Between Gratitude and Hope on the Lenca Trail: travels into the mountainous west of Honduras

When thinking about indigenous people in Central America, the Maya are usually the ones that come to mind. We had our fair share/overdose of Maya culture in Belize and in Guatemala. Honduras has Maya too – exemplified by the ruins of Copán which we’d visit later in our trip. The most numerous indigenous group in this country, however, are the Lenca. They’re famous for their tenacity and their fluorescent headdresses. A sharp tourism marketing genius dubbed their homeland the Ruta Lenca or Lenca Trail. We were keen to explore those rugged and inhospitable mountains of southwestern Honduras and the string of traditional villages that lies within them. Continue Reading →

Laguna Chicabal, a sacred volcano lake, or: How I Learned to Stop Being Impatience and Love the Slowness

The evening before our trip to Laguna Chicabal, we watched a cartoon called Zootopia. Don’t judge! When spending all day going to Spanish classes and trying to cram as many irregular verbs in your head as possible, we all need time to cool down our slowly sautéed brains. For those less educated in animated films, Zootopia is about Judy Hobbs, a rabbit from Bunnyburrow who tries to make it as a police detective in the big city.

Assigned a case about a dozen missing predators, Hobbs and her unlikely partner Nick Wilde, a red fox, head to the Department of Mammal Vehicles to have a plate run. Alas, the department is staffed entirely by three-toed slots which are stamping and stapling forms at a speed that would make the latter Pope John Paul II cringe. It’s easily the best scene of the film, and I laughed my head off. But Anete, as ever more prescient, asked: “Would you be laughing if it happened to you? Continue Reading →

Ruta de las Flores, El Salvador: an explosion of colours

If we ask you what you know about El Salvador, what do you answer?

If you’ve never visited the smallest country in Central America, you’ll plausibly talk about bloody turf wars between gangs. Tattooed street thugs who first slice a machete between their brother’s ribs and then go pray for forgiveness in the nearest church. Drug deals in chicken restaurants and drive-by shootings in the broad daylight.

But if you’ve actually been to El Salvador, you’ll talk differently. You probably can’t shut up about the cosy villages with cobblestones, cute little churches and fountains on squares, foodie festivals, delicious coffee and flowers, flowers, flowers. Continue Reading →

7 Things to do in and around Cobán, Guatemala – coffee, crocodiles and orchids

For most backpackers, Cobán is no more than a stopover on their way from the Guatemalan highlands to Semuc Champey, Tikal or Rio Dulce. But it’s not the worst place to stay for a couple of days. The capital of Alta Verapaz was our first proper stop in Central America with a slightly bigger city feel – sorry, Belize City, you don’t really qualify. We breathed in the cold mountain air and ended up staying for a week. These are our favourite things to do in Cobán. Continue Reading →

Alegría, El Salvador: The road to happiness leads through hell

I know that most travel blogs are just a glorification of all things travel. And I understand. Travel is magical, most of the time. Besides, no one really cares about the time you spent on a bus to get to that picture-perfect waterfall. Yes, it’s annoying when the bus is four hours late and when you’re squeezed between a box of chickens and a man with a body odour that’s considered a biological weapon by the United Nations. But just don’t go on about it. You’re not in the office sweating over some report that has to be filed by noon. You’re not hungry. You’re a privileged fucker on his way to a picture-perfect waterfall. So just accept it and shut up about it – the bus, the chickens, the body odour. If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen. Continue Reading →