FAQs and Tips

Here we provide some answers to the Frequently Asked Questions and a few Tips about Central America.

Belize (1)

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When is the best time to visit Belize?
Belize is a year round destination though there is usually some rain between June and the end of October, some year’s rain can continue to Christmas time but there is usually always sunshine on most days during the year. The country is exceptionally green year round and there is always plenty of sunshine for lazing on the beach. Hottest time of year is February to end of May and again in September.
Is it best to do a combination of Beach and Jungle?
Belize has so much to offer and we strongly advise a multi destination trip combining the great jungle adventure and culture with some snorkelling, diving and beach time.
Is it best to rent a car or have organized trips with tour guides?
Car rental is safe and there is little traffic but the Belizean guides are very friendly, knowledgeable and you will learn so much from them that we always suggest taking a private tour with guide so you can go at your own pace and combine all your favourite things a day.
Is Belize a family friendly destination?
Belizeans love children and are extremely kid friendly in almost every single resort throughout the country, the outdoor adventure is especially loved by the 8–18 year olds on vacation with their families. There is enough to fill a whole week of adrenalin adventure or passive easy experiences.
What is the Weather and Climate like?
Mid-January to end May – Hot and dry weather prevails throughout the country – average 32C / 90F.
End May to Mid-January – chance of rain usually more prevalent during September and October, humid, usually rains overnight and sometimes during the day – less rain on the islands and more rain in the south of the country –
can also be dry and hot for many days at a time during these months average 28C/ 82F.
Do I need any vaccinations prior to visiting Belize?
None required – contact your medical professional prior to travelling to Belize since all travellers are different with different medical needs
What kind of water and medical care is available or should be used?
Visitors are advised to drink the bottled water and all ice is made for the same purified water. Bottled water is available everywhere. Visitors should bring along any prescription medicines – while there are many drugstores throughout Belize, products are not always from North America or Europe. Good private hospitals can be found in Belize City and San Ignacio, elsewhere medical care is ok but below Western standards of medical care – in the deeper South and north of the country the standards are lowest though 24 hour care can usually be found everywhere in the country.
Communication and internet
Internet service is generally good and available everywhere though there are some pockets of poor service in the mountain areas where internet is slow or not available other than by satellite and private dishes. (Mountain Pine Ridge area). Phone connectivity is very good and there are two local providers: Digicell and Smart – top up cards are available everywhere though local cards can only be obtained through these two providers with some form filling required. Internationally roaming should be bought prior to leaving your home country.
Currency and Credit Cards
Credit cards are widely accepted in places where tourists are to be found but not in smaller restaurants and shops or more remote areas. American Express is less widely accepted mostly only in the larger hotels and more popular restaurants. Some grocery stores may try to charge a % for using a card but this is not permitted in Belize law and should be challenged, be prepared to have your grocery shopping refused and be forced to pay cash depending on the owner of the store! Local currency is the Belize Dollar which very conveniently is pegged for many years already at US$ 1 = BZ$2 – always be sure to ask if prices on menus are in BZ$ or US$ where it is not stated. According to the tourist board all vendors should state which currency is being used but always be on the safe side and check also when entering a cab ask the price and in which currency they are quoting. US$ are accepted everywhere but only bring smaller denominations of US$ 20 and less due to the large amount of fake US$ in circulation in the Caribbean in general. It is not advisable to bring Euros or UK Sterling –  while most banks will change them it is limited, rates vary and it takes a long time.
General Facts about Belize
  • Democratic country with Prime Minister, House of Representatives and a two party system
  • Principle language is English, Spanish is widely spoken on the islands and in coastal areas near to Guatemala and Mexico
  • 8,800 square miles 23,000 square kilometers
  • Part of Commonwealth, Caricom and Latin America
  • Nine main cultural groups: Creole, Mennonite, East Indian, Lebanese, Latin, Mestizo, Garifuna, Taiwanese and Maya (Tribes of Mopan, Yucatec and Ketchi) each holding on to its food, language and clothing styles
  • Population is around 325,000
  • Year round Belize retains American Central Time zone and does not change it’s clocks like many countries while its neighbour, Mexico, observes daylight saving

 

