and never run out of things to see and do.

With that said, let’s get to the photos so you can take it all in for yourself…

 

 

The cabins are beautifully appointed and spacious with an open plan design for pure comfort and relaxation. Blending in perfectly with its natural surroundings, each cabin has its own private deck overlooking the pristine rainforest. Every evening brought majestic views of orange and yellow painted clouds at sunset.  I felt right at home here and slept like a baby. Easy to do when you get to drift off to sleep to the gentle rumbles of ocean waves 350 feet below. What a dream!

 

 

Delicious prints and colors! Thank you Talulah Label for keeping me style ready as I adventure my way through life!

 

 

The food, of course, is scrumptious! One of the things I love most about El Remanso is that it is family run and owned. You can feel the passion and energy buzzing through the walls of the lodge. And the food is no exception, the vibrant flavours tickled my tastebuds and you could taste the love cooked into it. The greatest challenge of each day, was deciding what dish to pick off the menu. Geez, what a tough problem to have!

 

 

One of my favourite and memorable days was spent exploring the natural lagoons and tidal pools along the beach. I felt like I was living in a post card. I've never felt so relaxed and in complete harmony with nature. The day was made even better when a pod of humpback whales decide to join us. I've never seen whales in the wild before. Many happy hours were spent watching them play in the surf, a definite highlight of my trip so far!

 

 

The dictionary tells me that "El Remanso" means quiet place or oasis. It certainly lives up to its name. For a romantic, peaceful getaway I couldn't recommend anywhere more highly than this beautiful place on earth! 

Love Miss. Peanut x

p.s To learn more about El Remanso click here

 

Photography | Gemma Pranita & Matthew Rooney

Location | El Remanso Lodge, The Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica

The little Boutiques that could!

 

I am officially at the halfway mark of my travelling adventure and boy am I feeling nostalgic. I recently found myself in beautiful Old Town Cartagena in fair Colombia and my mind was instantly cast back to my walk about shopping days in Melbourne.

The streets here are full of quaint alley ways brimming with gorgeous little boutique stores just like Chapel St back home in Melbourne! And once again, I am reminded why I love the personal touch of small businesses. As you guys know, I am an advocate for supporting Australian goodness no matter where I am in the world. And this november, I am excited to share that I am supporting the 'Shop Small' movement where we show the heart of our community some love!

I am a firm believer that small businesses (you know the ones I am talking about, the family owned, the start ups, the independents) are the heart beat and colour of any neighborhood. It's no secret that thriving local shops create thriving local communities, which in turn creates local jobs. And these guys depend on our support. So I say take a stroll around your neighborhood, pop your head in and see what goodies your local businesses have to offer. I have no doubt you will find some unique treasures to satisfy any wardrobe or home!

As part of the shop small movement, I have been asked by American Express to share my favourite small businesses. So I have chosen to feature my go to shopping spots in South Yarra & Prahran in Melbourne! I have created a Shop Small Walk map for you guys, which you can print out and take with you while exploring that area!

Check out my map to find out my must try and must buys by clicking here at: http://bit.ly/gemmapranitasswalk

Happy shopping folks!

Love Miss. Peanut x

 

Gemma Pranita

Location | Cartagena, Colombia

Dress | Talulah Label

Photography | Matthew Rooney

This content has been created as part of my involvement in the American Express Shop Small program.

 

There's Something About Maderas!

 

What is it about Maderas Village that makes you want to throw out your back pack, cut up your passport and move in for good?

Is it the beautifully appointed two storey casitas designed to feel like a cosy nest and fit in seamlessly with the jungle? Well that's definitely one reason, but now I know, having experienced its charms, that it goes far beyond its aesthetic appeal. When you stay at Maderas, you are getting so much more than a beautiful place to rest your head. You are subscribing to a way of life -

“MADERAS LIFE”.

 

 

The team at Maderas have succeeded in creating a sense of community. Every night is “family dinner” night where all residents take up a bench seat and dine together sharing stories from the day, debating current affairs or making passionate proclamations about saving the world. The nights turn into competitive croquet games and relaxed sing-a-long guitar jam session. Whatever your “fun poison” is, you won’t be alone in drinking it here.

 

 

 

Time moves slowly in this chilled out surfers' paradise. Our days consisted of yoga, surfing, hearty, healthy meals, endless amounts of hammock time, more surfing, croquet games and music to kick back to. How very civilised of us. You can see why throwing away the backpack and passport becomes ever more appealing!

 

 

It’s no secret that I am a sucker for a hammock and Maderas Village certainly has no shortage of these heavenly reclining devices. Each Casita is allocated its very own private hammock sanctuary with not only a beautiful view of the jungle but also its own family of howler monkeys to keep you company and double as your alarm clock.

 

 

 

So far, through my travels, I have spent an average of 2-4 nights at each location. At Maderas Village I was lucky enough to spend over a week! And I couldn’t get enough of the place, the people and (here’s that phrase again), “Maderas Life”. I’ve never been so tempted to call it a day from travelling and take up residence here for good. Nicaragua was a surprising country for me. Few people sung its praises. It still feels like central America's best kept secret. So I'll tell you right here right now; Go to Nicaragua! Head to San Juan Del Sur and make your way through the jungle to Maderas Village. You won't regret it!

Love Miss. Peanut x

 

If you like what you see and are keen to stay or learn more about Maderas Village click HERE.

