Relocating to Palos Verdes and the South Bay Part 1 – The Beach Cities

The U.S. Air Force relocated me and my family five times in less than ten years. So if you are looking at relocating I understand your challenge. But if you are relocating to the South Bay area of Greater Los Angeles, that challenge comes with significant opportunities. I am writing this series of articles to address those opportunities for your relocating family.

In this, Part 1, we will explore what we call the Beach Cities. Those cities are, in order, driving south down the coast from Los Angeles International Airport: El Segundo, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach, and Torrance. Each city has its own special vibe that makes it distinct for both visitors and residents. So let’s take look at each of the cities in turn.

El Segundo:

This relatively unknown city borders the south side of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX.) It has a small but vibrant downtown area that gives it a bit of a small-town feel. Named after the second Atlantic Richfield Refinery, the school system receives generous funding. My older son graduated from El Segundo High School, which is one of the most beautiful high schools in Los Angeles and often used as a location for movies and television. Advantages of this city include shopping, employment (Aerospace, Oil Industry, and other numerous businesses), and convenience to LAX and Freeways.

Manhattan Beach:

This city prides itself on its “beach vibe.” Because of rising real estate prices, it has also become a mecca for modern architecture. A world class pier stretches into the cool waters of the Pacific Ocean at the end of Manhattan Beach Blvd. If you are looking for a city that is both modern and has a genuine California surfing community-this is it. Buy a board, take lessons, and enjoy. If you relocate here, you may never want to leave.

Hermosa Beach:

A bit more of an intimate surfing city; the big attraction of Hermosa Beach is nightlife! Several clubs and fine restaurants along Hermosa Avenue offer a wide range of live music and fine dining. The host of the Tonight Show often practices his monologue at the Comedy Club here. My favorite club boasts top blues bands and tasty Cajun cooking. Surf in the morning, relax in the afternoon, and hit the clubs at night.

Redondo Beach:

Some think of this city as the big secret of the South Bay. Even with its semicircular pier, yacht harbor, and sun drenched beaches it still retains a restful atmosphere. My sister raised her family here. Boating, fishing, surfing, diving, good restaurants, what more could you ask for?

Torrance:

The stretch of beach between Redondo and Palos Verdes is prized by surfers and sunbathers alike. Overlooked by a towering bluff, it offers an intimate stretch of sand that feels isolated but has a great view up the coast to Malibu. Torrance is a city that offers the greatest diversity of living. Everything from hillside homes with expanding views of Los Angeles, the mountains, and ocean to small close knit neighborhoods. Add to this a top notch school system, and you have a great place to raise kids.

In my next installment I will detail the cities of the Palos Verdes Peninsula.

Holiday & Travel Guide For the Cape Verde Islands

Beaches

The Cape Verde are a cluster of 10 small islands very close together, ideal for island hopping and spending every day on a new palm beach. Many of the beaches have not been developed, so they are ideal for those wanting absolute peace and privacy. The more popular tourist beaches offer a small variety of water sports from snorkelling, boating and some jet skiing, with small kiosks selling drinks and snacks to keep you refreshed. The waters are warm and inviting and ideal for swimming, and for those that want to learn to surf. For the divers there is a 16th century ship wreck to explore, as well as the variety of colourful sea life in the area.

Sightseeing

Cape Verde Islands are more of a romantic retreat, or a place for the business person to get away from their busy working lives. There isn’t a great deal to see on the smaller islands but there is a little more on Santiago Island. Vogo has volcanic peaks and beautiful scenery and most of the islands are lush in foliage and also have beautiful botanical gardens. There are rare African birds to be seen in the area too, so it is great for birdwatchers. Island hop over to Sal where within one of the volcanoes there are salt mines that you can explore with a very informative local guide, they can be quite eerie, but fascinating. There are many cultural festivals held on the different islands between the months of February and September. They are quite exotic carnivals and a must see if you’re lucky enough to be holidaying at the right time on one of these beautiful islands. There are some lovely nature walks on the islands, which can be done by horseback, making it a more interesting and leisurely experience with many photo opportunities with the variety of landscapes. For those who love to fish, then the Cape Verde is an ideal place for deep sea fishing.

Shopping

Shopping on such small islands can be quite pleasant, with a variety of handmade items and colourful works of local art to choose from on Santiago and a few of the other islands. There is a bit more shopping to be had on some of the other islands, but as their goods are mostly imported you will find these items to be quite expensive. Local musicians record their music on to CD and sell them around the villages, so you can take home a real piece of Cape Verde atmosphere. Beaded jewellery items and small inexpensive gifts are readily available for you to take back home for souvenirs and with the local people being a mix of Senegal and Brazilian, it makes very colourful shopping with cloths and decorative items mixed in with the rest of the goods.

