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Central America Recommendations and Raves

Court

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  • Added on: May 10th, 2005
This is a new thread full of Central America information. It is to be used for Central America-specific tips, advice and recommendations ONLY. As a content-rich thread, we do not want any back-and-forth or questions. Please direct all questions via Private Messages (Click on "Go" in the left hand corner, select "My Space" and then "Private Messages") to the poster. You can also issue a PM by clicker on the poster's name and selecting "Private Message". Any post that does not contribute relevant information will be deleted. Examples include: responses to previous posts in the thread and questions. The information can be on any city, region or country in Central America. Enjoy!
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kcweimer

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  • Added on: May 20th, 2005
Guanaja, Bay Islands, Honduras is a fantastic island. The Bay Islands are off the coast of Honduras. The island has no roads, a small coral air strip (the last time I went we flew from the mainland in an old DC3) the only town is built on stilts over the water. Great diving, hiking, beautiful beaches (there are sand fleas so use bug repellent. Great place for those who like the road less travelled. I haven't been there since the area was hit by a hurricane, so can't speak for conditions post hurricane.
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Tortuga_traveller

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  • Added on: May 20th, 2005
Todos Santos, Guatemala.

It's a little blip in the tour guides, but one of the most genuine places I've ever been in, and most certainly one of the most beautiful.

To get there, you need to go, I think, to Huehuetenango and take a bus to Todos Santos from the main station. Theres only one or two, the first starting at 6:30 AM. You find out exactly why when you take the four hour bus trip from hell on curving mountain passes and incredibly bad roads, travelled by old reliable American school buses, of course.

Nobody travels the roads at night, so there are only one to two buses per day back. I forget which.

Don't take my word on this, because its been years since I went there.

The people there are very nice, they still wear their traditinal clothing for the most part, and the mountain views are spectacular. So is the hiking to nearby towns, of course. Don't expect more than this, since its economy is primarily farming. I have no idea how they survive, yet they do. Fascinating.
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climberevan

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  • Added on: May 21st, 2005
i´ll throw in a plug for the pension sinai in santa elena (monteverde) costa rica. the new managers are super-nice, and the woman of the pair, rosaura, will talk to you for hours in nice, slow, clear spanish.

a warning too: if you´re driving from el salvador to honduras, watch out for the tramitadores that will assault your car as you drive by. they are not really necessary if you speak good spanish, and if you don´t, good luck. just remember to arrive early in the morning, have a lot of patience, and don´t pay more than $100 for the whole process! we paid almost $200 in a lapse of vigilance and i will always regret it.

Miranda2264

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  • Added on: May 26th, 2005
If in Antigua, take a side trip to Volcan Pacaya. Better to go with a travel company who set up day trips via bus from Antigua easily for <$20, as solo tourists have been mugged/threatened at gunpoint. I've hiked in other volcanos in Central America and it was by far the best. Be sure to bring enough water, wear real shoes (the pumice will scrape your feet pretty badly if in sandals), a camera, and an extra layer to cover your face so you don't breathe in too much sulfur at the top.

If anyone has more questions about Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, or Mexico, please feel free to get in touch.

Enjoy!

Chenbaaxal

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  • Added on: May 26th, 2005
Any time I am in the Flores/Tikal area, I make a point of seeing the sun set over Lake Petén Itzá. There is something wonderfully eery about watching the lake get dark and seeing lights slowly come on from across it while slowly sipping a beer. It is particularly poignant after a hard day seeing ruins.

It is best to not be in the company of anyone who is talkative when doing this or to be around any loud music. This is a delightful solo experience.

The best place seems to be the Sunset Cafe, but the Casona isn't bad. I got out of the habit of seeing it from the Hotel Peten after a nearby restaurant started loud music. But maybe that has stopped.