Taxes and Tipping
There is a 9% Government Room Tax – check if it is included or excluded when getting a rate for your hotel stay.
There is a departure tax that varies between airport, land borders and island departures – check with your local operator – Some taxes are already included in air plane ticket costs and its best to check with your agent prior to departure if you will be liable to taxes on departure.
When leaving Mexico, land or by sea you will be charged US$ 27 even in transit between Mexico and Belize.
Check if service charge is included as this goes to all staff – for really good service its normal to tip 10 – 15% for
meals and tour guides and other service providers.
Safety
Belize is a very safe country however statistically and due to its very small population Belize can appear in numbers to be dangerous. In the south side of Belize City like many cities and towns around the world, there are gangs that maintain their own streets but tourists are rarely affected by localized crime.
Attacks on tourist are very rare indeed and usually restricted to bars very late at night and alcohol or drug related and with those who fraternize with locals trying to tout soft drugs in bars and night clubs.
Belizeans are generally very peaceful and very friendly and always have great stories to tell. They are passionate and full of nationalistic pride and quick to help tourists when they need assistance. It’ s best to apply the same travelling safety rules as all other countries by avoiding showing wealth and not wearing large jewelry or showing money in public. In tourist areas there are Tourist Police, trained to handle tourist related matters. If valuables are left on show and unattended, chances are they candisappear anywhere in the country. Care is required when using Belize City main bus terminal as a transit point and travellers should keep their bags and possessions very close to them.

Costa Rica (1)

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  1. What Do I Need To Remember Before I Leave?

Make sure your passport will be valid at least six  (6) months after the date of entry into Costa Rica. If necessary, reconfirm your flight reservations 3 days prior to your departure and always Inform Costa Rica Sun Tours of any airline schedule changes. Leave a copy of your itinerary with family and/or friends, including phone numbers of our office and hotels they will visit. You should have medical insurance that covers you during your trip. Also consider purchasing trip insurance to cover your expenses if your travel is unexpectedly interrupted (see Insurance Considerations below).

 

  1. How Do I Pay For Purchases And Expenses In Costa Rica?

The national currency of Costa Rica is the colón, and its value floats in relation to the US dollar and Euro. Although you can use dollars virtually everywhere frequented by foreign visitors in Costa Rica, local residents generally only use colones in remote rural areas. We recommend you change dollars to colones at your hotel where you will usually receive an excellent rate of exchange. You can also exchange dollars at banks and exchange houses (casas de cambio), but never exchange dollars on the street. You can also obtain dollars or colones through Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) which are common in San José and in all major towns but not in rural areas. VISA cards (on the Plus or Star network) are most widely accepted by the ATMs. Mastercard (on the Cirrus network) is also sometimes accepted. Most tourist businesses will accept these credit cards if the user identifies himself with a valid passport. Travelers checks are difficult to cash and we don’t recommend using them.

 

  1. What Should I Pack For My Trip to Costa Rica?

Pack light! Often you will have to carry your own bags …. or at least lift them off the carousel! Domestic flights within Costa Rica have a baggage limit of twenty-five (25) pounds per person. If you exceed this limitation the pilot may require you to remove items from your suitcase to reduce the excess weight (you can store extra luggage at your hotel or with your land operator, however a fee may charged for transporting the bags).

 

Most of Costa Rica has “short sleeves & shorts” weather. However, in the highlands, especially in Dec/Jan, temperatures can be cold (near freezing) at night, so plan on dressing in layers. Casual and informal loose-fitting clothing is appropriate throughout Costa Rica. Bring comfortable clothes that wash and dry easily. Most hotels offer laundry services for a fee to their guests.

 

Most importantly if you plan to hike in Costa Rica’s magnificent outdoors– bring comfortable lightweight walking shoes or hiking boots. Be sure your shoes are well broken in. Sore feet can ruin your trip. Rain gear may be necessary at any time of the year! If you wear glasses, pack an extra pair. Bring them and any medicines you need and a copy of your prescriptions in your carry-on luggage.

 

  1. What Documents Will I Need To Take For My Trip?

Please note that some countries may required to consult the Costa  Rican Consulate for specific entry requirements, also notice that not all people who wish to travel to Costa Rica need a tourist visa; this will depend on your nationality, purpose of visit, country of residence and duration of stay.

