The Lanquin caves of Guatemala are a protected area formed by a huge complex of limestone caves. They are considered by Mayans as a sacred place (the entrance to the underworld), in fact they still carry on their rituals in it. It is a place that everyone should visit while traveling to Guatemala.
Find tons of information about Guatemala for travelers.
This is how my first adventure in the caves went:
When I traveled to Lanquin, Guatemala a few years back, I didn’t know anything about the famous Grutas de Lanquin (Lanquin Caves) until a fellow backpacker suggested we go to explore them! Since backpackers are notoriously known for going where few have gone before and even more for taking their time getting there, we luckily arrived to the cave around 5 pm. I say ‘Luckily’ because if we actually got our acts together and arrived at noon, like we originally planned, I would have missed an extraordinary event!
There are two ways to get to this beautiful cave. You can walk along the banks of Lanquin River or take a huge inner rubber tube and go along with the currents to the mouth of it. Regardless of the way of transport, you’ll get the shock of your life!
Right as we neared it, along the path, we started to hear a strange sound. Suddenly out of nowhere thousands and thousands of BATS made their nightly ritual to leave the cave in search of food. This might sound like a scene out of Batman but on the contrary, it wasn’t frightening nor were they focused on anything other than their food: Fruits and flowers.
Guatemala is the land of the ancient Mayan civilization. Their majestic ancient cities stand proud even if rain forests have overtaken most of them. Along with their cities, Mayans knew this holy ground before anyone else. They thought of these cave as passages to the underworld. They have performed ceremonies of all kinds in them for centuries and still do.
This cave system is so wide spread that not a single explorer or hardcore spelunker have been known to see where it ends. For the less-than-average caver, like me, there is a well lit path that goes for a good 450 meters in, just deep enough to feel its magical power.
Lanquin Caves is a definite must see if you’re in Guatemala! Where else can you get a private bat dance and see magical alters deep within unending caves? Staying at the nearby town of Coban, Guatemala will complete your adventure.
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Note: The path inside the cave maybe be lit, but power outages are a quite common thing here so it would be a good idea to bring flashlights! Plus, the humidity and staleness of the air have formed lots of moss making a super slippery ground so be careful and wear very good walking shoes.
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If you are a nature lover the best way for learning about local flora and fauna is visiting wildlife rescue or conservation centers. Here you can see local animals, learn about wildlife of the region and sometimes you even get to help them out!
7 Conservation Centers in South Florida:
Gumbo Limbo Nature Center – This place focuses on sea turtles by researching and educating about them. They also raise awareness about marine eco systems and about how delicate they are by trying to show visitors how conservation works. Gumbo Limbo Nature Center also offers other exhibits like a container garden with herbs and local flora, a butterfly nursery, and a solar exhibit.
Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge – Its full name is The Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge. They protect the habitats of local, endangered wildlife offering walks along trails, bikes on trails, canoe rides and an airboat virtual ride.
NOTE: To take better care of their refuge no pets, camping or picnicking are allowed.
Busch wildlife Sanctuary – This is a two in one adventure for nature lovers. It is a nature center and a wildlife hospital. Here you get to explore the wetlands on foot, along the way you will find exhibits with crocodiles, snakes and bears. Make sure to ask about their exciting night tour!
At the Busch wildlife Sanctuary hospital they rehabilitate injured animals that they find or are taken to them by the authorities. Many had been held illegally as pets.
Loxahatchee River District – This is basically an aquarium in South Florida with many different species of fish from the surrounding Loxahatchee River and waterways. The place has tons of salt and freshwater tanks. They also offer educative programs and are more than happy to organize birthday parties for the young ones.
Sandoway House Nature Center – This Florida wildlife conservation center is located in a historic house from 1936. It is a place where you can find animal exhibits, a huge shell collection and a wide range of native plants. There are also educational exhibits that focus on marine life and adventures like: shark feeding, nature walks and summer camps.
McCarthy’s wildlife Sanctuary – This is a hospital for animals. In this place injured animals that are taken to them or found are treated, rehabilitated and released back into the wild. They also have around 170 permanent residents that have been given to them; most were illegally possessed or abused.
