WHERE IN THE WORLD IS ERIN? (you can zoom in!!!)

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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Pics and whatnot...

Okay, so because it would take about 10 years to upload all the pics from our trip so far, I am giving you all a few links to view my albums on line. Here they are, enjoy!

Guatemala - http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=143896&id=517421794&l=49aaff1b5b

Belize, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua:


Nicaragua & Costa Rica

Costa Rica and some of Panama

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Bocas Del Toro, Panama

This is the most amazing place for surf. I have never been on such a beautiful wave in my life. It was a bit scary at first, because it is a reef break, and this was the first time ever surfing a reef. We have to hire a local boat to take us out, and the just stop outside the break and dump you off in the water, then they come back a few hours later and pick you back up.  We are staying at a hostel called Mondo Taitu, very cool vibe there. The people are all amazing, and the hostel has one of the most popular bars in it, so its always busy, and there are a lot of people from all over the world. Add the free pancake breakfast and internet, and it is easily one of the better hostels around. Despite the laid back, mellow atmosphere here, crossing the border was anything but. I couldnt believe it! You walk across this old rickety bridge into Panama, and there is a little border office there, but they tell you that you need a return ticket from panama to somewhere else before they stamp your passport. The lame thing is, is that even if you have an onward ticket proving you are leaving the country, unless it lists Panama City as the departure point, they wont accept it. They sell one way bus tickets that will never be used  to every tourist entering the country for $12.  Luckily, I had my ¨fake¨flight itinerary that I made with me, and by chance it actually listed panama city as a departure, so we didnt have to pay. But what a joke.

Monday, March 22, 2010

And so then....

Ok, so where did I leave off? Ah, yes, Flores. After meeting up with Steve and Travis in Flores, Guatemala, the 5 of us (Owen, Morten, the other 2 guys and myself) we decided to go check out the ancient Mayan ruins of Tikal. We were told that if we went after 3 pm then we could get in that evening, spend the night in the park then have the next day as well all for the price of one days admission. We were sold! We all piled into a shuttle bound for Tikal. Tikal is simply amazing. We made it with plenty of time to explore the main temple complex and watch the sunset while being litterally the only people in the park. This was also my first experience with Howler Monkeys. That night we camped at the Jaguar Inn and rose early at 5 am to watch the sunrise from the Jaguar Temple...very cool, and we were the very first people in the park!

Happy with our group, we all decided to travel together to Caye Caulker, Belize, a beautiful little island in the Carribean. While there we took a boat trip and went snorkelling with huge sea turtles, ate great food and watched beautiful sunsets...paradise. From there we all split up. Steve and Travis decided to head north to Mexico, Owen to El Salvador and myself to the Bay Islands of Honduras for a few days before meeting back up with Owen in El Salvador. In El Salvador we camped in a little place called El Tunco, which is home to a beautiful point break which provided some of the best surf of the trip so far.
Despite the nice waves, the small town was starting to get boring so we hopped on a bus bound for Leon, Nicaragua and headed straight for our hostel: Via Via. When we arrived, we were greeted by our friend Morten who was also staying at the same hostel. We invited Morten to continue travelling with us. While we were in Leon, we were drinking the local rum: Flor De Cana , which is actually really good, and decided that we would like to visit the factory, so the next day the three of us, plus two french guys: Christoph and Bertraud, who were also staying at our hostel, decided to hop a crazy chicken bus and find the factory... which after about an hours ride and a short walk through a random small town, we actually succeeded in locating. Unfortunately though, they wouldnt let us in, so back on the bus and back to Leon we
went. From Leon the three of us travelled south to Granada where we met up with my cousin Kelly and her boyfriend. From there we were picked up by my Aunt Shelly and taken to her home in Rivas. Staying with Shelly was great. It was nice to eat some canadian food ( she cooked us christmas dinner!) and visit with some family after 6 months of being without both. We also had a lot of fun with Shelly, going full moon fishing in San Juan del Sur, swimming, and having a tour of her property.

From Rivas we hopped a bus bound for Costa Rica. First stop- Santa Teresa. We had been told that this was THE place to go. Upon our arrival we realized that it was infact the place for every Costa Rica bound tourist who wanted to try surfing. It felt like spring break in Cancun, with prices to match. The only plus side to Sta. Teresa was that the surf was amazing and we met a really cool Swedish couple, Marc and Johanna. Just 40 minutes from Sta. Teresa is Montezuma. Montezuma is a cool place. Very laid back, very tranquilo. That's where we ended up after a couple of days amongst the tourist crowds of Sta. Teresa. We were met there by the swedes, making us a grand crew of 5. This unfortunately was Morten's last stop with us before having to head back up north to Mexico from where his Norway bound flight leaves. We all made the best of this last nit of time togethet. We went swimming in a beautiful waterfall, spent the day at the beach bodysurfing, had a
nice dinner and watched a movie. We all caught the ferry to the mainland together and said goodbye to Morten the Viking, with whom we had been travelling with for two months... It was sad to see him go.

