Complete Guide: How to travel from Tikal to Copán by public bus

Tikal and Copán are two of the most impressive Mayan archeological sites, one for its impressive scale and the other for the intricate carvings, but getting between them may be somewhat of a challenge. There are expensive tourist shuttles and you’d have to backtrack through Guatemala City, so the cheapest and possibly fastest way is public transportation. I completed the journey myself and this is a comprehensive guide to on how to travel between the two sites and cross the Guatemala/Honduras border as easily as possible.

After touring Tikal for 4 hours after sunrise, I felt satisfied and wanted to leave to avoid the crowds and hot mid-day sun, so I packed up and left on a colectivo for Santa Elena (town outside Flores) at 11:30am, the cost was Q50 and took about 1.5 hours. There are hourly colectivos from Tikal to Santa Elena throughout the day with diminishing frequency by 4pm. Continue reading “Complete Guide: How to travel from Tikal to Copán by public bus”

Crossing the border from San Ignacio to Tikal by public bus

This is a step-by-step guide for those who want to travel from San Ignacio, Belize to Tikal, Guatemala by public transportation. There are many tour operators that offer transfers for $80, but I wanted a cheaper option and a more local experience. There’s a lot of outdated, incorrect, and ambiguous information so I hope that this guide will serve as a better reference.

I started the crossing at 7:30am from San Ignacio and shared a hired taxi ($25 USD) to wait for us at Xunantunich and then onwards to the Guatemala border. If you want to go straight to the border, you can either take a taxi from San Ignacio ($5 USD) or take a local bus to Benque and then a taxi from the bus station to the border.

It made sense to see Xunantunich since it’s on the way and pretty famous. To get to Xunantunich, we had to cross a hand cranked ferry and then drive up hill for about a mile. Xunantunich (entrance fee $10 BZD) was very impressive site with a very tall singular structure. We were the first ones there when the site opened at 8am and had the whole place to ourselves. Continue reading “Crossing the border from San Ignacio to Tikal by public bus”

Hacking the United Airlines Caribbean Hopper Award

United’s award chart has a sweet spot for the entirety of Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, and Northern South America. They price a flight to and from any one of these locations for 10,000 miles in Economy. This means you can go from Mexico City to Quito for 10,000 miles. But it gets better. You can book it as a round trip for 20,000 miles and effectively turn the ticket into a hopper with a stop over and a double open jaw. For example, this is what I did: SXM-PTY-UIO (stop), UIO-BOG (stop & open jaw), MDE-BOG-SDQ for 20,000 United miles and $200.17 in taxes. The high taxes are due to the “departure/tourism taxes” from transiting so many airports. If I were to buy the tickets with cash, it would have cost me SXM-PTY-UIO $587 UIO-BOG $461 MDE-BOG $70 BOG-SDQ $657, or $1775, which means I got ~7.87 cents per mile – an amazing value.
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Qatar Airways Free Doha City Tour Review

Qatar Airways offers a free Doha City tour and I was really excited to take advantage of it during my long layover at Doha Hamad International Airport. It gave me the opportunity to check off another country on my list without having to pay for the expensive Qatar Visa. The tour is about 4 hours long and covers the essential parts of Doha. The itinerary includes the Museum of Islamic Art, Katara Cultural Village, the Pearl-Qatar, and finally the Souq Waqif.
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Crossing the border from Israel into Jordan via Eilat/Aqaba

I just finished a week-long trip in Israel and to continue touring this part of the Middle East, I wanted to combine it with the best of Jordan, namely Petra and Wadi Rum. So I decided to cross into Jordan at the southern border, spending a few nights relaxing in Aqaba before continuing to Petra. There’s a lot of outdate information about the border crossing from Israel into Jordan and hope to elucidate the vagueness surrounding this crossing. Continue reading “Crossing the border from Israel into Jordan via Eilat/Aqaba”