Travelling in Central America

Yes, it was a while ago, but I suspect little has changed since!

I had always wanted to improve my Spanish so what could be better than a two week residential Spanish course in Antigua, a Unesco world heritage site in the central highlands of Guatemala. Our land lady was wonderful and you had to ask for everything in Spanish, no Spanish, no food – so I learnt quickly!

Whilst in Guatemala we took the chance to go and see the sights such as Lake Atitlan and the famous market of Chichicastenango, and on graduating we set off for Honduras to see the famous Mayan ruins at Tikal. This was amazing, another world heritage site which was re-discovered in the 1850s, watching the sun set over this incredible site with monkeys howling and toucans swooping was a never to be forgotten experience.

Belize was our next destination and we headed for the sleepy coastal town of Placencia. Staying in a batch by the beach with a hammock on the veranda and fresh fruit for breakfast every day was tough but we managed and well rested we set off for Honduras once more.

Next stop was the bay island of Roatan, a lovely Caribbean island and one of the best value places in the world to learn to Scuba dive. After 4 or 5 days here we were ready to head back to the mainland and the Honduran capital Tegucigalpa, big mistake. As with most Central American capitals there is nothing to recommend them and they are just places to transit on the way to somewhere else.

This was ably demonstrated by our next stop, San Salvador the capital of El Salvador. Suffice to say we got locked in our hostel each night, cash machines had armed guards and even the internet café had security guards. When we came to leave for the airport we had to climb the gate to get out of the hostel as the guard could not find the key to let us out and the taxi driver asked us if we minded taking the long way round to the airport due to the gunfire in the city centre. An explosive end to our action packed trip!