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Guatemala and Belize with G Adventures – Adventure Travel in Central America

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Chris in Tikal

After a great trip, certain moments will stand out in your memory. For this trip, it could easily have been standing atop a Mayan Pyramid in the middle of the jungle, or snorkeling with sharks, rays, and a manatee, but the moment that stands out in my mind was floating through a cave on a raft of inner tubes, with my headlamp playing off the roof of the cave. If you are looking for adventure, this might just be the itinerary for you.

Opportunity

When my plans to attend a conference were canceled I found myself with a week’s vacation I needed to use by the end of the year. Where could I go for only a week where I could see a new country or two, have some adventures, and only use 5 days of vacation?

I zeroed in on a small group trip offered by G Adventures to Belize and Guatemala called “Classic Belize & Tikal“. I had never been to either country, nor had I traveled with G before but I knew their great reputation from numerous friends and bloggers who had.

In full and fair disclosure, after I decided on this trip I pitched G Adventures to sponsor me in exchange for this blog post and for a podcast about the trip. They paid for my tour and half of my single supplement. I paid for all meals, flights, and extra activities. Don’t tell G, but if they had said “no” I probably would still have done this trip and would have been happy with my decision.

Belize and Tikal Itinerary map

Itinerary

This tour focuses on Belize but throws in 2 days in Guatemala so you can visit the Mayan ruins of Tikal. It starts in Belize City, travels to Flores Guatemala then back to St Ignacio Belize, and ends on the island of Caye Caulker off the coast of Belize.

Traveling to Belize City

One of the advantages of a trip to Belize is that it’s fairly easy to get to from the United States. For the people on my tour who lived in either the U.S. or Canada, we all flew on the same day that our trip started. The trip started with a meeting at 6 pm on Saturday night. Starting at 6:30 am from San Jose California, I was able to get to the hotel two minutes before that starting meeting. I usually recommend that you arrive a day early for a trip in case there are flight problems, I routed my flight through Los Angeles, which wasn’t going to have summer thunderstorms, and hoped for the best.

Arriving in Belize

Arrival in Belize City

The international airport in Belize is not a large airport and getting into the airport and through customs was fairly simple for me although one of the members of my tour group did have some choice thoughts about the organizational skills of those who were guiding people through customs.

I grabbed a local taxi after getting local currency from the ATM at the airport. The taxi ride from the airport to the Golden Bay Belize Hotel in Belize City took about half an hour and cost $30 USD. 

The local currency in Belize is the Belize Dollar. It is pegged to the dollar at a value of 1 USD to 2 BD. Most places in Belize will take either and your change may come back in either currency. If you are bringing dollars to use they should not be overly worn.

We had barely left the airport grounds before the taxi driver asked if he could give two “friends” a ride. He picked up two ladies who were standing by the airport entrance but waved off a 3rd woman. I did not get the impression that they were friends so much as that this informal ride-sharing is a way to make a couple extra dollars. The skies opened up with a downpour moments after our newfound friends got in the cab. While the official language of Belize is English I was given a crash course in the local Creole. I could only pick out every few words from the conversation.

G Adventures tour group

Meeting the Group

I have done several small group travel trips in the past including trips that I run for Amateur Traveler. I have sworn off big bus tours with 40 people, but I love the format of traveling with a small group of people and find that an adventurous trip tends to attract a certain kind of person. If you need to be pampered… this is not your trip. If you want things to be just like they are at home… this is not your trip.

We met our guide Suzy and the rest of the group in the top-floor restaurant at the Golden Bay Belize Hotel. My group included:

  • Suzy who was guiding her 97th tour for G Adventures. While originally from Scarborough in the UK (North Yorkshire), she lives in Guatemala and speaks fluent Spanish. She has also worked all over the world as a dive instructor.
  • A couple from Leeds in the UK, he is a photographer and she is a researcher
  • A telecom engineer man originally from the Philipines but living in Dallas 
  • A Nurse Practitioner from Nashville who works in a clinic for refugees and immigrants
  • An assistant TV director from Toronto Canada
  • A school teacher from London
  • A college professor from Central Pennsylvania who has a minor in archeology
  • A Hawaiian cruise ship crew member originally from California

I think it’s probably fair to say upfront that you could do the same tour and you can.t possibly have as good of time as I had because of the quality of my traveling companions. My apologies, I’m sure yours will be fine but mine were awesome.

view from the Golden Bay Belize Hotel

view from the Golden Bay Belize Hotel

The Golden Bay Belize Hotel

The Golden Bay Belize Hotel was our home base for just one night but was a fine place to stay. Of course, we had to immediately get in the habit of not drinking the tap water, and not flushing the toilet paper, but welcome to Central America. The hotel had a lovely restaurant, with a wonderful rooftop view of the city, and a great breakfast that was included as part of the tour. Like so many other places we ate in Belize the service was not the fastest, but the food was great. G Adventures does not stay in the same hotels for every trip in every city but spreads the love around to support the local hotels.

