Banged-Up in A Panama Prison – Tim’s Backpacking Story

“I spent nearly a week in a Panama prison,” Tim told me. He was dressed like Hansel (from Hansel and Gretel – did I mention it was Halloween?) and as a clean-cut guy from a small town in Australia, he looked like the least likely character to be doing time anywhere, let alone in Central America. Having once been addicted to the hit US show Prison Break, my eyes peeled back as visions of Sona (the hell hole of a prison depicted in the TV show) flashed before my eyes. While Sona was fictional, it was inspired by a prison that … Read more

Best Hostels in Latin America

Whenever I meet travelers en route to South or Central America, I’m always quick to pass on my list of recommended hostels in Latin America, not least because I know what it’s like to turn up at a place and wonder if Hell might have any vacancies as a better alternative.    A hostel, the facilities, the kind of travellers it attracts, the location and the cost can all have a huge impact on your travel experience. Equally, repeatedly trawling my tiny brain for the name of that place in that town, that is just on the tip of my … Read more

Cycling from Alaska to Patagonia – What It’s Really Like

Indiana Jo – cycling from Alaska to Patagonia and climbing the highest points of each country in between? Given I’m very wobbly on two feet, let alone on wheels, I can’t proudly claim that achievement, but Thomas Laussermair can.   Taking a staggering 14 months and who knows how much energy expended, Thomas has kindly agreed to share a synopsis of his tale in this guest blog… Cycling from Alaska to Patagonia I had been looking for a trip that combines cycling and mountaineering. After reading the Seven Summits, I briefly contemplated doing the continent highpoints by bicycle, but then dismissed … Read more

From Semuc Champey to Flores: The Chicken Bus Route

There I was in Semuc Champey, the middle of Guatemalan nowhere, I’d explored the caves, toured the mirador, swung in a hammock for a decent amount of time, I was ready to move on. My next stop in Guatemala would be Flores and the jungle shrouded Maya ruins of Tikal. All I had to do was get there. Despite the co-ordinates of Semuc Champey barely being on the map, the indie traveller trail served me well and there was a minibus that took the trip to Flores in little under 5 hours (7 if you consider Guatemalan time). I was … Read more

How NOT to Visit Semuc Champey

How NOT to Visit Semuc Champey

When I visited Semuc Champey in Gautemala, I did everything wrong. Here’s how not to do it and how to visit Semuc Champey properly. Don’t decide to visit Semuch Champey without knowing what it is Semuc Champey was the word on everyone’s lips in Guatemala. I mean EVERYONE! Never mind Antigua or even Tikal, visit Semuc Champey was THE thing to do, apparently A-mazing, and even if that non-description didn’t draw me in, I had realised one things about backpackers – they don’t spend their travel bucks on anything unless it is necessary (arm falling off…cold beer needed for pain) … Read more

Earth Lodge Antigua: An Avocado Farm in Guatemala

Earth Lodge Antigua

This post about Earth Lodge Antigua, an avocado farm in Guatemala is part of my my very first set of posts, way back when. I was toying with a festive theme for this post given the proximity of Christmas but I suspect everyone is nearly up to their ears with the one day event that is celebrated for four months and I certainly could do with some summer memories to get me through the cold. So this blog continues with my tale – this time Guatemala, but there is a little festive sprinkle at the end…a hot buttered rum recipe I intend … Read more

Isla De Ometepe: My Barefoot Volcano Hike

Isla de Ometepe is very simply an island comprised of two conical volcanos looming out of Lake Nicaragua. What else was there to do on the island but to climb them (or at least one of them)? It was a decision that would bring me the closest to a near death situation on my trip and, indeed, my life. But before getting to Isla de Ometepe we spent a few days in San Juan del Sur. After smiling nicely at a local in the surf shop, he slung us in the back of his truck and took us down the … Read more

How To Take the Bus From Santa Teresa to San Juan del Sur

getting to san juan del sur from costa rica

This post about how to get to San Juan del Sur in Nicaragua from Santa Teresa in Costa Rica. I hit Central America without much of a plan, so comfortable I had become with my wandering ways. Nicaragua was next door to Costa Rica, I was generally heading north and so that was how simple my decision to visit was. Plus, I’d heard amazing things about this tiny country. Images of war-torn Nicaraguan teens toting guns is often what springs to mind at the mention of Nicaragua, but as the Lonely Planet puts it, ‘The civil war is over, people.’ And Nicaragua … Read more

Santa Teresa Beach Life in Costa Rica

Santa Teresa Beach Sunset

Getting to Santa Teresa Beach from San Jose The day didn’t start well. In addition to the 4am wake-up, I ended up at the wrong bus station. I knew that I had to get there early to join the rabble-come-queue for the ludicrously popular Saturday morning bus to Santa Teresa. (Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica). So, when it dawned on me that I was in the wrong place, I broke into panicked Spanglish explaining my problem to anyone who would listen. ‘Me no in right-o place-o. Need-o bus-o.’ Within minutes I was installed in the back of a beaten up car having negotiated … Read more

Sick at A Hammock Hostel in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

It was a day of travel pain. I was hungover and I was sick. My rucksack felt like it had been packed with sand and my legs wobbled as I started what promised to be a long day. I was on the move again – Panama to Costa Rica. It was all booked, tickets paid for. I had to go. And so I did.   I got on the water taxi. I got off the water taxi. I got on the bus. I got off the bus. I got to the border. I crossed the border. I got on another … Read more