Published: April 15th 2012March 29th 2012
6 countries in 6 Days
So onwards and upwards....
After spending far too much time in Panama,mainly due to school, and Costa Rica, with our volunteering we had 6 days to get to Belize to ensure we were there with 1 day to spare to buy all the supplies we needed for Glovers Atoll. So the mad Tica Bus dash began.....6 countries, 6 days....
Here's the highlights.... Sunday 25th
depart San Jose Costa Rica 12:30pm
After a pretty relaxed journey from our reserve at Pacuare leaving at 10.45am
we were on the river by 11am
cruising down it the we'd come a week ago.... Rambo the croc was cruising to his usual chill spot on the log in the middle of the river and further down we saw the Spider Monkeys a group of howlers and plenty of birds including a large bird of prey....The taxi was waiting for us and we bumped along the road until the driver realised we had a puncture and after a quick wheel change we were on our way again and dropped off 10 minutes later at the side of the road where we had arrived almost the same time we'd
been dropped off the week previous....Our bus was due at 12 for San Jose and it was a bit more plush then the week before.... How come when we are left to our own devises we find the rickety old local bus and when someone else has just a little bit of involvement we end up on an air conditioned one!!!!! 3 hours later we are arriving in Costa Rica's capital, which isn't nearly as bad as we'd heard plus there was a festival going on so everyone was in the Carnival Spirit!!!! Mad dash for us to get the washing done before all the lavendarios shut at 5pm
and get the tickets booked to get out of there by first light... No such luck on the latter, the 6.30am
bus was full, so we plumped for the 12.30pm
and were off to Granada in Nicaragua. We'd been persuaded by the taxi driver who picked us up from the bus station to stay close to Tica Bus in a hostel he recommended called Aldea, which was really nice with comfy beds, shame about the very very smelly man in our dorm though who even got up way before everyone else
Calle la Calzada- Granada
By day, deserted, by night, alive!
and could have had a lovely long all be it cold shower.... We found a great lopaced place for tea, which as we were in Costa Rica still cost a fortune, had a few beers and while all of San Jose partied up the road at the festival .... We were in bed by 11pm
... Ready for a crazy catch up communicating morning Skpying the parents, who am sure thought we'd decided to disappear and my lovely friend Miss Julie Boyle....Calling Sars, Ruthie, Chelle and Kimbolina... Not to mention my baby bro... Skype sorted please.... ;)!
Onwards and upwards to Nicaragua....Tica Bus is great we've now booked all the way to Guatamala City via Granada in Nicaragua, Hondurous, El Salvador and finally arriving Guatamala City on Wednesday lunch
time....for the bargain price of $152 for the both of us.... Yes that's £50 each..... Hmmmm, could Jon and I got to work and back in 1 day for that.... Just i evkon!!! 8pm
we arrived in Granada Nicaragua and after getting all confused with our new currency (I'm sure the taxi driver thought all his birthdays had come at one as we paid £13 for a taxi ride that
Parque- by the Lake
Yes you read it right.... 5p entrance fee........ Bargain!
should have cost about £3) we arrived at our bargain deluxe double ensuite room... Only $20.... We dropped off the bags and went off to explore our next new place and home for 24 hours... Granada...The hostel we were in was right around the corner from the lively park plaza and avenue where everyone was outside eating and drinking and generally being entertained by musicians and there were lots of artists showing off their work and street vendors selling lots of stuff, the most favourite item being a whistle that made birds noises, god knows why they thought we would be interested in that but we were offered one about 10 times during our visit and they had loads of other things but they kept just choosing to offer us the whistle....So we had a walk around and even in the dark you get a real sense of the charm of this place, the colours and design of the buildings and we'd already seen the massive lake it stands by on the way in....After a walk around we just chilled out with a few local Toca's and enjoyed the entertainment and our first non London priced beers since Panama.....
Monday 26th- Granada Nicaragua
There are 2 things that hit you when you experience Granada in the daytime compared to the night time....
1) it is so so so so HOT and
2) Where have all the people gone.....
