We've given up our jobs, home and the cats to sail the seven seas until there are no horizons left to sail and the rum is gone!
  • Day198


    November 20, 2015 in Mexico ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    Favourite place: 1st = Galapagos; 2nd = Caye Caulker, Belize; 3rd = Bay Islands, Honduras.

    Least favourite town: 1st = Foz du Iguazu, Brazil; 2nd = La Paz, Bolivia; 3rd = Uyuni, Bolivia.

    Worst for mosquitos: 1st = Holbox, Mexico; 2nd = Utila, Honduras.

    Best coconuts: Tulum ruins, Mexico.

    Best ice cream: 1st = Tulum; 2nd = Cartagena, Columbia; 3rd = Paraty, Brazil.

    Best chocolate: 1st = homemade bars in chocolate workshop, Nicaragua; 2nd = Roatan chocolate shop.

    Best street food: Mancora, Peru.

    Best food: 1st = Caye Caulker; 2nd = Mancora; 3rd = Rio.

    Best cup of coffee = Cartagena.

    Best overall coffee = Nicaragua.

    Worst coffee = Ecuador (served instant!!!).

    Best beer: 1st = El Inca, Bolivia; 2nd = Cusquena negra, Peru; 3rd = Club Colombia, Columbia.

    Best range of good beers = Mexico.

    Favourite accommodation: 1st = Kimba's bungalows, Mancora, Peru; 2nd = Tropical Paradise, Caye Caulker; 3rd = Arenal, Costa Rica.

    Worst accommodation: 1st = salt plains tour, Bolivia (freezing); 2nd = lionfish hostel, Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica (bat cave); 3rd = albatross, Galapagos (first experience of cockroaches, mice & ants); 4th = Mango Inn, Utila (smelt of wee).

    Place we'd like to move to: 1st = Caye Caulker; 2nd = Roatan, Honduras; 3rd = Cartagena.

    Hottest place = Cartagena.

    Coldest place = Bolivia.

    Best beach: 1st = Playa Blanca, Cartagena; 2nd = West Bay, Roatan, Honduras; 3rd = North beach, Isla Mujeres, Mexico; 4th = San Blas islands.

    Most expensive country = Ecuador.

    Cheapest country = Peru.

    Top memories (in a sort of order, but hard to decide):
    Iguazu falls
    Machu Picchu
    Caye Caulker snorkelling
    Amazon & pampas
    Salt plain tour
    San Blas sailing, esp breakfast storm
    Turtle laying eggs in storm & hanging sloth, Costa Rica
    Pucara ruins & wild west landscape, Argentina
    Thunderstorm in Bocas del Toro
    Thermal springs, Honduras
    Whale watching, Ecuador
    Dawn chorus at Tikal ruins
    Hummingbird garden, Argentina
    Surgery, Peru
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  • Day197

    Going home :(

    November 19, 2015 in Mexico ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    The hotel’s restaurant had run out of pancakes / waffles so we went in search of somewhere to eat but didn't find anything appealing and ended up finishing off the coco pops. We hung around until midday - sadly the pool was still in the shade so no last minute sunbathing - and then caught a bus to the airport (64P; 30 mins).

    We checked in, paid an unexpected 330P departure tax (for staying over 7 days and coming in by bus) and sat in our last rays of Latino sun eating our last bag of e-number cheetos. Then we went through security and spent our last Pesos on a burrito (120P) - the nicest we've had in Mexico, possibly because it was a fast-food chain (Guacamole) made for Westerners!

    Our flight was at 4:30pm with American Airlines to Miami, then we were fast-tracked through customs / security and had a short wait before our 9pm BA flight to Heathrow. Good flight with tons of entertainment, good food and very British announcements!! We didn't get much sleep and had to share our row with another guy who didn't seem to want to move to one of the empty seats.

    We landed at 11am but our bags didn't come out until midday. Anna was dithering so I left her behind and legged it for the tube to Victoria and made my coach with 7 mins to spare. After a cold wait in Swansea where I got a falafel salad for dinner, I got another coach to Neyland and was picked up by the hippies.

