Central America Recommendations and Raves
1) Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua: Someone already recommended it, but if you're looking for somewhere not in your guidebook, spend some time at Hospedaje Ortiz in Altagracia. It was a trip-making experience, and the owner and his family are willing to spend hours talking with you about any topic under the sun and showing you local delicacies/plants if you show interest(also you get to play with lots of cool animals, including a monkey!)
2)Pochomil, Nicaragua (in the offseason). Get a room for super cheap (3.50 Canadian), and enjoy your own private beach, During the week it's totally deserted, and you can watch the one or two surfers, hang in a hammock, rent a horse, or play with the local kids. Food's a little expensive so you might want to pack in some of your own, even though it's only an hour and half from Managua.
3) Captain Morgan's Dive Centre, Utila, Honduras: Probably also been recommended- if you like to get off the party island, for a more laid back vibe and cool people, choose this dive shop. Our lessons had 2 people in them and were fun but professional. Also, enjoy the BBQ's sometime each week.
4) Tegucigalpa: Normally I hate big cities, but as far as they go, Teguc is not bad at all. There are lots of hills and parks where you can get some pretty cool views of the city. Once you get away from the bus depots, the city is pretty calm, and you can eat all kinds of good food for cheap, go and see movies, or just hike around.
You can swim with the dolphins (about $70-90 per adult), trampoline on the edge of the cliff, or ride the zipline over the sea.
When you get to Cancun, take a taxi to Puerto Juarez. Then hop on the ferry to the island.
It is much better and tropical than Cancun.
Coban - Stay at Casa D'Acuna. The restaurant is fabulous and worth the splurge. Try the vegetarian lasagna. They have a shuttle to Semuc Champey and to Flores. Felix is the driver most of the time. A great guy! Was the only passenger from Flores to Coban. Go to Semuc Champey for a few days, not just the day trip.
Semuc Champey - Las Marias. Take the shuttle right to there from Casa D'Acuna. You want not want to leave. I stayed for 5 fantastic days. The hostel environment is one of the best I have experienced in the world. Walk to the falls, go on their own cave tour and get wet (lots of fun), take one of the free tubes down the river before dinner. Enjoy family style dinner with other travelers, play games and dance on the deck. Have a blast!
Antigua - Hostel A Place to Stay - Fernando runs the place. Small and inviting. Late nights on the roof, you can see the stars. Close to everything. The bus drivers yelling Guate! Guate! love to wake you up in the morning.
San Pedro la Laguna - a great community on Lake Atitlan. Lots of expats to meet. The merging of two worlds. Stay for a week or so, if you can manage to drag yourself away. Take a boat to San Marcos to lay out on the rocks and go cliff jumping. Take the boat to Santiago de Atitlan and go see Maximo. It's an experience.
Here's a great website for more info:
We ventured to Roatan via TACA from the world's most confusing airport, Miami Int. In my humble estimation, the whole city of Miami would have been greatly improved by a tactical nuclear strike, but maybe that's just me. Roatan proved to be a joyfull destination, although we arrived on election weekend, which meant no alcohol sales! Yikes! Upon arriving at Sea Dancer in Sandy Bay, we were supplied by our new neighbors and all was well. The accomodations were clean and reminded me of Y camp. The snorkeling and diving were world class, as was the local cusine and brew. Cab rides were easily obtained and prices were cheap by Mexico and Key West standards. Our place shared, with our neighbors, a long dock with deck ending maybe 100 yds. from a maze of underwater coral reef complete with attendant tropical fish in abundance. The only drawback proved to be the damned sand fleas and mosquitos. Take your bug dope! All in all, I can't wait to go back to Roatan before the big money resorts and development get there. A real gem to see right now!
Girl Travels World
You will find almost no information about this place in the guide books, but it has an incredibly beautiful private reserve managed by a local man named Jeronimo Sho. During January and February it is possible to see flocks of around 40 Scarlet Macaws flying through the hills just west of the town. The town has no accomodations other than a campground at Jeronimo's reserve. I believe it is possible to get busses into the town from Dangriga, although we just had the PG/Belize bus drop us off at the turnoff and hiked in from there.
DIY: As John stated take the bus from PG or Dangriga and get off at the Red Bank turn off( we rented bicycles) and make your way to the little town of Red Bank( do stop at the gristmill on the right and at the little store/stand) ask directions to Jeronimos. He will let you go in or if he is already there, someone will show you where it is. There is a long road in through the banana planatation- sometimes you can hitch a ride but renting a bike at Dangriga or PG or Placencia and riding in is best.
Tour- Through Night Wind Tours out of Placencia- go in with Doyle- he is very knowledgeable and will put together a trip with transportation and a inner tube down the Swayze.
IT is beautiful- I took three trips last February, just missed the macaws on several occasions but it was still a highlight of my trip
From the airport in Managua (which is surprisingly nice...the airport, not Managua), you can catch a puddle jumper flight to Big Corn Island via Bluefields. It only takes an hour or so, and I think it costs around $100. From Big Corn, you can catch a smallish water taxi that will take you over to Little Corn.
Little Corn itself is tiny, but beautiful. There are no roads, a handful of places to stay, a few places to eat, and one dive shop (at least that's what it was like a few years back). You can walk from one end of the island to the other in an hour or so. Life moves slooow on the island, even by Nicaraguan standards. The beaches are small, but absolutely incredible. Fresh lobster with coconut rice is an inexpensive local specialty. There's not much to do there but walk around, swim, lay on the beach, eat and drink. It's the kind of place where you can really take it easy, a place that Jeff Lebowski might like to hang out.
If you're looking to do something active, the dive shop can take you out diving or snorkeling (the snorkeling was pretty good, and cheap), and you can probably find someone to take you fishing. That's pretty much it though.
There are some decent places to stay, but Casa Iguana is by far the best. Casa Iguana is a true eco-lodge, not just some cabin in the woods. They generate their own power using wind and solar energy, capture rain water to use in the showers, encourage the fellas to piss outside, and have an awesome organic garden. At night they serve family style dinners for the guests with fresh vegetables from the garden, and the catch of the day. It's not cheap to stay there, but it's worth every penny. If it's not in your budget, there are definitely other less expensive options on the Island.
It's more than a little bit out of the way, but if you're looking for a place to hang for a few days while you're traveling in Nicaragua, you can't go wrong with Little Corn.
Also, La Campa, a smaller village about an hour bus ride away, that is renown for its Lenca pottery.
The people of El Salvador. Genuine and funny. They love to chop it up.
Anywhere on Ometepe, Nica. The volcano is alive, the people are alive and the air is alive. Every square inch of that island is alive.
The Pacific Coast of El Salvador. It's a little in accessible out side of Libertad (and expensive) but worth it.
just look above!
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