Best: Via Via, Leon, Nicaragua - Our first night here we ended up staying in their nicest room for $25 and it was spectacular. High ceiling, king size bed, cable TV, TWO FANS, and hammocks out front.
Worst: Hotel Buena Vista, Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua - They surely have nicer rooms than the one they stuck us in, but it was awful! Three nasty single beds with crummy mattresses and we ended up sharing one because the place was swarming with 'squitos and other nasty insects and we had to share the tiny mosquito net that we packed. The bathroom was gross and they didn't serve dinner. :-(
Best: Sol Y Luna, Hermosillo, Mexico - Only $15, clean, nice mood lighting, nice stereo, private parking, and 3 channels of porn.:-)
Worst: Sol Y Luna, Hermosillo, Mexico - $15 only paid for 4 hours, we felt dirty, no choice on lighting (either mood or nothing), Stereo blared Mexican romance music exclusively, parking had no lock but did have a little observation window, pretty sure the porn was streaming live from other rooms in the motel. :-(
Best: Los Cocos, Dominical, Costa Rica - Nothing fancy, PVC pipes over a cement slab, but a perfect escape from the sticky heat. (we took something like 6 showers that one day) :-)
Worst: This is a toughy. At Hotel Lucy in Montezuma, Costa Rica the pathetic dribble from the disturbingly phalic shower head was more of a lesson in Chinese water torture than an adequate bathing experience. Though I suppose it may be better than the poorly wired shower head in Huehuetenango, Guatemala that was literally "shockingly" refreshing :-(
OVERNIGHT DECIBAL LEVEL
Best: El Dorado Hotel, Yecora, Mexico - We spent a solid 16 straight hours in this stone walled cave of comfort and nary a whisper was heard from without :-)
Worst: Hostal Central, El Valle, Panama - The howling wind, the rattling metal roof, the banging doors, and the creaking bed all added up to one miserable night awake. The owners were super nice though. :-(
Best: Copper Canyon, Mexico - A wholly fulfilling and spiritually uplifting ride along the winding mountain roads and down into the beautiful canyon.
Worst: Copper Canyon, Mexico - Miserably cold and tired riding through the wind-whipped mountains followed by a seemingly endless knee crushing, back breaking, rocky descent down treacherous canyon switchbacks, avoiding wreckless bus drivers and sporadic livestock.
Best: Starfish Beach, Bocas del Toro, Panama - We hate to take anything away from the other incredible beaches that we've seen (I was actually quite a fan of the one where we buried the motorcycle) but this one was nothing short of spectacular. Fairly isolated, beautiful colors, a nice breeze and great snorkeling were just what the doctor ordered. :-)
Worst: San Blas, Mexico - We had a great time in San Blas and met some really nice people, but the beach just wasn't that inviting. Please keep in mind that we're talking about a sandy stretch of land on the pacific coast of Mexico that's lined with delicious eateries. But we had to pick a worst, so this is what you get. :-(
EXTRA CURRICULAR ACTIVITY
Best: El Retiro Day Tour, Semic Champey, Guatemala - It's hard to beat a tour that includes candle lit spelunking, rope swinging, inner tubing, bridge leaping, hike taking, pool swiming fantasticness, with new friends. :-)
Worst: Los Cascadas, Domincal, Costa Rica - As Domincal approaches the end of dry season, these shimmering jungle cascades have diminished to such a pathetic trickle that the surrounding fetid cesspools brimming with post-life pollywogs were the only things we felt worthy of taking up space on our camera's memory card. Grace swears that when she used to live here, they were amazing! :-(
Best: (We've only seen one. See "Worst" below.)
Worst: Tikal Ruins, Tikal, Guatemala (written and directed by Bethany and Kyle Rogerson, Special thanks to Mike and Leigh Dameron)
ActI: Scene1: Stage Left: 5am. Enter Bethany and Kyle...
Scene2: 5:15am. Group of 6 is found running bleary eyed across an empty parking lot towards the park gate, guarded by a bitter old security guard...
Scene3: 5:18am. Group of 6 engages in impatient small talk, waiting till 6am when the gates actually open...
Scene4: 6am. Though the first to arrive at the gates, ironically our Group of 6 will wait for a slew of late arrivals before being permitted entrance. Kyle and Bethany enter dead last...
Scene5: The group is seperated as a mad dash across the park ensues. The males arrive first, though having taken the wrong route they are only slightly ahead of the females. One of the men arrives without his shirt...
Scene6: One by one the group members collapse as they reach the top of Tikal's highest temple, gasping for breath and dripping with sweat...
Scene7: 6:30am. Camera pans away from the group's weary faces to reveal a wall of fog thick enough to prevent any possible glimpse of the sunrise...
Fade to Black.
ActII: Scene1: 10am. Hours after the unfortunate sunrise debacle, the Group of 6 is seen enjoying an incredible day exploring the ruins, listening to the howler monkeys, and cave hunting for man-eating arachnids.
Best: Mexico to Guatemala (La Mesilla) - Quick and easy with no hassles. We did have to drive back a couple km to stop at a checkpoint we missed, but even with that delay the fine border guards got us through in 45 minutes, easily the quickest crossing yet. :-)
Worst: Guatemala to Honduras (Corinto) - Thinking back on this crossing, we realize that there really wasn't anything inately confusing or lengthy about it, but the fact that we were fleeced so thoroughly by the team of Honduran Aduana agents just sticks in my craw. I even took pictures of the corrupt jerks that messed with us, just in case I feel like following up further. :-(
Best: It's a TIE! El Retiro, Semuc Chumpey, Guatemala AND Street Taco Stand, Anywhere, Mexico - El Retiro was an incredible all you can eat buffet that, aside from being delicious, was the first time we both really gorged ourselves on the trip. We feel that the street tacos need no further explanation, they are perfect and delicious and we have missed them :-)
Worst: Scrambled Pancakes, Our Apartment, Panama City - This morning, what was to be a delicious batch of banana pancakes turned into a scrambled pile of breaded nastiness that was the result of both an awful old pan, and a box of pancake mix that had been infiltrated by a webby goo that could have had no other origin than some foul and despicable little bug!
Best: Cerveza Indio, Mexico - Slightly darker than the rest, it is scrumptious.
Worst: Still sampling...