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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

MEXICO - PHOTOS


The Azure sinkhole/cenote - with the Balacar Lago behind

The gorgeous aqua blue Lago Balacar

You can see why we couldn't find a beach spot - & what wasn't privately owned was for sale - in a Reserve!!

We camped just after the new & old bridge

Some of the gorgeous beach

Tulum Mayan ruins

More Tulum ruins

Our beach that we didn't want to leave

Love the colour of the water

On our way to Izamal we stopped at a Tequila tourist shop/tour - not too keen on the taste.

MEXICO & HOME


We have reached our final destination. Our top priority is to find somewhere to leave GR2 safe & sound for 3-4 months. We know there is a camping ground in Cancun, but all emails I send bounce back. We also have another option near Merida, further west, recommended by the German couple we met. They have a secure spot saved for us. We will investigate both.

In the meantime we follow the Yucatán coast to Cancun, stopping at some seriously lovely beaches. It would be very easy to stay for ages. We are almost shell shocked to be back in traffic, have good roads, great supermarkets (with good bread) & to see so much development on the coast. Most of the coast is heavily developed, catering to the massive influx of tourists to these lovely beaches & many sinkholes/cenotes.

After a few days we make it to Cancun stopping first at Azure Cenote for a swim, then a look at the lovely aqua lakes, before heading down a peninsula towards Reserve de la Biosphere Sian Ka’an. We thought it would be easy to find a spot to camp, but the first 10km is wall to wall hotels followeddios Mexico for 3-4 months.er vehicles stored here, & tomorrow they will take us to the airport.a resturant.Then is was on to f by private land, even inside the reserve. We finally find a lovely spot on the beach, only for it to turn into our very own “Day of the Triffads” We drive over a wasps nest & they zero in on John ruthlessly. He ends up in the ocean trying to escape them. Needless to say we do not stay, but head down to a nice spot by the bridge. We stay safely indoors licking our wounds!

The next morning we explore more gorgeous beaches north of here & then the very popular Maya site of Tulum. Then it is on to find somewhere to camp. After a few attempts that are way too expensive we settle in near La Playa restaurant. A magic spot.  After many swims, we drag ourselves away & head to the campground at Cancun. They will store GR2 very cheaply, but they have no secure fences & are right in hurricane area (& hurricane season is coming very soon) so we decide to head to Izamul. Monday finds us at The Romantic Hotel Santa Domingo. Security looks great. There are 5 other Swiss & German vehicles stored here. Tomorrow they will take us to the airport.

Adios Mexico for 3-4 months.

We thought we would give you John & Lynda’s top 11 highlights from this trip:

1/Boating out to the Great Barrier Reef in BELIZE to snorkel with Loggerhead turtles & sharks

2/Going on the vehicle ferry to Boca del Toro in PANAMA to camp on its lovely beaches & snorkel on the mangrove reef.

3/Swimming & camping at the Llanos de Cortes waterfall in COSTA RICA.

4/Camping inside the crater at Laguna de Alegra in EL SALVADOR.

5/Climbing the cinder cone of Volcan Izalco in EL SALVADOR (actually John suggested this one! I would have been much happier seeing it from the lookout)

6/Exploring the lovely Manuel Antonio National Park with lots of Capuchin Monkeys in COSTA RICA.

7/ Exploring the lovely Abode town of Granada in NICARAGUA & having a local lunch of Virgoron.

8/Exploring the huge Mayan ruins at Tikal in GUATEMALA.

9/ Camping on a glorious beach on the Yucatán peninsula in MEXICO.

10/ Camping in a traditional thatched Garifuna village right on the beach at Punta Sal in HONDURAS.

11/ Collecting a number plate from every country we visited (in South & Central America)

Sunday, May 19, 2013

PHOTOS - GUATEMALA & BELIZE

Castillo de San Felipe - at Rio Dulce

On the river between Rio Dulce & Livingstone

The Carribean town of Livingstone

The Maya ladies wear these very flattering outfits - guess one size fits all

John enjoyed his local soup "Tabanga" - full of seafood

TIKAL

View from the top of one of the huge pyramids

Some of the locals at Tikal

Another pyramid at Tikal

These are very brightly coloured bush turkeys

From our camp spot on Lago Peten Itza at El Ramate

The town of San Ignacio in Belize

Swimming in the Blue Hole - a cenote/sink hole

Driving along the Hummingbird Highway - see all the orange trees

Loading the orange truck - we stopped and got some to juice ourselves

Local houses at Placienta

Our camp spot near the wharf

Silk Cay on the Great Barrier Reef

I couldn't wait for a better photo - I jumped straight in to snorkel. John was already in!

Visiting the Garifuna town of Dangriga

At the Belize Zoo - she was pacing

Our camp spot right on the New River - we left from here on our trip up the river

On our river trip

One of the pyramids at Lamanai

Time to head back to GR2


Our last camp spot in Belize

A GLIMPSE OF GUATEMALA BEFORE BLASTING THROUGH BELIZE


Our first thought is to blast straight through Guatemala so that we can cross into Belize as soon as possible. But, after looking into our paperwork, we discover that if we arrive at Belize’s border after Saturday afternoon we will not be able to pass through, as we have to buy insurance & they close up shop for the weekend. Of course this is all maybes, but we don’t want to be stuck at the border & it is now Thursday night. So after consulting maps & books we decide to spend time exploring the eastern side of Guatemala.

