Gippsland Travel Centre Pty. Ltd.

Reflections on Central  America by Jacquey Turner


In late April, I was so excited to set off with a group of intrepid travellers to explore four of the most diverse countries in Central America. This trip was originally planned for April 2020 so was long anticipated!

First stop was the large, fascinating country of Mexico, travelling north, before spending time in Mexico City, central Mexico and, finally, the Yucatan Peninsula. Every area had a different feel and culture. In the north we stayed at Chihuahua, getting its name from the wild dogs that came from this area. A visit to a local Mennonite community was unexpected and most interesting, which preceded a train trip on the very comfortable Chepe Express through remote countryside and villages. Mexico City was busy with visits to the amazing Anthropological Museum, the ancient Mayan site of Tetihuocan and a cruise along canals where market gardens still flourish. Our journey through central Mexico and the Yucatan Peninsula included more famous Mayan sites including Chichen Itza and Palenque, a lovely morning cruise viewing flamingoes, snorkeling with turtles in the Caribbean and, of course, enjoying great Mexican food.

From Mexico, we flew to Panama-home of the Panama Canal. Our visit to the locks was most interesting. We also cruised on a section of the canal and encountered our first sloth. A visit to a local Indian community was a great contrast to the modernity of Panama City.

Guatemala was next where life today is much as it has been for many generations. This small country is packed with lakes, volcanoes and beautiful colonial towns. We made the most of our time there experiencing plenty of local culture including extraordinary religious customs and busy, bustling local markets.

The last country on our tour was Costa Rica, another small country with so much to offer. For us, the highlight was the varied and beautiful wildlife – birds, monkeys, caiman and, of course, the sloth. Plenty of volcanoes kept the scenery interesting and we enjoyed a good walk over the lava flow of Arenal Volcano and though the crater of Irazu Volcano.

Sadly, our adventure had to come to an end but, due to a missed connection because of bad weather, an unexpected bonus was a day in Houston with a visit to the NASA Museum, which was great fun!

If you are looking for somewhere a little different, Central America is well worth considering. Gippsland Travel can help you plan a personalised itinerary or you could join a tour. The flights between all our destinations went like clockwork, we enjoyed some wonderful local cuisine and it was a true journey of discovery and participation.