The Travel-Friendly Gadgets Guide

The Travel-Friendly Gadgets Guide

Whether planning a trip around the world or just caught up in a whirlwind of travel, there’s no denying that technology has taken over. We need to stay connected and informed at all times, and it also helps that most technological advances are designed to save you time and improve efficiency when on the road. Travel-friendly gadgets are one of the most useful things because they are compact and practical. The following are some of the best travel gadgets to consider.

The Travel-Friendly Gadgets Guide

1. A Portable Charger

If you’re traveling worldwide, you should consider a portable charger. These chargers allow you to charge your devices while on the go, so you won’t have to worry about staying connected. It’s also a great way to ensure that your devices are always charged, so bringing along multiple USB cables is a good idea.

2. A Good Pair of Headphones

Earbuds can protect your hearing, but a good pair of headphones are essential if you’re on an intercontinental flight and need to catch up on missed sleep. The best travel-friendly headphones will allow you to fall asleep and not wake up with a sore neck. With noise-canceling headphones, you can experience total silence with a comfortable fit.

3. iWatch band

A band that perfect fits your wrist is great for getting notifications and identifying Wi-Fi hotspots. If you’re looking for a wristband that is water-resistant and durable, look no further than an Apple watch band. This is the perfect accessory for staying connected and on top of your emails. The best iWatch band for working out will fit comfortably and not cause any irritation.

4. Portable Luggage scale

A portable luggage scale can be a lifesaver when traveling. It’s easier to check your bags when you know the weight of your luggage is under the limit, and you don’t have to worry about carrying heavy bags that may cause injury or strain. The best way to ensure each bag weighs less than the maximum allowed is by using a portable luggage scale.

5. A PowerCore Lite 20000 Power Bank

A power bank is an excellent way to charge your devices on the go, whether in the middle of a busy city or on a camping trip. We’ve all experienced charging our devices multiple times before we can make it through the day. That’s because, although portable chargers are great, sometimes you need to charge somewhere else. The best power bank for traveling is small enough and light enough to fit in your bag, and has enough battery capacity to charge multiple devices at once.

6. A Portable Speaker

A portable speaker is a perfect gadget if you’re traveling to exotic destinations and love music. With a portable speaker, you can listen to music anywhere you go. You can connect your phone or laptop with an AUX cable, or you can stream music from your phone with Bluetooth. The best portable speaker for traveling is simple to use and can handle loud music without any distortion, so you can enjoy yourself anywhere you are.


These are just a few gadgets that will make your travel experience more convenient. You can use your smartphone for whatever you need to do, and can stay connected wherever you are. Travel-friendly gadgets also offer practical benefits and save you time. When choosing a suitable device for traveling, think about how it will help you and what features it provides so that you

Guatemala Independence Day Celebration


Any good excuse is a good time for celebration, of course, but September holds a special one: Guatemala Independence Day on the 15th, but the sounds, smells, tastes and sights are to be enjoyed all month.


There are rich colors to see in this rainy season, with landscape lush; sweet tastes to enjoy, of fresh fruit and mellow coffee; tactile treats in the weavings and carvings around the stalls; sweet smells of the roses, and whiffs of roasting coffee.

No need to seek out sounds, however—the BOOM, BOOM, boomboom BOOMs are all around, as schoolchildren practice their marching for the patriotic parades this month.

BOOM ta ta BOOM ta ta BOOMBOOMBOOM! are common enough. BOOM BOOM ta BOOM BOOM ta BOOM ta BOOMBOOM is a popular alternative. Or taBOOM taBOOM taBOOMBOOMBOOM, repeated all down the street. See how many different beats you can identify.

Observe the schoolchildren as they parade through the cobblestone streets of La Antigua Guatemala. It doesn’t seem to matter what’s the beat—there is the casual rambling pace, while others are animated, inspired by the rhythms, and then there are the young ones following in step in earnest concentration.


Blue-and-white colors break out, deep blue on new flags of governmental buildings, faded to almost blue-white on flags bleached by the bright September sun. The odor of the month is pungent punk, from the firecrackers and fireworks of celebration.

There’s the president, the governor, the mayors, decked with the blue-and-white sashes of their mandate, making speeches from the balconies, the municipal band ready with trumpets and drums when speeches are done. Classrooms are decorated with drawings of heroes and flags, teaching the next generation about the rich heritage.


There are the costumed dancers, the Spanish fighting the Moors, the dances of the animals. If you’re lucky, the toritos may be out, young men bent into frames of stylized bulls strung with firecrackers, chasing gleeful kids in the central squares. Sounds, sights, noise, music of celebration.

And there’s the happiest music of all, the marimba, a single player or a band, or sometimes many bands at the same time. Drink it all in, colors and noises and marchers and speechmakers, blended into happy celebration in the music of the marimba, this month and every month in sensuous Guatemala.


