Latin America 2011
Short lead times, limited flexibility, and crowded schedules made planning this vacation a bit nuts. Tons of ideas were floated, plans changed, some outrageously expensive ideas (understandably) got axed, and, well, hell, what finally worked out was a bit of a surprise: Latin America. The full three weeks for Sam, and just the second half for myself.
A few days in Antigua (Guatemala) for the Central American highlands, then a quick descent to the lowlands for the rest of the trip. One of the largest Mayan ruins at Tikal in northern Guatemala, the border town of San Ignacio in Belize, then some beaches and scuba diving off Caye Caulker. Wrap things up a few hundred miles north in Playa del Carmen (Mexico) and the Mayan ruins near Tulum. Additionally, the full tour did a much more through exploration of southern Mexico and Guatemala.
It was an interesting trip with heavy exposure to the Mayan culture, and we avoided some of the expected heat and humidity (and bugs) by trading it in for tons of rain (and still plenty of bugs) thanks to Hurricane Irwin hovering offshore.
Day 1 - LAX-IAH-GUA starting just after midnight.
Day 2 - Exploring Antigua, including coffee plantations and old churches.
Day 3 - 12 long hours in a van including a stop at Copan and a flat tire on the way to Flores.
Day 4 - Ziplining in Tikal and exploring El Remate, on the other side of Lake Peten Itza.
Day 5 - Exploring Tikal itself, then a few hours overland to San Ignacio, Belize.
Day 6 - Getting rained out of every possible activity including the Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) cave).
Day 7 - Local bus for a little under 4 hours to Belize City, then water taxi to Caye Caulker.
Day 8 - Scuba diving Blue Hole in Belize! (er... the rest of the day only)
Day 9 - Spearfishing in Caye Caulker.
Day 10 - Water taxi to Chetumal, Mexico, lunch at Cenote Azul, then overland to Playa del Carmen.
Day 11 - Exploring the Mayan ruins at Tulum and Coba.
Day 12 - Relaxing in Playa del Carmen.
Day 13 - A few hours of beach before flying from Cancun to LAX.