The month of June was really special. I have been visiting three countries of the Central America and the Caribbean region. On May 31st, I left Colombia to sail from Cartagena all the way to Panama. This was a trip of six days and we made stops at the San Blas Islands ak. PARADISE. After Panama, I went to Cuba for 2,5 weeks where I traveled around the west side of the island. On June 21st, I took a flight to Cancun, Mexico for a few days from where I traveled to New York City!
Panama – San Blas Islands
To be honest, I do not know Panama that well because I stayed only one night on the main land in Panama City. But the San Blas Islands officially belong to Panama as well. The sailing trip was amazing. I did not really know what to expect, so I did some preparations like covering up my things and clothes in plastic and getting some seasick pills. I was really careful with what I ate and drunk during those days. I did not want to become seasick. But I did~t! So I was able to enjoy the trip haha! The first day, we spent on the open sea between Colombia and Panama. The other full three days we spent on the San Blas Islands. We basically lived on the boat, but we could jump of into the water every minute of the day, we could go for snorkeling, or swim to the small islands. The San Blas Islands are islands how you draw them as a child. Some of them are literally two squared meters with only one palm tree and a starfish close to the beach. The water is so super clear and blue. I have never seen something like that before. We could eat fresh coconots of the trees everyday. And during snorkeling I have seen the most beautiful coral ever. The colors here are still really strong. During one of my snorkel trips I have also seen a stingray. Really special! Lucky for me I did not see any shark or crocodile (which supposed to be there) haha!
Cuba was a really special experience. The country is beautiful but poor, the people are friendly but also a little bit focused on your money, it is getting more modern but still has a long way to go, they have Wi-Fi but you have to pay for it and even then it is not always working, they have a cash based economy but they have NEVER change so you do not only need cash but also the right fixed amount of cash… etc. But I am so happy I have been there. Cuba is totally different than the countries I have been before. In so many aspects. The cars are old. And some are not the beautiful old Chevrolet’s, no! Most of them are just really old cars with no radios and broken windows. Even the taxi drivers drive sometimes in cars like that. The roads are very bad… But it is amazing there! In every city you can find multiple live bands, playing on the streets and singing their best songs. As soon as the locals hear the music, they start dancing salsa or rumba. Since a few years, the Cubans have a little bit – read little bit – more freedom than before and that makes them happy. They have the possibilities to rent rooms in their houses for tourists or to start small shops. And they want to show you how happy and friendly they are by making for example the best breakfasts I have had so far. Complete with eggs, bread, fruits, and cake.
I find it hard to say which part of Cuba I liked the most. I traveled from Havana to Las Terrazas, Vinales, Playa Larga, Cienfuegos, Trinidad, Varadero, Matanzas, and back to Havana. I think I liked Vinales and Trinidad the most because there I saw the typical Cuban landscape, heard the best Cuban live music, and danced salsa in some clubs. I also really enjoyed Havana, but this city can also be a bit dirty and crowded, which can be hard to handle. I met a lot of other travelers in the big places like Havana, Vinales, and Trinidad. I had a really great time in Cuba.
I still regret that I only spent three nights in Mexico. And not even in the real Mexico, but only in Cancun. Cancun is a vacation place for Americans. And that is how it is. Everything is so super MEGA big. The cinema is huge, the bars and clubs are big, the restaurants offer only unhealthy food like pizza, fries, or big Mexican dinners, and the boulevards look like Las Vegas. Besides that, Cancun has a hotel zone which exists out of super-deluxe all inclusive resorts with names like ~Spa and Golf~ and ~Royal Beach Resort~.
However, even though my first impression of Cancun was a bit negative, I had some good days here. The hostel where I stayed was big as well, so I met a lot of people there. On the first day, I went to the beach with three American girls. On the second day, I did a full day trip to Tulum, the Maya temples, and Playa del Carmen. I did this trip together with a German girl, Franziska. I liked the trip. The temples where beautiful. But also Tulum is a touristic place and it was really crowded here as well. The same for Playa del Carmen, which is a boulevard full of shops close to a beach.
I would love to have spent a little bit longer in Mexico to enjoy the very good food a bit more and to visit other, more Mexican-like places. I will come back once! For now, it is time to explore New York City and maybe some other parts of the US and Canada as well!