A 52-day adventure by Meaghan's Travels
  • Day52


    February 23, 2017 in Guatemala ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

    A fabulous trip! Here are my highlights in no particular order:

    - climbing up and sliding down an active volcano on a sled - Nicaragua
    - seeing volcanic lava close up - Nicaragua
    - swimming with the sharks, sting rays and turtles in Belize
    - the cenotes in Mexico
    - dolphin and sea lion experience in Cozumel Mexico
    - beautiful Antigua in Guatemala
    - relaxing in a beach resort in El Cuco El Salvador
    - the many Maya ruins with Tulum getting a mention for its stunning cliff seaside location
    - ziplining in Costa Rica
    - seeing how a grassroots coffee plantation in Panama works
    - staying in the Tree Tops Mountain Resort in Boquete Panama
    - seeing sloths in Costa Rica and Panama
    - Copan ruins in Honduras
    - Caye Caulker in Belize
    - Lake Suchitlan in El Salvador
    - the colourful colonial architecture
    Read more

    Margy Walsh

    Margy Walsh all sounds wonderful you achieved a lot & you are a determined traveller

    Katrina Clark

    Have read the book - now awaiting movie with baited breath!

  • Day52

    Tips for travelling in Central America

    February 23, 2017 in Guatemala ⋅ ⛅ 21 °C

    1 Your shoes and feet will go through hell so take decent hiking shoes (with ankle support if you need it - I do) even if you are not doing lots of hiking. Also take decent wicking socks. A step further is to consider silk sock liners to help prevent blisters

    2 A proper hiking stick or sticks would be useful if you have room

    3 Take some surf shoes - great for rocky beaches and protecting your feet in unknown waters. Also good for caves

    4 And still on shoes you need proper walking sandals that are designed to get wet and dry quickly. Ugly yes but worth it. You could use these as surf shoes as well. Keens and chacos get good reviews

    5 The humidity, salt water and heat is hard on your hair so take a really good conditioner

    6 Use mosquito repellent with picaridin or DEET. I prefer picaridin because its non greasy and odorless

    7 Try and use bio degradable sunscreen so you don't harm the coral and sealife

    8 Don't bother to take makeup - the humidity will kill it in 5 minutes!

    9 A powder with corn starch will be your best friend. Slather it everywhere!

    10 In some places it will be so hot and humid that only a dress will keep you sane. Men you will have to suffer!

    11 A water proof bag for your stuff on day trip boat rides can be handy

    12 Take some US dollars. They are accepted everywhere and are handy when the atms don't work. Get lots of $1 for tips

    13 Take a surge protector so that electricity surges don't fry your electronics or, charge your power bank and use that to charge your electonics

    13A Take a power bank to charge your camera, tablet or phone on those long days

    14 Wi fi is everywhere but use a VPN to protect your personal data. I used Hidemyass (yes terrible name!) for the two months I was travelling. Nordvpn seems to get good reviews

    15 Back up your mobile photos in a cloud

    16 Carry all your travel documents on a usb and/or email them to yourself. But keep a hard copy of your travel insurance and your flights on you. Some countries will insist on proof of exit. I also scan or take photos of some of my travel documents

    17 Keep your passport number as a contact on your phone and/or take a photo of it

    17 Never ever travel without travel insurance

    18 When doing alot of short stays I swear by packing cubes and lightweight travel bags (I like the sea summit ones). That way everything is organised and its faster packing. The trick is to put all the cubes/bags in the same spot so packing is quick

    19 I love clothes that wick and dry quickly for travelling. I have t shirts and trousers and they are fantastic. They don't need as much washing and dry quickly. They are also good in both hot and cooler conditions. Try and take some lighter colours for the heat and keeping mosquitos at bay. I of course had all black! On the way back I bought a hideous beige travelling shirt which I will use next time! Its looks like a safari shirt! Yuk! Not sure why travelling clothes have to be so ugly

