Adios Guatemala, Hello Asia

The magnificent Lago De Atitlan --Atitlan, Guatemala -- Karina Noriega

The magnificent Lago De Atitlan –Atitlan, Guatemala — Karina Noriega

Thanks Guatemala, We Will Miss You But It’s Time For Us To Move On!

The most difficult part about leaving this beautiful country behind is that we are knowingly walking away from so many other extraordinary places we still have yet to discover. Guatemala has been our home for the past 6 months and while we did explore magnificent locations like that of Lake Atitlan, Antigua, Semuc Champey, Livingston and Rio Dulce, there just never seems to be enough time to see everything. I wanted so much to learn more about Guatemalan culture and through our experiences during Semana Santa, I definitely feel a deeper connection to and a greater understanding of the Guatemalan people. I can say with pride that after attending language classes I was able to further develop my Spanish speaking skills. I know without a doubt that I will end up back in Guatemala once again so I can discover even more of the country’s attractions while continuing to practice effectively rolling my R’s. Plus, there are so many different types of Guatemalan street food I still have yet to try! Continue reading

Cost breakdown for travel through Guatemala

Volcano Panorama viewed from atop Volcan Pacaya -- Guatemala -- Karina Noriega
The main 'anda' carries Jesus Cristo de Nazarene through the street of Antigua, Guatemala. -- Karina Noriega

The main ‘anda’ carries Jesus Cristo de Nazarene through the street of Antigua, Guatemala. — Karina Noriega

Guatemala offers so many possibilities for every type of traveler. As a worldly backpacker and efficient shoestring traveler ($10/day in hostels, chicken buses,eating street food is a breeze), but in a country like Guatemala, $100/day means you travel like royalty. Most of you will land somewhere in the middle.

Tucan of Peten, thousands fly wild in the Northern jungles -- Guatemala -- Karina Noriega

Tucan of Peten, thousands fly wild in the Northern jungles — Guatemala — Karina Noriega

I created a very general breakdown here to give you an idea. (Actual cost will depend on the number of people traveling and what level of comfort and adventure desired.)


Costs will vary depending on your departure locations and tend to increase in price as departure date approaches.

I have flown several times from Toronto, Ontario for $500-700 roundtrip. My friend Jesse once scored a roundtrip flight from New York City for $350. I can send you tips on how to get the best price.

                   * A quick search today, January 13, 2015, brought up more than 30 options for less than $600 round trip from Toronto’s YYZ *

The infamous, colorful, Chicken Buses of Guatemala -- Karina Noriega

The infamous, colorful, Chicken Buses of Guatemala — Karina Noriega


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Antigua, Guatemala – New Year’s 2014

Another extraordinary film by April Beresford for

With Canadian winter weather in full swing, Karina and I are thrilled to be heading to the tropics for our 6 month adventure in Central and South America. We are sad to be leaving our friends and family but have high hopes that many of you will feel inspired to travel yourselves and perhaps we can meet up together in some far distant land? Sounds like a great plan doesn’t it?
This week’s film will give you a quick glimpse into just one of the fantastic experiences we have had in Guatemala, exploring Antigua. Perhaps this video will help lure you to join us in the tropics? Take a few minutes out of your day to enjoy our adventures in this brilliant city with its’ beautiful traditions and breathtaking explosive pyrotechnics.


Travel Tip:

All the featured festivities are completely free and go on throughout the day.

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Sanitation Engineer

It’s official. It’s undeniable.

Just ask our numerous and relentlessly supportive friends. April and I are 100% nomad. That is just about as kindly as it gets when it comes to referring to someone as unemployed, homeless, phone-less and now, solely reliant on others for transportation. Kind of like changing the title of ‘garbage man’ to ‘Sanitation Engineer!’

Yes, Tank has gone to a new and loving home. He will be sorely missed, but there are exorbitant plans and dreams to chase into extraordinary and distant lands. The break from this materialist society we exist in will only hurt for so long. If my previous travel experience has taught me anything, soon I will be dying to lighten load even more. Road trips and backpacking around the world are very different. Phase II demands that every ounce of necessary ‘stuff’ be supported only with the strength of my own body.

Just the thought of it is exhausting and painful but picturing myself on the shores of some tropical island, amongst colourful festivities of foreign cultures, or on top of some lava-spewing giants is enough to overcome that. I am willing to make these sacrifices because this is what I want more than anything in the world; by any means.

What an extraordinary life!

Like mother like daughter -- Somewhere in Myanmar --Karina Noriega

Like mother like daughter — Somewhere in Myanmar –Karina Noriega

~ An Extraordinary Story by Karina Noriega ~

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Travel Seeks Travelers

Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe, California - Karina Noriega

It has been exactly 123 days, 25 states and 14,486km (9000m) since I crossed the southern border for an extraordinary road trip across the United States of America. My travel partners April and Tank, (my Toyota 4runner) have been strong and steady by my side. Our little travel blog is getting some attention and even inspiring a few new friends and readers to see travel differently and hit the road.

All along our journey I have called out to anyone who would like to meet, host or join us. I have reached out to old travel friends I’ve met across continents as I carve across their states and hometowns. I have encouraged friends and family who we dearly miss to come visit us wherever we may be.

I’m so excited that both of these situations have finally come to fruition.

