To find out what hotels, restaurants or companies I used when reading the trip descriptions on your right --  just check out my tripadvisor reviews on the link above.  Keep in mind that  I visited all of these places on my own without any sponsorship & am not affiliated with tripadvisor! If a trip is sponsored -  it will be noted.

Galápagos Islands

All I can say is wow, wow, wow! I've never experienced anything like it before! It was like being in an open air zoo with no cages. We saw several animal species in addition to flora and fauna that you won't see anywhere else! 

 

The Galapagos is a pricey trip no matter how you go about it BUT we did it as a land vacation and so can you! We landed in Guayaquil and from there transferred to a quick 1.5 hour flight to Baltra - -the airport town in Santa Cruz Island - the biggest island in the archipelago.  We spent four nights there and then took a small boat over to San Cristobal island -- boat ride is 2 hours long and very choppy ($30 pp)!!  Food was delicious everywhere we went and very reasonable! If you like seafood, you'll be in heaven!! 

 

I'll have several Travel Minutes giving you details on how to do what we did! I have to say the islands are place that should be on everyone's bucket list. 

 

Total cost: $750 for hotels, another $2000 for both flights and once you add meals, souvenirs and that boat ranger - the trip was around $3,500k. Sometimes a Galapagos tour can cost you well over 3k or more for one person for a boat trip!! Stay tuned for my minutes coming soon! 

Dublin & Edinburgh

We wanted to see both Ireland and Scotland and we couldn't decide which country to go to - so we saw both in one week! Although most travel experts would advise against doing this - I'm glad we did it! We got a real taste of what both Dublin and Edinburgh are all about AND it didn't cost us an arm and a leg either! 

 

We flew into Edinburgh first and spent 3 nights at Motel One which was centrally located and we got a really good taste for the city. We also spent one day in the country/highlands and that was a treat!

 

Then we flew to Dublin and spent 4 nights at the Cardiff Lane which was a really nice hotel but I would have preferred a hotel closer to the action for tourists! It was about $1000 total for both hotels.

 

Airfare was $500 each & another $100 total for our Ryan air flight from Edinburgh to Dublin. So the total vacation cost was around $2500 for two people -- not including meals, souvenirs, etc and I think we maximized our time there! It was a great vacation and two cities I' d like to return to and explore even further!  Make sure to watch for my travel minutes about both cities!

The Baltics

We had the chance to travel to Sweden, Finland, Russia & Estonia!! It was an awesome trip and I'm dying to go back to those countries again to explore even more! I booked a week long cruise on Costa Cruises -- which I have to say I was little disappointed in this time around since the cruise line seemed to be nickel and diming everything...nevertheless, we had a great time. The taste of those countries that the cruise gave us definitely made us want to return in the near future. 

 

We spent about $1500 for both of us on this Baltic cruise - $1000 on flights on Norwegian Air and another grand for tours, meals and one night in a hotel in Sweden!!

 

It totaled about $3500 for both of us for a week which is a little bit more than what I like to spend - but it was a great a deal nonetheless and a trip I highly recommend! Travel Minute videos with tips regarding Stockholm and St. Petersburg coming soon!! 

Havana, Viñales & Varadero

So I was fortunate enough to go back to Cuba! This time I not only visited Havana but I also stopped in Viñales and Varadero. One thing people should realize is that it is still very possible to travel to Cuba independently - contrary to what some travel sites will tell you. You just have to make sure that you sign up for the SUPPORT FOR THE CUBAN PEOPLE license and that you truly are not having just a beach vacation since Cuba is so much more than that.

 

Its still very inexpensive to get there. This time around we flew United from Newark for $325 r/t and stayed in a casa particular in Havana and in an all inclusive in Varadero. What we spent for both my husband and I this time around was about $1300 for air, hotel and travel licenses for 9 days. We also paid extra $$ for transportation to different cities, food, entertainment and souvenirs! Its a must destination for everyone my humble opinion!!:)

 

TRAVEL MINUTES about which side excursion to take from Havana -- Viñales or Varadero are available - check them out!! 

The Bahamas

We're back in the cruise saddle again!!  After going nearly 5 years without getting on a cruise -- we were lured back in and it was AWESOME! Both my husband and I needed a BREAK from work and so we thought a short quick trip to the Bahamas would be the right dose of medicine we needed! Boy were we right! After a $240r/t flight to Miami out of NYC we found ourselves on the Norwegian Sky for a 4 night sailing to the Bahamas at $299pp. Alcoholic beverages were also included on this sailing at no extra cost. Yippee!

 

Total Cost: around $1450 once you add the cruise, flights and ubers to/from airport and cruise port! 

Cusco & Lima

Just returned from a great trip to Peru!!  We visited Lima, Cusco, the Sacred Valley and of course Machu Picchu!! My travel minute videos are up and give you tips on how to get to MP, save money while you're there and avoid altitude sickness!

 

Although the bookends of the trip were not the greatest -- (15 hour delay going to Peru and I'm still waiting for my refund from LATAM airlines and then my husband got sick at the end of the trip :( -- Peru is a country I recommend traveling to - not only for its archeological wonders but also for its food -- its DELICIOUS because of the fusion of cultures that make up the country! 

 

Hotels were pretty inexpensive and comfortable, transportation is readily available and easy to navigate and the people are super friendly. What else can you ask for?  The only con I found was hoe expensive it is to get to and from Machu Picchu -- the cost is a bummer but its well worth it in the end. I'd like to return to visit other parts of the country that I did not get to experience!

 

Total costs:

Train to MP - $186 r/t pp

 

Entrance into MP: $74.20 pp

Taxis to/from Urubamba :$60r/t

Taxi to/from Lima Airport : $40 r/t

Miscellaneous (food gifts etc) :$250 pp

 

Grand total pp: around $1700 for 10 nights

 

PS -- You could just pay a tour company like Friendly Planet, Smartours or Gate 1 and just do their itinerary if its easier. Keep in mind that this trip is more relaxed if you do it on your own though - the escorted ones might be too rush rush and you could get sick from the altitude if you don't take it easy.. 

Hola! My name is Tinabeth Piña and I'm passionate about travel. If you stopped by this website then you are too!  

In the past 10 years, I've been to over 50 countries along with my husband and what I want YOU to learn is what we've learned during our travels -- what you must see, must do and can skip! Plus I want to help you realize that you don’t have to be rich to travel -- you just need to know how to spend wisely to get the best bang for your buck from the moment your vacation starts to when it ends. So buckle up amigos and enjoy my travel site & tips!!

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