This year, I had the opportunity to attend the Sundance Film Festival and it was easily one of the most fun trips I've had. If you're planning to attend Sundance, here are some tips on how to have the best experience possible.
Traveling solo is one of those things that every young person should experience as a right of passage. There's nothing quite like learning to plan and navigate your own trip. You learn a lot not only about travel but also about yourself. If you're contemplating solo travel for the first time, keep these travel tips in mind.
Quiz: What do you need in order to drive a car abroad? If you answered "International Driving Permit," or IDP, you're correct! If the thought of getting a driving permit sounds intimidating, don't worry. It's actually quite simple to get one. Read on to learn what an IDP is, when and why you need it, and how to get one.
Here at Gemini Connect, we're united by a love of traveling far and wide, not necessarily to repeat destinations. However, we break this rule constantly when it comes to two countries in particular: Mexico and Belize. On that note, we made a decision in late 2013 to spend our winter holiday doing a big mission in Mexico and Belize. This would be our second trip to Belize since the first one in 2012. The inspiration was mainly related to our business with Hanna Stables in Belize. Our online booking and payment system had led to huge successes, seeing almost 50% more bookings thanks to the ability to complete the entire transaction online within minutes. However, it had hit a major hurdle in that Western Union was no longer allowing us to transfer funds to our business partner in Belize, so we desperately needed a solution. The trip was intended to meet with banks and other financial institutions to address this problem, as well as check in with other potential business prospects in Belize. As for Mexico...what reasons are there NOT to visit, if only for a heavenly bite of cheap al pastor tacos?
Update: In May 2015, Gemini Connect and Hanna Stables achieved a huge milestone in business. Find out more about how we built a profitable business in Belize with no upfront outside investment.
Mission: Improve our business in Belize. And find cheap, authentic Mexican tacos.
Days of traveling
Major cities traveled to
Countries traveled to
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Martin and I first visited Belize together in winter 2012, so this would be our second visit in approximately one year. Intending to use this extended 21 day trip not only for business but pleasure and relaxation as well, we spent the first chunk of the trip in Quintana Roo, Mexico. Initially landing in Cancun, we only spent a brief night in the city before jetting off to Playa del Carmen, a costal resort town that was more our speed in terms of activities and overall culture. We met our friend Arnold there rented a fabulous vacation house in the exclusive neighborhood of Playacar via Airbnb.
After a few days in Playa, we bussed down to the smaller, more remote town of Tulum, staying at a fun hotel, La Zebra. We took an obligatory quick trip to Tulum Mayan ruins, ate amazing fish tacos by the beach, and even briefly ran into Macklemore and fiancee before we packed up and headed further south to Bacalar.
A hidden gem on the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico, the town of Bacalar is centered around the Bacalar Lagoon and its incredible azure blue fresh water. We spent several enchanting nights at Casa Caracol b&b and even took an extremely memorable boat ride and snorkel tour of the lagoon.
Our stay in Bacalar was the last in Mexico before we took a ferry to Belize, entering the country via la isla bonita, San Pedro, or Ambergris Caye. The larger of two main cayes or islands off the coast of Belize, San Pedro is a highly popular tourist destination that in all honesty was a bit...much. Especially when compared to some of the more intimate and special travel experiences we'd had in other smaller, off the map towns in Belize. Worth visiting? Sure. But if you want a more authentic Belizean experience, Caye Caulker or better yet San Ignacio is a better bet.
From San Pedro, we water taxied to the mainland of Belize where from then on the rest of our trip was gratis. We were privately shuttled the 90 minute drive from Belize City to San Ignacio, where it literally felt like we were coming home, especially after a somewhat disappointing experience on San Pedro. We were delighted to return to Nabitunich and see that many improvements had been made to the cottages, and that Hanna Stables was being rebuilt in the form of a brand new barn located closer to the accommodations. During our stay, we did indeed resolve our financial issue (although in a very roundabout way), and even got to experience what most people come to San Ignacio for: an intensive underground caving adventure to Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) cave.
Upon my insistence that we end our trip on a beach, we left San Ignacio after about a week and jetted off down the Hummingbird Highway to the coastal town of Placencia. Small, charming and very laid back, Placencia is a fishing village that has become our favorite beach town in Belize. We stayed at the pristine One World Apartment Rentals, experienced the town's famous sidewalk (the narrowest in the world), and had an unforgettable day at sea when we boated off to the dreamy Silk Cayes island where we had the best snorkeling experience of our lives.
We have done such extensive traveling in Belize that we wrote a whole online travel guide of the region on the Hanna Stables website. If you're curious about any of the above-mentioned destinations, check out the Belize travel guide.