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Central America Caribbean » Cuba » Centro » Trinidad April 14th 2014

Trinidad is the gem of the Sanctus Spiriti province. It is a small and relaxed town with cobbled streets and beautifully preserved and restored Colonial buildings. There are two picturesque bell towers, both painted bright yellow, from which you can see over the town and its surroundings: to the North, old sugar plantations and the mountains beyond, and to the South, the Peninsula Ancon, a glorious 7km stretch of white sand and glittering green sea. There are a few colourful leafy squares where you can six and read during the day, listening to local musicians playing Buena Vista Social Club classics. The area around the main square, Playa Mayor, comes alive at night with several live music venues, numerous Paladars – each with a waiter in the doorway who will try to lure you inside – ... read more
Two men and a donkey
Street in central Trinidad
Car maintenance

Central America Caribbean April 13th 2014

At this point Eric leaves me in the hands of a crooked toothed guide and a bunch of geriatric Americans.The guide proceeds to pick up a poisoned dart frog so I begin to doubt his sanity for one and ability to explain the chocolate process for another. On the way to the tour he tells a tall tale about Theobrama, some god of food who loved chocolate so much he turned the woman he loved into a cacao tree. I decide to keep my distance! We arrived at the demo area and sat ourselves on tiered seats to watch the demonstration begin. We are shown a tiny blossom that in the space of just six months turns into a cacao fruit the size of a melon. When humans saw animals eating these fruits they decided to ... read more
Seeds and pulp
Seven day fermenting tray
Fermenting cacao beans


After the excellent chocolate tour I say goodbye to the aged Americans some of whom were actually really lovely and friendly, and meet up again with Eric and we decide to explore some more of the reserve before lunch. First spot is a groovy stick insect - evolution is frickin' awesome! I also manage to get a great photo of a bejewelled lizard before it flickers off into the undergrowth. It is so warm and humid yet we start to feel spots of rain attempting to penetrate the jungle canopy. We reach another suspended bridge and half way over Eric clocks something and trains his scope on another surprise creature I never would have spotted otherwise. This time the scope brings into view two incredible little bats clinging upside down to the tree bark. They are ... read more
Stick insect
Pretty flowers waiting to catch people on the trail
Giant ferns seen from above


Up at 05:40 again, coffee, breakfast and off to the airport to fly to Guatemala City, then continue by van to Lake Atitlan. Airport was entertaining; they have a single lady physically checking bags before you even enter the airport, and she opens it up, feels around in 2 or 3 places and then hands it back to you. Funny as really, it’s so not useful for catching anything, but hey, easier then dealing with American airports! Then we checked in, wandered through security (with water and a fresh delicious coffee!) and waited for our flight. Random Thought of the day: Guatemalans do love their deep fried chicken! Every where you go there are shops, stands, street vendors (literally) in tiny villages selling deep fried breaded chicken. Sure there are not a shortage of chickens here ... read more
Lake Atitlan
Lake Atitlan
SLR Image


12 avril, 2014 Ce fut un deux semaines bien remplies avec notre fille Isabelle : découverte des divers mouillages du côté ouest de la Martinique, randonnées pédestres, location de voiture, visite du magnifique Jardin de Balata près de Fort de France, baignades, apnée et rencontre exceptionnelle de l’équipage du bateau Myriam (Ghislain, Annie, Guillaume et Olivier) revenant tout juste d’un tour du monde de cinq ans. Nous avons passé quelques jours en leur compagnie et écouté leurs nombreux récits. La visite repartie dans le froid et aussitôt nous avons commencé notre descente vers la Grenade. Premier arrêt Ste-Lucie pour nous ravitailler en eau, diésel et épicerie. Nous y resterons que deux jours car on nous annonce une belle fenêtre pour notre prochaine traversée. Donc, nous quittons Yves et Francine du bateau Nan Shan pour une belle ... read more
Jardin de Balata
Jardin de Balata
Carole sur la passerelle

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Having spent a sleep, wake, sleep, wake kind of night - some of it down to my body clock getting confused by the six hour time difference and the rest due to an American woman deeming it necessary that the entire hotel heard her travel arrangements for the next day accompanied by rauchous laughter at 3am - I wasn't exactly pleased to find out from reception that my travel company had switched hotels last minute and not bothered to tell me! I deposited my bags in reception and vowed not to let it ruin my day and worry about it later. I set off map in hand to look for the National Theatre where I met the lovely Eric for my day tour which was to include hiking through the jungle followed by a chocolate tour. ... read more
Jungle flowers
Jungle fungus
Twisted jungle tree


With ten hours to kill on my main flight I decide to read a bit of my Costa Rica Insight book. I find out that Costa Rica was dubbed The Land of the Happy Medium by an official at the World Bank and although it is classified in economic terms as a third world country its high standard of living and social development seem at odds with this label. My favourite discovery so far is that Costa Rica got rid of its army in 1949 and since then the government has been able to devote a massive percentage of its resources to more useful and civilised pursuits such as education, health and conservation instead of killing and maiming fellow human beings in the patriotic fervour that is deemed necessary by testosterone fuelled power struggles and waving ... read more


I woke up early; but amazingly fell back asleep until almost 7 - which for me is no feat short of a miracle:-) Quick shower - I was packing up when I heard a rather shocking loud yelp from the bathroom and was torn between worrying and giggling! Turns out the hot water disappears very quickly (read: off instantly) and Larry got a very, very cold blast of water. Oops. So he warned me and I got in, rinsed myself down, turned the water off, soaped up, turned water back on, rinse, repeat! Kind of quirkiy doing it that way, but wasn’t the first, and won’t be my last for dealing with emotional showers. Ice cold blasts, even in the jungle are never fun! After breakfast we started our boat ride along the Rio Dulce in ... read more
Egret - but I could be making that up!
In motion, not bad for an iphone!
Castillo de San Felipe de Lara


As I had mentioned previously, I had dropped my camera out of my lap on the bus on day 2, and while the LCD screen was shot, we thought the camera was still working. I couldn’t change any settings as there was no menu to look at, but I could take photos and when I downloaded them they were OK. Larry has the same body as me (Rebel XTI) just a year older, and he offered very generously to swap as he shoots in full auto, so doesn’t need the menu. Because I shoot in manual I do. So we swapped cameras for the day, kept our own lenses. My camera would take a photo for Larry then shut off. So we swapped batteries, and it seemed to fix itself then started doing it again. Long ... read more
Quirigua Info
Stelae of the Ruler who created Independence
Quirigua


Our Arrival The bus from Guatemala City dropped us at the bus station near the market. The town is a few minutes walk past the market stalls. Where We Stayed Hotel Posada Refugio II - Down a small street opposite the Terrace hostel on 3a Calle Poniente between Calzada Santa Lucia and 7a Avenue Norte. Q100 for a double room with private bathroom and hot showers. Kitchen available on the roof terrace. No internet but we picked up free wifi the whole time we were there. Try and get a room upstairs. Posado Vero - Down the other small street on Calle Poniente. Q80 for a room with shared bathroom. Really strong internet and a bit of a roof terrace with laundry sink. What We Did Walked around town looking at the many churches and ruins. ... read more




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