From Belize to Guatemala by Public Bus

From Belize to Guatemala by Public Bus

G Adventures has two different tours that cover similar itineraries. One tour is branded with “National Geographic” and is a more expensive and higher-end tour. On that tour, you are going to get a private bus through Belize to get to Guatemala. On this tour, you’re going to get to the bus station and take the public bus as far as the Guatemala border.

This trip is meant for people who want to experience the local culture. The public bus ride is just such an experience. Suzy bought our tickets for the bus but honestly, I’m not sure why they sell tickets because they don’t limit the number of people on the bus to the number of seats. On a busy Sunday morning, there were three people for every two seats on the bus. All the bus driver expected was that we all found someplace to pretend to sit down while he pulled out of the bus depot. I found myself standing for the first 40 minutes of the bus ride through the Belize countryside.

The public buses are well-maintained, so G Adventures feels safe using them, but they are re-purposed school buses from the United States. The air conditioning system is just the open windows. We were on the local bus so we stopped quite often as people got on and off. About 40 minutes out of Belize City enough people got off that I was able to find a seat. It’s a crazy system, but it is affordable and efficient for the locals.

Leaving Belize

Leaving Belize and Entering Guatemala

We took the bus as close as we could to the border with Guatemala and had a private bus that took us the last few miles. We left Belize (paying a $20 USD fee to leave… even though we had barely arrived), walked into Guatemala, and picked up a private bus. The local buses in Guatemala are not as well-maintained so G Adventures does not use them for their tours.

On the itinerary, our next stop would be Flores Guatemala, but our group was interested in adding on an additional Mayan site so instead we headed across the bumpy dirt roads to Yaxha (pronounced Yasha). This would be the first of our additional activities. These activities are not included in the price of the tour, but the trip was much more fun for including them. We often did these activities as a whole group, but your experience may be different.

Yaxha, Guatemala

Yaxha, Guatemala

Tikal is the most popular Mayan site in Guatemala because it has the most excavated buildings. Because of that, it has more tourism and more infrastructure, including paved roads. Yaxha is a smaller site but a great introduction to the Mayan classical period. The classical period ran from 200 to 900 AD and most of the local Maya ruins come from this period.  Archeologists still debate what caused the end of this period and the abandonment of these great cities in the jungles of Guatemala and Belize. The leading suspect is that the civilization was destabilized by a long period of drought. 

As with each of the Mayan sites we visited, the area is filled with tree-covered hills of various sizes. Each of these hills is itself another unexcavated ruin. One of the reasons why every site has not been excavated is there are just too many. But also, excavating a site will expose it to the elements and will start its degradation.

Yaxha, Guatemala

Some of the ruins at a Mayan site will be temples, some will be houses of nobles (like a smaller version of a temple), some will be ball courts, and some will be administrative buildings. We were also introduced to the tall, elaborately sculpted stones called stelae. These would often tell the story of one particular ruler.

Yaxha, Guatemala

We were able to climb the tallest pyramid in Yaxha to see the view of the site and its surrounding lakes and jungles. The pyramid was accessed via a set of wooden stairs and we stood on a wooden platform affixed to the pyramid to protect it from the feet of hundreds or thousands of tourists. Much of the group climbed a smaller pyramid where you were still allowed to traverse its steep uneven steps.

The Mayans built their cities in the jungle so bring bug spray, sunscreen, a hat, and lots of water. Also, you might want to bring a small pair of binoculars or a good telephoto lens because your guide will also be pointing out the local fauna including toucans, spider monkeys, and… if you are luckier than we were… howler monkeys.