Part I

I reached out to my friend Eric while in the Southern USA. Facebook, (a powerful tool keeping my travel circle together) told me he was living in Salt Lake City, Utah; a state that would no doubt take us far into the wilds of colourful deserts, towering formations, unimaginable canyons and wilderness. Eric and I hadn’t seen each other at all since our fateful meeting in Malaysia a few years ago. I had just hopped out of a truck near a village in the Cameron Highlands. I was hitchhiking from the coastal city of Georgetown to see the famed tea plantations and rejoice in the cooler weather. I needed one more ride to reach my destination so as I walked towards the intersection, gathering the courage necessary to stick my thumb out to passing motorists, I made a joking remark to the two white guys on scooters.

“Room for one more?” Continue reading

Georgia on my Mind – A Film

Another extraordinary film by April Beresford.

This time, we find ourselves in the Southern state of Georgia exploring two very different kinds of destinations: Driftwood Beach on the coastal park of Jekyll Island and the deep south swamp of Okefenokee. We highly recommend that you check out the detailed article about experience in the swamp, to view spectacular photos and gather important insight regarding this amazing environment which is not included in the film.
Article Link:

Music by: Ray Charles

~ An Extraordinary Story by Karina Noriega ~

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New York City for Free – Weekends and Anytime Edition

Part II of New York City for Free – The Weekend and Anytime Edition

Before I delve into more free things to see and do, let us take a moment to acknowledge that not everything in New York can be free. That being said, if you are looking for a good place to spend your hard earned dollars, the list is endless so choose wisely.

My suggestions:

Continue reading

New York City SightSeeing – A Film

Hands down, brand-new favourite film by April! Longer than previous videos but absolutely packed with high energy clips from our 2 weeks of adventuring and trouble-making (all for only dollars a day of course) throughout the boroughs of New York City. So many good moments: Top of the Rock, the NY Subway, Times Square, eating cheap Chinatown pork buns at Tiffany’s 😛 and so much more.

~ An Extraordinary Story by Karina Noriega ~

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Read my guide to seeing it all for next-to-nothing at


Weekends and Anytime:


Rice Terrace Wanderings

Rice Terrace, Northern Vietnam -- Karina Noriega

As if being set in a terrace laced village high in the mountains of Northern Vietnam wasn’t far removed enough already, I venture farther. Beyond the tracks of any road. Beyond the comfortable reach for many of the other daring travellers with whom I made the overnight train trip to the city of Sapa, followed by a long hike into the countryside to find our tribal homestay.

When all paths disappear, I tread carefully between the steep rice paddy staircases. Pigs lay in the mud taking in the warmth of the sun. Water buffalos trim leaves from the tall, thick bamboo brush. Ducklings waggle along afraid to jump in the murky waters that hold rice when the season is in bloom. Villagers pass by me in their traditional H’mong dress and rubber boots. They smile widely, multicoloured teeth gapped here and there. They all say “Hello, where are you from? How old are you?” It doesn’t matter that our communication may be limited. They are warm, friendly and obviously hard working. I am on their lands now.

Continue reading

My Extraordinary Guide To Guyana

Kaeiteur Falls, Guyana -- Karina Noriega

My Extraordinary Guide To Guyana

       When research began on the Guyana portion of my South America journey I immediately found information hard to come by. Often there is a complete lack of info, contacts, and the links only led to dead ends. With this in mind, I decided to create my own mini guidebook for travellers’ looking to come to this little tropical haven. 

(Click on any picture to enlarge and scroll through.)

All information presented was gathered during my August 2013 visit to the country. 

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Freedom Rider

It started like any other day, waking up in a strange world full of opportunity and discovery with no plans or expectations. What it became, a 2 day expedition; just me, my backpack and a shiny new rented Honda I recently learned to ride, into places seemingly unseen by any foreigner or wanderer.

Past the rice paddies, rivers and waterfalls. Past countless villages inhabited by more than 20 different Ethnic tribes, through the NPA; massive jungles tangled high into the mountains of Northern Laos, following exhilarating hair pin bends that swayed my body in a rhythmic motion over the hills and through the valleys. For hours, with the road at my command I went in and out of paths big and small meeting villagers along the way. Continue reading

Deep Water Tornadoes

Deep Water Tornadoes, Thailand

I haven’t had the chance to do any climbing while here in tiny Ton Sai, a town, no, village, no… a spit of white sand crammed between enormous limestone peaks, jutting out of the earth and ocean. A few bungalows and restaurants have sprung back up since this place was decimated in the 2004 tsunami. There are no roads, and only a few hours a day of electricity. But back to climbing thing, I took a chance today and joined the Deep Water Solo Climbing adventure group. Yesterday’s group returned at 3pm, more than enough time to shower and catch the last boat out to the mainland. 

My visa expires tomorrow and it would cost me 500 Baht per day for any over time. I need to get to Krabi today so I can take the 6am bus to Satun, where I will then catch an international ferry to Malaysia’s Langkawi. At least, I was supposed to…

So I woke up bright and early today excited for my chance to combine two amazing adrenaline sports over the clearest waters of the Andaman coast: Rock Climbing and Cliff jumping. Basically you get to free climb (no ropes) over the jagged peaks rising out of the warm waters that you will eventually land in when you fall, or more desirably, jump into after conquering your climb. It was a long, hot, awesome, hot, fun, did I mention hot? day. The sun was beaming all day. We climbed, we snorkeled, we ate on a beautiful deserted beach, we kayaked and then climbed some more. Continue reading