Destination: Belize

Official Name: Belize (formerly British Honduras)
Established: 21 September 1981 (Independence from United Kingdom)
Population: 419,199 (2020 estimate)
Religion: 63.8% Christianity, 25.5% No religion
Language(s): English (multiple other secondary languages also recognised)
Capital: Belize City
Order of Visit: Forty-Fifth 
First Visit: 31 December 2012
Last Visit: 05 January 2013 
Duration: 6 Days
Visit Highlights:
 Caye Caulker: Caribbean New Year’s Eve party and celebrations, exploring the island, snorkelling and experiencing sea life
 San Ignacio: Hiking to and exploring Actun Tunichil Muknal caves – the site of Mayan human sacrifices
Places Visited
: Caye Caulker, San Ignacio
Belize Journal Entries  

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Destination: Cuba

Official Name: Republic of Cuba
Established: 20 May 1902 (Independence from United States of America)
Population: 11,193,470 (2019 census)
Religion: 59.2% Christianity, 35% No religion
Language(s): Spanish
Capital: Havana
Order of Visit: Forty-Fourth 
First Visit: 02 December 2012
Last Visit: 09 December 2012 
Duration: 8 Days
Visit Highlights:
 Cienfuegos: Trishaw ride, drinks at the Palacio del Valle as the sunset
 Havana: Walking tour of Havana Old Town, visiting the Che Guevara mausoleum and memorial
 Trinidad: Watching vintage 1950s cars, homestay with a local family, haircut by the street barber, singing and dancing at a street club, an amazing Cayo Blanco Island Catamaran Cruise, snorkelling in the Caribbean sea with beautiful fish and coral reefs, visiting the Romantic Museum  
 Vinales: Orchid Garden Tour, homestay (great family), salsa lessons, night club dancing, brilliant singers, visiting a local Cuban cigar farm, smoking a Cuban cigar, exploring caves, exploring ecological farm (El Paraiso)  
Places Visited
: Cienfuegos, Havana, Trinidad, Vinales
Cuba Journal Entries  

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Destination: Mexico

Official Name: United Mexican States
Established: 16 September 1810 (Independence from Spain) 
Population: 128,649,565 (2020 estimate)
Religion: 82.7% Roman Catholic, 6.6% Protestant, 1.4% Other Christian, 4.7% No religion
Language(s): Spanish
Capital: Mexico City
Order of Visit: Forty-Third 
First Visit: 01 December 1986
Last Visit: 30 December 2012 
Duration: 27 Days
Visit Highlights:
 Cancun: Beaches, spas, pools, shopping and relaxing plus a visit to Xcaret Park (a combination zoo, amazement park and resort.
 Chichén Itzá: The brilliant and sometimes overwhelming Mayan ruins (spoiled a bit by so many vendors approaching you all the time).
 Merida: Swimming and enjoying the Cuzama water sink holes (a lot of fun)
 Mexico City: Basilica de Guadalupe (church built in 1500s), exploring the Teotihuacan ruins (pyramids built around 100 BC), tequila shots.
 Oaxaca: Magnificent countryside, Oaxaca Cathedral, nightclub drinking (hangover included!), exploring the Mitla Ruins (built 900 BC), relaxing in the Hierve el Agua pools, exploring the impressive Monte Alban Ruins (established 500 BC)
 Palenque: Enjoying the waterfalls at Aqua Azul and the impressive Misol Ha, exploring the very impressive Ruins of Palenque
 Playa de Carmen: Enjoying the beach, exploring the Tulum Ruins by the Caribbean Sea
 Puebla: Puebla Cathedral, exploring the Zocalo (city square), enjoying the entertaining Lucha Libre wrestling
 San Cristobal de Las Casas: The wild and dangerous 12 hour overnight bus ride, exploring Mayan traditional villages of Chomula and Zincantan, going on a cruise of the Sumidero Canyon, shopping and bargaining at a local market
 Tijuana: Family shopping for tequila during a day trip
Places Visited
: Cancun, Chichén Itzá, Merida, Mexico City, Oaxaca, Palenque, Playa de Carmen, Puebla, San Cristobal de Las Casas, Tijuana
Mexico Journal Entries 

