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Travel

Discovering Antigua, Guatemala: 5 Places To See

 

Last week, my friends and I travelled to Guatemala for a week. This country located in Central America is beautiful and to start our journey there, we did a stop at Antigua, Guatemala. This small city is surrounded by volcanoes. Renowned for its Spanish colonial buildings, Antigua is a city with beautiful architecture that got restored following an earthquake in 1773. If you plan to go to Antigua, Guatemala, here’s a list of 5 things that you should go see!

Santa Catalina Arch, Free

 

Santa Catalina Arch, Antigua

The Santa Catalina Arch in Antigua, Guatemala

Located in the middle of the city, the Santa Catalina Arch is one of the main landmark that you should go see once in Antigua. Built in 1964, this arch used to be a tunnel between two convents: the Covent of the Virgin and the Covent of Santa Catalina. Few years later, one side remained a convent while the other side became a school. The nuns living in the convents had taken vows to remain secluded and to avoid all contact with the outside world, the tunnel became their only way to cross one side to the other. Personally, the arch is beautiful to see in person and when there’s no cloud in the sky, you can capture the perfect shot of looking down the street and capture the arch and the Volcàn de Agua.

In the picture I took, I was not lucky because there was some clouds on the volcano which kinda ruined the perfect shot. Nevertheless, the Santa Catalina Arch is BEAUTIFUL and must be visited when in Antigua.

 

The Plaza Central Park, Free

The name says it, the Plaza is located in the center of the city and this park is beautiful. However, this town square is the place where you will get approach by locals trying to sell you different things such as flutes, necklaces, tam-tams and more! NEVER ACCEPT THE FIRST PRICE THEY OFFER. One thing I’ve learned in Antigua, Guatemala (and you will see it in the vlog above) is that they are open for negotiations and you can easily reduce the price by 70%. What I enjoyed from the Central Park is that it is surrounded by municipal buildings, cafes, cathedral and more. One of the historic sites surrounding the Central Park is the Palacio de los Capitanes Generales.

Acatenango Volcano, 120$

Named the #1 thing to do in Antigua, the hike of the Acatenango Volcano was something that we did not had time to do when we were in Guatemala. This hike takes about 5-6 hours and it is not an easy one! Most travellers decide to do this hike over two days so that they can enjoy the sunset and the sunrise. If you are planning to go to Antigua, Guatemala and would love to do this hike, here’s 5 quick tips that you need to take into consideration for this hike (as well any other hike that you are planning to do there)

  • Wear proper hiking shoes. Don’t be a fool and try to hike with converse or Air Forces, having the proper hiking shoes will make the difference on the hike, and also, you won’t ruin your favorite shoes!
  • Bring water, lots of water! Other blogs recommend to bring at least 4 litres of water per person, I would listen to them. It is better to bring more than not enough.
  • Only bring what you need. Do not bring your laptop, or the extra pair of shoes you think you might need. Try to pack light because you will regret every extra grams that was not necessary during the hike.
  • Stay in your lane! While you are going up, there will be other Guatemalan walking past you and you need to understand that it is not a race. Take your time and take breaks if you need to!
  • Sunscreen and aspirin! It is not because you are higher and it is colder than you will not get sun burnt. Bring sunscreen and aspirin will be needed once you get this high since you may suffer from altitude sickness.
View from the top of the restaurant Sky Bar located in Antigua, Guatemala

View from the top of the restaurant Sky Bar located in Antigua, Guatemala

 

Iglesia de la Merced, Free

Less than 10 minutes walk away from Central Park, there’s the Iglesia de la Merced which means  The Church of the Mercy. This church got destroyed twice by earthquakes and was rebuilt several times to be able to stay strong if another earthquake occurs. In addition, it has a lovely yellow façade and a huge stone fountain, known to be the largest in Central America.

 

The Street Market, that is up to you!

The street market was one of my favorite place to visit during our time in Antigua. (maybe because a tourist called me Lil Wayne?) You can find everything on the market, food, clothes, watches and more. I didn’t see lots of tourist there but I loved the energy that was present. This place is HUGE (as you can notice in my Antigua Vlog) and this is where you can put your negotiation skills to test.

 

While there’s other things to visit and see when you in Antigua, Guatemala, I would love for you to send me a message about what is your favorite attraction there. I am planning to go back and stay a bit longer this time ( I think I fell in love with Antigua) and be sure to not miss my Vlog Series in Guatemala that is available on my Youtube Channel by clicking here.

