The Ultimate Guide to Guatemala!

Guatemala is a small country geographically, but really packs a punch. Diverse landscapes, from volcanoes and lakes to coastlines and jungles, mark it as an outdoor paradise, while historical wonders of the Mayan and Spanish colonial periods will astound those who prefer slightly tamer activities. But what do you need to know to plan a…

Guatemala Beyond the News Cycle

For so many Americans, Guatemala isn't a place per se. Rather, it is synonymous with drugs, violence, and illegal immigration, since that is what we see in the news. As a first-time visitor to the northernmost of the "northern triangle" countries - or as Fox News put it, three Mexican countries - I was curious…

Antigua: The Gem of Guatemala

Antigua Guatemala, literally meaning Old Guatemala, sits about an hour outside of the bustling capital of Guatemala City. It is, for many tourists, the first and most mandatory stop on a trip to this Central American nation, and it was for me. Easily walkable (distance-wise, as the cobblestone streets and sidewalks seem to yearn to…

Trip Itinerary: Nicaragua

There is still plenty more Guatemala content on the way - don't worry - but I am changing locations shortly and it's time to lay out the itinerary for the second half of my Central America journey: Nicaragua. Before you start, yes, I am aware that there have been violent crackdowns of anti-government protests over…

Tikal and the Mundo Maya

It is hot. Very hot, sitting at an even 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The air is steamy, the humidity approaching 85% and seeping through me. I stand in the shade of a tree, drinking water and sweating it out just as fast, staring at Temple 1, a large pyramid at one side of Tikal's grand plaza.…

Trip Itinerary: Guatemala

I can't believe that this trip is upon me. I've wanted to visit Guatemala since my first exposure to Mayan culture in Belize about fifteen years ago. On that trip, I journeyed to Altun Ha, a small Mayan trading city. It was impressive, and I learned of the existence of the grandest Mayan city of…

Trip Introduction: Central America Part One

After an incredible three months in France and a month back stateside, it is time for me to head back out of the country. The destination? Central America! I've designated this Central America Part One since I will be returning to a couple more countries later in the year. It wasn't intentional to visit Central…

The Ultimate Guide to Vancouver!

Canada's third largest city and the jewel of British Columbia is one of the most diverse metropolitan areas in the world. Home to incredible green spaces, natural beauty, a huge commercial harbor and a wonderful walking downtown, Vancouver attracts tourists from all over the globe for its mild weather, outdoor adventures, and spectacular food scene.…

Measuring a Happy City

Each year, the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network measures world happiness. It takes data from 158 countries, and combines that with surveys, in order to index happiness. It's a fascinating endeavor, and one that undoubtedly leads to a good deal of subjectivity, even if the results are tabulated scientifically. For instance, let's examine the…