Central America

//Central America

Nicaragua

It's sometimes hard to reconcile the double life that I live - part responsible adult, scholar, teacher, home owner, consummate list maker, and perpetual bill payer contrasted with the other part of me, the me I see less often but like so much more - the wanderer, the risk-taker, the doer, the foregoer of clean fingernails and clean clothes. The traveller. So the latter me is finally in Nicaragua, which has lingered at the top of my endless must-see list forever, especially since I've visited so many of its neighbours and love the general culture of Latin America - the language, people, pace, music, oppressive heat and vibrant colour - and what it all does to me. Nicaragua has had its share of turmoil in recent times, most notably the Revolution in 1979 followed by the Contra War that lasted almost a decade, but it's been relatively calm since then and is [...]

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El Salvador

Flat Out in El Salvador It's quite common to experience a few glitches in even the most well-planned of backpacking trips. I've certainly had my share. But then there are those trips you can't believe you made it through. Enter El Salvador. One little hitch my friend Katie and I got ourselves into as we were leaving Honduras was finding out that the shuttle bus from Copan to San Salvador, El Salvador - the ONE bus out of there - was apparently not running. Did  I mention that it was ONE bus?! This little conundrum we found ourselves in meant that we would have to wing it and take a bunch of hot and sweaty chicken buses across both Honduras and El Salvador to get down to the our beach destination. We mapped everything out and knew it was going to be one hell of a journey....we just didn’t know what we were in for at the time. [...]

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Honduras

Diamond in the Rough After a comfy seven-hour ride from Guatemala on a nearly deserted bus, we arrived at the Guatemalan-Honduran border. The process of getting into Honduras was surprisingly simple and cost a mere two dollars. The only annoyance, which was actually quite comical, were the guys that buy your Guatemalan pesos when you're leaving Guatemala only to sell a few back to you minutes later at a higher price so you can pay the entrance fee into Honduras (which oddly enough, must be paid in Guatemalan pesos). Buddy bought my money from me and literally waited two feet away while the border agent told me I needed Guatemalan pesos to pay the fee. I turned around after being told, and there he was with this proud "gotcha" look on his face, which was actually priceless. Honduras 1, Maia 0. Another 50 kms into Honduras, you get to the little town of Copan where we [...]

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Guatemala

Go Big or Go Home I broke my usual solo travel routine and met one of my BFFs in Guatemala City for a Central American tour de force. And other than her over-the-top fear of snakes, bizarre case of even-stevens, and touch of moodiness when woken up for early bus rides, it was one of the best trips I’ve had and renewed my faith in travelling with someone. And I’m not insinuating that I’m free of quirks and annoying little habits. Thankfully though, she’s not writing a blog any time soon. Fingers crossed that she never does... We met up in Guatemala City, known as Guate City to locals. I wasn't a big fan, let me tell ya. Save the hate because I'm not saying anything negative about the people there; it’s just Guate city itself didn’t seem to have much to offer besides pollution and traffic. There are probably nice areas and [...]

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