 

 

Lifestyle

3 Reasons Why I Fell in Love With Car2Go

Living in the suburb of Montreal has its perks, less traffic, no trouble finding parking and not paying for it is a major plus. However, since most of my clients and business contacts are in the city, I had to get an office downtown and needless to say, I travel a lot. I usually use my personal car but for the past 4 days, I had the chance to try Car2Go in Montreal. I was so please with the service that I decided to do a promotional video (peep the vlog and the commercial above)!

What is Car2Go ?

Car2Go is a car rental company that . All you need is the app, and from there you find a car, reserve it, take it from point A and then drop it to point B. No need to worry about the gas and the kilometer that you drive!

I remember when Car2Go launched their service in Montreal in October 2013. At the time, I was studying at Concordia University and I would see their Smart cars everywhere. Since then, they increased their fleet up to 450 cars and recently celebrated the 50,000 users mark in July 2017.

Car2Go recently announced that they are adding new cars to their service in Montreal : the 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLA and GLA. I was excited to try this sexy car and definitely wondered if I would like it more than the Chevrolet Traverse 2018 that I recently had to do a road trip in the East of Canada.

After trying the service for 4 days, I wanted to share with you the top 3 reasons why I fell in love with Car2Go.

1. The Cars

Car2Go offers 2 different models of cars. They have the Smart fortwo and the 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLA and the GLA! I had the all black Mercedes 2018 (with leather seats, my favorite!)  and, my favorite function was the Apple Car Play that I discovered in the Chevrolet Traverse. This function enables you to have your phone mirrored on your car media screen. Super easy to use and it reads your text messages to be sure that you do not text on the roads. In addition, the Mercedes had a panoramic sunroof that was a great plus when driving downtown and looking up at the skyscrapers.

Car2Go Mercedes-Benz CLA

The Car2Go 2018 Mercedes-Benz CLA

 

2. Availabilities

Although I had the Mercedes CLA with me for the whole weekend, I couldn’t help but notice the amount of

available cars around the city. When you are looking for a car, you simply open the app and the map will tell you where you can find a car. If it seems far, you can reserve it and make sure that no ones take it while you are on your way to go get it. I was surprised to discover that they have over 500 cars in their fleet now! (100 of them are the Mercedes!)

Screenshot of the Car2Go App.

With the CLA Benz from Car2Go in Square St-Louis, Montreal

Showing off the Car2Go in front of Saint-Louis Square

3. Parking in Montreal

Montreal’s parking is ANNOYING. First, the parking signs are confusing, then you have to find an available parking spot (which may take up to 40 minutes to find one, true story) or you surrender and end up parking your car at a designed parking lot that cost between 15$-30$.

Car2Go solved that problem for their users by allowing them to park anywhere in the Mont-Royal Area, Mile-End and more. (Except Downtown Montreal but they are working on it.) By using the Car2Go app, I was able to find where to park my car and it would let me know if there are available spots at the selected location.

 

That being said, I would also like to point out some extra facts!

  • Car2Go comes up cheaper than taking the Taxi when you want to do quick errands downtown with their service starting at 0.32$/min.
  • You don’t need to refuel a vehicle when you are done with it. If you do, you can email your receipt with additional informations about your rental to Car2Go. Once they confirm the refuel, they will reimburse you with drive time minutes to use towards a future car2go trip!
  • Promo Code BENZ will give you a free registration and 10$ Credit (taxes and fees apply)
  • Car2Go are available in other Canadian cities such as Calgary, Toronto and Vancouver. They are also available in Germany, China, Italy, Spain and Netherlands!

Have a good one and leave some love below!

P.S. For more information, click here to go on their website.

Car2Go Parking Downtown Montreal

Car2GO Parking at a hotel downtown Montreal

Lifestyle Travel

Road trip: Moncton to Halifax in the 2018 Chevrolet Traverse

Last month, I had the chance to fly to Moncton, New Brunswick to go on an adventure with my friend Richard.

We started the road trip at Moncton International Airport, where we had all the new models of the 2018 Chevrolet Traverse and Equinox. Right away, Rich and I looked at the white one with the red line on the rims, needless to say, this one was one of their new model, the Chevrolet Traverse Redline. If you are familiar with Chevrolet and you are wondering what is the difference with the Redline,  it’s an aesthetic package only. This package has black rims with red accents, blacked chrome grill and the black bowtie.

2018 Chevrolet Traverse

2018 Chevrolet Traverse Redline Photo by Scarfonephoto

Sackville,  New Brunswick

The first location that we had to go to was Cranewood on Main bakery. This organic bakery coffee shop was quite special since it was in a mansion, that was previously the residence of Mount Allison University’s President. Our adventure really begun at this location where we got to meet Chevrolet’s Team, other influencers, bloggers as well as Garry Sowerby, the brain behind our road trip route! Garry Sowerby is a world record holder for long-distance driving and grew studied in New Brunswick, so it was safe to say that he planned the best for us.

