Central America is full of adventure, dramatic coast line and pineapples. If you haven’t been there, go travel! It’s easy to get around, relatively cheap (just steer clear of Bocas del Toro) and FLIPPING AMAZING! Brush up on your Spanish (you already know “burrito”), practice your salsa skills and get ready for some of the world’s smallest but coolest countries. Here is an overview of this amazing section of the world.
Belize is a country I planned to “do” in three, four days. Just look at the map – it’s tiny! And everyone on the Gringo Trail talks about Guatemala, not Belize. Little did I know it would suck me in like a Central American vacuum. After ten days I still hadn’t managed to leave the first dot of an island I landed on. Oh, geez!
How can you not love a country whose slogan is Pura Vida? Costa Rica is a place that values surfing and days of nothingness more than just about anything else. It’s the only country in the world to NOT have a standing military. They’re too busy making new amigos de guaro to worry about war. I am lucky enough to have called this gem of a nation home back in 2009. 2009? Already that long ago? Time to go visit!
I have been to El Salvador. Technically. I spent a total of 24 hours in the capital and managed to get a few blurry pictures of crosses. There are lots of crosses there. Like a million crosses. They should put something in their name to let people know how religious they are (lame joke). If you have any nice pics of El Salvador please send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll be sure to take a look and give you full credit if I put them up!
Oh, Guatemala, where do we begin? You enticed me with tales of a volcano surrounded city. You strayed me from my path with ancient Mayan ruins. You made me dance until my feet hurt and drink until I walked like, well, a drunk. I blame you for making me love the Gringo Trail.
Honduras was never on my itinerary. At least that’s what I told my parents who feared I would be stabbed the moment I crossed the border. But it was part of my plan all along. Bruahaha (evil witch laugh). Although our affair was brief, you will always have my heart, Honduras. I love your town squares, your weird tiny cars with three wheels and your immaculately carved ruins that no one else seems interested in visiting. Perhaps we can sneak away together sometime soon?
Although this has very little to do with traveling, one thing I will always associate with Nicaragua is the old “Managua Nicaragua” song by Guy Lombardo that my Gramps recited word for word when he found out I was going. While Managua was more of a stop over for me, Granada, Nicaragua was a treasure. Extremely poor but extremely impressive.
Panama remains largely unknown to me. As the last stop on my Gringo Trail solo adventure I was happy to stay near the Costa Rican border in the islands of Bocas del Toro to avoid another long bus ride back to the airport. Bocas, you were 90% fun and 10% culture. I met maybe two actual Panamanians the whole time, but was having too much fun to move along. Next time I must go deeper and farther to see the real Panama.
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