Paraty was a nice little town to spend our last couple of days. We managed to get there in two long drive days so we had a free day before we had to clean the truck. The cleaning didn't take too long and we spent the afternoon on a boat cruise.
Next day we drove to Rio, said goodbye to the truck and moved all our stuff out of it. I had one full day in Rio and it was a busy one. I went with a couple of others to see the Christ the Redeemer statue. It was soo busy. There was a three hour wait for the train which we didn't have time for so we took a van up then walked half an hour to the statue. It was huge and kinda impressive but I can't really understand the 7 wonder status. Definitely something that had to be done though.
We got back to the hotel in time to get dressed and meet the rest of the group to catch the subway to Copacabana Beach, our New Years Eve destination. The beach was packed! We got there early enough to secure a little area bur leaving the area was very difficult, you had to fight through the crowd to get anywhere, it took an hour to go to the toilet and back. In all it was fun to hang out with every one and a great way to spend new year but it was too crowded and the music wasn't great. Maybe that's why it's a once in a lifetime experience, only once. The fireworks display at midnight was amazing and huge, some like I've never seen before. We didn't make it to the dawn swim as it started raining at about 4 and we packed it in. Leaving at that time meant I got a couple of hours sleep before heading to the airport to catch my plane to Cancun. It's very sad to say goodbye to everyone after 15 weeks together.
After my flight to Cancun via Panama airport I got a transfer to Playa del Carmen, checked in to the hotel where I met my first new group member, and got some sleep before meeting the others in the morning.
This group is very different from the last, a lot of Aussies again but no English. Only four guys in the whole group of fifteen, and quite a few younger people with no one much older than me.
That first day we went to Tulum, a small Mayan ruin set on the beach front. After looking around the site we spent some time on the beach before heading back in to Playa where we went out for dinner and to a very cool bar called Alux. The bar was actually in a cave, a real proper set of caves with stalactites and stalagmites everywhere and little areas all through where you could sit with a drink. I wish I had my camera with me to take pictures.
Next day was a travel day, Playa to Caye Caulker in Belize. The first leg was fine, an air conditioned comfortable bus. Then we switched to an old school bus which was ok to start with, until we'd crossed the border and started picking up more and more people. It was pretty packed, not at all comfortable but I'm expecting a lot of similar journeys here.
Cayer Caulker is a beautiful little island. So laid back and tropical and so small you can walk anywhere. Today the whole group went on a snorkelling trip to the reef where we stopped in three spots, one where we got to swim with some sharks and rays, and another with a few turtles. There were heaps of bright colourful fish of all sizes. The trip was on a yacht so at the end of the day we sailed back. Tomorrow I've booked on my own to go to on a manatee trip. The trip goes to a reserve so we are pretty much guaranteed to see them and there are a few snorkel stops on the way back. Can't wait to see manatees!
Had a great day manatee watching and snorkelling. Tomorrow on to San Ignacio.