Flores Island

Flores

Our home base for two nights was in the colorful town of Flores Guatemala which is located on an island in the middle of Lake Peten Itza. Flores is connected by a causeway to the larger city of Santa Elena. It is a touristy town that serves as a hub for exploring Tikal and the area. Walking from one end of the island to the other will only take you about 5 minutes.

Our group stayed in the Hotel Peten. The hotel has a lovely small indoor/outdoor pool with a swim-up bar and a view of the lake. The hotel also had a good restaurant.

Tikal

Tikal

We arose early to get out to Tikal to beat both the crowds and the heat of the day. We drove for an hour before we stopped for breakfast at a restaurant along the way, having pre-ordered the night before. 

Tikal Map

Tikal is a huge Mayan site. When we had finished with our tour we were still a mile walk from our bus. I finished off my water bottle and bought 3 more cold drinks along the way from local vendors. When we were in the jungle it was warm but when we were on the top of a pyramid exposed to the sun it was hot.

This is not a site where you see every building but instead sample the buildings that have been excavated. I climbed two pyramids in Tikal although others in my group climbed at least one more, but by the time we got to the main plaza what I really needed was my 3rd cold drink and some time in the shade. 

Tikal

If Tikal looks familiar, then you have probably seen the original Star Wars movie where Tikal was used for filming the rebel base on the jungle-covered moon of Yavin 4. This is where the attack on the Death Star took off from.

One of the members of our group had been wanting to visit Tikal since she was at least 10 years old. At 10 she had written a report for school about the Tikal Mayan site. It was fun watching someone fulfill a dream.

kudamundi

spider monkey

In addition to numerous species of birds (including wild turkeys), we also encountered ring-tailed coatimundi and spider monkeys during our visit.

Mangos Bar at the top of the Hotel Isla de Flores

Exploring Flores

When we returned to Flores the group headed in different directions. Some grabbed a nap or a swim while others had lunch or explored the local shops. We met up again at sunset for a cocktail at Mangos Bar at the top of the Hotel Isla de Flores. The hotel has no elevator and I felt the climb after the pyramids of the last 2 days.

Activities in the Flores Area:

Belize / Guatemala border

Back to Belize

The next day we retraced our steps and headed back to Belize. We took a private bus to the border where we were greeted with a private bus again on the Belize side of the border. We were picked up by the tour company that sponsored a cave tubing adventure that the entire group had decided to add to our trip. Suzy was able to join us as well since the whole group was doing the same thing. We stopped quickly at our hotel in San Ignacio long enough to drop off our luggage and change into swimwear. 

Cave Tubing

The Cave Tubing in Belize was not the same as my previous adventure of blackwater rafting in New Zealand. The water in Belize is significantly warmer and the spaces are, in general, larger and less claustrophobic. We drove halfway back to Belize City to get to the cave adventure. The tour included a Belizian lunch and a serious rum punch that went straight to my head. Normally one would traverse the cave and then eat lunch but we did not get to the site until well after lunch. We then carried our own inner tubes for about 20 minutes into the jungle, crossing the river a few times to get to the put-in spot. 

While we jumped in the water to cool off our two guides lashed our inner tubes into one long raft, two inner tubes wide. As we traversed the cave and the river we had one guide in the front and one in the back who would steer, swim, or drag our rafts into the right current. Everyone in our group had been outfitted with a helmet with a headlamp on it so that we could see where we were going in the dark. 

Partway through the cave our guides asked us if we wanted to explore so we got out of our tubes and clambered up onto the rocks and up to a natural skylight of the cave. Then we looped around to where the Mayans of the classical period had left pottery shards as part of sacrifices in the cave. 

Some of the braver members of our group jumped off a rock back into the dark waters and we were led into a smaller cave with at least one bat. Bats… you may not be surprised to hear… have a harder time navigating when people are screaming. We squeezed through a few more claustrophobic passages and then got back on our innertube raft to rejoin our leisurely float trip. 

I remember lying in my innertube with my light playing off the cave roof above me and thinking I could now die happy. 

 

San Ignacio, Belize

Our base for adventures in Belize was San Ignacio. We stayed in the lovely and comfortable Midas Belize Hotel which is also used by the higher-end National Geographic branded trip. The hotel has comfortable public spaces, a large outdoor pool, and a restaurant.

We spent two nights in San Ignacio with the day in between used for more optional adventures. On this day our group broke in at least 3 groups. 

One couple visited the Raptor Center and had their pictures taken with owls and other birds of prey. 

