We left for a trip around the world in the middle of August 2016. From Canada, where we lived, we flew to Mexico to start the trip.
In these monthly recaps, we will write about all the highlights and low points, best places we’ve visited and places that made us say “why did we come here?”
In 1,5 months we traveled from Mexico City through Mexico, Guatemala and to El Salvador.
Travelled: 2776 km
Spent: 22 days in Mexico, 28 days in Guatemala
Average spent per day per person: 25 USD (23 EUR) in Mexico, 37 USD (34 EUR) in Guatemala
Slept in: 5 beds in Mexico, 9 beds in Guatemala
- 1 plane (from Mexico City to Puerto Escondido),
- 10 buses + chicken buses,
- 1 pickup truck,
- 4 boats (border crossing from Mexico to Guatemala and across the Lake Atitlan),
- tuk-tuk (countless rides in Guatemala)
- 3 bike rides (Mexico City and Chiapas mountains)
Mayan ruins visited: 3 (Mexico & Guatemala)
Volcanoes hiked: 2 (Guatemala)
Learning to surf in Puerto Escondido, Mexico
Since Michal was recovering from twisted ankle, I couldn’t help myself watching people learn to surf and had to learn it myself. It was a huge success. I had the best teacher (and masseur) I could have asked for. How the experience went? You can read the post: Learning to surf in Puerto Escondido, Mexico
A little note: I don’t have any pictures of myself surfing. Michal thought it was a good idea to take pictures from a stand-up paddle board he rented but had some balancing issues with the waves.
Mountain biking trip in Chiapas, Mexico
After visiting beaches and ruins, we were excited to visit mountains of Chiapas state. It wasn’t easy but we found a guide in San Cristobal de las Casas and went mountain biking. It was a full day trip, we saw many goats, waterfalls and a lot of children waving at us as we passed.
Visiting Mayan ruins in the jungle in Tikal, Guatemala
It was a real jungle trek. After seeing many Mayan ruins in Mexico which were basically built on a flat ground, Tikal ruins are quite hilly. I had no idea and I was wearing a skirt – whoops.
Caving and cliff diving in Semuc Champey, Guatemala
The day we visited the turquoise pools in the jungle in Semuc Champey was adrenaline packed! It started with the drive on the back of a pickup truck, walking in the cave with just a candle in hand and jumping from the rock into a dark pool, swinging from the shore to the river, jumping off a bridge into river, hiking to the viewpoint of the pools and then swimming in every pool publicly accessible.
Learning Spanish and staying with local Mayan family at Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
My dream to learn Spanish finally came true. We went to school for 2 weeks while staying with local family and communicating in Spanish. Studies still continue on our own but now we can talk to people with the very little use of English.
Hiking the highest mountain in Central America – Tajumulco volcano in Guatemala
This trip was my birthday present. Guatemala (and Central America in general) is a land of volcanoes. So I came up with an idea to hike the highest volcano. It was challenging and rewarding.
Want to see more pictures and how the hike went? Read the post Hiking Tajumulco volcano, the highest mountain in Central America
Being robbed on a chicken bus in Guatemala
I’ve read many stories about robberies on chicken buses. How they happened and what to do to prevent them. We did it all – hid the money in different places, had all the important things on the lap in a theft-proof bag. But some fuckers still cut through it and stole the wallet. At least it was the least important wallet we had. I hope the person who did it will lose his hands while spending our money.
Had to skip Oaxaca in Mexico and Belize
There was a teacher’s strike in Oaxaca and all the major roads were blocked. So we had to skip this city and flew straight to the Pacific coast, to Puerto Escondido
And after a lot of research, we decided to skip visiting Belize. It doesn’t have anything else that other countries don’t have and it is ridiculously expensive.
At the end of the 2nd month, we were in El Salvador. The country that has been skipped by many travelers because of the safety issues. Don’t miss out on our recap of month 3 to tell you how we traveled through El Salvador.
Read our recap of Month 3
I love that as a Canadian, you had such an authentic experience….most of us are known to embrace the resort life along the mayan Riviera or soak it up in PV. This looks like an incredible experience, and the day in Semuc Champey looks like heaven!
Thanks Amy, we are not Canadians but we’ve met some Canadians outside the resorts, too 😉
What a great way to start your world travel. I’ve always wanted to go to Mexico and South America. The landscapes you’ve posted are beautiful!
Thanks for reading Jing. Hope you will get to the countries you want to visit.
That’s an amazingly great trip you are on! Love the surfing in Puerto Escondido. Never thought about surfing in Mexico before! But the place I am putting on my bucket list is Semuc Champey, it’s very beautiful but unique at the same time.
Thanks Nancy! Semuc Champey was the highlight of Guatemala. Definitely worth the journey to get there.
That is a long distance to cover…an unforgettable trip! And such varied experiences on the way too. Mexico is really fascinating.
Mexico is a huge country, we will come back for sure.
I’ve been to Mexico seven times already but haven’t made it to Puerto Escondido! It’s usually so crowded during the times when I’m there, but next time! I promise!
It’s a very popular destination. August was very hot but less crowded.
Wow, what a crazy ride. You certainly got around and I really enjoyed your photos as well. It’s cool that you broke down the different ways you travelled around, certainly good to consider when planning your own trip.
I’m glad you liked the pictures and find the post helpful.
This is such an inspiring post! I would love to do a RTW trip one day, and these posts will definitely inspire me! Mexico and Guatemala seem like beautiful and amazing countries to visit! Thanks for sharing 🙂
Thanks so much Emma, I’m glad you liked it. Happy travels!
We are headed to Mexico next month and mountain biking is top of the list. We’re also hoping to get to Guatemala so thanks for the info. Might avoid the chicken busses!
I’m posting about mountain biking in Chiapas very soon, stay tuned 🙂 We took so many chicken buses in Guatemala, and was robbed on the last one – bad luck. It’s the cheapest way to get around, just have to be very very very careful about your belongings and constantly checking the bags.
I lived in Mexico for a year but up in the Yucatan and loved it the people are just fantastic. Did not get a chance to travel the route you did but had many friends in Mexico who had done it and loved it. Lots from Belize as well, and like you they found Belize crazy expensive and very dangerous – lots of robberies, muggings and thefts down that way.
I bet you had fun in Yucatan, we certainly did when we visited few years ago. After reading so many stories from people who visited Belize, I don’t regret we skipped it.
What a fascinating recap of your incredible journey. I am particularly interested in the Mayan ruins and the Mayan culture.
For that I would recommend visiting Tikal in Guatemala. Huge Mayan city with many temples still covered in the jungle.
Thanks for presenting us Mexico in best possible way. The content and the pictures are awesome and most important informative.
Thank you, I’m glad you find it helpful.
DO you have any information for someone thinking of doing a RTW trip? How you decided where to go, how it works, and the overall planning to execution process
I made a wallpaper of all the places I would like to see months before the trip and started planning according to that. I found this article to be very helpful, check it out: http://www.bootsnall.com/articles/10-03/round-the-world-tips-planning-resources.html
Yeah, “balancing issues with the waves” – I typically leave all electronics safely on shore when I venture out!
We were using waterproof go pro camera so no issues there.
Ah that makes sense Maya. That’s outside our realm of gadgets at the moment 🙂
Hi there, I’m planning to travel around the world with my friend and we find your website very helpful. Could you tell me more about staying with local Mayan family ? How did you find them? …etc
Hi Sarah, I’m glad it’s useful to you. When we enrolled in school for Spanish lessons in Lake Atitlan, the school offered us to stay with local family to enhance our learning experience. I would definitely recommend this option over staying in hostel. It’s common practice and many Spanish schools offer this option.