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Photo Samples, North / Central America

Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras & El Salvador

 

Compared to South America, Central America is slightly less varied, in particular with regards to the climate, however, there is lots to be seen and lots of people to enjoy. Central America is incredibly photogenic and if you have the faintest crush for rain forests or beaches, Central America is the place to be.

To most foreigners, Guatemala and Yucatán are the historic gems, whereas Honduras is less known, and Belize is mostly known for its impressive reef. El Salvador is not known at all. Decades of civil war has depleted the country for tourists, however, for the few who make it, it's a fantastic country with very few "real attractions" but millions of friendly people.

North America is quite different with it's vast areas of unspoilt nature, not to be found anywhere on earth. With less than 7 people per square kilometer, space is not a problem, and wildlife surprisingly abundant - and so are the big fish. As usual, all photos are © Claus Qvist Jessen, and none of them are to be used without my permission.

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The world famous "Chacmool" (Chacmul) statue of Chichén Itzá, Yucatán, Mexico. Very hard to photograph if a group of stupid tourists has just arrived as they insist on being photographed while sitting ON the statue. For that reason, Chacmool has been fenced off, and you can't even get close to it anymore. © Claus Qvist Jessen

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The central Maya temple of Palenque, Mexico. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Climbing up to one of the surrounding churches; San Cristobal de las Casas, Ciapas, Mexico. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Market day; San Cristobal de las Casas, Ciapas, Mexico. © Claus Qvist Jessen

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A hammock salesman and a sweetcorn trolley, San Cristobal de las Casas, Ciapas, Mexico. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Cemetary at San Juan de Chamula; a small town a few kilometers from San Cristobal de las Casas, Ciapas (Mexico) and very famous for its strange religious cereonies. The photo is from 1993; these days, the place is much mor touristic. © Claus Qvist Jessen

The happy Mexican border officials at the Rio Naranjo border in between Mexico and Guatemala. They found it quite hard to leave their fishing to give the tourist a stamp in the passport. © Claus Qvist Jessen

The tiny island of Tobacco Key, southern Belize. The island is living 100 % from tourism, and the various lodge and hut owners proudly hate all the other ones. A strange place indeed. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Sunrise after a night of heavy rain; Placencia, southern Belize.
© Claus Qvist Jessen

The fantastic Lago Atitlan in the central highlands of Guatemala.
© Claus Qvist Jessen

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Early morning market; Chichicastenango, Guatemala. © Claus Qvist Jessen

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The fantastic Temples 1 and 2 in the El Petén Jungle of north-east Guatemala. © Claus Qvist Jessen

The view from the 65 meter tall Temple 4, the most impressive of all temples in Tikal; north-east Guatemala. © Claus Qvist Jessen

"Cheers!". Happy, local transport; Copán, Honduras. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Steep street of the tiny village of Copán, Honduras. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Selling flowers in front of the cathedral of Copan de las Ruinas, Honduras. © Claus Qvist Jessen

"Lance Armstrong go home!". Cheeky youngster in Copán, Honduras. © Claus Qvist Jessen

The ball-court, the seond-largest in the Maya world, in the famous ruins of Copán, Honduras. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Overlooking the ball-court of Copán, this stone parrot is more than 500 years old; Honduras. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Angry man at one of the more distant temples; Copán, Honduras. © Claus Qvist Jessen

The famous Stelae D; Copán, Honduras. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Feeding the birds allows the photographer to get a little closer to the rare macaws. This red macaw happens to be the national bird of Honduras; Copán, Honduras. © Claus Qvist Jessen

The sky and elusive aguti; Copán, Honduras. © Claus Qvist Jessen

A replica of the Rose Temple, found underneath another, younger temple of Copán. The replica is found at the Museum of Archeology; Copán, Honduras. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Fantastic rock carvings; Museo de Archeología, Copán, Honduras. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Details from one of the original stelae; Museo de Archeología, Copán, Honduras. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Obviously, the Maya had invented the glasses. Thi gentleman is the last of 16 great emperors of the past and presumably quite nearsighted; Museo de Archeología, Copán, Honduras. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Repairing the shoes; Santa Rosa de Copán, Honduras. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Old street of the pleasant mountain town of Gracias, Honduras. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Old American school buses get a second life in Central America, here at the bus station of Gracias, Honduras. Most of these buses are more than 20 years old but still alive and kicking. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Fixing the pavement; Gracias, Honduras. © Claus Qvist Jessen

