#1 7-16-2017 3:55 AM

Essex, England
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Backpacking Central america.

Hola! , planning on quitting my job to travel around Central America starting from either December or January landing in Mexico City and travelling down to Panama, with unlimited time but limited funds.

Based on previous long term travels in Asia i am pretty laid back in terms of planning, generally go where the wind takes me and if I like a place I might stay a while, generally spent 1month to 6 weeks in most countries I have visited although I may cut that down to 2 weeks each for Belize, Costa Rica and Panama.

I like some adventurous activities, hiking and plan to do some Spanish lessons for a week or so in Guatemala.
I stay in cheap dorms/ guest houses, enjoy a couple of beers in the evening but not into crazy parties all the time, use local transport and eat local food in general, have not found any recent budget advice although I know it varies from country to country I will likely have £5000-£6000 in total, trying to work out if it sounds good for 5-6 months (excluding flights)

Last edited by jake0020 (7-16-2017 3:58 AM)


#2 7-16-2017 5:08 AM

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Re: Backpacking Central america.

5-6 months is certainly enough time for Central America in my opinion. Mexico is (or North America) a nice starting point for Central America. From Mexico to Panama, you have a lot of time

The distances are not very large, you can travel by bus through a country no need to fly which save you some money on expensive flights.

For budget depends what you really want to do - diving or active outdoor activities can be expensive


#3 7-16-2017 5:27 AM

Essex, England
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Re: Backpacking Central america.

I snorkel rather than dive, but would like to climb some volcanos/ do some zip lining/ semuc champey tour, but yes planning on travelling by bus, sleeping in dorms/ guesthouses, eating in local restaurants and street food.

Just trying to work out if I have enough money to start In December or January but likely to have 5-6k GBP for the trip, (excluding flights to and from CA) could cut it down to 4-5 months but I like to have chill out days as well, not into rushing around to a tight schedule.

Last edited by jake0020 (7-16-2017 5:29 AM)


#4 7-16-2017 4:57 PM

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Re: Backpacking Central america.

You can do semuc champey by yourself. I'd recommend staying in Greengos hostel, you can walk to the falls from this hostel.

I would recommend the spanish school I used. It's San Marco's Spanish school at Lake Atitlan in Guatemala. I paid $100 for 4 hrs a day per week.

I just took the same trip over 4 months but could easily have spent another month or 2 there. I spent around £6000 in that time, but I did everything I wanted to do. Things like my padi cert in utila, a 4 day trip in San blas islands and flights to Corn islands were my most expensive items. It wasn't as cheap as I had thought it would be. Mexico and Nicaragua are really cheap. but found activities expensive especially in Costa Rica and Belize, they are on par with european prices. I'm pretty sure you could get by on less. Spend longer time in cheaper countries and areas and less time in more expensive places.

If you have any specific questions let me know. I had an incredible trip, currently having major travel blues. You will love it!

Ohhh the one thing I do regret is tagging on a stop in Cuba. Everyone I met was including Cuba but I didn't book early enough. In the end I wouldn't have had enough time. but you have longer so I'd defo consider it. You can fly direct from Cancun to Havana.

Last edited by pammy_robertson (7-16-2017 5:02 PM)


#5 7-20-2017 6:50 AM

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Re: Backpacking Central america.

I LOVED LOVED LOVED Central America so much!! I traveled last winter for a bit over three months the other way around (Panama up to Cancun).
I'm a budget traveler too, but CA is not cheap. I've spend about 4500-5000 euro on that trip. Hardly any parties, always local transport, walking instead of taxi's, streetfood instead of restaurants, and so on. Hostels are generally between 8 and 12 euro per night. These are nice hostels, but not the crappy ones, nor the expensive ones.

A couple highlites in my opinion:
Bocas del Toro, rent a kayak and head out, bicycle ride on the island to secluded beaches
Tortuguero, wildlife
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, hike around in a national park Cahuita for wildlife
Poas Volcano
La Fortuna, take a mountainbike or hiking tour (expensive but worth it)
Monteverde - St Elena, zipwire adventure (done it many times as it is part of my job) cool place to do it
San Juan del Sur, just a very lifely vibe in a beautiful bay
Isla de Ometepe, hiking, cycling, adventure!
Somoto Canyon!!!!! Swimming thru a canyon. Not very touristy yet!!
Leon, volcano boarding! Really good fun. Hiking.
Lago de Yojoa. Take a kayak early morning and visit Pulhapanazak waterfall. Stay in D&D Brewery
Santa Rosa de Copan for the Copan Ruinas. Go horseback riding.
Go hitch hiking!!
Santa Ana
El Tunco, super chill beach place for surfing, a little party and explore the caves under the cliffs
Juayua, make sure you're here in the weekend for the weekly food festival
Tacuba, hiking NP Imposible (stay in Mama y Papa)
Semuc Champey, stay in Utopia, absolute paradise!!! Coolest hostel I've been!
Not to miss, and I really mean you can't leave Guatemala without a hike and overnight at Acatanango Volcano  and the hot waterfall near Rio Dulce (stay in Kangaroo Hostel)
Flores and visit Ruinas the Tikal. Sunrise tour is not that amazing. Enter the park at 6am. Best time!
Lago Atitlan (Panachajel is ugly and build up. San Marcos and San Pedro are much nicer)
San Ignatio for any type of adventure. Really expensive though!!
Hopkins, super chill real Caribbean beach village. Live music on Thursdays
Caye Caulker. Go snorkling with Stressless Tours. They all offer the same for the same price, but found these guys most eco friendly and personal
San Pedro (Ambergris Caye), bigger and different vibe, but great place.
Laguna Bacalar, super beautiful
Tulum, massive and build up, but the Tulum Ruinas are on a beautiful place. Apparently good for parties..
Chitzen Itza, super touristy, but really amazing place. Not to miss out on!
Didn't enjoy Cozumel that much
Didn't find Playa del Carmen that amazing...

I'm a fast traveler as I'm always limited on time. Could have spend more time in most countries. Absolutely blown away with Guatemala. El Salvador suprised me the most in a positive way. So many people avoid Honduras and El Salvador, but both countries are great to travel to!

Budget wise: from cheapest to most expensive
EL Salvador
Costa Rica

Send me a message if you like more info!

Last edited by Globevoyager (7-24-2017 10:11 AM)


#6 7-22-2017 5:01 AM

Cumming, Georgia
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Re: Backpacking Central america.

I think you meant Leon for volcano boarding in Nica, not Granada.


#7 7-24-2017 10:11 AM

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Re: Backpacking Central america.

kvom wrote:

I think you meant Leon for volcano boarding in Nica, not Granada.

I did, thanks. I changed it!

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