Aside from being able to explore the place you can ask about their volunteering and educational programs. You can help the McCarthy’s wildlife Sanctuary by visiting them and paying a small fee to be able to see the place and learn.
Loggerhead Marine Life Center – They are another organization that takes care of the local sea turtles and the surrounding coastal eco systems. They research and rehabilitate animals to be able to educate their visitors.
The Loggerhead Marine Life Center offers educational beach walks as you look for animals, fish exhibits resembling coastal eco systems and other fun learning classes.
I truly love these sort of organizations working to protect nature in different ways, and teaching people about its importance. That’s why I recommend to visit them and support them by paying the small entrance fee they ask for. It is also a great way to learn.
If you are in Central America and want to leave the tropical weather behind, and have a great time in the snow this winter, embarking on a skiing holiday with the kids is an exciting prospect. However, as always, any parent would be worried about how to keep the children entertained during the time you’ll spend off your skis. When it’s freezing outside and you all need to be indoors during the evening, a group of bored youngsters can be testing to even the saintliest mums and dads.
Never fear, however, there are ways to survive these periods of inactivity! A bit of creative thought is often all you’ll need to keep little ones busy until bedtime. Read on for my top tips.
Photo By: girolame
Book Child-Friendly Accommodation
Perhaps the most important point on this list is opting for child-friendly accommodation. There’s only so much you can do with children when limited to what you’ve brought along on your holiday, and they’re likely to get bored after the tenth or so round of I Spy, which is why hotels and chalets with kid-friendly facilities are such a blessing.
The logistics of getting a whole family ready and out on to the snow for a skiing excursion is tiring in itself, and afterwards you might just want to relax. This is rarely what the children want to do, however, so make sure you choose accommodation with an on-site kids’ club, or at least something similar nearby. These groups often organise daily activities for youngsters to take part in, many of which mum and dad can sit out for.
Within your accommodation you might also find a swimming pool or a games room, both of which will help keep youngsters busy during their time off the snow. Many chalets and hotels also offer childcare services, ideal if you want to spend some quality time with your spouse.
Before you leave for your holiday, you might want to pack some craft equipment – like blunt scissors and glue – into your luggage. If you’re worried about making it through customs with these items in your suitcase, you can always invest in them once you’ve settled in at your destination, or make your own glue out of flour and water.
After a busy day outdoors on the slopes, in restaurants and at attractions, keep any junk you amass on your person and you can use it later once you’re back at your chalet or hotel. Kids love messy play and junk modelling is a good way of making use of things you would perhaps otherwise have simply thrown in the bin. Cardboard boxes, leaflets, toilet roll tubes and plastic cups can all be glued and painted to transform into a robot in no time at all!
Tempt them with Treasure
Another fun activity that will keep youngsters busy for ages is a treasure hunt. Mum and dad can hide sweets around the chalet and provide children with either a map or various riddles they have to solve in order to find the hiding place of each treat.
If you don’t want to indulge their sweet teeth, the game works equally well as a scavenger hunt, in which you give the kids a list of items to find and provide a prize at the end. Objects can be as simple as a coin, a pebble or a specific item of clothing, and the competitive element will concentrate their minds and help them avoid becoming distracted.
For the perfect ski break with your nearest and dearest, take a look at the family ski deals from Sno and start planning your winter sports holiday.
If you want to leave the tropical forests of Central America, and go on a city break, to experience something different, then why not head to the city of Faro in the Algarve, Portugal? Although millions of people pass through Faro airport every summer on their way to resorts along the Algarve coast, relatively few stop and spend some time in this beautiful and interesting city.
This is unsurprising as usually most people going to the Algarve are on a package deal which will include the transfer from the airport. But even if you’re on a package, it’s still easy to take an excursion to Faro for a day during your holiday if you’re staying in one of the many resorts served by Faro airport. For example, if you’re staying in Albufeira at the Eden Resort, it won’t take you long to travel to Faro for the day.
