A Travellerspoint blog

Flying home tonight

The end of over 14 months of travelling...

So tonight I am getting on a flight back to Luxembourg. I cannot really believe it yet that my trip is finally over.
I never thought I would end up travelling this long, but luckily I made the money last and made it all the way to Mexico like I had hoped. Only that it took me longer than I had thought... I left Luxembourg 433 days ago and these have been the 433 best days of my life.

I have seen and done so many incredible things in that time! I have been to 16 countries and according to my travel map I have travelled about 54,000 km, including my flights here and back. I have met hundreds of people, made friends with local people from the countries I visited and with other travellers from all over the world. Some of the highlights of my trip were the Iguazu falls, Patagonia, Machu Picchu and the Galápagos islands. I visited 39 Unesco World Heritage Centres. I climbed volcanoes and mountains. I saw glaciers and beautiful beaches. I visited big cities and small villages. I travelled by bus, plane, train, boat, taxi and used some more unusual means of transportation (like on my trip to San Cipriano). Some of the buses were luxurious and comfortable buses where I got served food and even wine, others were crowded uncomfortable ones driving along bumpy roads. I have seen many exotic animals, such as penguins, sea lions, boobies, sharks (including hammerhead sharks!), giant tortoises, pink and grey dolphins, rays, caimans and crocodiles, capibaras, tucans, monkeys and sloths. I have done adventurous activities such as rafting, zip-lining, caving and paragliding. I have stayed in luxurious hostels and in the cheapest ones; I have lived with a Bolivian family for a month and spent many nights on buses. I have taken 3 long boat rides: a 4-night ferry ride, a 4-day cruise and a 5-day sailing trip. I have tried many exotic fruits and other local specialities. The latter included strange foods such as chicken hearts, cow's tongue and lung, larvae, termites and grasshoppers, guinea pig and lizard. I have trekked in the Andean mountains and dived in the Caribbean sea.

It was definitely the best time of my life! And I am sad it is over... But I'm also excited to go home, see all my friends and family again and do the things I missed on this trip. I know I will miss travelling a lot. I will miss meeting new people every day and seeing new places every day. It will be nice on the other hand not to live out of a backpack, have a bigger choice of clothes, sleep in a nice comfortable bed, have hot water all the time, have heating in buildings and cars etc.

I am looking forward to seeing all of you old friends and family again! And I hope I can meet up again with you new travelling friends, either in Europe or on future travels!

I am leaving now, I have to make my way to the airport soon...

Posted by sarahm_lux 14:35 Archived in Mexico Comments (2)

Cancún

The last day of my trip

overcast 24 °C
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Yesterday afternoon I travelled up to Cancún from where I am flying home tonight. Although it was my last night in Latin America and I felt like I should have a goodbye party, nobody was really in a party mood, so we stayed at the hostel which was nice too.

A few hours after going to bed I woke up with many very itchy bites and realised I had bedbugs! I could not believe it, in my last night here, I get bedbugs again! I had to move beds in the middle of the night and can now only hope that none of them have gotten into my backpack because we found out that most beds in that dorm were suddenly infested with the little biting bugs.

This morning, it was again very cloudy and it did not look like a good day for the beach. However it is the only day I am spending in Cancún and I thought I at least need to see the beach here which so many people chose as their holiday destination every year. This time I was lucky, just after I arrived the sun actually came out. It did not last very long, but at least I got an hour in the sun.
One of the huge hotels in Cancún

One of the huge hotels in Cancún

Cancún beach

Cancún beach


Cancún beach

Cancún beach

Afterwards I had my last Mexican food on the plaza. I will miss it so much! Then I came back to the hostel where I am writing this blog entry and waiting for the time when I need to leave to the airport. I cannot believe that my trip is ending today...

