Archive for the “Central America” Category

See Something Different and Visit the Stone Carving Hermit of Nicaragua

Nicaragua is a place that attracts visitors with its surf, beaches, hiking, volcanos, and delicious food. You’ll never be short of something to do. But if you’re looking for something different and personable, travel north to Esteli and search out Alberto Guiterrez, the town’s stone-carving hermit. He’s not easy to get to but he’s worth the trek. I got lucky. A friend of mine connected me with a local named Rodney McDonald, who runs a great program teaching communities about […]

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 […]

Touring a Coffee Plantation in Panama

I’m not a coffee drinker. I think the last time I had coffee was about three years ago. It’s been so long I’m not really sure. But I know it was Starbucks. I only drink them. Why? Because with all the flavors, milk, and whip cream they add to my coffee concoction, it masks the coffee taste and makes it drinkable for me. There’s only been one time I enjoyed a cup of java. It was back in 2003 when […]

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 […]

Cahuita National Park

The Caribbean coast of Costa Rica is usually dominated by two places: the Amazon like jungle of Torteugero in the north and the party beach paradise of Puerto Viejo in the south. But traveling the Caribbean coast, there was one place I liked best: Cahuita. About an hour north of Puerto Viejo on the southern Caribbean coast, it’s a popular stop for many travelers but it is nowhere near as crowded as other spots along the coast. Most travelers visit […]