Photo By: Glen Bowman
It’s an easy city to get around as it’s not too big. In the old town (Centro Historico) the streets are maze-like, so it can be quite good fun to let yourself get lost and see where the streets take you. Soon enough, you’ll find a landmark square or building to get back on the right track. Stop at one of the many tiny street cafes to sample some delicious pastries such as the pastel de nata and the typically Portuguese fiovos de ovos – egg yolks cooked in syrup.
The harbour is beautiful and you’ll find the cathedral an interesting building to visit. As for museums, head for the Algarve Regional Museum (Museu Regional Do Algarve) and the Municipal Museum of Archaeology and Maritime Museum.
If you’re looking for a good nightlife atmosphere, Faro has plenty of bars and clubs as it’s also home to the University of the Algarve, so there is quite a big student population there.
Whether you visit Faro for half a day during a week’s beach holiday, or if you visit the city for its own sake for three or four days, you’ll find plenty to see and do there.
Pollensa is fast becoming a popular tourist destination in Spain and is it any wonder why? It is an up and coming foodie paradise, it has quaint historic cobbled-stone streets, and the picturesque beaches are a sun worshippers’ haven.
I bet it’d be nice to learn a bit more about Romans after seeing all those Mayan Ruins. The town’s name derives from the Roman settlement of ‘Pollentia’ and its excavated remains still lie underneath the modern town Alcudia but enough about its history; what fantastic excursions and sights can you enjoy in present day?
Spain is full of charm to entertain everyone including adults and children. If you are visiting Pollensa in the far north corner of Mallorca in 2013, you might find this very interesting.
• Food for thought
Mallorca in general has a bustling food scene, especially the Port of Pollensa. There are various dining establishments across the region, and some are Michelin star restaurants.
Here are our top restaurants picks;
- Il Giardino – Pollensa, Mallorca
- Jardin- Port d’Alcudia
- Es Raco d’es Teix- Deia, Mallorca
- Es Molí den Bou – Sa Coma, Mallorca
- Celler La Parra – Port de Pollensa, Mallorca
- Stay Restaurant – Port de Pollensa, Mallorca
- Tristan – Porals Nous, Mallorca
A major part of Pollensa cuisine is seafood, so whet your appetites with everything from dolphin and squid. Of course, there are a varied choose of food available that cater to all dietary requirements.
• Beach bonanza
The beautiful beaches of Pollensa are pure indulgence. There are several to visit, as well as charming coves to explore.
Make sure you check out;
- Cala Figuera
- Cala Murta
- Cala Formentor
- Albercutx (otherwise called Foramer)
Cala Murta and Cala Figuera are small and fairly isolated beaches with sand and shingle, and moderate waves; in contrast to Formentor beach, which has pure white sand and calm waters.
• Activity amusement
Pollensa has lots to do with regards to water fun and island entertainment. Scuba diving is a must in the natural clear waters, as well as windsurfing. However, if getting wet is not your scene, why not make the most of the pretty landscape and go for some lovely walks or play a round of golf.
Alternatively, cycling is very popular too. Need something to entertain your kids? Visit Fantasy World Indoor Play Area. It is perfect for children of all ages.
Visiting in July/August? Pollensa runs a magical music festival which is one of the most popular events in the whole of Mallorca.
• Fascinating history
If you like to learn about a town’s history when you go on holiday, make sure you visit the Sunday market as well as the Calvari Steps. The spectacular views are simply breath-taking and you can enjoy the traditional quaint church Calvario Chapel.
But make sure you take a bottle of water with you because you get tired climbing all 365 steps to the top!
• Class act
Want to sample the opulent side of Pollensa? Bodegas Ca’n Vidalet is a favourite of ours. This adult-only trip lets you visit a lavish vineyard and winery in which you can savour locally-produced fine wine. Try not to get too tipsy!
So there you have it; plenty to see and do on your next trip to Mallorca. Have you recently holidayed to the destination and visited a great attraction? Let us know below!
This article was written by Hotel Sis Pins, a luxurious beach hotel in Spain that is just metres away from the beautiful Mediterranean Sea. For lavish affordable hotels in Mallorca, visit the site today.