This travelling malarkey is going so blooming quickly – this year will be over in a blink. It’s been a bit difficult to blog over the last couple of weeks, as we’ve been pretty busy experiencing the world, eating great food and seeing beautiful things. We did however find time to sit on the beach with a cerveza and compose a list of our top ten experiences over the 2nd month – these are mine…
10. Eating in Cafe Desideri, Little Corn, Nicuragua.
This is a weird one because it’s actually an Italian restaurant, so I guess is not technically authentic but the food is so good. SO GOOD. The Lobster Thermadore won Amy’s foodie prize of best meal of the trip and we were forced to eat there 4 times in the days we were there and every time was a party in my mouth!
Amy having our final breakfast…
9. Bonfire party on the beach, Little Corn, Nicuragua.
Fire parties on the beach have become my favourite ways to spend an evening. This one was very special because the sky was insanely clear and the moon was low so it seemed a magical place. Looking at the stars for me brings a sense of peace and a connection with those I am far away from as I know we are all under the same sky. Cheesy, but also true. Amy also got to eat a big bowl of Rondon so she was happy. Little Corn is crawling with 21 year old men who will tell you how young you are at 32 (however, 40 is very old) and will offer you babies, which I also found very funny and came away even older than I did before, but in a good way.
8. Seeing Spider and Capuchin monkeys on Volcan Maderas, Isla Ometeppe, Nicuragua.
Normally seeing any form of wildlife, especially monkeys would come higher on my list but this loses points because of the amount of pain I was in. Climbing this volcano is really hard. Much harder than the guide book would have you believe! We hauled our bodies over slippery, muddy vertical climbs only to reach a misty top with no view. On the way down, just as I was about to decide to make a life on the volcano as I felt sure it was impossible to reach the bottom, we were joined by a family of spider monkeys, closely followed by capuchins. Our excellent guide, who was our very own Mowgli for the day, with his diverse range of animal calls, started to have a conversation with them in monkey talk.
This lit up my life at this point and I think we both loved him a little bit because at this point his day was so much longer than usual as we were so slow, but still he was super excited to find the wildlife for me. We couldn’t walk for 3 days afterwards, but I think these moments made it worth it.
7. Snorkeling on Little Corn, Nicuragua.
The Carribean sea is fast becoming my favourite of the seas. It’s so ridiculously blue and clear. I decided to take a snorkel out for the day, not really expecting to see much as I don’t really know what I’m doing when I’m snorkeling solo. So, I pottered about for a bit following a few cute fish who were having a munch but feeling like I was probably in the wrong spot. Getting tired, I was about to head back for a rest when in the distance I saw something huge flying through the water. It was an immense black stingray, a graceful and truely beautiful creature. I was pretty scared! I remembered the Raggamuffin crew saying they would only sting if threatened, so I stayed well back and floated in amazement with a mixed feeling of wanting to watch and wanting to get the hell out of there. The urge to run overwhelmed me and I began to flee, when I suddenly realised I was surrounded and 4 more began flying by. My life flashed before my eyes and I spluttered my way towards the shore, only to be met by a baracuda of a similar size to my previous catch (see the Raggamuffin post). Remembering size of his teeth and being convinced he was eyeballing me for a fight, I fled the sea to the safety of the beach, where I was promptly sunburnt. It was great though.
6. Boat trip from Livingston to Rio Dulce, Guatemala.
This was one of those perfect travelling days where the journey to the next place is a beautiful experience in itself. Mangroves, birds, hot hot springs and even a castle. I think pictures say it better than any words I can find…
5. Surf Lesson/ wave crashing in El Zonte, El Salvador.
I loved this place so much, I can’t understand why anyone would want to learn to surf anywhere else. For a start it’s a third of the price than Costa Rica. I took a lesson with Alex, who I guess is kind of famous as his name has made it into the travelling bible (lonely planet). Maybe because he could tell I was particularly rubbish, he really gave me lots of extra help and most importantly encouragement. I only stood 3 times, but he kept saying how well I was doing, which is just what you need when smashing into the sea 100 times at 7am. I totally loved every minute of it and have changed my route to go back for more. These pictures aren’t of me, they are of far cooler people – but look how awesome this beach is!!
4. Monkey Island Hotel, Isla de Ometeppe, Nicuragua.
This place goes in as an experience in itself, mostly because of the private beach area, which is very peaceful and I could spend hours watching the birds and iguanas hanging out. Swimming in the lake from there was one of my favourite experiences and there was a day where I didn’t think I’d get out ever again. The hotel is run by a guy called Angel and his family and he really was an Angel. At first, I thought he was a bit grumpy but then realised he just had a really dry sense of humour and it was just a really fun place to stay. We felt very well looked after by this very warm family. (PS. Angel – I promise to write that trip advisor review soon. Promise!! :-/ )
3. Siete Altares (Seven Alters), Livingston, Guatemala.
For me, this place makes Livingston a must see place if you are in Guatemala. It takes roughly two hours to walk there, but it’s a beautiful walk along a long stretch of beach, with lots of friendly locals to talk to along the way. I love this awkward pic of Amy with Tino – who insisted we have a picture with him.
Arriving at the altares is such a treat. The first one is beautiful and then it just gets better the further in you go. We actually missed the third one as we went the wrong way (keep going straight – don’t go up!!) But I spent the whole day feeling super happy to be alive.
Top tip – leave early – it gets dark early in Guatemala and it’s pretty dark on the way back if you are late.
2. Bonfire party, Playa El Zonte, El Salvador.
On one of our usual old lady nights where Amy and I were about to go to bed at 9.30 after a hard day sitting in a hammock and eating pupusas, we suddenly found ourselves sat at a bonfire party on the beach. We quickly became surrounded by a bunch of local guys offering us beer. My first instinct was ‘oh wait, this is what the book says not to do’ – drunk, late at night = asking for trouble. However, Amy, who is much more friendly than me it seems, accepted said beer (and I was happy to share it!) and I’m really glad she did because it turned out that we met a really lovely bunch of people. We learnt a lot of bad words in Spanish that night and had many laughs and I came away wondering if El Salvadorians might be the most hospitable people there are – also possibly the craziest! Chivo!
1. Surfy Sunset, Playa El Zonte, El Salvador.
This is a cheat in a way as it’s the same night as number 2 but I felt it deserved 2 entries. All I can say is that this is the most beautiful sunset I have seen on this trip. I was blown away and had one of those travelling moments where I felt so lucky to be here and alive on this incredible planet. I don’t think words or pictures can capture it’s magic, but here are some of my attempts…