The final photo blog from our Latin American Adventure...Just a year late.
22.05.2015 - 09.08.2015
Going through the photos from Central America I realised that I learnt a lot while travelling through this stunning area. It pushed me to my limits at times and was definitely character building but the result of that was I gained so much; I learnt about myself, life and what is important on this once in these once in a life time destinations.
Our trip began in Mexico City. The main thing I remember about this city isn't the pyramids, food or the Lucha Libre but rather arriving at 4am in the morning, finally getting into a taxi; which then proceeded to break down on the side of the motorway (at this point I thought I was about to die or loose all of our belongings), it then took even longer to get to our hostel as our taxi driver had no idea where it was, eventually he asked a police officer who took my phone to navigate him on my map (at this point I realised I could have had my phone confiscated). Looking back at it I think it is hysterical but at the time the amount of adrenalin that I had pumping through me while being sleep deprived was ridiculous!
Our lack of Spanish (and the lack of English) was very much apparent while we were in Mexico.
And the eventfulness occurred a few more times too
While in Oaxaca I passed out at a cooking class and then Lewis got his first dose of serious food poisoning before an overnight bus ride. I managed to get it in the next town where we had a shared bathroom.
Another interesting night was when we arrived in Merida 5 hours late after from an overnight bus after our bus drove over landslides and around falling trees through a massive lightening storm. I was amazed we made it even now! We went on to Valpariso and saw the magnificent cenotes from there where yet again I told Lewis that it was only a 10minute bike (really 30minute in 40 degree weather).
Our final stop in Mexico, Bacalar ended up with me falling down some stairs and getting bruised and scratched up from head to toe (some how I managed to save the computer). It resulted in everyone in Caye Caulker telling me that I could live with them as they knew that "Lewis hadn't treated me right."
Caye Caulker in Belize was one of our favourite destinations. The Island motto was "Go Slow" and we definitely did that while we feasted on fried chicken. This was also where our anti-malarial caused us to get the worse sunburn after a day of snorkelling that we would cringe any time anything touched our backs for the next two weeks after.
Guatemala was another firm favourite for us but I would say it was solely due to our experiences that resulted from our language school Orbita. We gained friends at the school as well as with the family we stayed with. Our Spanish improved immensely and our inclusion into Dom's family will be something that we will both never forget. We happened to stay for those two weeks over the towns festival. I only can really describe our experience in this country as something that I wish everyone could experience. It really did change the way we considered things. This was also the first area where we experienced a chicken bus.
Our next country was El Salvador where everything was about the beach...well it was except for our random night encounter (but that is another story). We mainly saw the tourist dominated areas of the country due to time and safety before heading over to Nicaragua.
Nicaragua was a country that we loved and hated. We loved our time in Leon where the town had a lot going on. There was stunning architecture but tourists didn't dominate the town. It was here that Lewis had to give me a pep talk as I had a melt down before volcano boarding. I did fall off and roll half way down. But there were butterflies there as we rode down which somehow made it seem safer.
Granada on the other hand was touristy and it seemed to have no soul in comparison. We left there pretty quickly to go straight to Ometepe where we got a scooter and travelled around the Island.
Costa Rica was one of the more civilised places we had been and by this point we were over hostels.Our budget went out the window at this point. Food and activities cost more but in saying that we saw turtles nesting, crocodiles, monkeys, frogs and parrots. It was a country that seemed so much more civilised compared to where we had been...In saying that our final stop Puerto Viejo was probably our worse night stay out of all of the time we had been travelling. It consisted on being attacked by millions of mosquitos through the night and people having domestics outside our room the whole time (it doesn't sound as bad as it was!).
Panama was our final Central American destination. It was a mismatched country. Some areas were highly civilised while others were remote and a lot like the rest of central America. We started in Bocas Del Toro where we stayed in Dolphin Cove in a hut that you could only access via boat. When we went to leave it was pouring down and as a result we got a little lost. The hosts maid helped navigate our way to the shore after our host got a little geographically embarrassed. It was a crazy trip!
We also went and stayed in the jungle where we saw how coffee was grown and processed. Sadly this was also the place where we had some money stolen (To be honest it was my own fault. I left my bag unattended on my bed for 10minutes).
Our final stop in Panama City was all about a little luxury (well a little luxury compared to a shared hostel room)...we stayed in a hotel with a pool and a real bed before heading out to the San Blas Islands to sail to Colombia.
The San Blas where the islands look like you would expect was better than we expected. The boat and our team of passengers was amazing. Even through the seasickness this really did finish our time in Central America on a high!
When I look back I would go back to most of these countries in a heart beat...even with the lack of schedules, the remoteness, lack of electricity and hot water. They showed that it was the experience and who you got to share this with that made a place (well most of the time).
One of other lasting memories from Central America is that you really can live off rice, beans and chicken for three months! To see the all of the photos click the link for the Flickr photostream: https://www.flickr.com/gp/133581071@N07/Dh53kK
2016 has been a big year for us with just acclimatising to being home and living in one place and the joys that go with that. It was also massive with Lewis going back to school. Through the ups and downs though I have to say I have excited for 2017 - lets hope there are more ups and downs as well as another adventure or two.