We found shelter from strong winds as well as beautiful desert environments to explore in Arroyo Encantado, located on the west side of Isla San Jose. Many of the desert plants typical in the region are found at the beginning of the arroyo; further inland, the arroyo narrows and has steep rock walls. In a flat area behind the beach, there is an otherworldly forest of cardon cacti.
National Geographic Sea Lion
What a day! We left National Geographic Sea Lion anchored off Hopkins and traveled by Zodiacs to a dock. We disembarked, boarded buses, and set off. We went a bit north, then a bit west, and entered beautiful Mayflower Bocawina National Park. Mayflower is the common name of a species of Tabebuia, a tree with beautiful yellow or pink flowers that is abundant in the area. A bumpy road reminded us that we were going somewhere wild, and the spitting rain told us we were visiting a rainforest. We observed huge Ceibas, Cecropias, vines, and much, much more. We split into groups to hike trails of different lengths with different objectives. There was something for everyone, including birds, Mayan archeology, exercise, and a dip in a waterfall. When we returned, most of us were wet and all of us were very happy with our accomplishments. Just a half hour away, a traditional Mayan lunch was waiting at the Mayan Center. Wouldn’t you know it? The ship was repositioned in a different, convenient anchorage, Placencia, and gelato was offered to refresh us. Despite an already-full-day, it wasn’t over! By 4:45 p.m., we were once again in the Zodiacs. This time, we were showered and dry, and we had on our dancing shoes! In a palapa-style bar on a dock, the Garifuna Collective, an internationally acclaimed musical group, was waiting to give us a rollicking good time as the sun set in the clear sky.