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Best International Places To Travel With Toddlers (first-hand experience)

Traveling with young kids aka toddlers and babies can be a lot of fun. But only if you choose the right destination and know what to bring. That’s why we compiled a list of best international places to travel with toddlers to make your next family vacation a fun memory.

Additionally, we asked other travel bloggers to share their best countries to travel with toddlers to make this post a first-hand experience guide only!

(Note: Traveling today is possible but require a bit more of planning ahead. Make sure you meet all the requirements before buying your flights tickets.)

Blog graphic pink background with white letters saying 'Best international places to travel with toddlers'; on the right side: a toddler walking in the sand with a bucket in his hand.
Do you agree with best international places to travel with toddlers need to include the beach? Yes? 😉

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How to define the best international places to travel with toddlers anyways?

The word “best” is so individually different, that I think I’ll need to explain first what “best” means for us. Then, you’ll be able to check if that resonates with your preferences too. So, for us, the best international places to travel with toddlers have the following on offer:

  • Safety
  • Fun
  • Good Company
  • Healthy food options

Let me explain further! 

Safety first, that is a no-brainer! I think hardly anyone would like to travel to an unsafe country – especially with your children in tow. So, you will only find safe countries or places that are on our list.

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And then, you should choose your next family travel destination in accordance with the amount of fun you can expect there. By fun I mean, is there a lot to do? Will you find lush nature or a wide variety of kid-friendly activities? In general, can you expect to have fun there, whatever fun means for you?

Last but not least, for us, it is crucial to know in advance that we will be in good company. By this, I mean other families. Since Vincent, our oldest, turned 2 years old, we noticed that it became more and more important to him to play with other kids – at some point we were simply too boring for him. So, we make it our priority to check in advance if we will be able to find other travel families before we go.

And then, we always feel best if there are vegan food options available. We have been vegan for three years and focus on healthy, plant-based, and nutritious food. We know a few places that are ideal for vegans but some aren’t. Currently, we enjoy the various options here in Thailand and are grateful for being spoiled on such a high level. In places like Bolivia or Argentina, where we travelled before having kids and before our shift in awareness about food happened, we would have probably not been able to eat as healthy and balanced as we can now.

Pinterest collage showing children in nature and a slogan "Best International Places to Travel With Toddlers".

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Our Top 5 Best International Places To Travel With Toddlers:

1. Koh Phangan, Thailand

Our favourite place is Koh Phangan, Thailand for the above reasons. That’s why I will list it here first as our number one of the best international places to travel with toddlers.

Thai people are so in love with children, they literally freak out when they see a baby or small child. So, everywhere we go, we feel very welcomed and loved – which is wonderful and important when being in a foreign country, I think!

Plus, Thailand and, especially this island, feels very safe. We never have to worry about our stuff when we are on the beach or walking in the streets. Not like in other places where you always keep a hand on your bag afraid of pickpocket tricks or similar things.

This is our fourth time on this island and the second one with children. We love coming here because it is also a winter getaway for families from Europe. As a consequence, we have many German and English speaking families surrounding us, which helps our son with communication and connecting.

Insider Tip: Koh Ma Beach Resort is THE place to stay if you love a right-by-the-beach location and a huge swimming pool!

A family standing next to big pool in a resort in Thailand - one of the best international places to travel with toddlers.
Our kids loved the pool and staying at Koh Ma Beach Resort.. it became our “home” for three months!

Reasons why you’ll love Koh Phangan

We’ve made many friends here, and most importantly, our sons have found playmates who they play with on a daily basis. For me, as a mum, this is really important, because if my kids are happy and have social contact, I am happy too.

There are also a lot of activities for young and old. If you are into yoga, dancing, art and all connected with bodywork and spirituality – this is your place to visit. Also for kids, there are playgroups, learning activities and sports that they can try out.

A mother and her toddler in turquoise water.
Koh Phangan has so many kid-friendly beaches – it’s just paradise!

Lastly, Thai food is yummy but not your healthiest choice aka mostly fried. So, if you are, like us, consciously choosing ‘clean’ food, you will find yourself in vegan heaven on Koh Phangan. Especially in Sritanu, one of the popular areas for families and anyone who is on a spiritual journey, there are plenty of restaurants with a focus on healthy eating.

Perhaps you want to read more about this island, you can do this here in our extensive guide on Koh Phangan for digital nomad families.

See for yourself why we decided to stay in Koh Phangan and why we think, it’s one of the best international places to travel with toddlers!

2. La Palma, Spain

Another island makes it onto our list of best international places to travel with toddlers, yes. This is a very special one for us. Why? Because Niklas, our little one, was born there. We spent six months on La Palma in 2019, from the end of March till the end of August. We rented out a little Finca on the East Coast of the island (bad choice weatherwise as it’s the more humid/rainy side!) and enjoyed some wonderful quiet months there.

A pregnant woman with her toddler sitting at the beach in one of the best international places to travel with toddlers, La Palma.
9 months pregnant here – sitting and playing in the sand was one of the favorite activities back then! 🙂

Our son was born at home without the help of anyone. This wasn’t exactly our plan but this is a whole different story. 🙂 What we really enjoyed was to be able to stay on a very secluded and private property to prepare for birth and enjoy our time as a new family.

As soon as we were ready to socialise again, we loved the fact that there is a big community of alternatively living families, expats and travel families there. So, Wednesdays and Sundays, we went to the gatherings on the West Coast of La Palma, at Tazacorte Beach, to mingle with other families and let Vincent play with the kids.

Best beach on La Palma

If you love scenic routes, rough cliffs and steep mountains, you will love the nature on La Palma. It is also great for hiking. One of our favorite beaches you can only reach by foot after a 20 minute hike, it’s called Playa de Nogales. So worth the steep steps you’ll take!

A mother with her toddler standing on a staircase right at the border of steep cliffs on the way to Playa Nogales, La Palma.
This is not your easiest hike to a beach but it’s worth every step!

Foodwise, we found some healthy options to eat outside, but honestly, we preferred cooking. Eating out with kids, especially with a newborn, wasn’t on top of our priority list.

3. Lago di Garda, Italy

Before we turned into digital nomad parents, we were quite nervous if our previous lifestyle was going to be feasible with kids or not. So, anxiously waiting for the day to come, we took our eldest son on a road trip from Germany to Italy when he was just about six weeks old. He passed the test and we decided that our newborn was absolutely travel-proof.

In Italy, we stayed at Lake Garda, which is a very touristy location but at the same time, it is so beautiful and full of other families on vacation that it’s a very safe and ‘easy’ destination to travel with a baby.

Mainly, we lived by the principle of the Italians: ‘Dolce far niente’. This means that we did not do much more than eat pizza, pasta and ice cream. I guess, for this reason alone you could already agree that Italy is one of the best international places to travel with toddlers.

Additionally, Italians are known for their big heart and love for children. Even the policemen on the street wanted to be in our pictures. So, that too made it a unique and memorable trip.

Policemen and a man with a baby in his arm smiling into the camera.
Spaghettiiiiii 🙂 even the police gets all distracted by a baby!

4. Fuerteventura, Spain

This is another Canary Island that made it onto our Top-5 list of best international places to travel with toddlers. We took Vincent there when he was 9 months and he started walking in the sand at the beach.

The island is windy – as the name already implies – and not as green as La Palma, for example. But it has its charm and we loved the beaches there, especially those that we could have all to ourselves in the early morning hours.

Father and son looking at each other in front of the beach.
Empty beach, anyone? 🙂 Yay!

You’ll find many families and European pensioners on this island (which is true for the Canary Islands in general) as it has a constantly pleasant climate and basically everything you need.

Fuerteventura: Best time to go

If you prefer warmer water temperatures like us, then make sure to visit during the summer months June, July and August. We spent the month of February there and therefore hardly swam in the ocean for its cold water temperatures! Of course, if you travel off-season you are most likely to make a good deal for your accommodation! I’d say, it’s the months of May through to September are great to pay this little island a visit!

Where to stay on Fuerteventura:

The North Coast was our favorite area. That’s where we stayed in a small village called “El Cotillo“. We rented out a little condo right at the beach in a nice calm bay. It is perfect for kids as the water is very shallow there.

For the last 10 ten days of our stay, we moved to the more crowded area in the South, Morro Jable. The huge beach is stunning and good for running and walks at the beach. It depends on what you prefer, Fuerteventura has a lot on offer and is definitely worth a visit.

5. Freiburg, Germany

It would be cruel not to list my home country as one of the best international places to travel with toddlers, wouldn’t it!? 🙂

And, to be honest, there are many great places in Germany where you can find the above three criteria: safety, fun and good company (and also healthy food!).

Grapevines in the middle of a city.
Beautiful green spots in the middle of the city are one reason why this city feels more like a big village.

Especially if you look at rural places outside big cities, you’ll find scenic routes for hiking, biking, camping or swimming at one of the many lakes the country has on offer…

Cool places to visit in Germany:

This being said, we also love and have friends in family-friendly cities like Freiburg, Munich, Hamburg and Berlin too. So, it depends on what you are after, there is plenty to do and see in Germany. If I had to choose one favorite place though to travel with kids, it would be Freiburg. It’s a family-friendly city, loads of activities and has a good vibe. And straight after it comes Munich and its scenic surrounding area where you can visit castles that inspired Disney!

Hit me up if you are around! Most likely, I won’t be there as we travel and live most of the year outside of Germany, but I am happy to give you personally tailored travel tips for your next visit to Germany! And make sure to put this destination on your list of best international places to travel with toddlers!

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Best Countries to Travel With Toddlers According To Other Travel Bloggers

And then, we asked other travel families and travel bloggers what they consider to be the best international places to travel with toddlers. We curated a list with their answers in alphabetic order.

Note: This list is not meant to be a complete list. There are certainly many more great travel destinations you can visit with kids. But we hope you enjoy the selection below and get inspired for your next big family adventure!



Tasmania has been one of our favourite places to visit with our children. Our first visit was a few years ago before our youngest daughter’s second birthday. As children under the age of two can fly for free, it is the best time to take advantage of traveling to an interstate destination. Tasmania’s compact size, family-friendly attractions and beautiful scenery make it a perfect location for family travel.

The best way to explore Tasmania is on a driving holiday, and the east coast is one of Australia’s greatest road trips.

Our journey started in the capital city of Hobart. From there, we traveled through farmlands, until the road hugs the coastline, passing secluded beaches and charming towns. Over nine nights, we indulged in delicious fresh produce, admired stunning views from many lookout points, learnt about Tasmania’s history and saw incredible native wildlife.   

Tasmania’s popularity has increased over the past few years, particularly with families who are exploring Australia by caravan. We received a friendly welcome in each town and being a safe place to travel; it is a top-rated destination for visitors. Traveling during summer allowed us to experience the warmest months, with the least amount of rainfall. Summer also has the longest daylight hours, allowing visitors to explore for longer.

A man walking towards a lighthouse.
Like a walk in the park…stroller-friendly walkways are the best! Photo credit: Sharee Middleton.

What we loved about visiting Tasmania with a toddler was the abundance of attractions that are suitable for children of a young age, many of these being free. Lighthouse walks, swimming in crystal turquoise waters, seeing native wildlife, visiting historical sights and appreciating culture in a fun interactive way are some of the highlights you can expect to encounter on a trip to Tasmania.

Sharee Middleton runs the blog Inspire Family Travel and can also be found on Facebook.


Victor Harbor, South Australia

Victor Harbor is around 90 minutes from Adelaide in South Australia. It is a popular seaside destination for family summer holidays. The beaches within the bay are protected. This makes the water very calm and easy for toddlers to explore the sand and gentle waves.

Granite Island is set in the middle of the bay, joined to the mainland by a causeway. Children of all ages will delight with a ride on the Horse Drawn tram across the causeway to Granite Island.

A horse-drawn tram.
What a special way of transport… Photo credit: Curious Campers.

The foreshore is lined with grassed reserves that are perfect to relax and spread out for a picnic or BBQ. If the weather is not ideal for swimming you can take a pony ride. Or, for the older children, let it be a camel ride along the beach.

The Victor Harbor foreshore has plenty to keep the active toddler busy. There is a large nature-play playground with an old steam train engine to climb on. There is a small amusement park with bouncy castles, rides, fairy floss and ice cream that is always popular.

Perhaps one of the favourite activities in Victor Harbor is a visit to Urimbirra Wildlife Park. Just a few minutes out of town you can pat a Koala or even hand feed a Kangaroo. There are many other animals and birds to visit, it’s family-friendly and easy to take the pram.

Australia is a very safe destination and Victor Harbor has a range of accommodation. You can select from Caravan Parks, Cabins, Apartments, Hotels and B&Bs. It is easy to spend a week or two exploring and relaxing in this seaside town.

Natalie & Steve run the blog Curious Campers – check them out on Facebook too.



Brussels is known for its beer and waffles. One of the lesser-known but a very deep-rooted, cultural aspect of Brussels is its love for comics. In fact, there is a dedicated Comic Strip Route in Brussels, that passes through various street-art & museums dedicated to comics. The route is so extensive. It spreads all over Brussels, so it would be impossible to see all the murals even in an entire day! However, it’s a good idea to cover at least a portion of the route, and not miss it.

Belgium is the birthplace of Tintin and Smurfs. There are 3 museums dedicated to them in Belgium and 2 of those are in Brussels – MoOF and Comic Strip Museum. Comic Strip Museum has humongous prints of some comic strips, many figurines (esp., an entire floor dedicated to Smurfs). There are also indoor games for the kids on the top floor. MoOF museum, on the other hand, is super cool with very many old to new figurines as well as a mini-movie theatre.

A mother and her child sitting in front of a painted wall with comics which makes Brussels one of the best international places to travel with toddlers.
Childhood memories will come up when visiting the Comic Strip Museum.
Photo credit: Bhushavali

For someone living in Brussels, I took three days to explore all the street-art murals and the two museums. In one day, it would be possible to complete two museums and a small portion of street-art. Or you could do one museum and a larger portion of street-art.

Bhushavali runs the blog My Travelogue by Bhushavali – social media handle: @MyTraveloguebyBhushavali


Hong Kong

Hong Kong is one of the most common stopovers for international flights and therefore a great opportunity for families to have a rest in between a long-haul flight. While many travellers think of nightlife and shopping, there are actually lots of things to do in Hong Kong with Kids.

The main highlight is of course Hong Kong Disneyland Resort which is one of the most popular things to do with kids of all ages. You can spend the day there, or even a couple of days if you have time. Enjoy the live shows, the character meets and greets, and of course the wide range of rides.

Another highlight of Hong Kong includes Ocean Park which is a sea themed park. A visit to the Big Buddah is a must and includes a cable cart ride up to the top. Make sure to head up to the world famous “Peak” on the old tram where you can find some of the best views of the city. While you are up there you can also visit Madame Tussauds.

Our family of four stayed in Hong Kong for 4 nights, which was perfect. Getting around, there is the metro which is quite easy to take, and really quick during peak times. Taxis are reasonably priced though, so if you are a family of four or five, a taxi is sometimes easier.

The skyline of Hong Kong - one of the best international places to travel with toddlers.
Hong Kong with toddlers can be fun – especially if you choose from the many kid-friendly activities.

When heading out to eat make sure to try the famous Character Dim Sum, it is amazing how they can turn a traditional dish into a fun meal for the kids.

And when you are looking for somewhere to stay, I suggest staying near the harbour in Kawloon. Hotels and apartments tend to have larger rooms than staying in Tsim Sha Tsui centre where a tiny studio can be quite expensive. If you are travelling during the Summer try to find accommodation with a pool so you can kick back and relax at the end of a warm day sightseeing.

Chontelle Bonfiglio from Mum’s Little Explorers



Bali is an awesome place to travel with a baby or toddler. Firstly, it has a well-established tourist infrastructure so it is easy to find Western-style conveniences at every turn. Secondly, the Balinese love kids, an interesting fact about Bali is that they consider the babies angels.

We spent about 3 weeks in Bali all up with our children, staying at a range of different places. We started out at a 5-star resort in the gated Nusa Dua area and ended up travelling up towards the north and staying in much more typical type hotels. 

Toddler walking on a small concrete footpath in between rice fields, Balinese houses in the background.
So much to explore in Bali. The rice fields and cute little huts make this a unique place to visit. Photo credit: Ariana Svenson.

If this is your first international trip with a toddler then Bali is perfect – the 4 and 5-star resorts all have kids clubs, and in many cases themed kids rooms. Alternatively, if you are not comfortable leaving your little ones at a kids club, you can also hire professional nannies to give yourself a break. There are many other families around at every turn. 

It is easy to get Western-style food if your toddler is fussy, and also to buy good quality nappies and other toddler requirements.  Alternatively, if you don’t want to carry baby /toddler paraphernalia there are a number of hire companies in Bali that can supply toddler car seats, right through to safety gates and pool fencing if you are staying at an Airbnb without a pool fence!

Ariana from World of Travels with Kids – find her also on Instagram @worldoftravelswithkids


Lake Como

We absolutely love Italy and have spent several weeks exploring different areas including Rome, Tuscany, the Amalfi Coast, Puglia and Sicily. Our most favourite place, however, was Lake Como. 

Lake Como, near Milan in the North of Italy, is one of the most beautiful places we have visited with our kids. Lake Como with kids is something I would highly recommend doing. It has picture-postcard villages with cobbled streets and historical buildings all set against the backdrop of a glittering lake and towering mountains. 

Two children playing mini-golf at Lake Como, Italy - one of the best international places to travel with toddlers.
Can you wish for a better scenic playground!? Photo credit: Emma Morrel.

We stayed in the little village of Argegno in the summer of 2017 with a 5-year-old and a 3-year-old and it was completely perfect for us. Summer in northern Italy is considerably cooler and more comfortable than elsewhere in the country. 

The kids loved running around Argegno and other little villages like Belaggio. Many of them have pedestrianised areas which was very nice for my stress levels as we could let the kids run around a bit. There was also an incredible mini-golf course to play in Menaggio.

Various ferries can take you to destinations across the lake (a huge hit) and we also hired a little speedboat for an afternoon one day. The bigger towns all had these little trains to take you on a tour as well. We also enjoyed going up the little funicular railway with an easy hike at the top and visiting as many Italian lidos as we could! 

The food was hugely successful – most kids will be delighted with pizza and pasta while the grown-ups made the most delicious fresh dishes and local wine. Everyone was happy!

Emma Morrell runs the family travel blog Wanderlust and Wet Wipes – social media handle @wanderlustandwetwipes


We loved our trip to Japan with our 15-month-old son. A couple of years before we spent a month exploring Japan as a couple. Back then, we were backpacking with a tent and hiking as much as we could. While our Japan family trip was very different from our previous Japan experience, it was no less fun!

Japan is a very safe country. Due to its amazing public transport system, traveling (long distances) is easy and comfortable. For example, the Shinkansen bullet train can take you from Hiroshima to Tokyo in just four hours (that’s 900 kilometers!). This makes it possible for families to discover very different parts of Japan, without feeling rushed.

Something else parents will love, Japan has Takkyubin, aka door-to-door delivery of your luggage. That means, that instead of lugging around your family’s heavy suitcases, you can just send them to your next hotel. This way you can travel around with just a day pack and a stroller.

A small kid on a playground climbing in one of the best international places to travel with toddlers, Tokyo.
Perhaps the best place to take a break from sightseeing: a playground. Photo credit: Lotte Eschbach.

You’ll find so many things to do with kids in Tokyo, so we recommend starting your Japan trip there. Tokyo has many public playgrounds that always come with spotlessly clean family restrooms and often even nursing facilities. Many Tokyo restaurants have highchairs and special kids’ menus. It’s perfect when your little one doesn’t love the taste of sushi as much as mom and dad.

Sanrio Puroland is a wonderful indoor playground where even the youngest can safely play. Toddlers will love the TeamLab Borderless Digital Art Museum with its fascinating lights and sensory tricks. Note that strollers are not allowed into the museum so bring a baby carrier. And let’s not forget the amazing Duplo Village where adults aren’t allowed unless accompanied by their kids!

I could go on but it’s safe to say that Japan is a wonderful destination for a family trip!

Lotte Eschbach runs the blog Phenomenal Globe Travel Blog – find her also on social media @phenomenalglobe.

Aruba, The Netherlands

There’s no denying that a visit to this Caribbean island is almost guaranteed to include good experiences, fine food, friendly locals, beautiful landscapes, and a good mix of cultures and languages. Aruba is a year round destination and throughout the year, the tropical climate and summer breeze guarantee great weather and sunshine.

Fortunately, it is a destination that is well suited for families and there is a whole lot of things to do here with kids. The time leading up to the New Year is our favourite time to visit this island, usually spending a week. As one of the safest countries in the world, it made exploring the country as a family a welcome experience.

A bunch of palm trees at the sea shore.
Who else wants to hang out there with their toddlers?

Adventurous families will enjoy exploring the coastal areas, swimming in the cool waters, or partaking in the numerous activities on offer at any time of the year. Other highlights include snorkelling at Baby Beach, a visit to De Palm Island, the Butterfly Farm, and Flamingo Beach.

Public transportation is cheap and well suited to get around to most parts on the island. Expect to find a wide variety of accommodation options, including a sufficient amount of family-focused places. Famed for its tropical setting and points of interest, the island comprises interesting places and is well worth taking the time to get to.

Rai Haan runs the blog A Rai Of Light – find him also on social media @araioflight.


If you’re looking for somewhere to travel to with a baby or toddler, look no further than Norway. This breathtaking country has plenty for you and the little ones to do- and they LOVE children. Also, everyone speaks impeccable English. And people are so helpful – you don’t need to worry about not knowing the language or getting into difficulties. 

