“I THANK YOU --- for making my dream of seeing it all in Belize a reality! I feel like you are our personal travel guide." ~ Bret L.

I’ve been providing travel advice and tips on the Caribbean region for the past ten years. More formally, I write about and have expertise on three specific destinations since 2010: Belize, Jamaica and The Dominican Republic. I am passionate about these three places, and in my books and work, I share the best of my knowledge on each, which has saved travelers tons of time and helped them see the authentic side of the destination. 

I offer numerous options, including:

1) one-on-one trip consultation chat sessions; 

2) a Q&A email for those of you who want to get right into planning a trip without spending hours online;

3) services as a fixer (for media or media companies); 

4) on site informal guide if needed; and/or

5) general advice on relocation or living in one of these destinations.

Whatever your need, I will help you with an overview of any of these destinations, based on what you want to talk about.

My rates are customized and will vary according to the services required. 

Why hire me for a travel consultation?

I'm a travel and culture focused, published travel writer, journalist and photographer who has explored and lived in the Caribbean for the past 10 years, and my writing is frequently published in major travel outlets, including CNN Travel, BBC Travel, AFAR, New York Magazine, The Latin Kitchen, Every Day With Rachael Ray, Morning Calm (Korean Air), Shermans Travel, The Travel Channel, The New York Times Magazine, International Living Magazine, Virgin Atlantic (VERA), Travel and Escape, and others.

I have also authored three guidebooks for Moon Travel Guides (Hachette Books), two on Belize, one on the DR and one self-published ebook on Jamaica. I update them regularly, and I keep the pulse on my destinations.

I have an award-winning travel and photography blog, Sunshine and Stilettos, filled with cultural and travel info on the Caribbean region, which has been running since 2009.

I have lived in the places I write about –– and not just for a month. From Jamaica, to Belize and the Dominican Republic, I've lived in major regions and explored each country from six months up to a year at a time. Today, I split my time between the DR, Belize and the USA. 

What kind of insider info can I share?

Having authored books on these three destinations, there’s no limit to what I can advise you on when it comes to trip planning.

Whether its the DR, Jamaica or Belize, I can share (among a myriad of other insider info):

  • what region fit your interests best
  • where to eat, stay and experience the authentic 
  • how to avoid getting scammed or which tours aren’t worth your hard-earned travel money
  • the most stunning landscapes for romantic experiences or for photos 
  • where to stay for the best bang for your buck (and what hotels to avoid)
  • advice on getting around the country safely
  • share the contact of a trusted driver, depending on your destination
  • the most unique activities you can do in the country, or the least known beaches

and any details you’d like to know to maximize your trip – during our 60-minute talk. It's completely up to you.

Other reasons to chat with me, and save time:

  • I know the DR, Jamaica and Belize inside out and upside down –– I’ve lived in each of these countries over the last 9 years and continue to stay long term regularly. The DR is my base, Belize I see yearly for my guidebook updates, and Jamaica at least every two years. 
  • Dominican Republic: Aside from prior short trips, I’ve lived in the country for two years, and stayed in every major region of the Dominican Republic for at least 6 weeks at a time, including in Santo Domingo (the capital) and Puerto Plata for up to six months. In addition, to the latter, my repeat visits and long stays have been on the Samana Peninsula, in the Punta Cana/Bavaro/La Romana & Bayahibe region, in Jarabacoa, and Constanza. I've also visited Santiago and La Vega various times, not to mention all the places I visited as part of my Moon Dominican Republic guidebook. I wrote it from scratch, researched, and illustrated it, and I went all over the country solo. I stayed in numerous types of lodging, sampled food from fine dining to street carts, went paragliding over the mountains and much, much more. I love the DR––and I know exactly how you can maximize your trip, and see the authentic side of this stunning country (well beyond the all inclusive image it has). I am currently based in the DR.
  • Jamaica: I have lived there up to six months a year for three years in a row, and traveled all around the island by road at least four times.
  • Belize: I have lived in The Jewel for six months at a time for at least three years, and have explored all over the country, from the north case (Ambergris, Caye Caulker) to the interior of the country–Cayo, Dangriga, Belmopan, Orange Walk, Corozal–to Punta Gorda and the southernmost distant islands (Sapodilla Cayes). I worked with the Belize Tourism Board as a writer/photographer for three months in 2011, and did every activity, stayed in numerous hotels and made many contacts. I’ve also traveled from Belize to Guatemala (and Tikal) twice. You can flip through my Moon Belize guidebook to see just how much I know and love Belize. I visit at least once a year.
  • My experience in these three destinations is why editors and publications trust my work, and my articles have been published in top publications, in print and online. I am also frequently interviewed on these places and on my guidebooks, on radio, TV (both American and foreign), and podcasts.
  • As a photographer, I pay attention to detail –– from unique landscapes to cultural nuances when dealing with people
  • I don’t receive any commissions from recommended destinations on these calls, and not even for my blog content. Where I have taken press trips for the blog content, it is clearly indicated and in no way influences my opinion. You will get 100% honest feedback on the calls, and that is what I always stand behind: truth in travel.

Ready to contact me? Email me directly - lily_girma {at} yahoo {dot} com.

After you’ve booked, I will contact you by email within the next 48-72 hours (depending on location/access to Wi-Fi) to set up a time to talk via phone, Skype or Google Hangout. For email questions, I will respond within 3 business days. **Note that there may be the occasion when I am in a remote location or traveling the region with poor wi-fi for work, but rarely ever for more than 72 hours. Do contact me ahead of time from your trip/project dates, if possible.

Sample feedback from my guidebook readers and clients:

"I know we haven't met but I thank you for your travel info and guides.  Because of your guide, I am staying at [      ].  I love the pace of Caye Caulker and wanted my mom to feel a bit of what I used to feel in San Pedro 12 years ago.  [T]hank you for all of your insight and hard work.  I love where I am staying and am finally getting my good vibes back.  Thank you for mentioning this gem... this is just what I needed."

"Lily's Moon Belize Handbook is my first choice for accurate information, colorful and interesting details about Belize's rich culture, resources, food, and treasures waiting to be discovered on and off the beaten path." – Brenda C. 

"Everything Lily does is full of love, creative genius and integrity. Moon Belize reflects who Lily is... a traveler not a tourist! The book was shipped to me so I decided to have a read before passing it on. WOW! I've never been to Belize but now I want to go. That's the true measure of a successful travel handbook...makes you want to go." – Marcia W.

"I can not possibly recommend this book enough! This is the quintessential guide to Belize! She literally goes into detail about everything from where to stay, where to shop, where to eat, where to beach, where to party...it's all here! I went to San Ignacio, Caye Caulker and Placencia and loved every single bit of my stay because I used this like my little Belize Bible!" - Cessie

"We travel there quite a bit, and this has a few extras for us to discover, so I really appreciate that. Plus, it feels like a local wrote it, and that's always provides an inside look." - Corvette