The Best and the Rest
Trip Start Jul 21, 2009
147Trip End Apr 28, 2010
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Best Beach (Caribbean): Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Best Beach (Pacific): Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica
Best Beach Town (Pacific): San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua
Best Food: Street tacos in Mexico, with pineapple. Also: Lobster on the beach in Caye Caulker, Belize, and Rio (Brazil) in general.
Worst Food: Octopus Ice Cream, Merida, Venezuela.
Best (Non-Alcoholic) Drinks: Liquados. Particularly in Guatemala.
Best (Alcoholic) Drinks: On the beach in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua.
1-in-a-million occurrence: Coldplay concert in Buenos Aires
Most Inaccurate Tour Description: Santiaguito Volcano hike, Guatemala. (Runner Up: the "swimming hole" in San Gil, Colombia)
Places that most exceeded expectations: Soccer games (Azteca and Honduras), Playa del Carmen, Los Llanos (Venezuela), Pacaya volcano hike in Guatemala, Iguassu Falls (Brazil and Argentina)
Best Wildlife Encounter: Penguins and Whales, Antarctica. (2nd Place: Sea Turtles, San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua) (Runners Up: Squids while diving in Utila, Honduras. Leopard tracks on Santiaguito Volcano, Guatemala. Anacondas in Los Llanos.)
Best Accommodation: Hippodrome Hotel, Mexico City. (Runner Up Cayo Zappolito, Bocas del Toro, Panama)
Most Unique Accommodation: Staying in a strangers house (Salento, Colombia). On a hammock on a riverboat (Manaus to Porto Vehlo, Brazil). With the family in the Darien, Panama.
Least Sanitary Accommodation: Family stay, in the Amazon rain forest, outside Manaus, Brazil.
Accommodation with a View: Hostel Favelinha, Rio, Brazil
Buggiest Location: Pantanal, Brazil (the last day). (Runners Up: Playa del Carmen, Mexico and the Darien, Panama)
Muddiest Location: Darien, Panama
Best Ruin: Tikal, Guatemala
Best National Park: Torres del Paine, Chile
Best Sporting Event: US-Honduras soccer game
Friendliest People: Colombia, followed closely by Panama
Worst Touts: Salvador, Brazil
Best City: Medillin, Colombia. (Runners Up: the Old Town area of Cartagena, Colombia and Mexico City, Mexico)
Most Boring Town: Ciudad Bolivar, Venezuela
Best SCUBA Diving: Utila, Honduras
Worst Boat Ride: San Blas Islands, Panama to Cartagena, Colombia. (Runner Up: Bluefields to Big Corn Island)
Best Boat Ride: Panama Canal transit. (Runner Up: on the small rivers of the Darien, in Panama)
Nearest to Death Experience: Santiaguito hike in Guatemala (John). Running out of air while diving in Honduras (Kim)
Biggest Adrenaline Rush: White water rafting in Honduras (Kim). Volcano boarding in Nicaragua (John)
Worst Accident/Injury: John: Scrapped knee while surfing, Tamarindo, Costa Rica (Runner Up: Repeated head injuries due to low overhead clearance). Kim: Injured tailbone while white water rafting in Honduras. (Runner Up: multiple injuries from waterfall repelling in Semuc Champey, Guatemala)
Most Difficult Border Crossing: Colombia to Venezuela (anticipated difficulty). Costa Rica to Panama (actual difficulty) Venezuela to Brazil (most time consuming -- it took several days to get a visa)
Most beautiful continent: Antarctica
Dirtiest Backpack: Ziggy! (you had to be there)
Best Dog: Moppy (Runners Up: Ruggy, Campground Puppy, Sheepy, Sneezy) (you had to be there)