REVUE article by Ken Veronda photos by Mercedes Mejicanos, Ludwing Paniagua, Hadazul Cruz, Willy Posadas


Guatemala Chocolate, a Sweet Love Affair

Guatemala chocolate

For chocolate lovers, Guatemala is a sweet place to be.

This is especially true if you visit La Antigua Guatemala, where chocoholics can indulge in so many delightful ways. Luscious chocolate bars, exquisite truffles and liquor-filled bonbons are but a few of the beautiful chocolate concoctions that are available at the many artisanal sweet shops scattered throughout town.

And as if this weren’t enough to tempt a sweet tooth, Antigua boasts its own chocolate museum. In addition to producing edible cacao products, the ChocoMuseo educates the public about the entire chocolate-making process through interactive workshops, beautifully crafted exhibits and entertaining tours.

Whether you visit the ChocoMuseo at its 4a calle oriente or 5a avenida norte location, it’s almost impossible not to be struck by the enormous sense of pride Guatemalans take in their country’s rich chocolate heritage and its acclaim as the birthplace of cacao.

“All of our chocolate products are hand-crafted right here on the premises,” said Carol Pérez, general manager of the ChocoMuseo. Pérez explained that the museum buys most of its high-quality cacao from Alta Verapaz in the north and from Guatemala’s Pacific coast. The cacao is then refined with state-of-the-art equipment at the museum’s location near the arch on 5a avenida.

Rudy Limán, one of the museum’s cacao chefs, demonstrated how these machines help to refine the texture of the chocolate.
“The refining process, which takes many hours, is critical,” he stressed, “otherwise you will end up with chocolate that’s either too coarse or too pasty.”

The word cacao originates from the Maya word ka’kau’. The Maya revered the cacao tree because they believed that ka’kau’ was discovered by gods in a mountain. Carl Linnaeus, a Swedish botanist renowned for classifying plant life, renamed cacao, Theobroma, which translated from Latin means “food of the gods.”

In ancient times, the Maya, shamans and Aztec kings all consumed cacao in beverage form and believed it to be an elixir with aphrodisiacal qualities. Cacao is also mentioned in ancient texts for its ceremonial and medicinal uses.

Even though cocoa originated in Central America thousands of years ago, its production and popularity have gone global. Some of the largest producers of cocoa in the world are now found in Africa, Asia and South America—more specifically in Ghana and the Ivory Coast, Indonesia, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia.

The main growing region for the Maya in Guatemala was originally located in what is now the department of Suchitepéquez. Today, one of Guatemala’s principle cacao-growing areas is situated even farther north in Alta Verapaz. Decades ago, Guatemala was designated as one of the world’s top producers of cacao. Sadly, this is no longer the case, as cacao wasn’t considered a cash crop like coffee and sugar cane, which slowly took over as more marketable exports.

On a beautiful morning in late December, I set out in a pickup truck from Cobán in the department of Alta Verapaz with Jorge Caceros, manager of quality control for FEDECOVERA, a federation of cooperatives that provides technical assistance and marketing services to cacao-growing communities in and around the municipalities of Baja and Alta Verapaz.

We were headed to one of many local parcelas or smaller cacao farms in the vicinity. The majority of the population in this region is indigenous and the Mayan language spoken is Kekchi. Alta Verapaz is also renowned for its “chipi chipi,” a term used to describe the phenomena of fine drizzle that falls throughout the day in the tropics of Guatemala and Mexico.

“Cacao trees require hot, rainy and tropical environments, within 15 degrees latitude north or south of the equator,” stated Caceros. “Cacao also grows best when there are other crops with lush vegetation to provide shade for its trees.”

As we strolled through the parcela, I was struck by the abundance of flourishing and fragrant cardamom and allspice plants that provided the cocoa trees and their precious pods with protective cover.

Caceros noted that although the weather was unusually warm for this time of year and climate change appears to be affecting crops with a likely reduction in product for the first time in 2016, cacao has seen a resurgence in this area in the last couple of years. Because FEDECOVERA supports and empowers small farmers, encouraging them to cultivate one of the finest cacao products in the region, so many more of the local producers have additional income now to invest in more land and trees. These smaller investors are being mentored to produce for a larger market.

Three types of cacao trees grow in Guatemala: criollo, forestera and trinitario.

Classified as “fine grade,” criollo is the oldest known and rarest variety because it produces the least amount of seeds. According to Gg, owner and creator of Cacao Junajpu, one of several artisanal chocolate makers in and around Antigua, criollo cacao is the direct descendent of the first cocoa trees domesticated by the Maya over 3,000 years ago. The chocolate derived from this variety is of the highest quality, classified as one of the finest flavored chocolates with no trace of bitterness.