We visited for a couple of weeks with our daughter when she was young. Strangely, she was less than impressed by the magnificent fjords and historical sites- but she LOVED Sverd i Fjell.

Sverd i Fjell are 3 HUGE bronze swords- put into a rocky outcrop with breathtaking views over a fjord. The swords are over 10m high (imagine what that looks like to a toddler) and commemorate a battle fought there in 872AD. The swords are a symbol of peace. All this was lost on our daughter, but she enjoyed running around the park and field nearby after we’d looked at the swords. It’s definitely one of the best places to see in Southern Norway.

A boy looking up three gigantic swords statues stuck into the ground right by the ocean.
Clearly not your average type of swords… Photo credit: Kathryn Bird.

The entire country is incredibly safe- it’s one of the safest countries in Europe. We felt much more relaxed here than we did in many other countries, especially when our daughter was playing with other children. 

Overall, it doesn’t really matter where you visit in Norway. There will be something for your toddler to do- or just throw stones into the many, many bodies of water you’ll find. Everywhere you visit, you’ll find children’s clubs, playgrounds and other families- and Norwegian parents are VERY enthusiastic about engaging their children with English speakers- you’ll have playdates lined up for weeks if you want them. 

Kathryn Bird is the founder of the motorhome travel and road trip blog Wandering Birdfind her also on social media @wanderingbird.adventures



Singapore is an epitome of how well a city’s civilization can function. The security, network of public transport and amenities available in this island city make Singapore a perfect travel destination with toddlers. It not only gives you mind’s peace but also offers many attractions that the entire family can enjoy. 

I visited Singapore a year ago and had a great time there! We stayed at Hotel Marina Bay Sands and had a lovely view from the room. Along with that, we also enjoyed the infinity pool a lot. Sipping coffee after taking a dip in the pool is a great memory of mine! There were many families with kids around and the pool itself was a picnic destination for all. 

Woman in orange dress handing her hand below a water fountain. The skyline of Singapore is in the background.
Singapore is fun – during day and night! Photo credit:

In addition to enjoying the hotel, we also visited the attractions in Singapore. One of the best attractions that we saw was Universal Studios in Sentosa Islands. The kids love this place due to the fancy set up and animated characters around. This place is the most favorite destination for families visiting Singapore.

One can also enjoy many other family-friendly attractions such as The Merlion Garden, Gardens by the Bay and the very famous Singapore Zoo.

Along with the Zoo, kids would also love Jurong bird park and would appreciate the colorful birds fluttering around. 

Singapore is one of the best destinations to travel with toddlers. There are many cool and unique attractions in Singapore and they are so awesome the kids may remember them for the rest of their lives!

Umang Trivedi runs the travel blog TravelMax – check their Facebook here.



Stockholm is one of the best international places to travel with toddlers as it’s safe, clean and family-friendly. It’s very easy to get around by public transport and practically everyone speaks English well. You’ll find lots to see and do whether you spend a week or just a weekend. 

We spent 2 days in Stockholm with kids by Helsinki to Stockholm ferry. In May the weather was ideal for walking and outdoor play. There were quite a few other families around too but we didn’t find any of the places we visited at all crowded.

Junibacken theme park was our absolute favorite spot in Stockholm. A small ride through scenes from Astrid Lindgren’s books is very pleasant opportunity for both kids and parents. Pippi Långstocking’s house and wooden horse allow children to experience first-hand the story and they had so much fun playing there! The outdoor play area is wonderful for the little ones if weather allows and there’s nice sea views towards Stockolm city center too.

Miniature house in a museum
For everyone who knows ‘Pipi’, this is a must-stop when in Stockholm! Photo credit: Pia Oravainen

Just around the corner from Junibacken is Skansen, the largest open-air museum in the world with old buildings and a lovely atmosphere. There’s lots of space to run around and enjoy the fresh air and green surroundings.

The Royal Palace is beautiful and offers lots to admire if you don’t mind a bit of walking. Also, the Abba Museum and Vasamuseum are worth the visit if your toddler enjoys museums.

Gamla Stan old town is a great place to go for a stroll and visit the cafes and restaurants. There are plenty of great playgrounds in Stockholm that toddlers will love. Additionally, Gröna Lund amusement park has fun rides for all ages.

Pia Oravainen runs the blog Next Stop TBC – check her also out on social media: @nextstoptbc



My son and daughter were born and raised in Taipei. I had found Taipei to be a comfortable place to live for years, but it wasn’t until my wife and I had kids that I realized it’s also an incredibly suitable place to raise children and probably one of the best international places to travel with toddlers.

To begin, Taiwanese are known for being hospitable, and this is especially true for visitors with babies or toddlers. They are fascinated by foreign (or in our case ‘mixed’) children, always going out of their way to be nice to us.

Another positive aspect of visiting Taipei with young kids is that the city has one of the world’s best public transportation systems. The Taipei MRT is super safe, clean, and easy to navigate with kids, with elevators in every station, breastfeeding rooms, and designated seats for parents. The MRT goes almost everywhere you’d want to go, but taxis are also plentiful and cheap.

Taipei also offers loads of kid-friendly activities. The city abounds in excellent parks and playgrounds, not to mention dozens of indoor play centers. The Taipei Children’s Amusement Park is great fun and extremely reasonably priced, while museums like the Science Education Center, Astronomical Museum, and Land Bank Museum (featuring dinosaurs) are always fun.

Two young kids laying on the floor of a high building watching outside the window.
Being on top of the world for one day… or at least this high building – is fun! Photo credit: Nick Kembel.

Even the typical tourist sights in Taipei are suitable for young children. My kids loved going up to 89th-floor observation deck at Taipei 101. They also got a thrill out of riding the glass-bottomed Maokong Gondola over tea farms, and the excellent Taipei Zoo right next door.

Last but not least, our favorite winter activity in Taipei is getting a private room at Beitou Hot Spring, where our whole family can relax together and enjoy the hot springs without worrying about bothering other people. See here for even more things to do in Taipei with kids

By Nick Kembel of Spiritual Travels  – check him out on Instagram too! 


Koh Lanta

Thailand has to be one of the best international places to travel with toddlers. With a wonderful tropical climate, amazing beaches, great food, fascinating culture, friendly locals and stunning scenery, Thailand has it all.

When we travelled in Thailand with a baby and toddler it was the beaches and islands that we loved the best as we spent a couple of months island-hopping around the Andaman Sea. We spent a lot of time in Krabi Province and found some places that were perfectly suited to travelling with young children. 

Two small kids sitting at the beach.
Every grain of sand is a little wonder… Photo credit: Chris Bienemann.

Of all the Thai Islands, Koh Lanta must be one of the best to visit with kids. It has all the amenities that you need but it has retained that laid back charm we all want from a paradise island. 

The beaches are the main draw but inland you will find mountains shrouded in jungle, a protected mangrove forest and a pristine national park.

One of the great things about Koh Lanta and Thailand, in general, is that you can find some really good accommodation for reasonable prices right on the beach. This makes it so much easier to manage with a toddler than other countries where the hotels are further from the beach.

If your little one likes to socialize you will be pleased to hear that Koh Lanta is very popular with families, especially those with young children and babies. 

Chris Bienemann runs the blog MORE LIFE IN YOUR DAYS

United Arab Emirates


Dubai may come across as a big glitzy city in the desert, but it is a surprisingly ideal place to travel to with toddlers in tow as so much is built with families front of mind. You could simply enjoy a relaxing week by the pool at one of the city’s family-friendly beach resorts draping the Arabian Gulf coast or get out there and explore!

During the cooler winter months (November through to April), enjoy the city’s many water parks and outdoor theme parks, including Legoland Dubai and Legoland Water Park especially for the little ones – although all the big water parks have special zones especially for smaller children. Dubai Garden Glow & Dinosaur Park and Dubai Miracle Garden – the largest flower garden in the world – are both magical favourites with our kids.

Two little kids in front of a miniature Arabic mosque.
Legoland is a fun place to go – for the little ones AND big kids too! Photo credit: Keri Hedrick.

The winter months are also ideal for strolling many of the city’s popular neighborhoods including The Walk and The Beach in JBR, the Palm Jumeirah Boardwalk and quite recent additions including the fun and funky La Mer Beachfront and Al Seef, a modern addition to the city’s Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood for a taste of traditional Dubai living by the creek.

There’s still plenty to explore during the hotter summer months too. Toddlers visiting Dubai will love the Green Planet tropical rainforest biodome and the Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo, housed inside the world’s largest mall with countless toy stores and kiddy place centres to explore! Enjoy the free nightly fountain displays underneath the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, or the incredible Imagine light, fire & water show at Dubai Festival City.  

So, Dubai deserves to be on the list of best international places to travel with toddlers, we think!

Keri Hedrick is the founder & editor of the blog Family Travel in the Middle East

United Kingdom

Northern Ireland

After traveling all over the United States with a toddler, we found Northern Ireland to be one of the best international places to travel with toddlers. People often travel throughout Ireland with kids, but there are some lesser-known destinations up north that make it very appealing with small children.

A couple with their toddler standing in front of a scenic landscape, the ocean in the back.
Expect stunning views like this on your next visit to Northern Ireland. Photo credit: Amanda Emmerling.

The best way to experience the country is with at least a one week Northern Ireland road trip. The Causeway Coast is beautiful and relaxing for a drive, and there are several great stops and towns along the way. 

Belfast is a great start to your tour of Northern Ireland, with a stay in the family-friendly neighborhood of Ormeau Park. From Belfast, the seaside town of Carrickfergus is the perfect stop for toddlers. Enjoy hands-on activities at Carrickfergus Castle or the amazing Marine Play Park, it’s a highlight of any trip to Northern Ireland with kids.

After that, you can visit several toddler-friendly attractions outdoors including Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, Giant’s Causeway and seaside towns including Portrush and Portstewart. Along the Causeway Coastal Route, there are several family-friendly towns with a playground at each one, which makes for an easy break with toddlers. 

Aside from the beautiful views and attractions, one of the highlights for our toddler was the friendly people we met along the way. Our toddler loved chatting with the locals, and we felt very safe the entire time. Northern Ireland is definitely an amazing experience for an international trip with a toddler.

Amanda Emmerling is the creator and content writer of the family travel blog Toddling Traveler. Find her on social media as @toddling_traveler




My favourite place to travel with a baby so far has been Edinburgh, Scotland. We visited the city very successfully for 2 nights when she was just 5 months old. 

There are so many essential sights to see in Edinburgh, I found the best way to see everything in a short amount of time with a baby is the hop-on-hop-off bus. The tour is run by Edinburgh bus tours and includes 3 routes in and around the city, some with commentary to enable you to explore areas you might not have got to on foot.

Although the baby slept most of the way, it was nice to know that we could get on and off at any time should we need to. The bus also stops at several top attractions such as the children museum, Edinburgh parliament and Edinburgh castle.

View onto the outer walls of Edinburgh Castle.
Going back in time, here at Edinburgh Castle. Photo Credit: Sylvie Simpson.

The city is stroller friendly and well connected by a newly built tram system. As well as the major sights, there are plenty of attractions that kids will love too. Edinburgh Zoo is home to over 1000 species from all over the world, including the UK’s only giant pandas and Koalas. The Royal Yacht Britannia is also well worth a visit – the ship was the queen’s former floating palace for over 40 years. Edinburgh also has a fabulous beach. Portobello beach is only a few miles from the city centre.

If you fancy something to eat, Toots play café, aimed at under 5’s, the café is filled with traditional toys and aims to make adults feel comfortable when the kids play. Alternatively, the Scottish Parliament café caters well for babies and toddlers, it also has a free creche on-site providing free childcare for up to four hours while you tour the parliament and enjoy the café.

Overall, I found Edinburgh a very safe city to explore and therefore one of the best international places to travel with toddlers. There’s a friendly atmosphere in Edinburgh with lots of other families, both local and tourists.

Sylvie Simpson runs the family blog Travels with Eden – check her out on Instagram too!


Turks & Caicos Islands

One of my favorite places to travel with a baby or toddler would be Providenciales, Turks & Caicos. My 2-year-old and I traveled here and loved it! At first, I wasn’t sure what to expect since it was just her and I but the island turned out to be very safe and the natives are super friendly!

Since we rented an Airbnb unit renting a car was the best transportation option for us. Let me tell you . . . I rent cars while traveling a lot but renting a car there was an experience in itself. 🤣 

There’s so much to do while in Providenciales, Turks & Caicos but it really depends on what you’re looking to do while you’re there. As you may or may not know, you have to be open when it comes to traveling with small kids. . .

You’ll find yourself planning most of the trip around them. I personally went to unwind and chill out by the pool and beach. Our Airbnb unit was so cool. . . It was in a very secluded area of the island called Chalk Sound. We had our own infinity pool which was a few steps from our front door.  I loved staying there since there were fewer tourists on that side of the island. 

Mother with her daughter in turquoise water.
Sometimes all we need is a little swim… Photo credit: Shalona London.

There are plenty of things to do for the entire family but most of the activities are on the main side of the island which is Grace Bay. That’s where the resorts and villas are located. But it just really depends on you and the family.

Shalona London runs the blog Moms Need a Break Too – find her also on Instagram: @momsneedabreaktoo



A California road trip is one of the best bucket list trips and one that can easily be done with a baby or toddler. We went with our son when he was nine months old, spending one month exploring the coast from San Francisco down to San Diego. We took it slowly, but you could do a shorter itinerary in as little as a week. The benefit of taking it slowly with a baby/toddler is that you can keep the drive times short.

For our trip, we stopped at Sonoma; San Francisco; Santa Cruz; Monterey; Big Sur; Paso Robles; Santa Barbara; LA; Laguna Beach; San Diego and Joshua Tree. Depending on the amount of time you have, you can pick and choose your favourites, and perhaps add a trip to Yosemite. However, I’d say driving the Pacific Coast Highway, especially the stretch along Big Sur, is an absolute must, and one of the things that make this trip so iconic.

Young mother with baby carriage facing the ocean, looking at the sunset.
Driving down Big Sur you will find endless great photo ops! Photo credit: Victoria Watts Kennedy

It’s an ideal trip to do with a toddler as there’s so much to see and do that will keep both the little one and the adults entertained. From the museums and galleries of the cities to the splendid nature of the redwoods, vineyards and coast. One highlight is the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and there’s no end of beaches to explore. You’ll find that nearly all restaurants are willing to cater to children. It’s a very family-friendly destination, and a trip you’ll never forget.

Victoria Watts Kennedy runs the family blog Bridges and Balloons


St. Thomas Island

St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands is the perfect beach vacation spot with little ones. When traveling with small children, renting a house or condo is often preferable to a hotel, and the beachfront condos at Sapphire Bay in St. Thomas are the perfect spot for the whole family.  Our family has been multiple times, but most recently spent the week of New Year’s soaking up the sun, and the kids can’t wait to go back.   

With the calm blue bay and white sand beach at your doorstep, there’s no need to lug all of that beach gear anywhere.  Plus, most of the best snorkeling and beaches are just a few minutes from each other making it easy to break the day up into shorter outings- something we’ve learned makes for much happier little travelers.

Crystal clear water and a toddler in the ocean.
Crystal clear water is toddler-safe! Photo credit: Kristin Young.

Although petty crime is somewhat common, especially at night in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas is overall quite safe as long as you stay aware of your surroundings and remain in the tourist areas.  

St. Thomas is also home to Coral World Ocean Park offering touch pools, sea life encounters, and an underwater observatory tower. Or, take a ride through the sky on the tram to Paradise Point with gorgeous views of the harbor and Charlotte Amalie.  

Brewer’s Bay Beach is a great spot to spend a few hours as it’s located just next to the airport.  The kids will love to watch the planes come in for a landing on the airstrip that extends out into the ocean, and parents, be sure to bring your snorkel gear as Brewer’s Bay is a common place to swim with sea turtles. 

By Kristin Young at Snorkel and Hike

Did we miss something? Where is your favorite place to travel with your small children? Comment below, we’d love to know!

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Your Complete Toddler Packing List: 27 Worry-Free Tips

Are you wondering what to bring when you travel with your toddler? You’re not alone! It’s a big task! That’s why we created this toddler packing list to help you tick off all the essentials that you need to bring when you travel with your toddler. 

 Related: Best international places to travel with toddlers.

As soon as you know where to go, make sure to bring as much as necessary and as little as possible – it’s all extra weight that you will have to carry. I am sure you know how much your little ones love to be held, no matter how full your hands are or how much weight you are already carrying on your shoulders, overpacking will cause more trouble than it’s worth!

So, with this complete toddler vacation packing list that includes 27 worry-free tips for beach and winter holidays, the chances are high that both you and your children will enjoy creating new memories, and traveling the world together.

Pin for Pinterest with a collage of pictures and 
text saying 27 tips for your toddler packing list.
Your complete toddler packing list – save it for later!

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links that earn us a small commission but come at no extra cost to you. This helps with the costs of running our blog so we can keep our content free for you. Thanks as always for your support! See the full disclosure here.

Prepare in advance, but pack light 

While you do not want to bring too many items, especially if you’re paying for checked bag fees, some things are essential when it comes to traveling with young ones. 

It is imperative to prepare in advance and think about the individual needs of your child. Since every child has different needs and every trip is different, planning for your little ones in advance is better than being underprepared. 

Yet, with this in mind, many items are available for purchase at your selected destination. But who wants to start their holiday with a run to the supermarket? 

I don’t know about you, but I know I prefer to have a few items prepared and planned so I can enjoy the benefits of traveling and exploring a new destination rather than worrying if a store has my preferred cloth diapers in stock. That is why I follow a toddler travel checklist to ensure I always pack what my littles need. 

While there are shops for children all around the world and many at lower costs than our home countries, some items are essential to bring and create a less worry-free holiday for us busy mothers who deserve the extra time to enjoy our family holiday 🙂

Related: Choose the right backpack/ luggage for you!

Toddler packing list for plane rides

A mother and her child walking on the rollfield towards an airplane, the mother looks back and smiles.

With long haul flights, the stress of entertaining your little ones, and even luggage restrictions and federal regulations, packing for your children can be confusing, and often overwhelming. Here is a reliable flying with a toddler checklist that includes various must-haves to pack in your carry-on bag for a stress-free flight. 

1. Diaper essentials 

Pack your standard diaper bag complete with the essential items you typically bring for an outing. Your toddler tote should include diapers, changing pad, wipes, bags for soiled clothes, and diaper cream. 

Pro Tip: Bring a pack of disposable diapers even if you’re using cloth diapers like us. While you are on the way to your destination, it’s a lot easier to use disposable diapers – depending, of course, on the travel time, but for a long-haul flight, you don’t want to collect dirty cloth diapers in your carry-on luggage. 

2. Inflight entertainment 

If traveling with an active toddler, you will need plenty of options packed in your carry on to keep your little one entertained. Packing small and inexpensive distractions like toys, books, crayons, or playdough can provide cognitive and emotional stimulation for hours of inflight entertainment. 

3. Snacks and drinks 

Bring more snacks and drinks than usual to prepare for long-hauls, possible delays, and those above-average hungry days. To prevent pickiness from offerings in the plane or airport, pack a few of your children’s go-to snacks, and a sippy cup, preferred drinks, and juice boxes to hydrate.

4. Wet wipes 

Having wet wipes, in general, is a smart tip when traveling with little ones, but even more so in the time of COVID. Wiping down the tray tables before your children eat off of it will give you peace of mind.

5. A stuffed animal and/or blanket

A stuffed teddy bear partially covered with a blanket - for the complete toddler packing list.

Packing the items your children tend to gravitate towards for sleeping is essential for nap time, long flights, or on a redeye. Planes can also be quite cold, and a blanket will keep your toddler nice and toasty. I also tend to pack a hat in case of cold planes to keep my little one’s ears warm.

6. Extra clothes 

I always travel with extra clothes in case of diaper leaks, potty training accidents for the older ones, or general emergencies. There’s a possibility you might experience an accident and will be exceedingly grateful for the extra set.

7. First-aid kit

Pack a first-aid kit in your carry on with bandages, fever and pain reducers, any prescribed medications, and motion sickness relief.

8. Sky pillows 

Sky pillows or inflatable travel pillows offer neck comfort for your little ones during nap time, for yourself, and make long haul trips more tolerable for the entire family. 

9. Toy bungee

The toy bungee is an essential carry-on item that attaches to your kid’s toys to prevent them from launching across the cabin, from touching the floor and keeping their toys germ-free. Without this strap, you might have toys hitting other passengers’ heads or even flying down the aisle!

Toddler packing list for beach destinations

A toddler is sitting at the beach viewing the ocean.
Beach anyone?

Going to the beach with a baby or toddler can be stressful. But it doesn’t have to be! With a great travel checklist for kids to follow, a little planning and preparation in advance, you can sit back and watch them splash, giggle, and play, knowing you have everything you need. You might even have time to sneak in a few pages of that book you’ve been eager to read.

1. Sunscreen  

Pack your favorite baby-safe sunscreen and reapply as needed. 

Pro tip: Choose a sunscreen with zinc, which creates a barrier to protect the skin and is even great for sensitive skin. Also, avoid oxybenzone when packing a sunscreen due to its potential hormonal effects, and destructive properties to coral reefs. 

2. Sun hats

A baby smiling at the camera wearing a sun hat - mandatory on your toddler packing list!
Protect those little ones from the sun!

We need to keep our littles sun-safe while at the beach, and sun hats are great for keeping faces and ears shaded.  

3. Swimsuits

If you’re planning on an extended trip to the beach, packing two swimsuits per child will always allow you to have a dry one available. For additional sun protection, packing rash guards and cute cover-ups are great options to protect your baby’s skin.

4. Beach shoes 

Even for adults, walking on the hot sand is torture, and water shoes are a great option to protect your baby’s feet from not only the sun but any chance of sharp rocks in the water. 