With Morten on a bus for Mexico, Owen, myself and the Swedes all headed for Monteverde, high in the mountains of Costa Rica. Monteverde is home to the beautiful cloud forests, which are actually very reminicent of our west coast rainforests in Canada, and surprisingly, the climate was not much different either, which was a nice break after the 45 degrees we encountered on the coast.

We are now in Panama in Bocas Del Toro, an island archipeligo on the Carribean coast . The Swedes are here too. Its raining and there is no surf, so, we are going to leave the Swedes and head for the pacific coast.

Thats our last six months in a nutshell. Sorry to leave out the interesting details, but otherwise id be here typing this forever. I promise more frequent ( and interesting) updates.

Ps. I will post pics when i find a real computer :)

Check out my blog: www.erin-owen.blogspot.com

Friday, March 5, 2010

Well, we finally left Mexico....can you believe it?

I am really really bad at this whole blog thing....its really hard to find / make the time to track down a computer that will actually allow me to update this site, so I do appologize for the lack of current happenings. Nonetheless, I will attempt to share our going ons with much more frequency in the future.

So, we left mexico....it only took us 4 months, but we actually managed to leave the lovely place that I could easily call home. We made a direct dash for the Guatemalan border leaving Melaque by bus. We took 2 days to go direct to Puerto Escondido, where we spent the night to sleep and shower before continuing from Pt.Esc. to the Guatemalan border. The total trip time from Melaque to Antigua came up at around 50 hours... which isn't that bad considering the distance.  We arrived in Antigua where we stayed for a day before going to the coast for a surf camp called El Paredon. Apparently El Paredon has the best break in Guatemala....it was alright, but definately not something special. The camp is located on an island, and you have to get there by boat from Sipicate. It is really secluded. The people there are antisocial, and there are no grocery stores...so the fact that the food at the camp was probably some of the worst I've encountered ever, was not a good thing. Anyone going to this camp should seriously consider bringing their own food supply. On the plus side, while we were in El Paredon, we met up with an  American named Steve, and two Norwegians: Morten and Jonas, with whom we would continue to travel with throughout Guatemala.

From El Paredon we went back to Antigua. We spent 3 days there. We stayed at a hostel called the Black Cat, which was a really good value, and included a free breakfast. Antigua is a really cool old colonial town. The food there is really really good, and there is a decent night life....there are also a lot of travellers there, so its really easy to meet people. While we were in Antigua, Owen and I decided to go to hike Volcan Pacaya, an active volcano just an hour and a half from Antigua. The volcano is really neat....its a long hike, about 5km, but is really worth it. The trail is really sketchy...infact, it really is nonexistant once you reach the base of the volacano, so hiking up the volcano through the lava fields is a bit tricky, and definately would not be allowed if located in Canada or the US....it really could be dangerous, but that is what made it fun. We hiked up to the top where you could watch the lava pumping out of the volcano. You could feel the lava moving under the rocks we were walking on, and if we weren't careful where we walked, our shoes would actually start to melt.

From Antigua, Owen and I decided to meet up with Morten (the Viking)  in Lanquin, a small mountain town outside of Coban, which has a series of caves, and the amazing Semuc Champey river pools. The journey from Antigua to Lanquin took us 7 hours by shuttle through the mountains...it was a very beautiful journey. Once in Lanquin we went to El Retiro Lodge, an eco hostel run by the local mayan indians. It was really nice, with all you could eat dinners....and good prices for tours. We stayed for 35Quetzales each, which works out to less than $5 a day.  Our first day in Lanquin, we went to Semuc Champey and the caves. The caves are really cool, but you must have a guide to go in them. The caves go on for about 15km into the mountain. We only went about 1 km deep, but that was enough. The caves are formed by an underground river system, so as you can imagine, we had to swim through them...it was amazing. Swimming under the ground, in caves, with waterfalls and pools...by candlelight. It was one of the coolest things I have ever done. After the caves, we tubed down the river, then hiked another 2km or so to Semuc Champey, a series of clear blue pools formed by the underground river. The water is unlike anything you have ever seen, clean & clear....
From Lanquin, Owen, Morten and I took a shuttle to Flores to check out Tikal, and were met later that night by Steve and his friend Travis. We stayed at the Los Amigos Hostel in Flores, and were able to rent hammock space for $2 a night. The food at the hostel was really good, boasting the only all vegetarian menu in Flores, which was especially nice for me, after eating nothing but rice and beans for the last little while.  oh shoot....computer time is up...i have to continue next time...anyhow...right now we are in Nicaragua, will fill you in on the in betweens next post.
Lots of love to everyone!!!