    20 Take a quick drying travel towel for the beach

    21 Rashies are great for keeping the sun at bay for those all day boat trips and snorkeling days. I also worn lycra like exercise shorts for extra protection

    22 A quick drying cover up is great for those days you are spending in your swimming costume - helps with the sun protection but will be cool

    23 Take some sort of medical kit - for this sort of trip I like to take good quality bandaids for blisters (I like the Compeed ones), to try and prevent the blisters and sore spots moleskin is handy, panadol, tablets for flu/colds, betadine for sore throats (I never travel without this now after not being able to get anything in Canada or the States that was anywhere near as good). Also they have a tiny bottle that you mix with water which is perfect for travelling), some sort of cream for bites/rashes (one with hydrocortisone is good), dencorub or similar for sore muscles (I used this alot!), antihistamines, malaria tablets, tiny bottle/tube antiseptic, remedy rescue, something for diarrhea and nausea when you have to travel, saline nose spray, lip balm (vaseline is my favorite), tooth brush/paste or small mouthwash and moisturiser for the plane, if I can't sleep I sometimes take Doxy, and some all purpose antibiotics. Some people on the tour swore by oral lomotil for an upset stomach and diarrhea. In Mexico chemists and stores like Walmart have whole aisles of medication for stomach issues and diarrhea! I used everything in my kit aside from the nausea/diarrhea medications

    22 I like to have a set of clothes that I only wear inside that I also use as pjs. Preferably long sleeved for mosquito protection

    23 A lightweight hat is a must. I like the cheap daggy ones you can get from target

    24 Inexpensive sunglasses. On my last two trips I lost mine! Also get ones that are large or wrap around abit for sun protection

    25 Eyemask and eye plugs for the plane and noisy hotel rooms. Also good for travel days. Another handy item is a neck pillow which you will also use on the plane and on those long overland travel days

    26 Goes without saying you must have some sort of day pack

    27 I took a slash proof small handbag as well

    28 Lightweight slip on shoes for the plane - your surf shoes will do. Put these on when you go to the toilet to protect your socks! I love Fitkicks - light and super slim and you can use them as surf shoes

    29 Flight socks are a must to aid against clotting. I also take a blow up cushion to rest my feet on as I'm short and it adds comfort. Also I can use it for exercising my feet by pushing my heels and toes up and down - another anti clotting aid

    30 A lightweight rain jacket or poncho. Naturally I took both!

    31 A universal plug for hand washing in sinks. No hotel had plugs

    32 The cheese can be dodgy - I stopped eating it after too many dishes were spolit by the cheese!

    Happy travelling!
    Read more

    Katrina Clark

    You should write for Traveller!

    Meaghan's Travels

    I know!

  • Day52

    Home to Sydney

    February 23, 2017 in Australia ⋅ ☀️ 28 °C

    Already thinking of my next trip! Maybe Cuba?
    Or Indonesia to climb volcanoes.

    Will have to save hard for the Scandinavian extravaganza I have in mind - cruise of the Norwegian fjords, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and then Iceland and Greenland. And maybe a quick trip to St Petersburg to see how it has changed. Probably too much for one trip! And too expensive.

    Last day - slow start after I took a while packing.

    Then just drove around abit and went to the Grove.
    Such a lovely shopping centre with the music and the fountains. Had a look at Nordstrom so I could tick off the three main department stores.

    Then I saw it! My second favourite (Target is my first) store in the US - The Container Store. I love looking at all their stuff.

    Then two chocolate milkshakes from Haagen Dazs - looking at shops and not buying anything is hard work!

    Also stopped off at CVS my favorite pharmacy which has all sorts of things.

    Weather in LA has been overcast and raining so I gave San Monica a miss. Normally I like to spend flight day there.

    Time just went and so my plan of going to REI and looking at hiking shoes didn't eventuate. Nor a trip to County Museum which I mean to go to every time I am in LA.

    Next time.