5. Beach towels 

Beach towels toddler travel essentials for any trip for fun in the sun, and having one per child will ensure no fussiness for sharing a soaked towel for two unhappy kids.

6. Floaties and toys

A little girl is jumping in the water of the ocean wearing floaties.
Having fun in the water, independently thanks to floaties!

Inflatables and swim vests are great tools for interactive water play. They give confidence and independence to little ones, especially if they’re learning how to swim. For optimal sandcastle building without taking too much space in your beach bag, bring only a few buckets and shovels. Your children will be grateful for the ability to mold sandy creations and utilize their imagination.

7. Swim diapers, wipes, and bag for changes 

Pack extra diapers for accidents, wipes for a sand-free clean-up, and a bag to carry any soiled items. 

8. An option for shade

Two little kids below an umbrella at the beach.
A cool place to stay at the beach…

To make beach trips less of a hassle, consider packing a portable umbrella or beach tent to give your little ones a break from the sunshine. Depending on where you are traveling, the sun can be powerful, and sometimes, sunscreen and sun hats don’t offer enough protection for our children.

9. Beach blanket 

A large beach blanket is easy to pack and perfect for the entire family to sit on. It also comes in handy for diaper changes. 

10. Drinks and snacks 

Pack a small cooler with easy beach snacks such as fruit, sandwiches, crackers, and chips. For drinks, bring water and juice boxes to offer plenty of options to keep your little ones hydrated. 

11. Change of clothes 

To prevent rashes from a long day at the beach in wet swimwear, bring extra clothes for a dry nap or in case of accidents. 

12. Pacifier or teething toys 

Depending on the age, I would advise bringing a pacifier or teething toys to prevent your children from eating sand, rocks on the beach, or any other foreign objects you certainly don’t want your littles to touch. 

13. Don’t forget about yourself. Bring a separate bag for your beach essentials

Mothers need self-love and attention too. Pack a separate small bag with your own go-to beach essentials. I typically bring:

  • Sunglasses
  • Phone
  • Keys
  • Money
  • Hair accessories 
  • A compact first aid kit 
  • Aloe vera 
  • Chapstick 
  • Hand sanitizer 

Kids travel packing list for winter holidays

A mother and her child in a landscape wearing long clothes - helpful for a toddler packing list
There is no bad weather, they say…!

Packing and preparing for any holiday is no laughing matter, but packing for a winter destination can be stressful when ensuring your children stay warm and toasty amid unpredictable weather. The key to packing light for cold destinations is layering, and always starting with a base layer followed by more. If your little one starts overheating, remove one layer, and place it in your travel bag. To prepare in advance for any emergencies or accidents, keep two sets of clothes for both tops and bottoms on hand. Keep reading for tips on my toddler travel packing list for winter holidays.

1. Winter tops 

For the first layer, choose a singlet or long sleeve top. The goal is to choose clothing that will keep your children warm for exploring colder destinations for prolonged periods. For the second layer, add a sweater or knitted jumper to provide extra warmth, and finally, add an insulated outerwear jacket with a hood for wind and rain protection. 

2. Winter bottoms 

For a base layer, start with cotton leggings or tights, followed by fleece, corduroy, or snow pants, depending on the activity if playing in the snow. 

3. Keep the toes and fingers warm

A happy camper in the cold weather will need insulated socks and gloves and waterproof boots. Boots will keep their tiny feet warm, and will offer a better grip while walking or playing in the snow. 

4. Other essential items 

Of course, like any destination, you will want to bring your go-to bag for outings. Your toddler tote should include diapers, wipes, changing pad, Ziploc bag for soiled items, pacifiers, a first-aid kit, toiletries, medicine, nap-time essentials such as a blanket or stuffed animal, and favorite toys. 

5. Calling ahead for night time 

Before booking an accommodation, I like to prepare in advance and call the hotel to reserve a crib or pack n play. With the fear of COVID, I ask them to sanitize them thoroughly before use, and I even prefer to use wipes to eliminate any likelihood of germs. If the hotel or Airbnb doesn’t have what I need, I try to recreate their home bed as much as possible. For example, I bring their favorite stuffed animal, blanket, toddler pillow, and baby monitor. 

Remember to enjoy your holiday 

There you have it, a complete toddler packing list with 27 worry-free tips for each destination, no matter the season. Traveling with your little ones can be stressful and a hassle. But following a traveling with kids packing list like the tried and tested one I’ve created in this article will make your holiday more enjoyable and give you the well-deserved time to appreciate memories and present moments with your family. 

How do you prepare for the holidays with your children? What would you add to our packing lists? Let’s chat in the comments! If you enjoyed reading this article, why not share it with a friend who is preparing for a red-eye flight or holiday to the beach with their family. 

General Family Travel Tips Top Travel Posts Travel

Best Travel with Kids Quotes in 2024

Traveling can be a special experience, and traveling with your family enhances that experience even more. It can sometimes be hard to put this unique experience into words, so we are here to help. We’ve gathered some of our favorite travel with kids quotes that you can use to inspire your own travels, or use to get you and your audience into that wanderlust mindset. If you’ve recently taken a family trip and are looking for family trip quotes to use for your Instagram, look no further!

Bonus: We asked some of our fellow travel bloggers to share their favorite travel with kids quotes and the stories they connect with them.

So, buckle up and get ready for some inspiration!

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Pin this travel with kids quotes pin for later.

10 favorite traveling with kids quotes from fellow travel bloggers

Father, mother and their son in an airplane.

“The greatest legacy we can leave our children is happy memories.” – Og Mandino

I’m a firm believer that travel is great for kids for so many reasons. One of the greatest reasons is the wonderful memories that will last children their lifetimes.

When your children are adults, they might remember a few special toys, but they won’t remember most of them. They won’t remember the clothes they wore, what car you drove or much of the food they ate. But they will remember the time you spent traveling together as a family.

When I was young my parents had a caravan. We used to spend weekends and school holidays visiting different places in the UK and that has given me so many happy memories. Even though I can’t remember too much of the actual places we visited, I remember sitting around the table playing cards as the rain hammered on the windows of the caravan, I remember throwing stones into the sea and I remember the friends I made at the playground.

Does that mean that travel has no benefit for children who are too young to make lasting memories? Of course not! It’s still a fantastic thing to do for their development. Plus, happy parents make better parents. So, if travel makes you happy and it makes your children happy, then that’s a good reason to do it as much as you can. Whether you’re backpacking around the world, taking a luxury cruise or just camping a few miles from home, don’t waste any opportunity to make happy memories with your children.

Jenni Fielding runs the family cruise blog

“Are we there yet?” 

12 months before our family was due to set off on our 6 month trip around Australia we started preparing the kids for the journey. At the time they were 8 and 10 years old, the ideal age for the book by Alison Lester – “Are we there yet?”. The family in the book were missing a term of school, so our kids were very impressed that we would be away for two school terms. The book also helped to prepare the kids for the idea of living in a camper trailer, and let’s just say they were possibly more excited than us.

The book follows the family’s journey around Australia as they visited many famous landmarks such as the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Ayers Rock, Head of the Bight, The Pinnacles, Murphy’s Haystacks and snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef.

As we took off on our own adventure, we incorporated many of the places the kids had heard about in the book and I think this made the trip even more special. To travel around Australia, you are required to cover vast distances between each location and the familiar cry from the backseat during the 6 month road trip was “Are we there yet?”

Natalie and Steve run the Australian family blog Curious Campers

“Travel in the younger sort is a part of education; in the elder, a part of the experience.” – Francis Bacon

Traditionally, a child’s education was synonymous to classroom learning. Nowadays, more and more families are realising the importance of experiences in a child’s development and a unique way to supplement classroom education.

On the contrary, travel in the elder sort, is a part of experience. Throughout childhood and adulthood, you learn so much about different places in the world. Getting the chance to experience these magnificent places is the best feeling.

What I love most about this quote is that it includes all age groups. It mentions children and shows how important travel is for them, not just for an experience point of view, but also for an educational perspective. But it also includes elders and reinforces how important traveling is for families.

Traveling can be made child-friendly. In fact, it’s easier than you think to choose kid-friendly activities to enrich their minds, that adults too will love. One example is a holiday in the Cook Islands. Located in the Pacific Ocean, this little-known holiday destination is popular for New Zealanders and Australians. There are many great things to do in Rarotonga perfect for families, including traditional arts and crafts, cooking classes and educational cultural shows.

Many activities provide a means of education that do not conform to society’s norms of a classroom. Being a millennial, I relate to both sides of the quote. Although I have gone through the traditional education system, I still feel I have a lot more to learn through travel, and many more places to experience.

By Delilah Hart from Our Travel Mix 

“As soon as I saw you, I knew a grand adventure was about to happen” from Winnie the Pooh, by A.A. Milne

We spent a year touring Europe in a motorhome while homeschooling our daughter, and we often used to say this quote to each other. 

We’ve always been big ‘Winnie the Pooh’ fans and our blue days are ‘Eeyore days’, but this quote perfectly sums up the excitement of traveling with people who just make life fun- make the smallest, silliest thing into an ‘event’.  

It’s often confused with another AA Milne quote “ “When you see someone putting on his Big Boots, you can be pretty sure that an Adventure is going to happen.”- also in the House in Pooh Corner.

This is another charming saying we love to (mis)quote when we put on our adventure boots, ready to see where the road will take us this time! 

If you’re traveling with kids, it’s a fun idea to grab a whiteboard and write some quotes onto it, so they can see, read and remember them. That way, they’ll be able to use them and you can create your own version of cute travel quotes. 

By Kat from Wandering Bird

An té a bhíonn siúlach, bíonn scéalach (Irish proverb)

 “He who travels has stories to tell.” 

This is the English meaning of this Irish proverb and is one of my favorite travel quotes. Although my son is a little young to understand the meaning, it is one I will teach him about as he gets older. It is a saying that is applicable whether young or old.

Although he doesn’t realise it, he already holds true to this proverb, through his recounting of stories and memories he has of our travels. Tales like making a fire in the woods during our Yellowstone trip and making s’mores, seeing Santa in Lapland or visiting the best castles for kids in Ireland and pretending to be a dragon hunter. He is still young but certain trips have obviously resonated with him. He even surprises by saying “do you remember when we went to …” and telling us a memory that we genuinely did not think he remembered.

It is also a quote that makes me think of my son’s grandfather, my Dad. My father has always travelled, ever since his early twenties. He’s been a deep-sea fisherman in the North Sea, worked on building sites in London (but originally from Dublin), worked on several different mines in Africa and spent several years in Angola during the civil war in the 90’s. And often regals us with tales of his time in these different places.

So, the saying holds true. Anyone who travels will have stories to tell of those travels. Whether young or old, whether the trip was good or bad, there will always be a story to tell from a trip.

By Cath from Passports and Adventures

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – Dr. Seuss

My favorite travel quote is from the 1978 book ‘I Can Read With My Eyes Shut’ by Dr. Seuss. The book was poignantly written after Dr. Seuss (otherwise known as Theodor Seuss Greisel) had started to lose his eyesight. The quote is ‘The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.’ Though this quote can be applied to people of any age and ‘going places’ may not refer to traveling, I like to think this quote means that the more you read, the more curious you will be about the world around you and the more you will want to see it for yourself. I regularly quote these words to my three children in the hope of inspiring their own wanderlust. I also used the quote many times to encourage the children to homeschool during our family gap year in which reading formed the backbone of their home school education! Their love of reading has helped to inspire their wanderlust. For example, my daughter longs to go to Greece after reading the Percy Jackson novels whereas my other daughter wishes to go to Prince Edward Island after reading Anne of Green Gables.  

By Sinead Camplin from Map Made Memories

Children sitting on a wooden table out in a field reading books.


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“May your adventures bring you closer together, even as they take you far away from home.” – Trenton Lee Stewart

Traveling as a family can bring about a lot of different adventures and experiences.  Many families experience things at home, and travel infrequently.  Their highs and lows are experienced mostly in one place and their home base is where the majority of their memories are formed.  When traveling with family, it is important to experience meaningful experiences, new adventures and important milestones anywhere, but especially while adventuring.  A lost tooth in a hotel in London, a first walk at a grandmother’s house in Poland, chasing a pigeon for the first time in Krakow, or going on a boat adventure in Spain.  These memories and experiences bring our family closer together even though we may not be in the comfort of our own home. Even little things that we may not think will forma s a memory, such as having a new breakfast will be remembered more so if it isn’t at our own home.  A new meal, or a new friend that isn’t against a familiar backdrop creates a new adventure. 

Milestones and family time can be spent anywhere, and this quote resonates immensely in that it fully explains that being home isn’t where things happen.  Home is where your family is, and that can be anywhere.

By Diana from Travels in Poland

Mother and her son from  the back sitting on rocks overlooking the ocean and cliffs.

“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.” 

Though this quote is often attributed to Emerson or considered a Native American proverb, its origins are unknown. Often quoted and paraphrased, the meaning isn’t lost: respect the earth now for it belongs to generations to come.

For me personally, it reminds me to not only show my children the world, but educate them to preserve it. It encourages me to travel mindfully and teach my children how to respect nature, history, and culture, whether that be through eco-tourism, volunteer work, or just through respectful exposure.

Growing up in a social media driven world can often instill a sense of instant gratification in children. The meaning behind these words can counter that by reminding families to approach travel as a means of connecting and learning about different places, cultures, and landscapes. Not just visiting a place for a picture but to understand it.

Ultimately, I love this quote because it reminds me that we are all connected. None of us is more important than the other, nor are we more important than the Earth that provides us with so many resources and experiences. Keeping that in mind can help preserve and create a more tolerable, connected world through travel, especially when we pass those sentiments to our children.

By Victoria from Tori Leigh | Family Travel & Lifestyle

Pin for Pinterest: Travel with Kids Quotes

“When you travel with children you are giving something that can never be taken away… experience, exposure and a way of life.” – Pamela T. Chandler

For me this quote totally encapsulates my feelings on family travel. It is so much more than checking out of work to enjoy a week in the sun. It’s about finding connections and a deeper understanding of the world we live in. For my children, travel is the best education. It opens their eyes to all the possibilities that are out there.

From a very young age we have travelled extensively as a family. We have trekked the Himalayas, lived in India, meditated with monks in Thailand and traversed Africa in a Land Rover. Yes they may have only been two when they saw the Taj Mahal, or three when they saw Victoria falls. But those memories stay with them in their own way and have formed them into the people they are today. 

Our boys are now 5 and 6 years old and travel has become our way of life. We don’t stay in fancy hotels and lounge by the pool (well we do sometimes for a very special treat), but we often travel using local transport, stay with local families or camp, and try as much local food as possible. All these little experiences and exposures develop into the way we choose to view the world. 

By Jenny from TraveLynn Family

Two small children looking out of a tent on the roof of a Jeep.

“The best education you will ever get is traveling. Nothing teaches you more than exploring the world and accumulating experiences.” Mark Paterson

I like this quote because I have lived it. Over the period, I’ve come to realize that learning comes to life and becomes all the more fascinating when kids step outside the four walls of the classroom. Kids learn far more by seeing and observing than by reading and listening. Travel is when education mingles perfectly with fun giving an extra edge to kids. And, then travel teaches children to be patient, perseverant, accommodating, compassionate, forgiving, and responsible – attributes (highly underrated) that kids don’t learn in schools.

Supplementing our daughter’s school education with extensive travel across the world has helped her grow in prodigious ways. I mean, it’s amazing how exposing kids to diverse cultures, traditions, and languages around the globe epitomizes raising well-rounded kids. Now at the age of eleven, my daughter is fearless, bold, knowledgeable, confident, and kind. All because of the experiences she has gained while traveling. Watching her grow from a naive little girl to a fine young girl makes me feel glad about my decision to choose travel as a way of life for our family. Our travel blog aims to inspire parents to invest in experiences rather than material things.

By Anjali from Travel Melodies 

“Having kids is a reason to travel, never a reason to stop.” – Author Unknown

In a lot of cases, travelers who have children feel that they need to stop traveling once they start a family. Of course, your family comes first so every family will be different BUT you shouldn’t think of children as a reason to stop traveling. Instead, you should think of it as having more travel partners! 

For us, we had been traveling around the globe for five years non-stop before our kids were born. At first, we debated and weren’t sure what would happen after we had our children but it became clear very quickly that we would not want to change our lifestyle. In fact, we were getting more and more confident that our lifestyle would be as much fun for our children as it is for us.

Seeing them grow up exploring the world with us is the greatest gift and our fuel to continue traveling with kids – until the moment one of us says stop. But until then, we keep enjoying learning as much about life and this planet as possible, day after day, one place at a time.

By Julia from Jey Jetter

Woman holds a small child in her arms, the ocean and rocks in the background.

More great travel family quotes

Pinterest pin for travel with kids quotes.

“It is never too early to start exploring the world.” – Unknown 

One of the best gifts you can get your children is the gift of travel. Introducing them to travel at a young age opens up so many doors. As the quote says, it really is never too early to start exploring the world! These are the memories that children will remember as they get older, and hopefully it ignites something in them to continue traveling.

“Teaching kids to count is fine, but teaching them what counts is best.” –  Bob Talbert

Children learn through their parents, so setting a good example when they are young will stick with them. Introducing your children to travel and what is out there in the world is a great start exposing them to the ‘bigger picture’. School is important and plays a large role in a child’s future but it’s also important for them to understand there is life outside their homework.

Mother and her little child looking up at the sky towards hot air ballons.

“Don’t just tell your children about the word. Show them.”  –

Sometimes the best way to learn is by doing it! You can tell your kids about all these far off places, and they will only seem like a dream. But if you can, the best way to truly understand these places is by exploring them. 

“Not all classrooms have four walls.” – Anonymous

As mentioned before, there are new ways to learn, outside of the traditional classroom. The traditional way of learning, inside a classroom, is still vital to a child’s education, but in today’s age there are other ways you can educate your children. Traveling with your kids is one way to continue their learning experience outside of the classroom. There is so much to learn through travel, about other people, places, and cultures, and about yourself.

“In the end, kids won’t remember that fancy toy you bought them, they will remember the time you spent with them.”Kevin Heath

Material items will come and go but memories last forever. Traveling with your family may not be cheap, but if you spend money on travel experiences, instead of toys, you won’t break the bank right away. Spending quality time with your children when you can will help influence who they will be as an adult. Sometimes kids might not fully appreciate the meaning of travel at a young age, but as they grow older, they will look back on it and understand the value of these experiences, and (hopefully) understand all the long plane and car rides!

“A road trip is a way for the whole family to spend time together and annoy each other in interesting new places.”  – Tom Lichtenheld

Travel is never perfect, and that includes traveling with your kids. If you have more than one child, chances are they will argue or disagree during your trip. A road trip is a great way to test those boundaries. 

“There are no perfect parents and there are no perfect children, but there are plenty of perfect moments along the way.” – Dave Willis

This quote deals with the not so perfect side of traveling. Behind all those perfect family photos, there might have been a meltdown or two, but that doesn’t take away from the good parts of the trip or memories. 

Did we get you into wanderlust mood? Let us know in the comments below, which favorite travel quotes you like best.

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4 Day Thailand Itinerary

The headline sounds crazy, I know! But perhaps one day you’ll find yourself in this tricky situation where you’ll be short on time when it comes to visiting one of the most popular Asian destinations. So, imagine you only had four days to spend in beautiful Thailand! Here is our 4-day Thailand Itinerary and what you could do to get a glimpse of Asia’s number one travel destination – even in such a short time!


4 Days Thailand Itinerary. Pinterest

How to Spend 4 Days in Thailand

Let’s pretend, you’d only have four days to discover the beauty of Thailand, here are the highlights for a 4-day itinerary you won’t want to miss if you go to one of the most popular Asian countries for travellers.

A boat trip to one of Thailand's beautiful islands.
Even on a cloudy day, the dramatic scenery of Thailand’s waters is so intriguing… Photo by Marcin Kaliński on Unsplash

2 Days in Bangkok

Really the only place to start any trip to Thailand is the capital city of Bangkok. We suggest two days in Bangkok will just about be enough to see the main sights and give you a good feel for the city.

Day One: Best Temples in Bangkok

Thailand has always been known for its beautiful temples and palaces, more than just its lush, green forests and pristine beaches. Some of the best temples are in Bangkok; there are four must-see temples in Bangkok alone, and one Royal palace to visit. In our Bangkok itinerary, we recommend ending the tour with a relaxing river cruise.

Book your River Cruise Tour here!

Begin your tour at the Grand Palace. It is made up of complex buildings divided into four main parts, namely: the Outer Court, the Inner Court, the Middle Court, and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. It used to be the official residence of the Royal Family from 1782 to 1925. Currently, the Palace is open to the public as a museum, but there are still royal offices operating inside.

Grand Palace in Thailand. Photo credit:
The Grand Palace in Bangkok. Photo credit:


Next, walk a couple of blocks south from the Grand Palace to Wat Pho. It is the oldest, largest, and most famous temple in Thailand. It had been recognised by UNESCO in their Memory of the World Programme because it is believed to be the earliest public school in Thailand. But their most popular attraction here is the Reclining Buddha, which is 46 metres long and 15 metres high.

Wat Pho in Bangkok. Photo credit:
Wat Pho in Bangkok. Photo by

After, make your way across the west bank of the Chao Phraya River to visit Wat Arun. It is also named the Temple of Dawn, and you can get the most breathtaking views of the city here. There are five prangs in the temple, you can choose to climb the main prang which is decorated with colourful porcelain and ceramic tiles.

Still need accommodation in Bangkok?

Lastly, drive back to Chinatown to visit Wat Traimit. It is hard to miss the six-ton, solid gold Buddha statue in the temple. It is considered to be the biggest golden statue in the world, valuing in an estimated $250 million.