 

Citizens in general are required to provide the following documentation for entry into Costa Rica:

  • A valid passport for each passenger including children. Expiration date on the passport must be at least six  (6) months after the date of entry into Costa Rica.
  • An airline ticket to leave Costa Rica, evidence of onward travel to exit Costa Rica.
  • Economic solvency of a minimum of $ 100 per month for a legal stay in the country

 

If traveling with minors, under age 18, please note the following:

  • If accompanied by both parents with the same name, no further documentation is required.
  • If accompanied by only one parent, a notarized letter of permission for the minor from the absent  parent is required
  • If the minor is not accompanied by either parent, a notarized letter of permission for the minor from each  of the parents is required.
  • In the case when both parents have been traveling together but one has to leave Costa Rica earlier than the rest of the family. Getting a signed letter from the absent parent can save a lot of hassle when you leave the country. This also applies if you are traveling with someone else’s children.

 

  1. What Do I Need To Do To Leave Costa Rica?

Tourists are required to pay an airport departure tax of $29.00 USD when leaving Costa Rica. You must pay this tax at the bank cashier’s window before checking in at the airline counter for your flight. You can pay in dollars or the equivalent in colones or by a VISA credit card. You will also need to answer a few questions on a simple form, which you need to present at the airline counter.

 

  1. How Can I Be A Responsible Traveler?
  • Everyone can be a responsible traveler, no matter what travel style you choose:
  • To start, use socially and environmentally responsible tour operators, hotels and outfitters.
  • Do not litter, pick wild flowers or plants.
  • Use refillable water bottles and recycle when you can.
  • If your hotel has a policy to reduce using water and soap by minimizing laundering of towels and sheets, try to support it.
  • Remember to turn off lights and air conditioning when you leave your room. Better still, we have a wonderful climate-open your windows and enjoy fresh air without using an air conditioner whenever possible.
  • Try not to waste water when you are not using it.
  • Try to use biodegradable soaps and organic insect repellent and sun block.
  • Respect the local culture and traditions.
  • Ask permission or ask your guide to ask for you before taking someone’s picture.
  • Help ensure your money stays in the local community.
  • Try local brands for food and drink.
  • Buy hand crafted goods produced by local artisans.
  • Never buy authentic archeological artifacts or souvenirs made from endangered trees or animals.
  • Hire a local naturalist guide.
  • Avoid feeding, touching or harassing wild animals.
  • Stay on the trail at all times-this helps lessen your impact on the forest and will prevent you from getting lost.

 

  1. How Much Should I Tip My Guides and Drivers?

Guides and Drivers: Tips are not included in the price paid for these services. Drivers and guides do not work for tips, however if you are happy with the services you have received,a good way to say thanks would be to tip these individuals. Guides, are often tipped anywhere from US $8.00 – $15.00 per day per person depending on the group size. Drivers, transfer guides, local guides, river guides – US $3.00 – $5.00 per day per person.

 

  1. Can I Safely Eat or Drink The Food And Beverages I Am Served?

Water is both safe and refreshing throughout Costa Rica. However, we do recommend that you drink bottled water in remote areas and port cities. Bottled water is available at hotels, grocery stores and restaurants. Do not use ice anywhere you would not drink the water!

Food is normally safe in all the better hotels that cater to international travelers.

In smaller “street restaurants” there is less certainty about the food quality. Avoid eating uncooked portions such as salads in such places. If you buy fresh fruits at a roadside stand or from a street vender, wash the fruits carefully before eating them.

 

  1. Is the Electrical System Compatible With Electrical Devices That I Want to Bring With Me?

Costa Rica’s electrical system is compatible with that of North America, 110 volts. Many outlets are made for two pronged plugs. Three hole grounded plugs are uncommon. If you have equipment that has three -pronged plugs be sure to bring a two-prong plug adapter or buy one at a hardware store.

 

  1. How does the Phone System, Cell Phone Service and Wi-Fi etc. Work in Costa Rica?

International calls can be made easily at your hotel. Signals for cell phones are now much improved over those of a few years ago, but still limited in rural areas or in mountainous or densely forested topography. Check with your service provider if your system will work in Costa Rica if you are uncertain. Wi-Fi service is now available in many of the better hotels. You can check their websites or email them to find out more about the services they offer. Internet cafes are common in the large urban centers and are also found in many smaller communities, they offer internet service at very economical rates. Most hotels also offer an internet service.

