Central America has truly amazed me. I think a big part of my enjoyment of these countries has been the fact that I came with no preconceived ideas or expectations. It has taken me a long time to cut back this list down to 6. There have been so many things that have astounded me about this beautiful part of the world over the past few months. Anyway, enough of the build up, here they are, the top six mind-blowing and awe-inspiring experiences that I stumbled upon in Central America:
1. Seeing Sumac Champey, Guatemala.
This place is truly beautiful in the simplest of words. Photos cannot do justice to the lush forests and crystal turquoise water.
2. Celebrating El Día de los Muertos, Santiago Sacatepequez, Guatemala.
The food, the excitement, the celebration and oh my the kites! This event changed my ideas about the way we view death in western society (plus flying kites is super fun!)
3. Volcano boarding the Cerro Negro, León, Nicaragua.
For an adrenaline junkie like myself this day was heaven. The long, hot, upward hike was forgotten in minutes. Now what I remember is the spectacular view, the heart pumping moments before the descent and the wind and dust flying around me as I sped down the volcano. Freaking awesome.
4. San Jerónimo festival, León, Nicaragua.
This party was out of control, the locals sure know how to drink! There were fights, feathers, cross dressers and a whole lot of craziness. Oh yeah and a religious procession.
5. Staring into the “mouth of hell” at Volcan Masaya, Nicaragua.
When we got to the top of the deserted area and walked to the edge I was (possible for the first time) speechless. To look down inside to depths of an active volcano with sparks of lava and hot smoke swirling upwards towards us. Something I will truly never forget.
6. Watching the sunrise over two oceans, Volcan Baru, Panama.
The hike up was a bitch, I cursed that volcano for hours not to mention whoever made the signs (I’m sure they lied about how many kilometres I had dragged my weary body!). But, like everything in this life, the reward was worth the effort. My camera died as the sun started to rise and, looking back, I’m glad. I could never have captured the beauty of that sky, the beginning of a new day with the sun slowly glowing over the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.
If this hasn’t convinced you to go to Central America then I am sorry but you are beyond help.
Peace and happy travels