A couple of people visited the famous ATM (Actun Tunichil Muknal) Cave. This is another water-filled cave where there are still the remains of some ancient Mayans who were left as sacrifices in the cave. Because of some unfortunate incidents when some of the ancient skeletons were damaged by inattentive photographers, you are no longer allowed to bring a camera into the cave.

Activities from San Ignacio, Belize:

Caracol Mayan Ruins

Caracol Mayan Ruins, Belize

Caracol Mayan Ruins

I joined two other members of the group to visit our third Mayan site, Caracol. Caracol was a city that was even larger than Tikal but is much less excavated. The city is thought to have been twice the size of modern Belize City with twice its population. The name comes from the Spanish word for a snail shell and was named for the winding road to get there.

Caracol Mayan Ruins

This road once kept many people from visiting the site. It used to be a bumpy 5 hour drive from San Ignacio and the road was so hard on the tour company vehicles that they could not make a profit visiting the site. The road to Caracol is now paved halfway there as part of an international project to make tourism easier. Expect in a few years the site will have large buses from cruise ships but for now, the site still takes 2 hours to access and includes a free “Belize massage” for the latter half of the drive.

Illegal activities in the surrounding jungle also used to mean that cars would travel to Caracol in caravan, fortunately, that was no longer needed. 

I had the singular privilege to visit the site with our guide Leo who had worked on the dig for 3 seasons when the site was originally being excavated. Leo could point out which buildings he had worked on and what they had found in various niches. 

Also in my group our former archeology student had been invited to join the dig for a season early in the work on the site. She got to finally see the place that was the “road not taken”.

Caracol Mayan Ruins

The main pyramid in Carocal can be climbed. There are no wooded stairs to ascend like at Yaxha or Tikal although, hopefully, it will have one before the hords of tourists arrive. The pyramid is unusually large at the top with the different temple structures. 

Caracol

There were some of the original Maya stelae near the visitors center but Leo told us that 30 stelae had been taken from the site and most of these have completely disappeared. 

Read more about Caracol: Visiting the Caracol Mayan Ruins in Belize

Public Bus to Belize City

The next day we departed San Ignacio via another public bus. It was not a Sunday so we all had seats. We were also on an express bus instead of a local bus so the trip to Belize City was faster on the return trip. 

Belmopan

In both directions, the bus stops at the capital city of Belmopan. Belmopan was explicitly created as the capital of the country to move the capital from Belize City which was constantly under threats of hurricanes. After 75% of Belize City was destroyed by Hurricane Hattie in 1961, it was time to do something different. This tour does not explore Belmopan.

Ferry to Caye Caulker

This tour ends on the island of Caye Caulker out by the Belize Barrier Reef. From the bus station in Belize City, we met with a couple of taxis to transfer to the ferry terminal. We had an hour or so for shopping and eating before starting the approximately 1-hour trip to the island. We checked in our luggage and let the ferry personnel load and unload it from the ferry. 

Caye Caulker

Caye Caulker

Caye Caulker is an island about one mile long. It is about 4 blocks wide. The town of Caye Caulker Village has a population of 2,000 people and is a colorful and touristy beach town. The island was split in half by Hurricane Hattie in 1961. You can take a small ferry across the “split” to explore the northern half of the island.

While the 3 streets that run north and south have official names they are unofficially from east to west Front Street, Middle Street, and Back Street.  Most of the restaurants, bars, BBQ carts, and stores are on Front Street not far from the Ferry Dock. This is a beach town. The main “roads” are mostly just sand. The whole island is mostly just sand. This is not an island you want to be on in a hurricane. 

During my visit, the island had more of an aroma of rotting seaweed than a fresh ocean smell. Suzy said that was unusual and had not been the case in her trip just 2 weeks prior to our trip. 

Caye Caulker is a party. This is a place where ladies walk around in their bikinis and where Suzy, who had lived on Caye Caulker for a time, seemed to know everyone. 

Tropical Paradise Hotel and Restaurant

We stayed in the appropriately named Tropical Paradise Hotel and Restaurant at the southern end of Front Street. This quaint hotel is composed of small bungalows with front porches. It has a pool with a poolside bar and a restaurant. 

