October 5 to December 12, 2014
Overall, I had an amazing trip. Here’s a final round up of the highs, lows, people and fauxs that I came across on my trip. It wasn’t all beautiful beaches, stunning scenery and stuffing my face with lobster, I’ll tell you now…
- My 30th birthday in San Pancho
- Learning to surf in San Pancho
- Going to Lake Chapala, tacos, the Luche Libre and then a night out in Guadalajara, followed by Papa Cabanas
- Day of the Dead Festival in Oaxaca
- Snorkelling day in Caye Caulker
- Getting my PADI
- Arriving in Guatemala with no money and my bank card not working (photo above is before I realised).
- Having some sort of Dengue fever for 10 days in Guatemala.
- Taking two days to get to San Pedro thanks to the teacher strikes. They’d laid huge rocks in the middle of the highways so the buses couldn’t get through. We had to walk up to an hour at various points.
- Hearing that my friend from The Sanctuary Retreat had been beaten up on the nearby beachin Puerto Escondido – she was pushed in the water and they held her head down. Then, the retreat owner Pete said she ‘bought it on herself’ and had no sympathy (I’m now repulsed by him).
- Seeing a crazy man with a machete in a club in Caye Caulker.
- Having my gum burnt off my some rogue dentist in the name of dental care in Belize City.
- Dengue Fever
- Stubbed toes on friend’s size 14 flippers and ripped the top layer off
- Fell over in the garage in Belize City. Ripped trousers, broke off big toe nail, grazed foot, knee and pride.
- Smashed my knee into the shelf in my hostel bed while I was asleep. Hurt like hell.
- Fell off hostel bunk bed, trying to attempt a disembarkation and sliced the top of my shin.
- Endless picked bites.
- Misjudged the depth of the sea in Caye Caulker and smashed the front of my foot on the rocks below. Just in an annoying spot where flippers rub and I can’t sleep on my front.
- Sliced my thumb while trying to crack lobster legs to get the meat out (#firstworldproblems).
Most beautiful sight
The Hierve al Agua Springs and Waterfall in Oaxaca: absolutely incredible.
- Papa cabana in Guadalajara, Mexico
- Tacos in San Pancho, Mexico
- Everything I ate at the Surf House, Mexico
- Fajitas in Benque main square, Belize
- Fry jacks in Belize
- Casa Angel in Oaxaca
Most recommended destination
- Tie between San Pancho and Oaxaca, both Mexico
Things I’ve learned about myself
- I can surf
- I can scuba dive
- I love the TV show Naked and Afraid
- I can communicate and make friends with people who don’t speak English when I don’t speak Spanish
- I can survive and even be full without meat in my life
- I don’t like to meditate
- I love to have a ‘partner(s) in crime’ rather than travel solo
- Beach over jungle every time
- I like to be involved in something rather than just travel around – surf camp, Day of the Dead Festival, The Sanctuary…
- A lot of travel is about rash and bad decisions. Don’t beat yourself up.
Worst company to deal with
Volaris Airline – they’re so annoying. So, so annoying. I still don’t have a refund and I’m getting bored of emailing. Two flights with them and they made two mistakes. The reviews on Trip Advisor seem to back up what I’m saying too.
I’m terrible with money and didn’t really pay attention until I was running low. Thankfully I’m working on the road so I can top up when needed but just as an idea, here’s what went from my bank account in each country…
- 37 days in Mexico: £1206.75 (£32.61 per day)
- 11 days in Guatemala: £306.84 (£27.89 per day)
- 20 days in Belize: £998.55 (£49.93 per day) = £2511.14
That includes a week learning to surf, a week at a health retreat, a PADI scuba dive course, horrendous dental treatment and pretty much all of the ‘top things to do’ in each destination. Also includes all food, drink and accommodation.
I hadn’t actually realised I’d spent that much though, oops…
Learnings for my next trip
- Don’t stay in shit hostels, try to find a friend and get cheap hotels.
- Keep to a budget and get out of the ‘I’m only here once!’ mindset.
- Pimp up the first aid kit.
- Pack better – I’ve been leaving clothes all over the place but some of the ones I still have, haven’t even been worn but I don’t want to chuck them!
Mexico City – San Pancho – Puerta Vallarta – Guadalajara – Oaxaca – Puerto Escondido – San Pedro – Antigua – Semuc Champey – Rio Dulce – Livingston – Belize City – Caye Caulker – Benque – San Ignacio
I think for me and my tastes I should have spent the last week working my way up through North Mexico. I’d steamed through Guatemala fast but wanted to get to Belize to go to the dentist to speak in English. This meant I had three weeks in Belize which for how much money I had left wasn’t the best idea.
I found it really difficult to know what to do because the weather was so bad during my time in Guatemala and Belize. About half the time I spent in each it was absolutely chucking it down, even the locals said it was unusual for the time of year. I think my route was pretty solid though, I should have just been a bit more adaptable at the end.
The best part: the people
I’ve met so many awesome and interesting people this trip. Many who’ve influenced and isnpired me more than I even know how to put into words right now. They’ve been the best times, when I’ve had a little crew to hang out with. At Day of the Dead Festival it was like being at uni. There was a core group of about 7 I hung out with then others would come and go. There was always someone around to hang out with. I loved it.
Special shout out to Mayaan who I met on my 30th as we partook in a game of beer pong and then I went to stay with her for 5 days in Guadalajara. Also to Coco who I met in Oaxaca and then hung out with in Caye Caulker. Looking forward to some festival fun with both of them next year!