When my husband and I were searching for a place to celebrate our first wedding anniversary, we had a few requirements: a relaxing time, good food, and beautiful weather. We looked into places like, Turks and Caicos Islands, Aruba, and Mexico. After doing more research, those places just seemed too commercial for what we wanted to do, so when we came across Belize, we knew that this was the place for us. Belize is a country on the eastern coast of Central America, but they align culturally with the Caribbean instead of the Spanish-speaking countries of their neighbors (Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico).
Do they speak English or Spanish in Belize? They speak both
What is the currency that they use in Belize? Belize dollar
Should I rent a golf cart in Ambergris Caye? I recommend it! It’s the easiest way to travel around the island since most folks don’t have cars there
Should I stay in the city or more in the island? I recommend staying in one of the Caye’s
How do you get to Ambergris Caye from mainland Belize? You can get there by boat or a small puddle jumper
This Cuba vlog is long overdue — we went in May and I’m just now getting around to publishing the video; I hope the information below is helpful!
I’m not going to necessarily list everything consecutively, day-by-day, instead I’m just going to tell you what we did in general and I’ll also list some helpful tips for traveling to Cuba and while you’re there.
Sites to see
1. Plaza De La Cathedral
It’s one of the five main squares in Old Havana. Here you’ll fine the Cathedral of Havana, which is a beautiful church. The square is perfect for photos and theres even a nearby street with a lot of cute restaurants.
2. Plaza Vieja
This is another one of the squares in Old Havana. The day we went here it was raining like crazy so we ended up eating at a bunch of different restaurants. I must say, the food in Havana wasn’t that great. Personally, the Cuban food in Miami is so much better.
3. Paseo Del Prado
This was walking distance from our AirBNB so we went there a few times. It’s home to a lot of street art, fancy hotels, the Capitol building (which is modeled after the U.S. Capitol building), and a number of vintage cars that you can take on tours. It’s also walking distance to Ernest Hemingway’s favorite bar, Floridita.
4. Santa Maria beach
We wanted to go to the famous Varadero beach, but it was four hours from where we were. Instead, we had our driver take us to Santa Maria beach, which is approximately 12 miles from Havana.
5. El Malecon
This boardwalk right along the highway turns into a party at night. We went here on our last night and it was so much fun. There was a guy with a speaker in his truck blasting music, people making and selling food, and the folks were just dancing in the street.
Places to eat
1. La Guarida
We went early so we were able to get a seat, but it usually requires reservations. The views of the city are breathtaking and the food was pretty good, too.
2. Hotel Nacional
The restaurant had a live opera during dinner. I felt like I was in a 1940s film. This was the fanciest place we ate for dinner, but like I said, the food in Cuba is so-so.
The best food we had in Cuba was here. It’s like a European style cafe, the owner was nice enough to come and chat with us, too. Also, this was the only place that had toilet paper.
1. Make sure you convert enough money, they don’t take any credit or debit cards there. Also, if you’re traveling from the United States, I recommend that you get Euros or Canadian dollars to exchange, you’ll get a better rate with those currencies instead of the American dollar.
2. Go to a proper money exchange place rather than the airport since they charge a fee.
3. There are two kinds of currency in Cuba: moneda nacional, which is the currency for the locals; and the convertible peso, also known as the CUC, which is the tourist one.
4. Check your receipts closely — a lot of places will automatically charge a tip.
5. The classic cars are more expensive than the regular cars, but you can take one around the city for a tour, which will cost you around 20 -30 CUC’s.
6. Taking a rickshaw is cheaper and more convenient. Most trips around Havana Vieja should only cost $4-$7 CUC’s. You can also look into taking a coco taxi — it’s sort of a auto rickshaw-type taxi vehicle in Cuba.
7. Walk with toilet paper. None of the public bathrooms had it and if you needed some you had to tip the attendant to get some.
8. It’s also not recommended that you buy cigars off of the street. Many people will try to sell them as brand name Cubans, but they are not. We got ours from our AirBNB host. The same goes for souvenirs and cigar accessories. The nicer and better quality ones are in the cigar shops and hotels.
