Antigua, Guatemala – 5 May 2012 – 7 May 2012

We headed back to Antigua for a second time. This was due to three reasons. First because we only spent one night there previously and there was more to see and do. Second because it was on the way to the next stop – Copan, and so convenient. And third, and the saddest reason, because a leg of the tour was finished and so some people were leaving the group as they had decided not to continue and do the next two week leg. So we said goodbye to two of the girls, and said hello to three new girls that joined.

 

Location

Antigua
Guatemala
GT

San Jorge La Laguna, Guatemala – 3 May – 5 May 2012

As I wrote in my previous blog post Antigua, Guatemala – 2 May – 3 May 2012, part of the Intrepid tour was to go to a homestay and stay with a genuine Mayan family for two nights. The idea is that we, the tourists, get an insight into how these very poor people live and can hopefully gain some perspective of their culture. They benefit by getting paid by us, and so they can afford to send their children to school, buy luxuries such as running water and electricity, and have a better way of life.

 

Location

San Jorge La Laguna
Guatemala
GT

Antigua, Guatemala – 2 May – 3 May 2012

We bussed it from Rio Dulce down through Guatemala City (not much to say, just a big dirty city) and arrived at Antigua. We were only here for one night at this stage since we were going to be going somewhere else for two days and then returning here after, but we still managed to see a fair bit.

 

Location

Antigua
Guatemala
GT

Rio Dulce, Guatemala – 30 April – 2 May 2012

Rio Dulce (sweet river) flows from a huge lake for some 40 or so kilometres before entering the Caribbean sea. We stayed about 20km in, in an area famous for its marinas and resorts. The place we stayed at was cool. To get around in this area you pretty much have to go by boat unless you want to be wading around in the water or bashing through the jungle.

 

 

No we didn’t stay there, but I must say that’s a pretty cool location for a backpackers! This is where we stayed.

 

Location

Rio Dulce
Guatemala
GT

Flores & Tikal, Guatemala – 28 April – 30 April 2012

Taking a bus from Belize into Flores, Guatemala, we stopped on the way at a former Mayan city called Yaxha (pronounced Yash-ha). Being our second such site so far we thought we knew what to expect, but it turned out to be very different in many ways from the site we visited in Mexico. We were immediately greeted with a temple-pyramid.

 

 

Location

Flores
Guatemala
GT

San Ignacio, Belize 26 April – 28 April 2012

 

A long day of ferrying, bussing, and taxiing took us away from the coast and into the heart of Central America. The bus was particularly interesting, it is what’s commonly known as a “chicken bus” which is basically the exact same model busses that they use for school busses in the USA, except slightly converted for public transport. It is not uncommon to come across one that has been painted all sorts of rainbow colours with all sorts of weird things written on them in Spanish.

 

Location

San Ignacio
Belize
BZ

Tulum, Mexico and Caye Caulker, Belize – 22 April – 26 April 2012

A quick hour bus ride from Playa Del Carmen took us to Tulum. This is a place which has two attractions – the amazing beaches and also some Mayan ruins. A little bit of history about the Maya civilization, these are a people who initially established their civilization in Central America about 2000 BC, thrived most notably in 250 AD to 900 AD, and then slowly abandoned their cities until they were scattered by the Spanish colonists. They had a fully developed written language and numbering system that uses runes and symbols, which I got to see for myself everywhere carved into stone.

Location

Belize
BZ

Cancun and Playa Del Carmen, Mexico – 17 April – 22 April 2012

Flying out of the United States, one can almost always see some form of civilization – be it a house, road, or boat. But flying over Mexico and into Cancun there were long stretches of looking down and seeing nothing but trees, shrubs, and the odd dirt track. Mexico is huge! Have a look on a map some time. It’s not as big as Australia or the US, but anyway I was surprised.

 

Location

Cancun
Mexico
MX

Miami Beach – 12 – 17 April 2012

I stayed at the International Hostel at Miami South Beach, and really enjoyed it. I was recommended the hostel by some people I met in New York, they said that it was cheap ($15 a night J) and provided 3 square meals a day included in the price. I never actually woke up in time for breakfast though, but the other meals were great. It was a party hostel which means that they cater for the younger crowd and organise parties every single night of the week. I was happy for that since I was in a partying mood, and in Miami South Beach after all, so I enjoyed it.

 

Location

Miami Beach
United States
US

New York City - 6 April - 12 April 2012

It was a challenge for me to get into the USA, thanks only to my ignorance. When I was bording the plane from Europe, the kind air hostess says "do you have a visa?", I say of course that I don't, she says well you are supposed to apply online 72 hours before. She rushes me to the internet cafe, logs me into the website and walks me through the process. God be praised, it accepted me automatically there and then so I managed to hop onto my flight. The troubles didn't end there.

Location

New York City
United States
US

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