Arriving in Paradise – Caye Caulker

Caye Caulker is a relaxed and easy going island approximately 20 miles north-northeast of Belize City in the Caribbean Sea with a reggae-tinged vibe. The local residents a very friendly and welcoming. The main street is a sandy pathway through the center of town surrounded by restaurants, seafood stands and bars. It’s the ideal place to snorkel, dive and enjoy life!

First sight of Caye CaulkerIMG_3858IMG_3870 IMG_3872 IMG_3873 IMG_3876 IMG_3883 The Split was created by Hurricane Hattie in 1961 and is now a norraow waterway which divides the island in two. At this side of the island there is a nice bar also called the Split, we we spend most of the time 😉IMG_5245 IMG_5259

San Ignacio

Arriving in Belize in the town of San Ignacio we experienced a completly different country to the rest of Central America: it is English speaking and more a Caribbean nation than  Latin. On the other hand, it has plenty of distinctively Central American characteristics. It offers a unique blend of cultures that includes, in a tiny population, people of Maya, Mestizo, African, European, Asian and Arab descent. Aside from the local Creole, Spanish is also spoken throughout the country.

We stayed in a very basic Ecolodge with dumping toilets and a lot of “small scale” animals (see below). Again Niels and I were lucky because we had a bathroom in our small house which originally was a honey moon suit and further in the forest than the rest of the houses.

Belize is famous for cave adventures, therefore we singned in for the most extreme one in Belize, the Crystal Cave: a challenge for our physical fitness and our spirit of adventure. From the Ecolodge it’s a 1 ½ drive to the Blue Hole National Park. After arriving there the tour starts with a 50 minute hike through lush rainforest and steep terrain which was considered challenging by most already. Arriving at the entrance of the cave it’s a 15-foot steep climb down into the mouth of the Crystal Cave where we entered the underworld of Xibalba (what the ancient Mayas believed to be the domain of their gods).

The expedition took us through narrow passages to magnificent cathedral-like caverns. Along the way we have seen shimmering stalactites & stalagmites, massive crystal formations, ancient ceremonial fire pits, charcoal and ash, pottery, and other remainings of the Mayan sacrificial victims.  After a two hours hike through the cave we had to decide to go further into the stunning wonderland of the underworld or go back. All of us were haven’t had enough of caving yet and decided to go further.  The so called “Wonderland” was worth every step we made. It’s a huge hall were we had to walk barefoot or only with socks because of untouched beauty of the white crystals.

After our adventure in the Crystal Cave we had dirt all over, hiked back to the park facilities and took a refreshing swim in the cool waters of the inland Blue Hole.


Our little friends walking aroundIMG_20140628_210910IMG_1921 IMG_1929 IMG_1939 IMG_1948

Skull at Crystal CaveIMG_1953 IMG_1955 IMG_1961 IMG_1973 IMG_1984 IMG_1990

Magnificent WonderlandIMG_1998 IMG_2010 IMG_2012 IMG_2015 IMG_2018 IMG_2021

Flores and Tikal

We stayed in Flores for a night. Flores is a picturesque town with narrow, cobble-stoned streets, small, brightly painted houses, and surrounded by Lake Petén Itzá. The island is now attached to the mainland by a causeway, but many of the local inhabitants still get around by cayuco, or dugout canoe.

Our next excursion took us to Tikal which lies around 60 km north from Flores (northern Guatemala). The spiritual centre of Tikal boasts the Mayan’s highest pyramids, and abundant flora and fauna in the surrounding jungle. It’s one of the largest archaeological sites and urban centres of the pre-Columbian Maya civilization. The site is part of Guatemala’s Tikal National Park which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979.

The central area, with its five main temples, forms by far the most impressive section. We explored the surrounding and found smaller structures and outlying complexes hidden in the jungle. Temple IV is the highest building at Tikal and the tallest in the entire Maya region.  At 64 m (212 feet) high, it towers over the Peten jungle. Getting to the top of Temple lV was exhausting but the spectacular views of the surrounding jungle canopy compensated the hike.

One night out in Flores (thx for the pic John)DSC07743 DSC07744 IMG_20140627_175537


Entering TikalDSC07759 The view from tempel IVDSC07825

On top of tempel IVDSC07827 DSC07870 DSC07923 DSC07925 DSC07930 DSC07944 DSC07947 DSC08011 On the way down IMG_1786 Weird creature…IMG_1791

The Robster with Eva and meIMG_1818 IMG_1832 IMG_1886 IMG_1890IMG_20140627_175636

Río Dulce

Leaving the beautiful city of Antigua was a nice change of scenery and a long drive to Río Dulce, a small town on Lake Izabal and a port stop for boaters around the globe. Reaching our new home for the next two days we took a small boat across the river and arrived at the Hacienda Tijax – Jungle Lodge & Marina. It’s a lodge in the mangrove forest and everything is only connected via footbridges. Luckily Niels and I had a house with a bathroom ensuite while most of our group had a shared bathroom.