 

  1. Medical Emergencies: What Care Services Are Available In Costa Rica?

Costa Rica has excellent health care services available. The major urban areas have hospitals, and large towns in rural areas have clinics. A well-organized Red Cross assists in emergency rescues, first-aid treatment and ambulance service throughout most of the country. Well-trained medical personnel can be found in both the public medical system and in the growing private medical service industry here. Testimony to the quality of health care is the long life expectancy enjoyed by the Costa Rica population, which compares favorably to or exceeds that of most other nations worldwide.

 

  1. Insurance Considerations: What should I Have for this Trip?

You should have medical insurance that covers you during your travels outside your home country. Review your policy if you are unsure. In addition, consider purchasing Trip Insurance. Unfortunately unforeseen events, such as illness of yourself or a family member or friend, accidents, flight(s) cancelation(s) due to severe weather, etc. can delay or cause your vacation to be completely cancelled at the last minute. As a consequence you could lose your payments for hotels, tours and subsequent flights. Trip insurance can cover most of the expenses. We can assist you in purchasing this insurance if you need it.


El Salvador (1)

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GENERAL INFORMATION EL SALVADOR

El Salvador is the smallest country in Central America with 8,000 sq mi (20,720 sq km); This mountainous country is bordered by the Pacific Ocean, Guatemala, and Honduras. El Salvador is known as the Land of Volcanoes. It is the only country in Central America that does not have a coastline on the Caribbean Sea.

  •  Official Name: Republic of El Salvador

  • Capital City: San Salvador

  • Population: 5.9 million

  • Currency: US Dollar

  • Language: Spanish. English is spoken sometimes at touristic attractions.

  • Electricity: 110 volts AC, 60 Hz and 220 volts

  • Airport: International Airport El Salvador (Comalapa) (SAL)

  • Weather: mostly warm between 25 and 30 degrees Celsius and  with a rainy season that goes from May through October and dry season with occasional north east trade winds that lowers the temperature a bit.

     

    PRACTICAL TIPS

  • Entrance requirements: Valid passport, and according to the country of origin, sometimes is necessary a tourist visa or tourist card that cost $10 and it’s normally valid for 90 days.

  • Communications: Telephone IDD available. Country code: 503. IDD is available to Europe, USA and certain international ports. Outgoing international code: 00

  • Mobile Phone: GSM 850, 900, 1900 and 1950 networks.

  • Fax and Internet: Hotels have facilities. Internet access is easily available throughout El Salvador, as well as WI-FI points.

  • Currency exchange: Visitors are advised to change currency only at banks.

  • Credit and debit cards: International credit cards are accepted

  • Travelers check: these may be cashed at any bank or hotel, prior presentation of the passport.

  • Lodging: The greater concentration of hotels are in the capital city. It is recommended that it is reserved ahead of time. Lodgings of all type exist.

  • Tips: It’s appropriate to give 10% tip in the majority of restaurants and bars. Some places include that tip on the bill.

  • Suitable clothes: slight clothes are recommend and some wardrobe suitable for the rainy season.

  • Always drink bottled water. If you need ice, then ask if it was made with purified water. Nearly all hotels and resorts understand this, but it is good to inquire first.

  • Bring a hat, sunscreen, and mosquito repellent. Remember you are closer to the equator and the sun can get very intense. If you come during the rainy season, then be prepared for mosquitoes along the coastal region. Most hotels have mosquito nets.


Guatemala (1)

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Climate Range & Altitude – Guatemala is known as ¨The Land of eternal Spring¨ Temperatures are mild and varies little during the year. December is the coldest time of the year and temperatures can get considerably low, especially in the highlands: Guatemala City, Atitlan and Antigua. The lowlands (Rio Dulce and Peten) are much warmer and humid.

Time Zone – Guatemala is on Central Standard Time Zone and does not have daylight-savings time.
Passport/Visa – A valid passport is required for stays of up to three months for most nationalities. Please check to make sure your passport is current and make a photocopy that you can carry with you at all times. Please check if you need a visa before traveling as conditions can change unexpectedly.
Insurance – Make sure you read your policy carefully to ensure that you are covered for all instances and up to a value you feel appropriate.

Communications – Internet, fax, cable TV & radio are accessible in all major tourist areas. International dialing code for other countries to dial to Guatemala is +00 502 and from the USA 011-502

Clothing – In Guatemala City, Antigua and Atitlan wear spring clothing during the day and a sweater at night. In November you may find having a scarf useful. Comfortable walking shoes are recommended for your tours. At archaeological sites, beaches and rainforest areas light colored, lightweight, cotton clothing, sunglasses and a hat are recommended.

