The Best of Belize and Guatemala: A Two-Week Travel Itinerary

Belize and Guatemala, two absolute gems in Central America. I’ll admit I had never given much thought to them before planning my Latin America itinerary this year. However, two weeks of traveling the region made one thing very clear: this is a part of the world you have to see!

Flores, Guatemala

Flores, Guatemala

Whether you choose to dedicate a trip solely to these neighboring countries or you decide to visit the two as part of a larger Central America, Latin America, or global trip, here are my tried and true suggestions for how to spend two weeks in un-Belize-able (sorry, couldn’t help myself) Belize and Guatemala.

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8 Things You Should Know Before Traveling to Cuba

Cuba has, without a doubt, become one of the world’s hottest tourist destinations over the last few years. The formerly isolated country is slowly opening up to Americans, and the resulting boost in the tourism industry is encouraging travelers from around the world to experience the fascinating Caribbean island for themselves. In many ways, Cuba remains a world of its own, a stark contrast from most places you’ve ever traveled. Prepare yourself for a trip by reviewing these eight must-knows.

Trinidad, Cuba

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Travel Talk with Hilary: An Auxiliar de Conversación in Madrid

I’m back with a new installment in my Travel Talk interview series! This time, I spoke to Hilary Leslie of Oregonian Overseas, who is currently in her second year of teaching English in Madrid, Spain as an auxiliar de conversación (language and culture assistant). I participated in the same program from 2011 to 2013, so I was curious to hear about her experiences and travel plans.

Visiting Acadia National Park, Maine

Hilary visiting Acadia National Park, Maine

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Vietnam Beyond the Bustle: Mai Chau Valley

Hanoi, Hue, Hoi An, Saigon… Most travelers to Vietnam know these city’s names well and are sure to include them in their itinerary. But Vietnam is a massive country (far bigger than I imagined!) with a wealth of remarkable places to visit. One of the best? Mai Chau Valley, several hours from Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi.

Mai Chau Valley, Vietnam

Vietnam’s Mai Chau Valley

Knowing very little about the region, Mai Chau hadn’t been on my Southeast Asia bucket list prior to my travels, but a friend had strongly recommended Vietnam Backpacker Hostels’ Mai Chau Valley trip, and I couldn’t pass up a chance to see Vietnam beyond its hectic cities by paying a visit to the valley’s peaceful villages and rice paddies. Continue reading  

16 Reasons 2016 Was the Best Year Ever

I’ve seen it all over friend’s Facebook posts, the media, and in conversations with friends: 2016 is the worst. Can it just be over already? Between terrorist attacks, disquieting politics, natural disasters, deaths of public figures, and just about every other nightmare you can imagine, public sentiment toward 2016 is not exactly the fondest.

Grand Canyon

A monumental year. At the Grand Canyon in December

For me personally, it’s been an insane year. I rang in midnight stranded outside a dark Havana, Cuba bus station after our ride failed to pick us up in time to join New Year’s festivities. This seemed to become a microcosm for the rest of the year: things never went according to plan, and 2016 proved extremely frustrating at times, but it was always, always an intriguing adventure. Continue reading  

Indonesia off the Beaten Path: Spotlight on Cianjur Regency

Many visitors to Indonesia’s choose Bali as their destination, and, as I found out this March, it’s a remarkable place, well-deserving of its status as Indonesia’s most popular island. However, Indonesia consists of up to 18,306 islands stretching across 3,181 miles/5,120 kilometers, so there is no shortage of idyllic destinations to explore. Looking to explore an alternative Indonesian location away from the throngs of tourists that places like Bali experience year-round? Consider Cianjur.

Puncak Pass Resort, Cianjur, Indonesia

The view from Puncak Pass Resort, near Cianjur (photo credit)

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