Activities in Caye Caulker, Belize:

  • Bikes with Purpose island tour – included
  • Full-day snorkel trip to Hol Chan Marine Reserve by sailboat (includes snorkel gear, lunch, soft drinks, rum punch) $90
  • Stand-up paddleboard / Kayak $15 per hour
  • Bike hire from $10 per day
  • Scuba diving from $150
  • Sunset Sailing (including ceviche, rum punch soft drinks) $60
  • Relaxing on the beach – free
  • Rent a golf cart $15 per hour
  • Flight over the Blue Hole (not bookable through G Adventures)

Bikes with Purpose

Our intro tour to the island of Caye Caulker was with two high-school-age guides from Bikes with Purpose. This program is part of the local Ocean Academy school which started a high school so that kids could get a good education without leaving the island. We hopped on old cruiser bikes and toured the island. 

Ocean Academy

Our first stop was Ocean Academy where we were introduced to the Ocean Acaemday way:

  • Be Mindful
  • Know Your Passion
  • Make Money
  • Create Legacy

We were also given a quick lesson in the cryptic Belize Creole.

We then biked to see the sting rays and sea horses at Sing Ray Beach across from Iguana Reef Inn, then on to the tarpon feeding dock where members of the group had a close and rather startling encounter with these endangered fish.

G Adventure tours tries to include interaction with a local charity like Bikes with Purpose that they support.

 

Snorkeling on the Belize Barrier Reef

Our main adventure on Caye Caulker was a snorkeling trip out to the Belize Barrier Reef and the Hol Chan Marine Reserve. All of our tour group decided to do this optional activity although one of the members of the group needed to postpone her trip until the next day because of issues with “traveler’s stomach” on the first full day on the island. 

1695351389 524 Guatemala and Belize with G Adventures Adventure Travel in

I have snorkeled all over the world and I would rank this trip in the top half of my snorkel adventures. The fish were not the most colorful that I have seen but the variety of marine life we saw was pretty great. We saw dolphins on our way out to the reef and then made separate stops along the reef to see a manatee, a sea turtle, lots and lots of rays, sharks, and coral. 

The trip included the snorkel gear, lunch, and that now infamously strong Belize rum punch. With so much time in the water, I would highly recommend a swim shirt or rash guard for sun protection. 

Sunset Cruise

Sunset Cruise

Our last day on the island was more leisurely. People explored on their own or in small groups. At the end of the day, we met up again for our last optional activity which was a sunset cruise. It was a perfect relaxing end to a great trip.

Caye Caulker to Belize City Ferry

Caye Caulker to Belize City International Airport

I had missed the information on the G Adventures site and on the G Adventures App that said not to book a flight sooner than 11 am from the airport in Belize City. My flight was at 10 am. I was originally supposed to take a small plane flight from the airport on Caye Caulker but was surprised to learn when I got to the island that the airport was closed to resurface the runway. Because of that, a couple of members of my group who wanted to see the “Blue Hole” on a small plane flight could not do that on this trip either.

I was able to take the 6:30 am ferry from the island and get to the airport with plenty of time before my flight. Allow 3 and a half hours to have a relatively stress-free trip to the airport. 

Conclusion

At least half of my group had traveled with G Adventures before and were big fans of the brand, of their tours, and of course of their guides. Add me to that group as well. If you have a week to spare and a sense of adventure, I can highly recommend G Adventures “Classic Belize & Tikal” tour.

Guatemala and Belize with G Adventures - Adventure Travel in Central America - Amateur Traveler #travel #belize #guatemala #tikal #caye-caulker #adventure

Emma Catherine grew up on the beautiful Southern California coast. She loves surfing, writing, and hanging out with her adorable dog, Henry. Her debut YA Contemporary, Love Letters, comes July 2017.

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Cultural destinations

These Are The Top 7 Beach Destinations In 2024 According To Travel And Leisure

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mallorca spain coastline

A comprehensive list of the top destinations for 2024 has been put together by the Travel and Leisure experts.

Numerous magazines have released their favorites for the upcoming year, and they all appear very different. While some are fully off the grid, others are popular hotspots.

In the end, you have to determine what interests you enough to plan a fantastic trip. Travel & Leisure divided up their best recommendations by category rather than covering all 50 locations.

Let’s examine the top 7 “beach vibes” for 2024 as listed by Travel & Leisure:
Florida’s Anna Maria Island
There are several locations in Florida that make for the perfect vacation, which is why the state continues to draw enormous numbers of visitors.

