A month in Nicaragua took us through the coffee farms and highlands of Matagalpa and Diriamba, the cities of Leon, Granada and Managua as well as the beaches of San Juan del Sur, Ometepe and the Corn Islands; each destination more spectacular than the last.
I hope that the following 23 photos can do the natural beauty of the country some justice.
Purple sky on Big Corn Island, an island 70 kilometres east of Nicaragua’s Caribbean coast.
Bay of San Juan del Sur.
The rolling hills of Matagalpa. While taking this picture, a guy on a motorcycle rolled up to us and started asking questions about my camera. All was good until we realized he carried a gun. I’m sure he meant nothing by it and he wasn’t directly threatening, but we took no chances and fled the scene as fast as we could!
Also Matagalpa, this time without any guns.
Splendid sunset in Granada. Every 15 minutes the huge church bell rung right next to us, forcing us out unto a ledge with our fingers in our ears!
Tranquilo vibes in San Juan.
Strange, almost monochrome sunset in the highlands of Matagalpa.
The road to the top of Cerro Negro, one of Nicaragua’s many active volcanoes.
Water hammocks on Little Corn Island, Big Corn Island’s smaller brother.
Volcanoes everywhere! The white tipped one erupted just a few weeks ago.
Early morning on Little Corn. To get to the beach before sunrise, I walked through the jungle in complete darkness, the path only illuminated by the moon.
Finally a clear view of Volcán Concepción on Ometepe, which was always covered in clouds.
Walking past this sleeping man, I couldn’t resist taking a photo.
The contrast between the volcano and its green surroundings were like day and night.
I should probably have worn a gas mask…
Paradise views from the house below.
Thanks to the help of a local boy, we managed to find and ascend the highest point on the island.
The Corn Islands are different in many ways to mainland Nicaragua. For one, most people are not of neither indian nor hispanic descent and almost everyone speak english (with a thick creole accent!)
Long exposure moon + beach photography.
A final good morning.
And good night! Nicaragua had everything, yet always left me yearning for just a little bit more.
El Salvador is the smallest and most densely populated country in Central America. It is also the only country in the region without a Caribbean coastline. But what it misses in size and coastline it surely makes up for in sheer beauty and hospitality.
Friendly people are abundant in El Salvador, along with freshly grilled pupusas (the national staple dish frequently served everywhere), volcanoes, steep roads carving through lush landscapes and lots of coffee. There is a sort of inexplicable positive atmosphere everywhere and I truly loved our time in the country.
A Pacific sunset to die for. Truly one of the most stunning scenes I’ve ever witnessed!
Colored houses are everywhere in Central America. This is the cozy town of Suchitoto.
Walking into a restaurant, I had no idea this would be the view from our table.
[caption id="attachment_1955" align="aligncenter" width="1920"] This one overlooking thousands of coffee trees as well as the border of Guatemala.
The capital, San Salvador.
The stained glass of Iglesia El Rosario.
Street after street filled with markets.
I’ll be back.
Coming into Belize from Guatemala it felt like entering another continent. Indigenous Maya people standing less than 5 feet were suddenly switched out with 7-foot-tall Snoop Lion look-a-likes and Spanish was suddenly rare, with a funky, Caribbean-style “Creole” English suddenly filling the streets. Yah man!
To be honest, it was a nice change – and even though punctuality isn’t an important concept in Guatemala, taking it slow took on a new meaning in Belize. There’s no rush – the ocean will be there tomorrow, too.
(We visited Caye Caulker, Belize City and Belize Zoo.)
Guatemala is a gorgeous country. It has the highest peaks of Central America, some of the most beautiful lakes, an abundance of colourful clothing and incredibly varied landscapes.
Though not easy, I have tried to capture my experience of the country with the following 21 photos:
After a quick stop in Guatemala City, our first destination in Guatemala was Antigua. Here one of the main streets is seen with a towering volcano in the background – strangely only showing itself for a few minutes a day (due to clouds).
Whenever it revealed itself, I popped out my camera!
One of the many sights of the city.
The cobbled streets and colonial houses surely added to the city’s undeniable charm.
Counting that dough.
From Antigua we climbed the volcano Pacaya with great views all around.
And here she is, Pacaya. Still active – last eruption in 2014 – counting at least 23 since the Spanish invasion.
Two girls walking away from Guatemala in Santiago by Lake Atitlán.
After Atitlán we visited the wonderful coffee farm San Jose La Laguna Estate. Here the owner, Roberto, looks down memory lane.
The road to Semuc Champey from Antigua was rough and bumpy, but not entirely without its rewards.
The million dollar view!
We stayed at Greengo’s, which was quite an experience by itself.
Next up was Tikal with its towering temples. This one is called Temple I.
While visiting Tikal we stayed at the small island of Flores. An unexpected pearl.
Our Guatemalan travels rightfully ended with a fantastic sunset. Next up: Belize!
After Campeche, we quickly stopped by Villahermosa in Tabasco and then spent the rest of our time in Mexico in the state of Chiapas.