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Destination: Chile

Official Name: Republic of Chile
Established: 12 February 1818  (Declare Independence from Spain)
Population: 17,574,003 (2017 census)
Religion: 66.7% Catholic, 16.4% Protestant, 3.5% Other Christian, 11.5% No religion
Language(s): Spanish
Capital: Santiago
Order of Visit: Forty-First 
First Visit: 3 November 2012
Last Visit: 7 November 2012 
Duration: 5 Days
Visit Highlights:
Puerto Natales: Watching a car rally event
Torres del Paine National Park: Finding majestic condors, 7.5 hours hike to the amazing Granite towers, camping under the stars and clouds, hiking the French Valley, safely witnessing a massive avalanche, hiking to Grey’s Glacier.
Places Visited
: Puerto Natales, Torres del Paine National Park
Chile Journal Entries  

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Destination: Iceland

Official Name: Iceland
Established: 930 (Icelandic Commonwealth), 1262 (Union with Norway), January 1874 (Limited Home Rule), 17 June 1944 (Republic)               
Population: 364,134 (2020 estimate)
Religion: 63.5% Church of Iceland, 7.6% Protestant, 4% Roman Catholic, 21.5% No religion
Language(s): Icelandic
Capital: Reykjavik
Order of Visit: Fortieth
First Visit: 15 October 2012
Last Visit: 19 October 2012 
Duration: 5 Days
Visit Highlights: Ásmundur Sveinsson’s Museum, the Hallgrimskirkja Cathedral, the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights), ATV riding on the Reykjanes peninsula, Swimming and relaxing at the Blue Lagoon, Þingvellir National Park (former home of a Viking Parliament), hiking on the Langjökull glacier, observing lava fields, enjoying the waterfalls at Barnafoss, watching the world’s largest hot springs boil.
Places Visited
: Reykjavik
Iceland Journal Entries  

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Destination: Thailand

Official Name: Kingdom of Thailand (formerly Siam)
Established: 1238 (Sukhothai Kingdom), 24 June 1932 (Constitutional monarchy)               
Population: 66,558,935 (2019 estimate)
Religion: 94.5% Buddhism, 4.3% Islam, 1.2% Christianity
Language(s): Thai
Capital: Bangkok
Order of Visit: Thirty-Ninth
First Visit: 06 October 2012
Last Visit: 26 July 2016 
Duration: 15 Days
Visit Highlights: 
 Ayutthaya: Exploring the Bang Pa-In Summer Palace, Wat Na Phra Mane and Wat Lokayasutharam (sight of a large reclining Buddha), cruising Chao Phraya River (in 2012 and 2016),
 Bangkok: Sleeping in bunks on the overnight train trip (Koh Phangan to Bangkok),  Royal Temple of Wat Po, Canal ride (and feeding fish), Jim Thompson House and Museum (silk hand weaving), Thai Kickboxing fights (Muay Thai), reclining Buddha, Visiting the Grand Palace with the Emerald Buddha).
 Chiang Mai: enjoying a traditional Khantoke dinner, Thai cooking class, intense full body Thai massage, shopping at the Thai Silk Village, intense Muay Thai (kickboxing) fights, feeding, walking with and washing elephants in a sanctuary, exploring the Wat Doi Suthep Temple, experiencing a ladyboy show (Chiang Mai Cabaret Show), visiting the Baan Tong Luang Eco-Agricultural Tribes village including firing an old fashion box gun, the spellbinding Bai Orchid and Butterfly Farm
 Koh Samui: Enjoying a elephant ride, patting a tiger, incredible scenery, relaxing ferry ride to the island, exploring Ang National Marine Park (swimming, hiking, kayaking
 Koh Phangan: swimming in the beautiful waters, enjoying aroma massage, hiking, BBQ seafood on the beach, launching Chinese lanterns under the stars.
 Nakhon Si Thammarat: Shadow Puppet Museum and enjoyable show
Places Visited
: Ayutthaya, Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Koh Phangan, Koh Samui, Nakhon Si Thammarat
Thailand Journal Entries 

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