Walking through the streets of China Town in Bangkok - one must-do when in Thailand!
Walking through the streets of China Town in Bangkok – one must-do when in Thailand! Photo by Goh Rhy Yan on Unsplash

Cap the day off by cruising down the Phraya River via a water taxi. You can relax throughout the ride, get a view of the city from your cruise, and just take it all in.

Note that you should wear something that will cover your elbows and knees when you go to the temples. A long-sleeved shirt and pants will do fine, but if you did not bring any, you can always bring a jacket and a long cover-up with you. If you see the locals leave their shoes outside the temple, you should do the same.



Day Two: Shopping, Food and Muay Thai in Bangkok

Other than the temples, it is not a Thailand trip if you will not get to experience at least one of the floating markets in Bangkok. The two most popular markets are Taling Chan and Khlong Lat Mayom. If this is your first time in Bangkok, you should probably stick to those two first. It is recommended that you get there early in the morning before it gets crowded, not just to make it easy to shop, but so you get first dibs on some of the items.

You can also buy lots of local delicacies, jewellery, produce, and clothes. But you have to decide fast, though, the canal is filled with boats, you do not want to cause water traffic. If you do have some spare time you could also visit If you have time you could also visit Amphawa floating market.

Floating markets - a big highlight when visiting Bangkok!
Floating Markets – a big highlight when visiting Bangkok! Photo by Harvey Enrile on Unsplash.

Next up, a Muay Thai fight in Bangkok! You can make your way to Rajadamnern Stadium, home to authentic Muay Thai fights – by authentic, we mean, there is no show, no script, none of that touristy feel. Muay Thai is considered a national sport, and watching it in Thailand is something you should not miss.

The best thing about Bangkok is there are restaurants and food stalls on almost every corner. You have already been to Chinatown from the first day, but giving it a second visit just for the food is also the perfect way to gear up that food tour.

Beach time in Thailand – one mandatory stop on your Thailand travel guide.
Famous for its beautiful beaches: Thailand really has uncountable hot spots you need to come back for! Photo by Farsai C. on Unsplash

Day Three: Find the Best Beach in Koh Chang Island

After spending your time in the city, you are probably itching for a day at the beach. The great news is there are two cool beaches you can easily reach from Bangkok, one of which is Koh Chang island. From the mainland, it is a five-hour bus drive or a 45-minute ferry ride.

INSIDER TIP: Take the worry out of your arrival or departure from Suvarnabhumi Airport and pre-book a private transfer to or from major destinations in Thailand, including Pattaya, Hua Hin, Ayutthaya, Kanchanaburi, Koh Samet and Koh Chang. Book your transfer here!

Koh Chang is home to beautiful beaches like the Lonely beach and White Sand Beach. There are also several waterfalls on Koh Chang, like the popular Khlong Phlu Waterfall and the Khlong Nonsi Waterfall, plus parks like the Mu Ko Chang National Park.

Even on a party island you'll have the most peaceful sunsets...
Even on a party island, you’ll have the most peaceful sunsets… Photo by

Relax and find the best beach in Koh Chang by day. Remember by night Koh Chang is considered to be one of the best party island’s in Thailand, especially in Lonely Beach, so be ready to get your party on when you find yourself here.

Day Four: Chill Out on Koh Samet’s Beaches

Another beach destination for your fourth and last day in Thailand. Koh Samet is only two and a half hours away from the city by bus. You can go to Ao Phai or Hat Sai Kaow. This is where you can truly enjoy the tranquillity of Thailand, away from the city and the crowds and just chill out on Koh Samet’s beaches.

Travel guide for your Thailand trip: White sand beaches are a must see.
Enjoy some quiet time after the hassle and buzz of the city! Photo by Boudewijn Huysmans on Unsplash.

After a chill day at the beach in Koh Samet, make your way back to the city for one last look at Bangkok before you leave. By following this itinerary, you will be able to enjoy the country’s thrilling capital with its delicious food but also get a glimpse of the beautiful nature this country has to offer – in four short days. Make sure to come back one day with more time in your pocket!


As a digital nomad family, we simply LOVE Koh Phangan, read how we got stuck there during Covid-19 and explore our family digital nomad guide for this beautiful remote island.

Or try out our Thailand island hopping beginners guide .

If you are not in a rush or want to come back to Thailand one day (which I recommend you should!), here is why you have to put Chiang Rai on your list!


*This post may contain affiliate links. See affiliate disclaimer here.


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The Ultimate Guide to Koh Phangan For Digital Nomad Families – What to Do And Where to Stay

It’s no secret, Thailand is a magnet for travelers and digital nomads alike. We found that Koh Phangan for digital nomad families is just perfect! During my eight years of roaming the world, I was lucky enough to visit this beautiful spot of the world several times. But the last time was different. It wasn’t old backpacker-me ticking off tourist attractions this land of smiles has on offer. Nope. This time, I brought my little nomadic family along.

Read on if you want to know where are the best places for digital nomads and how living on Koh Phangan as a digital nomad family looks like.

Koh Phangan for digital nomad families offer so many cool places like this swing heald by palm trees where a couple with their child sits, the ocean in the background.
Swinging life away on Koh Phangan for digital nomad families… at one of our favorite beaches in the south of the island.

Note: This is a collaboration post, partially from people we personally know and have met on my travels, and partially from my blogger network. It aims to give you a not single-minded perspective on the island’s potential! You’re welcome! 😉

Koh Phangan For Digital Nomad Families – why go?

For us, the question of ‘where to next?’ pops up as soon as the days of our current visa come to an end. It’s mostly a challenge and it requires a lot of patience and travel planning skills if you want to slow travel as budget-friendly as possible. But there are a few things that can help you make a decision: One big factor is the weather. Yes, it’s that simple. Don’t visit Europe, for example, in the cold and grey months of November and January (December is fine if you like Christmas, then it’s actually lovely there!).

So, in 2018, during our stay in Portugal’s scenic Algarve, we met so many families who travel and work remotely just like us. After a while, it happened so that we connected and exchanged travel plans. Most of the other families already booked their flights to Asia. And since we now focus on what is best for our kids (back then, we were still with our first son only and me being pregnant again), we decided to follow along and meet with our and his playmates on Koh Phangan, Thailand. Such a great decision!

Koh Phangan for digital nomad families has it all! The (still!) laid-back island vibe you are looking for when thinking of an island escape. GORGEOUS beaches and lush green jungle spots! Oh, and boy, do I love Thai food – take me back, please, yum!

Bird-eye view onto Koh Ma Island on Koh Phangan for digital nomad families.
One of the best views you’ll have up at the 360 Bar.

Koh Phangan for digital nomad families: best places to eat on

Orion Healing Center

This place alone gives me a reason to go back to Koh Phangan. Seriously, I wanted to stay there as soon as we walked in the first time (and we came back many more times during our stay on the island). How can I describe it best to do it justice: you walk into the outside sitting area when you come from the parking lot and feel already peaceful and calm. It’s actually a healing center where people practice yoga and enjoy detox treatments. But you can (and should!) also eat in their fabulous restaurant and cafe.

Collage of one big picture with an outside sitting area with hammocks, palm trees, and two small pictures with typical food.
Take me back… Yummy food and a peaceful vibe!

When you have the time, then you should come several times as it is impossible to try all their food at once – which I really recommend – you can tell, I am absolutely in love with this place (and this is no paid advertisement, it’s my genuine opinion LOL). You can choose from Yogi breakfast bowls to yummy vegan dishes and, of course, sip your way through their healthy smoothies and freshly squeezed juices.

Seed to Feed

We love the idea of this place: they grow their own salads, herbs and green leaves right next to the restaurant. Besides this awesome fact, everything is nicely presented to the visitor and there is simply a relaxed atmosphere. Oh, and of course, the food is delish too! Try one of their yummy salads and you’ll see what I mean. It is a nice change when you want to eat something fresh instead of the evergreen Pad Thai dish. But, of course, you can also get traditional Thai food in case you’re wondering…

collage of two photos, one showing hanging menu signs and the other showing four glass jars with spices and herbs.


Vegan restaurants are on the upcoming as it is no secret that many travelers come to this beautiful island with a mission to heal, relax and exercise. That’s why you also see many yoga places and organic shops around. Eat.Co makes it a priority to serve creative dishes in a very laid-back and artsy ambience. You can even shop some organic clothes and hand-made jewellery as well as soaps, oils, incenses and non-chemical insect repellent.

Tip: The portions are rather small so if you’re hungry you will have to order two dishes each if you don’t want to leave hungry… But then again, I was there when I was pregnant, so perhaps you will be fine! LOL

Pantip Market

As a digital nomad in Koh Phangan, you can’t eat out in restaurants all the time. Even in Thailand that can get pricey. One of the best solutions, other than cooking yourself, is to go eat at the Pantip Market.

Thai street food market, food stalls and vendors

Koh Phangan’s Pantip Market, also known as Pantip Night Food Market, is an all-day food market in Thong Sala, the largest town on the island.

Whichever time of day you come there, you’ll be able to choose from a wide array of reasonably priced meals. Ranging from the smallest snacks such as pancakes, doughnuts or meat/tofu skewers, to full-on meals such as Pad Thai and of course you can find also the beloved mango & sticky rice dessert. Many of the stalls have started using paper plates and banana leaves instead of the omnipresent plastic.

The market becomes the liveliest in the evenings. Around the Full moon dates, even stalls selling souvenirs pop up in Pantip and it can become quite difficult to find a free seat in the common seating area. 

This tip comes from my friend Veronica from Travel Geekery. Check her also out on Instagram:

What to do on Koh Phangan

One of the greatest things to do on Koh Phangan is clearly to enjoy the countless beautiful beaches and explore the many hidden bays. See below for a full list of best beaches on the island. But one highlight you simply can’t miss is going snorkeling in the little bay of the so-called Secret Beach.

Snorkeling at Koh Raham – Secret Beach

Pass through the jungle-like resort and restaurant entrance from which you will get to the very far back of the sitting area. Once you’ve reached the end of the pathway, you will see people jumping off the little rock. You can also simply put on your snorkeling gear and climb down the stone stairs to submerge into the crystal clear waters.

Immediately you will be surrounded by plenty of fish that hang out there and get attracted by the food people through into the water… (not my favorite part, as I don’t think humans should feed wild fish, but the kids loved to see them and swim with the little fishes…)!

Little alley with coconuts on the side, woman with child in her arms underneath a sign that says Koh Raham
You will feel like a pirate in this place!

Angthong National Marine Park

When we travel, we always try to look outside the box and find activities that are not so common or done while in a destination. Our idea is, in this way, to generate content that is not very common and can help more travelers to plan their trip, and to us to increase traffic to our blog.

During our trip to Thailand, we went, of course, to Koh Phangan, an extremely popular island that almost every traveler to the country visits. But here we found a tour to a national park called Angthong National Marine Park which, despite widely publicized everywhere, very few people really did take. Everyone prefers to party at night and rest in the day…

Man and woman standing at the beach smiling at the camera, sun glasses on their eyes, the ocean and a green jungle mountain in the background.

So, we decided to go on a tour that left at 07:00 am and returned around 19:00 in the afternoon. We were surprised and loved it. We saw several nearby islands, hidden lagoons between mountains and paradisiacal beaches with practically no people. Without doubt, one of our favorite activities in the area, and for which to this day many travelers ask us about.

This tip is from Alejandra from Universo Viajero, you can find her also on Instagram:

Full Moon Party

No article about traveling to Koh Phangan should be without a short mention of the legendary Full Moon Party. It might not be for everyone and is clearly not for (anymore). But this Koh Phangan travel guide wouldn’t be complete without it. So, here is my honest opinion on this rather special event.

When I visited Koh Phangan the first time, back in 2011, I also went to see what it’s all about the Full Moon Party. The hype is huge, people who want to be part of this massive party at the beach, travel from other parts of Thailand (and even outside the country), just to be there when Koh Phangan goes wild. Prices go up, hotels fill up and alcoholic beverages get scarce. Everyone buys colorful (or white) shirts and those neon colors that reflect at night.

Full Moon party bracelet on arm wrist

When you are in your mid-twenties celebrating with your friends, you might have the time of your life dancing the night away right at one of Koh Phangan beautiful beaches. But if you have kids and get a little older, like us, a wild party event like this just doesn’t do the trick any longer. I’d rather stay at home or sit by the bonfire at Zen Beach.

Should you go? Yes, sure. It’s one of those things you can tick off your bucket list. But no harm is done if you miss out. But that’s just my humble opinion… Please leave a comment at the end of this article if you agree/disagree. Thanks!

Check for more activities and tours on Koh Phangan here:

Plate with a cut pineapple and text saying The Ultimate Guide to Koh Phangan As a Digital Nomad Family.

Where to stay on Koh Phangan

Koh Phangan, one of Thailand’s fairest island getaways, is known for its beauty but, too often, it’s party culture. The home of the infamous Full Moon Party, it can be a little tricky to find places to suit travelers who aren’t on their gap year.


That’s why Bluerama, a small hilltop resort about ten minutes from the port offers the best of all worlds. Situated at the top of a (very) steep hill, this small boutique outfit only has ten bungalows on stilts, each offering incredible views of the bay before them. The bungalows are tastefully decorated, beautifully air-conditioned and offer privacy from other guests.

However, because of the location, the hotel also has one of the world’s most stunning swimming pool views, as you are almost suspended above the ocean. And this poolside setting usually attracts a cool clientele with trendy music and a laid back cocktail vibe around sunset.

view from terrace of the Bluerama on Koh Phangan
Photo credit: Bluerama

Bluerama is also ideal for digital nomads as it offers some of the strongest WiFi signals we’ve seen over South East Asia. Working by day at the pool and streaming Netflix at night means you’re easily connected, albeit in some beautiful surroundings.

This tip comes from James and Lee Scrivener from The Travel Scribes.

NOTE: This is not an ideal hotel for families, in fact, it is an adult-only spot. However, we wanted to include it in this post anyway as it can be interesting for couples and solo travelers who might stop by and read this post too.


What can I say – would I recommend it? Hm, not to everybody, I think. But here I am telling you that we had a wonderful time there. Why? Despite the somewhat rundown facilities and the not so ideal location, we can definitely say that it is worth to stay at Buritara if you are a digital nomad family.

Every year, during European winter, many German-speaking families have made it their habit to reunite on Koh Phangan to escape the cold. In fact, there is this one famous German travel family, the Horlachers, who started the so-called ‘Koh Phangan Winter Camp’ back in 2017.

people at the beach, in the middle there is a bonfire lighting up, clouds hanging in the sky.
Getting ready for our bonfire night…

The reason this is such a great resort to choose when visiting Koh Phangan as a digital nomad family is because you will be surrounded by not the ordinary hotel guest but with people who think and breathe exactly like you: travel, location-independence and anything that is related to an alternative lifestyle.

If you are interested to be part of such a community during your workation on Koh Phangan, check out this (German) Facebook group, or simply speak to anyone at one of the many beaches who looks German and for sure they can tell you where the next get-together will take place. Your best place to connect is clearly the god ol’ Buritara.

A big outdoor swimming pool in a resort, children playing in the water, palm trees and the view towards the ocean in the background.

Song Pi Nong and Longtail Beach Resort

The reason I am listing these two hotels here together is that I cannot really speak from personal experience as we did not stay there. But from all the families we met on the island, who stayed at either of the two places, they highly recommended them. In fact, if you want to have a little more European standard and cleanliness, then you are better off at one of these places. Like I explained above, we didn’t mind the lower standard that Buritara had on offer because the people made it an overall positive experience, but as a travel blogger who recommends hotels and restaurants, I honestly have to say that I wouldn’t stay there under ‘normal’ circumstances.

Tip: Check for availability at Longtail Beach Resort and Song Pi Nong way ahead of time, these are popular places and sell out fast during December till March!

Search here for your Koh Phangan accommodation:

These are perfect beaches on Koh Phangan for digital nomad families!

Often we are asked which beaches we find the most beautiful. To answer this question is not so easy, because one beach is more beautiful than the other, that’s how we feel. But here are our two most favorite beaches:

1.) Srithanu Beach (Nice Beach)

Our house beach in Srithanu. We have consciously decided to stay only a few minutes by motorbike from Srithanu Beach. This is where we are most frequently found. We like the clear, calm water, the small bay, the white powder sand and the Nice Beach Restaurant with the delicious Thai cuisine. This beach is particularly suitable for families with children of all ages.

woman with child plays in shallow water at the beach. In the background you can see the sandy part of the beach with little shops and restaurants.

One can walk very far into the water, as the beach doesn’t drop much towards the sea. Since there is very little current in this bay, the water is clear and calm. Here you will find the ideal bathing fun for the whole family but be aware that there are only a few shady places…

From approx. 6 pm you can enjoy here also daily beautiful sunsets. For us, the Srithanu Beach (Nice Beach) is the number one beach on Koh Phangan.

Sunset at the beach, some people are in the shallow water, a couple is laying on a blanket in the sand and watch the sun go down.
Always worth a visit: Happy Beach or Nice Beach, as they call it.

2.) Malibu Beach

Malibu Beach lives up to its name. If you didn’t know you were in Thailand, you might think you were in Florida. It has the finest, whitest beach in the north of the island. From afternoon (approx. 2 pm) more and more shade falls into the bay and thus also on the beautiful beach. Therefore we recommend a visit in the morning. Like at Srithanu Beach you can walk far into the sea. So you can relax on the beach while the kids play in the water.

There is only one restaurant on the beach and it is highly overpriced – on top of that bringing food is not allowed. However, as far as we know, the beaches in Thailand are mostly public, so we decided to bring small snacks, fruits and drinks with us. Tip: Just don’t sit directly in front of the restaurant.

3.) Bottle Beach

This beach in the northeast of the island is very difficult to reach by land, so the best way to get there is by taxi boat. You can book the trip directly at the port in Chaloklum and it should not cost you more than about 300 BAHT for both ways. For children up to 11 years of age, there is usually no need to pay. The travel time is approx. 20 – 30 minutes. It is best to start in the morning at the harbor in Chaloklum. If you are traveling with a larger group, you can certainly negotiate a group discount.

At Bottle Beach, you will find a handful of hotels and restaurants, so there is plenty to eat and drink. Best time to visit: Avoid the weekend! Then, you might be lucky to find the beach all to yourself!

typical Thai taxi boats on the shore of crystal clear turquoise water

4.) Haad Khom / Coconut Beach

Coral Bay Beach, as it is called by most people, is well known for its pet: a huge and friendly pig. In the spacious bay, you will find many cozy places in the shade. Children will love the swings that are hanging down from the palm trees. The restaurants offer good Thai food and the beach pig is, of course, an attraction. As the name „Coral Bay” already suggests, the sand is not the finest and in the water are sometimes some stones and corals. This makes a good snorkel spot though, so don’t forget to bring your goggles.

5.) Zen Beach

Zen Beach is not very suitable for swimming, especially for families with children. Apart from its strong current and the fairly deep entrance right after a few steps into the water, there is a high chance of being stung by a sea urchin. It happens quite frequently that people come out of the water with one of the long spines in their feet.

Nevertheless, this beach has an absolute special vibe. At sunset many alternative free spirits, musicians and acrobats meet here to make music, dance and enjoy a huge fire show. It is a special experience to soak up the colorful hustle and bustle with music, acrobatics and dance around the campfire. Many practice yoga or simply enjoy a coconut and watch the beautiful sunset.

woman kneeling in the sand watching her child walk in the distance towards the ocean, the sun goes down in the background.

More beaches on Koh Phangan

These were our top five beaches on Koh Phangan. As you can imagine, there are many more beaches. Here are more beautiful beaches we recommend to visit:

Thong Nai Pan

Thong Nai Pan is located in the east of the island. With a scooter, it takes about 30-45 minutes to get around.

Cocohut Beach

Famous for its legendary swing, this beach is worth a visit. Make sure to enjoy some delicious food at the Cocohut Resort.

Haad Yao

The bay at Haad Yao is relatively large and offers plenty of space for families with children.

Haad Salad

The bay is very, very beautiful. However, you can always find sea cucumbers (harmless) or sea urchins when snorkeling further out.

Although we have already spent 7 months on Koh Phangan, there is always something new to discover. We can recommend the „Koh Phangan Travel Guide” from „Home is where your Bag is”. We were surprised ourselves about what we discovered in this pointed travel guide.

These tips for Koh Phangan for digital nomad families are from our lovely friends Sabrina and Holger at Worldsafari Family. Check them also out on Instagram.


Koh Phangan for digital nomad families is a very special place – either if you are after the colorful Full Moon Party or if you simply want to stay for a few months and use it as your nomad base. Especially for digital nomad families, this Thai island has a lot on offer: calm and beautiful beaches, friendly and relaxed people which is probably the reason why there is a healthy mix of both travel families and solo travelers.

If you liked this post, please share it with your family and friends. Also, leave a comment to let us know what part of Koh Phangan you like best or if you are still planning to visit this gorgeous island. Stay tuned for more Thai content as we will be back there from January-March 2020!

In the meantime check out our existing Thai articles:
4 Day Thailand Itinerary
Island Hopping Guide for Beginners
5 Things to Know Before Visiting Bangkok



What to do when visiting Guyana

Now, Guyana is already exotic and probably not your common travel destination. Perhaps you haven’t even considered travelling there because it is certainly one of those ‘off-the-beaten-path‘ locations. Hopefully, after reading this post, you reconsider and even spice up your next trip or vacation with a completely new experience: going really local and living on one of Guyana’s many ranches. Yipee yayo, Cowboys, who is down for some dusty horse-fun in South America?

This is a syndicated article and was originally posted on the website of Guyana Tourism.

No time to read it now? Pin this and save it for later!