    The next week was spent having an early family Christmas, not adapting well to jet lag and preparing for the ski season - woohoo!!!
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  • Day196


    November 18, 2015 in Mexico ⋅ ⛅ 28 °C

    Anna was still feeling rough when she awoke - 2 day hangover!! I had some coco pops but she didn't want anything. We packed and then hung around until midday when we caught the ferry back to the mainland.

    During the short ride, Anna's sunglasses suddenly snapped as mine had a week ago. We taped them back up with my magical blue kinesio tape which has come in very handy - my watch, sunnies and flip flops are all patched up; the flip flops have been literally hanging on by a thread for the last week!

    We caught a taxi (100P) to the Hotel International Caribe (500P) and checked in - nothing fancy but it has a pool in case we get a chance for some last minute rays tomorrow morning (cloudy this afternoon). Anna needed junk food to fix her so we had lunch at Burger King.

    Then we headed to mercado 28, which is full of touristy shops. After less than an hour we couldn't take any more of the samey shops and haggling for prices. We went to a huge supermarket and then came back via Las Palapas park which had a lovely family atmosphere, full of street food and toy cars for kids to drive. Our last meal was at El Asador for veggie fajitas and the best garlic fish Anna's had (272P).
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  • Day195

    Last beach day :(

    November 17, 2015 in Mexico ⋅ ⛅ 28 °C

    I woke up bright and breezy...the same cannot be said for poor Anna! I had some coco pops for breakfast, she had some water which she promptly threw up. I went downstairs to use the WiFi, she threw up some more and then fell back asleep. I gave her a rehydration sachet which she managed to keep down and then I went to the beach and hired some sunbeds whilst she carried on sleeping.

    The weather was changeable, from cloudy to sunny to rainy which was quite nice because it meant I didn't have to hide under the parasol all day. I went back to check on Anna at lunch and she had finally woken up and got dressed. I revived her with some coke and salty popcorn and she came back to the beach with me. We both had a nice swim along the beach and enjoyed our last day on the beach. Just before 5pm, the wind got up, making it chilly, and we decided to call it a day.

    We went back and showered before going out for a walk along the beach and watching the sunset. We sat on a battered wooden jetty and Anna proposed to me with a coconut ring we bought for 50P yesterday - I've only been waiting about a year since they announced we could update our CP to marriage!! It seems apt that it should be sunset on a Mexican beach as I proposed to her at sunrise in Akumal 3 years ago.

    We went for dinner at Mamacitas again and had the same things - it’s the most Mexican place we've found so seemed right for our last night (plus Anna was craving the ribs!). We bought a vest top each for 260P from the place next door called Bad Monkey.
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  • Day194

    Mucho tequila

    November 16, 2015 in Mexico ⋅ 🌧 25 °C

    It was still raining when we woke up, very windy, and with a loud thunderstorm thrown in. The whole strip outside the room was flooded (as the part next to it is open to the skies), as was the doorway of the room, despite towels being laid down by the cleaners. The poor cleaners were trying to brush the water away but it kept on coming all morning.

    In a pause of rain we dashed to the market for pancakes and drinks (115P), during which the rain returned with a vengeance. The already wet roads started filling up even more and turned into rivers. We waited a while until it eased up a bit and decided to just get wet - especially Anna whose cheap Antigua brolly wasn't holding out too well. We stocked up on snacks and coco pops in case the deluge continued and went back to the room.

    By about 4pm it had dried up so we went for a lovely walk along the beach before ending up at a bar with brightly-coloured diving tanks for seats. We had a cocktail each (mojito & margarita) for 105P which came with 2 free, large tequilas. Since I don't like tequila Anna gleefully had both. Then she decided she wanted another cocktail - I only managed half of mine before feeling a bit sick so she finished off mine too plus another 2 shots and a taster of 1800 tequila (which is apparently the best, rather than Don Julio which is widely touted as the best). They also sold scorpion tequila where live scorpions are put in a bottle - thankfully she didn't try any of that. The bar lady plied us with free pretzels, tons of popcorn and someone’s unwanted ceviche for Anna so we didn't bother with dinner.

