CenAmer

Central America Trip
In early 2008, I traveled for ten weeks in Central America. I flew to Panama City and worked my way north ultimately flying home from Guatemala City. Desiring a local experience, I used “chicken” buses for transportation. And yes, there are chickens on the buses; but then at some point, there are basically everything on the buses. I visited the countries of Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala.

See Central America Travelogue for the complete, chronological listing of posts made in the field:

Panama,

Costa Rica,

Nicaragua,

Honduras, and

Guatemala.

In Panama City, I studied Spanish at SpanishPanama School, visited the Panama Canal, went to the Pipeline Trail to see the birds, and enjoyed the conquistador historical sites in Panama Vieja. From there, I headed north to the highlands. I stayed in the cloud forest in Volan Baru and spotted the mythical quetzales, exotic birds with long teal tail-feathers and a red plumed chest. I visited coffee plantations, photographed hummingbirds and headed to the beaches at Bocas del Toro.

I walked across a railroad trestle over a river to enter Costa Rica, visited national marine parks and relaxed on the beaches. I traveled north in motorized long-boats running banana-plantation canals to Tortuguero. I did not see the famous turtles, but I did see lots of monkeys and poison miniature red frogs.

In Nicaragua I visited Granada and stayed in the old colonial Spanish center on the north end of Lago Nicaragua. I traveled by ferry to Isla de Ometepe and climbed one of the two volcanoes. Then I traveled to the mountainous area and stayed in La Selva Negra, a German-settled eco-park. Semana Santa in Esteli was a grand celebration of an old tradition.

In Honduras, I visited the capital, Tegucigalpa and then stayed at Lago de Yajoa. I went to the highlands and visited the indigenous area of Gracias and toured the Mayan ruins at Copan.

In Guatemala, I visited the colonial city of La Antigua and climbed a live volcano where I could poke a stick in lava and have it immediately catch fire. I enjoyed the scenery at Lago de Atitlan but was dismayed with the prevalaence of crime. The cave and waterfalls of Semuc Champey were unwordly. I visited a family of indigenous people and watched them mark chocolate. I enjoyed the architecture and jungle of Tikal. After ten weeks on the road, I was happy to be home in my nice bed with running hot, potable water, dishwashers and TVs!

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