Where to next: Latin American Adventure
I am excited to announce that I will be heading across to the other side of the world to Mexico, Belize and Guatemala.
First up is Mexico where I will be spending just over two weeks. I’ll be travelling with Peregrine Adventures as part of my educational on the 15 day Best of Mexico tour. Peregrine Adventures are an Australian based tour company specialising in adventure and small groups- no big coach tours here! After the Mexico Tour I’ll start an Intrepid 17 day Mayan Encounter tour that starts in Playa del Carmen and enda in Antigua.
Photo credit: Peregrine Adventures
Photo credit: Intrepid Travel
How am I getting there?
I’ll be flying with Qatar Airways and American Airlines for the first time with an overnight flight from Perth to Doha. With 3 hours in Doha there is enough time to stretch my legs and get some breakfast before sitting on a plane for almost 16 hours to Miami. A short stop in Miami before getting on my third plane to Mexico City and landing just after 9pm. My total journey time from Perth to Mexico is 36 hours and 5 minutes.
Photo credit: Qatar Airways
Day 1: Isla de las Munecas “Island of the Dolls”
After reading a book with my Dad called “Almanac of the Uncanny” this spooky island has been in my mind and on my bucket list for a long, long time. The book features stories of the supernatural through the centuries and whenever I start planning a trip I have a flick through to see if there are any places to visit where I’m going.
The island of the dolls is just south of Mexico City between the canals of Xochimico, ut not easy to get to as it isn’t a normal tourist destination. The island is dedicated to the lost soul of a little girl who died in strange circumstances and is filled with hundred of dolls hanging from the trees with severed limbs, decapitated heads and insects crawling through the eye sockets.
Local legend says that the dolls move their heads and arms and even opened their eyes.
Read more about the Island of the Dolls in this article by Rough Guides
Once getting back into the city I’ll meet my tour leader and the people I’ll be spending the next two weeks with.
Day 2: City Tour
This morning will be spent wandering around the city with the group. We’ll visit the Metropolitan Cathedral, Zocalo, National Palace and the Museum of Anthropology. The rest of the afternoon is free so I’ll do some more wandering before the nights adventures:
Mexican Night Out: Cantinas, Mariachi & Lucha Libre with Urban Adventures
Tonight I will be sipping some tequila, listening to some Marischi music and putting on my wrestling mask while I watch the Lucha Libre (Mexican Wrestling). Lucha Libre is the second most watched sport in Mexico. Read more about the Mexican Night Out tour with Urban Adventures.
Day 3: Teotihuacan & Puebla
Today we head to Puebla by miniva, stopping in at Teotihuacan on the way where we will discover the Aztec ruins known as the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon.Teotihuacan was once the country’s biggest ancient cities and the Aztec capital. We’ll continue to Puebla, to spend sometime at the local markets, eat mole Poblano, the local specialty and learn how to cook during a cooking class.
Day 4: Oaxaca
Day 5: Monte Alban & Oaxaca
Day 7: San Cristobal de las Casas
Day 8: San Cristobal de las Casas
We’ll embark on a tour to the Mayan villages of San Juan Chamula and Zinacantan today. These villages, nestled in the highlands, serve as marketplaces and religious ceremonial centres for the indigenous people who live in the surrounding hills. The local people have retained their traditional way of life and are often seen dressed in their own distinctive colourful costumes.
Day 9: Palenque
Photo credit: Jolanta (CC license)
Day 10: Palenque
Today we will visit the ruins of Palenque. These are situated on a hilltop in an area of hot jungle and are some of the most incredible Mayan ruins in the region, dating back as far as AD 600.Photo credit: Igor (CC license)
Day 11: Campeche & Day of the Dead
On our way north towards the Gulf of Mexico we get to go swimming. Then we’ll continue to Campeche and have a walk around the city and visit the San Miguel Fort. Today is also the Day of the Dead, or Dia de Muertos in Spanish. The multi-day holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died, and help support their spiritual journey.Photo credit: Jack (CC license)
Day 12: Merida & Day of the Dead
Day 13: Merida
Day 14: Chichen Itza – Playa del Carmen
Day 15: Playa del Carmen
Day 17: Tulum
Today we travel by local bus to Tulum, a beach paradise on the Caribean coast. If by now I’m not sick of Mayan architecture I will go visit the ruins of Tulum which sit atop a cliff amid palm fringed white sand beaches- sounds like paradise.
