Category Archives: CENTRAL AMERICA

Panama

Last January, the need to escape the dreary Canadian winter was much stronger than in previous years as 2013 had been a particularly rough patch in my life.  I had gone through a separation and my holiday season had been overshadowed by family health concerns.  By the time the New Year rolled in, I had finally emerged from a couple of months of dark solitude and all I wanted was some space to regroup, clear my head and spend some quality time by myself.  While I normally preferred more off-the-grid adventure travel, I recalled loving the all inclusive resort I visited in Costa Rica, so when my travel agent suggested Panama, I jumped on a plane and left the cold behind.

"Golden Dust" - Santa Clara, Panama

“Golden Dust” – Santa Clara, Panama

The next week turned into a self made retreat.  I meditated and did yoga on my balcony each morning, ate platefuls of fresh fruit, vegetables and fish, went for long runs along the beach, and read and wrote my heart out.  I also went on a day trip to El Valle de Anton, a small Panamanian village nestled on the site of an extinct volcano.  In the valley I visited the peaceful, rustic El “Nispero” zoo, home to an impressive biodiversity of species and a beautiful collection of birds.  I also hiked through the local rainforest to the Chorro del Macho volcanic waterfalls and relaxed in the natural hot springs.

However, I was really looking forward to the second excursion  – a partial transit of the Panama Canal.

"Higher Cause", Panama Canal

“Higher Cause”, Panama Canal

I spent the day drifting along the canal and experienced crossing through two one hundred year lock systems: Miraflores and Pedro Miguel.  The Panama Port operation was quite impressive and it was pretty amazing to see how quickly the chambers filled.  To learn that over 25,000 workers died during the canal’s construction was pretty shocking, and to me the canal felt more of a cold, industrial traverse than a wonder of the world.

"Afterglow" - Pedro Miguel lock, Panama Canal

“Afterglow” – Pedro Miguel lock, Panama Canal

This inspired me to play around with the contrast and saturation in the photos I captured, attempting to bring out some of the darkness and sickness that plagued the canal’s history.

"Breakthrough" - Panama Canal

“Breakthrough” – Panama Canal

Panama was a fascinating place to visit.  My soul healed in the beauty of its rainforests, and I loved learning about the unique history of the country.  Driving through Panama City on the way back to the airport, the twisting sky scrapers loomed over me. The Dubai-like architecture reminder that even though this city is very much in the international spotlight, I will always remember the quieter moments that I shared with this country on my little wooden perch on the beach.

"100" - Miraflores lock, Panama Canal "Enter, friend" - Miraflores lock, Panama Canal

Have you traveled to Panama?  What did you think, and where did you go?  I would love to go back some day!

Costa Rica

I have always wanted to go surfing in Costa Rica – so when I saw some photos of Barcelo Langosta Beach – an all inclusive resort – I thought it was the perfect place to go for our honeymoon.  Adventure for me and a relaxing vacation for my husband.

Costa Rica was beautiful and I found it interesting how different this country was from Belize or Guatemala.  I felt a certain peace in the land as we drove through all the small towns and lush countryside.  Perhaps it’s because they abolished their army in 1948, and have since used these funds to strengthen their educational system.  I found out that Costa Rica has approximately a 97% literacy rate and every town we drove through had a school.  Amazing.

Our hotel was fairly off the beaten track, and I felt as though I was living in the middle of a rainforest.  The food was delicious – the best I have had at any all-inclusive – and I particularly enjoyed exploring the beach, which was filled with volcanic rock.  We also hiked along tree top bridges through the Monteverde Cloud Forest, went ziplining and horseback riding, relaxed in a volcanic spa and I finally learned to surf – totally awesome.  You can read my review “Honeymoon in Costa Rica” here .  I can totally understand why so many Canadians buy property in Costa Rica – I can’t wait to go back.

Barcelo Langosta Beach, Tamarindo

Surf’s Up – Barcelo Langosta Beach

Barcelo Langosta Beach, Tamarindo

Among The Tides – Barcelo Langosta Beach

Barcelo Langosta Beach, Tamarindo

Nothing Is Trivial – Barcelo Langosta Beach

Barcelo Langosta Beach, Tamarindo

Under The Sea – Barcelo Langosta Beach

Selvatura Park, Monteverde Cloud Forest

Into The Abyss – Selvatura Park, Monteverde

Hummingbird Garden, Selvatura Park, Monteverde

Sip – Hummingbird Garden, Selvatura Park, Monteverde

Monteverde, Costa Rica

Costa Rican Coffee – Monteverde, Costa Rica

Monteverde, Costa Rica

Lime Seabass – Monteverde, Costa Rica

Monteverde, Costa Rica

Fresh Mango Juice & Onion Soup – Monteverde, Costa Rica

Barcelo Langosta Beach, Tamarindo

Upon Us – Barcelo Langosta Beach, Tamarindo

Barcelo Langosta Beach, Tamarindo

The Clearing – Barcelo Langosta Beach

Barcelo Langosta Beach, Tamarindo

I Will Not Walk Alone – Barcelo Langosta Beach

Guatemala and Belize

The first trip I really took on my own was to Belize and Guatemala with GAP Adventures – and it was, indeed, an amazing adventure.  From ziplining through the jungle to camping along the Belize River; swimming with sharks and stingrays to wandering the quiet streets of Flores – every day was a new adventure.   The highlight for me was exploring Tikal and swimming through the ATM cave, it was fascinating and creepy to be amongst Mayan ruins and seeing the remains of their sacrifices.  Despite all this excitement however, we were also privileged to be invited into a local person’s home for some fresh chicken and also ate homemade conch stew along the beach in Caye Caulker.

Flores, Guatemala

Flores, Guatemala

Universal - Flores, Guatemala

Universal – Flores, Guatemala

Tikal, Guatemala

Tikal, Guatemala

Home - San Jose, Guatemala

Home – San Jose, Guatemala

 

Follow - San Jose, Guatemala

Follow – San Jose, Guatemala

Flutter - Trek Stop, San Ignatio, Belize

Flutter – Trek Stop, San Ignatio, Belize

Belize River

Belize River

Sacrifice - ATM Cave, San Ignatio, Belize

Sacrifice – ATM Cave, San Ignatio, Belize

Snorkeling in Caye Caulker

Snorkeling in Caye Caulker

At Sea - Caye Caulker, Belize

At Sea – Caye Caulker, Belize

Hawaiian Pizza...with Hot Sauce - Caye Caulker, Belize

Hawaiian Pizza…with Hot Sauce – Caye Caulker, Belize