Miami and other major American beaches and cultural centers are located in this sunny state. However, a lot of people decide to take the ideal family vacation to Orlando.

Tampa is one place that gets overlooked despite having so many beautiful beaches close by. Travel and Leisure declares Anna Maria Island to be the greatest in Florida because of its friendly locals, breathtaking sunsets, and lack of skyscrapers that obstruct the view.

Your stay will be more enjoyable and accessible with new hotels and more flights to nearby Sarasota.
Italy’s Campania coast
This striking area is experiencing a hotel boom on some of the most picturesque coastline in the nation.

With four destinations to pick from for your European beach getaway—Amalfi, Positano, Capri, and Sorrento—Coastal Campania offers quadruple the pleasure.

Italy’s breathtaking beaches will wow you; many visitors associate the nation with ancient sites and excessive wine and pasta consumption.

You can still indulge in excessive amounts of delectable food and drink locally produced wine, but why not do it against the breathtaking backdrop of azure waters, undulating hills, and classic architecture?
There are several hotel alternatives available to travelers, ranging from luxurious accommodations with cliffside pools to intimate boutique styles.

Soon, American and Delta will begin offering direct service to the neighboring Naples.
There isn’t a single Costa Rican beach that Travel and Leisure recommended visiting in 2024. T and L essentially advise you to “just pick one” beach because they are all so lovely.

Any beach in Costa Rica is a good choice, however some are busier and more well-known than others.
While some may choose for more quiet spots to have a wonderful beach all to themselves, many small towns have a thriving surfing community that gets together to surf the waves.

Travelers adore visiting the land of pura vida, despite the fact that it is usually more expensive than nearby nations.

Travel & Leisure also adore it. Indeed, they have selected Costa Rica as the “Destination of the Year” for 2024. Whether traveling alone, with company, or on a family vacation, everyone will find their place in this stunning nation.

There are plenty of enjoyable excursions to discover the breathtaking beauty and culture of the country, and lodging options ranging from cozy hostels to opulent hotels are easily accessible.
Dominica  Over the past year, Dominica has been increasingly popular. Travel is on the rise, and more people are looking to discover bright new places to visit.

This Caribbean island features picture-perfect waterfalls, verdant jungles, and unspoiled beaches, making it a veritable paradise.

trekking enthusiasts should prepare their trekking shoes, as the breathtaking Waitukubuli National Trail spans more than 100 miles across the island.

More lodging facilities, including upscale establishments like InterContinental, are opening up. A major lure for tourists is sustainability, with charming eco-lodges.
Hawaii Island 🙠
We are all aware of the destruction Hawaii experienced earlier this year. After a wildfire decimated Maui, there has been debate in the travel industry over whether or not it is still safe to visit.

Travel and Leisure claims that Hawaii is prepared for tourists to return. Without requiring a passport, Hawaii offers one of the most unusual environments.

Stunning beaches, breathtaking waterfalls, and cliffside vistas are just a few of the main attractions for tourists.

Travelers are urged by the tourism sector to treat any island as if it were their own home and to be careful of their stay.
Mexico’s Los Cabos
With the cleanest beaches in all of Latin America, Los Cabos is among the most picturesque locations in Mexico.

“Is Cabo worth the price?” is the query that vacationers should be asking themselves. The top hotels, according to reports, are now charging an astounding $1000 a night on average!

With its boujee resorts, immaculate beaches, and exciting entertainment, Cabo is among the most opulent vacation spots that are accessible to most people.

In 2024, more opulent resorts are planned to open, and more flights are leaving from American airports.
Spain’s Mallorca
This gorgeous island in Spain is ideal for a romantic beach vacation. It is the location of the lovely city of Palma, which is overlooked in favor of Spain’s other major towns. Outside of the city are some of the most tranquil beaches the country has to offer, complete with dazzling waters, wide-open areas, and relaxed residents.

In between beach days, explore the amazing downtown streets for an abundance of tapas and mouthwatering wine. From boutique lodging to a Four Seasons resort, the quaint hotels will win your heart.

With United’s new direct route from Newark, getting to Mallorca is now easier than ever.

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Cultural destinations

These Are 5 Of The Top Destinations In Southeast Asia’s Cheapest Country

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Aerial View Of A Beach Area In Nha Trang, Central Vietnam, Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia, sometimes abbreviated as SEA, is the ideal destination for backpackers.

