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THE END – 2017 RUM & BEACHES – The Last Big Trip!


So, here we are at the end, we have made it back in one piece, after….

271 Days

6th February to 3rd November = 9 months

16 Countries

Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Cuba, United States of America, Iceland, Spain, Malta, Cyprus, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia & Singapore.

19 Flights

Brisbane to Sydney, Sydney to Los Angeles, Los Angeles to Miami, Miami to Panama City, Guatemala City to Mexico City, Mexico City to Havana, Santa Clara to Miami, Miami to New Orleans, New Orleans to Detroit, Indianapolis to Dulles, Dulles to Reykjavik, Reykjavik to Madrid, Madrid to Malta, Malta to Larnaca, Larnaca to Dubai, Dubai to Bangkok, Phnom Penh to Bangkok, Bangkok to Chiang Mai & Singapore to Coolangatta.

Numerous forms of transport

Foot, bicycle, motor bike, tuk tuk, buses (chicken buses to coaches) cars (vintage/private/hire/taxi), boats (ferries/motor boats/yachts), funicular, trains (assorted classes) & aeroplanes (assorted airlines).

We have spent 1000’s of dollars in an array of different currencies.

I have taken many more 1000’s of photos along the way.

People often ask after a long trip, what was the best bit. This is so hard to answer when we visit so many different locations, as every place has its good, bad and indifferent parts.

Obviously, there are definite stand out places for good and bad reasons or experiences. We like to not dwell on the bad experiences and remember the places we enjoyed the most. Like I said, on such a long trip it’s hard to pick out the best bits, it’s difficult to compare each place to each other.

However, there are 3 places that really stand out for me in this long trip. Here they are in chronological order.


We went into the jungle for a couple of days, up a river off Lake Nicaragua to a village called Papaturro. Our hosts Armando & wife Eileen were wonderful. There was no animal in the wild that Armando did not spot and point out to us, he had the eyes of a hawk. And Eileen kept us well fed and comfortable in our clean, basic hut. We saw an amazing array of animals our 3 days here and this is one of the most memorable places I have ever visited in all my travels over the years.


===Los Guatuzos Nature Reserve & Rio Papaturro===

Los Guatuzos Wildlife Refuge is located in the south of Lake Nicaragua, within the municipality of San Carlos, Rio San Juan. This natural site is a strip of wetland bordering the nearby country of Costa Rica. “Los Guatuzos” has an extension of 438 square kilometres consisting of tropical wetlands, rainforest and wildlife refuge. Adventurous travellers can take pleasure in its luxuriant flora and fauna through the magnificent Paputurro River. Here avid nature lovers have unique opportunities to spot all different kind of birds such as northern jacanas, purple gallinules, fasciated-tiger herons, great egrets, green herons, neo-tropic cormorants, anhingas, great kiskadees, and other colourful interesting birds.

The site has been recognized by UNESCO as a biosphere reserve and belongs to the list of wetlands of international importance of the Ramsar Convention, which is an intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.

Both “Los Guatuzos and Papaturro River” also provides the opportunity for nature enthusiasts to observe mammals in wildlife like white-faced monkeys, spider monkeys and howler monkeys, actually the loudest monkey in the world. In addition caimans are also seen sunbathing along the river. Reptiles like “green iguanas” are also spotted in lush trees.


Cuba, wow, I really had no idea what this country was going to be like, but it sure did not disappoint. It’s still a, what I would call, unique country to visit. The people were super friendly and helpful (especially since we spoke no Spanish at all), it worked out easy to get around using the old vintage cars. We didn’t actually experience any public transport, so have no idea what that was like. With the 5 of us traveling using cars to get from town to town worked out fine. At no time did we ever feel unsafe or uncomfortable. This is a country I would like to visit again, there are lots of beaches we didn’t see.




Our week in Iceland was a real treat. This is a track we would never usually follow but due to a flight route it was slotted into our itinerary. Lots of breathtaking scenery in this little country but definite biggest wow for me was the iceberg lagoon.


So, there are the 3 big highlights of this trip for me, funnily enough when I asked Lyn what her 3 highlights were, she named the same 3 places!

Posted by Cindy Bruin 18:43 Archived in Australia

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And I would agree!

by Dolly Torkilsden

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