International Adventures

Sharm El-Sheik, Egypt

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I will be the first to admit that Sharm El-Sheik, Egypt was definitely nowhere to be found on my next destination list but after experiencing the “Charming Sharm”, I’m hooked.  I really didn’t know what to expect going in but I really enjoyed every moment.

My friend and I used Lviv Travel Agency to book the perfect vacation.  I enjoyed my experience with them. The prices and the customer service was top notch.

Taking off with a plane full of Ukrainians from Lviv, Ukraine should have given me a clue but I didn’t realize until I landed that Sharm El-Sheik, Egypt should be nicknamed Ukraine South ?. The only languages I heard being spoken at the airport other than Arabic were Ukrainian and Russian. Even in the shuttle bus when I asked our Egyptian driver a question in English he answered me in Russian. Everyone besides me that joined us in the shuttle were Ukrainian including my friend so all the rules and regulations were announced in Russian. During my stay I learned that American tourists were seldom in this part of Egypt for some years so many of the Egyptians here struggled with English. There are also those who spoke English quite well so don’t let that stop you from visiting.

CLEOPATRA LUXURY RESORT NABQ BAY

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Cleopatra Luxury Resort at Nabq Bay was everything that we needed it to be. The staff was delightful and wanted to make sure that we were enjoying every minute of our stay. We were greeted by every staff member that we met and the front desk was extremely helpful in fulfilling any requests that we had. The property was well maintained, clean, had great views and felt luxurious.

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Picturesque Views
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The view from our room

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There is one main restaurant (The Market Place) with a different theme every night, delicious food, and a very sweet head waiter Mahmoud. Make sure to check what’s cooking on the outdoor grill located on the terrace. I enjoyed the tastiest fish from the grill master. He knew that I was in love (with the fish ?) and he would often pile my plate high with fish even if I asked for only one piece then give me a wide smile 😀 The best restaurant at this resort in my opinion is the Italian restaurant, Fellini. We were allowed one reservation to eat free during our stay but you can make additional reservations and pay for your meals. The food was absolutely delicious and the red wine was superb. In total there are 4 restaurants on the property and a couple of swim up bars to fulfill all your needs.

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Entrance to Fellini Restaurant
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Bread skills at The Market Place

During our 7 day stay in mid-February, our hotel was lightly booked. We were enjoying the pools, restaurants and beach with no crowd, which gave us the feeling that we had our own private resort. There were guests of all ages but it was relatively quiet with music playing during certain exercise activities and at the pools.

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Looks like we have one of the pools to ourselves today

There are many activities offered to keep everyone busy but to me the most exciting activity was snorkeling off the jetty. The coral reefs were right there full of a variety of colorful fish swimming right up to me! Even if you don’t want to swim at that deep end measuring around 20 meters (over 65 feet!), you can wade through the shallow water near the shore and see many beautiful sea creatures.

The beach itself is beautiful and well kept with friendly staff ready to help you. You can relax in the cool beach shade and enjoy the clear view of Mount Tiran from the seaside.

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 I highly recommend this resort based on the quality of service, location, quality of food, coral reef accessibility, and value.

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Scuba Diving No Longer Just a Dream

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In love with scuba diving

It was always my dream to try scuba diving but I thought it would take a while to save up for the whole experience. If you’ve ever wanted to try diving, Egypt is the perfect place. There are many options on where to buy your scuba diving package from but it seems to me that they are all part of the same network. I purchased my package outside of our hotel at a local tour agency, CCCR Excursions for a very reasonable price. There are different packages starting from $15 USD. A shuttle will pick you up at your hotel and take you to a tourist trap area where they will try to have you rent everything from life jackets to diving masks (my least favorite part of the excursion).  Then you will be divided into different groups and led to your assigned Yacht that will take you to your destinations. The Yacht is beautiful and the staff kept the atmosphere lively and fun, there was even a chef that cooked a delicious fresh meal.

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The diving training was divided into two groups, those who understood Russian and those who understood English. We had a very patient and professional diving instructor in the English group which made me feel safe. Getting into the water, I was definitely more excited than nervous. Once we started diving, I was so happy to have my excellent instructor by my side as it’s so easy to forget all techniques when you start seeing the beautiful underwater kingdom.

Even though it was my first time diving, I think the Red Sea is the most ideal location due to many corals filled with multi colored beautiful sea creatures.  I chose the package that included Ras Mohammed and White Island, Ras Mohammed. Out of the two, Ras Mohammed is a better location with beautiful coral and much wildlife to be seen. I unfortunately did not have an underwater camera, but it’s definitely on my list for the next diving adventure. Not to worry, there will be a photographer taking pictures of your dive. The photo and video packages were quoted to me from $10 USD and up. Diving was the absolute highlight of my trip and I can’t wait to go back to the Red Sea!

The Black Girl Experience

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Hanging out in Sharm El Sheik as an American black girl was quite hilarious. As mentioned earlier this part of Egypt is not frequented by Americans so the locals were always confused as to where I was from. Many times they would try to speak to me in Arabic and tell me that I had the same skin color as them so I must be Egyptian ? When they found out that I was American they would always say that they were honored and I was treated very nicely. My friend and I would walk to the town during the evening time and felt safe. The shop keepers would invite us in but were not pushy and mostly proceeded with pleasant conversation. I never came across another black tourist during my week in Sharm El Sheik but it didn’t bother me and everyone I met was respectful. I never felt unsafe or any prejudice, everyone was mostly intrigued by my presence.

The Wrap Up

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Sharm El Sheik is the perfect vacation get away especially during winter months when temperatures are ideal for swimming and tanning without feeling the burn of the sun. The Red Sea is absolutely stunning and I completely fell in love with it. American Dollars are accepted everywhere so it’s not necessary to exchange money if you are coming from the States which makes it convenient for shopping right away. There are many activities to enjoy and you can get tours to well known tourist spots for reasonable prices. I felt safe and my money went far. My friend has been to Egypt several times on her own , therefore, it’s  a great place for everyone including solo female travelers. Most of all, I felt completely relaxed, spoiled and content after my stay. I can’t wait for my next visit!