Ports of Call

DINE and Destinations - - INFLUENCER -

In Tru­jillo, they're off bright and early to ex­pe­ri­ence a three hour ATV Jun­gle Ad­ven­ture. I will lis­ten to their ex­pe­ri­ences in rapt at­ten­tion when they re­turn. It is ad­ven­ture enough for me to stroll through the town square and along the main street. To­day is Sun­day, and fam­i­lies are out en­joy­ing the beach and lunch­ing at beach­side restau­rants. At a to­bac­conist, I buy some fine Hon­duran cigars for a friend. We pause at a café for a lo­cal beer and make our way back to the ten­der to re­turn to our ship. Sil­ver Shadow is one of the first cruise ships to dock at this new port on the Ba­nana Coast and, while it fea­tures an in­cred­i­ble length of white sand beaches—un­spoiled and nat­u­ral—by next year, it will be ready for prime time tourism. While oth­ers snorkel among the co­ral reefs, Cozumel dis­plays its glit­ter­ing charms with a gen­teel at­ti­tude and ‘if you got it, flaunt it’ un­der­tones. It ranks as one of the world’s best di­a­mond buy­ing and trad­ing ports. While th­ese jew­ellery su­per­mar­kets are daz­zling, hard-core shop­pers love the va­ri­ety of high end shops. In Belize, many of my ship­mate pals enjoy snor­kel­ing, scuba div­ing and cave tub­ing ad­ven­tures. They de­scribe with af­fec­tion the cute­ness of pri­mates in the Howler Mon­key Sanc­tu­ary. The idea of me zip-lin­ing through a jun­gle is ter­ri­fy­ing. I choose the grav­i­ta­tional pull of re­tail, strolling through the jew­ellery stores in Belize like a kid in a candy store. Eyes glaze. Ev­ery­thing is too beau­ti­ful. Santo To­mas in Gu­ata­mala is a mag­net for those who enjoy delv­ing into the mys­ter­ies of the Mayan cul­ture. Costa Maya is sur­rounded by a chain of co­ral reefs and ship­wrecks, which makes for per­fectly glo­ri­ous div­ing and snor­kel­ing. In Key West, we’re re­minded of the fun lov­ing and ir­rev­er­ent side of Amer­ica. On one short street, there are 130 bars of all types. The orig­i­nal Sloppy Joes, Coy­ote Ugly, Mar­gar­i­taville and, ac­cord­ing to Va­ca­tion Vin­nie, our tour bus driver, “you’re go­ing to see things you’ve never seen be­fore.” A bus tour is not to be missed here. Ernest Hem­ing­way’s house, with the un­even brick wall he built him­self, is a haven for cats. A ver­i­ta­ble cat zoo—six­toed cats, cats with­out fur, cats be­yond de­scrip­tion. I am not a cat per­son. I am a but­ter­fly per­son and, in the But­ter­fly Mu­seum, th­ese beau­ti­ful crea­tures fly free and pose for the cam­era with their part­ners, the flamin­gos.

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