After the market: Going home to the village implies a ride in a pickup truck; Gracias, Honduras. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Local gaucho; Gracias, Honduras. © Claus Qvist Jessen

The market of Gracias is incredibly colourful and very little touristed; Honduras. © Claus Qvist Jessen

     

The tiny town of La Palma, northern El Salvador, is rightly famous for its colourful paintings. Everything in the town is painted in bright, naïve colours - even the light poles! You become happy, just by walking the streets. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Naïve style wall painting; La Palma, El Salvador. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Making naïve style souvenirs has become a kind of national sport in La Palma, El Salvador. The stuff is very decorative indeed and more than 50% of the population seems to make a living from painting. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Elderly gentleman; La Palma, El Salvador. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Fixing the hot-dogs; La Palma, El Salvador. Note the elaborate wall paiting in the background. © Claus Qvist Jessen

In early October, 2009, a giant rainfall in Central El Salvador caused extreme river leves and mud-slides. Hundreds were killed and several thousands became homeless. Within hours, even this tiny river rose more than five meters(!) and managed to carry along all sorts of debris, including the giant tree trunk, now wedged in between the river bank and the bridge; El Salvador. © Claus Qvist Jessen

The magnificent volcanic Lago de Coatepeque, El Salvadors contribution to the world-wide competetion "New Seven Wonders". © Claus Qvist Jessen

Stilt bridge made at a time when the water level was a few meters higher; Lago de Coatepeque, El Salvador. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Almost sunset. The volcanic crater lake, Lago de Coatepeque, in the late afternoon. A great view if accompanied by a cool beer; central El Salvador. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Colourful bus at the lakeside; Lago de Coatepeque, El Salvador. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Catholic church; Lago de Coatepeque, El Salvador. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Take-away groceries on a truck; Lago de Coatepeque, El Salvador. © Claus Qvist Jessen

On of the major crops of Central America is coffee, here from a plantation at the banks of Lago de Coatepeque, El Salvador. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Cooking the corn; Lago de Coatepeque, El Salvador. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Corn (maiz) is mainly used for making tortillas, the not-so-tasty flat bread making up the stable food for many Salvadorians; Lago de Coatepeque, El Salvador. © Claus Qvist Jessen

The western part of El Salvador (close to Guatemala) is highly volcanic and close to Ahuachapán, it's possible to enjoy stem coming out of the ground. © Claus Qvist Jessen

No guns allowed! After decades of civil war, the wamount of illegal guns in El Salvador is staggering; here at the Parque Central of Ahuachapán. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Street vendor; Ahuachapán, El Salvador. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Playing bingo; Ahuachapán, El Salvador. © Claus Qvist Jessen

The market of Ahuachapán, El Salvador, is incredibly colourful - and friendly and with no tourists at all. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Market stall; Ahuachapán, El Salvador. © Claus Qvist Jessen

     

Fruit vendors; Ahuachapán, El Salvador. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Cabbage and vegetable vendor and family; Ahuachapán, El Salvador. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Same guy, still smiling! Ahuachapán, El Salvador. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Here comes the egg man! Ahuachapán, El Salvador. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Happy ice cream eater from the market of Ahuachapán, El Salvador. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Happy cooking; local restaurant at the market of Ahuachapán, El Salvador. © Claus Qvist Jessen

The cathedral of Juayua, one of the most picturesque towns on the beautiful "Ruta de las Flores", western El Salvador. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Glass painting from inside the cathedral of Juayua, Ruta de las Flores; El Salvador. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Like La Palma, Juayua is a town of lots of colours. This wall painting is from the central suare; El Salvador. © Claus Qvist Jessen

A new painting is being born; Juayua, Ruta de las Flores, El Salvador. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Colourful car wash; Juayua, Ruta de las Flores, El Salvador. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Even the tourist souvenirs are incredibly colourful at Juayua, Ruta de las Flores, El Salvador. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Happily painted steel jars from Juayua, Ruta de las Flores, El Salvador. © Claus Qvist Jessen

An odd sight - Indian tuktuks are being imported to Central America and used for local transport on the countryside, in particular in the towns along the Ruta de las Flores; here from Juayua, El Salvador. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Local workers from Juayua, Ruta de las Flores, El Salvador. © Claus Qvist Jessen

A friendly garbage man in the streets of the colourful town of Juayua, Ruta de las Flores, El Salvador. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Spare ribs being fried at the weekly Saturday Food fair in Juayua, Ruta de las Flores, El Salvador. © Claus Qvist Jessen

