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Central America

Souvenir Of The Week: Nicaraguan Toilet Paintings

Souvenir Of The Week: Nicaraguan Toilet Paintings While Gadling's Dave Seminara was busy reporting on surf competitions and rainforests in Costa Rica and Nicaragua last week, he didn't have time to stop and ask questions about a surprising fixture in one outdoor market: colorful paintings of people on the throne. The...

Impact Of Sequester Cuts On Travel: Houston Is The Third World Airport Not Managua

Impact Of Sequester Cuts On Travel: Houston Is The Third World Airport Not Managua As Americans, we've been bred to believe that the way we do things should be a model for the rest of the world. But after spending a good chunk of my Friday, day one of the sequester federal spending cuts, at George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) in Houston, I have to...

Robbed By Cab Drivers In Nicaragua And Chicago In The Same Week?

Robbed By Cab Drivers In Nicaragua And Chicago In The Same Week? Where the hell is Camilo? Those were the words that I kept repeating to myself, sometimes replacing the word "hell" with more sinister, unpublishable expletives. I was sitting in the Rancho Marsella restaurant at Playa Marsella, a remote beach that is 20 minutes down a...

Can You Afford To Stay At A Celebrity-Owned Hotel?

Can You Afford To Stay At A Celebrity-Owned Hotel? Tennis star Andy Murray, one of the U.K.'s most famous athletes and the reigning Olympic gold medalist, recently purchased the Cromlix House Hotel near his hometown of Dunblane, Scotland. Now closed for renovations, the country manor is expected to reopen in the spring,...

Biking In Guatemala City? One Group Is Proving It's Possible

Biking In Guatemala City? One Group Is Proving It's Possible On a recent Saturday, the streets were filled with bicycles. Bells rang and horns sounded as the cyclists wound their way throughout the city like a moving train of youth and energy. This wasn't in Portland, or Paris, or any of dozens of bicycle-friendly cities...

Scenes From A Surf Competition In San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua

Scenes From A Surf Competition In San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua I've never thought of surfing as a hyper-competitive sport. For me, it's more of a lifestyle. I'm not a surfer but I've met scores of people over the years that have rearranged their lives to be in proximity to the big breaks. I can understand why surfers might want to...

Braving The Back Roads Of Guanacaste In Costa Rica, The World's Happiest Country

Braving The Back Roads Of Guanacaste In Costa Rica, The World's Happiest Country Take a look at a road map of Costa Rica's Nicoya Peninsula and you'll see a jumble of squiggly lines that seem to meander in circles with no clear pattern. Before setting off in a rental car from Santa Teresa, at the foot of Nicoya, heading towards Rincon de la Vieja...

Photo Of The Day: Perched Above Guatemala

Photo Of The Day: Perched Above Guatemala A view from a ridiculously good vantage point can forge a lifelong memory. This spot above Lake Atitlan in western Guatemala, shot by Shuo Huang, really sets the standard for others to be compared to. This volcanic lake is what adventures are built around and make weeks...

Florblanca: Rock Star Luxury In Costa Rica

Florblanca: Rock Star Luxury In Costa Rica I was lying in a hammock with my two little boys, getting ready to sleep off lunch. We could hear the melodic, crashing surf of the Pacific Ocean on the golden beach at our backs and were enveloped in the luxurious shade provided by soaring trees on a perfectly toasty...

An Education In Mezcal

An Education In Mezcal I inhale. The scent is earthy, smoky. I take a sip, rolling the liquid around my tongue, exploring its flavors. Per instruction, I gurgle. My mouth explodes, the alcohol transforming into a liquid fireball that burns the insides of my cheeks. It takes a few minutes...

Meet Pabrö Sanchez, Costa Rica's Monkey Whisperer

Meet Pabrö Sanchez, Costa Rica's Monkey Whisperer A good guide can help a traveler interpret the local culture. But sometimes a guide can sanitize and filter your experience by telling and showing you only what they think you want to hear and see. Pabrö Sanchez, a guide I hired through the Florblanca Resort in Costa...

The World According To A Costa Rican Cab Driver

The World According To A Costa Rican Cab Driver I would never think of getting in a cab in my hometown of Chicago and asking for a lift to Indianapolis, Iowa City or Milwaukee. But when I'm outside the U.S. without a rental car, I sometimes resort to long-distance taxi rides as a way of getting from point A to point B. On...

Meet In The Middle: Plan Group Travel With TripCommon

Meet In The Middle: Plan Group Travel With TripCommon Have a friend in Austria while you are in Austin and want to take a trip together this summer? How do you figure out where to meet? Do you choose a destination in the middle, or one with regular cheap flights from both of your destinations? A new website just launched in...

In Oaxaca, A Place For Friends

In Oaxaca, A Place For Friends Sundays in Oaxaca are quiet. The stores are closed; the streets empty. There is buzz around the churches, as families mill in and out dressed in their Sunday best. Near the Zocalo, children play with oversized balloons, pushing them high into the sky. But...

Monkeys Are Big Business At Manuel Antonio National Park In Costa Rica

Monkeys Are Big Business At Manuel Antonio National Park In Costa Rica It was 6 a.m. and I was hiking alone in the lush, tropical forest below the Hotel Parador near Manuel Antonio National Park in Costa Rica when I heard a noise that stopped me dead in my tracks. It was a deep, throaty guttural call that almost sounded like an animal clearing...

Happy International Pretty Brown Girl Day!

Happy International Pretty Brown Girl Day! Today is International Pretty Brown Girl Day, a movement launched a few years ago that seeks to "address the harmful messages about skin tone and beauty in media" and is "for little girls of all ethnicities to send the message that brown skin is indeed beautiful." ...

Book Review: 'The Food Traveler's Handbook'

Book Review: 'The Food Traveler's Handbook' Full disclosure: I know Jodi Ettenberg, author of "The Food Traveler's Handbook." I've eaten with Jodi and explored cities with her; she's even inspected the spices in my Istanbul sublet apartment. Rather than let my friendship with her just guarantee a great review of her...

Releasing My Inner Gringo In Costa Rica

Releasing My Inner Gringo In Costa Rica I try not to be the stereotypical ugly gringo when I'm in Latin America. I tolerate leisurely or downright rude service, I use my poor but functional Spanish, and I try to go with the flow, bearing in mind that things are just different south of the border. But no matter how...

An Unforgettable Coffee Tour At Finca Rosa Blanca In Costa Rica

An Unforgettable Coffee Tour At Finca Rosa Blanca In Costa Rica Coffee! It's the most addictive drug in the world. Many of us could barely function without it, but have you ever toured a coffee plantation? I hadn't until I stumbled upon a coffee plantation and inn called Finca Rosa Blanca near San Jose last week. We were set to arrive in...

Breezy, Probably Unfair Generalizations About Panama Based On An Hour At Tocumen International Airport

Breezy, Probably Unfair Generalizations About Panama Based On An Hour At Tocumen International Airport Writers are famous for blowing into places for a very short period of time and then spouting off on them as though they were experts. Click on my name here and you'll see that I'm just as guilty as everyone else. And writers with a hell of a lot more talent than me have done...

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