CUBA – Varadero Beach and Medical Clinic

This gallery contains 10 photos.

Originally posted on A Note From Abroad:
Varadero Beach After spending a week in and around Havana, we traveled about 75 miles east to Varadero Beach.  Varadero is a resort town in the province of Matanzas.  It is situated on…

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Cuba – Castro, Cars and Cigars

This gallery contains 16 photos.

Originally posted on A Note From Abroad:
Museum of the Revolution Housed in what was the former Presidential Palace up until 1959, the Museum of the Revolution is located in Old Havana, just a short walk from our hotel.  It…

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Cuba – Old Havana (Yes, we did go there legally)

This gallery contains 9 photos.

Originally posted on A Note From Abroad:
Havana, Cuba Since it will still be about three months before we do any international traveling, I thought it would be fun to share a few of our more recent trips to give you…

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Guatemala City ~ A wee bit of a tour before our flight back home

Thursday, December 11th ~ Drive from Coban to Guatemala City

Our week with Hugo had come to a close. A family of four had arrived the night before from Seattle and were taking our place in the SUV to start their own adventure. We had a wonderful breakfast with the newbies and prepared for our own long drive from Coban to Guatemala City.

We waved goodbye as they started their own adventure

We waved goodbye as they started their own adventure

Our driver for the day was Victor. A former body-guard for Mel Gibson over a period of four years, I’m sure he had many story to tell – that would be if I could understand Spanish better or he spoke more English. As it was, we made do fine with a word here or there, the occasional use of our Google translation app, and a lot of smiles and hand gestures.

When I asked if Mel Gibson spoke Spanish, he indicated that he spoke only a little Spanish but traveled with a masseuse who would translate for him – (at least I think that is what he said).  Continue reading

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Coban Marketplace and the Quetzal

Wednesday December 10th ~ Coban, Guatemala

On the road from Semuc Champey toward Coban

On the road from Semuc Champey toward Coban

Just the three of us loaded up our traveling suitcases and backpacks and pointed the SUV toward Coban. Today we get to see the dirt road we had traveled two nights earlier draped in a thick fog. The countryside is lush, green and how you might picture a rainforest.

The road was still wet, slippery, and we once again dodged rock and mud slides. Several times Hugo needed to put our vehicle into 4 wheel drive to make it up steep inclines.

Broken down in the middle of the road

Broken down in the middle of the road

Coban was our destination with approximately 250,000 residents. The city was founded by Dominican friars in 1543 but did not flourish until a significant German population arrived at the end of the 19th century and developed a healthy coffee growing district.  Continue reading

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Semuc Champey ~ A revisit to one of the most beautiful places on earth

Tuesday December 9th ~ Semuc Champey

At Semuc Champey

At Semuc Champey

Arriving after dark on the 8th, we enjoyed a cocktail and our delicious buffet style dinner, but were soon off to our room to get some much-needed sleep. One learns that in the jungle you need a flashlight at night and I travel with a small one in my backpack.

You don’t want to get up in the middle of the night without looking to see what you could potentially be stepping on. In the bathroom I found a centipede and a spider that with legs extended was about 3 inches across. I shivered, avoided them both and went back to bed.  Continue reading

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Tikal National Park ~ Climbing temples, dodging pigs, and potholes

Monday December 8th ~ Tikal National Park

Grand Plaza, Tikal National Park. We had the place all to ourselves. Temple I is on the right, also known as the Temple of the Great Jaguar

Great Plaza, Tikal National Park. We had the place all to ourselves.
Temple I is on the right, also known as the Temple of the Great Jaguar

TIKAL NATIONAL PARK (click to read a more in-depth report of Tikal)

Once again Hugo (our private guide who owns/operates Expeditions Guatemala) managed to sweet talk us into getting an early start, and one more time we were on the road at 5:30 in the morning. He had hired another guide to join us for the morning that was an expert on the history and ruins of Tikal. The park opened at 6:00 and we got to be the first vehicle through the gate.

Located in the rainforest jungle of northern Guatemala, this massive site was the capital of one of the most powerful kingdoms of the ancient Maya. It has been estimated that the area was settled as far back as 900 BC. For the Mayan people, this place is the equivalent to the Great Pyramids of Egypt.  Continue reading

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