     

Happy people from the weekly Saturday Food fair in Juayua, Ruta de las Flores, El Salvador. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Beautiful street in the equally colourful town of Ataco, Ruta de las Flores, El Salvador. © Claus Qvist Jessen

    

Chicken and turkey; Ataco, Ruta de las Flores, El Salvador. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Getting water at the well; Ataco, Ruta de las Flores, El Salvador. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Coffee plantation; Ataco, Ruta de las Flores, El Salvador. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Happy boy with a happy dog; Ataco, Ruta de las Flores, El Salvador. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Even small kids get rocks inside their shoes; Ataco, Ruta de las Flores, El Salvador. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Coffee fields on an extinct volcano close to Apaneca, Ruta de las Flores, El Salvador. © Claus Qvist Jessen

     

All over the Ruta de las Flores, the people are exceptionally friendly, here from the hamlet of Apaneca, El Salvador. © Claus Qvist Jessen

The Pacific beach of Barra de Santiago, El Salvador. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Same beach at sunrise; Barra de Santiago, El Salvador. © Claus Qvist Jessen

The "town" of Barra de Santiago is hardly a town at all; more likely it's a bunch of tropically situated houses amongst lots and lots of greenery. Another one of El Salvadors great and unspoilt spots. © Claus Qvist Jessen

The river mouth at low tide; Barra de Santiago, El Salvador. © Claus Qvist Jessen

The mangrove swamps; Barra de Santiago, El Salvador. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Local fisherman and mangrove guide, Julio, with a casting net; Barra de Santiago, El Salvador. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Here it goes; Barra de Santiago, El Salvador. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Hand-line fishing from the beach; Barra de Santiago, El Salvador. © Claus Qvist Jessen

All over the world, the sea turtles are seriously endangered and hatcheries are made to ensure a higher survival rate amongst the hatchlings. These tiny ones are from Barra de Santiago, El Salvador, and next night they will be released into the mighty Pacific. © Claus Qvist Jessen

     

Beach huts at Los Cobanos, El Salvador. © Claus Qvist Jessen

The fishermans village of Los Cobanos, El Salvador. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Fishing boat; Los Cobanos, El Salvador. This is the only place on the Salvadorian coast where there is some kind of reef, and the fishing is not bad at all. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Master fisherman Oscar going trolling with the Danish tourist - me; Los Cobanos, El Salvador. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Part of the catch: A small yellowfin tuna and a Spanish mackerel, both around 10 pound each; Los Cobanos, El Salvador. © Claus Qvist Jessen

The small highland village of Perquin, once the stronghold of the left-wing resistance movement of FMLN during the civil war 80'ies and 90'ies in El Salvador. Sadly, also the site of many autrocities carried out by the infamous death squads. © Claus Qvist Jessen

These days, Perquin, is just another colourful highland town of north-eastern El Salvador; here from the parque central. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Even the shops are colourful; Perquin, El Salvador. © Claus Qvist Jessen

The pace of Perquin is definitely slow and everyone has the time for a chat, including this gentlewoman in her shop; El Salvador. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Small food stall in front of the almost just as small war museum of Perquin, El Salvador. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Wind chimes made of used shells from the civil war; Perquin, El Salvador. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Lethal weapons, 1, 2 and 3; Perquin, El Salvador. © Claus Qvist Jessen

In peace time, coffee is the main crop of the highlands; Perquin, El Salvador. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Mmmmmmmmmm! Freshly roasted coffee cooling down. Perquin, El Salvador. © Claus Qvist Jessen

The forest cemetary of Perquin, El Salvador. © Claus Qvist Jessen

A sad reminder of the massacre carried out by government (= fascist) forces at Dec.11th 1982 at El Mozote, just a few kms from Perquin, El Salvador. About 1,000 people got brutally slain, including more than 100 children. Now, on this wall, are written the names of all the child victims, some of whom were less then one year old. Happily, the commanding officer of the operation, Domingo Monterrosa, got assasinated the year after. © Claus Qvist Jessen

Born after the civil war and hardly aware of her tumultous past, this girl is not used to foreigners. El Mozote, El Salvador. © Claus Qvist Jessen

An unlikely alliance against the USA-backed government in the 80'ies: The late Che Guevara (died 1967) and the Catholic bishop Oscar Romero; Arambala, El Salvador. © Claus Qvist Jessen

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