Living the Ranch Life

South Rupununi, in the lower part of Guyana, is starkly different from the dense green rainforests of the north of the country. This is a land rich in traditions and where the wild ways from the turn of the 20th century endure. No matter which way you look, you see an endless golden-brown savannah and low blue hills circling them at the horizon. The sky hangs spectacularly low, making sunrises and sunsets stuff that photography fantasies are made of. It is a place that is sure to get under your skin and remain etched in your memory!

Cattle and cowboys - visiting Guyana can be a real unique experience

A bit about the history of Guyana’s ranches

South Rupununi is the land where the rich ranching traditions of Guyana really began. It was at Dadanawa Ranch at the edge of the Rupununi River, that pioneered the vaquero lifestyle. Previously home to the Indigenous people of the region, the name Dadanawa is a distortion of local Wapishana Indigenous ‘Dadinauwau’, which translates as ‘macaw spirit creek hill’.

A trading post in the 1800s it was sold with 300 cattle heads to a man called H.P.C. Melville before the turn of the century. Today, the ranch has more than 5,000 heads of cattle that roam the 1,750 square miles of the area. Barefoot vaqueros still take care of the ranch in the traditional ways and are happy to show guests a slice of their life.

Horsing around while visiting Guyana

What to do on a ranch while visiting Guyana?

There is plenty to do at a ranch for a visitor:

  • helping around in the main house
  • planting peanuts or other crops
  • cleaning and feeding the cattle, pigs, poultry and the horses
  • or just relaxing under the milky sky at night

Other ranches soon sprang up in the Rupununi, following Dadanawa’s example. Saddle Mountain, Karanambu, Manari, Waikin and many others are scattered around Lethem, the main town and air node to the South Rupununi. Each ranch has fascinating stories to recount and makes for a great stop during your visit to the region. Most visitors cover at least two ranches during a trip to the region for a truly immersive experience.

Every cowboy needs to relax - visiting Guyana doesn't have to be stressful after all!

A true local experience

Running a ranch is hard work. Daily tasks of the vaquero ‘cowboys’ start in the early hours of the morning. Cleaning, feeding, giving medicines and taking the cattle out for feeding take up considerable time. But it is also the perfect time to hone your riding skills. Trained riders love the terrain of the ranches, but the vaqueros are happy to help amateurs learn the basics. If you are really keen to experience the awesome riding skills of the local vaqueros, then plan a visit to the Rupununi for Sand Creek Rodeo and Rupununi Rodeo during Easter.


Do you still need the appropriate outfit for your ranch live?

There are plenty of other attractions that you can explore while staying in one of the many experiential ranches of the Rupununi. Here are a few that you should not miss:

Birding and Wildlife

The vast stretch of savannah and the thickets of forests in between are excellent for bird watching. There are more than 400 species of birds that are found in the South Rupununi region, including the lesser-spotted endangered red siskin. Tiger-herons, jacanas and even the elusive harpy eagle often make appearances. Jaguars, anteaters, labias, capybaras, anacondas and caimans are another draw for the nature and wildlife lover.

When visiting Guyana don't miss out on birdwatching on one of the many rivers
Karanambu Ranch Savannah, Rupununi, Guyana, South America

Fishing while visiting Guyana

Locals continue to hunt for their own food. Fishing is a big part of this. Spending the day with local indigenous people, cruising the rivers in a slim dugout canoe, fishing for giant catfish, peacock bass, and the occasional piranha is a thrilling experience. Thick primary forest and mangroves overhung with creepers, make the river settings really extraordinary. Knowing that the waters are filled with caimans and giant river otters, turns most fishing excursions into exciting wildlife spotting adventures.

A fisherman on a river - when visiting Guyana you'll be taken back in time

Go on a hike when you are visiting Guyana

The hills in the Rupununi region are excellent for hikes. The Bone and Skulls Mountain off Shulainab, close to Saddle Mountain, is where one can see ancient indigenous burial sites. Thousand-year-old skulls and bones lie encased in small and large earthen pots to this day. The Moco Moco Mountain off Lethem is another great place for a day hike or the beginning of a multi-day trek. Regardless of your level of fitness, make an effort to reach the top of the mountain, as the views of the sprawling carpet of green, thick jungles below are absolutely stunning!

Even the wildlife will be exceptional when you are visiting Guyana
Giant Anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla) & Vaquero or Cowboy, Savannah Rupununi, Guyana. South America

This remote part of the world, rich in its ancient ranching traditions is definitely one of the most memorable parts of visiting Guyana. So if your itching to wear that cowboy hat and boots, then we suggest go ahead and plan a visit to the ranches of the Rupununi.

Here are some travel tips for visiting Guyana and a list of top things to do in the country. 

Travel Better in Guyana: Guyana is working hard to conserve its vibrant wildlife and ecosystems and protect its culture and heritage. We realize that it is often difficult to understand how you can support these aims and make a difference when you travel.  That’s why we’ve set out to help you by creating Visitor Guidelines for Sustainable Travel. All passionate globetrotters, curious culture seekers, and bold adventurers are encouraged to do all you can to leave a positive impact on the people and places you visit in Guyana. 


For more South American Travel Tips, check out these posts:

Fancy a trip to the Galapagos Islands but are you scared it will be too expensive? Great news! You can get to this absolutely unique island paradise on a budget! Click HERE to read our post!

Are Islands your thing? Here is a list of the most mysterious islands around the world!

Top Travel Posts

Thailand Itinerary – A Beginner’s Guide to Island Hopping in the Land of Smiles

Information and itinerary for travelling in Thailand from island to island

With hundreds of islands spanning the coast of Thailand, island hopping is an exciting and fun experience for the avid traveller. Whether you are travelling to the Andaman Coast on the South West coast of Thailand, or the Gulf Coast on the South East there is a multitude of great options to meet your desires. This itinerary for your Thailand island hopping experience will give you a reference to some of the best islands to travel to, how to get there, attractions, and more.


Find out more and pre-book a private transfer to or from major destinations in Thailand!


Thailand Itinerary for the South East Thailand Islands: Gulf of Thailand Coast

Koh Samui

Similar to the island of Phuket on the South West coast of Thailand, Koh Samui serves as a base for island hopping. Tourists can travel to the island by plane, and then go island hopping because of the vast array of tours available on the island.

If you are considering a vacation, you may be wondering, how is the weather in Koh Samui? To answer your question, the weather is typically hot, with extended periods of rain. However, because of the vast array of indoor activities on the island, visitors can travel to the island year round, even during the raining season. You still can have entertaining activities to do when it rains in Koh Samui.


Not sure what to bring on your trip?

Read here which gadgets we use for travelling and for our digital nomad life.


Koh Tao

Thailand itinerary: Mae Haad Pier, the ferry services from Koh Tao to Koh Samui
Mae Haad Pier, the ferry services to Koh Samui © Andy Wright via Flickr

One of the smaller islands on the gulf coast of Thailand, Koh Tao is a secluded yet exciting island. Island hoppers can easily reach the destination by taking a tour from one of the larger islands.

The island tour allows vacationers with a variety of fun activities and marvellous scenery. This includes rock climbing, snorkelling, and hiking, and diving. Book your dive tour here for the best chance to see a whale shark at the famous dive site Sail Rock in the Gulf of Thailand.


Travel to Koh Tao on your own terms and stay longer than you would with a tour company. Get there via high speed catamaran within 20 min. On the island you can rent a scooter and discover the island. Make sure to drive up on to one of the hills and enjoy beautiful views of the island.

Find out more and book your high-speed catamaran and coach to Koh Tao!

Koh Phangan

Thailand itinerary Koh Phangan
The vendors selling “The Bucket” by the beach on Full Moon Party night © Lim Ashley via Flickr

The island of Koh Phangan provides island hoppers on the South East coast of Thailand with an exciting and beautiful destination. In order to get to this island, travelers must take a boat or ferry tour either from the neighboring island Koh Samui or the mainland port in Surat Thani.

Once you reach the island, there are plenty of options for entertainment. For starters, there are multiple beaches to travel to, all of which have clear waters and incredible views. If you are looking for some exciting activities to do then Koh Phangan has you covered as there are waterfalls, hiking trails, and water activities.

Koh Phangan is most recognised by its Full Moon Party. This event occurs every month and is full of excitement. It is an all-night event and should be a part of your trip to Koh Phangan.

Also, read: Our Travel Guide to Koh Phangan as a Digital Nomad Family


Koh Wua Talap

Thailand itinerary Mu Koh Ang
Mu Koh Ang Thong (Ang Thong National Marine Park) © Robin Hickmott via Flickr

Koh Wua Talap is a sparsely populated island off of the coast of Thailand. It is a part of Ang Thong National Marine Park. This island is perfect for those who want to visit exciting destinations and witness stunning views. The only way to island-hop to this location is through a tour from one of the larger islands on the gulf coast of Thailand. One very popular one is the Mu Ko Ang Thong Park: Semi-private Sunset Cruise Tour where you enjoy a relaxing sailing cruise aboard a luxurious yacht to the limestone islands of Mu Ko Ang Thong Marine Park. Secure your spot here!

The island is a popular tourist destination due mostly to the mountains, beaches, and Angthong National Park. If you want to take in the full magnitude of the island, then I would recommend going on the Pha Jun-Jaras hike with a private tour, where you will be taken to the highest point of the island and witness an incredible view.


Find out more and book a customised day trip to Ang Thong Marine Park!

Thailand Itinerary for the Andaman Coast: South West Islands


Thailand Itinerary: Patong beach, Phuket
Patong beach has a wide variety of activities and nightlife © Luke Ma via Flickr

The country of Thailand’s largest island, Phuket is one of the premier destinations for traveling and island hopping. Phuket is one of the few islands off the coast of Thailand that has an airport, as well as boating companies to help you hop from island to island. This means that it is a great choice to travel to in order to journey to other islands.

The weather in Phuket is hot year long, and during certain times there are weeks straight of heavy rain. If you are looking to travel to Phuket the best time to do so is during the winter months through early spring, which allows you to avoid the monsoon season.

If you plan on staying in Phuket for a little while then take the time to experience the pristine waters, exciting nightlife, and downtown area. Also, consider booking a day-tour to one of the neighbouring islands if you like snorkelling with a guide, for example.


Find out more and book the must-do James Bond Island Day Trip!


Mu Koh Similan

Thailand Itinerary: Visitors can travel to Similan via speedboat from Phuket or Khao Lak
Visitors can travel to Similan via speedboat from Phuket or Khao Lak © Fred von Lohmann via Flickr

If you are island hopping from Phuket, one of the prime destinations to visit is Similan. The relatively uncivilised island is a few hour boat ride, well worth the wait.

Once you get to the island, the beaches are pristine, with crystal clear water almost like a mirror, and several exciting activities to participate in. As part of the tour to Similan, travelers get to walk the beaches, snorkel, dive and hike to some of the most beautiful sites on the island. Similan is definitely one of the hidden beaches to visit near Phuket.


Find out more and book a full-day Similan Islands snorkeling trip from Phuket!


Do you still need a few things for your trip? Shop them now on Amazon:



Koh Yao Noi

Thailand Itinerary: Long-tail boat ride around Koh Yao Noi is another great experience
Long-tail boat ride around Koh Yao Noi is another great experience © Madeleine Deaton via Flickr

If you are looking to island-hop to a quiet, peaceful island then Koh Yao Noi has you covered. The island is still underdeveloped compared to modern standards, however, the sightseeing, beaches, hiking, waterfalls, and nature is nearly unparalleled.

Unlike some of the more secluded islands on the coast of Thailand, this destination is a little bit less secluded, offering hotels and shopping for its visitors. If you plan on traveling to this island expect a boat ride of a few hours.

A fun way to discover the island is by bike. Your English speaking guide will show you the beauty of this island and introduce you to locals and their culture. Book your ticket here!

Find out more and book your Full-Day Bike Tour on Koh Yao Noi!

Koh Phi Phi

Thailand Itinerary Phi Phi Island
Hopping around Phi Phi Island includes visiting Monkey Beach, Maya Bay, Viking Cave © Evan Krause on Unsplash

Similar to many of the other islands on the Andaman Coast, Koh Phi Phi requires a boat ride from Phuket. The islands of Koh Phi Phi are however more populated than some of the other islands off of the coast of Thailand. There are several shops and hotels to make your island hopping experience even better.

Koh Phi Phi boasts some of the best views and scenery of any of the South West islands. Island hoppers can participate in a variety of activities, such as snorkeling, kayaking, hiking, rock climbing, and visiting the Phi Phi Le National Park.

INSIDER TIP: Koh Phi Phi attracts also many party loving young travellers and backpackers. If you book a room in one of the guesthouses or hostels there, then make sure to check the location beforehand. The more you’re in the center the louder it can become during the night! Click here to find the right place to stay!


*This post contains affiliate links. See affiliate disclaimer here.


Thailand Itinerary author RiyaAbout the author: Riya is an inspired writer, passionate about traveling, lifestyle and encouraging startups. She is currently in Thailand. As a freelancer, she understands the importance of productivity at work. Riya never stopped finding new ways to create her work productivity. Twitter, @sanderriya.


Not done reading yet?

Do you only have a few days to spend in Thailand? Here is our guide for four days in Thailand.

Or are you headed to Australia next? Then check out our road trip itinerary for NSW.

And make sure to always bring along the right gear!



Ultimate Thailand itinerary for island hopping

Destination Guides Top Travel Posts Travel

The Coolest Things About Visiting Rio

Bucket list: Rio de Janeiro; Photo Credit: Agustin Diaz

This is still a big one to tick off my bucket list: Rio de Janeiro. When we travelled from North to South America, this was one of the countries we left out, unfortunately. But it’s just such a big country and we were running out of time as we had to catch our cruise ship to Europe with 100 other digital nomads. If you haven’t done so already, check out our posts from our trip through Central and South America, from Mexico to Ecuador. But now, sit back and enjoy this guest post about one of Brazil’s most thrilling destinations!


What to do in Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro is one of the most otherworldly cities on our planet. As major cities go, it strikes the ultimate postcard image, with its vast harbor, famous beaches, curious mountains, and the towering, world famous statue of Christ the Redeemer. It’s also known as something of a wild destination, characterized by beach parties, bustling crowds, and at times, unfortunately, a high crime rate. Provided you plan your trip well and stay in safe areas, however, a vacation to Rio can be incredible. If such a trip is on your radar, pay attention to these suggestions for the coolest things to do once you’re in town.

1. Christ The Redeemer Up Close

I already mentioned Christ The Redeemer, which more or less defines the skyline of Rio. But it’s something you should absolutely make the effort to see up close if you get the chance to visit. Widely viewed as one of the manmade wonders of the world, it’s a towering and imposing statue. What some don’t fully realize, however, is that it’s atop 690-meter-high Corcovado Mountain, which only makes its effect all the more striking. Up close you can appreciate both the magnificence of the statue itself and its position overlooking one of the planet’s most beautiful and intriguing cities.

Cristo Redentor in Rio de Janeiro

2. Sugar Loaf Mountain

If there’s a view to rival that from Christ The Redeemer, it’s the one from Sugar Loaf Mountain. This is a mountain you’ll probably recognize even if you’re not familiar with the name. It’s essentially a tall, rounded peak that frames the city of Rio in the bulk of images of the town. Roughly 1,300 feet high over Guanabara Bay, it’s actually reachable via cable car, making for a pretty thrilling (yet relaxing) experience. Many tourists prioritize this cable car ride, and with good reason.

Sugar Loaf Mountain South

3. Local Dancing

Brazil is home to one of the most famous festivals in the world, simply called Carnival. But dancing in the city, you can actually experience a taste of Brazilian Carnival no matter when you happen to be visiting. That’s actually a point that’s made in the description of a casino game based on this cultural aspect of Brazil, and that speaks to the popularity of dancing in Rio. That everything from an online slot machine to an internationally renowned festival can spring up from a city’s dancing culture ought to be a pretty big draw. Even if you don’t personally like to dance, you might consider checking out the city’s clubs to watch some of the experienced dancers.

4. Prainha Beach

If you’re familiar with the image of a gigantic beach packed with people, you’re probably thinking of Copacabana. This is the most famous beach in Rio, and certainly something you have to see and experience for yourself. But Prainha Beach may actually be the more pleasant experience for a lot of tourists. Located a short distance outside the main city, it’s just a little bit smaller and more secluded than the main attraction. That’s not to say you’ll have it to yourself, but it’s a more relaxing alternative to the busy (but still very fun) atmosphere at Copacabana.

Prainha Beach in Rio de Janeiro

5. Maracana

You might consider looking into a tour of the Maracana – Rio’s famous soccer stadium – whether or not there’s actually a match going on. But if you happen to be in town when the national team is playing or any other soccer event is being held, the Maracana should be at the very top of your list. Ranking it among the 10 best soccer stadiums in the world, the sport site FourFourTwo goes so far as to say it’s partly thanks to this football shrine that Brazil’s passion for the sport is known the world over. It’s a massive, historic venue that, on the right day, can make a sporting event seem almost like a spiritual experience. And if that sounds like it might be a little bit of an exaggeration, just ask some of the local fans how they feel about it!

Bucket list: Rio de Janeiro Maracana Stadium; Photo Credit: sama093 on Flickr


There are plenty of other spots worth exploring, for sure! This is just a short list, an appetizer to get you into the Rio-mood! What about you? Have you been to Rio yet? What must-sees have we missed to mention? Drop a line in the comments below, we’d love to know! 


Are you looking for more Latin American travel guides? Check out our post on Diving the Great Blue Hole of Belize if you are into scuba diving. Or what about a less sporty and therefore more cultural trip? Then you might like to read our Guatemala Travel Guide with tips for the ancient Mayan ruins in Copan.

Or are you curious about the lesser travelled routes in Honduras or Nicaragua, make sure not to skip these gems of Central America! Here is another post on Nicaragua about our fun day sailing along the coast of Playa Gigante.



Bucket list: Rio de Janeiro



Tucked Away Locations You Want to Visit

5 Tucked Away Places to Check Out

5 Tucked Away Locations You’ll Brag About Visiting

If you’re looking for unique travel locations that will give you real stories to tell, then you’ve come to the right place! This list, inspired by Agness and Cez of eTramping, has got you covered. All of these are places that you’ll want you snap a few selfies at to wow your friends and family. And unless they’re already world travellers, it’s unlikely they’ve been to any of these locations; which means you’ll get instant bragging rights. Let’s just dive right in:



Sitting at the literal edge of the world; Svalbard trip comes in at number one. You could try to go further north than Svalbard, but you won’t find anything but ice and sea. The settlements here are the last permanent settlements you’ll find in this direction on planet earth. In addition to the stunning landscapes of glaciers and seascapes of the ice-covered Arctic, Svalbard also boasts an amazing geologic diversity. Tucked away locations, Svalbard

Many skeletons from the Jurassic period have been found in this region, and activity directors will show you where to collect your own marine fossils to take home. Aside from the breathtaking natural sites, you will find some great festivals to experience here as well. You can enjoy a traditional Oktoberfest every late September or come for the Dark Season Blues Festival to kick off the 4 months of darkness that the region lives under each winter.



Tucked away in the Pacific between Hawaii and Australia you can find the tiny string of islands that make up Tuvalu. This Polynesian paradise is only 10 square miles in size and while it doesn’t offer many events or activities it has gorgeous white sand beaches and the shade of plenty of palm trees, which is enough to lure me there! Perhaps the main reason to travel to Tuvalu is that you won’t be able to for much longer. Tucked away locations, Tuvalu


That is if sea levels keep rising. In 1989 the UN listed it as one of the island chains most likely to disappear beneath the sea in the 21st century. Go to Tuvalu and enjoy a picnic on a beach to yourself, a motorbike trip around the island (you can rent one for about $10 USD per day) or just play on the airstrip (aka community park) in the evenings with the locals. Visiting this island will give you a truly laid-back experience and a chance to simply relax and recharge.



Alright, Malta might be a lot more popular than the others here, but it’s still a must-visit location that not everyone has on their bucket list. Sitting in the Mediterranean sea, Malta lies 50 miles off the coast of Italy and has a history that dates back to the Neolithic era. Tucked away locations, Malta


Malta is a history lover’s paradise, with some of the oldest standing structures known to mankind and stories of grandeur from St. Paul to Napoleon Bonaparte. If you’re not a history buff then come to see the Malta jazz, fireworks, or arts festivals, the spectacular scuba diving, or carnival week that occurs every February. You can also easily visit Malta’s sister islands of Gozo and Comino. Comino is known for its spectacular swimming spots and Gozo for its Opera Houses.


Follow me on Pinterest for beautiful destinations, travel tips and digital nomad hacks:


As one out of only two doubly-landlocked countries on earth and the only country lying entirely in the Alps, Liechtenstein is another location you’ll want to brag about visiting. It’s also one of the richest countries in the world, and thanks to its free-enterprise economy it offers living standards akin to that of the larger European countries. Tucked away locations, Liechtenstein


Liechtenstein can give you a wine and fine dining experience or a breathtaking hike through the Alps; whichever suits your fancy. The Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein is an architecturally stunning art museum that also offers a café with a more diverse menu than you might think (sushi anyone?). Among other attractions, there’s also an Alpine Marathon in June and a 3 day, open-air music festival, the Vaduz SOUNDZ, in July.



