Monday, 8 April 2013

My amazing year of adventure - part 3 .... Central America

Once again, this blog post has been slow in coming. And even worse, I'm writing about places that are yet to feature in my blog. Not to worry, I'll get up to date at some point ....

Nov 2012

Mexico had been high on my list of must visit places forever, so I was very excited on 16 November when I flew from Madrid to Mexico City. As I skipped Spanish lessons and relaxed in the Greek Islands instead, I decided to join an Intrepid tour for much of the next few months.

Mexico City is a very cool city, amazing architecture, great food and loads of crazy people. And my travel group is very so fab. We walked the streets checking out all the tourist sights, spent an afternoon on the water in Belles Artes, hung out with mariachi bands, riot police and sampled the local food and tequilla.

As I travelled through the country, I fell in love with Mexico. Every town had it's own charm, friendly locals and amazing food. I wandered around and climbed some amazing Mayan ruins, soaking up the history.

Puebla, Oaxaca and San Cristobal were my favourite towns. Each was different, but all had the classic town square and some amazing architecture. They also served good tequilla .... my drop of choice selected from an extensive tequilla menu.


I relaxed on the beaches of Playa del Carmen and Cancun, introducing myself to the delights of an all inclusive hotel, all in the company of some fabulous new friends.

December 2012

I started the month in Cuba. What an amazing country, full of people who survive on a very low government wage but who are always happy and always salsa dancing.

Many buildings are decayed and crumbling, but the restored area of Old Havania is vibrant. The streets are full of cars from the '50's, music can be heard from cafes and shops and the locals smoke cigars and chat.

The countryside around the town of Vinales is so green and lush. Paddocks are full of produce, many producing tobacco for the famous cigars and beans for the very delicious coffee.

All to soon it was rime to farewell Fidel and head back to Mexico to join the next part of my tour, from Playa del Carmen all the way down to Panama City.

We stopped for a few days in Tulum to enjoy the magnificent beaches and the wonderful Mayan ruins perched on the cliff.

My travels south were mainly on the Carribean side. I landed in Belize by boat, to the magnificent island of Caye Caulker. This small island has such a Carribean feel, with sandy roads and loads of Rastas. I loved it.

The first stop in Guatemala was Flores, our base for visiting the Tikal Ruins. Just two days after the end of the Mayan calendar, I was sitting at the top of a Mayan pyramid watching the sun rise over the trees and soaring pyramids. Despite the freezing cold morning, it was magical.

I spent my birthday and Christmas Day in a fancy (by my current standards) local hotel in Rio Dulce on the banks of the river. It was a fun few days full of relaxation, laughter and tequilla.

Late December I landed in Antigua, wandering the streets and chatting (in English/Spanish) to the locals.

January 2013

New Years eve was a fun night spent in the strange town of Copan before we headed to Roatan Island. And yes, I know new years eve is actually in December, but more of the celebrations were after midnight so it belongs in this month.

Roatan is another island with a Carribean vibe, cool beaches, dolphins and hammocks. What more could you want really? I'm surprised I actually left this island ... actually, why did I leave this island??

The next country on the list was Nicaragua, first stop Granada. We hung out at the top of a volcano, wandered the markets and of course, sampled the local food. Nicaraguan pizza and ice cream is highly recommended.

Mid January saw me head to the cloud forest of Monteverde in Costa Rica. I was a long way from my beloved beach and it was cold, really cold. But the days were sunny so I headed out, strapped on a harness and jumped on a zip line. What was I thinking! It wasn't fun so I promptly jumped off and spent my time wandering around the much safer forest floor.

Soon I was back on the coast, thank god! A few days hanging out in the beach side town of Puerto Viejo was just what I needed. This town had it all, sandy streets leading to a beautiful beach, a sloth in a bar, a rasta market and a bakery with the best brownies ever. I was happy, so very happy.

But life was about to get a whole lot better.

The Bocas Islands just over the border in Panama are amazing. So good in fact that I left the group for a few days, they headed inland while I island hopped. I swam in crystal clear water, gazed at dolphins, picked up a water taxi when I needed a different beach view and wandered the streets of Bocas del Toro.

I grabbed a flight to Panama City to meet up with the group for the farewell dinner.

I spent a few more days in Panama City, exploring the streets of Casco Viejo where magnificent restored buildings sit side-by-side with crumbling ruins. I shopped in a local markets in the ghetto area and wandered the never ending shops in Allbrook Mall.

No visit to Pamana would be complete without a visit to the canal. What an amazing feat of engineering, and what a cool site watching yachts and freighters slowly make their way through the very narrow canal. Photos to come in my Panama blog post.

A spent a few days in Miami at the end of the month. What was planned as a beach stop over quickly became a hectic few days as I discovered all that Miami has to offer. You will need to stay tuned for my Miami blog post for pics and details.

February 2013

My twelve month loop of the world finished where it started ... back in Rawai, a little fishing town in the south of Phuket. Yes, I am back training muay thai 4 to 5 hours a day in the heat and humidity. It's amazing and I'm loving every minute.

Yes, I am in the ring with a broken wrist. And yes, you need to wait for that post to get the details.

What an amazing year its been. I've seen so many amazing places and met the most wonderful people, many of whom will be friends for life.

And the adventures continue ...

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