Vietnam is a very diverse subcontinent where foreigners are welcomed and hyperinflated Western prices are not a regular concern. This year, its popularity has increased due to lax visitation laws and less bureaucratic tourist visa processes, but no nation has shown itself to be as fashionable as Vietnam.

This tropical treasure borders the turquoise East Sea and is considered the cheapest destination in the South East Asia region. With extremely low consumer costs and a devalued national currency that enhances the spending power of the typical Westerner, it’s your best choice for an off-the-beaten-path tropical holiday that won’t break the bank.

After spending a lot of time exploring Vietnam, we have selected the top five places to go this winter that are affordable and rich in culture:
Mui Ne
Mui Ne, a tranquil fishing hamlet in South Vietnam, is undoubtedly the most underappreciated coastal location in the nation since it offers culture and wellness all in one place.

It’s got an emerging development strip with new resorts opening every few months, including the delightful boutique hotel The Anam that we featured earlier this year, as well as pristine reserves, sand dunes, family-run eateries, and historic Cham towers that date back hundreds of years.

With nightly rates as low as $114 and a prime location near Mui Ne’s high street rather than in a far-off place away from the activity, The Anam is the perfect starting point for visitors wishing to explore the town and the larger province.

The area is well-known for its seafood, particularly its fish sauce, and there are several authentic restaurants outside the resort complex that serve Vietnamese specialties, like rice noodle soup and sea snails, for as little as $5.
As Hoi An
Hoi An, the crown jewel of Vietnam, is a superbly maintained medieval river port with dwellings that have a yellow tint, winding alleyways, and a history that dates back more than 2,000 years.

A reminder of the successive colonization periods and the multicultural nature of Hoi An, it is situated in Central Vietnam, halfway between the country’s two largest cities, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Its eclectic architecture, influenced by Chinese, Japanese, and European styles, is evident throughout its bustling streets, which are home to medieval Sino pagodas, striking displays of colorful, brightly painted paper lanterns, a Japanese temple bridge that spans a picturesque canal, and several French-built civic structures that date back to the French Indochina period.

Hoi An, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a must-visit location if you’re traveling from North to South Vietnam or the other way around. Like other Vietnamese hotspots, it fits your budget—a three-day stay typically costs about $50, not including lodging.

Ho Chi Minh City, also known as Saigon, is the largest city in Vietnam and the political and cultural center of the former capitalist state of South Vietnam. Despite no longer serving as the country’s capital, it is still known by this name.

Still the most Westernized and outward-looking city in the nation, HCMC has changed with the times thanks to the support of a strong expat population, making it one of the top investment and business destinations in Southeast Asia.

HCMC, home to 8.4 million people, is a popular destination for digital nomads and young entrepreneurs. With its impressive French colonial architecture, war museums, and exciting nightlife, it’s a vibrant city that visitors shouldn’t miss when exploring Vietnam.

Cu Chi Tunnels, used by Viet combatants during the War, the Independence Palace, the former South Vietnam Government’s headquarters, and the Notre Dame Cathedral, a French Neo-Gothic structure, are just a few of the city’s top attractions.

When compared to other major cities in the subcontinent, HCMC is surprisingly affordable. Budget tourists could anticipate to pay a meager $30 per day, not including lodging.
Ha Trang
With over 500,000 residents, Nha Trang is one of Vietnam’s largest cities and the nation’s go-to sunny spot. Holidaymakers tend to flock there during the peak travel season, which runs from November to February when less precipitation is recorded.

Nha Trang is the new favorite digital nomad destination in Southeast Asia. It is another well-liked beach resort and bustling coastal metropolis lining the East Sea, where tall hotel towers and skyscrapers are bounded by a long stretch of white sand.

Not so well-known Nha Trang is fast rising to prominence as one of Southeast Asia’s most sought-after options for a seaside city break, thanks to its array of opulent hotels surrounding the shoreline and its abundance of top-notch restaurants serving traditional seafood from Central Vietnam.

In general, visitors should budget only $41 a day on average in Nha Trang, plus an extra $27 per night for lodging.

In addition to the stunning beaches and commercial malls, tourists may fully immerse themselves in Vietnamese culture by visiting the nearby Po Nagar ruins, an old temple that was established as early as the eighth century by the now-extinct Cham civilization.