It is like a ghost town.....Apart from in the back streets behind the Plaza where there is what looks to be the locals market.... It didn't occur to us until the taxi mentioned it later, that people are just avoiding the heat...Not us though, we were on a mission to see everything by 4 pm
when our shuttle bus left for the capital ready for tomorrow's departure to El Salvador..So we were up and on and treated ourselves to a lovely breakie of fresh fruit, juice and traditional Nicaraguan Breakie in the Garden Cafe, which was a gorgeous place in itself and an amazingly designed courtyard garden. Following that we had a good walk about the city, checking out the buildings and plaza before we headed down to the lake, which is set in a park that you have to pay the grand fee of about 5p to get into....We walked around the lake for a couple
of miles and sat and admired the view of the volcanoes over the other side for a bit before heading back into town. A Hurd of goats trotted down the road ahead of us and it was a welcome relief to cross over for a bit of shade, as by this time it was about 2pm
or Ice Cream time and a sit down, followed by Agua drinking and a bit of people watching in the Plaza.
we were heading up to Managua where we'd booked a place to stay near the Tica Bus station again as we had a 5am
start heading our way tomorrow.....What a dump..... Hotel Santos...Even the fact we had 2 double beds and a private bathroom didn't and couldn't make up for this place, but then again what do you expect for a tenner..... As the taxi driver had scared us senseless about the area, even in the day time, we ventured as far as the local lady around the corner for some typical Nicarguian fodder for tea before an early night. Shame we haven't been able to see more in Nicaragua as we had loads on the list but hey, there's
always the next time....
2 countries down... 4 to go!!!!! Tuesday 27th March
- Depart Managua 5am
for El Salvador via Honduras..
Not much to report really, we spent 17 hours on a bus!!!!
There are only so many movies you can watch in Spanish with Spanish subtitles..... Now i appreciate we need to practise our spanish but... We need a break...Thankfully the countryside is beautiful and helped to pass the time...
10pm arrive San Salvador.... Hotel... another sketchy one.... But we're getting used to that now..... Armed Guards at the entrance, bathwall equals blue plastic curtain, getting the picture!!!!
Anyway, alls good we're on a mission after all.... 2 more countries down.... 2 to go!!!!
Wednesday 28th March
Another early one... 5.30am.... But worth it as by 12 we were pulling into Guatemala City and within 30 minutes we were on a shuttle bus to one of the city bus stations our connecting bus out to the Caribbean Sea and the town of Puerto Barrios...
Now this place feels dangerous..... Whether that is because it actually is or because everyone you speak to from the taxi drivers to our fellow tourists to the guide books add to the edgy feeling you get when you are here by filling you with fear... 'don't do this' 'don't do that' 'don't leave the bus station after I've dropped you at the door and walked you in...' yes it's really that bad..... So as you can imagine when our bus pulled out at 2pm heading out of the city I could start to breathe again.... Needless to say Jon thinks I'm beng mellow dramatic but better safe than sorry:)
So a nice short 5 hour bus ride..... I think not..... 9.5hours later thanks to a 4 hour traffic jam caused by an accident, (and there was us thinking we'd left the M1 behind.... Certainly bought flashbacks back of those many Friday night journeys...) we were pulling into Puerto Barrios and 5 mins later we were sleep walking into the closest hotel.... But despite the fact we were the walking dead we couldn't do it, even with our recently gathered experience of hostels from hell... No way! 30 mins later and every hotel we'd visited full, we were about to head back with our tails between our legs and beg for the room, when we saw one last ray of hope and thankfully they had a room, no water mind but a bed and within a minute of our rucksacks being put down we were asleep....
5 down, 1 to go!!!!!
Thursday 29th March
We've made it.... Or at least our little boat made it and we've arrived in Punta Gorda..... Belize.... Country number 6!!!!
The sky is blue, the sea has more shades of turquoise than we thought existed and this place is home to the 2nd largest Barrier Reef in the world.
or more simply put, we had just docked in HEAVEN!!!!!!