Who would have thought that my French accent would one day be an asset and help me shamelessly cheat on my blog? This was it… With or without a French accent, this was the end. Our Central American adventure was done. Finished. Completed. You name it! After 92 days, exploring 7 countries, covering almost 8000 kilometers by chicken bus, collectivo, plane, train, boat, taxi, on foot or on the back of a pick up truck, we had to say goodbye to Central America. We were not ready as we couldn’t believe that time had flown by so quickly. It seemed like it was only yesterday that I flew into Cancun, met up with M and that we started our challenging, yet rewarding, adventure together.
Every single country has touched us in its own way so it was hard to come up with a ranking. However after listening to our hearts, here is our attempt:
7. Guatemala: it somehow failed to woo me completely. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed my time there but I wasn’t sad to leave… For me there were too many (disrespectful towards the locals) hippies and the country was not as cheap as it was advertised. I loved the hike to the Acatenango volcano as I was able to witness the El Fuego’s eruption! My very first eruption! We also very much enjoyed our time in Semuk Champey, Tikal and Flores.
6. Belize: we liked it even though we didn’t spend much time there. In retrospective, we could have stayed a week more. The chicken bus rides, the friendly locals, Hopkins and the Xunantunich ruins (small but lovely with some cheeky howler monkeys) made our exploration fun!
5. Panama: another country where we spent less time, nevertheless we were amazed by its landscapes. Our train ride from Panama City to Colon and sailing through the amazing San Blas islands made this part our journey unforgettable. Without the rain in Boquete, this country could have had a better ranking. Sorry Panama!
4. Costa Rica: amazing wildlife, a fantastic (borderline scary!) road trip with our friend S and the wonderful Cahuita National Park where we encountered majestic eyelash vipers made us love this country. Why isn’t it in the top 3? Well Costa Rica’s unrealistic and unjustified high prices are backpacker unfriendly! But hey as my friend said, Costa Rica is known as the Switzerland of Central America so whatyougonnado?!
3. Nicaragua: this country knew how to woo us. With an almost tourist free Somoto Canyon, our paradise on earth aka Little Corn Island, the Apoyo lagoon and Granada made us fall in love with this country. Why isn’t it first or second then? Some unscrupulous locals tried to rip us off and it left a bad taste in our mouths.
2. El Salvador – we loved loved loved the fact the country was completely tourist free, only travelers. Its friendly and very helpful people showed us a great time and we enjoyed hiking to the beautiful Santa Ana volcano lake. In this country, we also found our favorite hostel so far: Casa Verde in Santa Ana. We were warned by so many people (who by the way nerv went to El Salvador) not to go as this country was dangerous, we felt special to get there anyway. Moreover, El Salvador earned a place in our heart for showing us its great sense of hospitality.
1. Honduras – we had an amazing time in this supposedly dangorus country. Again warned not to go but going anyway made Honduras special to us. It was almost tourist free (this based on the fact that we didn’t go to the islands in the north where tourists are congregating), bliss! The friendly locals that made our chicken bus rides were musically interesting and of course I couldn’t leave out its addictive baleadas
So you can see why we had a hard time, accepting that we had to leave Central America. That said, while this door closes, another one has to be opened and plenty more adventures are waiting for us! Next stop: Cartagena!
Happy trails and remember: Carpe Diem!