We signed up for a monkey kayak tour which started at 5:30 am the next morning. Its not our favorite time of the day and therefore we were more than unhappy when the guide told us that there are not enough kayaks for all of us. Selfless as I (Eva) am and maybe due to the fact that it was 5:30 am in the morning I sacrificed myself and went back to bed while the rest of the group went kayaking. After 3 more hours of sleep and a very good breakfast the owner of the lodge approached me apologizing and offering a free horseback ride through in the afternoon, which I couldn’t reject. The rest of the day we relaxed in the lodge and explored the surrounding. Arriving at the Jungle Lodge in the eveningDSC07416 The missed monkey kayak tour (Niels was still on it)DSC07477 Our small villaIMG_1696 IMG_1698 Horeback riding and the viewsIMG_1722IMG_1724 … and a short stop for the hanging bridgesIMG_1734 riding through a rubber plantationIMG_1744 … and enjoying the sunsetIMG_1755 IMG_1757 IMG_1762 My horse and me IMG_1765

Lake Atitlán

Chicken busses again, 4 in a row. The first drive was very bumpy through some small villages (each seat filled with at least 3 persons instead of 2), the second one was hilly, the third driver though he is a Formula 1 driver (going down the slops with maximum speed) and the last one nearly fall a sleep while driving. But in the end we reached the shores of Lake Atitlán. Lake Atitlán is one of the most beautiful spots in Guatemala. Twelve native villages, blue-grey mountains and three volcanoes line the shores of this lake resulting in a wonderful combination of unusual natural beauty and traditional culture.

The first night we stayed in Panajachel, which is a relatively modern town with paved streets in its centre and in our opinion only made for tourists. There are streets with only shops and restaurants next to each other. But you get spectacular views of the surrounding volcanoes.

The next day in the afternoon we took a boat to cross the lake for the small town of San Juan la Laguna, which is home to 3000 inhabitants, mostly Mayas. Once more we stayed in the house of a local family to support the Planetera Project (for further informations about that see Ometepe). We walked around the small village and had dinner with the whole family consists of the parents and 3 boys in the age of 15-20. The communication worked with just a few Spanish words and we also learned some words in the Maya language. Unfortunately, they had a big Christian festival going on, which included ridiculously loud fireworks (more bombs than fireworks) and music. No one of our group did sleep a lot this night. On top our room was next to the fire place of t he family, meaning that we smelled like small incenses. However, the family was very nice therefore making our stay an unforgettable experience.

The next morning on our way back to Antigua we had breakfast at a hotel in the hills at the Lake Atitlan with an amazing view over the lake and the surrounding volcanos (Casa del Mundo). Definitely a place one could stay for 5-7 days!


In the afternoon the surrounding is covered in clouds


Our suite in the local houseIMG_20140623_212631 IMG_20140624_080508 IMG_20140624_080522

We forgot to take pictures of the whole family therefore its just us and our host motherIMG_20140624_080700

During rainy season the water level of the lake rises and the houses nearby are flooded

IMG_20140624_081806 IMG_20140624_083819 IMG_20140624_090125

View from the Casa del MundoIMG_20140624_090418 IMG_20140624_095719 IMG_20140624_100255

Impressions of Antigua one of the most beautiful cities in Central America

For the first time in our travel I (Eva) didn’t feel 100% well, therefore I slept the whole time wile travelling from Copán to Antigua and even after we arrived in the hotel.

Once the third largest city in all of Spanish America, Antigua served as Guatemala’s capital city for more than 200 years until it was destroyed by an earthquake in 1773. Modern Antigua is a peaceful, partially restored colonial city that is a pleasure to explore. The architecture of this UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site is beautiful, the surrounding landscape is fascinating,  walking through quiet cobblestone streets is a pleasure as well as relaxing in the many small cafés.

The next day we met the new people for the second half of the tour. The tour size is now 16 and Allie, Hernan and Rafat left us L Enjoying the last evening together on the roof top of our hotel till late in the night was a perfect goodbye (hope to see you soon guys!).

Arch connecting two parts of old Convent, Volcán de Agua in backgroundIMG_1661IMG_1656

La Merced ChurchIMG_1658 IMG_1662 IMG_1663 IMG_1664 IMG_1666 IMG_1667 IMG_1670 IMG_1673 IMG_1676

Relaxing in the courtyard garden of Cafe CondesaIMG_1679

Last lunch with the old groupIMG_20140620_145537

One of the various markets in AntiguaIMG_20140620_154254

German fans all over the place 😉IMG_20140621_113823IMG_20140621_151012IMG_20140621_150049

Ready to hop on the crazy designed chicken busses IMG_20140622_082749 IMG_20140622_083537

Driving by Guatemala CityGuatemala Czty