Another beautiful island in the South Pacific; Nauru sits northeast of Australia and is the smallest independent republic in the world (and formerly one of the richest). Today, you won’t hear of many people visiting Nauru due to the island’s unfortunate economic decline. While you won’t be able to see it in its former splendour or have many options for accommodation, it’s still definitely worth your visit. Nauru has many remnants of Japanese occupation during WWII that you can find across the island, making it another great stop for history buffs. You can also visit the Nauru Government House and the Civic Center where you can find a bustling little Saturday market and try all the local foods. Tucked away locations, Nauru
Photo credit: By Hadi Zaher from Melbourne, Australia (Living on a Blue Planet | Nauru) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Whether you want solitude and relaxation or a trip filled with festivals and fun, I’ll bet one of these locations will hit the spot. No doubt, they each offer their own unique experience that differs from the average trip to Paris or New York. Not only is it fun to explore a place where most people haven’t been, it allows you become a well-rounded individual. Immersing ourselves in other cultures and ways of life can really help to keep our own in perspective.

What is the most unique location that you’ve been to? Let us know, so we can take notes and plan our next adventure!


5 Tucked Away Locations you'll want to visit!



About Agness and Cez from eTramping:

Since 2011, Cez and Agness have been travelling the world and today consider themselves experts in the field of world travel. The couple from Poland has ticked off their bucket list locations across Asia, Europe, and beyond! They even lived in many different parts of the world for various amounts of time. We are happy to share their guest post on Jey Jetter about their 5 special places and hope you’ll check out their blog for more awesome recommendations from the eTramping guys. Tucked away locations, eTramping

>>> Read More! <<<

Check out Why it’s more fun in the Philippines where you can read about
cool locations to stay and work as a digital nomad.

Or perhaps you’re still deciding if the digital nomad lifestyle is for you, read here
how Five years of full-time travelling have changed my life.

Top Travel Posts Travel

Top 5 Beaches Around the World From 21 Travel Bloggers

It’s been five years since I left home and my conventional life. My routine and lifestyle today looks completely different from what it was back home in Germany. My main mission in all these years was to be close to the ocean, as I love beaches and being in the water. In the context of my travel anniversary, I asked 21 travel bloggers for their Top 5 beaches around the world. Here is a list of experienced travellers, that might be useful for your next vacation. My Top 5 is at the end of the list, too.

1.) In the Loop of Travel

John writes about cruise travel and fitness, giving tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your adventures. John’s motto is to Travel fit, Travel happy and Travel often.

  1. Playa Tortugas, Cancun
  2. Orient Beach, Saint Maarten
  3. Playa de la Caleta, Malaga
  4. Baby Beach, Aruba
  5. Platis Gialos, Mykonos Top 5 Beaches Around the World
Playa de la Caleta, Malaga

2. Travel Through Life

Life through stories and travel without guides. After spending 5 years living and travelling in Asia, this husband and wife team decided to settle down in America and still live their lives with that exotic sense of wanderlust closer to home. Encouraging local travel and a search for adventure anywhere!

  1. Nacpan Beach, Palawan Philippines
  2. Lonely Beach, Koh Chang Thailand
  3. Anda, Bohol Philippines
  4. Gili Air, Indonesia
  5. Dream Beach, Nusa Lembongan, Indonesia Top 5 Beaches. Photo: Duke Stewart Writes.
Nacpan Beach, Philippines

3.  McCool Travel

Charles shows travellers how to find destinations and deals that fit their travel style and budget. His ultimate goal is to increase travel happiness and reduce stress on every trip.

  1. Anna Maria Island, Florida
  2. Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, Big Sur, California
  3. Red Sand Beach (Kaihalulu), Maui
  4. Outer Banks, North Carolina
  5. Black Sand Beach (Reynisfjara), Iceland Top 5 Beaches from 21 Travel Bloggers. Photo: McCool Travel
Outer Banks, NC, USA

4. The Daily Adventures of Me

While running a busy dental practice and raising three boys, Jamie makes sure to fully engage in as much of the world as possible. She loves savouring every taste, every destination, every day and wants to encourage others to do the same.

  1. Narragansett Town Beach, Rhode Island
  2. Main Beach Laguna Beach, California
  3. Playa Akemal, Mexico
  4. Tamae Beach, Moorea, French Polynesia
  5. Black Sand Beach, Vik, Iceland Vik, Iceland. Photo: The Daily Adventures Of Me.
Vik, Iceland

5. Mom Endeavors

On Mom Endeavors, you’ll find creative lifestyle tips and family travel stories. Sara travels with 3 young boys in tow and they travel as often as possible, sharing tips & ideas wherever they go!

  1. Grace Bay Beach, Turks & Caicos
  2. Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
  3. Anini Beach, Kauai, Hawaii
  4. Cape Tribulation, Queensland, Australia
  5. Carmel Beach, California

6. A Cork, Fork & Passport

Julie combines her love of good food and wine, travel, family, and technology to create her online lifestyle magazine, now in its 7th year of publication.

  1. Coronado Beach, CA
  2. Cape Cod, MA
  3. Duck/Outer Banks, NC
  4. Rendevous Bay, Antiguilla
  5. Horseshoe Bay, Bermuda Top 5 Beaches. Photo: A Cork, Fork & Passport
Coronado Beach, USA

7. Backroad Planet

Howard enjoys sharing his adventures and off-the-beaten-path discoveries from road trips and cruises. He believes exploring historical and scenic locations, combined with immersion in local culture is the best way to travel.

  1. Indian Rocks Beach, Florida
  2. Ancud Beach, Chiloe, Chile
  3. Sand Beach, Acadia NP, Maine
  4. Dunn’s River Falls Beach, Jamaica
  5. Playa Esterillos Oeste, Costa Rica Indian Rocks Beach, Florida. Photo: Backroad Planet
Indian Rocks Beach, Florida

8. Stress-Free, Baby!

Desiree offers readers a daily dose of hope, humour, and helpful tips to make life less stressful. You’ll find travel tips and ideas for family fun, and hopefully, you will become ‘stress-free, baby’!

  1. Gulf Shores/Orange Beach, AL
  2. Turks and Caicos
  3. Aruba
  4. Sandestin, FL
  5. Vero Beach, FL

9. Flashpacking Duo

Dom and Claire have a passion for all things travel and are about to give up everything to embark on a 3 year trip. They will document their travels as they go and seek out new adventures in each country along the way.

  1. Akumal Beach, Mexico
  2. Porthcurno, England
  3. Phra Nang Beach, Railay, Thailand
  4. Hendaye Beach, France
  5. Elafonisi Beach, Crete

10. Salwa Kisswani

A travel lifestyle blog documenting Salwa Kisswani’s stays within various cities around the world in story-based, reflection posts, with a heavy emphasis on pictures and videos.

  1. Black Sand Beach, Iceland
  2. Playa la Ensenada, Puerto Plata DR
  3. Aqaba, Jordan
  4. Huatulco Mexico beach, Oaxaca.
  5. Miami beach/ South beach, Florida

11. Just Go Places

Shobha is an American expat living in London. She enjoys travelling with her family, experiencing the world’s food, culture and other good things in life.

  1. Delnor-Wiggins State Park, Naples Florida
  2. Long Point Nature Reserve, Martha’s Vineyard
  3. Ipanema Beach, Brazil
  4. Ile de Re, France
  5. Alassio in Liguria in Italy

12. Two Scots Abroad

Gemma and Craig, full time workers with a life-long travel habit. Flirting with 30 and let loose on the world! Check in at Two Scots Abroad for travel tips, quips, and pics that please. Go on, MAKE TRAVEL HAPPEN.

  1. Las Penitas, Nicaragua
  2. Playa Acon, Cuba
  3. Lake Katherine (not tech a beach but still stunning), Canada.
  4. Playa Rojo, Peru
  5. Macir Bay, Scotland Top 5 Beaches Around the World
Las Peñitas, Nicaragua

13. MomsGoodEats

MomsGoodEats savoring bites of food, travel and Life Done Well. Whether taking on bucket showers to reach remote locations or enjoying the best of the best, MomsGoodEats enjoys all types if travel.

  1. Manini Beach, Kona Hawaii
  2. Playa Rincon, Dominican Republic
  3. Escambron Beach, Puerto Rico
  4. Cape Columbo, Santorini
  5. Sandal Beach, Belize Top 5 Beaches. Photo: MomsGoodEats
Playa Rincon, Dominican Republic

14. No Back Home

No Back Home focuses on Karilyn & her 5 year old son’s adventures, at home in Southern California and around the world. They inspire families to get out and explore the world starting in their own city! Outdoor adventures, urban explorations and seeking out the beauty wherever they find themselves is the guiding force behind No Back Home.

  1. Yasawa Islands, Fiji
  2. One Foot Island Beach, Cook Islands
  3. Papakōlea Beach, Hawaii
  4. Huvahandhoo Island, Maldives
  5. Akumal, Mexico

15. Our Family Travel Adventures

We are a family of 5 from California, who are on a great adventure! We have been traveling since 2013, and have explored much of Western Europe, Central America and the United States. We like to slow travel and often stay in an area for a few months at a time.

  1. Oppenheimer Beach, St. John, US Virgin Islands
  2. Blue Lagoon, Comino Island, Malta
  3. Playa Palancar, Cozumel, Mexico
  4. Ambergris Caye, Belize
  5. Anna Maria Island, Florida, USA Top 5 Beaches. Photo: Our Family Travel Adventures
Blue Lagoon, Comino, Malta

16. Mom on the Move

Marianne travels with her two young kids in tow, checking out fun and adventurous activities at her destinations, and checking into luxury hotels and resorts along the way. She is based in Hong Kong, so most of her travels are based in Asia and Australia.

  1. Smiths Beach, Western Australia
  2. Datai Bay, Langkawi, Malaysia,
  3. Ha My Beach, Hoi An, Vietnam
  4. Palm Cove, Northern Queensland, Australia
  5. Bophut Beach, Koh Samui, Thailand

17. Sand and Snow

Karyn and Mr. Locke are a married couple with two daughters from small-town Ohio. With a big lust for travel , love of photography, technology and Disney, they are on a quest to find the best restaurant and adult beverage in every city they visit.

  1. St. Simons Island, Georgia
  2. Crystal Coast, North Carolina
  3. Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
  4. Punta De Mita, Nayarit, Mexico
  5. St. Martins Sea Caves, New Brunswick, Canada

18. Dish Our Town

Andrew, Brenda and Bailey Tolentino are a family of 3 New Yorkers, traveling the world, one dish at a time with their pre-teen daughter. They have just finished one year of full-time travel in Asia and Europe, and will continue to travel while working and going to school.

  1. Angol Beach in Boracay
  2. Spiaggia di Fegina in Monterosso Al Mare
  3. Patmos in Greece
  4. Quercianella in Tuscany Italy
  5. Antibes in France

19. Go Epicurista

Christina is a hospitality consultant and freelance food writer on a mission to #MakeSomedayHappen, one delicious bite, sip and trip at a time. She celebrates great food and wine experiences everywhere she goes, especially in her hometown of Orlando FL, inspiring her 20K online friends to GO visit new restaurants, take their dream trip and do all the things on their “someday list.”

  1. Grace Bay Beach, Providenciales Turks & Caicos Islands
  2. Dawn Beach, St. Maarten
  3. St. Pete Beach, Florida
  4. Isla Catalina, Dominican Republic
  5. Manzanita & Cannon Beach, Oregon 5 Top Beaches. Photo: GO Epicurista
Grace Bay Beach in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos

20. Nomadic Lives

Sanket is the dusky charmer with husky voice behind Nomadic Lives. His story is best described as a twenty-something brown guy trying to traverse the invisible boundaries of global travel on a third-world passport! Nomadic Lives focuses on cultural, local and experiential travel in offbeat locations with a modest, but fierce following of 4.5k across its social media and email channels.

  1. Anse Source de l’argent, La Digue, Seychelles
  2. Radhanagar Beach, Andaman Islands, India
  3. Inchydoney Beach, Clonakilty, Ireland
  4. Galgibaga Beach, Goa, India
  5. Serenity Beach, Pondicherry, India

21. Beloved Atmosphere

Amy is an avid world traveller, recipe developer, educator and serial optimist who loves sharing adventures with family and friends all over the globe. As Editor-in-Chief of Beloved Atmosphere, she’s travelled to 33 countries on 4 continents, and hopes to inspire others to ease out of their comfort zones to enjoy the abundance of diverse food, culture and friendship the world has to offer:

  1. Balangan Beach, near Jimbaran/Uluwatu, Bali, Indonesia
  2. Formentera, Ibiza, Spain
  3. Riviera Maya, Cozumel, Mexico
  4. Pawley’s Island, South Carolina, USA
  5. Ulua Beach, Maui, Hawaii, USA Best Beaches around the World
Cozumel, Mexico

For me this list of beautiful beaches is as interesting as reading the newspaper! Seriously, I noticed quite a few beaches that I haven’t been to and therefore will put some on my bucket list for my next trips.

Here are my favourite 5 beaches:

  1. Playa Malpais, Gunacaste, Costa Rica
  2. Calangute Beach, Goa, India
  3. Mullaloo Beach, Perth, Australia
  4. Krabi Beach, Thailand
  5. Playa Puerto Villamil, Isabela Island, Galapagos, Ecuador Top 5 Beaches Around the World
Playa Puerto Villamil, Isabela Island, Galapagos

If you liked this post about beaches, please leave a comment below and share with us your top 5 beaches! Top 5 Beaches from 21 Travel Bloggers
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Destination Guides Top Travel Posts Travel

How to Travel the Galapagos Islands on a Budget

There are not many places around the world that are considered to be unique. The Galapagos Islands, without a doubt, are one of them. Anyone who travels there comes back with a smile on their face. Simply because you get to see extraordinary species and get up close with wildlife that you usually only know from documentary channels such as National Geographic. On the Galapagos Islands, iguanas, sea lions and giant tortoises walk around like cats and dogs in most other parts of the world. Majestic birds like the albatross and colourful ones like the blue-footed booby decorate the sky. The good news is that, despite common beliefs, you can travel to the Galapagos Islands, even on a tight budget! Here is how we spent 14 days on three islands for less than 1000 US dollars.

Iguana on Santa Cruz

Myth #1: You have to cruise the Galapagos Islands

When research how to visit the Galapagos Islands, you get the impression that there is no way other than with a cruise. I was a bit frustrated after I read how much money you were asked to spend to get around and enjoy the individual islands. Then I found offers from tour agencies that sell 4-day cruises for around US 800, which first sounded not that bad. But after reading the comments of other people who had done such a short cruise, it became clear that within 4 days you lose 2 days for the boarding and cruising back to the original port, which didn’t sound like a great deal after all. It became even worse when I found out about the offers that would take you all the way around the islands, stopping at the uninhabited ones with more chances to see unique wildlife. It said, your best choice is to go at least 12 to 15 days for about 6000 to 8000 US dollars, depending on the type of boat you choose… I wasn’t convinced about that.

View from hike to Las Grietas

If you decide to not spend a fortune in order to visit the Galapagos Islands, and instead do it on your own, you will be better off to simply arrive and walk around to see what available. Don’t book any tour or accommodation online, is my advice! The only reservation that we made in advance was our hotel on the first night, because the website of the Ecuadorian government says that you have to show proof of your hotel reservation and pre-register online. We did not do the latter, and it was perfectly fine to fill out the form at the airport in Quito. Also, I found that the booked hotel room wasn’t really necessary, as the officer at the airport did not pay much attention to the copy of our reservation that I presented to him. I guess, it all depends on the officer at the airport, so, to be on the safe side, book your flight and the first night on your chosen island and you’ll be fine.

How to get to the Galapagos Islands

Flying from Quito to Baltra Island

When in Ecuador, you have two options to get to the Galapagos Islands: you can either depart from Quito or from Guayaquil. The flights from Guayaquil are slightly shorter (1.5 hours) and a tiny bit cheaper (190 US dollars instead of 220 from Quito, as of in April 2016). Both airports connect with the two airports on the Galapagos Islands: Seymour Airport on Baltra Island or San Cristobal Airport on San Cristobal.

For us, it was better to fly out of Quito, as we arrived by bus from Colombia. From Quito, we flew to Baltra Island (it’s inhabited and only a short distance away from Santa Cruz, see description below). We stayed on Santa Cruz Island for the first four days. Then, we booked our return flight separately from San Cristobal to Guayaquil. This way, we made the most of the ferry connections between the islands (see below) and got to see both Quito and Guayaquil. If you make your way up from Peru it probably makes sense to fly from Guayaquil and follow our route in reverse.

FInally there!

Before departing, you will have to pay 20 US dollars for your Transit Control Card (TCT). Keep it throughout your whole stay, as you will have to show it again at the airport when you leave the Galapagos Islands. Once you arrive on either of the above airports, you will have to pay an entrance fee of 100 US dollars to the national park. That’s it, you are in! From now on your expenses will depend on your style of travelling and your selection of activities.

Speed boat dock on Baltra Island

Once you land on Baltra Island, there are shuttle busses (2 US dollars) that will take you to the tiny port where small speedboats/zodiacs (1 US dollar) connect Baltra Island with Santa Cruz. On Baltra Island, there is nothing but nature and the airport. The bus ride from the airport to the port takes about 15 minutes and gives you an idea of the landscape you will be seeing on most of the other islands: dry, desert-like, with tons of cactus and lava rocks laying around.

Baltra Island

 Myth #2: You need to book guided tours to see wildlife or natural sights!

No matter which of the four populated islands you visit, you will be able to walk to most of the popular tourist spots. You can also rent a bike, take a taxi or in the case of Santa Cruz, there is even public transport that takes you to some of the points of interest (e.g. ‘El Chato’, see below).

Some destinations can only be reached by water taxi (which are usually around 0.50 US dollar cents to 1 US dollar). And yes, there are few cases where you will have to book a tour, like for example to ‘Los Tuneles’ on Isabela Island or to ‘Kicker Rock’ on San Cristobal. But it’s a myth that you HAVE TO have a guide in order to get around!

Such a great sign, only here on Galapagos!

Getting from island to island

There are speedboats that operate between the four main islands (Santa Cruz, Isabela Island, Floreana Island, and San Cristobal). To each of them it takes about 2 hours (to Floreana Island a little less, about 1,5 hours), and the cost is always 30 US dollars one way.

Speed boat schedule:

  • Daily 7am and 3pm
  • Exception Floreana Island: once a week or depending on the time of the year/ demand

If there is one bad thing about the Galapagos Islands, it is that you can’t connect between the individual islands. Unfortunately, you always have to go back to Santa Cruz and start your trip over again to the next island.

Speed boat example:

  1. From Santa Cruz to Isabela ($30)
  2. Isabela back to Santa Cruz ($30)
  3. From Santa Cruz to San Cristóbal ($30)
  4. San Cristóbal back to Santa Cruz ($30)

TOTAL: 120 US dollars to visit 3 islands.

This might look like a lot of money, but the total price of this travel option is actually a lot less than you would pay if you went with a tour agency from Santa Cruz. They offer day-trips or 2-3 day trips to visit spots near Santa Cruz or the other islands. But keep in mind, if you go, for example, to Isabela Island for the day or with a 2-day trip from Santa Cruz, you will be bound to the schedule and selection of the agency. Plus, you will end up spending more money than if you go on your own and use the speed boat example from above. For us, it was an obvious decision, as we wanted to go independently to each island and enjoy our time on our own terms.

Some of the most amazing sunsets you'll find on the Galapagos Islands

 First stop: Santa Cruz Island

It’s like coming to a little harbour town, yet, Santa Cruz is the busiest of all the Galapagos Islands. With its 80,000 inhabitants and central location between the other islands, Santa Cruz operates the main tourism of the Galapagos Islands and functions as the ideal spot to explore the nearby islands on day-trips.

On Santa Cruz, we stayed four days at Hostel Sir Francis Drake for 30 US dollars per night/person. It is one of the budget hotels on Santa Cruz, but a very decent one and centrally located just a short walk from the harbour.

Daily fish hunting show starring Mr. Pelican!

 Our Highlight of Santa Cruz Island

Our favourite spot on Santa Cruz is Tortuga Bay. From the town centre, you walk about 10 minutes to the entrance where you register your name and the time of your arrival. This way, the guard knows who is missing or not respecting the closing time of 6pm. They close the beach at that hour because that’s the time when the sea turtles normally come out of the water to lay their eggs in the beach area.

From the entrance to the beach it’s about a 40-minute walk/ 2,5 km, so bring your walking shoes and all you need for your beach day as you won’t find any kiosk or store to buy water/food. And that is exactly why we loved it there so much. This is where you can appreciate pure nature and beautiful white sand that you will share with only a handful of other tourists.

Tortuga Bay

The guard will tell you not to swim at the main beach, ‘Playa Brava’ (translates to ‘Wild Beach’) due to the strong currents. Instead he’ll ask you to walk to the very far end to reach ‘Playa Mansa’ (Quiet Beach). Playa Brava is a lot prettier because it faces the open ocean, whereas Playa Mansa is hidden behind the bushes and looks more like a lagoon rather than the ocean. And you have so much wildlife to watch (bring snorkel gear!!!) in the water and at the beach. We noticed that most people stay at the far corner of the beach and even the lifeguard doesn’t mind if you dip into that rather quiet corner that connects both areas.

If you are lucky, you might be able to watch a baby turtle making its way out of the egg and into the open ocean. We literally arrived one minute too late after a baby turtle crawled out of one of the 48 turtle nests and into the water… 🙁 All we saw was the excitement of the gathering tourists that just witnessed this unique natural spectacle. Lucky them!

Other places to visit on Santa Cruz

  • El Chato: watch giant tortoises walk around in their natural habitat 

Amazing creatures!

  • Charles Darwin Research Centre – here you can learn all about the history of the Galapagos Islands and their wildlife/nature

Charles Darwin Research Centre

  • Las Grietas – a hidden snorkel spot in between a canyon

Not the typical snorkel spot!

  • The local fish market: battle with sea lions, pelicans and iguanas for fish!

Compete with these guys for fresh fish on the local fishmarket!

Stop #2: Isabela Island

>> BRING CASH, there are NO ATMs on this island!!! <<< 

Someone took my seat!!!

