10

MAY, 2018

 

“Heat of the summer. No plans for winter. We made the decision in 3 minutes. We bought the airline tickets and we were ready for a road trip. ”

We will improvise and not make any plans. We just know that we will get there in October and come back home for Christmas.

Our first stop is Belize. The only Central American country where English is the official language, but it sounds a bit like some strange dialect combining the ancient Creole language with English. If you want to travel across Central America, better learn some Spanish, you’ll need it everywhere… except here. Belize is a paradise for scuba divers, huge coral reefs and untouched beauty, and this tiny country is a homeland of chocolate. One more reason to visit it and to enjoy the Caribbean sun. We spent 6 days in Belize and on the way to border with Guatemala we got an idea to fly a drone over a temple. But the drone lost the signal, so we had to swim across the river and probably we looked pretty silly walking through the border totally wet. At least everybody will remember two crazy Croatians.

You have to be prepared for one thing, rice and beans. I think I eat enough for the next couple of years. And it is not only in Belize, but in the entire Central America and the Caribbean.

Guatemala

The eagle has landed in Guatemala, tired and wet. We are waiting in the middle of the night for a bus to take us in Flores which is a starting point to explore all Mayan ruins like Tikal.

We have arrived safely, and had some more beans and rice before we went to sleep. In American Dollar we trust, so we did not exchange money along the journey as everybody accepts $. Guatemala surprised us as volcanoes are everywhere around us, and people tend to carry shotguns around. So you feel safe, if they do not shoot at you.

“Highlight of the trip in Guatemala was hiking at Pacaya volcano which erupted in front of our eyes, so it was a great chance to take some incredible photographs.”

Nicaragua

Crazy as we are, we made a decision to sit in a mini van and drive south for 15 hours from Antigua Guatemala through El Salvador and Honduras to get to Leon, Nicaragua. That was such a long day.

The scenery is amazing, that drive reminds of California 101 highway with fantastic views over the Pacific. Couple of stops in Salvador and Honduras as it was not safe to stay longer due to the election day.

Warm welcome in Leon, we call it 2 in 1, Gay parade and Miss Central America event at the same place. Kept us confused for a while, but we had to film it to believe that we actually saw it after all day long trip to here.

Spanish colonialism and colorful urbanism everywhere. Meeting some expats along the way and staying at their homes, and we loved staying on the Pacific side in areas where people surf.

If you have to visit one place in Central America make it Nicaragua, it is totally safe after that brutal civil war, a socialist country with good organization and roads.

Dancer on the island Grenada

Costa Rica

Pura vida, amigo. If you want to be stressed out – visit Costa Rica, the homeland of bad drivers and everything is so slow that nothing can be done in a day. So no stress, just pura vida.

The best option in Costa Rica is to rent a car and try to beat the crowds, especially in the national parks, and everything is packed with American tourists. Biodiversity is great, you can see a lot of the things in those parks, even the animals are pura vida.

What is the most important thing in Costa Rica? Coffee. Yes, and they are very proud of it.

We love to be stuck in the traffic, so our drive to the airport, which is only 15 km away, took 2 hours. More time spent in a car than in a plane to Panama City.

Panama

Hello Panama, what a change from the rest of Central America, tall buildings and skyline. Business everywhere, Panama canal nearby and huge avenues. The homeland of shopping and sex tourism.

Are you ready for some island hopping? Because Caribbean sounds so much fun. Charging the batteries for 10 days on Barbados, St. Lucia, Grenada and Trinidad & Tobago is a perfect escape from European winter and just relax and not do anything. Seafood, cocktails, sand, sun and sea. No cellphone signal and shortage of WiFi.

Family. Time to work. Time to make plans for some other journeys. Time for Madagascar this winter. I am ready.

Ivan Vuković, travel writer

Travel blog

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