Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Lauder Culture Quest Central America

I just completed in an Amazing Race through Central America. Seven countries in two weeks (Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama). This was a Lauder Culture Quest - and actually was 1 credit towards my MA degree. There were 12 teams of 4 students each, and we actually came in 1st place. We were the Mormon Team - officially the Stripling Whartons!! It was a great 2 weeks - but completely exhausting.

Fly into Belize - bus to Tikal Guatemala Ruins
Tikal ruins - Flores, then overnight bus to Guatemala City
Antigua, Guatemala (hiking a volcano)
Bus from Guat City to El Salvador - El Lago de Coatapeque - a volcano lake in El Salvador
The lake to San Salvador - cruising the capital city & seeing the temple
Overnight bus from San Salvador through Honduras to Nicuragua
Beach hotel near Leon, Nicuragua (Volcano Sand boarding and surfing in the pacific)
Travel from Leon to Granada - one of the coolest towns ever.
Granada to Lake Nicuragua and Omotepe Island (we rented scooters for the day and cruised around the island)
Rivas, Nicuragua to San Jose, Costa Rica (this turned out to be an overnight bus after we waited for 4 hours for the bus, and then it broke down somewhere in Costa Rica).
San Jose, Costa Rica - cruising the city, pool party with Lauder alum, chatting with locals, and ziplining on a canopy tour
Overnight bus from Costa Rica to Panama City - tour of the Panama Canal and walking around Casco Viejo

Some of the trip highlights:

Sandboarding down volcanos, zip-lining through jungles, surfing the Pacific ocean, exploring volcanic islands by motorbike, VIP tour of the Panama Canal expansion!