Doing workaway programmes is a great way to travel cheaply by staying somewhere for longer, getting to know local life and learning new things. They are often described as cultural exchanges between locals and travellers. When I arrived at mine, I firstly met the lovely people I'd be working for, and was then unceremoniously dropped of at the volunteer house, on my own, to then find no wifi and a large ant infestation. It's all cultural, right? This preceded a week of bugs, no water and working in 35 degree heat.
If you head down south, away from the Caribbean vibes and backpacker hotspots of the islands, you'll find the petite village of Hopkins. This string of local houses, beachfront cabanas and vibrant bars and restaurants is lined with a long sandy beach and crystal clear water. With access to nearby national parks, a serene river trail and an abundance of diving and snorkeling, it's a brilliant place to visit.
Something that was high on my Belize Bucket List was diving on the reef, the second largest barrier reef in the world. I definitely ticked it off and completed my Open Water PADI training throughout six dives on this stunning reef. I completely fell in love with diving, and with the small, characterful island of Caye Caulker, where I spent almost a week. I filled the rest of my days with hammocks, puppies and yoga and I loved it.
Sarteneja is affectionately known as the place where the sun sets on the water. It's the only place in Belize where you can witness this and it gave me some of the best sunsets I've ever seen. Not only that, this small fishing village, visited by few tourists, is a quiet respite from the bustling islands and vibrant towns around the country. There are only boats, animals and jungle here, and it was perfect.
San Pedro gave me my first impressions of Belize, ahead of spending almost 2 months in the country. Snorkeling in the area is well worth it for the abundance of life you'll see, mixed with the gorgeous clear water and a few cups of rum punch on board the boat.
Bacalar is a really unique spot in southern Mexico, just an hour from the border to Belize. It's a standard stop off point for all backpackers traversing Belize and Mexico and unbelievably beautiful. Known as the Lagoon of Seven Colours, it's crystal clear, shallow freshwater invites everybody to jump in or relax on the swings dangling above the surface. At sunrise, it becomes a whole new place was by far my favourite time on the lake.
Valladolid is a colourful city with gorgeous architecture and a Spanish feel to it. The streets are laid out on an easy grid and culminate in impressive plazas surrounded by pretty restaurants and live music any time of day. It feels bright and happy through the day and comes alive with salsa music and street food in the evening. Staying in this lovely little city is only the start of it though as it's surrounded by magical cenotes, is close to the sprawling Rio Lagartos and is the gateway to the famous Chichen Itza.
Letter 157 In the space of a year, or 40 letters, my plans have completely changed. Plans for work, for living and, most importantly, for travel. It's strangely apt that I wrote letter 117 about my travel plans after university, and letter 137 about how they've changed and how much travel I would be doing … Continue reading My travel plans have COMPLETELY changed.
Letter 155 My previous letter culminated in my final evening in Wroclaw, spent in a bar with 10 relative strangers. However, my last day in Wroclaw was so full and lovely, that I felt it deserved it's own letter. I woke up to a city dusted in snow beneath blue skies. These truly are my … Continue reading My winter wonderland – from Wroclaw to Prague
Letter 153 What started out as a need to escape my new adult working life and potential boredom at home, ended up in a crazy trip full of insane places, fantastic people and countless memories that I’ll treasure. I spent 10 days in Poznan, Wroclaw and Prague and that little sprinkle of travel magic has … Continue reading The best things are the least expected – Poznan