Random Traveller 58 with Travel Experta

by Poi on September 10, 2011

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Welcome to round 58 of ‘Meet a Random Traveller’. The series dedicated to bring attention to fantastic people all around the world doing their thing.

Random Traveller 58

Masaya Active Volcano in Nicaragua

Marina and her family standing on top of Masaya Active Volcano in Nicaragua

Who are you?
I’m Marina K. Villatoro. 10 years ago I took off from my home in NYC with a backpack and an unlimited time to travel. I ended up traveling for almost 1.5 years from NYC to Argentina and Chile. However, during my travels, I was camping in the jungle of Tikal Maya Ruins in Guatemala. My little wooden hut was next to a Guatemalan’s tent. Gratefully, he spoke fluent English, back then I spoke VERY little Spanish, and we just really hit it off.

Fast Forward 10 years later, we have been married for 8 years, with 2 little boys and have so far lived in Costa Rica and now living in Antigua, Guatemala.

What’s the deal?
Since we travel ALL THE TIME in Central America, I started http://travelexperta.com to share my family’s adventures in this part of the world and to show that not-so-conventional travel with kids is super fun.

One thing led to another and my blog is now a very niche travel blog for this part of the world for everything to do in these countries, where to stay, the different restaurants, tours, spas and adventures either for the family or couples.

I am not expanding to all of Latin America!

How did life studying in London compare to back home?
London was simply my gateway to realizing that I needed to travel. I don’t remember the studying because I was too busy exploring. But in that sense, living and studying abroad was the most important lessons in my life – travel is the best schooling you can ever get.

Marina from Travel Experta and family

Family picture after doing a canopy tour in Guatemala

When you set of travelling did you ever imagine you would end up where you are today?
Absolutely no idea!!! I was hoping that I would end up in Australia. When I left my house, I had plans to travel the world. But since I had no time limit, I didn’t buy a ticket and just played it by ear.

The biggest surprise ever was that I was in Guatemala, a country I knew very little about, for less than 3 hours before I met my future husband – the first Guatemalan I ever met in my life. And from there all my plans changed, without any intention.

I absolutely love being an expat in the part of the world, I couldn’t ask for anything different.

Your round the world stopped in Latin America (and gave you a wonderful family) but when will the rest of the world get to see you?
My youngest is 1 year old right now, so before we hit Asia and Russia (my top priorities) he will first see this part of the world. There is still so much to experience!

Copan Mayan Ruins in Honduras

Marina and her oldest son in Copan Mayan Ruins in Honduras

What’s next?
It’s all about traveling. We are off to Cuba, Belize and Mexico in the next 4 months. One thing I have realized is that there are no really helpful family guides for this part of the world. So I’m in the development stages of creating guidebooks for families to make their travels easier here. But most importantly to inspire more families and people to travel here!

A big thanks to Marina taking part, great to have you.

Be sure to check her out:
Blog: TravelExperta
Twitter: @marinavillatoro
Facebook: /travelexperta

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Nancy & Shawn Power... Inspiring YOU to Travel! September 10, 2011 at 4:56 pm

Thank you for letting us in and telling about your life.

So glad you meet your soul mate… and have a beautiful family.

Nancy & Shawn


Marina K. Villatoro September 27, 2011 at 12:07 pm

Hey Nancy and Shawn,

Thanks for comment! It looks like you guys have a super inspiring story too!


Drew Clay September 12, 2011 at 7:42 pm

What a life! I wish I had the courage to travel that much! But I understand her about London because there is so much to see!


Marina K. Villatoro September 27, 2011 at 12:08 pm

Hey Drew,

You can travel that much. Now that I have 2 kids, we still travel. Before I did a gap year, which I doubt I can do now, but we travel every little chance we can 🙂


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