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Newsletter – June 2017

… Be Informed … Travel Smart … Stay Informed …


Emailing out our Newsletter each month is ‘old hat’. This is the last emailed Newsletter.

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If you missed the April 2017 Newsletter, you can read it here.

I spent March, April, and May 2017 living in San Pedro La Laguna, Guatemala and Zipolite, Mexico. It was nice to have a break from my travels for a few months. I recommend that GRANDPAckers have a look at both of these destinations. Many GRANDPAckers would enjoy a retirement lifestyle alternating between these 2 locations and their surrounds.
There was no May 2017 Newsletter; there was nothing new to say.

At the end of May, the rains were starting in San Pedro LL … so, it was time to move on to the Bay Islands, Honduras. The Bay Islands get much less rain than the rest of Central America during Rainy Season.

… Now, I have some new things to tell you …

First, I made my way to the popular expat ‘Magic Town’ of San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico. This had the added benefit of (later) allowing me to renew my 90 day C-4 Tourist Visa (the visa that jointly covers Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua).

Then, I made my way to El Panchan, Palenque, Chiapas, Mexico to get into the jungle and to get into the atmosphere of the Palenque ruins.

I took the journey from Palenque, Mexico to Utila, Honduras slowly.

First, I made my way from Palenque to Flores, Guatemala. I had been to Flores in January 2017 … I had no intention of staying long … I was just passing through.

From Flores, I made my way through northern Guatemala to San Pedro Sula, Honduras. Again, I had no intention of staying long … I was just passing through.

From San Pedro Sula, I made my way to La Ceiba. I stopped briefly in La Ceiba to do my final planning and research on the Bay Islands before catching a ferry out to Utila.

I arrived in Utila on 19th June 2017.

I have had a couple of weeks on the island already. I plan to stay for 2 more weeks.

On 21st July 2017 I will move on to Roatan Island. I plan to stay on Roatan for 1 month.

… but, I will tell you more about that next month …



Zipolite boasts a small expat community: perhaps only 50 expats live here on a full time basis … with more ‘Snowbirds’ joining them between October and May … to add to the constant flow of visitors. Zipolite offers affordable beach lifestyle LIVING. It is a small, relaxed, tourist beach town where you while-away your days on the beach and in a hammock. At night there is enough entertainment to keep you busy. Zipolite is a little gem …


Antigua – to – San Cristobal de las Casas

I started my journey in Lake Atitlan, Guatemala. You can easily catch a Shuttle Bus from Panajachel direct to San Cristobal but I decided to go via Antigua – I tried to catch an erupting volcano. The journey from Antigua to San Cristobal takes 2-3 hours longer as you need to double back past Lake Atitlan. Shop around for your Shuttle Bus ticket because some Travel Agents try and charge you nearly double what you should pay …

San Cristobal de las Casas – Mexico – Information

San Cristobal de las Casas is located in the central highlands of Chiapas, Mexico and is considered to be the ‘cultural capital’ of Chiapas. The town sits in a small valley and, as a ‘Magic Town’, it has a well preserved ‘Spanish Colonial’ layout with a nicely restored town center. A number of expats have made San Cristobal their permanent home. This is what I found during my 1 week stay …

El Panchan & Palenque – Mexico – Information

Many people have heard about the Maya ruins at Palenque. Fewer people have heard about El Panchan which is located 4-5 kms outside of Palenque at the entrance to the Archaeologic Park. El Panchan has evolved from a backpacker ‘magic mushroom’ hangout into a budget destination for all sorts of travellers. El Panchan is small and only has 4-5 hotels to choose from…

Palenque, Mexico – to – Utila Island, Honduras

This journey should not be taken lightly. You will spend a lot of time on the road and you may need to stop in a couple of ‘dubious’ locations on the way. I would suggest that you are best to avoid San Pedro Sula and La Ceiba, Honduras. You can do the latter by getting to the La Ceiba ferry port in time to catch the afternoon ferry out to the Bay Islands…

Utila Island – Honduras – A Beginner’s Guide

Utila is the smallest of the three main Bay Islands. These islands mark the south of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef (which is the second largest reef system in the word). As a consequence, the Bay Islands attract many SCUBA divers and Utila is known to be one of the cheapest places in the world to learn how to SCUBA dive. Alas, these islands are not cheap…

San Cristobal de las Casas – Mexico – GRANDPAcking Costs
El Panchan – Mexico – GRANDPAcking Costs
Utila – Honduras – GRANDPAcking Costs