Quick Fact: Mount Allison University was recognized as the top Canadian undergraduate university 18 times- a record unmatched by any other university (Maclean’s Magazine University Report).

2018 Chevrolet Traverse Redline Photo by Scarfonephoto

In front of the Cranewood on Main, Sackville, NB – Photo by Scarfonephoto

 

As soon as we were done eating, the Chevrolet team told us that we have to meet at our glamping site in 3 hours, and they gave us a map with different sight seeing locations for us to stop by before. We drove away from New Brunswick to cross the border and discover Nova Scotia, Canada’s Ocean Playground.

Nova Scotia , I love you!

Driving in Nova Scotia was beautiful. As we were driving during the low-tide, we couldn’t see much water but the views were amazing. We drove by the ocean and we caught the sunset at the lighthouse on Cape D’Or. Needless to say, this was the most stunning sunset I saw in my life! Listen, if you are doing a road trip in Nova Scotia, you need to stop by the Lighthouse on Cape d’Or, not only because of the beautiful view but also because of their restaurant, they serve fresh lobster at a reasonable price. After the dinner, we went back to our glamping site.

Another fact: Nova Scotia’s Bay of Fundy has the highest tides in the world! The tides are five to ten times higher than in the rest of the world, going over 6 feet at times!

Road Trip Picture Shot from the Chevrolet Traverse

Views from the road trip during low tide

Chevrolet Traverse during the sunset

Sunset at the lighthouse on cape d’or. Photo by ScarfonePhoto

What is Glamping?

If you are currently asking yourself what is glamping, rest assured that I did not ask myself the same thing before going into this press trip. Glamping is a luxurier version of camping. For this trip, we had bigger tents, we had comfy beds and chairs. You can see by yourself in the pictures below that it is not your traditional camping.

 

Inside Picture of the Glamping Tent Photo by Scarfonephoto

My new friend Alison walking to her tent Photo by Scarfonephoto

 

Spending the night there was an experience. First of all, we were able to look at the stars and point out the different constellations with the help of a professional astronomer. The sky was beautiful and for the first time, I was able to get a shot of the stars with my Canon G7X. The sleep was not as sweet. The Chevrolet team gave us 4 covers and 2 sleeping bags and more covers for us to stay warm but being myself, I still decided to sleep in boxers and was FREEZING. During the night I would wake up and tell Rich ”I think tonight is our last night” . I really thought that I was about to die, but I survived and this was a life lesson for me. Note to self, never underestimate the cold.

Shot of the sky with my Canon G7X Mark II

Exploring Cape Chignecto

We started the day early with a nice breakfast and we were split into groups. For us, we went to hiking at Cape Chignecto Provincial Park while others went on a boat tour. Rich and I hiked for a bit but then we decided to explore the beach during his low tide where we did our own photoshoot.

Me acting as an adventurer

 

Going back to the Airport

After the hike, we head toward a nice restaurant that you must visit if you are in the area, the Wild Caraway Restaurant and Cafe. This restaurant had a nice view on the shore and the food was great. They serve food from ”their own backyard such as lobsters, scallops, goose-tongue greens, humanely raised pork as well as garden vegetables ”said chefs/owners Sarah Griebel and Andrew Aitkens. As we were done eating, we had to head back to the airport. The organisation had different stops for us for such as Spencer’s Island, the Five Islands Lighthouse Park and Masstown Market to finally end the trip at the Halifax International Airport. See pictures below.

Rich and I with the Chevolet Traverse in front of a lighthouse

Rich and I with the Chevolet Traverse in front of a lighthouse

View of the Shore during low tide at Five Island Lighthouse Park

 

As I am currently working on the vlog for this adventure, be on the look out for the version I did for Narcity Canada. This trip was an experience I won’t forget (definitely because I thought I would die of Hyperthermia overnight) but that just me being non prepared to sleep in a tent. Thank you Chevrolet and Odyssey International for this great experience, not only I loved it but I plan to go back to Nova Scotia and New Brunswick really soon. Note to self, always bring more layers when camping during autumn. While I am ending this blog with more pictures of the Chevrolet Traverse, I would like to know more about your most memorable road trip?

P.S. If you have more questions about this route, I do have extra notes about this amazing experience!

 

Inside shot of The Chevrolet Traverse

Inside view of the Chevrolet Traverse with Apple CarPlay Photo by Scarfonephoto

 

Chevrolet Traverse in front of lighthouse Photo by Scarfonephoto

Chevrolet Traverse in front of lighthouse Photo by Scarfonephoto