Ports of Call
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.