In comparison to Santa Cruz, it feels a little bit less busy and more remote. The streets are not paved, and you are mainly on your own when visiting the natural sites, as the tourists spread out evenly all over the island. Perhaps this is also because we visited in low season, which is in April & May and September & October. We also witnessed breathtaking sunsets every night at the beach off the Malecon.

Gorgeous sunset on Isabela Island

On Isabela Island, we had four wonderful nights at ‘La Posada del Caminante’, which is a family run hotel only a few blocks away from the beach. The hotel consists of two buildings, which the locals refer to as ‘the small Posada’ and ‘the big Posada’. If you come back from a tour and the driver asks you the name of your hotel, make sure you’ll let him know which one you are staying at. If not, you get some extra exercise to walk the short distance of about 50 metres in between both buildings. 😉

La Posada del Caminante

What makes this place special is the very friendly and helpful owner! He gave us info about the island and even let us wash our clothes for free! We stayed in a double room with TV, kitchen and ensuite bathroom that costs 15 US dollars per night/person. On the patio, you have hammocks to relax after your hikes or where you can enjoy your self-prepared meal in good company.

Our Highlight of Isabela Island: ‘Los Tuneles’

Funky landscape: 'Los Tuneles'

Even though the Galapagos Islands are a special destination in general, ‘Los Tuneles’ is outstanding as it has a very exceptional landscape that you probably only see there. The tunnels that you can find in this part of the island are formed from lava, which lay above or below the water. You can visit ‘Los Tuneles’ only by boat, in fact, this is one of the must-do tours while on the Galapagos Islands, or you will really miss out on something special. Our day trip cost US 120 dollars and included the transportation to the tunnels (a 40-minute boat ride,) an English-speaking guide, two snorkel stops (plus equipment) and a lunch box.

Lava tunnels above and underneath the water!

About five minutes before you arrive at the tunnels, it becomes tricky and the crew tells you that it’s not yet clear if you are lucky enough to get to the spot. That’s due to the fact that the boat has to cross the surf to enter a calmer part where you find the tunnels. Depending on the day, the waves can be too big and too dangerous for crossing, because there is a high chance for the boat be tipped over by the waves. We were told, that just a few days earlier, one of the boats actually tipped over and some of the passengers broke their legs. We were lucky that day, as our captain managed to get through and we were able to get out again without any incidents.

Watch Penguins on the Galapagos Islands

On arrival, the boat cruises through the channels that separate the tunnels and you can enjoy the impressive landscape. Then our captain stopped for us to walk around on the lava formations. Our tour guide explained all about the rock formations and species there. We saw a lot of blue-footed boobies and sea lions. We were also able to watch a shark, turtles and golden Manta rays swim past through the tunnels.

Love his shoes! :-)

One part of the snorkelling is done right at the tunnels, which is a bit tricky because the water is really cold in this area. We only lasted 20 minutes and managed to swim through just a couple of the tunnels before we had to get out of the water and warm up. This is probably the downside of travelling in low season, although I read that the water temperature, in general, is never too warm in the Galapagos, so you’re best advised to put on a wet suit. Luckily, the second snorkel spot was in slightly warmer water. Afterwards, the boat takes you to a nearby bay area, which is known for its Golden Manta rays, white tipped reef sharks, turtles and seahorses.

Spot the turtle!

 Other places to visit on Isabela Island:

  • Volcano Sierra Negra and Volcano Chico: hiking tour to both volcanoes from 7 am to 1 pm for 30 US dollars

Moon-like landscape on top of the volcano on Isabela Island

  • ‘Wall of Tears’: rent a bike or walk there! The way is 6 km long and leads you along the beach. It’s a very scenic route with plenty of interesting spots to stop at or swim/snorkel!

Rent a bike to get to the 'Wall of Tears' when on Isabela Island!

  • Snorkelling at ‘Las Perlas’: Just walk down to the harbour and turn left, there is a little dock to hop in from and you are free to snorkel your way through the area. No need for a guide! Watch the surface, some iguanas might swim towards your way!!!

So cute!!!

  • Tour to ‘Las Tintoreras’: A tour in Puerto Villamil will let you watch sea lions, turtles and the Galapagos Penguins as well as some resting White Tip Sharks (we didn’t take this tour as we saw all of the wildlife on our own the day before while snorkelling at the neighbouring bay area, Las Perlas.)

 Last stop: San Cristobal

On this island, life picks up the pace again: San Cristobal is a bit busier than Isabela Island but still a lot quieter than Santa Cruz. The island’s town centre is mainly spread along the shore and has about four parallel streets up on the hill with shops, hotels and tour agencies. When we arrived, we hopped off the boat and turned left to walk along the water to look for accommodation.

Great place to stay when on San Cristobal!

Accompanied by the funny smell and noises of the sea lions that lay on the rocks at the harbour area, we found a hostel just a few blocks down the road, called Hostel Galapagos. Perhaps due to its relatively prime location, they have a bit steeper prices than we were used to. The double room we stayed in cost 30 US dollars per person/night. But we liked it because they have a nice patio with an ocean view and lovely staff that help you to find your way around the island.

Apart from their smell, I really think they're adorable! :-D

 Our highlight of San Cristobal: Diving at Kicker Rock (Leon Dormido)

If you’re a scuba diver, you won’t want to miss diving in the Galapagos Islands. Kicker Rock was our spot of choice, simply because we were supposed to have the highest chance of spotting hammerhead sharks in this area. These funny looking creatures stop at this rock formation on a regular basis to get cleaned by smaller fish and to eat the high density of fish.

Kicker Rock where you might find Hammerhead Sharks!

Sharks don’t like cold water (something they have in common with me), and we went there in the begging of May which is when the water temperature drops to around 15 degrees Celsius. Only when we arrived, we realized that it was already too cold for these sharks. After some disappointment, we were excited to see playful sea lions cruising in the water, loads of turtles, plenty of fish and the occasional White Tip Reef Shark. It was a great experience and we had two fun dives where we swam through the canyons on a mission to encounter big fish.

The tour is from 8 am to 4 pm and cost 150 dollars. It includes a 45 minute-stop at a beach, two dives, the equipment, delicious lunch and snacks, as well as our tour guide. We would have loved to see the hammerhead sharks but enjoyed it anyway. And this way, we have a reason to go back one day. 😀

Other places to visit on San Cristobal

  • Watch giant tortoises and their babies at ‘La Galapaguera de Cerro Colorado’ (together with a couple from Switzerland, we hired a taxi driver who took us for 10 US dollar per person to ‘La Galapaguera’ and the two following two spots, no guided tour needed!) 🙂 

Enjoy! :-D

  • ‘Laguna el Junco’: Hike up a short distance to the top of the crater and see the lagoon that holds one of the few freshwater lakes on the Galapagos Islands:

Day-trip on San Cristobal

  • Enjoy the beauty of the beach at ‘Puerto Chino’:

The most beautiful beach on San Cristobal: Puerto Chino.

  • Get up early to watch the sunrise and morning activities in the water at ‘La Lobería’ where sea lions hang out and hunt for fish:

Lazy Sea Lion on San Cristobal

Have you ever been to the Galapagos Islands? How did you spend your time there, self-organised or with a guided tour/cruise? Which of the islands is your favourite (if you are able to pick one!)? If you liked this post, please feel free to share, like and comment on it below! Thank you 🙂

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Forget about Surfing: Sailing in Playa Gigante is the thing!

The ocean is my happy place. Sailing in Playa Gigante made this very clear to me again. No matter if I am at the beach, underwater or on a boat, it always feels like I am exactly where I need to be. Perhaps this is why one almost immediately gets soaked into those special destinations where like-minded people get stranded. We had no idea that it would be so hard for us to leave after just a few days in this gorgeous place. Thanks to a spontaneous encounter with a pirate and some fantastic hours on his boat, we call sailing in Playa Gigante one of our highlights in Nicaragua. Here is all about our trip that included awesome scenery, jumping off cliffs and ‘Pirate Punch’. 

Enjoying the cruise, Captain John (in the middle with the beard!) and his crew.
A fun crew and a special captain made our trip awesome!

First of all, let’s introduce John, our Captain, who reminded me a bit of the modern version of Captain Ahab! A lot friendlier, and an impressive character, John shows his guests a very awesome time on his sailboat. He is not only the owner of the boat we were sailing, but also the inventor of the legendary ‘Booze Cruise’. The sailing trip starts almost every day at 2:3o pm right from the beach in front of his hostel ‘Gigante Bay’. You don’t want to miss this unique trip, it’s so much fun to go sailing in Playa Gigante and sip some rum punch along the way!

Enjoyed a lot this sailing trip...or as they called it 'Booze Cruise' :-D
Sipping away yummy Pirate Punch…harr!

It's only about 10m high :-D
Captain John showed us cool jumping spots!


Sailing along the coast we past many cool rock formations!
The coastline is just filled with these gorgeous cliffs…

Thanks to Captain John’s adventurous soul, he personally swam along the coastline in order to explore every single rock, canyon and caves, and we were introduced to some awesome jumping spots along the way. With a lot of insider tips from your captain, you will get a glimpse of the gorgeous coastline south of Playa Gigante in a fun way. Originally from San Francisco, John has long lost his real connection to the United States and instead bought a hostel, started a family and grew a beard…the latter fits extremely well with his beautiful sailboat and gives the whole trip a special touch.

Leaving the steering wheel for a while...Captain John dips in the ocean
Captain John enjoys the water as much as his guests!

In general, this part of Nicaragua attracts a lot of surfers from all over the world. You can’t blame them, as it is a paradise that offers first-class waves, but still has not attracted mass tourism. Along the coast, you’ll find endless strips of beaches and bays that show off the most beautiful waves. Even if you don’t surf, sailing in Playa Gigante is a great alternative activity and a lot of fun, too. Furthermore, you can do horseback riding, yoga and, of course, it’s the perfect destination to enjoy a swim in the ocean.

Sailing in Playa Gigante with some yoga moves onboard.
No one said you couldn’t do yoga on a boat! 😀

How to get to Playa Gigante

It is a place that attracts tourists, but Playa Gigante is still very remote and not heavily crowded. Buses from Rivas run only from Monday to Friday. On the weekend, the only bus takes you to a little village 7km away from Playa Gigante… you can either walk, hitchhike or hope for a taxi for the rest of the way. Most likely someone will offer you a ride from Rivas once you get to the bus station. We happened to arrive on a Saturday and paid 4 USD each to a guy who offered us to take us. This doesn’t sound a lot, but it’s still 3 times more than the public bus.

Working at the beach, just perfect!
One of my favourite remote offices so far… 😀

Where to stay in Playa Gigante

Perhaps the exclusivity of this area makes Playa Gigante one of the more expensive places we’ve been to in Nicaragua. The lowest price that we could find for a private room was 20 USD but that was a very basic room. After two nights, we changed our hotel and went to Gigante Bay, a very fun hostel which has dorms from 10 USD up to AC private rooms. We loved it there, not only because of the free yoga classes every morning, but also because we happened to meet a lot of great people and went sailing in Playa Gigante.

Slack Lines in front of the hostel are just one great thing Gigante Bay has to offer...
Nestled in Playa Gigante’s bay, our hostel was just a perfect place to relax a few days…

Have you been there? Did you go sailing in Playa Gigante?


Are you looking for more Latin American travel guides? Check out our post on Diving the Great Blue Hole of Belize if you are into scuba diving. Or what about a less sporty and therefore more cultural trip? Then you might like to read our Guatemala Travel Guide with tips for the ancient Mayan ruins in Copan.

Or are you curious about other places in Nicaragua? Then check out this travel guide for Nicaragua, a real fun place to visit when in Central America.


Sailing in Playa Gigante

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Guatemala Travel Guide

Arriving in Guatemala City

Thanks to Lonely Planet, travelling has become very easy. Most of the time, it’s not very difficult to get around. This is also true for Central America as there seem to be mandatory stops and common routes that many travellers take. In our case, we started the trip on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, then went on to Belize in order to get to Guatemala. Along the way, we met many people who did the same. And there is a good reason for it: Backpacking in Central America is great, easy and safe! Here are the highlights from our trip to Guatemala, a country of beautiful natural diversity, a well-preserved Mayan culture, delicious food, coffee, cacao and very friendly people.

Isla de Flores at beautiful Lake Peten Itza

Flores at Lake Peten Itza in Guatemala
Flores is one of the popular stops for tourists in Guatemala… 

‘Flores’ is a place that attracts many tourists because it lies on a gorgeous lake. The town is actually divided into two parts: when travellers talk about Flores, they refer to the part that lies on the peninsula in the middle of beautiful Lake Peten Itza. Yet, when one arrives at ‘Flores’ it can be a bit confusing at first because the bus terminal is on the mainland. From this buzzing part of the town, you can easily get to the more scenic old town on the bespoke peninsula. It’s connected by road and you’ll get there within 10 minutes by one of the eager taxi or Tuk-tuk drivers that is waiting for you in front of the bus terminal. Here is a short video from our Tuk-tuk ride to Isla de Flores:

VIDEO: Tuk-tuks are fun… and they have them not only in Asia! 😀

The view from our hotel opposite the town Flores
Crossing the lake you have a great view of the colourful house facades of ‘Isla de Flores’ or the Island of Flowers…

We stayed one night in one of the hostels on the island and then ‘fled’ to the quieter shore just opposite of the town, from which we had an amazing view onto Flores’ colourful houses. The boat ride is less than 5 minutes, and brings you to an area where only local people live. Yet, there is one hotel (which is still a lot more economic than in the touristy old town of Flores), a couple of shops and a few houses of the local fishermen and their families. For food shopping, you will have to go back to the mainland, but it’s worth it. It’s everything you need if you are looking for some quiet and peaceful time at the lake.

Travel planning in Flores, Lake Peten Itza
Travel planning is one of  our daily tasks and one of the most important parts of your trip when you travel long-term!

There are plenty of things to do in Flores: you can take a scenic boat ride across the lake, stroll through the market, admire traditional Guatemalans’ horse demonstrations, go hiking in the nearby mountains or simply enjoy the view of the lake while sipping a cup of Guatemalan coffee.

Guatemalan tradition: Horseback riding
Spontaneous demonstration in the streets of Flores

Beautiful horses and proud owners
Proud of their tradition: this was a promotion tour for the following event in the market of Flores

Welcome to the capital: ‘Guate’

The streets of Guatemala City.
A typical street of Guatemala City’s centre…

From Flores, we took an overnight bus to Guatemala City or like the locals call it: ‘Guate’. It depends highly on your choice of bus company and price of the ticket whether you will enjoy this ride or not. We probably went a bit too cheap and hardly slept that night due to the bumpy road and the ambitious driver…we arrived safe and according to plan to the bus terminal at 7 am in Guatemala City.

Walking the streets of Guatemala City...
Safe and modern, Guatemala’s capital.

After a strong coffee and a bite to eat, we hopped onto the metro-bus that took us to the city. The public transportation in Guatemala City works with a pre-purchased card that you load with money. If you only stay for a couple days, though, do it like the locals who don’t have a card and ask in line if you can pay someone the price of one ride and use his or her card. It’s very cheap to get around and you would be never able to make up for the initial cost of the card. It’s very common, don’t be shy, everyone is friendly and happy to help out!

Guatemala has many accommodation options.
Spot my favourite motto in this picture….???

In the city centre, there are plenty of options to stay. We chose the Theatre International Hostel which is a cool place for backpackers. It has a pool, a decent common area to hang out, the rooms are nice and the breakfast is yummy! We stayed there two nights and liked it. From there you can walk to the main shopping area of the city, with loads of local and international bars and restaurants. A 10 minute walk away you’ll find the market to buy fresh fruit, vegetables and Guatemalan craft. This is the place where the locals eat lunch, so make sure to try some traditional dishes and enjoy the special atmosphere.

Traditional Guatemalan dish: Chile Rellenos
Chiles rellenos’: mildly spicy stuffed peppers with a delicious side soup of chicken broth… yummy!

What is true for most places in Central America, goes also for Guatemala City: it is considered dangerous. I would say that you need to be a normal person and not a scared victim when walking in the streets ANYWHERE in the world. Plus, stay in the areas that are safe (you can find that out easily by talking to locals or read some guidebooks, although some exaggerate extremely!) and don’t walk around with your valuables/a camera or phone visible in a real dark street late at night, unless absolutely necessary. I mean, all it takes is a bit of common sense and some research. But what I can say about this city is that we felt safe all the time. I find it’s absolutely fine to visit Guatemala City and it has a great deal to offer if you are into museums, shopping, nightlife or some historical buildings.

Centrally located but not running: the old railway station is now a museum.
The Museum of the Old Railway system is in the centre of Guatemala City and close to many city buses depart…

Tourist-Hub Antigua

DSC02331Antigua is dominated by international influence and is the leader when it comes to tourism. Someone in Honduras told me that all of the tourism of Central America is managed through Antigua. And I believe it. There are a ton of tour operators, travel agencies, cafes, restaurants and you can find many  international brands in clothes shops. It almost feels a bit like strolling through a European town… plus, you hear more English in the streets than Spanish. Most people stop in Antigua in to hike to one of the many Volcanoes in the area. We ended up not going because the weather did not match our gear and it was unexceptionally cold those days.

Souvenir shops with traditional handicraft of Guatemala.
If you don’t go hiking, you can spend your time strolling through the markets…

What else is there to do in Antigua? The usual: cute little markets and shops that sell all sorts of local arts and handicrafts. You can find in almost all the restaurants and bars very good coffee and hot chocolate – it’s a must when in Guatemala to try as many variations as you can (it was one of my missions at least ;-)). There are a quite a few bars and clubs if you want to go out at night. We had a quiet time in Antigua as the weather was too cold and windy – we stuck to the hot chocolate tastings for most of the time….

Hot Chocolate tasting is a must in Guatemala
Yummy hot chocolate made from Guatemalan cacao, milk and a bit of sugar!

Lake Atitlan


Capturing the moment of a clear view at Lake Atitlan
A lucky day with no mist and a clear view…one of the rare occasions during our time at Lago Atitlan…

One very adventurous bus ride and four hours later, we arrived at beautiful Lake Atitlan. It is really worth the somewhat stressful ride, but be prepared for some adrenalin running through your body on the bus. In general, the drivers in Guatemala seem to think they drive a race car. Luckily, the buses resist a lot, they are the old Ford School Buses from the United States, that were donated to the country….

Buses in Guatemala are donated from the US
The style of a race car represents the driver’s passion, I guess…

San Marcos, Lago Atitlan

Once you get to Panajachel, you can either stay there or hop on a boat to get to one of the places at the lake. The boat ride is about 15-30 minutes depending on your destination. We paid 25 Quetzales/ about 3 USD to get to San Marcos.

Water taxi on Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
A very common way to get around at Lake Atitlan: water taxis.

We stayed a couple of nights in San Marcos, which is small hippie town with loads of organic food options, nature-focused shops and spiritual/mind-body workshops. You can do Yoga, attend some moon dancing rituals or get a massage…I think I am not a hippie after all, but like the idea that we should connect more with our body, mind, and nature. San Marcos gets you into the right vibe for that, for sure!

Working in a café in San Marcos.
Take your work with you: no matter where we go, we set up our office wherever we like. Here in a small cafe in San Marcos.

San Pedro de la Laguna, Lago Atitlan

After a couple of days of tranquility and some productive hours in the many cafés of San Marcos, we took one of the small boats (10 Quetzales/ 1.30 USD) and headed over to the busier town San Pedro.

San Pedro la Laguna in Guatemala
Walking the streets of San Pedro la Laguna to get to our hotel…

This place is the absolute opposite of it’s little brother San Marcos: it is a lot bigger and has very steep streets (almost like the streets in San Francisco but narrower) that are filled with the noise of constantly running Tuk-tuks up and down the hills. It’s perhaps great for people who want to meet other travellers and party. Actually, there are also a lot of Spanish language schools. So, many tourists stay for a few weeks in order to learn Spanish or improve their language skills. Guatemala is known for a very clear and almost accent-free Spanish.

Tuk-tuks and tourists - a typical sight in San Pedro...
Many tourists come and stay in San Pedro in order to learn Spanish. 

Leaving Guatemala

After another rocky bus trip back to Guatemala City, we headed over to the Honduran border. The whole way from San Pedro to Honduras you can do in one day, but you have to start early: We took the bus at 7 am in San Pedro and had to switch buses in one of the smaller towns after about 1 1/2 hours. The next bus took us straight to Guatemala City (it took us 5 hours and in total we paid 50 Quetzales which is around 6.5 USD. From there, we had to cross the city from one end to the other (about 2 hours in total, including the transition times) before we jumped on the next bus that took us to the border of Honduras (another 5 hours and 60 Quetzales this time).

At the border of Guatemala...
Still smiling there, not knowing that after we passed through immigration a big surprise came up…

We arrived at the immigration office at around 7 pm and were told that there was no more public transportation to the nearest town ‘Copan’. How we got to our hotel in the dark and why we would do it differently next time, you can read in our post about the Ruins of Copan

Did you like this post and/or have you been to Guatemala? Please leave a comment below, I would love to hear your thoughts on how you liked it there and what other sights one shouldn’t miss! Either way, thanks for reading 🙂

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Diving the Great Blue Hole of Belize

We decided not to skip the next destination, against many people’s advice. ‘Belize is too expensive for what it has to offer’, they said. But being a passionate Scuba Diver and stubborn on top of that, we went anyways. We simply couldn’t resist, and there was no way that my traveller soul would have ever rested in peace without having experienced one of the highlights of that place: diving the Blue Hole of Belize. To be fair, it is an extremely expensive country compared to its neighbours. You spend about double on most things. Coming from Mexico, it was sometimes a bit painful to have such a brutal increase. Here are our tips to help you turn your trip into an unforgettable memory.

