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Central America Guide

This is a review and guide to some of the places we visited in our first trip to Latin America. We are a couple of New Zealander's who love to travel and see new things, so we spent over a year traveling from the States to Southern Chile and then up again to Venazuela. We traveled almost entirely by land and only resorted to flying where land or water crossing was very difficult - for example between Panama and Colombia.

This trip started in 2004, so, while we hope this information will be helpful things like prices, transport routes, safety tips and so on may well be out-of-date. We accept no responsability for any decisions you make!

I first posted most of this information on the Lonely Planet Thorn Tree, and this forum still stands as one of the most useful sources of travel information on the internet.

The whole trip, for over a year cost us around US$30 per person per day. We could have done it cheaper, but I like to dive a lot and we tended to stay in slightly above bottom-end hotels. We did, however, generally eat locally and we don't drink heavily or particularly regularly, both factors add a huge amount to a traveler's budget.


Ange speaks excellent Spanish, and this really enhanced our trip. If you don't speak Spanish don't be put off going. There are many areas where there are excellent language schools and you will be able to pick up enough to get by in a couple of weeks of intense classes. This really is recommended as speaking to locals will add a lot to your appreciation of the cultures as you travel. Quetsaltenango or Xela in Guatemala has some very good schools.

Safety is a concern in any country and should always be taken seriously. Many of the larger cities in Latin America are dangerous, however, this should be taken in context and foreigners are not usually targets.We certainly never felt unsafe.

In summary, we hope that you find this resource useful. Stop worrying and just go. It will be an amazing trip. You will make lots of new friends and see some of the most increadible things this planet has to offer!

Beren and Angela Patterson