It is hot & humid so we drive (the air conditioning in the cab is great) on to the main road. The surroundings are dry & hilly, the roads excellent. Once on the main road there are lots of trucks. By dusk we reach Rio Dulce – a scruffy town right beside a huge river & lake area. We stop for the night in the carpark beside Castillo de San Felipe. We have decided to catch the tourist boat from Rio Dulce to Livingstone - a small town on the Caribbean coast. There is no road.

It proves to be an amazing trip. First we head towards the lake past 100’s of yachts (Rio Dulce is a popular haven for yachters’ as it is safe from hurricanes) & on to the Fort where we camped. Then on towards the Caribbean via a huge inlet, lots of thatched villages, a hot pool (where we take a dip) & then a canyon. Then a few hours to explore town & sample the local food before heading back to GR2.We decide to get a bit further that night, eventually pulling over at a petrol station. My goodness what a noisy night – not trucks going past, but I think everyone from the town came to chat, very loudly!

We head off early. Our destination is the Mayan site of Tikal. We want to get there early before it gets too hot, but we can’t resist detouring to the peninsula town of Flores set in Lago Petén Itza. Finally we reach our destination.  Tikal is up on a hill surrounded by thick lush jungle, making it hot work. But it is pretty amazing. The pyramids are huge….and they go on endlessly. Three hot hours later we call it quits & return to GR2 for lunch. We head back to Lago Petén Itza & camp near the village of El Remate on public land. We can swim here, while the local ladies wash their clothes. There is a large tent here as well. It is for the army guys working on this part of the road. We will be well guarded!

It is Monday morning, so we head to the border. Again nice & easy. All done in less than an hour - including insurance. Hello Belize. They speak English here.

Because it is so hot we only stop at San Ignacio long enough to visit an ATM. The town is full of character with lots of old wooden buildings. We have been following a gorgeous turquoise river & the jungle is lush & green. We do not stop at any of the many Mayan sites. The road surface has been so so, but once we turn off onto the Hummingbird Highway it is great. The scenery is lovely with lots of jungle & 1000’s of orange trees. All the oranges are heading to the juicing factory & then overseas. We stop for a swim in a lovely cenote/sink hole. It is aptly named The Blue Hole. Then we stop for some Mennonite icecream before heading down a long narrow peninsula to Placienta. On one side is the Caribbean & on the other a huge inlet. Heaps of magic camp spots by the water. There are also lots of expensive houses! Another US retirement area.

We camp right on the wharf as we want to catch a trip over to the Great Barrier Reef (the second biggest in the world). At 9am we are off, with only another couple for company. What a magic day. We go out to Silk caye on the reef & snorkel off the beach. Later after lunch we snorkel off the boat with Loggerhead turtles, sharks & stingrays – an amazing experience. (Oh how I wish I hadn’t forgotten to bring Johns underwater camera) After a very wet ride back we have enough time to head back along the peninsula & up the coast to the Garifuna village of Hopkins. We camp right on the beach.

We are now heading north, but have a few stops planned. The first is Belize Zoo which is supposed to be a must see. It is laid out beautifully & there are lots of animals & birds, & also lots of kids on school trips! Then on to explore Belize City. We follow a walking tour of the scruffy old town, have a local lunch before heading north along the waterfront, finally finding the flasher part of Belize.

We stop for the night right beside New River ready for our boat trip tomorrow to Lamanai (yes another Maya site) A great trip it is too. A lovely 2 hours stopping to look at bird life, another hour touring the ruins & then a quick ride back. While we are at Orange Walk John gets a grease & oil change & tyres changed around. I use the Tyre Shops Wifi.

Our last night in Belize is spent camped right beside Four Mile Lagoon. The next morning a very quick exit from Belize….but Mexico is another story. The huge new border facility has been open 3 days. The power is down. When the power is back on it only takes 30 minutes. We drive through an x-ray machine & we are in! Hola Mexico!!!

 

 

 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

HONDURAS - PHOTOS

A lovely gorge at dusk on our way through the montains

The town of Gracias. we stayed the night - we are sitting at the top of the stairs waiting for the fort to open

Local men in Gracia - love those hats

The Ruta de Lencas - the potholed road

And then it changes to this - Yay

Don't speak too soon - it then deterioates to this!!!!

Lago de Yojoa from Las Glorias Finca Hotel

The gorgeous Pulhapanzak Falls - would be even more amazing in the wet season - it is currently the end of the dry

At least we have a temporay bridge!!

Overloaded!

The gorgeous Garifuna town of Miami

Our early morning boat trip through the red mangroves

Leaving Miami - a very sandy road

A local house

Gorgeous scarlet macaws at Copan ruins

One of the stellae (carved rocks) at Copan