Paige Hareb trips through Latin America


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Central America and Mexico dish up adventure and great surf

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 28 June, 2013 : - - After spending at least five grand and two days to get around the other side of the world to Brasil, Bec Woods and I decided to make the most of our airplane tickets and make a stop or two in Central America. We started in Salina Cruz, Mexico because I went on a surf trip here about six years ago and knew we would love it again.

We stayed at a cool house/surf camp for five days and lucked out on a swell hitting there exactly when we were there, however it did make the likes of Steph Gilmore, Lisa Anderson and Tom Curren show their faces too, which really was amazing getting to surf with them and see how it’s done with style. There’s about five right hand point breaks (I got bored of my backhand and started going switch) all similar to Snapper Rocks on the Gold Coast minus the 300 people.

To get to the breaks you have to drive in big 4WD utes along the beach and over sand dunes. Quite a cool experience. All there is to do is surf all day and eat mangos.  Five days was more than enough for the old body.

At this point we didn’t really have a set plan but with a little help and some “Spanglish” dialect we were on a bus for four hours then straight onto another one overnight heading towards Guatemala. Going from Mexico to Guatemala we obviously had to cross the border but no one told us we needed lots of cash. Being the only Women and English speaking people on the bus they woke us up at 2am to cross the border.

                                                   After a while Paige tired of going right

Delirious, we hopped off the bus with our passports to go get stamped only to be told we needed local cash so I ran back outside to get more money off the bus only to see the bus was nowhere to be seen! With sign language and my Spanglish again I realised for some reason the bus had driven across the border up the main little street and around the corner. This street was dark and dodgy with one night club, a whole lot of drunk men on the street and a few men trying to change money.

Then there was bec and I. The only two gringos (white tourist) to be seen, let alone only two women to be seen. We had to run from Mexico  up the street, past the night club, through the drunk men, grab our money off the bus in Guatemala then run back to Mexico to pay and get our passports stamped then back to Guatemala to do the same again. It started raining and men started coming in my bubble and trying to touch me. We ended up sprinting to the bus to be safe again.

We heard a town in Guatemala called Antigua was the place to go. We stayed here for a few nights, it’s a really old little town with cobble stone streets and lots of markets. Bec bought a cheap leather bag while I opted for a big bright coloured Mexican style blanket worth more than the $9 I paid for it. Shopped out we were ready for our next mission also suggested by a friend.

                                                  Another roadside attraction

Destination: Semuc Champey – may also be known as ‘in the middle of nowhere and as far away as possible’ . From Antigua it’s a 9hr van ride, we arrived in Coban to rain that was bucketing down and we still had to catch a ‘pick-up’ cattle truck for 40mins standing up, squashed in with the locals, hanging on for dear life over every bump on the up and down dirt track through the lush green jungle. We stayed in a little treehouse cabin with no electricity right by the river.

With my accumulating dreads, rope bracelets and leather anklets, I was truly feeling the closest I’ve ever been to being a ‘hippie’. The next morning we got up early to hike for an hour through the jungle and up one of the many mountains to a view point to look down on the famous Semuc Champey pools. We got to hang out and swim there all day before hiking back again. The whole mission really was worth it, even having to drag a massive board bag behind us.

After being tourists and a few days out of the water it was time to fly to Nicaragua  for some more surfing to be done. Still with no plans and nothing booked we grabbed a taxi and told them to head to Miramar surf camp.  Its kinda strange arriving into a country with no language and very loose plans. closing your eyes and hoping for the best, you quickly learn to go with the flow.

Miramar Luckily had space because it was in the middle of nowhere and the only accommodation around. Talking dirt streets shack shanty houses and helpful locals who thankfully are aware of gringos/gringas with no idea. As soon as we arrived in the driveway we randomly met a friend/filmer/photographer Casey Rossi who speaks the lingo and ended up spending the next two weeks with us being our guide. He’s been our best god send yet!

Source: Paige Hareb

Tags: New Zealand, Central America, Mexico, Paige Hareb

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