Central America, finally

It’s time for this blog once again to justify the “Abroad” portion of its name. Thursday Steve and I will fly down to Central America. Unless you consider Mexico part of that region (which I don’t), this is an area in which neither of us has ever set foot. It’s not for lack of interest. Rather, we were saving it up. Now the time seems right.

One reason we were saving it is because for some years we dreamed about driving in our aging van all the way from San Diego to Panama, then donating the van to a charity and flying home. That would have been a real adventure, and it would have required a significant chunk of time.

Eventually, however, several factors gave us pause about the wisdom of this plan, not the least of which were the bureaucratic nightmares that would have been involved in taking a personal vehicle across all those borders. On the other hand, unlike Europe and Asia at the moment, all the countries in Central America are once again open to visitors, particularly fully vaccinated ones such as us.

So we scrapped the driving plan, and I worked for a while on concocting an itinerary that would have us flying to all seven countries (Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama). I quickly learned that even if all the countries are open, service on the regional airlines that connect them is far from fully restored. The staggering current cost of short flights into El Salvador and Honduras (troubled countries on other counts too) led me to scratch them from the program. We had wanted to start in Belize and cross the land border into Guatemala (then continue on), but then I learned the Belize government was not allowing visitors out of Belize that way. This annoyed me so much I scratched Belize.

So now the current plan calls for us to fly to Guatemala and spend a week and a half there, followed by visits to Panama, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua (in that order). For me these will be my 66th through 69th countries.

In the short time before we depart, along with packing and otherwise organizing, I’m trying to prepare for other as-yet-unforeseen challenges that may arise in the wake of global pandemic lockdowns. I’m telling myself this trip will be like traveling in the days of yore, when you couldn’t just assume everything would run like clockwork. But some intrepid spirits nonetheless hit the road then, because then, as now, it was better than not going. I can relate.

6 thoughts on “Central America, finally

  1. Megan Moynihan May 9, 2021 / 9:18 pm

    Have a fantastic trip! Looking forward to reports from the road.

    • Michael May 10, 2021 / 1:00 pm

      Have a great trip. My impression is that you will not have missed anything substantive in the countries that you scratched from the trip, except the diving potential in Belize. First reports awaited with interest.

      Oh, and hi, Megan.

      • jdewyze May 10, 2021 / 2:26 pm


  2. Judith Nicolaidis May 9, 2021 / 10:40 pm

    Have a wonderful time! I have only spent part of a day in Panama (part of a cruise), have visited CR in the 90s while studying Spanish and have had two great trips to Guatemala, one during Semana Santa and the other for Spanish. Fabulous. Enjoy and be safe. Judi N.


  3. czatkin May 10, 2021 / 8:04 am

    Yes! Traveling during a pandemic does require the ability to pivot. We’ve learned that in Morocco having restaurants closed and a 8 PM curfew. We’re still glad we’re here and look forward to sharing stories when we’re all home again.

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