Currency & Finances -The local currency is the Quetzal however US Dollars are accepted in all major tourist areas and changed at all the banks. Most major credit cards are accepted by hotels and some shops although a surcharge of up to 7% can often be added. – The most commonly accepted cards are AMERICAN EXPRESS and VISA. You will need your Passport with you to cash traveler’s checks or to take money out from the bank using a credit card. There are many ATM machines in Antigua, Guatemala City and Flores.

SPENDING MONEY – Prices in Guatemala are pretty low for the region and a few examples will help you judge how much money to bring with you. An expensive meal is only $25, Beer $1.50 – $3.00, Wine $2.50 – $4.00 per glass. Bottle of Wine $15.00 & upwards.

Electricity -110 Volt AC is found throughout most of the country.

Tipping guidelines -We have put together this tipping reference in response of clients requests worried about not tipping enough. Even though tipping in Guatemala is not huge, it is highly appreciated in all cases. – Tip what you feel is appropriate.
• Restaurants & bars: Normally a 10% tip is included on the bill.
• Hotels: tips only expected for the porters and for the cleaning staff. $1 per bag for porters, $1 per day for the cleaning staff, 10% for room service if it hasn´t been added.
• Private Drivers: $5-10 per day – depending on service, the length of the journey and the number of passengers.
• Tour Guides: $15-$25 per day of guiding, depending upon length of tour, type of guiding, etc. For longer trips $50 – $100 per person per week.
(Tipping is not required by any means, especially in case of bad service, low enthusiasm or unfriendliness).

Traveling with Children -Guatemalans love kids and if you are traveling with children you will probably attract special attention, which can often be of great help.

Things to be careful about – Guatemalans are very catholic and conservative and in some ways it is also a very masculine country. To avoid un-wanted attention, we suggest that you avoid wearing provocative clothes. We also suggest that you do not wear any expensive jewelry while traveling in Guatemala and certainly do not bring any piece with a sentimental value in case of loss or theft. When walking on markets or crowded places wear your backpack, camera in front as you walk and wallet on your front pocket.- as any other market in the world you will find pick pocketing a popular sport.

WHEN IN GUATEMALA….

The Water: It is not recommended to drink tap water anywhere in the country. Bottled water is cheap and easy to find.

Change: When you change money in a bank do ask for smaller bills like some 5, 10 & 20 quetzal bills. People very often don’t have change – especially in the markets –

Toilet Paper: Please remember that in nearly all bathrooms in Guatemala you are required to put the toilet paper into the basket provided & not into the toilet itself as this might provide can cause problems with the delicate sewage systems!

What to Buy: Guatemala has a wide variety of beautiful crafts for which you must always be prepared to bargain in markets. In more formal stores prices are fixed and tax is already included on the prices.

Valuables: Please keep your belongings close to you at all times, especially in crowded markets. When in cafes, don´t leave your bag on the floor. Robbery in rural areas is not so common as in the city, but you won´t loose anything by being extra careful. Please don´t bring any piece with sentimental value.

GUATEMALA BACKGROUND INFO
AREA
42,042 sq miles, this makes it slightly smaller than the state of Tennessee. By comparison, Colorado is 104,100 square miles, over 2x the size of Guatemala.
POPULATION
14.5 million (UN estimate 2010). The United States has a population of 314 million.
CAPITAL
Guatemala City. Population: 1.1 million, officially but the great urban area is estimated as high as 2.3 million.

GEOGRAPHY
Guatemala is located in Central America and shares borders to the north and west with Mexico, to the southeast with El Salvador and Honduras, to the northeast with Belize and the Caribbean Sea and to the south with the Pacific Ocean. The landscape is predominantly mountainous and heavily forested. A string of 33 volcanoes rises above the southern highlands along the Pacific, three of which are still active. Within this volcanic area are basins of varying sizes which hold the majority of the country’s population. The region is drained by rivers flowing into both the Pacific and the Caribbean. One basin west of the capital has no river outlet and thus has formed Lake Atitlán, the deepest lake in the Americas, which is ringed by volcanoes. To the northwest, bordering on Belize and Mexico lies the low undulating tableland of El Petén, 36,300 sq km (14,000 sq miles) of almost inaccessible wilderness covered with dense hardwood forest. This area covers approximately one-third of the national territory, yet it contains only 40,000 people.