Day 18: Tulum
Day 19: Mexico- Belize- Caye Caulker
Day 20: Caye Caulker
With free time in Caye Caulker I’ll spend my time diving and explore some of the other Cayes. The thing I want to do most in Belize is dive the Blue Hole with stingrays and nurse sharks.Photo credit: Larry (CC license)
Day 21: Caye Caulker
Another free day in Caye Caulker to spend diving, kayaking and maybe a charter flight over the Blue Hole.
Day 22: San Ignacio
Today we travel by local bus through the forested hills of the highlands to San Ignacio, which takes around three hours and the rest of the day free. The local buses in Belize are a little more basic than in Mexico.Photo credit: Misty (CC License)
Day 23: San Ignacio
Today is a free day to discover San Ignacio, go on a day trip to Xunantunich, a Mayan ceremonial centre or to the cave of Actun Tinichil Muknal. There are also plenty of waterfalls, swimming holes and cave systems around this area. In the late afternoon and at night, there are lots of little street barbecue stalls open.Photo credit: Lindsay (CC license)
Day 24: Tikal
Today we cross the border into Guatemala and then onto Tikal National park. Towering above the jungle, Tikal National Park, the five granite temples of Tikal are one of the most magnificent Mayan ruins. We can climb to the top of the ruins for amazing views over the jungle canopy where we may see toucans, macaws and other colourful birds. There is also a zip-line through the jungle. Tonight we set up tents and camp under the stars by the Mayan site.
Day 25: Rio Dulche
We head to the town of Flores on Lake Peten Itza. After lunch we get on a local bus and head to Rio Dulche, which takes around 5 hours. We then head to our hotel by boat.
Day 26: Rio Dulche
With a free day in RIo Dulche there are plenty of activities to get out and about incuding a scenic boat to Livingston, hiking combined with yoga at the Shaman Tower, sunrise kayake to visit the howler monkeys, swimming in a natural hot waterfall or head out by boat on the lake to spot the manatees.
Day 27: Antigua
Day 28: Chichicastenango & San Jorge La Laguna
We start the day by travelling to the famous market in Chichicastenango, taking around two and a half hours. Home to perhaps the most colourful market in the country, on Thursdays and Sundays locals come from the surrounding villages to sell their wares, and the streets are lined with stalls offering multi-coloured textiles and fresh produce. After visiting Chichi we head towards San Jorge La Laguna, a small Maya village overlooking Lake Atitlan. We we arrive in San Jorge La Laguna, we meet our host family for tonight’s homestay.Photo credit: Stefano (CC license)
Day 29: Panajachel
We move on to the neighbouring town of Panajachel, located on Lake Atitlan with distant volcanoes in the background. Panajachel has a thriving and colourful market, good eateries, water- based activities and hiking to San Pedro Volcano.
Day 30: Antigua
We make the three hour drive back to Antigua. In 1773 the city was destroyed by an earthquake, but many of the colonial buildings have been restored. We’ll walk through the quiet cobblestone streets, through markets and museums.Photo credit: Stefano (CC license)
Day 31: Antigua
Day 32: Antigua
I only have the morning in Antigua before having to head to the airport to head back home.
The LONG journey home
I depart from Guatemala City early afternoon and head back to Miami with another 2 hour stop. The flight from Miami to Doha takes just under 14 hours with me landing at 5.30pm, I then have just over 9 hours in Doha airport. Oh man! Usually Qatar Airways offer a free STPC (Stopover package) when your in transit for more than 2 hours but I booked on the cheapest booking class meaning I miss out. Not to worry, there is a complimentary city tour of Doha leaving at 8pm thanks to Qatar Airways and Qatar Tourism Authority. I’ll visit four key landmarks including the Pearl- Qatar, Katara Cultural Village, Souq Waqif and the Museum of Islamic Art. For more info on the complimentary Doha City Tour. Once I return from the tour, I’ll have a few hours to kill in the lounge before departing just before 3am. The 11 hour flight brings me into Perth just before 7 pm after 38 hours of travelling.
Have you been to Mexico, Belize or Guatemela? I’d love to hear what you did and any suggestion you may have