Posted by sarahm_lux 06.03.2012 16:26 Archived in Mexico Tagged cancun Comments (0)

Back in Tulum

Some more beach time and finally visiting a cenote

overcast 20 °C
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I spent all of Friday travelling, from Livingston, through all of Belize, into Mexico, and up to Tulum. It was a very long day! At 7am I got the boat from Livingston to Punta Gorda in Belize. There I had to wait almost 2 hours for the next bus. The chicken bus took 6 1/2 hours to get to Belize City. From Belize City there was a nice Mexican bus going overnight to Cancun stopping in Tulum, but that was only leaving 3 hours later, so I had to wait again. Luckily I met a nice American mother and son at the bus station, so that I had someone to talk to and the wait felt shorter. After another 7 1/2 hour bus ride, including 3 stops, at the 2 border points and to pay for the bus tickets, I finally arrived in Tulum at 3 in the morning. I went looking for a hostel and finally got the last bed in one. I was able to lie down and sleep in a bed at last just before 4am!

The next day, I went to the beach and spent the whole afternoon lying in the sun, realxing and reading. It was the perfect thing to do after such an exhausting travelling day!

The night I spent in the hostel bar where I met some nice people and we had some beers together and told each other travelling stories. When the bar closed, 2 of us went to a bar across the street for another drink, but then we soon went to bed.

One reason I had come back to Tulum to spend my last few days was that I still had not been to a cenote. The cenotes are large holes in the ground filled with groundwater and usually leading to underwater caves (not sure how accurate this descripton is...). I found a couple more people that wanted to go visit one and we rented some snorkelling gear and got a taxi to the place. We went to one of the lesser known cenote, so that for most of the time we were all alone there. It was located in the forest and was very quiet and natural. Snorkelling we saw the rocks under water and many small fish swimming around us. It was a really nice activity for such a cloudy day when going to the beach was not an option.
Cenote Escondido

Cenote Escondido

When we got back to the cenote we were all hungry, so we went and got some very good Mexican food.
Chilaquiles

Chilaquiles

Afterwards I had to go shopping since I wanted to get some more souvenirs and presents to take home. When it was time for dinner, I went to look for food with the English girl I went to the cenote with and we ended up with some really good street food. Wandering around a bit after eating, it was really busy in town and we even discovered a small funfare. Back in the hostel, we sat in the outside bar and had a few drinks.
Fun fair in Tulum

Fun fair in Tulum

I had planned to go to the beach this morning, but it was too cloudy and cold for that. So I stayed in the hostel writing my blog and then hanging out in a hammock for probably the last time. I then went for another great Mexican lunch with 2 hostel friends, after which I got on a bus to Cancun, my last destination.

Posted by sarahm_lux 05.03.2012 18:54 Archived in Mexico Tagged tulum cenote Comments (0)

Río Dulce & Livingston

A lot of water, a lot of boats

sunny 30 °C
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Once again it was an early morning last Tuesday, when I had to get up at 5.30 to get the bus to Río Dulce. We were 4 people from the hostel on the bus, the only tourists on it, and when we arrived in Río Dulce we all got a boat to the same hostel together. The hostel was located on the side of the river, with nice views of the water and the surrounding forest. After settling in, we decided to all go visit the hot waterfalls together. We had to take a boat back into town from where we caught a bus. When we arrived at the entrance to the falls we were told that the water had gotten too high and we could not go swimming, what a disappointment. The place was still very nice though, very quietly situated in the jungle. There were only 4 other people and a girl was selling tasty banana bread.
Hot waterfalls

Hot waterfalls

We had a good dinner and a nice quiet night at the hostel afterwards. The next morning, I enjoyed the quietness at and the views from the hostel a bit more and then got the afternoon boat to Livingston.

Just before the boat arrived, it started raining. The boat was full, everything and everybody had to be covered with canvas sheets - it was not very comfortable. Luckily, about half way to our destination, the rain stopped and the ride became much more enjoyable. By that time my backpack was very wet though...