Hanoi
A discussion of Vietnam’s most interesting travel locations would be incomplete without discussing Hanoi, which served as the country’s capital after the Reunification War and is now regarded as the country’s second-most important commercial and cultural hub after Ho Chi Minh City in the South.

The main draws of Hanoi are its broad, green boulevards in the European style and its greater degree of social development in comparison to other less developed areas of Vietnam:

Being the government’s capital and a major financial center, it has greater infrastructure than the typical Vietnamese city and is much cleaner, with less hectic traffic.

Not only is Hanoi a popular destination because of this, but visitors also enjoy it because of its high concentration of historic temples, French colonial landmarks, and large, open green spaces that offer a brief respite from the fast-paced city life.

Furthermore, because Hanoi has connections to off-beaten routes in North Vietnam, travelers frequently use it as a base for exploring the region’s wild nature, which includes stunning mountain ranges, the UNESCO-listed Halong Bay, and golden rice fields.

With an average daily cost of $50 for tourists, Hanoi is undoubtedly the most costly option out of the five; yet, even by Western standards, it is extremely affordable and definitely less expensive than other Asian metropolises like Singapore or Hong Kong.

Are you planning a trip to Vietnam soon? Find out more about this Southeast Asian treasure and some of the guidelines for visiting.

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These 5 U.S. Airlines Are Most Likely To Experience Flight Delays Right Now

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Woman Waiting at Airport

The holidays are quickly approaching, resulting in some of the busiest travel weeks of the year. Flight delays are typical this time of year, particularly around Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Flying may be a stressful experience in and of itself, but delays can make it even more so.

Booking with an airline that has a high proportion of on-time flights and booking a ticket early in the morning are two of the greatest strategies to avoid flight delays.

According to recent statistics from UpgradedPoints, the following airlines in the United States are most likely to face flight delays right now.

1. Frontier Airlines.

Frontier Airlines is currently the worst airline for flight delays. This low-cost carrier’s flights have a 31.9% risk of being delayed.

Rather of taking a chance and risking a one-in-three possibility of your flight being delayed, it’s best to select a more dependable airline for flights this winter.

Frontier is also dealing with other concerns, including as a class-action lawsuit against the airline’s $599 “unlimited flight” pass, which was introduced earlier this year.

2. Southwest Airlines

Last year, just around Christmas, Southwest Airlines experienced a catastrophic meltdown, resulting in thousands of flight delays and cancellations.

Many tourists questioned if booking with Southwest was safe in light of the complete breakdown of operations. While Southwest is likely to strive extra hard to avoid a similar disaster this winter, you may not want to take any chances.

Furthermore, according to historical statistics, Southwest flights have a 31.8% risk of being delayed, making the airline nearly as unreliable as Frontier.

3. JetBlue Airways

JetBlue is another untrustworthy airline with a significant likelihood of flight delays. When it comes to on-time flights, this New York-based carrier does not have the finest track record.

Although not as awful as Frontier or Southwest, going on JetBlue still means you have a staggering 30.8% probability of experiencing flight delays.

4. Allegiant Airlines

Allegiant Air is the next carrier on the list of possible delays. This low-cost airline is not very dependable, so although you may save money by booking your ticket, you may also face unexpected delays.

Allegiant Air flights are delayed 29.2% of the time.

5. Spirit Airlines

Finally, there is Spirit Airlines. Although this low-cost carrier is the brunt of many jokes for being a less-than-ideal mode of transportation, it isn’t as awful as some other US airlines when it comes to delays.

When flying with Spirit, there is a 28.1% risk of a flight delay.

Which Airlines Experience the Fewest Delays?

Now that you know which airlines are most likely to have flight delays right now (and which to avoid! ), here are the airlines with the fewest delays.

Although ultra-low tickets with airlines such as Frontier or Spirit may entice you, it may be worth the additional money to book with a more dependable airline.

The top three airlines with the fewest delays right now are:

  • Alaska Airlines has a 20.3% probability of being delayed.
  • Delta Air Lines has a 19.1% probability of being delayed.
  • Hawaiian Airlines has a 15.6% probability of being delayed.

Flights can be delayed for a variety of reasons, including aircraft faults, personnel concerns, weather, and other factors, but these three airlines have the fewest delays.

There is no foolproof technique to avoid flight delays (as lovely as that would be! ), but you may read this article for further advice on how to avoid the dreaded delay or cancellation.

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