Photography | Gemma Pranita, Matthew Rooney & Madeline Kelly Location | Maderas Village, Maderas Beach, Nicaragua

Photography | Gemma Pranita, Matthew Rooney & Madeline Kelly

Location | Maderas Village, Maderas Beach, Nicaragua

Shhh... The Secret Life of a Treehouse

 

Throw your snobbery out the window and leave your inner princess at the door!

Treehouse Poste Rojo is reserved only for those with an adventurous heart ready to embrace their inner lost boy. So kiss your simple luxuries goodbye (that’s right, no flushing toilets here!); it’s time to get down and dirty with the jungle.

 

 

So why is it such a secret? Because we only heard about it on the grapevine, through the words of excited traveller's mouths eager to share their tales and anecdotes from the mystical treehouse. We never saw a scrap of advertising for this place so of course it felt secretive! Had we not met the right people at the right time, this blog post would never even exist.

 

 

Poste Rojo Tree house, set high among the tree tops of the dense Nicaraguan jungle, is as rustic as they come. Your journey begins with a steep hike up to the main platform for check-in where you’ll pass everything from domestic cats and dogs to spiders, scorpions and tree frogs. But this all adds to the unique experience of sleeping in a jungle canopy at eye level with tropical birds and howler monkeys. 

 

 

Our days were spent hammock hopping, playing card games, drawing and exploring the various tree decks in search of wildlife. By nightfall, after a delicious family style dinner, we headed out for a full moon night swim in a natural spring with water so clear you could see your toes tickling the watery floor.

 

 

We awoke at 4:30am to the loud cries of the howler monkeys (it’s crazy that such a small mammal can produce such a thunderous sound), so we scrambled up to the cosy monkey deck to spend the next two hours watching the sunrise and listening to the jungle come to life. An unforgettable experience I will cherish forever.

 

 

So shhhhh please keep this place a treasured secret. In fact, I take everything back. I had a horrible time and I don’t recommend you going to this place at all!

 

 

In case you do want to stay, here's the link below...

TREEHOUSE POSTE ROJO

 

Treehouse Poste Rojo Photography by Gemma Pranita & Madeline Kelly

Treehouse Poste Rojo

Photography by Gemma Pranita & Madeline Kelly

Dena Kaplan, my camera & me.

 

When I think of Dena Kaplan, a few words come to mind...

(all starting with the letter 'D' of course. Alliteration, always an ally of mine).

DYNAMITE, DANCER, DJ, DOER, DELICIOUSLY DREAMY, DETERMINED, DROP DEAD gorgeous & DUDE!

Dena exudes an effortless charm. I just find the girl so damn easy to be around. Her smile is like an infectiously catchy tune you simply can't get out of your head and her nature sweeter than honey. So you can imagine how easy it was when it came to photographing her. She's no stranger to a lens and we smashed out this photo series at iconic Hollywood hot spot "Nick Metropolis' Collectables Yard" in less than an hour. Boom!

I hope you enjoy our photos!

Love Miss. Peanut x

 

 

What Dena's wearing...

Juicy Jewels | SAGE & STONE

Feather headpiece | ROCK N ROSE

Leather Jacket & White Top | ELLIOTT LABEL

Dresses | BACKSTAGE CLOTHING

Leopard Prints | SEAGULLS OF ST KILDA

 

Dena Kaplan Photography | Gemma Pranita Make up | Monica Gingold Special thanks to Nick Metropolis for letting us shoot at his rad collectables yard and to Amy Edwards for being the best flecky board holder a girl could ever wish for! All images are the property of Gemma Pranita of Gemma Peanut Gallery

Dena Kaplan

Photography | Gemma Pranita

Make up | Monica Gingold

Special thanks to Nick Metropolis for letting us shoot at his rad collectables yard and to Amy Edwards for being the best flecky board holder a girl could ever wish for!

All images are the property of Gemma Pranita of Gemma Peanut Gallery

un-BELIZE-able

 

I arrived at Caye Caulker in Belize with a hop, skip and a jump ready to take on the island! Only to be met off the ferry by locals telling me to "Go slow man! Why you have to be in a hurry man? This is island life". I giggled to myself and did a mental double take to make sure that I was in fact in Belize and not Jamaica. But it's easy to confuse the two. My senses were flooded with Caribbean breeze, the hum of golf buggies (yup, not a car in sight on this island) reggae tunes and salty dreadlocks. Time slowed to a standstill and I knew instantly that I would soon optimize the term "chillaxed".

 

Caye Caulker is breathtakingly beautiful. I met many ex travelers who chanced upon this island and never returned home. It's easy to understand why; you eat like a king, the ocean hugs you like a warm bath and the local faces are defaulted to "smile mode".

There are many highlights of my time in Caye Caulker, but if I had to pick a few I'd say... indulging in an absurd amount of hammock time, eating king lobster every night, watching spectacular sunsets from The Split and swimming with sharks, stingrays and seas turtles. Sigh! Remind me why I ever left?

Love Miss Peanut x

 

Photography | Gemma Pranita & Matthew Rooney

Photography | Gemma Pranita & Matthew Rooney

To Tranquility & Beyond!

 

If the definition of tranquillity is the state of calmness, peacefulness and serenity,

then Lake Atitlan should be its accompanying image in the dictionary.

 

Lake Atitlan | Guatemala Gemma Pranita, Matthew Rooney & Jessica McNamee

Lake Atitlan | Guatemala

Gemma Pranita, Matthew Rooney & Jessica McNamee