One of the highlights of our dive trip: Lunch on a deserted island close to the Blue Hole of Belize
Beautiful spot to have a break between your dives…

Where to stay when diving the ‘Blue Hole’ of Belize

We opted for Caye Caulker because the larger island, Caye Ambergris, sounded too crowded, touristy and expensive for our taste. If you compare the costs of the dive trips, there actually is not a big difference between islands. Both Caye Ambergris and Caulker offer day-trips to the ‘Blue Hole’ for similar deals. Caye Caulker is a bit more laid back than it’s bigger sister Ambergris. There are no cars on the island, people sell their arts and handicrafts on the street, you hear music but you can also enjoy peaceful tranquility if you stay away from the small town centre.

Working on my laptop with ocean view on Belize's Caye Caulker
Enjoying a cup of coffee in one of the island’s restaurants…

There are not many budget accommodation options on the island: Yumas House BelizeDirty Mcnasty’s Hostel and the Blue Wave Guesthouse. But these few options are likely to be booked. When we arrived, the hostels were all full and we had to stay in one of the mid-range hotels. Ouch! So, make sure you do your research well before your trip… Once you’ve decided to go, it’s easy to not regret it, either way it’s a fantastic island and connecting it with your dive at the Great Blue Hole will make it one trip you’ll never forget.

Choosing a Dive Company for your Trip to the Great Blue Hole of Belize

How to choose the right dive company for diving at the Blue Hole in Belize
‘Frenchie’s’ is a locally run business with a great crew and equipment.

When you walk the streets of Caye Caulker, you get the impression that there are a LOT of dive companies on the island. But actually there are only three dive shops that take you onto a Day-trip to the ‘Blue Hole’: Belize Diving ServicesFrenchie’s Diving Services and Big Fish Dive Centre. All the other small shops that try to sell you their spots, refer you later on to one of these three companies. So, if you don’t want pay a commission on top of the regular price and see directly who you are going with, go straight to one of the above.

It all starts with a beautiful sunrise…

Our day trip to the Blue Hole started with a beautiful sunrise
You will be rewarded for getting up at 5am…

Yes, it is painful and really way too early for being on a paradise island in holiday mood. But right from the start, your efforts will pay off. We met at 5:30am at Frenchie’s Dive shop in order to get ready to hop on the boat. They gave us a light breakfast and coffee to wake up and had us double-check our gear that we tried on the day before. At 6am we were on the ocean towards the Blue Hole. It is around 110km away on the Lighthouse Reef Atoll, which means a 2 hour boat ride from Caye Caulker. Enough time to enjoy the view and get even more excited for the upcoming adventure.

Morning ride to the Blue Hole with the captain on our speed boat
Our Captain was smart enough to cover himself up against the wind of our speed boat…

The first Dive at the Blue Hole

I lost my underwater camera back on my dive trip in Cancun. So, poor us, we’ll have the duty to memorise the underwater world till the end of our days. To break it down, here is how the dive at the Blue Hole was: it is a deep dive where we went down to 40 metres. Dropping into the deep while there is nothing but darkness below you is definitely one of the best parts of this dive. Once you hit 40 metres, you’re level with caves and stalagmites on your left. To your right, you see dark blue and sometimes a shark swimming past. It’s an incredible feeling to imagine that you are inside an almost perfect circular cave with 124 metres of depth and a diameter of 305 metres.

Diving the Big Hole of Belize part one
Exhausted and a bit tired, but absolutely happy after our first dive in the Blue Hole.

Quickly after that amazing 35-minute dive, the captain took us to a small island about 20 minutes from the Blue Hole. The people on the boat who did not go diving and just came to go snorkelling got off the boat and waited while we went on our second dive at the ‘Half Moon Wall’. This dive and also the third dive at the ‘Aquarium’ are very different to the first one at the Blue Hole. We saw a lot more fish and coral life on these last two dives, but compared with the Blue Hole they are just ‘normal’ dives you could find in other places of the world. Not that I did not like them, as I actually prefer coral reefs over caves and love seeing fish/turtles/sharks etc but I am glad to see what it’s like to dive in the Blue Hole.

Lunch break during the dive trip to the Blue Hole of Belize
Arriving in paradise…

With only 12 people on board and a very laid-back crew, we had a great time. But the setting they chose for our lunch break helped to give this day-trip a five star rating (if I could give one). Spending our surface time between dive number two and three on a little island close to the Lighthouse Atoll was the perfect combination of that magical dive in the Blue Hole. Here are some pictures that speak for themselves…


Lunchbreak on paradise island

Dolphins surprised us on our way back to Caye Caulker

Sometimes life is full of surprises and gives you something great and unexpected just when you thought it couldn’t get any better. I was dozing away after three exciting dives and being softly rocked by the boat, when I heard the captain scream: DOLPHINS!!! Everyone jumped up and it’s the classical reaction that all want to see what’s on the side of the boat where everyone is staring. It’s funny that gravity was with us in that moment, but I can’t blame my fellow passengers, it was really amazing to be greeted by at 50 dolphins who were jumping joyfully out of the water next to us…A perfect end to a perfect day!!! 😀

Have you been diving at the Great Blue Hole? What do you think, is it worth going??? Thanks ahead for sharing, liking and your comments!


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Travel Tips for Cuba: Sights, Prices and Personal Insights

Fascinating vintage car
Travel Tips for Cuba: Enjoy the beauty of the old cars!

You gotta be quicker than Mc Donald’s!! 

In January I watched the news and panicked! Ok…wait!! This sounds wrong, I mean I was happy to hear that the US changed their Cuba sanctions. But I knew that these changes would mean the beginning of a process that I did not want to see…Don’t take me wrong, I understand that Cuba needs this change (given that it will bring positive effects for the Cuban people, hopefully!!), but from a travellers point of view this was shocking news! I wanted to see Cuba BEFORE Mcdonald’s and Starbucks arrive!

So, with sweaty hands I sent off a message to a friend who just asked me if I had any travel plans for the upcoming spring… I did now! Let’s go to Cuba ASAP!! We booked our flights for March anxious to get there in time before the Americans would 🙂 Puhhh, and we just arrived in time….actually when we got there it looked very much the way it must have looked for the past decades: old cars, old buildings, horse carriages, rusty bicycles, hardly any internet access, regulated wages etc. We made it and saw Cuba in its very surreal and unchanged state. Check out our travel tips for Cuba! travel tips for Cuba with prices and personal insights

With 3 million inhabitants, Cuba’s capital is busy and full of life. Havana is also the starting point for most travellers, even though there are some other cities that operate internationally. For example, from Canada you can fly into Varadero, where you’ll find one of the most popular beaches in Cuba. We didn’t go there though because it sounded very much developed and crowded… Anyways, in Havana we learned a lot about the local mix of cigars, rum and music. In combination with all those  vintage cars that are still driving the streets of Havana, it gives this city a special vibe. travel tips for Cuba with prices and personal insights
Full of contrasts – old run down buildings and old but well maintained cars…. travel tips for Cuba with prices and personal insights
Stuck in time: In Cuba you feel like you’re back in the 60s, like here when you pick up your medicine at the pharmacy!


  • MONEY:

There are two currencies in Cuba: CUC and Moneda Nacional. CUC (Cuban Universal Currency) is for tourists, so if you want to pay local prices go change your CUCs and get Moneda Nacional. For us (in March 2015) the value was as follows: 1 Euro=1,05 CUC –> 1 CUC=25 Moneda Nacional. You can get Moneda Nacional in a bank or money exchange places. travel tips for Cuba with prices and personal insights
Pesos in Moneda Nacional versus the tourist currency CUC.


If you are travelling on a budget like we did and don’t want to stay in hotels, don’t think of the usual hostel as an alternative! In Cuba you’ll find the so-called “Casa Particulares”. This means that some Cubans have a licence to rent out a room in their house. They offer usually bed and breakfast, some even cook you lunch and dinner if you don’t like to eat out. In some places we actually ate better food cooked from our host mummas than in a restaurant. So, I’d say it is worth trying their cooking at least sometimes. This way you also support your host family rather than a restaurant, which we found a nice way to say thank you for their (VERY awesome) hospitality. travel tips for Cuba with prices and personal insights
We even got picked up one time with a sign that said: Elena + Julia 😀

  • SCAMS:

In general I would say that Cuba is a very safe country to travel through. But like everywhere else you have to be smart and alert about your things. Plus, it has become a “sport” of some Cubans to make some extra money on the side with tourists. So, for example booking rooms in advance can turn out to be used as such an opportunity: We booked our very first “Casa particular” for Havana online, just because we thought it would be hassle free to arrive in Havana knowing an address to go to…well, it usually is more comfortable not having to look around with your backpack on your shoulders after a long flight and perhaps a jet lag, but in our case it actually took us longer to get to the final destination…. The reason: Our reservation was apparently made by the owner of the house, who was gone on holiday for a few weeks and who must have messed up our booking.

So, even though we showed our email confirmation to the couple who took care of the place while the owner was away, they said they had never heard of our reservation and therefore had no room for us. BUT, no problem, we could stay at their place instead! Long story short, we stayed, because we were tired and all worked out ok. But it was far away from Havana’s centre (35 min by local bus). And afterwards we read in the “Lonely Planet” that this was a classical scam and trick to make some extra money on pre-bookings… BUT, we didn’t pay more for the room, we had our breakfast included and a nice and clean room. So, all in all, not too bad either. Still, you might want to keep this in mind before making a reservation in advance!


Cuban women with cigars: travel tips for Cuba with prices and personal insights
Women on the rise! Cuban women not only manage the bookings and rentals, they smoke cigars and attract tourists just like Cuban caballeros do!


Funny signs: travel tips for Cuba.

There is a bus company called Viazul ( that connects many of the places in Cuba. Make sure to check their website though for the actual schedule…we relied on the Lonely Planet one time and missed the bus from Santiago de Cuba to Baracoa. And in general: IT’S FREEZING!! Be aware that in ALL the Viazul busses the AC is on very low and can’t be regulated! So before you board, make sure to take out all the sweaters, long pants and towels that you have in your luggage, no kidding, you will need it, especially if you travel over night!  Also, at some bus stations Viazul workers set up signs that say 1 CUC for your luggage…we spoke to one of the drivers one day and he told us that these signs are not official/not from the company, it’s just another way to earn a bit extra… you decide!


Save 25 CUC for the fee you’ll have to pay at the airport when leaving Cuba!

Patriots: travel tips for Cuba with prices and personal insights
Three weeks full of music, cigars and very friendly people!! Viva Cuba 😀

THE ROUTE – 3 weeks is not enough time!!!

So if you want to go and follow our route, here is what we did, how much we spent and where we went…very detailed and very specific for those who’d like to get some ideas and are like us on the run to still see Cuba in its momentary state!

Havana (3 days):

  • Arriving at the airport, we got out money from the ATM: there is a 3% charge. Later we saw that if you bring cash you can exchange money at the exchange office on the second floor – with no charge!
  • A taxi from the airport to the city centre/Havana Vieja: 25 CUC
  • We stayed in a “Casa particular” (see general info above) for 20 CUC/per night incl. breakfast (I won’t recommend this one though because it was outside of Havana (see the “Scams” info above)
  • Hop-on Hop-off Sightseeing City Tour: 5 CUC for a day pass (nice way to avoid walking around in the heat!)
  • The local bus is 0,20 Pesos (Moneda Nacional) each trip

Old cars in front of the 'White House': travel tips for Cuba with prices and personal insights
Vintage cars everywhere – this one in front of the White House “El Capitolio”

  • Sights: Capitol, Malecon, Calle Obispo (good for shopping, bars/restaurant and coconut ice cream out of coconut shells!! mmm)

Coconut icecream: travel tips for Cuba with prices and personal insights
So yummy!!! Coconut ice cream out of real coconut shells 😀

  • “Havana Vieja” (the old town of Havana) is worth a stroll to stop for a Mojito or Cuba Libre! It is actually part of the UNESCO world heritage list and you can tell that this nomination caused a wave of restoration of many buildings in that part of the city. You are walking through cute little streets and pass by bright coloured houses with a lot of music and art on the street.

Take a sightseeing bus to save you time: travel tips for Cuba.
Good way to save some energy for more sightseeing by foot: 5 CUC for a hop-on-hop-off day ticket

Playa Larga/Bay of Pigs (2 days):

  • The Viazul Bus leaves (or at least did so in March!) at 7am from Havana to Playa Larga for 12 CUC/person.
  • “Hostal” Legendario, really the only hostel-like place which is directly at the beach and offers small rooms with a little terrace, breakfast, a welcome drink for 25 CUC. Some evenings they offer salsa classes for free (we missed it) and have a big dinner option for 8 CUC with ocean view….
  • The beach “Playa Larga” was nice, even though the name “long beach” sounds longer than it actually is…

Playa Larga: one stop of our travel tips for Cuba
“Playa Larga” – a cute beach at the historic Bay of Pigs

  • There is just one restaurant on the main road which offers food (around 5 CUC) and then you can get something to eat at the kiosk. That’s about it…or else you eat in your “Casa”…it’s a very small place, so you might wanna bring food!
  • We went scuba diving for 25 CUC (with licence) at the local dive centre Octupus Club. Diving for beginners without a licence is 35 CUC and snorkelling 10 CUC: all you need to do is let your host know that you want to go the next day and they call the company that picks up all the tourist in the area with a big (SCHOOL!!) bus and bring them to the dive centre 15 minutes away from Playa Larga.

Ready to go diving? Check out Playa Larga's nearest dive spots!
Brave Elena who went diving just like a pro!

Travel Tips for Cuba, Cienfuegos (1 day):

  • So here is a tricky one…leaving Playa Larga is a bit of a juggle: you can either wait for the Viazul Bus that comes around 9 or 9:30am and pay 8 CUC once you board…IF there is a seat left! Or you negotiate with the taxi drivers that hang out at the bus stop and offer you the same price like the bus ticket, because they also know about the sometimes fully booked Viazul Buses. We ended up taking their offer for 1 CUC less per person just because we thought it’s a nice change and travelling in an “Oldtimer” was very cool 🙂
  • Casa la Fuente Oraldo & Olivia, 25 CUC incl. breakfast: very nice building, high colonial ceilings, very lovely people, yummy breakfast!!
  • Sights: Old town/city centre, waterfront, beach about 15km by local bus, national park El Nicho (we skipped that one but heard it’s a nice park!)

Travel tips for Cuba

Travel tips for Cuba: Cienfuegos at sunset.

Trinidad (2 days):

  • We liked the taxi idea and drove for 5 CUC from Cienfuegos to Trinidad (instead for 6 CUC by bus) with 3 other travellers…the taxis only leave when their car is full…and by full means 5 people in a normal car, sometimes 6! 🙂

In the taxi to the next stop: Cuban taxis are cool vintage cars!
You can’t see it, but there are four people on the backseat 🙂

  • We stayed in a private house which had no license…so I’d rather not name it here.

Travel tips for Cuba: Motorbike in Trinidad
Streets of Trinidad…

  • We rode our bikes (3 CUC organised by our host mum) to the beach “Playa Ancon” (12 km), nice trip, sandy beach!
  • Sights: Old town, Plaza Mayor

Patria o Muerte: Travel tips for Cuba
On the way to the beach, we passed by MANY propaganda signs… actually you see them everywhere in Cuba!

Travel tips for Cuba: You'll find beautiful beaches all over the island!
“Playa Ancor”: A 20 minute bike ride away from Trinidad

Santa Clara (2 days):

  • This time we took the bus again, 8 CUC from Trinidad
  • And like before, we found our place to stay after arriving. Just walking down the street after leaving the bus terminal someone recommended a place….and we found out later that it was not an licensed one…we paid 20 CUC incl. breakfast
  • Santa Clara is all about history! Here you can soak up Che Guevara’s impressive journey!

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  • Sights: Che Monument and Mausoleum, tobacco production place, train monument, old city centre

Tobacco fabric
Fabric where the tobaccos are made…usually open for visitors but that day we couldn’t go inside because the roof was in risk to fall down. Needless to say, that the company cared about protecting tourists to get hurt, but they did not so much about their workers…

Cuban cigars are a must-try: Travel tips for Cuba.
And just when we left the entrance area of the fabric, one of the workers came out after ending his shift and he offered us Cuban Cigar for a very special price…1 CUC one tobacco…freshly rolled 🙂

Santiago de Cuba (3 days):

  • We went with the overnight bus from Santa Clara to Santiago which left at 7:30pm and arrived at 7am in Santiago: 33 CUC (bring your blankets!!)
  • Casa 15 CUC incl. breakfast
  • Usually people go on a tour and see “El Salto” which is a waterfall, but for us it wasn’t possible to go because it was too dry, so there was no water…
  • And we met many people going on a 1-2 day tour to the national park with the highest mountain of Cuba “Pico Turquino”. we didn’t go there either, because we spent more time exploring the city

Travel tips for Cuba: Santiago de Cuba

  • Nightlife:  Casa de la Trova, Casa de Artes

Casa de la Musica: Travel Tips for Cuba
Casa de la Musica in Santiago de Cuba


Baracoa (3 days):

  • By bus from Santiago to Baracoa: 15 CUC
  • Casa Onilda: 15 CUC incl. breakfast: very nice place, beautiful big room and lovely people!!
  • Baracoa is known for great food, it’s the chocolate/coconut area with also a lot of natural beauty products on offers, great seafood too!!
  • Sights: Hiking trip with guide to Humboldt National Park, incl. 1 hour at beautiful Playa Managua
  • Mountain hike to “El Yunque”
  • “Playa Blanca” don’t get fooled by everyone who says it’s a nice beach (and bring 2CUC for entry fee!)… but I’d suggest walking towards the beach anyways, because the old wooden bridge was fun and beautiful when the sun sets!
  • Indiana Jones feeling 🙂
  • If you want to go to Holguin from here, keep in mind that the busses only go Wednesdays and Saturdays!!
  • We went back to Santiago for one night to break up the LOOONG way back…

Hiking through Humboldt National Park. Travel tips for Cuba.
Hiking through Humboldt National Park.

Baracoa is a must-see when in Cuba!

Ciego de Avila/Moron (2 days):

  • The bus is 24 CUC from Santiago de Cuba. From there we took a taxi to Moron for 20 CUC/car (we were 4 persons)
  • So Moron is the starting point to get to Cayo Coco…. THE MOST GORGEOUS BEACH on Cuba!! But there are only few places to stay on Cayo Coco (and mostly high-end hotels). Still, you end up driving for one hour in a taxi for 60 CUC/car (if you are four people that’s ok…), but it would be a lot more relaxed just to stay there…perhaps worth the money
  • Make sure you have your passport with you when going to Cayo Coco, don’t leave it in the hotel! There is a police control for EVERYONE who enters the area. There are many different beaches on Cayo Coco (which is actually an island connected with a long street constructed in the water…), we went to the beaches Playa Larga and Playa Pilar
  • On the way we stopped to see Flamingos!


Ciego de Avila: travel tips for Cuba.
No words needed here!





Viñales (4 days):

  • Now followed our longest and most complicated trip: by taxi (2 CUC) we went from Moron back to Ciego de Avila
  • From there we took the local bus to Havana (wooden seats and packed), stopped WAY out of Havana…so we had to find another bus to Havana centre…
  • then we missed the bus and paid a taxi driver to Vinales: 15 CUC/person: which was nice because I made a comment on the nice car and the driver let me drive it for a bit 😀
  • There are places everywhere to stay…you don’t need to worry, you’ll find a “Casa” without knowing beforehand. Ours had no name, so hard to recommend and was 20 CUC incl. breakfast
  • Sights: It’s all about the valley in Vinales!!! We made a tour on a horseback in order to see the gorgeous “Valle de Vinales’: 3-5 CUC/hour
  • Go watch the sunset in “Valle de Silencio” (Silent Valley)
  • After all that long bus rides we were ready for massage: 25 CUC/hour
  • People told us about a day trip to a dive spot/beach called “Maria Gorda”…but we were too lazy and didn’t go!

Viñales: travel tips for Cuba
Beautiful valley, with a very lush green landscape!

Viñales: travel tips for Cuba
The best way to discover the valley is on the back of a horse!

Playa del Este (20 km East of Havana):

  • Just at the end of our trip, we needed beach time. So we decided to spend our two last days before heading back to Havana at the beach. Unfortunately it was a bit crowded and a lot of people left their trash/rum bottles at the beach…
  • There are plenty of places to stay for 25 CUC without breakfast, when you arrive in Guanabo just ask around. We got one 2 minutes after getting off the bus…
  • Take a “collectivo” (taxi) for 2 CUC per Person if you have a lot of luggage and don’t want to squeeze in the local bus that runs from there frequently


Last night in Havana:

  • Just before leaving Cuba, we wanted to get THE picture in a classical old car, so we paid 10 CUC to a guy with a very nice car to take us for a short ride at the Malecon (the famous harbour promenade) for one last ride and THE picture 🙂
  • Our last evening we met up with an old friend of mine from Munich and his newly wed wife (they got married in Havana and were on their honeymoon). We celebrated with Mojitos and said Goodbye to a wonderful Cuba!

The classical shot in Havana: cigars and vintage cars!
The classical shot in Havana: cigars in a vintage car 😉


Thanks a lot to my travel buddy Elena from whom I learned that raw garlic can be your best choice if you don’t have a spread for your bread. And who wrote down all these details for her friend who lent us her “Lonely Planet” before that friend even had travelled to Cuba herself… (but that’s a different story) 😀



Cuba Travel Tips Plus Itinerary


Did you like this post? Have you been to Cuba? Please leave a comment, if you have any other advice! Your feedback is highly appreciated!