It was on a 1991 jaunt through Ecuador that I first fell for the allure of Latin America, bumping from A to B on chicken buses and high-Andean railways (more often than not on the roof). Over the past couple of decades I’ve broadened my experience throughout Central America, discovering more comfortable modes of transportation and enjoying stays at some of the region’s luxury small boutique hotels and lodges while still running up volcanoes, clambering through caves strewn with Mayan relics and snorkeling whenever the opportunity arises. Neighbouring Caribbean also holds huge appeal for me and if you can detach yourself from its beaches, there’s an exciting world of historic, scenic, cultural, culinary and environmental interests to be explored….not to mention a great selection of rums.
Regions of Expertise
Central America, Cuba, the Caribbean, Ecuador and Galapagos Islands
What has been your favourite travel experience?
Visiting the sacred Mayan cave of Actun Tunichil Muknal in Belize – swim into the complex and then wade through subterranean watercourses before clambering between caves until you arrive in the cramped chamber that reveals the site’s “secret”.
The best hotel/lodge that you have stayed in?
Goldeneye – Ian Fleming’s Jamaican home where I watched 007 movies in his converted garage, dined on lobster in his sunken garden and supped Jamaican rum while listening to Jimmy Cliff being piped to my private beach. All of which is not to be beaten by the thrill of sitting at the desk where he penned most of his Bond novels.
What has been your most remote travel experience?
Visiting Antarctica and the Arctic.
Most embarrassing travel experience?
Discussing “boat people” with a Haitian hotelier only to discover minutes into the conversation that he was talking about the plight of Haitian refugees taking to totally un-seaworthy craft to escape their lot and I’d been talking about cruise ship passengers……….remembering this still makes me wince.
Your one luxury when you travel?
A credit card and willingness to use it if that unforeseen budget-busting activity or extra special place to dine crops up during a trip.
What’s your best piece of travel advice?
Research, prepare and seek advice before travelling. Pick the brains of your tour operator and ensure that you don’t miss out on a local highlight.
Where you would like to visit next and why?
Honduras, to visit the Mayan site of Copan and to do some serious snorkeling off the Bay Islands.