Chiapas has a lot to offer – lush jungles with abundant wildlife and ruins, valleys and tall mountains, a long, beautiful coastline as well as one of the largest indigenous populations in the country.
We thoroughly enjoyed the famous ruins of Palenque, the cool mountain air and chic cafés of San Cristóbal, the deep Sumidero canyon, the laid back beach of Puerto Arista and waking up to bird song and fresh coffee at the eco-friendly coffee farm Argovia.
Enjoy the shots below!
Villahermosa sunset from the top of our hotel.
A flamingo at Yumka, a safari/interactive zoo close to the city.
Piña colada, anyone?
I really loved the Palenque ruins. Easily my favourite old things in Mexico.
The city of Palenque was also quite cozy with lots of great food, sunny weather and pretty views.
San Cristóbal de Las Casas was a very pleasant city with lots of cool photo opps.
And beautifully dressed, charming and small indigenous people.
VW Beetles are everywhere!
I really liked all the coloured houses.
This guy interviewed me as a part of his english class!
Work work work. At least 30 guys worked on this at the same time.
This sunset was magnificient.
Sumidero Canyon was so breathtaking. We sailed through it and enjoyed every minute.
Unfortunately I didn’t understand what the spanish-speaking guide said about this, but it looked pretty unreal! Not entirely as unreal as this, though – I admit to have pushed the colours a bit 🙂
This place is known as the “Christmas tree” due to the green formations made by the trickling water.
Definitely a must-do.
In Puerto Arista the beach stretches as far as the eye can see – and as it is pretty off-season, we almost had it all to ourselves. This particular sunset called for a camera!
I hadn’t brought my tripod, so I had to freestyle with a table and a chair from a nearby restaurant to get these long exposures. It wasn’t perfect as it slowly sunk into the sand, but it did the trick.
First view of the “Coffee Route” (Ruta del café) near Tapachula. We stayed at the wonderful coffee farm Argovia and got a lot of great material for the documentary.
Flying over the dense jungle with my drone was exhilarating!
The landscape was just stunning. This was our reward at sunrise after driving up a muddy, steep trail in complete darkness in a 4×4 with only one working headlight (and a torchlight!)
Night time shooting was fun!
This is Irma and Tomasa (with kids) on their way back home after a long day of work picking coffee. We interviewed them for the movie – which you’ll soon see and hear more about!
I am currently in Mexico on a four month long trip with Victoria through Central America to make a documentary film about shade grown coffee.
The journey started in Cancún and took us through the Yucatán Peninsula, offering us countless tacos, smiling faces, slight tans and majestic views. Here are some of my best shots:
Up and away with Air Berlin from Copenhagen to Cancún.
Somewhere over Germany I looked out the window and saw this …Jetpack?
First stop on the peninsula was the sleepy fishing village Puerto Morelos.
From day one we were greeted by magnificent sunsets. A photographers paradise!
The city and the Caribbean from above.
Puerto Morelos has this beautiful swamp in its backyard.
Even though most of Playa del Carmen mostly feels like Disneyland with a beach, you don’t have to venture far off the main street to see authentic mexican life. This is not an example of that, though, but merely workers carrying away seaweed so the beach can look postcard ready for the tourists.
Not exactly a pre-historic site, but impressive none the less!
Another (impressive!) show for the tourists: “Danza de los Voladores”, four young men tied with ropes descending to the ground from a 30-meter pole accompanied by music and dancing.
Next stop on our way through the peninsula was Tulum, a well preserved maya site dramatically situated on the coast of the Caribbean sea.
While visiting the ruins it’s possible to take a dip in the ocean from the small and pretty beach.
To me, the ruins were mostly interesting because of their setting which was nothing short of magnificient.
The God of Winds Temple.
The Ixmoja Pyramid in Cobá. 42 metres tall, towering over the thick jungle.
And the view was worth every step!
One of the goals at the Mayan ball court. Presently there is not agreement about whether the winners or the losers were sacrificed to the gods, but it is sure that heads rolled when the match was over.
The cenotes on the peninsula are spectacular. This is Tankach Ha – “ha” meaning water in Mayan.
And this is Choo Ha. It felt even more magical as we were the only people there!
Crystal blue (and cold!) water. The cenotes were sometimes used for sacrificial offerings by the ancient Maya. I would love to visit even more of these mystical sinkholes
Next stop: Mérida, the largest city of the Yucatán Peninsula.
The Mérida Cathedral, one of the oldest cathedrals in all of the Americas. It looked stunning with the afternoon sun on it.
Sunday night dancing at the square.
A very lively city with lots to see and do. The restaurant “Apoala” is particularly recommended.
From Mérida we took a day trip to Celestún on the Gulf of Mexico to see…
Flamingos! The wetland reserve surrounding the city is the winter home to vast flocks of the birds.
Back in Mérida, greeted by lovely pastels.
Last stop on the peninsula: Campeche. Here a miniature version of the walled city shows the Independence Square and the cathedral church of La Concepcion.
And here’s the real thing!
The city is filled with colonial architecture.
And colored houses.
…And sunsets. Of course. Next stop from the peninsula was Villahermosa in the state of Tabasco, but I’ll save that until next time!