Tag: Central America TravelView All Tags
Travel Industry / Tourism / Urbita / Travel Websites / Central America Travel / South America Travel / → All Tags
Even in the world of start-ups, travel industry start-ups are notoriously difficult to pull off (quipped travel tech site TNooz last summer, "attention all start-ups: disrupting the travel industry is extremely hard"). The only thing more difficult than creating a travel start-up is creating a travel marketplace, since with a marketplace you have to get lucky enough or good enough to lock down both buyers and sellers.
So the founders of the new social media-driven travel marketplace site Urbita, which just soft-launched last week, deserve at least some credit for sheer ambition. And believe it or notafter looking aroundwe think this one actually has a chance.
Nature Travel / Active Travel / Panama Travel / Soberania National Park / Central America Travel / → All Tags
One of the highlights of a trip to Panama can be a day trip out to the Gamboa Rainforest Resort, which is about a 40-minute drive from Panama City. Set along the Chagres River, all the rooms here have stunning views of the rainforest, plus a spa and nice outdoor pool area to lounge around like a cocodrilo in the midday sun.
Guests are kept busy with a list of outdoor activities, guided tours and excursions; you name it (fishing, bird-watching, kayaking, night safaris), they've got it. So it was with much joy that we booked ourselves for a ride on the resort's own Swiss-engineered aerial tram, which runs smoothly up a 1.2 km stretch of pretty dense rainforest.
From there, there's the option to then climb an eleven-story observation tower (also built by the hotel), until you reach...the top of Soberania National Park!
A change of government can be a nice thing for the tourists of the world, or at least that's how it sounds in Guatemala at the moment. Newly-elected president Alvaro Colom has announced plans to make the Mayan ruins at Mirador more accessible to tourists--currently we're talking a two-day jungle hike or a helicopter ride, and there are a few too many poachers and drug smugglers hanging out in the area.
At Mirador, there are extensive Mayan ruins, including hundreds of buildings, and the site is some three times larger than the World-Heritage-listed ruins at Tikal. There's also what they claim is the largest pyramid in the world, about three feet longer than the largest Egyptian pyramid.
Exactly what form the so-called "tourist park" at Mirador will take isn't clear yet, and we wouldn't go booking your flights just yet. Whether it's just an election promise, or a serious attempt that could be thwarted by the smugglers who want to keep that region of Guatemala for themselves, there are more than a few obstacles to Eiffel-Tower-like tourism at Mirador.
[Photo: Dave Kent]
2007 Jaunted Travel Awards / Jaunted Field Trips / Central America Travel / Guatemala Field Trip / → All Tags
If there was ever a Jaunted Field Trip that made us want to close the laptop and report immediately to the airport, it was Claire Duffett's Romp through Guatemala and Belize. Hell, with views like the one above, how could you not wanna skip down to Central America right now?
Claire worked her way through drug-happy San Pedro La Laguna before trekking to Semuc Champey to get in touch with nature. Though her Rough Guide occasionally steered her wrong, it also got things right. And there's no question that while most of us freeze our way into the new year, her snorkeling trip sounds just divine.
Occasionally, readers tell us about their tentative travel plans, and we use our past experience and obsession with travel to help them make the most of their trips. If your guidebook could talk, this is what it'd say. Return the favor by letting us know how you fare!
Today's Question from Jesse:
My girlfriend and I are heading to Guatemala on Christmas. I'm seeking advice on what sort of itinerary I should tentatively create. We are flying into Guatemala City and are relying on public transportation. We don't want to overestimate on what we plan to see. My girlfriend is interested in Mayan relics and I am a wildlife seeker. What sort of a compromise is there to meet our individual needs in our limited time frame?
Sure we've slopped Thanksgiving dinners at soup kitchens and adopted families at Christmas, but a lot of us here at Jaunted have been rocking the city life for a while. So there was something about doing good and getting back to nature that really caught our attention. That's why we love the Earthwatch Institute. It offers international volunteer vacations that double as science classes with field research. They answer our desire to get outside, do some good and learn something, too. As far as Al Gore is concerned, this is the ultimate trifecta.
Earthwatch is already booking spots on one of its newest spring excursions. Volunteers will travel to Masaya, Nicaragua to chart the impact of active volcanoes on local wildlife and residents. Wannabe geologists hike the active Masaya Volcano and collect data using GPS and other sophisticated instruments. They also gather soil and water samples to chart the impact of volcanic activity over time. Sure, it sounds complicated, but Earthwatch makes it simple. Plus, it gives travelers a chance to feel like Mr. Wizard--at least for a couple of days.
[Photo: Mr. Luigi]
Remember back when the New York Times declared Bangladsh the new Bangladesh? Seems they're at it again, but the Grey Lady is keeping it in the western hemisphere this time.
Way back in 2002, when not too many people were stopping in Nicaragua on the way to Costa Rica, the Times ran a story on Grenada. It had the requisite references to buying a hammock in Masaya, "Granada's impressive central plaza" and William Walker, the war-loving soldier of fortune who tried to conquer Central America in the 19th century.
The next piece about Granada, two years later, was from a writer who went to rediscover the set of the Ed Harris movie Walker. (He had a part in the film.) It's pretty good, an interesting take on a city that had changed.
But the next Granada article from the Times goes back to the tried-and-true formula of cliches--"Visitors...wandered about the central part of the town, soaking up the evanescent atmosphere of more than a hundred years of solitude"--and tells us nothing new about the place. There are, as before, mentions of Masaya, of Lake Nicaragua and, of course, that scourge William Walker.
Fast-forward to September of this year, and the Times' travel magazine is calling Granada the "Ciudad of Dreams." (Guess who makes an appearance: Yup, Willie Walker.) And, apparently, the thing to do in the city of sueños is hang out in the Parque Central.
So we were excited to see this week's story about Granada: Would it bring anything new to the party? Would it tell us anything we didn't already know? Would it deploy some colorful description of the town's central plaza? Sadly: No, no and yes.