GOVERNMENT
Guatemala is a Republic and gained independence from Spain in 1821.

HEAD OF STATE
President Jimmy Morales, elected to a four year term in 2016. Presidents in Guatemala may only run for one four year term.

LANGUAGE
The official language is Spanish. There are also 23 indigenous languages.

RELIGION
About 60% of the population is Catholic. Most of the remaining population is Evangelical Christian. Some indigenous communities hold services combining Catholicism with pre-Columbian Mayan spiritual rites.

PHOTOGRAPHY
Locals are often suspicious of foreigners taking photographs, particularly of young children. Before approaching children for photos, or even just to talk to them, you should check with an adult if this is acceptable. Be very cautious of this in small villages in the Highlands. However, if you are in any doubt, refrain from doing so. You may be asked to pay a small amount of money to take photographs of both children and adults.

RECOMMENDED PACKING LIST

Pre-departure
● valid passport (valid for 6 months after travel dates)
● airline confirmation/e-tickets
● emergency contact details for folks at home
● proof of travel insurance, copy of the plan
● medications/immunizations
● Cash – crisp, 2006/newer bills
● credit or debit cards
● photocopy of passport

Clothing
● sturdy, comfortable walking shoes
● sandals or flip-flops
● lightweight travel pants
● smart casual pants
● lightweight capris or shorts
● lightweight long sleeve shirts
● short sleeve shirts
● sweater
● scarf
● waterproof, lightweight rain jacket
● underwear
● socks
● wide brimmed hat

First Aid
● pain reliever
● Pepto or Tums tablets
● anti-diarrheal medication such as Imodium
● traveler’s antibiotics
● antibiotic cream
● sunscreen (SPF 30+)
● insect repellent
● lip balm with sun protection
● personal medications

Toiletries
Please consider the environment and unwrap/dispose of packaging materials at home where we have better recycling and trash facilities!
● Small container of laundry soap should you need to wash items in your room
● Toothbrush/toothpaste/floss (please brush with bottled water!)
● hand sanitizer
● travel packets of tissues – many rural bathrooms will not have TP
● deodorant
● shaving cream
● skin care products

Other gear
● Day pack
● Camera, batteries, memory cards, camera bag, shoulder strap that fits across your chest if using a larger SLR camera
● money belt if desired
● refillable water bottle
● travel journal and pen
● reading material/e-reader (see reading list for ideas!)
● snacks if you like certain items such as granola bars, dried fruit, candy, nuts, gum

SUGGESTED RESTAURANT LIST

GUATEMALA CITY

Hacienda Real – Dine for a unique Guatemala City social experience! Couples, families, birthday parties, young, old…everyone heads to this Guatemala City institution for steaks, traditional cuisine, fresh salads and tasty desserts. It’s easy to spend hour’s people watching and enjoying the food and atmosphere in the lively courtyard.
www.hacienda-real.com

Kakao – Offers traditional pre-Columbian/Mayan cuisine along with typical contemporary Guatemalan favorites. Due to its central location in Zone 10, the restaurant gets busy at lunch.
www.kakao.com

Ambia – A fine dining experience with indoor and outdoor (heated) patio seating. Good wine list and a menu including their signature dishes from risotto to pad Thai! One of Guatemala’s top dining experiences. Reservations are a must. Look out also for Biba Trattoria for Italian Dining and Giuseppe Verdi located at the Westin. All three restaurants are part of the Fine Dining Group.
www.fdg.com.gt

Clios Bistro – French Fusion restaurant family owned and operated by renamed siblings Olivia and Roberto De La Fuente. Beautiful chic decor and located in the heart of Zona viva.
www.cliosfoodcraft.com

Tamarindos – The Asian fusion cooking combined with the Guatemalan tradition and modernity portrays this exceptional restaurant and its wide variety of menu selection. Its definitely a place to enjoy in a relaxed atmosphere, in the heart of the Zona Viva, visible through the mix of contemporary art that is present even in the smallest detail that materialize all senses, sobriety, and sophistication.
www.tamarindos.com.gt

El Portalito – Traditional bar and “antojitos” down town in Guatemala City. In the past a favorite hangout joint of Che Guevara. The bar opened in the 1940s and is located in the Pasaje Rubio, on the other side of the street from the Plaza Mayor de la Constitución. The bar is noted for its wood furnishings and traditional marimba music during the evenings. The specialties of the bar are pigeons in sherry, and light, dark, or mixed beers.