In Livingston I went to stay at a hostel outside of town. I realised straight away that it truly was a party hostel like I had heard, and that night this was definitely comfirmed. Apparently we had to celebrate the leap year and so we had a pretty crazy party where many funny things happened. I can understand that some people fled to bed ;-). The hostel staff and owner were the ones partying the hardest...
Party at the hostel in Livingston

Party at the hostel in Livingston

Still tired the next morning, I got on a tour to some waterfalls (called 7 Altares) and a beach. It was just what I needed, a nice quiet day. It was only 2 of us on the tour, me and a Swiss guy, and at the waterfalls we were all alone. Well, I say waterfalls, but unfortunately because of the recent lack of rain, there was not much water falling. It was basically just the waterfalls' pools we were looking at. However, it was still very nice there.
7 Altares

7 Altares

On the way to the beach, we were really lucky and saw some dolphins. We stopped to watch them and take photos for a while. There were a lot of them and even some little ones. It was amazing!
Dolphins between Livingston and Playa Blanca

Dolphins between Livingston and Playa Blanca

The beach was great too. It had white sand and loads of palm trees and was very quiet. Since you can only get to the beach by boat and there were only 3 boats, there were only about 10 people on the whole beach. It was a great place to just lie in the sun and think of nothing (and get a bit sunburnt if you all asleep like I did...).
Playa Blanca

Playa Blanca

Back from the tour, I finally went to see the town. It is very small and there is not really anything to see, but it is an interesting place because of its mix of different cultures.
Boat with birds in Livingston

Boat with birds in Livingston

It was much more quiet at the hostel that night and I managed to have an early night, getting some sleep before getting up early again to get on yet another boat.

Posted by sarahm_lux 05.03.2012 09:53 Archived in Guatemala Tagged livingston rio_dulce siete_altares Comments (0)

Flores

A nice boat trip and the last ruins of my trip

semi-overcast 30 °C
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The journey from San Ignacio to Flores went well and quickly, so that we got there early in the afternoon. Enough time to relax a bit and then have a look around town. We met quite a few people at the hostel that either of us knew, so it was of course party time again that night. The hostel had a nice bar where we stayed for a while. Then we went to a bar down the road, but this was very quiet, so that some of us decided to go looking for another place. We found an interesting bar full with locals, but almost only men... We had a few drinks here until they closed at 1am, just like everything else. So we had no choice but to go back to the hostel bar, where the party continued for another hour or so.

The next day, I spent a long time in a restaurant eating breakfast and chatting to some people. We then decided to get a boat together and go to a viewpoint across the lake and a zoo. We recruited more people at the hostel and ended up being 7 people going. The boat driver showed us the way to the viewpoint and gave us a bit of a tour. We saw some howler monkeys on the way back and then drank and ate some coconuts before getting back on the boat. The next stop, the zoo, was really nice too. We saw tucans, crocodiles, monkeys, jaguars, pumas and many more exciting animals.
Boats on Lake Petén Itzá

Boats on Lake Petén Itzá


View of Flores from the mirador

View of Flores from the mirador


Jaguar in the zoo

Jaguar in the zoo

When we got back we were all really happy with how we spent the afternoon. We then got some tasty street food and went to see the sunset at a pier to finish it off.
Street food in Flores

Street food in Flores


Sunset in Flores

Sunset in Flores

That night, we only had a few drinks at the hostel bar because some us us had to get up at 4 in the morning to go to Tikal.

The American guy I had come to Flores with and I had booked the tour to Tikal with a guide while the others went exploring the site on their own. Our guide did have some good information, but what he said was often incoherent and he made too many comparisons with other cultures and even current events. So unfortunately we both did not really like him. The site was really interesting though. It is very different to the other Maya sites because it is in the middle of the jungle. There are trees everywhere and only the tops of other buildings can be seen if you stand on one. This made it all a bit more mysterious, especially early in the morning when it was still very foggy.
Tikal

Tikal


Tikal

Tikal


Tikal

Tikal

Back in Flores, I went for a shop around for a hammock. I really wanted to take one of these home with me. I eventually found a really nice and big hammock which would make my backpack very heavy for the next week...

At night, I went to get dinner with some guys from the hostel and then we all had a good night at the hostel bar again. We were all in a good mood and a bit silly, so it was loads of fun.

Posted by sarahm_lux 04.03.2012 19:26 Archived in Guatemala Tagged flores tikal Comments (0)

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