Due to our ever-changing plans and an unexpected job-offer back home in Oregon, we found ourselves making a lightening run (for us anyway) through the countries of El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica. Since we spent so little time in each of these countries, we decided to do a "favorite things" post that combines all four of them.
Pulling out of Nicaragua, we were sad to leave yet another country underexplored, but by this time we were on a pretty tight schedule and were eager to meet up with more of our friends. We’d made promises to meet up with our Supernova Bliss, who we’d first met in Mexico, as well as Here Until There, another couple travelling with a Four Wheel Camper who we had been following online since the outset of their odyssey South.
After slinking through Honduras, we spent about a week in Nicaragua. For us so far, I think Nicaragua has been one of our favorite countries. The nation has over 70 protected areas and National Parks that encompass about 17% of it’s total landmass. This focus on nature and conservation combined with a relatively low crime rate makes camping and hiking the forests, volcanos, and beaches easy and cheap.
We don’t like travelling fast. In fact, the longer we’ve been on the road, the slower we seem to move. We went into Guatemala planning to actually skip the rest of Central America; not because we were afraid, or because we didn’t think it was worth seeing, simply because we didn’t feel like we had the time to enjoy it fully.
We were excited to get into Guatemala. We missed (making attempts at) speaking Spanish, and we had heard they had real mountains. After the hot and humid coastal regions of Belize, we were ready for little higher altitude. Guatemala gave us some of our most overlandy experiences to date, and was the first country we've really settled into one place for an extended period of time.
After seven months of traveling, the newness and excitement can start to wear off, and you don't appreciate the incredible opportunity that immersing yourself in a foreign country can be. For that reason, it is so refreshing to have someone visit for whom these experiences are brand new. For two weeks, we were so fortunate to have Eva stay with us at Lago de Atitlan and show us how much we had been missing without her!
We don’t really think of ourselves this way, but Americans are isolated. The sheer size and geographical diversity available in our country affords us a wide array of places to visit or make our home. We have small towns, large cities, mountains, deserts, beaches, swamplands, and temperate rainforest. It’s possible to go skiing one weekend and spend the next one in the sun and sand; all without ever crossing an international border.
We’ve been saying since we left home that the way we want to travel is spending more time in fewer places. Has that been the case so far… not really. But now, we've reached Lake Atitlan and we're ready to slow down for a while and plan our next few months on the road!
Our first adventure in Guatemala was what we had hoped our whole life would be like on the road! Crazy and unique experiences for a fraction of the cost. They're not the norm we thought they would be, but when they do happen they are that much more special!