Sunday, February 14, 2016
Road Trip !
My contract with ELI here in Leon finishes on March 5th. I have given my notice that I will not be renewing and was given a very nice "thank you and you are always welcome to come back" by the Director of the school. That bridge is sturdy.
I need to arrive in Tehuacán, Mexico on Wednesday, May 4th as that is the expected arrival date at the Heslington Language Centre. Training is on May 5th and 6th then I have the weekend to explore (try the food and tequila) and finally my first day teaching in Monday May 9th.
That means its Its road trip time! Well bus trip time. I will have 7 weeks to travel 1950 km as the proverbial crow flies however this crow is going to be flying crooked. My CA-4 visa expires on March 22nd. A CA-4 visa is a 90 day tourist visa issued at the country of origin. It is a free travel zone in Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador for nationals of those countries. Tourists have to leave the zone after 90 days to renew which means Costa Rica, Belize or Mexico. You do get one opportunity to renew internally which I did in Managua on December 22nd. It's looking like Belize for me.
Now it is time to put some serious effort into planning. One route that has me interested in the boat trip from Potosi, Nicaragua to La Union El Salvador across the Strait of Forseca. Here is a link to a company that gives you and idea of the route, but I will do it on my own and save some serious Cordobas. From La Union I will head to San Miguel for a few days then off to Suchitoto. I was in Suchitoto about 4 years ago. The reason I want to go back is that there is a jungle tour that is lead by a former guerrilla fighter. You ride horseback through the jungle with the guide explains the route and how they fought in these jungles against government (American backed ) forces during the Civil War.
Checking for accommodations in San Miguel I came across this little tidbit. I best be staying away from the many "motels" as advised.
San Miguel Hostels
The cheapest places to stay are by the bus terminal. The larger hotels are on Av Roosevelt, but stay away from the many 'motels', which charge by the hour.
I will only have about a week to get to Belize so I have to be careful not to get sick tracked to badly. Suchitoto might be a challenge as will be Antigua. There are a few friends that are still there from when I worked with Global Vision plus Volcan Fuego is acting up. I would love to climb Volcan Acatanango and have that great view of Fuego. I think I am going to leave QT on Sunday March 6th. This will give me a week to visit a few places in Nicaragua, particularly Somoto Canyon.
Leon Nicaragua to San Miguel El Salvador via Potosi
Suchitito El Salvador to Antigua Guatemala
Antigua Guatemala to to San Ignacio Belize
San Ignatio to Belize City
Belize City to Caye Caulker
*3 weeks in Belize touring around*
San Ignatio to Flores
2 Treks while in Flores
- El Mirador
Flores to Palenque
Palenque to San Cristobal De Las Casas
San Cristobal De Las Casas to Oaxaca (we-HAH-ka)
Oaxaca to Tehuacan
That will be 5 countries in about 7 weeks. Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Belize and Mexico. Poor Honduras, such a fantastic country but always left out. The only new country for me will be Belize. I have been to resorts in Mexico. I am going to consider Mexico a new country since I will be traveling and not sitting on some all inclusive beach chair that resembles the same all inclusive beach chair, on every Caribbean coastline of every Caribbean country.
Now its just a few small things to work out. Transportation, accommodation, currency exchanges, food, border crossings, trekking and guide hires, snorkel rentals, and other such mundane details.
Toss in, Cordobas, US Dollars, Quetzalles, Belize Dollars and Pesos and you have a nice mixture of adventure, nervousness and possible language mix ups with my attempted Spanish .Add to the mix Easter which runs March 20 to 27th. Here it is Semana Santa and it is chaos in a religious "we need to celebrate and have a parade every day" kind of way.
I would not have it any other way.