As a Destination Expert with TripAdvisor.com, “Maya58” is one of the most respected opinions for the St. Pete/Clearwater area. She moved here from New Jersey 10 years ago and has dished out 2,571 pieces of advice on the St. Pete Beach TripAdvsior forum for more than five years.
CVBeat: How did you get started with being a Destination Expert?
M: I was answering questions as any other member and evidently someone from TripAdvisor noticed that I was giving helpful answers and asked if I would be one. I can do as much or as little as I want, but it’s gratifying. I want everyone to love this area as much as I do.
CVBeat: What concerns people the most about traveling to the area?
M: People ask about the sting rays a lot. They’ve heard that they could be here and are concerned if it’s as dangerous as they hear. I always let them know that it’s safe; especially if they do the shuffle as they enter the water then they will be fine.
CVBeat: What is a common thread for what the St. Pete/Clearwater area is lacking?
M: A lot of people, especially Europeans, are shocked at the lack of mass transportation throughout the area. They’ll ask “Which bus do I take to get to Busch Gardens?” Of course, we have the Jolley Trolley, but, unfortunately, there isn’t an answer to that.
CVBeat: What’s the most interesting question or comment you’ve ever gotten?
M: There was a gentleman from England who wanted to plan a very special and specific anniversary dinner with his wife in St. Pete Beach. Not long after I posted dinner suggestions, I got a private message from his wife who came across his post and my suggestions. She wanted me to steer him to her favorite, the Salt Rock Grill, which I did. They came and enjoyed their time and they’ve come back every year since.
CVBeat: What’s something people wouldn’t expect about being a Destination Expert?
M: I am not a restaurant or hotel reviewer. I simply use my own experience and that of my friends to provide suggestions for accommodations and places to eat.
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