Where we went.

Here is a rough map of our five and a half week trip. We started in Cancun in Mexico, and we were supposed to end there too, but since our flight went through Mexico City we decided to skip Cancun and head there, and see some more of  Mexico in the process.

If I could do it again, or go back (wishing, wishing) I would fly out of another country for sure.Probably Panama, and then we could have traveled the whole length of Central America. There is so much to see in Honduras, and Nicaragua and everywhere, it was killing me to leave without seeing it ALL.

I love Latin America. I don’t know what it is. I think it is partly the cultural mishmash of indigenous and European that has always blended into fascinating modern mestizo cultures. The cultural practices are fascinating. And then there is the excellent weather, and the spectacular scenery. I think it is a bit of an obsession with me.

We traveled by bus and by shuttle for the whole trip. The long distance buses in Mexico are fantastic, they have comfy seats, constant Spanish movies that I can stare at and have no idea what is going on for hours, and air con and the whole works.

We took three buses in Belize and they could not be described as fantastic, comfy, or air-conditioned. They are rickety, old and packed to the max. Also they forced me to sit down during the one trip but there was no actual seat, so I had to perch on the end of a seat with one buttock on and one buttock off for hours. It was excruciatingly painful. But it was just part of the traveling package. This is what backpackers do, right? They spend hours on weird bus journeys.

The buses in Guatemala are of similar quality to those of Belize, and they say you are not a true traveler having a true experience of Guatemala if you don’t travel on the chicken buses. But here is the thing. We never travelled on the chicken buses and nor did anyone else around us. Because Guatemala has a reputation as a dangerous country, numerous shuttle companies have sprouted up that pick you up from your hostel and take you straight to all the main tourist destinations. These shuttles are so damn convenient and every hostel organises them for you. The bus stations in Guatemala, if they exist at all, do not have super-organised ticket offices like in Mexico where you tell them (the only Spanish I know is how to buy bus tickets) where you are going and they give you all the options. In Guatemala you have to just try and figure it out for yourself and hope for the best.

So out of pure laziness, the fact that the shuttles were affordable, and to save my poor ass from more agonising trips, we took the shuttles and therefore cannot claim to have seen the REAL Guatemala.

I would like to add that twice we were stranded on the side of the road in our Guatemalan shuttles due to bizarre events, so even though we didn’t travel with the chickens, our transit still had an element of adventure to it.

That’s all about the exhilaration  of Central American bus travel. I admit I did suffer a moment of disorientation when we arrived back in England and took a bus home. I was waiting for them to tie our bags to the roof like in Central America. Those guys are pros at the bag-securing knot.

Also I would like to add that although all of these countries have reputations for crime, not one thing of ours was stolen, and not one bad incident happened. We found all three countries safe to travel in, if the usual precautions were taken. Although, we are like old age pensioners and don’t go out much at night, so maybe our experience is not very helpful to normal people.

Next time – travelling in Mex-Americana – the Yucatan and Quintana Roo.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Roz
    Sep 27, 2012 @ 17:12:38

    Wow, you got to see a lot–even though I know there is so much more to see! I lived in Mexico for a year and a half so had lots of opportunity to travel around, but I never made it to Belize or Guatemala. I loved the bus system in Mexico! And nothing bad happened to me there. Did you enjoy the food? I hope you were able to see something of Mexico City. If you can it would be nice to see a picture or two. All the best and hope things work out well in SA.

    Reply

  2. Po
    Sep 28, 2012 @ 10:09:40

    The food was sooo good Roz, and since I hardly ever understood the menu I just ordered random things and got some really cool stuff. Also it was so cheap. I have loads of photos but they are on another computer so I will get to the picture posts soon!

    Reply

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