ANTIGUA

Panza Verde Restaurant – located within the Panza Verde boutique hotel and features one of the best fine dining experiences in Antigua. Sit in the outdoor patio lit with lanterns and candles or under one of the sweeping balconies. A complete wine and cocktail list is paired with the international cuisine and local specialties.
www.panzaverde.com

Bistro CINQ – offers fine French dining in a casual and intimate atmosphere. The restaurant decor is extremely unique and its location in the center of town is very convenient. Here you will find classic bistro fare such a steak , roast chicken, pate, escargots & tarte tatin, striving in serving organic products and support local farmers, fisherman, and ranchers.
www.bistrotcinq.com

Tartines – Located in the heart of Antigua overlooks the ruins of the cathedral and serves French cuisine, Panini’s, fish and steak. It is an ideal spot for a romantic dinner or special event.
www.tartines-antigua.com

Fonda de La Calle Real – Spanish colonial home with Guatemalan Typical homemade Cuisine. Located in three different parts of town in Antigua. The service and quality of the meals are impeccable. Chicken Pepian is excellent.
www.lafondadelacallereal.com

Los Tres Tiempos- Traditional Guatemalan Restaurant and bar, with a great location and exceptional food. This is a step from Guatemala’s local cuisine to modern fusion.
www.lostrestiempos.com

Cafe Condesa – Has been a breakfast and lunch favorite in Antigua for years. From omelets and triple-washed export-quality salads, to freshly baked cakes and some of the best coffee in town, the food and the garden atmosphere of the old hacienda are truly an experience in Antigua.

Micho’s – An excellent gastro-pub that serves fresh, local cuisine with great service. The food is carefully prepared and creative and the atmosphere in an old colonial building is memorable.

Caffe Mediterraneo – For Italian food in Antigua, this tiny restaurant can’t be beat. Northern Italian specialties, delicious antipasti, and delicate homemade pastas are among the favorites. Wash it all down with a selection from the affordable wine list. The atmosphere and decor are low-key. Instead of giving out individual menus, waiters lug the menu board to your table to explain what’s available.

PANAJACHEL, LAKE ATITLAN

Circus Bar – A Pana tradition with wood-fired pizzas, excellent drinks, cozy atmosphere and live music.
www.circusbar.com.gt

6.8 Palopó – set in Casa Palopo’s luxury boutique hotel. Elegantly set tables are set in intimate clusters inside the relaxed dining room and on the glassed terrace, additional tables spread along the wide veranda. 6.8 Palopó is the place to catch an uninterrupted view of spectacular sunsets and awe inspiring volcanoes. Once the night sky closes in, the fully stocked bar is a cozy, informal nook to retire to and at dinner, hanging iron candelabras and a collection of candles softly lights the restaurant dressing it for romance. And a sensual pleasure it is when you peruse the extensive international wine list and read the menu with its mouthwatering dishes, and the wide choice of assorted treats accommodates all palates.
www.casapalopo.com/6.8.html

Hotel Atitlan Restaurant – Just outside of Panajachel and offers a full bar, cocktail menu, tea menu and wide range of local dishes and international fare. Restaurant blends chic sophistication with a warm, casual ambiance. With an elegant terra cotta design complemented by tasteful burgundy and teal shades, the restaurant offers splendid views of Lake Atitlán and the surrounding volcanoes through large bay windows. A visit to the gardens is a must!
www.hotelatitlan.com/restaurants-en.html

Sunset Cafe – offers great view, good beer and good ambience. Spectacular for sunset drinks and snacks.


Honduras (1)

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What kind of money can I use or should I bring?

The official currency is the Lempira. The US$ is fixed at US$ 1 = 22 Lempira and US dollars are widely accepted in tourist areas and especially the Bay Islands. Credit cards are also widely accepted.

ATM (hole in the wall) machines for cash withdrawals are available at every bank, airports and at major department stores.

It is not recommended to bring any other currency than US dollars.

What should I pack?

