In the words of author Jen Selinsky, “The promise of Spring’s arrival is enough to get anyone through a bitter winter”.
Late December, 2013. Strolling to work in a thunderstorm, hair soaked and clung to my face. My umbrella was long gone, carried through the black clouds with a swift gust of wind. My winter boots were squidging with water pools, the Irish weather had got me. What could be worse you ask? It was monday. And I was en route to work…. I know.
A notion occurred to me as I scurried through the crowds of suits in the South Mall. I don’t have to be here. I can get away. I legged it to work with a beaming smile on my face and a lightbulb flashing over my head. I sat at my desk, soaked to the skin, a hot coffee in my hand and began researching the most dreamy, tropical places I could wish to be. Central America. Why not? After much research, I found the cheapest flights, a travel companion and a bundle of sundresses I was on my way.
First stop Caye Caulker, Belize.
Caye Caulker is a Caribbean island off the coast of Belize. The motto of the island is “Go slow” and they really live by this. The island is so small, it consists of three streets. At the end of the island there is a bar on the split where you can get yourself a ‘Lizard Juice’. Not recommended for the light weights out there. I found this out the hard way. It has 4 different rums in there and they serve it in glasses the size of bowls. Ahhh good times.
I actually got a bit emotional on the water taxi to the island looking at how blue the water was. I know thats sad but I don’t care. It is insane. The locals there are the nicest I have ever met. So welcoming and they love sharing their little slice of heaven with the tourists. The food is cheap, the drinks are cheap the weather is glorious. A far cry from the winter weather everyone was experiencing back home. On our second day, we met a gang of people from South Africa, London and Australia with whom we ended up traveling with for the entire trip.
After 3 days of exploring this beautiful island, we decided to move a bit more south, as we only had 3 weeks left. We hopped on a water taxi back to mainland Belize and then an 8 hour bus through the border to Guatemala.
The first stop in Guatemala was a little town called Flores. It was essentially a tiny maze of narrow cobbled streets surrounded by a beautiful lake. I could have stayed forever. We stayed at Los Amigos which was one of my favourite hostels from the trip. Met so many people here and it was such great value. Something like 5 euro per night. The food was amazing and again, so cheap.
We then made our way to a teeny town called Lanquin. This was a hectic 12 hour bus journey deep into the Guatemalan jungle. On reflection, perhaps the reason for this may have been because we were all wildly hungover to begin with. But wow was it worth the trip. We stayed at Zephyr Lodge which is like something out of a movie. It was epic. This is where I showered each morning…
Yeah, see? I told you.
We met a nice local man who went by the name of Mike Tyson who offered to take us in his collective to see Semuc Shampey. One of the new wonders of the world. And boy was it wonderful. This is where the adventure really began.
More adventures to come in Guatemala and Mehico.
Hasta pronto, amigo!