Travel Experta is one of the best online resource when it comes to traveling to Central America. This is also a good resource for those who travel as a family as this blog also contains helpful travel tips for family travels.
Marina, the author and owner of Travel Experta once took a solo trip to Latin America (more than a decade ago) and on that trip, she then met her husband while camping on Tikal Ruins in Guatemala (what a romantic story, isn’t it).
Get to know more about Marina and her family and learn more about family travels by following her blog, Travel Experta.
But before you click away, check out my short interview with Marina.
How did you discover your passion for travelling?
“I think I always had it, but when I was 19 years old I studied abroad for a semester in Europe and then went backpacking. It was a life changing experience for me and if I didn’t do that for long term, I knew I would be totally incomplete.
It took a while, but I finally took off for 1.5 years and backpacked most of Mexico, Central America and Latin America.”
What’s the most horrible experience that you’ve had on the road?
“I was robbed of everything I had, got Dengue fever, robbed again and had to have an emergency gall bladder operation all within 2 weeks of each other in Guatemala.
It sounds pretty horrible, but during that time I met my husband-to-be as well. So it was kind of a test from the Universe, cause right when it was all happening, his family and him were the only ones to help me. And they barely knew me.”
What’s the best travel experience that you’ve ever had?
“There are soooo many at this point that I can’t even narrow it down. I’ve been traveling first alone and now with my family for over 15 years.”
What’s the biggest realization that you’ve got out of travelling?
“This is the only true reason to live!”
What keeps you going? What keeps you motivated?
“I don’t know anything else. It’s like a drug to me. If I don’t do it regularly, I’m not happy.
And if people find it tiring without kids, it’s even more so with a baby. But that never ever stopped me, cause the discomfort of a few things doesn’t compare to the amazing experiences of the travel and time there.”
This is a silly and hypothetical one. If you would be given a chance to travel with a popular person or a celebrity, who would it be and why?
“I have really thought long and hard about this. But I can’t think of anyone in particular. Maybe Madonna or Beyonce, but not cause of their music (which is good) but more so to hear their way of grabbing life and going for it.”
Where’s your favorite place in this planet and why?
“There really isn’t a favorite place per say. I love where I am now. It really is all about where I have a great circle of friends, my kids are happy, and we enjoy the place. For now, it’s Antigua, Guatemala.”
What’s your best tip for newbie traveler?
“Just do it. You can sit for years wondering about it, preparing for it. I do recommend you have some money saved so that you are not desperate and that you can enjoy the places you visit.
But stop thinking about it, and just go.”
What’s the funniest and silliest thing you’ve ever done while travelling?
“How about reckless – which can also be silly and fun. But mainly for me it was hitchhiking most of Mexico. Now that I have kids, I can’t believe I did that to my parents. I would hope dearly my kids don’t do that. There were many moments when it wasn’t the smartest thing to do. I am grateful I survived!
However, it was sooooo fun!!!! And I learned how to speak Spanish that way. Since Mexico is so huge and I was the blonde girl in the group of travelers I was always the one thrown into the drivers seat with the man driving. At times for 4-5 hours. So it was a great learning experience.”
How do you keep yourself safe on your travels?
“Now I travel mainly with my kids, and we stay in more luxurious hotels, we don’t really go out on lonely streets or stay out too late. This helps a lot as well. And we never have anything flashy at all.
But the most important thing, I don’t even carry a purse anymore. I have my baby’s bag, the camera and my money stuffed on my pocket.”
What do you think about yourself?
“I may be a traveler, but I’m not an adventurer or explorer. I don’t like to go off the beaten paths too much. I prefer cities and tours. If we go on nature trips, I like to stay on well traveled paths.
Plus, I’m a huge planner. I love to have everything researched and planned out. It is the most fun for me.”
“My blog started out as a place to inspire family travelers, especially with younger kids, to travel to Central America. With all our adventures here, people saw that coming to this part of the world is great, and not dangerous. I still focus on this part of the world, but we also travel a lot to other areas, and my site is still focusing on family travel but all over the world now.” – Marina Villatoro of The Travel Experta
Editor’s Note: All pics are provided by Marina.