Light and casual clothing are best. The Honduran climate is warm all year round, except in mountainous or high altitude areas. Sandals and a bathing suit for the beach are a must. Sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat are needed all times of the year, as the sun is hot and strong. Bug repellent is also needed mainly for nights and some beaches where sandflies are found.

What can I expect the food to be like?

Traditional Honduran food varies from the coastal to inland regions. Through the inland regions meals consist of beans, rice tortillas, vegetables and chicken, beef or pork. In the coastal region seafood, bananas, salad and a variety of tropical fruits are more common. Most restaurants will serve a variety of traditional and western style foods. In major cities, there are many fast food chains like: MacDonalds, Burger King and Pizza Hut.

Is it safe to drink tap water?

No! We recommended drinking only purified water, which can be bought throughout the country.

What vaccinations are needed to visit Honduras?

No vaccinations are required to enter the Bay Islands and Honduras. However, it is always good plan to have your Tetanus, Hepatitis A & B up to date for traveling to the region.

What is the weather like in Honduras?

Honduras is hot and humid almost year-round. Temperatures vary by altitude rather than season. The average low and high temperatures nationwide are 20°C (68°F) and 32°C (90°F)

Suggested months to visit Honduras: February to September . The rainy Months are October and November

How do I get to Roatán?

Several airlines fly directly to the international airport in Roatán while other flights go through San Pedro Sula, on the mainland of Honduras. From San Pedro Sula you can fly directly to Roatán, or go to La Ceiba for the ferry transportation.

Do I need to know Spanish to visit Honduras?

Probably not. Most hotels and tourist sites will have someone who speaks English or who can assist you, especially on the north coast and Bay Islands where English is more commonly spoken.

Is there any internet or Wi-Fi access?

Wi-Fi and Internet connections are now widely available in larger cities and major tourist destinations, however, about half of Honduran restaurants and hotels also provide Wi-Fi access, called Internet ‘inalámbrico’ in Spanish. Check with your hotel or hostel if they offer free Wi-Fi and if it is available in all rooms.


Nicaragua (1)

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Weather and Climate

Due to its location, Nicaragua has a very pleasant warm climate year round.

November/April: Usually dry with a temperature between 30C (86F) to 35C (95F) and slightly windy.
Ideal to travel the rainforest areas, as the access could be hindered during more
humid seasons.

May/October: Humid season with a temperature between 30C (86F) and 35C (95F) with light breezes.
Perfect for people who don´t mind a passing shower and want to visit Nicaragua’s
colonial cities and nearby sights, as rainforest areas could be hard to access during
heavy rainfalls.

 

Vaccinations

No vaccinations are required, but some are recommended. Like hepatitis A, polio, tetanus and diphtheria. For a longer stay are also vaccinations against hepatitis B, typhus and hydrophobia recommended. Please inquire a tropical disease specialist, especially if you are planning to stay longer.

Malaria occurs on more rural areas and on Nicaraguas Atlantic coast.

Constant use of mosquito repellant is recommended.

Water and Medicine

Generally, tap-water is not drinkable, but it can be used safely for taking showers and brushing teeth. Bottled water can be bought everywhere, even at grocery stores and minimarkets.

 

Communication and Internet

Phone calls from Nicaragua can be very expensive, but most of the hotels offer a free WIFI access.
For national phone calls the cheapest way is to buy a SIM Card from a local provider, which you can use with your own mobile phone.

 

Currency and Credit Card

Nicaragua’s official currency is the Cordoba.  You may find prices in Cordoba or American dollars, and it is possible to pay cash in both currencies.
The best way is to bring dollars with you and exchange here to Cordoba.

In larger hotels, restaurants and car rental services it is also possible to pay with credit cards like VISA or MasterCard. But paying with a credit card still is not as common as in other countries.

 

Did you know that?

  • During your first day of vacation in Nicaragua, you might be tired because of your flight, as well as the time change, and for sure you might be tempted to go for an afternoon siesta. We advise that you spend the first day without sleep and to get to bed at 9 p.m. so that you will be able to rest and get used to the new time zone, especially when travelling from Europe or time zones with bigger time variances.
  • Nicaragua’s typical meal is gallo pinto (rice and beans), which is mostly served with fresh vegetables and juices.
  • The local bears are Toña and Victoria, and of course you have to try Nicaragua’s famous Rum – ‘Flor de Caña’