Goodbye Central America!
Three month in Central America past by like a short summer vacation. It was a good trip, unlike any of my previous tours. From stunning beaches to smoking volcanoes and timeworn colonial cities to tropical islands, Central America offers a lot while charging little!
After one relaxing week in Playa Gigante, it’s time to say goodbye to Agata. We got along very well and I’m really sad to let her go. We drive to Managua where she picks up her boyfriend from the airport. My truck gets some new brake pads and a battery service before I take off on my own. In Chinandega I refill the propane and get some welding done on my exhaust. Then I leave Nicaragua and cross the border into Honduras.
It takes me one day to travel across Honduras and again I don’t see too much worth stopping for. In San Pedro Sula I pick up my friend Killa at the airport. We know each other for a few years now and share not only the same profession but also the love for traveling. For three weeks she will be my copilot while moving up north towards Cancun.
We don’t waste much time and drive into Guatemala the following day. I’m glad I get the chance to see the eastern part of the country, which I had missed on the way down. Our first destination is Semuc Champey, a series of natural pools on top of a 300-meter limestone bridge over the Cahabón River. As roads are getting more and more rural, we see typical little towns amid breathtaking green valleys. Tourists are rare in these parts of the country and children wave to us around every corner, smiling and laughing.
In Semuc Champey we go for a swim in the turquoise colored pools and climb up to the viewpoint. In our camp in front of the entrance to the park we make friends with the local kids and learn a few words in Q’eqchi, the language of the local Mayas. We also meet Alex from Spain, who has been in Semuc Champey for a few days. He invites us to have some beers at his place in a close-by hostel, which we don’t decline.
After a nice evening with Alex we decide to invite him to join us for a while in the camper. After a few months of traveling alone he likes the idea and soon we are sitting in the truck driving towards Tikal.
Two days on the road to Flores include swimming in a dry lagoon, countless unwanted detours due to faulty directions, alien-like bugs with green glowing eyes in the jungle, scary security guards with loaded shotguns and numerous laughs. Once in Flores we get to have a nice dinner in the city and sleep close to the waterfront before driving the last few kilometers to Tikal in the next morning.
Tikal turns out to be a very nice surprise for me. Expecting hordes of tourists I was close to skip this site. But as it turns out, we are already in the off-season and feel like being the only people in the whole park. A bribe for the security guard gives us the chance to stay on top of the highest pyramid until after sunset and come into the park before sunrise. An amazing experience which probably won’t be possible in a few years…
Noises of the jungle recorded with my iPhone at night in Tikal (I will miss those Howler Monkeys!):
From Tikal we drive to the close-by ruins of Yaxhá, which impress with their location next to a nice lake. Also the site is quite new and the ruins have been cleaned very nicely. A definite recommendation and still quite the secret!
From Yaxhá our route takes us into Belize, where we leave the camper in the front yard of a nice lady close to the ferry terminal in Belize City. Once more it’s time to explore an island without the car. Caye Caulker is waiting for us with Jamaica flair, reggae bars, colorful old beach cabins and little jetty’s into the turquoise colored water.
We stay three nights to explore the island. Being in Belize prizes are even more expansive then Costa Rica without offering the same natural wonders. For us a definite reason to leave again and make our way into Mexico.
Central America was a certainly great experience and a place where anyone can find something that suites his interests, be it culture, history, adventure, relaxation or natural beauty… Goodbye!