    By 9pm I decided the squiffy one should be taken home as I've never seen her so drunk! The lovely hotel man asked what was wrong as it was taking some effort to get her walking anywhere so I told him ‘mucho tequila’ to which he laughed. After getting her showered and into bed, she threw up a lot, fell over a few times, and then passed out - this from a girl who never acts drunk or throws up from drinking - she's getting old!!!
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  • Day193

    Stormy night

    November 15, 2015 in Mexico ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    It was overcast so we decided on a shopping day. We shared some nutella pancakes at Moyagua which were pricey and nothing special. We then looked around a few of the zillions of touristy shops and bought a few presents. On our way back to the hotel we found a different ice cream place which was good but not amazing.

    We took our books down to the beach for an hour or so. Anna had a quick swim but was stung by something - she saw a brown jellyfish the other day so possibly one of these. When she got out she noticed that the sky had turned rather scary. We quickly packed up our stuff and hurried home - just in time before the heavens opened...and stayed open all night.

    We had dinner at Picus and had the same as last time - a very welcome sight to see a whole plate of just vegetables for me.
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  • Day192

    Golf carting

    November 14, 2015 in Mexico ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    After the remains of some coco pops and a banana, we hired a golf cart (550P) and set off to explore the island. I had wanted to hire a golf cart for a while now but Utila was too small to make it worthwhile and Holbox was too puddly. At 7km long with proper roads, Mujeres is perfect. The lady said that Anna could drive even though she doesn't have a licence which is slightly scary as the roads are quite busy with taxis and mopeds overtaking the slow golf carts all the time. After a close encounter at a roundabout, the driving was left to me.

    First we visited Punta Sur, the southernmost tip of the island which has a tiny Mayan ruin surrounded by some bizarre rusting sculptures. The ruin is barely worth visiting, but the view is stunning, the sea is a magnificent colour, and the 30P fee gives you access to walk below the cliffs along a walkway that gets pounded by the surf.

    Then we drove north up the West side of the island, looking at the sea views and numerous lovely houses. We had a look around the cemetery for a pirate's grave but couldn't find it - they have a lovely view of the sea though! Since the cemetery is on a slope and our cart doesn't seem to have a handbrake I had to guard the cart. Then we found the Shell house, a beautifully designed white house in the shape of a shell. After stopping by the roadside to buy a conch (30P), which Anna assures me is a byproduct and legal to bring back, we went in search of the Crayola house - a funky rainbow coloured place. With no map and only a few vague screenshots of where it is, this took a little while but we were successful.

    After stopping for iced tea and cheetos, we went to the turtle farm (30P) where they remove the eggs from the beaches to protect them and hatch them and then transfer them back to the sea when they are bigger. This all sounds great but there were several small tanks with large animals in which looked plenty big enough to fend for themselves and we got the impression they are kept for tourism purposes. There are also some aquarium tanks and an open tank where a guy kept lifting out various animals for people to hold, which I wasn't keen on. Outside there was a big pen in the sea and we saw a few nurse sharks, some rays and a dozen or so big turtles, all swimming back and forth along the barrier as if they wanted to escape :(

    We got back in our cart and it wouldn't start. It had been making strange noises the last 5 minutes drive to the turtle farm but now it wouldn't move at all. A nice lady phoned the rental company and they promptly delivered us a new one within quarter of an hour but it was time to head back. Sadly we didn't find the bottle island - a self sufficient house floating on the lake made of recycled stuff.

    We had dinner at Jardin Mayan, a slightly more expensive place than usual but it ended up being one of our cheaper meals due to my poor ordering (200P). I ordered pork pibil, probably the most famous Mayan dish, for both of us - I meant 2 portions but only one came out. Anna was initially disgruntled at the potential lack of food but we barely managed it after the free nachos starter. There was tons of pork, beautifully presented on a banana leaf, with pink pickled onions, beans and rice plus a spicy sauce and far too many tacos. Anna finally found her modelo negra beer and I had a Mayan drink: lemonade with chaya, which is like spinach. Delicious meal!
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    you'll be swapping flipflops & tshirt for boots & jumpers too; and you'll be needing snow chains on your "cart"

  • Day191


    November 13, 2015 in Mexico ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    We spent the next couple of days doing very little...a ton of reading (Hunger Games trilogy completed in 3 days)...going to the beach in the late afternoon sun...a stroll along the walkway on the West side of the island which is rocky rather than sandy...and of course eating.