9. Know a little bit of Spanish or download an offline Spanish translator to your phone. I speak Spanish pretty well so it was easy for us to get around.
Thanks for reading and watching. I hope this was helpful! Until our next vacation vlog, which will probably be our honeymoon — ¡adiós!
My trip to Costa Rica was perfect. I don’t know what it was — the people, the weather or the food, but I’ve never had a place touch me so much. I felt so connected to everything there.
I went for four days, from March 1-5. While I wish I could have stayed longer, the time I was there was the perfect amount to be able to enjoy a lot.
Planning this trip to Costa Rica was a little nerve wrecking. I didn’t know anyone who had been to Libera. I was scared that I made a mistake flying into Liberia instead of San Jose, but I am so glad that I did.
Here is a rough itinerary of some of the things that we did. Also, if you want to enjoy the area, without being overwhelmed by tourists, I highly recommend that you stay closer to Flamingo beach, instead of Tamarindo, which is the more touristy part of Guanacaste — a province of Costa Rica that borders the Pacific Ocean.
Trip video highlights:
We arrived there on a Wednesday around 12:30 PM. I had made arrangements with the hotel for a car service which was $90 from the airport to the hotel. Something held my driver up so I ended up negotiating with another company at the airport for a lower fare— $60. I recommend just going to the airport and talking someone down on the price. The driving time from Liberia to where we stayed, Flamingo Beach Resort & Spa was 1.5 hours away. During the ride, I spotted a fruit stand and our driver pulled over for us to buy from fresh coconuts, mangoes, and passion fruit.
Once we got ourselves settled in we went for massages at the Onzen Spa where Reinaldo and Janie gave us the best massages.
After our massages we got dressed and went to a small restaurant/ bar called Las Brisas where on Wednesday night, the locals all go out for music and dancing. This was probably one of the highlights of the trip. Everyone was dancing and having a good time, the ambiance was amazing, and you could feel like simplicity and fervor of the culture.
On Thursday, we had continental (complimentary) breakfast at the hotel restaurant with an omelette bar. Then we just relaxed by the pool and the beach during the day and at night we went into the party area of Guanacaste, called Tamarindo. We got there a little early so we could eat dinner. We ate at this restaurant that was basically on the street so it was nice to people watch. After we went to Pacifico Beach Club, where a reggae band plays every Thursday. We also met some really nice people from New Jersey (originally Costa Rican, but migrated to the U.S. when they were kids). Hi, JJ and Alex!
Of course we had to have some adventure. We went horseback riding and zip lining at Hacienda El Roble. I highly recommend going there, the staff was very helpful and kind. The area we stayed in was a little more relaxed so we decided to head back to Tamarindo and check out the Friday night life.
FYI: cabs can be expensive, but I don’t recommend taking anything but the hotel-provided cabs. They’re safer and more reliable. Each trip to Tamarindo costs us around $50 round trip.
Day 4: We went to the pool/ beach again, and decided to check out some local restaurants at a neighboring town, Brasilito. At sunset, we walked on this beach called, La Playa Conchal, which is basically made up of broken conch shells.
We went home! 😦
Take cash, it’s easier to negotiate with cash.
Always ask local people (your server, hotel people, store owners) where the best parties are for that evening.
As fun as Tamarindo was, it does have a big drug problem. We actually saw police officers searching people for drugs. So be aware of your surroundings. If you’re taking a purse, make sure it’s secure and if you carry your wallet or any valuables in your pocket, make sure it’s in the front one.
Pack a lot of bug spray and mosquito repellant bands, they helped us so much.
Don’t pack fancy shoes — almost everyone at the clubs and bars wore either flip flops or sandals.
When eating at local restaurants, stay away from drinks with ice since it’s not made from purified water.
I loved these Zara pants — so comfy and cute
Harsh enjoying a fresh coconut
Fried tortillas stuffed with chicken
Arroz con pollo Costa Rican style
A view of the pool from the room
First night out
Us on the beach
At La Playa Conchal — the beach is made up of conch shells
A casado is a Costa Rican meal using rice, black beans, plantains, salad, and a tortilla