The Best of Central America (…and Cuba)

Over the last 2 months, we visited 22 destinations in 8 different countries. We covered thousands of miles by land, air and sea and saw the best and the worst of Latin America. After much deliberation and a few petty squabbles, here are our favourite bits:

Favourite 5 Destinations
1. Antigua, Guatemala
2. Trinidad, Cuba
3. Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
4. Caye Caulker, Belize
5. Tulum, Mexico  

Top 10 Experiences (in no particular order)

1. Tikal ruins, Guatemala
2. Snorkelling with sharks in the Hoi Chan Marine Reserve, Belize
3. Watching the sunset, El Tunco, El Salvador
4. Monteverde Cloud Forest, Costa Rica
5. Toasting marshmallows at Pacaya volcano, Guatemala
6. Swimming in Casa Cenote, Tulum, Mexico
7. Exploring the art collections in Casa de los Venados, Valladolid, Mexico
8. Jumping in Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
9. Drinking cocktails, salsa dancing and the “rave cave”, Trinidad, Cuba
10. Insane Impromptu Christmas Street Party, San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua (Sadly, we don’t have a photo of this because we were being careful with our valuables in Nicaragua. You will have to take our word for it that it was utterly mad. Nicaraguans don’t really do health and safety).

Top 5 Colonial Cities
1. Antigua, Guatemala
2. Trinidad, Cuba
3. Old Havana, Cuba
4. Valladolid, Mexico
5. Granada, Nicaragua
Note: Leon deserved honorary mention as the worst Colonial city. Battered is pretty, dirty is not.

Top 5 Meals
1. Cuban Rock Lobster, Hostal Casa Mia, Trinidad, Cuba
2. Tapas, El Bocadito, San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua
3. Lobster Skewers, Chef Kareem’s Unbelizable Lunch, Caye Caulker, Belize
4. Cuban mezze, Habana 61, Havana, Cuba
5. Lobster and steak burrito, Crazy King Burrito, Cozumel
Is there such a thing as a lobster addiction? Seriously, we can’t say no to £8 lobster, ever. God bless you the Carribbean.  

Top 5 Beers
1.Brahva, Guatemala
2. Imperial, Costa Rica
3. Pilsner, El Salvador
4. Victoria, Nicaragua
5. Cristal, Cuba 

Top 5 Regional Foods
1. Pupusas, El Salvador
2. Fry Jacks, Belize
3. Lobster skewers, Belize
4. Ceviche, Nicaragua
5. Tamales, Mexico/Guatemala
6. Churros, Cuba
7. Deep fried corn tacos, Mexico
8. Street BBQ, Guatemala
9. Cuban sandwich, Cuba
10. Jerk chicken, Belize
Papsusas take the metaphorical cake for two very good reasons: 1) you can have a pupusa party (fun to say and eat) and 2) they cost less than $1.

Top 5 Hostels
1. Amigos Hostel, Flores, Guatemala (Gorgeous chill out area, great food and super organised)
2. Mama’s Home, Tulum, Mexico (Amazing, unrivalled breakfasts)
3. Hola Ola Hostal, San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua (Great vibe and staff, but a tad pricey)
4. Oasis Hostal, Granada, Nicaragua (Amazing chill out/pool area in an old colonial mansion)
5. Hostal Candalaria, Valladolid, Mexico (Beautiful garden area, great breakfasts, cheap as hell)

Worst 5 Experiences
1. Sadie’s phone being stolen in Granada, Nicaragua. (Phone, I miss you)
2. Costa Rica’s 3-hour border crossing queue/ stranding in a random town. (God bless the kind fisherman who gave us a lift)
3. Flyapocalypse ferry, Ometepe island, Nicaragua. (Never seen anything like it, truly disgusting)
4. 14 hour bus journey from El Tunco, El Salvador to Leon, Nicaragua and stranding in Leon. (Made marginally better by the episode of Planet Earth our entire bus watched on our tiny laptop)
5. The bus to Havana, Cuba, which charged us $50, kicked us off 1 hour in, left and never came back. (Thieving bastards).

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