Central America

This winter I will be packing my bags here in Key Largo, Florida and make my way to Central America. We’ll be starting this trip in Panama and will be making my way through Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala and of course, Belize. The first stop on this trip in Panama City, Panama. We won’t be spending too much time in the city, and will be heading out to the town of Casco Viejo and spending a few days there. I’ve been told Casco Viejo has a lot of rich history and to visit the local churches and historical sites to really submerse myself in the culture. I’m excited for what this city has to offer. From there, we will be heading towards the Caribbean coast to the islands of Bocas del Toro. Bocas is an archipelago consisting of nine main islands and is home to Panama’s first marine park. Scuba diving in these islands is supposedly some of the best in Central America, so it’ll be fun to see how it differs from South Florida. After we say our goodbyes in Bocas, we then head to San Jose, Costa Rica.

Bocas del Toro
Bocas del Toro – Photo: Rupert Parker

I’ve been getting a lot of input from people saying to visit Quepos, Limon and Monte Verde along with some of the national parks. There aren’t any set cities we plan on visiting just yet so once we get to San Jose, we’ll see where this beautiful country takes us. All I know is there will be a lot of hiking through the cloud forests and camping on the beach and national parks. We then pack our bags and make our way to Nicaragua.

Monte Verde
Monteverde – Photo: Clifton Beard

Our first stop is the well known surf town of San Juan del Sur. We’ll be meeting up with some friends of mine from Key Largo that made this city their home last year. If you make it out to Nicaragua, stop by ChicaBrava to catch some surf lessons and a crossfit workout at GetFit Nicaragua. We’ll hopefully get our hands on some surfboards and try to learn to surf. I tried surfing back in Hawaii a couple summers ago and it went well until the surfboard came back and popped me in the eye. It made for a good story later that night. Anyways, from San Juan del Sur, we travel over to the Corn Islands.

little corn islands
Corn Islands – Photo: Jason Chinn

The Corn Islands are secluded and known for their scuba diving, snorkeling and fishing. Tourism is still pretty small in these islands, so the islands are fairly inexpensive from what I hear. Big Corn is the bigger island of the two and where most of the locals live. Little Corn, the smaller of the two is more remote and secluded. Much of the time on these islands will be spent scuba diving and exploring Big Corn Island and Little Corn Island by foot. We pack our bags and we are on our way to El Salvador.

Tazumal Ruins - Photo: Mario Roberto Duran Ortiz
Tazumal Ruins – Photo: Mario Roberto Duran Ortiz

We’ll be arriving in the main city of San Salvador. There are the Tazumal Ruins and national parks that we will be making our way to. I met a woman through a photography class that I was working and visits her family business every month. She’ll be showing us around her coffee plantation and farm during our stay. This is another country that we don’t have any real plans. It’ll be another adventure in this country to see where it takes us. From here, we pack up and move to Honduras and the Bay Islands. We will be spending most of our time on the islands of Utila and Roatan. Both of these islands offer great diving and snorkeling.The archeological site Copan, has Mayan temples and hieroglyphics to walk through and explore.

Tikal - Photo: David Hiser
Tikal – Photo: David Hiser

Next stop, Guatemala City, Guatemala. I met a family that lives in Guatemala City a couple months ago and wanted to show us around the city. We are doing a 6 day hike through some of Guatemala’s beautiful mountains from Nebaj to Santos. We will also be stopping in Antigua, Quetzaltenango and Lake Atitlan. After trekking through the mountains of Guatemala, we travel to our last destination, Belize. Belize is home to some of the most pristine diving in the world and is also known for the Blue Hole. South Water Caye, Ambergris Caye and Hopkins were recommended to me for scuba diving and snorkeling. Historical mayan sites that have been recommended are Xunantunich, Caracol, Cahal Pech, Lamanai, Cerro Maya, along with a few other sites. I feel like there is going to be so much to see and explore in this country. It will be a great way to end our trip and get ready to head off onto the next one.

We are going into this trip without any real set plans and packing our packs and seeing what happens along the way. To submerse ourselves in other cultures and absorb how the locals live. To explore both land and sea and all the inhabitants in between.

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