Glimpses of Central America

Here’s a map (thanks to Google) that shows our two month journey pretty accurately through Central America.  The Blue line follows the buses overland traveling up from Panama to Belize, the orange line is the flight back from Belize to Panama at the end.

Route

There is no way I can condense all the feelings, all the surprises, all the vistas in this adventure. I rode in colectivo buses, called chicken buses, truck beds, motorcycles, tuctucs, taxis, and eight different long distance buses (but never Tica Bus).  Colectivos are almost like taking the school bus in Windom, MN, except friendlier and more interesting luggage. I lived in a tree house (see the banner). Hurricane Earl passed overhead in Belize. There were beaches and volcanoes, churches and Maya ruins, Central Markets and festivals. I ate pelibuey, rabbit, ceviche,  tripe, ants, and drank lots of local coffee. Technically, these photos were taken with an iPhone 5 and a few with an iPad 3.


The mapping applications get better and better. I took a 6 km hike from Juayua to Nahuizalco through back paths between coffee plantations. I tried to follow electric lines but relied on a couple of Map applications.  Besides Google maps, I use Ulmon CityMaps2Go and Maps.Me


Here are some places I stayed. They might not be for everyone, but provided me with many nice perspectives.  The link connects to the page in Trip Advisor:

Tegucigalpa, Honduras: La Ronda Hostel

San Salvador, El Salvador: EC Tours and  Ali’s Guest House

Juayua, El Salvador: Casa Mazeta

Santa Ana, El Salvador: Hostal Casa Verde

Las Flores, Guatemala: La Casa el Lacandon

San Benito, Guatemala: Buenas Cosas (Off the tripadvisor path)

Belmopan, Belize: Hacienda Tropical

(note: Wife and I started this trip together.  In Managua, she had to take a slight detour through Malaysia to assist her family. Much of this trip was already booked, so I continued on, providing her a vicarious experience.  We are meeting up on the next leg of the journey.)

 

Panama: Three Things

We spent almost a week in Panama, flying from Barcelona via Frankfurt on Lufthansa.

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Over the Alps

We did three really touristy things that every traveler should see.  Rather than do it all in a day on a tour bus, we went by ourselves on local transport.  The links in this list open to tripadvisor.com pages where you might find my reviews for more details.

  1. Old City called Casco Viejo, views from the rooftop of our apartment.
  2. Panama Canal, specifically the Miraflores locks.
  3. Panama Canal Railway.

The way we went about planning this, getting directions from locals, and actually boarding the local buses gave us many insights to life in Panama.

Here are three things I have always known about Panama:

  • The way the Central American Isthmus bends in Panama, the Pacific Ocean is in the East and the Caribbean Sea/Atlantic Ocean is in the West.
  • S. I. Hayakawa summarized a century of American Policy in Central America with this quote, “We should keep [the Panama Canal]. After all, we stole it fair and square.”

  • “A man, a plan, a canal – Panama” is a Palindrome (reads the same left or right).

I had some problem getting my reviews accepted by Trip Advisor.  I described how to access these activities using local transport at local prices instead of a more expensive (albeit more personalized) tour operator.  It’s understandable since Trip Advisor receives advertising revenue from the operators.