Category Archives: Central America

Days 99-103: Cerro de la Muerte and Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

We said a sad goodbye to Manuel Antonio and prepared for a two day drive across Costa Rica from the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean Sea. But first we stopped at a fantastic reptile zoo so Ben could have a glimpse of all the venomous snakes that we (cough, cough, thankfully) didn’t see on our night walk.    They also had a number of non-native species, including this Komodo dragon, which was also accompanied by a few nervous-looking chickens. Maybe

Days 93 – 98: The Beaches and Jungles of Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica

If we’re being completely honest, the main reason we visited the Manuel Antonio area of Costa Rica was because we’d enrolled the kids in a nearby school for the week and we were all keen to have a little time and space. The scenery and wildlife were just icing on the cake. The area immediately outside the park is occupied by a moderately touristy strip of pricey restaurants and fancy hotels that we occasionally find a bit tiresome after three

Days 90-92: Monteverde, Costa Rica

We had a few extra days so we jetted inland to Monteverde, home of Costa Rica’s famous cloud forest. The area has an interesting history: In the 1950’s, Quakers from Alabama, seeking to avoid the Korean War draft (as it directly contradicted their pacifist values) settled high on the mountain in Costa Rica, a country that had just abolished its army three years previously. It wasn’t until the 1960s that scientists began to notice that it was an area rich

The Sea Turtles of Playa Corozalito

When our buddies next door at our duplex in Samara came knocking on our door to tell us about the tour they’d done to a sea turtle nesting beach, we were intrigued. They’d gone north to the reserve at Playa Ostional, which is about an hour north of Samara. Olive Ridley sea turtles have nine nesting beaches along the Pacific Coast (Acapulco being one of them) and during the wet season they come ashore in mass emergences, called arribadas, which are

Days 82 – 89: Playa Samara, Costa Rica

Unbeknownst to us, there is a flaming torch that is carried by foot every year from Guatemala down through Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and into Costa Rica. Similar to the Olympic Torch, it celebrates the joint independence of those countries from Spanish rule on September 15, 1821. We also didn’t know that the torch would shut down border crossings and cause hours of backlogged traffic moving at a snail’s pace down Costa Rica’s main highway. Can you picture the Seattle

Creepy Crawlies

Unless you are staying in a 20 story condo tower, there is no way to avoid the critters in Latin America. Bugs dominate the tropics. And I won’t lie: we think they’re fascinating, especially the ones that are masters of mimicry. Take this leaf katydid: It took Ben and I several minutes to determine exactly how many animals were ensconced on the bush, so great was their ability to resemble leaves. But here’s the really fantastic part: a katydid will

How much does it cost to drive the Pan-American Highway? Guatemala/Honduras/Nicaragua update.

Hi all, we’re making good time through Central America so it’s time for another budget update for Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. We’re still way under our projected budget of $200/day but creeping up on our per day averages. Guatemala was a surprise in that we expected similar prices to Mexico but things were quite a bit more expensive. Honduras looks expensive below but that is only because we spent little time in the country and had two full fuel tank

Days 78-81: San Jose Del Sur, Nicaragua

Oh hey look: there is our camper, hiding behind that roof.  With us not camping in it. It’s hot, muggy, and we get a little cranky packed like sardines into the truck. Also, we’d just completed a marathon camping extravaganza across three countries; we were ready for a little space, flush toilets, and wifi.   We spotted a good deal on a hotel that was in possession of a swimming pool…and well, we adored our time in San Jose del

Days 75-77: Granada, Nicaragua

I won’t lie: We had a rough time crossing the border into Nicaragua from Honduras. Lots of hoops to jump through. The Honduras border guard charged us to exit the country, a fee that we’d already paid upon entering two days earlier. He knew that, having seen our receipt for the charge (which he promptly tore up), but still had the gall to charge us again.  Guatemalan border guards demanded fees for insurance (with wildly varying prices), municipal taxes, and

Day 73: Honduras

Honduras was a quick trip: 1 night and 2 days. We crossed the border from Guatemala, only to learn that the US was playing the Honduran National futbol team in a Wold Cup prelim match that afternoon in a town that we were driving through. Perhaps not the best timing. Our border guard sure was friendly, though. Didn’t ask for any bribes and kept giving us a thumbs up. Seemed a little young though.    Borders are juggling acts: keeping

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