On our last two days in Croatia we were back in Dubrovnik, but this time we stayed outside the old city, which ended up being a totally different experience. Unlike the small boutique hotel we enjoyed the first time around, our last days were spent in a larger hotel with a pool and all the amenities you'd expect...and one we didn't.
We were lucky enough to get a corner room with a wraparound terrace that was perched high above the sea and perfect for gazing at the stars. Score! We were going out with a bang.
Well, a bang, a face full of saltwater and all the excitement of a near death experience. In our 10 days, we'd had nothing but sun and calm, so it figured that the day we chose to go kayaking around Dubrovnik the seas were angry! Paddling away from the city wasn't bad, and except for when Joe decided to go swimming and dumped our entire kayak over and me with it, our trip out was uneventful (thankfully, there are worse things than being dumped backwards in the Adriatic Sea). Our tour guide took us to a great secluded spot where we stopped for a picnic and a swim (and cliff diving for the brave - but nobody in our group was that brave).
But on the way back...well, let's just say that a family of four with two little kids barely out of diapers shouldn't be in a single kayak fighting against three-foot waves. Our group was freaked out when the family's kayak went parallel to the waves, overturned, and the entire family disappeared into the water. Our guide sprang into action and the kids were scooped onto one kayak while their parents struggled onto another. I think the scare took the wind out of all us, and the wind did, too because the paddle back took more than twice as long as the paddle out. I swore to Joe that was the last time kayaking for me (something I say every time we go out on a kayak).
We had two more things left to do to feel like we'd exhausted Dubrovnik: 1. We wanted to take the cable car up Mount Srd and hike down into town. The walk was awesome and we loved it. Check!!
And, finally, 2. A drink in our hotel's cave bar (not sure why you'd want to drink in a cave when there's a stunning view ten feet away, but our hotel insisted we had to experience it). Check, Check!!
On our last night we had dinner at our hotel and watched the sun set into the Adriatic Sea one last time. Croatia had exceeded every expectation we had, and it is definitely on the list for a 30 day stay during our Quattro 90 plan.
The takeaway? If you enjoy stunning views, historically beautiful towns, and interacting with locals, then Croatia is for you!
The locals are super happy and friendly and very welcoming to tourists. Somewhat surprisingly, they also speak fantastic English, and we had no problem communicating throughout our travels (although we did learn how to say Hello, Thank you, and Goodbye in Croatian before we got there). Granted we were in some top tourist destinations and English probably gets a little sketchy in areas less traveled.
We had expected prices to be somewhat depressed here, much like our experience in Greece a couple of years ago. But surprisingly prices were fairly high. Not London or NYC high, but roughly equal to a place like Rome or Barcelona. Nothing extreme, but don't expect bargains. And make sure you have cash! Not sure if it was pandemic related or not, but about half the restaurants and some of the shops did not accept credit cards (the Croatian Krona is the local currency). There were ATMs readily available in our locations so it was really no problem, but you may want to get some cash from the ATM at the airport and then replenishing occasionally as needed along the way. When using an ATM or making a credit card purchase, sometimes you are given the option to make your transaction in US dollars or local currency.
Always choose local currency! When you choose this option, your will be given the best available rate from your bank or credit card company and many of them do not charge a surcharge or "vig" for currency conversion. If you choose US dollars, you are at the mercy of the ATM bank or local credit card transaction vendor and you can be assured that they are charging you a substantial "vig" for the privilege of handling your transaction.
All in all, this country is a must visit!
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