Located in the remote jungles of southern Mexico is Palenque, the most impressive of the Maya ruins that I’ve visited. It’s surrounded by rainforest and doesn’t attract the crowds that other archaeological sites often do, which makes it a photographer’s dream. While we explored the tunnels of the main palace, my guide brought the history of this vast settlement to life and explained just how much of this city remains underground, yet to be uncovered. For the best experience, I’d recommend an overnight stay just outside the park in order to see the complex early in the morning.
I made my first trip to South and Central America prior to university and have been back several times since. I loved the wildlife, scenery, cultural sites and sense of adventure, but it was the language and the history of the region that led me to study history and Hispanic studies.
After working in Puerto Rico for a year and then in the USA, I moved into the travel industry. Since joining Audley in 2015, I have had the chance to revisit Costa Rica, Mexico and Colombia and should be far better at salsa by now than I am.
My personal highlights of these countries include the food and historical tours around Mexico City, wildlife watching in the Colombian wetlands, and releasing baby turtles onto a deserted Costa Rican beach at sunrise.
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Set in tropical gardens right below the Arenal volcano in Costa Rica, Nayara Springs is a memorable stop on any trip. Toucans, hummingbirds and macaws flit through the trees, the spacious villas have private plunge pools and Jacuzzis, and there are several top-class restaurants offering a variety of cuisines. Combined with a canopy walkway crossing a river ravine, complimentary yoga classes in an open-sided rainforest pavilion, an intimate atmosphere and top-notch service, it’s easy to see why it is beloved by visitors and consistently tops lists of the best hotels on the continent.
I'll never forget when…
It was early morning at Bosque del Cabo, a lovely lodge on the Osa Peninsula on Costa Rica's Pacific coast. It was nearing the end of the whale watching season so I didn't hold out much hope of a sighting, but kept an eye out to see if I would spot anything as I lay in a hammock on my terrace. After 20 minutes I saw a fluke appear and disappear, before later seeing the whale emerge, blowing water into the air. I then went up for a cooked breakfast and a swim: a pretty exceptional start to the day.