Archive for November, 2014

3 of the Most Beautiful Places in Honduras

Posted on November 25th, 2014 by Dusty Fox in Uncategorized | No Comments »

When thinking of desirable Latin American vacation destinations, Honduras is one of the countries that is most often overlooked. But this Central American has plenty to offer visitors, both on the mainland and offshore. If you’re interested in an exotic-feeling getaway that focuses on nature, you’ll probably want to learn more about Honduras. Here are 3 of the country’s most beautiful destinations:

Utila [Photo Credit: Creative Commons 3.0, Rythie]

Útila [Photo Credit: Creative Commons 3.0, Rythie]


One of the 3 Islas de la Bahía, Útila is a peaceful and slow-paced island with one particularly interesting attraction: its famous whale shark population. While on the island, you’ll mingle with people of African, European, and Jamaican descent. While out at sea, you’ll swim alongside the largest fish on the planet. Despite having the world “shark” in its name and its massive size–whale sharks reach 40 feet or more in length–these gentile creatures are not aggressive and generally stick to a plankton diet.

Diving in Útila is surprisingly affordable and many budget conscious travelers who want to get PADI certification choose this island for their training. The island also boasts a year-round whale shark research center, which offers environmentally responsible snorkeling trips with these oceanic giants.

Copán Ruins [Photo Credit: Public Domain, Talk2winik]

Copán Ruins [Photo Credit: Public Domain, Talk2winik]

Valle de Copán 

If you’re looking for a place that is oozing with history and shrouded in mystery, the Valle de Copán will not disappoint. Spend a night in the nearby town of Copán Ruinas, then walk or hop on a tuk-tuk, or motorcycle taxi, for the short ride to the ruins. While they may not be as famous as Mexico’s Chitzen Itza, the impression they make on visitors is no less impressive.

From 300 to 900 A.D. this was the site of a major Incan city. Today, the site is ideal for travelers of all interests and fitness levels. There is plenty of shade and flat terrain for older folks or less active types, while those who feel up for a bit more activity can climb up a large pyramid and further explore the grounds on foot. It’s certainly worth it to hire a local guide to take you through the site and tell you about its fascinating history.

Parque Nacional La Tigra

Located near Tegucigalpa, Parque Nacional La Tigra is an adventurous hiker’s dream. There is a well developed trail system, complete with a detailed map at the entrance. This park is extremely humid and wet, so luckily parts of the trail have wood planks installed to help prevent falls in especially slippery areas. Don’t let that trick you into thinking the hiking here is easy, though–navigating the park’s trails, finding the waterfall, and reaching the highest point in the park can easily be a whole day’s work. A few charmingly basic river crossings add to the fun and authenticity of the park. La Tigra is home to all kinds of wildlife, including birds, bugs, and even frogs that are endemic to the area.

If you have a vacation to Honduras on the horizon, make sure to spend some time developing your Spanish skills before you go. Your trip will be all the more enjoyable and memorable thanks to your ability to communicate with the locals! Contact us to learn more about Spanish courses near you.

3 Hidden Gems in Costa Rica’s Culinary Scene

Posted on November 10th, 2014 by Dusty Fox in Uncategorized | No Comments »

If you’re like most travelers, when you think of Costa Rica you imagine lush rain forest, gorgeous beaches, and beautiful wildlife. One thing that rarely comes to mind about this small Central American country? Its food. In fact, if you ask someone what kind of food is typical of Costa Rica, you may get a blank stare instead of a confident answer. And while much of the traditional diet is centered on rice and beans, prepared and served a few different ways, it is not at all impossible to find a greater variety of food throughout the country.

So let’s say you’re heading to Costa Rica soon. You’ve got your tree camping tour booked and have included a visit to a volcano and a turtle nesting site on your itinerary (as suggested in this previous blog post). What’s next? It’s time to figure out where you can get some great food during your vacation, and these 3 hidden gems are definitely worth a visit:

Bread & Chocolate in Puerto Viejo

Puerto Viejo is nothing if not laid back and casual, and there are a number of good restaurants throughout this super-pedestrian friendly town. But Bread & Chocolate wins out as my favorite due to its attention to detail, not to mention all that chocolate. You can’t go wrong with breakfast here. Sure, you could pick an egg sandwich or sautéed potatoes, but why not opt for one of the sweet menu items instead? They are delivered to your table with your own serving of locally produced chocolate, which is perfect for dipping. Coffee is served up in individually sized French presses, adding a welcome touch of elegance without being at all pretentious.

View of San Jose [Photo Credit: Creative Commons 2.5, Erodrigufer]

View of San Jose [Photo Credit: Creative Commons 2.5, Erodrigufer]


Mirador Ram Luna in Aserrí

This upscale, yet welcoming restaurant offers guests a bit of everything: dinner, drinks, a show, and last, but certainly not least, a beautiful view of San Jose and the surrounding area. Travelers who are in the know come at around 5pm so that they they can take in the views before the sun sets. The 25-minute drive outside the capital and up into the mountains is a beautiful journey in itself that adds to the experience.

Playa Samara [Photo Credit: Public Domain]

Playa Samara [Photo Credit: Public Domain]

El Lagarto in Playa Samara 

Depending on the timing of your visit you may be pleasantly greeted by dozens, if not hundreds, of curious hermit crabs crawling around you at this sweet on-the-beach restaurant. Seafood and wood grilled meats are the main attraction, but El Lagarto also offers a vegetarian plate of grilled vegetables. The custom built grill serves as much as decoration and entertainment as it does as a cooking area, so be sure to snap a few pics and admire it in all its glory before heading to your table and sticking your toes in the warm sand.

It’s most definitely worth taking some Spanish lessons before your trip so you’ll feel confident ordering off menus while you’re vacationing in Costa Rica. Contact us to learn more about small group classes near you. ¡Buen provecho!