A Travellerspoint blog

Beach time

Placencia

sunny 29 °C

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A ferry, a bus and two shuttles got us across the border and into Puerto Barrios. We had met some Canadians and a Swiss girl en route so hung out in a cheap hostel and enjoyed some great street food for dinner. The next morning we walked down to immigration and then grabbed our tickets to Punta Gorda in Belize.
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A short and rather pleasant lancha ride later we arrived in Belize. The first thing you notice are the accents. They're fantastic! We hopped a bus to Independence and then a quick water taxi over to Placencia.
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Placencia was beautiful. With only one road and then a sidewalk about 50m closer to the beach, it was the perfect place to relax and get some proper beach time. We stayed in a little place right near the beach, found a brilliant local bakery and discovered Padanas and Salbutes, and spent three days swimming and lying in the sun (or shade in my case).
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We grabbed some cheap local beers one night and had a great time hanging out right on the water's edge, drinking and watching the last of the light fade. Very relaxing!
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Posted by Addy21 07:14 Archived in Belize Comments (0)

Diving in the Bay Islands

Utila

sunny 31 °C

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2 days. 4 buses, 3 shuttles, a ferry and a border crossing later we arrived in Utila. Staying true to form I got seasick on the ferry over, so despite offers of free beers at a bar overlooking the water we crashed out early.
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The next day we went to look around and after a bit of umming and ahhing (and some serious negotiating) decided to do our PADI open water course. A week's free accommodation and some of the cheapest rates in the world sealed the deal. We headed out to do a bit of snorkelling, having a great time checking out the coral and fish just off the shore and then knuckled down for our first theory session. The next day (after video 3) we were in the water for our confined water skills session: losing and replacing the regulator, getting water out of your mask, sharing air etc. The next day we did some more theory and had the afternoon to ourselves, so we chilled out and went swimming off the dock and generally just relaxed. Day 4 was our first open water dive. We finished the theory and did our final exams (94% and 96%) then headed out to the reef. Our first two dives were only 12m and I think I spent most of the time trying to keep an eye on where Matt (my buddy) was, and trying to figure out my buoyancy. Matt discovered equalising was a bit tricky for him. Between us I think we barely registered the dives, though we did see some beautiful fish.
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Our next two dives were the following morning, and feeling a bit more comfortable, we both loved them! We saw a hawksbill turtle, eating and just chilling out and then two eagle rays putting on a bit of a show for us. Not to mention all the fish. I love the parrot fish!
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After the last two dives we were certified!
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Our final morning we went out for our two free fun dives. These were our first dives where we didn't have to do any skills and both felt pretty comfortable with the whole routine. We were very relaxed and got to really appreciate the scenery, it was beautiful. So many colourful fish, fan coral, colourful sea slug things and a couple if really big barracuda. Very cool!
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We spent our afternoon relaxing at the beach again and treated ourselves to a delicious seafood platter (fish, lobster, conch, prawns, mmmm mmm).

Posted by Addy21 06:51 Archived in Honduras Comments (1)

Lake Atitlan

Chilling, swimming, eating

sunny 27 °C

large_IMG_4399.jpgWe finally gave in to the constant cries of "you have to go to Lago Atitlan" from all our fellow travellers and caught the shuttle to San Pedro La Laguna to check it out. With super cheap accommodation, good cheap food and a great swimming hole 5mins from the hotel you can see how people come for a few days and end up spending weeks.
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We just relaxed and recuperated, enjoyed the swimming in the most beautiful deep blue/green water and didn't do much else. A very nice way to spend a few days before our next epic bus adventure.
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Posted by Addy21 06:36 Archived in Guatemala Comments (0)

Caving by candlelight and swimming in turquoise jungle pools

Semuc Champey, Lanquin

sunny 29 °C

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This is one of those places everyone talks about but never seems to get much of a write up in the travel books. It was gorgeous.

We hopped a shuttle from Antigua and on arrival had everyone clamouring for us to stay. We ended up a El Retiro, a gorgeous place, 5 mins walk from town, right on the river, who gave us our second night free if we did the tour up to Semuc with them.

We braved the storm to head into town for dinner and found a little street vendor with rice and chicken for 10Q. Needless to say she saw us a lot over the next 3 days.

The next day we jumped right in and did the caving and Semuc tour.
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It all starts by making your way into the jungle on the back of a full ute (the most common form of transport in these parts). After a bumpy but fun ride we arrived at the caves. We were handed our candles (yes you do the caves full of water by candlelight here) and made our way into the cave. Almost immediately you are thigh deep in water. As you make your way through you climb up a mini waterfall, swim through sections with one hand trying to keep your candle up with the other, and jumping into black water from 3m hoping you've got the spot right where he said there were no rocks. It was great, fun and I felt very Indiana Jones til I slipped and badly corked my thigh. Ok so I'm not quite Indie, more just clumsy.
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Next we headed out to the rope swing, and jump into the river from what was a lot higher than you think. I felt slightly better about my cave slip watching how some people almost managed to kill themselves on a simple rope swing. Then we jumped in our tubes and floated down the river for a while which was really rather pleasant. A short break for lunch and obligatory chocolate from the adorable children selling it beside the river and we were off to Semuc.
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Semuc Champey is a section of the river where the bulk of the water flows through a cave and out the otherside. What is left up top is a series of crystal clear, turquoise/sapphire ponds set in the middle of the jungle. It was absolutely gorgeous.
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With only one other group sharing the pools with us it felt like our own little slice of paradise. Matt and I swam and lazed around in our own pool for hours, until chivvied out of the water to jump back on the ute.
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We loved it so much we gave up our day by the river to head back to the pools the next day. It was a lot more crowded but still just as beautiful.

Posted by Addy21 06:11 Archived in Guatemala Comments (0)

Anzac Day in Guatemala

Antigua

sunny 27 °C

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After our aborted attempt at San Salvador we decided to push through to Antigua, Guatemala to make it for Anzac Day. We got into Guatemala City late and grabbed a taxi across to where the chicken buses left for Antigua. An hour later we were wandering through probably the prettiest city we've seen do far.

We found a cheap hostel, which became even more appealing when we found out the desk was manned by a fellow Aussie and found our home for the next 5 days.

We roped almost the entire hostel into our Anzac Day celebrations and had a great old time drinking beer, teaching everyone two up and listening to the great and the cheesy Aussie classics. From ACDC to Midnght Oil and then some "Home among the gum trees" (complete with actions) and "I still call Australia home" to the amusement of the non-Aussies among the group.

Apart from a bonza Anzac Day we took full advantage of having a kitchen and relaxed and enjoyed this beautiful town.

It is very cool walking along the street to come across some beautiful ruins of old buildings around every second corner. After a big earthquake in the 1800s the town decided not to restore everything and simply to preserve some of the more beautiful sites. It really is quite stunning.

Unfortunately, most of our photos were on the hard drive which got corrupted in Mexico, so maybe I can update this with some more pics once we get home and hopefully recover them.

Posted by Addy21 06:06 Archived in Guatemala Comments (0)

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