    The first day we shared a nutella crepe for breakfast, had ice creams for lunch and then found a place on the beach which does the lime and chili coconuts - sadly Anna's was a hard-fleshed one but mine was just perfect. For dinner we went to Los Comrades, a tiny cheapy place which did mushroom enchiladas with mole sauce especially for me, and Anna had pork tacos, then we shared a truffle ice cream which turned out to be coffee flavoured (220P).

    The second day we survived on copious helpings of coco pops (how I miss cereal) and a banana, and then had dinner at Mamacitos, a lovely place with colourful chairs and loud Mariachi music playing. I had veggie enchiladas while Anna had ribs (270P).

    The nice hotel man reduced our rent to 550P for our future nights.
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    Linda Roberts

    I hadn't come across sand flies before to know how traumatic they can be. Now I understand! Enjoy your rest and relaxation for the next few days chalet hosting beckons!

    Ruth Snow

    They're horrendous!! I hear NZ ones are really bad. Looks like you are having a great time - photos look lovely. Yep, can't wait to get back to our chalet :)

    Linda Roberts

    Photographs only rivalled by your own :) See you in the Alps mid Jan :)

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  • Day189

    Beach day

    November 11, 2015 in Mexico ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    We got up, went to the beach, and paid for some sunbeds and a parasol for the whole day (200P). I wasn't hungry so Anna went off to have pancakes (50P) whilst I lay in the sun and swam. She brought me back her leftovers she couldn't manage plus a coconut.

    We took it in turns to snorkel along the beach. The swimming area is buoyed off from the boat channel which comes really close to shore, so you can't swim out far but you can swim along. The swim to the pier was really fast but then it was a battle to get back against the current. There wasn't much to see except a few fish and crabs.

    We spent the rest of the day in the shade, reading, swimming and eating ice cream and cheetos. We were kicked off our sunbeds at 5pm so lay on the sand until sunset. Our first full day at the beach on our travels...relaxing bliss :) Despite staying in the shade for most of the day, we somehow both managed to go home with pink faces and chests. Anna's face was so pink it matched her bright pink Galapagos t shirt, whilst my goggle marks have worsened to raccoon status.

    After showers and some aftersun, we went to Picus, a place by the shore and I had a plate of grilled veggies which were slightly tasteless until I borrowed some of Anna's creole-esque sauce from her ‘Devil fish’ (230P).
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  • Day188

    The Hungry Games

    November 10, 2015 in Mexico ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    We awoke early and both read for a while. I had started the first of the Hunger Games trilogy last night, which has me gripped already. Anna took advantage of the free coffee in the hotel, then we had breakfast at a little shack: a big plate of fruit, yoghurt and granola each (50P each), followed by a coconut each (30P, talked down from 40).

    We went back to the room and read some more. Anna had cramps and insatiable hunger so she soon sent me out to find chocolate, which was a longer mission than I had anticipated as the first two shops I tried were rammed full of people. A lot of people come for just the day and as our hotel is opposite the ferry and very near the beach the shops seem to get a lot of traffic.

    Once Anna was partially-sated, she slept for quite a while. Then we went to the beautiful white sand beach and lay in the shade of some palm trees until it had cooled down a bit. After a dip in the sea we lay reading in the late sun - perfect temperature! Two guys came over and said something about having too many before putting a can of beer next to each of us and walking away! Anna happily drank both. This was after she’d been ‘phwoared’ at by a different man - I better keep her on a tight lead!

    After the sun set and I'd finished my book, we went for a short walk and then back to the room as I had a tummy ache. We went out for a quick falafel wrap (75P each) at a tiny place called Chahad and listened to some lovely live music from a nearby bar. We then returned to the room as my tummy felt like it might pop! Anna went to the shops to buy more chocolate, which I helped her eat as I felt better once lying down! I finally managed to upload some photos to the blog - wifi here and in Holbox is only available in the common areas and isn't great but at least here we can use it without getting eaten alive!
    Then it was time to start on the second book.

    In good news we found another ice cream shop - same brand as in Tulum, but in bad news they don't have the spicy chocolate flavour...still plenty more flavours to try tomorrow :)
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