Our last stop and what a land. Way up in the Guatemalen highlands a volcano collapsed and created a lake of some 120 sq klms. Over the centuries small towns have emerged around the lake and we spent 5 days exploring most of them. Each town is very individual and we thoroughly enjoyed each visit. We stayed in a luxury hotel up the side of a mountain and were given the best room in the house which had a huge window overlooking the lake and its remaining 3 volcanos. Each morning would start off warm and sunny but by 2>00pm each day the clouds would roll in and the temp would get quite cool often creating spectacular thunderstorms. This will be the last post in this blog ….hope you have enjoyed it as much as we have…well almost….thanks for coming.
This town is like a large Trinidad, Cuba..in that it is full of wonderful old Spanish colonial buildings and very touristy…but in a good way. Heaps of Cafes and restaurants but not much live music. The town is surrounded on 3 sides by mountains and on the 4th side a volcano dominates the skyline, giving the town a great atmosphere. Of course we just HAD to climb the volcano….and what an experience…too much to note here but will make great dinner stories for our return.
Imagine a national park with 10,000 hills…fairly easy, now imagine if each of those hills was actually a Mayan temple or other structure that was merely overgrown. Now you have an idea of what Tikal is like. We arrived about 3>00pm yesterday and spent a quick 1.5 hrs looking around some minor structures ’cause we knew we would be on the sunrise guided tour going to the main areas. Hard to believe that Deb …I am not a morning person…Cohen actually got up at 4>15am for a trek in the jungle, but she did. We arrived at the main temple just before dawn and scarpered up 70m of steeps steps to reach the top of the main temple. There we sat quiet for awhile listening to the animals of the dense tropical forrest go thru their morning rituals. The guide pointed out the sound of howler monkeys and toucans amongst others…later we actually got to see these too. Please note that at this height we were above the canopy but there was dense cloud above us and heavy mist rising from below. All we could really see as it gradually got lighter was the tops of similar structures…but oh what […]
This is an island off Belize that is approximately 800m long and around 20m wide at its thinnest. It has one main street and a couple of lanes. There are no vehicles to speak of except golf carts which also operate as taxis. The main street is lined with restaurants, bars & hotels but not as we know them. These are not modern solid structures but mainly ramshackle sheds with lots of character. Everything is beachfront which makes the place feel ideal. However one side of the island is all mangroves and the main side is all piers housing the many boating tours that operate here, which leaves one little area at the end for swimming. The 1st day we spent lazing around the small beach which has a bar (naturally) and in the evening we we went to a restaurant….well it was actually a BBQ grill and some plastic tables & chairs on the beach…..there are a few of these. 80% of every menu in town is lobster so that is exactly what Deb has had 3 nights running (at around $15 a pop, why not?) Today we took a sailboat tour out to the reef which they proudly […]
The Mayan Riviera is on the east coast of Mexico on a mercilessly flat piece of limestone known as the Yucatan peninsula. This area is home to the Mayans and are noticeably different to the Hollywood Mexicans we were expecting. The peninsula has beautiful beaches, expensive resorts and is riddled with caves filled with freshwater known as Cenotes. Up the top end is Cancun which, being over commercialised and catering for the americans, we gave a miss. Tulum marks the lower end and has been more our style. We will be leaving for Belize in the morning. The last 4 days have been absolutely fantastic lying on the beach, snorkelling in Cenotes and lagoons and eating at the many varied restaurants they have here.
We spent more time at the ruins than we thought we would and didn´t get to the next town until about 2:30 where we again had a wonderful Mexican meal accompanied by live music. We then drove to a town called Coba where we thought we might stay the night and visit more ruins tomorrow, but hte town was pretty pitiful and the ruins were not as impressive as where we had been so we gave it a miss and headed straight for Tulum a day early. Tulum, the town, is a little like a very old Surfers Paradise filled with Restaurants, bars, souvenier shops and tourists. It is situated about a 2klm from the beach itself which goes on endlessly and is lined with hotels of all types mainly catering for rich americans….which we are not. So again my practical wife had booked a hotel in town which at 1st I thought was a drag but when I saw it I couldn´t believe how nice it was. We have just taken a stroll down the main street and had ANOTHER great meal at one of the 2 Italian restaurants in town. Again there seems to be lots of fast, […]
Of course nobody showed up and we were left standing in an empty terminal 6:00am in the morning in 90% humidity pondering our next move. We changed back to our Aussie sim card (which works here) and made a few fruitless calls. After nearly an hour a girl came running toward us in a tizz holding a signboard with our name on it. With no english she managed to make it clear she apologised for being late and a car would be here *soon* to take us to her office…..*soon* in Mexico is not the same as home! We only ordered a small Jap car but were pleased to be presented with what I think is a Jeep Cherokee. I say think ,cause the badges are different and I´m not that familiar with their models, nonetheless its a beauty. As the tank was empty my first job was to pull into a gas station 100m away on a VERY busy motorway. May i now remind you it has been over 30 years since I have driven a left-hand-drive and I had had only 1 hours sleep. Somehow I negotisated it safely and was pleased to find they had driveway service. […]
The first time in Havana (was it only 2 weeks ago) we stayed in an area called Centro which is inner city a little like Surry Hills but with all the class of Redfern (without the tension). This time we stayed in an area called Vedado which was absolutely beautiful and out along the water. It reminded me of the old parts of Rosebay off of O´Sullivan Road, very green and housing with lots of old charm. This area also has an abundance of shops and nightlife and we enjoyed more cheap cafes and as usual wonderful Cuban music We spent the last day back in Vieja revisiting the market and some of the beatiful old colonial squares we had missed the first time thru. Our last meal was at the Hanoi again and it was just as great. Adz and I sat around contemplating another revolution against the feelthy american pigs but we had to have an early night ´cause we had to be up at 4:00am for an early flight, but it was so hot we only got about 2 hours sleep. No dramas making the flight this time and we landed safely in Cancun where Deb had […]
Before we leave Cienfuegos I forgot to tell you that we booked a 1 day tour and 2 guides picked us up in a Suzuki Sierra and took us for 1.5 hour drive to a national park high up in the hills. There we went on a 2km hike stopping at some breathtaking waterfalls where Adz and I took a swim. We then continued a little more taking in some beautiful rainforrest, rivers and caves. That day was a humdinger. Before dropping us home we asked them to stop at the bus station so we could find out when to catch the bus the next day for Santa Clara. When we arrived Adz went in to ask the questions and left Deb and I by the car with the 2 guides. Now before I continue you need to be aware of a few things. It is illegal for locals to have foreigners in their cars or transport them – other than official taxis, etc. It is illegal for foreigners to take non sanctioned transport. Our 2 guides are from the government – in fact one of them had been with the army as a civilian engineer in Vietnam and Angola […]
Can’t upload any more pics at the moment maybe later. Cienfuegos is just another city but there were a few intersting buildings to look at. The most memorable part of the stay was dinner at casa, lobster again for $7. Followed by entry into a nightclub on the water $1 and drinking Pini Colada’s $3. What a country!!!! The show on at the club was 4 guys doing a cuban rap type show. It was like backstreet boys meets the wiggles. No kidding it was fantastic. There were about 300 kids there and Deb & I weren’t quite the oldest….but close. Ok finally got some smaller pics to post.