Stuff happens when you’re travelling. No matter how much you plan (and believe me, I like to plan), schedules change and your intended destination might take that little bit longer to get to.
Unfortunately, my plan to get to Costa Rica to start my Central America trip was pushed back by two days. This was due to my flight from Australia getting into Los Angeles late and subsequently I missed my next flight to Costa Rica. The next available flight was in two days time so I had no choice but to chill in LA for a couple of days.
Having already visited the City of Angels a couple of times, I wasn’t interested in playing tourist. I just wanted to stay as close to the airport as possible. I did not want to risk missing another flight!
Based on proximity to the airport, I selected a hostel style guest house in El Segundo, just 6km from LAX. This turned out to be a great move and I thoroughly enjoyed my stay here. Here are some of the reasons it was perfect for my impromptu LAX layout.
1. Close to the airport.
El Segundo is just 6km or 4 miles from LAX. Seeing I was bummed I missed my last flight, there was no way I was going to miss my new one in a couple of days. I needed to be as close as possible to set my anxiety at ease. A taxi from the airport cost me USD$19, which is the minimal fare. I took an uber back to the airport which cost me USD$11. This is significantly less than if I were to stay in Hollywood or Downtown LA. There is a bus that runs between the two locations. It is also possible to walk if you’re keen to save money or get in some exercise. Be very careful if walking however, as the sidewalks are along very busy roads and everyone drives so fast.
2. Close to the beach
From front door to sand, it was a delightful 15 min walk from downtown to El Segundo beach. Once at the beach, you’re on The Strand, a 36km/22mile bike path which stretches from Will Rogers State Beach all the way through Venice Beach and Santa Monica to Torrance County Beach.
Of course all the usual beach activities are available (swimming, relaxing, surfing, body boarding) plus public beach volleyball courts and a hang gliding school (not for me thanks!). There are bike, roller blade and surfboard hire spots along the way and you’ll spot many walkers, runners, cyclists and roller bladers along the course.
El Segundo is also walking distance to Manhattan Beach Pier (a pretty decent walk, allow an hour or so one way) which is a pretty spot with an aquarium and cafe. There were plenty of surfers enjoying the waves and lifeguards patrol along most of this coastline.
3. Active opportunities
Being active is a normal part of my day, but it is absolutely essential when travelling and recovering from jet lag.
After arriving at my accommodation, all I wanted to do was take a long nap. Knowing this would be the worst idea ever, I forced myself to take a long walk. As mentioned above, the beach and Strand bike trail is super close by and is the perfect place to get some sun, fresh air and move an achy traveller’s body.
My first morning in El Segundo, I ran along the Strand down to the Manhattan Beach Pier. It was about 8km round trip with a break in the middle to enjoy the Pier and surrounding beach.
There are a few yoga studios around El Segundo. Unfortunately the classes did not fit with the timing of my stay so I didn’t visit. I did some of my own home practice which again helped with the post-flight soreness. The beach (again) is a great place for yoga practice, as is Athletic Park in El Segundo which has some lovely shady areas and open spaces.
Again, as I mentioned above, the Strand is the perfect place to ride a bike and check out the local area. It’s possible to ride down to Venice Beach or Santa Monica Pier. Each way would take about an hour, according to Google Maps.
4. Great cafes
I was surprised with the healthy eating options in El Segundo. A handful of cafes and restaurants stretch across the Downtown area with plenty of options for vegetarians.
My absolute favourite foody hangout was Kreation, an organic juice bar. They have several locations across LA and their Instagram account likes to boast about their celebrity clientele. The food is fresh, delicious and healthy. There are a range of juice cleanse programs available, as well as individual juices, breakfast meals, salads, soups, smoothies, smoothie bowls and desserts. I was in heaven and took a year to decide what to eat each time. I highly recommend the AmazeBowls: nutritious, delicious and big enough to fill you at any meal. My pick is the Amazon bowl which is blended acai, raspberries, blueberries, almond butter and banana, sprinkled with apple, strawberries, muesli and something yellow which I could identify, but tasted amazing. I also tried the Choc Lover’s shake which was a perfect dinner when I was very hungry.
This Middle Eastern restaurant is excellent value for money and another great Vegetarian friendly option. I chose the hummus wrap which came with a side salad (fries also available). The serving size was huge and I was full still at dinner time! The service here was very friendly plus you can tap into the free wifi from the laundry next door.
This casual restaurant is open for breakfast and lunch and has an extensive menu with a few decent vegetarian options. I went with the hummus wrap with a side of sweet potato fries (other side options available such as French fries and salad). I almost fell off my chair when presented with my meal. It was the largest wrap I’d seen in my life! I ate half and saved the remaining half for dinner.
5. Relaxed vibe
El Segundo is super relaxed. I felt very safe on my own and the people were very friendly, sharing a smile or quick hello. It was nice to be among local people, away from trawls of tourists like in the more popular areas of Los Angeles.
As much as I was itching to get to Costa Rica, I can’t help but think my brief layover in El Segundo was meant to be. It certainly gave me some time to recover from jet lag, sort out changes to my itinerary caused by the missed flight and just chilLAX for a bit.
Til ill next time,