Skyehiker

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  • Added on: July 23rd, 2005
Speaking of sunsets....I'd recommend the Greek Amphitheatre at the Villa Caletas on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, not terribly far from Quepos. Basically, it's a way-outta'-my-budget hotel on a small peninsula that sticks out into the Pacific. The hotel has built an authentic "Greek amphitheatre" (columns and all) into the top side of a cliff, with the whole ampitheatre "pointing"/facing the spot where the sun sinks into the Pacific horizon. And, since you're on a bit of a penisula, you've got beautiful coves on both sides of you. There is no charge to park at the hotel and walk there...BUT, the appropriate thing to do would be to buy a beverage, maybe an appetizer from one of the wait staff that mills about the top of the ampitheatre. (great app's, btw). Very cool photo opp. to sit between the columns with the sun sinking into the big blue right behind you. Or, just sit there....sip your glass of ___, enjoy the nice background music, and the incredible views before you, and all around you.

The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page. ---St. Augustine

kcweimer

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  • Added on: July 25th, 2005
Ditto on the above. Though we couldn't afford the hotel, we did drive up several times to have breakfast. The view is fantastic. We would eat right on the rail of the veranda overlooking the view described above. Afterwards we would just walk around and enjoy the sights!
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Zed from Canada

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  • Added on: July 27th, 2005
Recommend a little coastal town, La Ceiba, HOnduras
Right by the Caribbean Sea, it's small and less touristy if you hope to just relax and experience more of the local culture. I went to do Humanitarian work there after Hurricane Mitch hit in 1998 and was shocked by the destruction, but I"m sure a lot of it is rebuilt by now and you can get their by car or bus. The people were welcoming and you are able to see so much green everywhere!!!!!!

kcweimer

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  • Added on: July 27th, 2005
I agree on La Ceiba. Haven't been there for several years, but I really enjoyed it. When I arrived, I was the only gringo at the airport. There is a nice place to eat that a lot of Norte Americanos and Europeans go to. Can't remember the name, but it is by the big church off the central square in downtown. I felt perfectly safe on the streets day and night.
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cactus_boy

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  • Added on: July 30th, 2005
Caracol in Belize! It's a huge Mayan ruin in the jungles south of San Ignacio. When my brother and I went last fall, we were the only people there (except for the guy taking money for the tickets (its a archeological reserve) who promptly went back to sleep after we were paid). We spent hours there and never saw another person and the ruins were massive. The drive through the Mountain Pine Ridge was nice as well.

Stephen Mattison

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  • Added on: September 6th, 2005
If you ever go to Panama, you absolutely must dive, especially the Bocas del Toro.

blingblingdinosaur

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  • Added on: October 8th, 2005
I guess I should give a Shout out to Nebaj, which can be reached from Santa Cruz del Quiche on a 3 hour bus ride. There is a company there called trekking Ixil that will give you all the info you need to do 2 to 3 day treks on your own and stay at the town halls and eat with families who speak very little Spanish. Also, this area was hit hard by the war and can give one an oppurtunity to see first hand how people have coped with such catastophes. Very beautiful, and the town of Nebaj is also very friendly.

lunasol

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  • Added on: October 24th, 2005
i looooved isla ometepe in nicargua - beautiful volcanic island in the middle of a lake.

iguana perdida on lago atitlan in guatemala. cool hostel with a beautiful deck overlooking the lake. in the evening, they have family-style dinners, often followed by guitar sing-alongs and drunken jumping in the lake. lots of fun.

the hot spring waterfall near rio dulce - also in guatemala - is not to be missed. it's especially lovely after several months of weak/lukwarm showers.
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."
--Margaret Mead

John Leonard

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  • Added on: November 11th, 2005
Rincon de la Vieja, Costa Rica
The only accomodations at this national park are rustic campgrounds. The place has a well-maintained network of trails that will keep you busy for at least a few days. I especially recommend the Cataraca Congreja trail which will take you through subtropical montane forest and dry forest to a secluded waterfall. The park can be reached by means of a jeep taxi from Liberia. If you spend the night here watch out for the white-nosed coatis which will steal your food.


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