Update: one month on the road

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Sparky on the beach in Mexico All smiles as the trip begins in Playa del Carmen © Emma Sparks

It’s one month since the big trip started. On-the-road blogging has never been my forte…

So until I find the time to organise my thoughts into presentable snapshots, here’s a brief rundown of the adventure so far.

First stop: Mexico. We flew to Cancun on a bargain flight with Thomas Cook and nipped straight to Playa del Carmen. It’s touristy, as is to be expected, but the beaches were more beautiful than we’d imagined and just a 30-minute walk from the the crazy Quinta Avenida we enjoyed a delicious lunch at El Hongo, an inspiring community cafe which offers free art, music and language classes to local kids. This place is well worth the schlep from town.

Tulum Tourist-friendly Tulum © Emma Sparks

After a day trip to Tulum and an overnight stay at Kore Tulum (for my first ever Hotelegraph review!) we joined our 11-day G Adventures tour back in Playa. This took us to Chichén Itzá, Mérida, Uxmal, Palenque, San Cristóbal de las Casas and into Guatemala. I had reservations about taking a group tour but they were totally unfounded. I loved it! Here’s my review of the Mayan Trail tour.

Lake Atitlan The most beautiful lake on Earth? © Emma Sparks

Our favourite place so far is Guatemala’s Lake Atitlán. Specifically, Anzan House, an Airbnb right on the shore, not far from village of San Marcos. Within 10 minutes of stepping foot onto the property we’d extended our two-night stay by another two nights. It was our first real splurge, but so worth it. Want to practise the art of doing nothing in a hammock? Stay here. Want to swim in a clear lake in the morning and watch lava ooze down the side of a distant volcano at night? Seriously, STAY HERE.

Anzan House Lake Atitlan Waking up to this view is good for the soul © Emma Sparks

After a brief stop in Antigua (where iffy tummies unfortunately prevented any volcano hikes) we embarked on an epic, bum-numbing 14-hour shuttle ride to Lanquín (AKA the arse-end of nowhere) to visit Semuc Champey, a series of freshwater pools that sit on top of the River Cahabon. Obligatory dives and slides complete, we then toured the nearby caves, guided by the light of candles. We finished up with some tubing on the river.

Make the schlep to Semuc Champey for an unforgettable day in the water © Emma Sparks

Another long day on the road took us to Flores, our base for a sunrise trip to Tikal. The ‘sunrise’ was more ‘black sky… grey sky… white sky’ but it was still worth getting up at 2.30am and paying the extra 100 Quetzales to walk with a guide through the jungle in the pitch dark as howler monkeys and other invisible critters began to stir.

Tikal Tikal in the sunshine once the clouds dispersed © Emma Sparks

We’re currently in backpacker town San Ignacio (Belize) – a pitstop before we head to Caye Caulker tomorrow for Christmas. From there, it’s south along the coast and back to Guatemala before we fly to Nicaragua!

Follow me @sparkyseestheworld on Instagram for visual updates!

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