This Week I Start My Travels Through Central America!

flight take off - sunset

flight take off at sunset

This Week I Start My Travels Through Central America!

To be honest, I had a lot of trouble deciding whether to call this article “Oh no! I’m leaving Mexico!” or as is. But to start things off on an optimistic note, let’s begin with my upcoming adventures through Central America:

Yes, this Thursday, July 27th I fly from Mexico City to Guatemala! Yippie!

My first stop: the gorgeous historic city of Antigua, one of Guatemala’s most famous and most visited destinations. And certainly one of my favorites.

El Merced Cathedral viewed from Antigua's distinctive arch

El Merced Cathedral viewed from Antigua’s distinctive arch

This will be my second visit to Antigua. Back in Nov and Dec, 2015, I spent two weeks there at the beginning of two months of exploring Guatemala. You can check out all my previous articles and photos about Guatemala here.

This time, I’m returning to Guatemala for only 2-3 weeks, just to re-visit my two favorite places – beautiful Antiqua and stunning Lake Atitlan, a deep crater lake rimmed by volcanic peaks.

From Guatemala I’ll finally start visiting ‘new’ countries at long last. I’ll be traveling southward down the long spine of Central America. From Guatemala I head overland to El Salvador. Then Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and finally, some six months from now, I’ll reach Panama.

Cenral America MAp by GoogleIn total, I expect my explorations to take about 8 months – through about March of 2018. And then I will have explored all of Central America’s 7 countries, in pretty good depth, having visited Central America’s other country, Belize, back in 2015 for one solid month.

Naturally I’ll be sharing my adventures with all of you via regular articles about Central America’s great destinations as well as travel tips, costs and photographs. Here’s a quick overview of my planned travels:

Lake Atitlan sunset - Guatemala

Lake Atitlan sunset – Guatemala

Guatemala – 2-3 weeks – July/August

Antiqua – gorgeous historic town surrounded by volcanoes

Lake Atitlan – amazing crater lake lined by about 10 villages and rimmed by volcanic peaks

El Salvador – 1 month – August/September

Route of Flowers – one week loop through picturesque mountain villages with art, nature and volcano hikes

Lake Chacepeque – a stunning lake in western El Salvador 

San Salvador – capital city with museums, parks and architecture

Suchitoto – a cute historic town nestled on a gorgeous crater lake

Pacific coast beaches – some of Central America’s most famous surfing beaches

Honduras – 10-14 days – late September

This will be a quick trip through the Pacific coast side of Honduras to visit:

Isla El Tigre – aka Tiger Island

Comayagua – a laid-back gorgeous colonial mountain town

El Tigre National Park – situated just north of the big city Tegucigalpa

Nicaragua – 2 – 2 ½ months! – October/November

Well, there are just way too many places to mention here in this short summary!  But I’ll be visiting volcanoes, a canyon, forested mountains, coffee plantations, surfing beaches on the Pacific coast, tropical islands on the Caribean coast, historic colonial towns and an amazing volcanic island situated in a lake.

Costa Rica – 1-2 months – December/January 2018

Unfortunately, I’ll reach Costa Rica in December, the peak of their high tourist season. That means LOTS of American tourists and much higher prices. Sigh.

I may have to travel through a bit quicker than I’d like, or find a volunteer position for a month or so. I supposed I’ll mostly be dodging the tourist masses.

That having been said, I’ll be visiting some gorgeous tropical jungles and bohemian-style beaches. 

Panama – 1-2 months – February/March 2018

Panama City will probably be my first taste of modern city life for the next many months. It’s full of skyscrapers, luxury hotels, shopping malls and all the mod cons. By then I’ll probably be more than ready for a splash of luxury. Lol. I’ll also be visiting several small mountain villages, beaches and islands, and…

Panama Canal – Of course I’ll visit the famous canal. But there are also many amazing natural wonders nearby.


From Panama I will try to sail up through the Caribbean and back to Florida to visit family for 1-2 months.

And that’s it for my Central America travel plans…

Now for the down side: Oh no! I’m leaving Mexico!

exploring Isla Mujeres

exploring Isla Mujeres

It’s a bit of a shock, really. I’ve spent all of 2016 and 2017 here in Mexico, aside from a quick 2-week trip to Puerto Rico and two visits with family in Florida.

Mexico has become very comfortable and ‘normal’ for me during these two years. As I’ve probably made clear through dozens of articles, I really love Mexico! So many gorgeous historic cities and towns! So many stunning and diverse natural places! Great and variable food. Friendly, welcoming people. Safe and clean. Both historic and modern.

It will be truly strange to leave this country!

Luckily, I’ve come to realize that before I leave, so I could appreciate my final couple weeks here. And luckily I’ve traveled through Guatemala before, so I know what to expect. Which has lead me to some important preparations:

Lash staying at Casa Velas - Puerto VallartaFirst off, compared to the other countries I’m about to visit for several months, Mexico is much wealthier, modern and spacious. In fact, Mexico is a lot more like the US than it is to all the other Central American countries! Seriously!

Mexico is a huge, spacious country. It’s full of wide, modern highways, private cars, huge buses, and wide boulevards in towns and cities. City roads are wide, plazas are big and spacious, the historic stone buildings are massive. Mexico has shopping malls, cinemas, Walmarts and Chedrauis, 7-11s and other chain convenience stores, and all the world’s modern amenities and luxuries.

Lash at Body Shop in MexicoOnce I stop off Mexican soil, I can forget about all of that for at least half a year. I probably won’t find anything like that until I reach modernized Panama City sometime next year.

In fact, I’m heading out to a bit rougher travel for several months. Narrow, less maintained roads. Comparatively miniature towns and cites, all with narrow streets and much smaller buildings. No Starbucks. No cinemas. No shopping malls or mod cons.

So right now, here in Mexico, I’m making sure I enjoy a few modern luxuries before I leave. There aren’t really many I’m going to actually miss. I’ll just visit Starbucks once or twice and try to see a movie in a cinema. Oh, yes, and stock up on Lindt Chocolate! That’s about it.

However, another thing I remember about Guatemala is that, for some inexplicable reason, all toiletries and personal care products are extremely expensive there! Contact solution, sunscreen, even toothpaste and soap cost a lot of money. I’m talking US prices or higher. I think I had to pay nearly $20 US for a bottle of contact solution in Guatemala! Eek!

with my prized  Lindt in Yucatan 2016

On the other hand, toiletries in Mexico tend to be quite cheap. So, luckily I’ve remembered to stock up on everything I’m going to need for the next half year.

In summary, my upcoming trip to Guatemala and beyond has been a real mixed bag of emotions for me these past few weeks. On the one hand, I’m really excited about re-vistiing Antigua and Lake Atitlan. And I’m thrilled to finally go explore the rest of Central America.

On the other hand, I sure am going to miss wonderful Mexico. And in so many ways.

But be that as it may, off I go to new adventures!

Come follow along on my travels through Central America…. starting next week from Guatemala!

Next report from Antigua or Lake Atitlan… stay tuned folks!

Meanwhile, you might also like:

13 Surprising Facts about Guatemala

17 Reasons Guatemala is an Easy Travel Destination

Costs of Budget Travel in Guatemala


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