Central America

How to visit Antigua, Guatemala on a Budget

How to visit Antigua Guatemala on a Budget

How to visit Antigua Guatemala on a Budget   What to see in Antigua Antigua Guatemala is easily the most beautiful city in Central America. Situated in the Central Highlands, less than an hour’s drive from Guatemala City, it is a popular destination for well-heeled tourists and backpackers alike. It’s easy to understand why. The …

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Photo of the Week: San Juan Chamula

San Juan Chamula, about 10km from San Cristobal de Las Casas in the Chiapas highland in southern Mexico, is the commerce and religious hub of the fiercely independent Tzotzil Maya community. The Chamulas still dressed in their traditional attires and have their own police force; no outside police or military are allowed in the town. …

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ometepe island nicaragua

Photo of the Week: Ometepe Island, Nicaragua

Ometepe Island Nicaragua One of the highlights of Nicaragua, Ometepe Island, or La Isla de Ometepe, should not be missed on a trip through Nicaragua. Get to the island on a ferry boat ride from Rivas, crossing the choppy waters of Lake Cocibolca. The twin Volcano peaks Concepcion and Maderas rise out of the lake …

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Crossing the Darien Gap

When planning your trip between Central and South America, whether you’re a backpacker or a luggage puller, Darien National Park must be discussed and crossed. The Darien is an infamous stronghold of the Colombian revolutionary group, FARC, who have inhabited this national park region for more than three decades. Their presence is still a major threat to safety in the forms of extortion, kidnapping and death. It is not recommended to enter the area. Although there are groups and individuals who attempt to cross every year, the vast majority of travelers hedge their bets on boats and airplanes where kidnapping is not common and survival is the status quo–not a question mark.

Painting Nicaragua

The sun rises slowly but the noises of morning come suddenly. I’m used to hearing roosters alarm sleepers that morning has risen, but here a large community (or so it sounds) is quacking and twittering “get up, get up.” As I stand in the yard a parade of animals make their debut, one at a time. A pig is scoffing his nose in the dirt and in seconds a chicken and her chicks come shuffling through in a line. They flip leaves over to see if a worm or bean lays underneath. A dog who has seen better days wanders through looking for any resemblance of breakfast. It dawns on me, poor dogs, that they don’t have it as easy as the other animals because they don’t eat grass or leaves.

Where my coffee comes from

“I tried to buy a ticket too, but they’ve run out of seats,” says the only other Gringo on the bus. There has to be 200 of us packed into this former American school bus. And without a ticket, this means we’ll be standing for the two-hour haul over the mountains to Matagalpa. This is our first time on an “express” bus, opposed to the “ordinario” or “chicken” buses which do not require an advance purchase or have seat numbers.