It didn’t take long to decide on the region for this summer’s ‘big trip’ – after spending a considerable amount of time exploring South America over the past few years we had completely neglected the countries lying to the north, and with our love of history and nature the choice to hit Central America was a no-brainer. The only tough part was selecting the countries we would have time to visit.
Although we enjoyed South East Asia last summer, we had found ourselves becoming ‘templed-out’ by the end, and for another longer trip wanted to ensure that there was a good mix of activities alongside the history that we crave. With around 5 weeks in total, we limited ourselves to four countries, and after choosing our ‘must-sees’, settled on Costa Rica, Guatemala, Belize and Mexico. Wildlife, colonial cities, underwater adventures and a good sprinkling of ruins – just what we needed!So with no plans in place other than a fixed return ticket home, we set off, although in keeping with our plane-related disasters of this year so far, it was an unexpectedly long journey. Arriving at the airport only to discover that our flight to San Jose had been cancelled, we queued and waited for hours, offered only multi-leg flights via the US which would push the start of our trip back days. Finally, after checking alternative airlines, we were able to re-route through Canada and spent a single night in Toronto before touching down in Costa Rica.
After already losing a day of our trip, we were determined to jump straight in, and booked a white-water rafting tour on the Rio Pacure, a series of grade 3 and 4 rapids running through lush greenery. The water was warm and inviting, with long patches of calm between the rocks enabling us to jump in and float down. The rapids themselves were fun, and although not as terrifying as the ones we’d previously experienced in Uganda, were made exciting by our fantastic raft leader, who directed us to spin the inflatable round and round whilst desperately trying not to fall out as water crashed around us, and refused to let us get down into the raft even when it seemed as though we were seconds from capsizing.Between the constant laughing, delicious lunch and great rafting group, it was a wonderful day and a fabulous introduction to what would prove to be an amazing country.