Archive for the “Central America” Category

My 15 Favorite Things to Do in Nicaragua

Nicaragua used to be a secret. “Pshhh, have you been to Nicaragua yet? That’s where you really want to go,” travelers would say. It was the land of backpackers and intrepid travelers. Tourists veered towards Costa Rica as Nicaragua’s rough past plagued its image. But over the years, travelers seeking a fun, cheap, and adventurous destination came here as an alternative to “touristy” Costa Rica and Panama once they realized Contras weren’t still roaming the jungles. So the secret’s out, […]

The Mayan Ruins of Tulum

While I was in Mexico last week, I had the chance to visit Tulum. Tulum is an ancient Mayan city located right on the beach. In fact, a popular thing to do here after working up a sweat from walking around is to go swimming in the ocean. There’s nothing like swimming in the shadow of some ruins, right? Tulum was a thriving capital and trading city until the Spanish came and destroyed it in 1518. After that, the city […]

The Cost of Traveling Costa Rica

Costa Rica is one of the most expensive countries in Central America. The whole country is a giant tourist trail, and older Americans and retirees have driven up prices over the years. Many budget travelers simply skip the country all together because they feel it’ll be too expensive. Since it’s a hugely popular destination, I was skeptical I could do Costa Rica on the cheap. But I also wanted to prove to other travelers that, while expensive, Costa Rica can […]

The Death of Nostalgia

Though I always like visiting new destinations, when I really like a place, I want to go back, and I often revisit places I’ve been. In February, I went back to Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica. The last time I was there was in 2003, and I remember Manuel Antonio for its amazing number of monkeys, lush jungles, and wide, white-sand beach. While it was touristy back then, I wouldn’t say it was “overdeveloped.” When I came back this year, I […]

My Favorite Destinations in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is one of the most-visited countries in Central America. American tourists have been flocking to the country for years, and it’s become a hot spot for retirees and expats due to its cheap living, great weather, amazing beaches, and friendly locals. I’ve been to the country twice and have absolutely loved it both times. It’s actually one of my top five favorite places in the world. Because it’s not as cheap as its neighbors, many budget travelers skip […]

The Cost of Traveling Panama

As part of my desire to give you the best budget travel tips I can, I’m continuing my series on country costs. This time, we’re going to look at Panama. I’ve spent the last month in Panama with a goal of spending $35 USD per day. How did I do? I failed. Miserably. I spent $1,674.81 USD in 28 days, which is an average of $59.81 per day. Why Did I Fail? I ate good food. Lots of good, expensive […]

Costa Rica’s Caribbean Coast

Many people I’ve met have told me that the Pacific side of Costa Rica is the better coast to visit. The remote Osa peninsula, the monkey-filled area of Manuel Antonio, and the touristy Nicoya coast all beat the Caribbean, which has more rain, less wildlife, fewer “modern” conveniences, and uglier beaches. No matter where you go, the Caribbean side just won’t be as nice. Having now been to both coasts, I’m not sure what these people are talking about. Traveling […]

Loving Latin America

Over the last six months or so, I’ve had a love/hate relationship with traveling. I still love it and don’t want to do anything else, but in some ways I’ve become tired of it. It’s become a routine, which is an unhappy thought. Fortunately, planning my trip to Central America has changed much of that. Before I left, I got that nervous excitement back again. That kind you get when you’re about to take the leap on your first trip. […]

Getting Scared and Excited All Over Again

After four and a half years of travel, most people assume I have this travel thing down pat. I can just be plopped down anywhere, and I’ll be alright. “You’ve done this before,” people say to me. While it’s true that I’m an “old hand” at this, there are moments when I still get as nervous, anxious, scared, and excited as a traveler heading out on the first day of their round-the-world trip. My trip to Central America on Thursday […]

Getting Lost in Costa Rica

“Let’s go hiking,” I said one early morning. “OK, we’ll go after lunch,” my companions replied. Hours passed, and I grew anxious. “Let’s go! Let’s go!” “The day’s being wasted!” We were all on a tour of Costa Rica, leaving Arenal National Park the next day, and I wanted to get in a good day of hiking around the volcano. Finally, they acquiesced, we hailed down a cab, and were off to Arenal National Park. It was midafternoon by the […]