    Traffic to LAX was heavy and then the car rental shuttle took a while. All good though.

    At check in had to move 3 kilos from one suitcase to the other and put a few clothes in my carry on. But I was prepared as I had a shopping bag which I put my backpack into and there was lots of spare room.

    Was TSA pre approved which was great and saved time. Was preapproved on my flight to Cancun from LA as well. It means you don't have to take off your shoes or show your liquids. And your electronics can stay in your bags.

    LAX is also getting a renovation - thank goodness. It has always been a horrible airport with shocking food. Now there are some decent cafes and bars and I had a pretty good grilled chicken burger. I wanted steak but wasn't going to pay $60!

    Then a miracle happened! I have the row to myself! That never happens anymore - not like in the good old days!

    Therefore expecting a blissful flight!

    No view of LA on take off as you can see!

    Then landing in Sydney - home!
    Read more

  • Day47

    LA wanderings

    February 18, 2017 in the United States ⋅ ☁️ 13 °C

    Staying at the Motel 6 near the airport. Its great and so cheap. An interesting mix of people are staying here. Only downside has been the wi fi which rarely works. I had a better connection in an obscure cafe in El Salvador!

    Had a twin room so I had two queen beds to spread all my stuff on.

    Finally got going in the morning and went to my favourite store in LA - Target! I spent hours here trying on stuff and just looking at everything! Then to the Beverley Centre to have a look at Macys and Bloomingdales and the other shops.

    The Centre is undergoing a massive renovation so its a construction site although the shops are open. That Centre was so dated so good to see it getting a makeover.

    Then stopped by Marshalls where you can really find treasures if you dig around. There is stuff everywhere and they stock clothes shoes luggage homeware bags and so on. Got a fabulous suitcase which I just love.

    Also stopped by my favourite shoe outlet store (Off Broadway) where I always pick up a bargain. No different this time. Yay! Modest purchase only!

    With the driving and the traffic the day went very quickly.

    You can guess where I had dinner! My favourite fast food burger place.
    Read more

    Margy Walsh

    Do like the IN & Out Burger all fresh but chips so so

  • Day47

    Panama City to LA

    February 18, 2017 in the United States ⋅ ☁️ 13 °C

    Goodbye to Central America! What a fabulous trip.

    Filled in time by going back to the mall.

    Spent alot of time sitting in Panama airport watching bags being unloaded from the planes and hurled into the carrier trucks!

    At LA quick processing through customs but a 40 minute wait for the bags.

    Then picked up rental car (about midnight) and drove to hotel in the rain. Checked in then out again to get some fast food. Exhausted.
    Read more

    Katrina Clark

    The dress was worth it - not that you need more clothes!

    Meaghan's Travels

    That dress was worn alot!

  • Day46

    I see the Panama Canal!

    February 17, 2017 in Panama ⋅ ⛅ 31 °C

    But I can't attach any photos as my phone storage was full so they are all on my camera.

    But I have videos which I am going to make all of you watch! Ships slowly going through the canal on a loop I think!

    We hired a van today and went to a view spot to check out the city. Then to the old city to walk around. It was so hot and humid that I went through two litres of water!

    The old part of the city is lovely and they are doing alot of restoration work.

    We also drove by the very poor part of Panama City where we were advised never to walk at any time of the day.

    Next was the Panama Canal and it really was exciting watching the huge cargo ships go through the locks. What an engineering feat.

    China and America are the countries that use the Canal the most and it can take between 8 and 10 hours for the ships to pass through the canal. It generates about $2.4 billion in income each year!

    Then onto the biggest shopping mall in the Americas and the 14th largest in the world! And it was packed. So easy to get lost!

    Have to fill in time tomorrow before my flight so might go back.

    Then the farewell dinner and I am so overjoyed never to have to see most of these people ever again! Truly dreadful and enough to put you off ever going on a tour again. I certainly won't be using this travel company again. Thank goodness for the nice ones who helped make it bearable.

