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”
Dubrovnik is known as the Pearl of the Adriatic and for good reason. It’s impressive white wall fortification has stood the test of many centuries and offers a step back in time to a day when merchant ships roamed its ports and cannons protected its freedom. Highlights for me include a walk along this ancient wall to get an amazing perspective from above this beautiful city, a ferry ride to nearby Lokrum Island, and convenient day trips to Bosnia and Montenegro.
From Split, where I left off, Dubrovnik has regular bus transfers. The journey took about 3 hours (125 HRK) with a brief rest stop in Neum, a narrow strip of Bosnian coast. The interesting thing about this bus ride was the necessary border crossings into Bosnia & Herzegovina to get to the other side of Croatia. What I learned about these two borders (one for each side) is that depending on the officer’s mood, your passport may or may not be stamped. In my case, it was stamped departing Croatia, but not stamped returning into Croatia. Interestingly, there were no Bosnian border officers. The bus terminates at Dubrovnik’s main bus station and to get to the old town (Pile Gate), you take city bus 1A or 1B (12 HRK).
Dubrovnik was the highlight of my visit to Croatia. I spent a day walking around the old city, exploring the narrow alleyways, passing through its three gates. I quickly realized why Game of Thrones was set in this picturesque walled city. Continue reading “Overland expedition of Eastern Europe Part 3: Dubrovnik”
Eastern Europe has a lot to offer in terms of history, architecture, and natural beauty. It costs a fraction compared to Western Europe and has the mystique of being part of the former communist block. Given that it’s been almost 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the region has developed a great deal and fears of safety or totalitarian regimes should not dissuade you from visiting.
In the first part of this Eastern European expedition, I left off in Bratislava, Slovakia. Here, I’ll cover Slovenia and Croatia, with my favorite highlights being Lake Bled, Split, and Dubrovnik.
Continue reading “Overland expedition of Eastern Europe Part 2: Slovenia & Croatia”
Eastern Europe, home of many former communist dictatorships, deep history, and intriguing culture, has been a fascination of mine for some time. On this trip, I traveled overland by train, bus, and car across the former Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia, covering the currents states of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, and Montenegro. In this first post of the series, I’ll go over the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
Continue reading “Overland expedition of Eastern Europe Part 1: Czech Republic & Slovakia”
Qatar Airway’s Al Safwa First Class Lounge in Doha is perhaps the most incredible First class lounge I’ve been to. There I said it. I know it’s quite a statement since I’ve been to both Cathay First Class Lounges in Hong Kong, including the recently opened Pier, the Qantas First Class lounge in Sydney, the Japan Airlines First Class lounge in Narita, and many more. After a long awaited opening in October 2015, it is clear that the designers looked at every aspect of a lounge and made it as extravagant as possible. Dining is five star – you can have breakfast with a glass of Krug. Feeling tired? You can book a day suite, which is essentially a hotel room. Want private duty-free shopping? The lounge has its own store. Feeling in the mood for a gigantic floor-to-ceiling water fountain? Well, I did say extravagant didn’t I?
Continue reading “Qatar Airways Al Safwa First Class Lounge Doha Review”
Etihad First Class Apartments is a revolutionary take on First Class for the A380. The Apartment features a luxuriously upholstered leather armchair and ottoman, which turns into a bed. Additionally there’s a vanity cabinet, mini bar, and a myriad of storage compartments. Quite unique is the onboard shower which you can reserve for your exclusive showering experience 30,000 feet above the ground. There are also all the other things you’d come to expect from Etihad First Class including attentive personalized service, a multitude of dining options, and a fully featured IFE. It’s quite an luxurious product, and I can see why the the cash price is $5,600 for this 13 hour flight.
Continue reading “Etihad A380 First Class Apartments Abu Dhabi to Sydney Review”
Amtrak’s California Zephyr and Coast Starlight Superliner Roomette offer some of the most breathtaking scenery America has to offer in the comfort of your own private cabin. In this trip report, I travel cross-country from Chicago to Seattle via Sacramento on the California Zephyr (50 hours) followed by the Coast Starlight (20 hours), both in the Superliner Roomette First class cabin. Cabin amenities include two chairs, two convertible beds, full meals, and showers. Where else can you have the luxury of eating dinner with the backdrop of the Rocky Mountains or waking up to the sunrise over the Sierra Nevadas? Amtrak Guest Rewards is one of the hidden gems of Ultimate Rewards transfer partners. While mainstream travel hacking is all about flying international First Class, slow travel can be quite rewarding as well.
Continue reading “Review of Amtrak’s California Zephyr and Coast Starlight: The cross-country train ride of a lifetime”