All posts filed under: Latin America

Lake Atitlan, Guatemala: The Feeling That I’ve Found My Place on Earth.

The more I’ve travelled in the past 5 years, the more I’ve wondered if I’ll ever find my perfect place as a digital nomad. That to me, is a place with incredible natural beauty, good wifi, far enough from civilization yet with a diversity of food that keeps my tastebuds salivating, culturally immersive. There is also that indescribable factor, that feeling of being there, not wanting to be elsewhere. For a restless soul like mine, that feeling is rare. I first lay eyes on Lake Atitlan in 2014, on my first trip to Guatemala. Even on a rainy evening, as my bags and I got drenched on the ferry along choppy waters, I gaped wide-eyed at the three volcanoes – San Pedro, Atitlan and Toliman – that imposingly and protectively loom over the lake. I spent a blissful week in my eagle’s nest, a solar-powered studio in San Marcos La Laguna, detached from civilization and observing life in my little Mayan village, playing basketball with Mayan boys and girls, hiking in the surrounding mountains (Also …

cuicocha lake ecuador, solo travel ecuador

My First Impressions of Ecuador.

My tryst with Ecuador started even before I boarded my flight from New York to Quito two weeks ago. I think it was 2014 and I was off on my first trip to Central America (Guatemala) then. The elderly Ecuadorian gentleman sitting next to me on the flight, wearing a black hat above his ponytail, smiled warmly as I tried to practice my rusty Spanish with him. When we got off in Miami to change flights, he waited in the departure area to hug me goodbye. Ecuador is your kind of place, he said, as we parted. I had no plans of visiting Ecuador then, and quickly forgot about him, his kind eyes and his wrinkled smile. Until I nervously boarded my flight two weeks ago – my first time in South America, alone, a newbie vegan. I saw him, again and again, in elderly men, wearing black hats with long ponytails, with an understated elegance, on the cobbled streets of Quito and in indigenous Andean villages. And his words sort of sum up my first impressions of the country: …

Central America travel blog

6 Months, 6 Countries: Epic Memories from Central America.

This week, I made the long journey back to India from the Americas. Having a glass of wine at the bar on my Virgin Atlantic flight, I got chatting with a fellow passenger from Costa Rica, and began reminiscing about my adventures of the last six months. When he asked me what my most memorable experiences in Central America were, I was torn. Should I tell him about the wild dolphins playing in front of my rancho in Panama? Or how a Tico mugged me in San Jose, Costa Rica? Or living with an indigenous Mayan family in Guatemala?

So I emptied my glass, and promised to tell him this story on my blog!

chocolate making costa rica, costa rica off the beaten path

The Secret Lives of Costa Rica’s Chocolate Farmers.

An old dug-out wooden canoe waited for me on the banks of Yorkin River. Two cowboy-like young boys, dressed in vests and gum boots, greeted me with wide smiles and is-be-shkena. Dusk was fast approaching, so I had little time to voice my apprehensions. For an hour, we manoeuvred rapids upriver with an old motor and a wooden stick, slowing down to a crawl at narrow bends, tilting almost 60 degrees when sharp rocks rose from the river bed, nothing but dense forests on either side. My pumping adrenalin washed off the nervousness of being somewhere so remote, alone, in a country I had set foot in only two days ago (Read: Costa Rica Wasn’t The Country I Imagined). As night descended and finally on land, I lugged my backpack and followed my new friends into the home of the Bribris – one of the last remaining indigenous communities in Costa Rica. Deep in the rainforest, without electricity or connectivity, far from civilization as we know it. The boys made way for Don Guillermo, the head of the clan, to receive me. I expected him …

concepcion volcano, ometepe

Isla de Ometepe: Where the Streets Have No Name.

I lay in a lounge chair on the breezy deck of a slow ferry, as it traversed the choppy waters of the vast Lake Nicaragua. Every few hours, we stopped at remote islands to drop off essential supplies and a few passengers. We had ourselves photographed by island dwellers who came with their families to enjoy this rare incursion in their lives and catch a glimpse of the outside world! It was hard to resist the charm of the Solentiname islands we passed by, but when we finally arrived in Ometepe ten hours later, I knew it had been worth the journey. The eruption of two volcanoes rising from the expansive Lake Nicaragua created two circular land masses joined by a narrow strip of land – and this island of two mountains was christened as “Ometepe” from the ancient Nahuiti language. For a blissful week, we lived in the shadow of Volcano Concepcion and Volcano Maderas, on an organic farm called Finca Montania Sagrada, run by a group of Europeans. Like many expats in Central America, our hosts had packed up their lives in search of …

Eagles nest lake atitlan, san marcos la laguna, best places to stay lake atitlan

10 Awe-Inspiring (yet affordable) Airbnbs to Stay in Central America.

Airbnb has changed the way I travel. Instead of pouring hours of research into finding unique accommodations during my Central America trip, I decided to rely on Airbnb and found private islands, organic farms and artistic, off-the-grid homes in the lap of active volcanoes – all at prices I could afford!

Costa Rica wildlife, puffer fish

Costa Rica Wasn’t The Country I Imagined.

Costa Rica wasn’t part of my original Central America travel plan, because it seemed to be part of everyone else’s. I imagined this little country to be overrun by tourists and expats, and its culture to have been eroded by tourism. After all, it’s the only country in the region which has been extensively written about online. Turns out, I was wrong. I made a short two week trip to Costa Rica, while waiting for a friend to join me for a long trip through Nicaragua and Panama. And I instantly fell in love. The Pure Life Pura Vida isn’t just Costa Rica’s tourism mantra. It really is how locals greet each other in the hinterlands! I’m yet to meet a people who live more in tune with nature in their daily lives. I’m yet to visit a place that is as developed and connected, yet so wild and pristine. The country welcomed me with a green carpet of swaying fields in hilly San Jose. The blue hues of the Pacific Coast called out to me as I cycled along its small villages. …

Guanaja island, Guanaja honduras, Guanaja photos

Guanaja Island: Sshh… A Secret in the Caribbean.

I had to pinch myself as my tiny 20-seater plane with an open cockpit, circled a lush mountainous island surrounded by the deep blue Atlantic Ocean. It looked a little like Isla Sonora from the Jurassic Park movies. The plane descended sharply as the hillocks parted to reveal a tiny airstrip, which ended just a few feet away from the ocean. The airport was only connected to the rest of the island by boat.