    Finally back to the hotel. Wonderful air conditioning, wi fi and peace - what more could I want!

    Have the dreaded task of packing tomorrow.

    In one of the shots you can see the ships heading for the canal.
    Read more

    Margy Walsh

    I thought seeing the Suez Canal was interesting you must have seen that during your time in Israel & you climbed Mt Sieni like me so you would ave driven round it

    Meaghan's Travels

    Yes I did!

  • Day46

    Staring at the ocean

    February 17, 2017 in Panama ⋅ 🌙 3 °C

    Last morning to relax by the beach before the six hour journey to Panama City.

    Contemplated having a surfing lesson but decided to sit in a cafe with a stunning ocean view! Probably last time to chill on my Central American adventure.

    Luca I will have a surfing lesson with you and then we can surf together!

    Arrived in Panama City after dark. Turns out our hotel is on the border of a really dangerous area where you shouldn't even walk during the day! What a great choice! Decide to get McDonalds and head back to the hotel. Its a 5 minute walk in the wrong direction. I see the sign and a fairly well lit wide street so decide to go for it. There is a park on the other side with a man sitting on each park bench?! That can't be good!

    Get the burger and bolt back to the hotel.
    Read more

  • Day45

    Panama Pacific style

    February 16, 2017 in Panama ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

    Lovely day today - day tour with snorkeling and beaches.

    Its beginning to feel like this is what I do - get up, get on a boat, tear around the ocean checking out islands and snorkeling, have chicken and rice for lunch then a swim and a rest on a few island beaches! Then every few days I sit in a van for about 6 hours!

    Today we swam with reef sharks, turtles and schools of colourful fish. Visited some lovely island beaches and saw jumping dolphins on the way back to town.

    On one of the islands we saw lots of white face monkeys.

    And hows this for weird. We are out in our boat cruising up the coast when we see a motor boat with three guys and a horse! The horse is lying down with its legs tied and hanging over the side of the boat. Our guide told us the horse was drugged so they could transport it! No idea where they came from as there was nothing on the coast for miles!

    Have a look at the town lawyer's office! Its combined with a coffee shop!

    Nice relaxed evening with home cooked pasta with the leftovers from last night - a pretty good meal!
    Read more

    Mary Maroske

    Wonder if the lawyer wants a partner? Could be your new job!! I could look at the blue ocean forever!

  • Day44

    Off to the Pacific Ocean!

    February 15, 2017 in Panama ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

    Santa Catalina to be precise. And our rooms have kitchens but no bathrooms.

    Long drive south. Dozed most of the way. Getting hot again now so out will come my over priced dress. I need to get the wear out of it as I have just seen the Australian conversion on my visa statement.

    I might have to live in it when I get back to Sydney.

    Some of the group are making dinner tonight for something different.

    Our cabanas are very cute - all in different colours. Its like being in a dolls house. Mine is orange.

    The beach is ok - more for surfers. Black sand. Its about a 5 minute walk from the hotel which is in the middle of no where.

    I have a quick dip but the waves are too much hard work and I want to rest so find a place with a view and settle in. Fries and a smoothie it is!

    Tomorrow we are going on a full day tour which is good otherwise I might go abit stir crazy here!

    No internet no tv no book air condiitioning that doesn't work properly and in the middle of no where without a bathroom. Not happy.
    Read more

    Margy Walsh

    Margy Walsh Your orange room is so cute gone to a lot of trouble to match the orange

    Meaghan's Travels

    I know! The lime green room was amazing!

  • Day43

    Alone In the jungle

    February 14, 2017 in Panama ⋅ 🌙 27 °C

    These photos are from my waterfall hike with the group. The last waterfall was a very steep grade 5 hike in mud which I could have done but too slowly for the group so I headed back down the trail by myself.

    So the photos are the result of me being left alone in the jungle with my phone!
    Read more

    Margy Walsh

    Margy Walsh Taking selfies