YOUR TYPICAL CENTRAL AMERICA GALLIVANT
I’m all for taking the road less travelled and exploring a bit off the beaten path so I should warn you in advance that this is not going to tell you about the hidden secret gems of Central America.
This is about your classic, go to, backpacker gringo trail from Mexico to Panama, or vice versa if you want to get wild.
When I very first left New Zealand on my own the thought of even spending 3 weeks in Asia alone had me a bit worried. At the time there was no way I would have even considered going to Central America alone.
6 months later having conquered the first fear and realising there was absolutely nothing to worry about I had a flight booked to Managua, Nicaragua with no plans other than to make it to Columbia 6 weeks later to catch a flight out.
My idea of being an adventurous backpacker paving my own way through foreign speaking territory and soul searching every step of the way was quickly shattered when I stumbled upon the gringo trail.
The trail can have many different start points but often begins in Mexico City or Cancun and bound to be filled with Australians at every leg.
But they are honestly everywhere.
I don’t want to spoil the mystery and spontaneity of anyone planning a trip that way but what I will do is tell you some check points along the route which any backpacker will share with you as soon as you step off the plane anyway.
I also don’t want anyone to blindly follow the route as often the best parts are the detours from the track, and there are plenty, but I’m not going to give them away, they are best found by swapping stories on the road.
Use this only as a loose guide to give your planner brain some comfort.
So here it is; You Basic Central America Start Pack, North to South:
Again, this is only a starter and there are still plenty of hidden treasures to find while you’re out there. You don’t need too much forward planning, no visas to get in advance, no travel or buses you have to book. Just get there and you’ll see it all becomes easier.
Mexico City, Oaxaca, Puerto Escondido, San Cristobal, Palenque, Merida, Cancun, Playa Del Carmen, Tulum
Flores/Tikal, Lanquin/Semuc Champey, Antigua, Lake Atitlan
Leon, Granada, Ometepe, San Juan Del Sur
Monteverde, Puerto Viejo
Bocas Del Toro, Panama City
SAN BLAS ISLANDS
Before booking, give yourself a lot more time than you think you need. When making plans from a computer it’s easy to underestimate the time you need considering Central America doesn’t fill up too much space on a World Map.
Lastly, do not make many/any plans for places you need to be at certain times. This only restricts your freedom. There is nothing worse than having to rush or skip places. You never know what you are missing out on.
Central America was so good that one trip wasn’t enough and I had to return again a year later to continue along the trail.
What started as a 6 week trip became a 4 month adventure and by far one of the best trips I have.
Still not enough time btw.
The people, the climate, the food, the beer and the landscapes are only part of what makes it so great. The rest of it comes from a feeling you come away with that you can’t quite attach words to.
And as for being a girl travelling on my own; there is no such thing as a solo traveller on the gringo trail.
More on CENTRAL AMERICA to come, follow @agooddirection on Insta to keep up