Nightlife

There isn’t what you call vibrant nightlife on the islands, there are the local bands playing live in the cafe’s and bars, which make up the main entertainment. The music is Salsa with a mix of African rhythms, it’s very relaxing to listen to while having an evening meal made with the islands tropical crops and seafood. There are also a few beach parties which can be entertaining, but the night life is very low key. But after a long day in the all year round sun, an early night is welcomed.

Happy Holidays.

Top 5 Honeymoon Retreats

Planning your wedding can prove very exciting but very stressful! You’ve got to think about booking the venue, buying your wedding dress, sorting out the bridesmaids and everything else which comes along. The best thing to think about is knowing that after the big day, you’ve got a 2 week honeymoon to look forward to, somewhere divine, surrounded by white sands, swaying palms and romance filled air. But…where to go? With so many options available for you and with a hefty budget in tow, the decision is yours! Here are some great destination tips which just may help you make up your mind;

1. The Maldives – Scattered around the Indian Ocean, the Maldives is the stereotypical, idyllic destination for any honeymoon. Arrive in style via speedboat or seaplane, be greeted with a refreshing tropical cocktail then make yourself at home in your Jacuzzi Water Villa for the best 14 days of your life. What better way to celebrate your new promised love for each other than relaxing in sheer privacy surrounded by crystal clear sparkling water and water alone. You’ll be dazzled by the white, talcum powder sands, the sparkling ocean and the luxury of your wooden, stilted villa sitting above the Indian Ocean. The island is your oyster, you can relax on the beach, jump onboard a speed boat and visit some local islands, try your hand at scuba diving or partake in the ultimate true love experience…the Robinson Crusoe trip. The Robinson Crusoe trip is offered on many islands and offers you the chance to be stranded alone, just you, your husband and the ocean. The Maldives must be seen to be believed, until I travelled their, I didn’t believe such beauty existed.

2. Mexico – Boasting 5* hotels, Mexico is the ideal location for those who don’t want to lift a finger for the full 14 nights. With several resorts to choose from, the most popular and romantic being the Riviera Maya. Fly into Cancun and transfer across to your luxury property, be greeted with a cold towel and make yourself welcome in your stunning bedroom along with extra large Jacuzzi. The Riviera Maya sits along a stunning, white coast line with swaying palm trees lining the shore. Entertainment is all hotel based where you’ll usually find sporting activities, diving excursions and evening shows. If you’re the type of couple who still loves a good night out then catch a taxi and head into the capital of Cancun. Boasting an array of trendy, modern bars where you can sit on a swing whilst sipping a tequila, have a wander around the beautiful shops and then join a queue for a nightclub, some of which have waterslides! For a captivating, romance filled honeymoon, Mexico offers something every couple will enjoy.

3. Barbados – For a honeymoon where time will near enough stands still, Barbados is the ideal destination. Get into the local pace here by relaxing and taking everything in, in a perfectly slow, special way. Unwind on these overwhelming, white sandy beaches with a rum punch in hand. You won’t want to leave your hotel but you must. Let the local flavours envelope you by heading to the undeveloped east coast where you can enjoy the rugged surroundings and wild surfing areas. Barbados is one of those once in a lifetime places to visit, so what could be more special than visiting to celebrate your marriage and love for one another.

4. Costa Rica – For an adventure filled honeymoon, head to the tropical Costa Rica. Situated in Central America, this beautiful retreat offers a unique feel which most other destinations can’t. One moment you’ll be stood in an atmospheric tropical rainstorm then travelling out of it will see you laid on a sunny, sandy beach with a good book and being watched over by the Arenal volcano. Get adventurous and partake in the canopy tour…after setting out via horseback, hike through the tropical rain forests and finish the day 55 meters high in the canopy flying through the canopy by cables, although not for the faint hearted, this is a definite must while in Costa Rica. If that sounds a little too vigorous, try a spot of fishing, white water rafting or even horse riding. Ideal for a honeymoon with a twist, Costa Rica is perfect for those who love abit of adventure and like to keep busy.

5. Cape Verde – For the ultimate in true romance and relaxation, head to the volcanic islands of Cape Verde. The stunning island of Sal is one of the most popular offering a high standard of hotels and crisp, white beaches. Still an up and coming resort, Santa Maria offers sweeping white coastlines with plenty of comfortable sunbeds ready and waiting for you and your new hubby to lie back, breathe in the unique atmosphere and gaze into one another’s eyes feeling relaxed and completely happy and ready for your new life together. Cape Verde holidays also come bearing a uniquely low price tag so could prove best in the long run leaving you with some spare cash for that new house!

Wherever you decide to go for your perfect honeymoon, as long as it has soft white beaches, glittering blue seas and your beautiful new hubby by your side, you’ll have the best break of a lifetime and one to remember together until the end. Begin your life together as you mean to go on…filled with beauty, luxury and most importantly, much love.