Go With Your Eyes Wide Open And Your Sixth Sense Alert

I confess that before our trip to Guatemala, I made myself nervous. Guatemala City is well known for its gang violence. Furthermore, www.insightcrime.org located our hotel in a zone where La Marasalvatrucha operate. Well, We were only going to be in Guatemala City for a few days. Aixa, not only braver than I am, has the third-world instincts that have gotten us through other trips safely.

Also, we were planning a trip to Tikal to see the Mayan pyramids. But Tikal is in a tropical zone, and the Zika virus scare had just begun. Some airlines had announced that they were willing to cancel bookings to the most dangerous destinations.

The trip was this past February and nothing bad happened to us, thanks in part to Aixa’s third-world instincts, as well as the stories that turned out to be greatly exaggerated. Yes, there are dangers, but you know what? In New York gang members were cutting some pedestrians’ faces and in March, New York City announced that they had registered 18 cases of Zika virus.

We had such a good time in this interesting country that we promised ourselves that we would return. So, before planning your trip, perhaps you’d like to update yourself of the 50 most dangerous cities in the world or check out where were the 10 most devastating earthquakes in Latin America, but I don’t recommend it. Instead, look at the TripAdviosr forums and communicate with other travelers who have visited your destination. Go with your eyes wide open and your sixth sense on alert, as you should every day of your life.

Caravan Tours: Unbeatable Value!

“There’s no way, with all the known and little known travel tips you will gather in your life, that you can match the high-volume discounts that Caravan receives.”

When I showed Dan the small Caravan Tours ad in Real Simple magazine, he immediately began reading dozens of Trip Advisor reviews and, within the hour, we began our way through the booking process for a trip to Costa Rica.

We don’t like group tours. Being bilingual, we like to venture out on our own, talk to the locals, explore, but this value is too good to believe!

Airport pickup, all meals included, beautiful hotels, all day tours paid for, all you can drink at open bars at two hotels, and an attentive guide for a 9 day tour at $1,099 during peak travel season is what they promise and exactly what you get!


Our guide Rolando was attentive, tireless, knowledgeable and entertaining, informing us about the history and wildlife of his country. Read through Trip Advisor and you’ll find that Caravan Tours travelers fall in love with all of the guides.

Caravan provides a new bottle of water every two days, with infinite refills in between. Rolando advised us to drink plenty and eat yogurt. Those who didn’t take his advice seriously became dehydrated and sick.

The tour (at the time of this writing) starts and finishes in the capital, San Jose. San Jose is not worth visiting and they keep your time there very short. What will you be see? Instead of a list of places you may never have heard of, let’s get into the specifics.


You will look into the mouths of volcanoes, visit a coffee plantation, cross hanging bridges in the canopy layer of lush rain forests, tour rivers teeming with wildlife, and even spend a couple of nights in a luxurious resort in Guanacaste!

Some people prefer traveling with a group and others, no. Our travel mates on the Caravan tour ranged in age from 4 to 80-something, with an even distribution in between. Everyone was friendly even though the trip required early wake ups, some long bus rides and a lot of hiking.

Still, this is not our kind of travel. We prefer renting a car and doing the trip ourselves. We like stopping in small towns and browsing roadside stands. But our way is more expensive. There’s no way, with all the known and little known travel tips you will gather in your life, that you can match the high-volume discounts that Caravan receives.

Tour of School Luis Mena in Antigua, Guatemala

The number one rated attraction in Antigua, Guatemala is Casa Santo Domingo, a convent-turned-hotel-tourist hotspot. Casa Santo Domingo deserves its ranking, but as educators, we were delighted to find Escuela Luis Mena behind its back wall. In fact, part of the Luis Mena school’s outdoor recreation area is considered legally protected, and off limits to the school staff and students.


We left the convent through the pharmacy museum, (a different street) and found ourselves surrounded by a mass of students being dismissed, parents picking up their children and street vendors trying to make a few quetzales.

On the next page, see how the heartbreaking poverty affects some children…

Finding Great Tango Performances in Buenos Aires

In Seville, Spain, you’ll want to catch a Flamenco show; in Salvador, Brazil, you’ll want to see them dance Kapoera; and in Buenos Aires, you will definitely want to go to Cafe Tortoni to see Tango.

Cafe Tortoni has been a popular spot since the mid-19th century, visited by the likes of Albert Einstein, Federico Garcia Lorca, Robert Duvall and Hillary Clinton. UCityGuides ranks Cafe Tortoni as one of the ten most beautiful cafes in the world!

The show at Cafe Tortoni, features highly talented singers, musicians and dancers. It takes you from the early days of tango, when it was considered a vulgar dance of brothels, through its transformation to the beautiful dance we know of today. President Obama danced tango in his trip to Argentina.

The show at Cafe Tortoni will leave you wanting more. Maybe you’ll catch a street tango performance, like we did: