One of the highlights in Guatemala is the Mayan ruins of Tikal. The ruins are surrounded by a mysterious jungle, where you can run into monkeys, reptiles, jaguars and coatis. Tikal was declared a national park in 1955 and is today an UNESCO World Heritage Site. When visiting Tikal, most travellers also stop by the tiny island Flores as most accommodations in the area can be found here. But is Flores more than just a place to stay? I found the little island very charming, and it is worth spending a few hours checking it out.
Located only one hour from Guatemala City, the colonial town Antigua is a popular destination for travellers in the region. Either you come for a volcano trip or to relax in the quiet city, here are some of mine recommendations for Antigua.
The archeological site Chichen Itza is one of the new seven wonders of the world and is maybe the biggest tourist attraction in Mexico, with an average of 1,4 million visitors a year. Located in the Yucatan region, the site is easily reached from popular beach destinations like Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Tulum. We went on a day trip to Chichen Itza from Tulum, and the tour also included a visit to the cenote Ik Kil. The cenotes are also connected to the Maya culture, as the cenotes were the entrance to the “under world”.
Isla Mujeres is a tiny island located just outside Cancun in Mexico. The island is idyllic with its white beaches and clear water. Many people go here on day trips from Cancun and the surroundings, but it is also the perfect destination for a relaxing holiday. It is quiet and peaceful, and we chose to start our two-month-long backpacking trip here to get a relaxing start.
In May I am graduating uni after five years. Once I have handed in my master thesis, I am going to celebrate the graduation by going to Central- and South-America for two months before I move to Oslo and start working in August. I have not been on a long trip like this in a very long time. I am so excited!
For the first time, I have guest writer contributing to my travel blog! Terese Nordgård is a Norwegian travel blogger who just came home from a trip to Washington D.C., and she has been kind enough to write a guest post about her trip. I recommend you to check out Terese’s travel blog here!
Cuba is one of the countries were nothing goes according to your plan. I also found it a bit difficult finding information online before I left, because everything changes so fast and information is only valid for a short period. The whole accommodation thing is also a bit confusing. Because of this, I made a small guide based on my own experience – this is the information I wish someone told me before I left!
Oh, these Cuban beaches! Costa Sur is a beach located a 5 minutes drive from the big beach Playa Anchon and 10-15 minutes from Trinidad. Costa Sur is much smaller and less known than Playa Anchon, but I found it even more beautiful. And it was not crowded at all – it was perfect! Costa Sur is an all-inclusive resort, but if you don’t stay there you can rent sun beds and an umbrella for 2 CUC. The resort also looked very nice, and even though I am not a typical resort person I would consider staying there if I am ever going back.
Playa Ancon is know as the south coast’s most beautiful beach with its white sand and turquoise water. The beach is a 10-15 minutes drive from Trinidad (taxi costs around 6CUC).
At Playa Ancon we rented sun beds for 2CUC for the whole day. The March temperature was perfect for both tanning and swimming. The only minus was the food. There is only one restaurant who accept people not staying at the resorts, which sucks, because they the food there wasn’t the best. But, except from that, Playa Ancon is like heaven!
As you may noticed in my previous post about the Cuban city Trinidad, it is an extremely beautiful and colorful city. One of the most beautiful moments we had in Trinidad was when we watched the sunset over the city.
St. Francis Church is a yellow church with a tall bell tower, located right next to Plaza Mayor. If you don’t know where you are (you will get confused walking around in all the small streets), you can just look for the tower and locate after that. It is a must to go up in the bell tower to enjoy the view of the city. We did it at sunset, and it was amazing! I think we paid 1 CUC or something, and it was not too crowded either.
Trinidad is a small and colorful town located around 350 kilometers from Havana. It is extremely well preserved, which makes the city a very popular tourist destination. During the day, buses with tourists from the nearby resorts will arrive the city, but at night the city is quiet. The well-preserved town and its colorful architecture aren’t the only reasons to visit Trinidad. Not far from Trinidad, you will find the beautiful beach Playa Anchon, the national park Topes de Collantes and beautiful Valley de los Ingenios.
Vedado is the third area in Havana I mentioned earlier – in addition to Habana Vieja and Centro Habana. Vedado is the area with the most hotels and many restaurants. The standards are much higher than in Habana Vieja, and so are the prices. There are not many sights in Vedado, so if you stay here, you will have to take a taxi to get around the city. But, it is a very nice area, and there are many beautiful buildings here – for example are many embassies located here.
Centro Habana is an area located between Habana Vieja and Vedado. It is not too much to see here, but you will probably pass the area several times when are walking/driving around in Havana. It is actually quite fun to walk around here, because you will see the local Cuban life in another way than in Habana Vieja and Vedado. Centro Habana is also the place to watch old, American cars!
Central Havana can be split into three areas; Havana Vieja, Centro Havana and Vedado. We stayed in Havana Vieja, an area with many hotels/casas. You will also find many restaurants and bars here. This is the area where most of the sights are, so most tourists are spending a lot of time here. Havana Vieja is less crowded than for example Centro Havana, and because of the small streets the traffic is nearly non-existing compared to the rest of the city.
I have always been fascinated by Cuba, the mysterious country with cars from the 50’s, mixed architecture and amazing beaches. The country, which is so well preserved, is now fast changing – to the better for its people – but I wanted to see the “old” Cuba when I still had the possibility.