She went on to explain that many cacao farmers grow trees that produce lower quality chocolate because they are more resilient to disease and therefore more likely to guarantee a good harvest. Fine cocoa accounts for less than 5 percent of world cocoa production because these trees are susceptible to disease and produce lower yields than other strains of the cocoa tree.

Gg, who came to Guatemala to study with the Maya people, has been producing her exquisite artisanal drinking chocolate for nine years now. “I really wanted to learn how to make ancient Mayan cacao the way it used to be,” she stated. “All of the knowledge is passed down orally, so I moved around and talked to Mayan priests and locals in many Guatemalan communities before starting to experiment with different ingredients.”

What sets fine chocolate apart from much of that produced for the mass market is the fermentation process. Unless the beans are first fermented, the full flavor of the chocolate is simply not there. To make chocolate properly, cacao beans and their pulp are fermented before being dried and roasted. From there, the husks are removed and the nibs are ground and refined.

About half of the cacao produced in Guatemala is fermented. All eating chocolate is made with fermented cacao, however the majority of cacao consumed in Guatemala is drunk, not eaten.

Although the quantity of cacao produced here has decreased compared to other countries, Guatemala’s chocolate is some of the best in the world and is earning a well-deserved reputation for its high grade and quality.

There are many talented artisanal chocolate makers in Guatemala. If you have the time to explore, the names and websites of some of them with product description, location and history are listed here.

Artisanal Chocolate Makers in Guatemala

Cacao Junajpu


Danta Chocolate

Diego’s Artisan Chocolate

Fernandos Kaffee


For more information about the ChocoMuseo, its workshops, world-wide locations and a list of all of its edible as well as cacao-inspired beauty products, go to

To learn about FEDECOVERA’s products, history and inspiring contributions to women’s empowerment, health, education, reforestation and organic production, go to


MUSEUMS at Casa Santo Domingo Antigua

The museums at Casa Santo Domingo can be found in the Paseo de los Museos and include the Colonial Museum, the Silver Museum, and the pre-Columbian & Modern Glass Museum.

This year the International Council of Museums celebrates International Museum Day – May 18 – with the theme “Museums and contested histories: Saying the unspeakable in museums.” As stated, “this theme focuses on the role of museums that, by working to benefit society, become hubs for promoting peaceful relationships between people. It also highlights how the acceptance of a contested history is the first step in envisioning a shared future under the banner of reconciliation.”

MUSEUMS at Casa Santo Domingo Antigua

The finest museums in La Antigua Guatemala are found at the Paseo de los Museos inside the Hotel Casa Santo Domingo. The Colonial Museum, the Silver Museum, the Pre-Columbian & Modern Glass Museum, exhibits at the Marco Antonio Quiroa Galleries, and the Archaeology exhibit are part of this spectacular visit, as are two crypts – one complete with a mural painting – and much more. The Colegio de Santo Tomas, owned by the University of San Carlos of Guatemala, is also part of the Paseos, or Promenade. The Q48 per person admission is well worth a visit and allows for plenty of time to enjoy a very pleasant surprise.

The first exhibits opened at the Colonial Museum in 2000 and other museums followed. When Philippe Malgouyres, from the Louvre Museum in Paris, visited Guatemala in July 2013, he noted that two of the finest Guatemalan colonial sculptures are found at the Paseo. One is the baby Jesus sculpture on the second floor of the Museo Colonial which received a 9 out of a 10 rating worldwide. It is made out of cedar, covered with a fine coat of plaster, special paint and varnish. The detail and glass eyes are exquisite and show how Guatemalan colonial sculpture – after 1650 – is the finest in Spanish America!

While little as been written about Guatemalan colonial silver works, Guatemala also surpasses other Spanish American countries with some of the finest workmanship and design. Josefina Alonso de Rodriguez (1979) put together a detailed list of Guatemalan colonial silver artists who created religious works beginning in the 16th century. The Guatemalan highlands near Quetzaltenango were also a center for silver artists who created chandeliers, lecterns, crowns for sculptures, monstrances and chalices to mention a few items. Guatemalans from various backgrounds – blacks, Maya, the racially mixed and “Spanish,” many of whom were born in Guatemala – created lovely religious works of art for the colonial homes and churches. The sculpture of St. Michael inside the Silver Museum received a rating of 10 out of a 10 from Philippe on his visit to Guatemala!

One of my favorite museums in the world is the Pre-Columbian and Modern Glass Museum sponsored by the VICAL Foundation. Originally collected by Mr. Edgar Castillo Sinibaldi and curated today by Susana Campins, the comparison of ancient Guatemalan Maya artifacts with modern glass works from all over the world, including Baccarat, Daum, Lalique, Kosta Boda and Moser, is remarkable. Focusing on design; color and form; human figure; urns, burials and faces; animals and jewelry, we see how similar art forms are observed. This is also one of the finest museums in Spanish America.

Keep posted to the Revue website, for upcoming information about the “Art Park” with contemporary Guatemalan works of art.