Central America + the Caribbean

From early January till late June in 2014, I traveled through Central America + the Caribbean after dropping out of university. Once I had the confidence and the Spanish, I hitchhiked from Mexico to Panama overland.

  • Mexico: I crossed into Mexico by bus from Laredo/Nuevo Laredo at the Texas border with the USA. I started in Monterrey, then got some revelations by peyote, and did my first hitches in Mexico. From Puebla, I hitchhiked everything.
  • Belize: The Belizeans introduced me to Caribbean culture. It’s a small country and hitchhiking was great!
  • Guatemala: I took a boat (and skippered it) to Livingston in Guatemala. I hitchhiked around this medium-sized country for a few weeks. It was relaxing.
  • El Salvador: At the border, I realized that Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua formed one immigration block wherein I only had 90 days! I only spent one week here, but I had an amazing time. People were very kind and a little worried about me.
  • Honduras: I hitchhiked through this country in a big loop. From the forests to the beach and then to its capital Tegucigalpa. Lots of kind people and nice beaches, but also a lot of rain!
  • Nicaragua: I spent a few glorious weeks here hitchhiking and winding down at the beach.
  • Costa Rica: oof, it was a little expensive even with my no-budget travel! But I’d love to return.
  • Panama: I loved it. Great craft beer, kind people, nice canal.
  • Dominican Republic: I only saw this country for eight-ish hours, but it was very easy to hitchhike.
  • San Andrés y Providencia: Colombian territory in the Caribbean that I visited in 2017 with Jonas. Idyllic!

That’s it for Central America + the Caribbean for now! I’m hoping to return especially to the Caribbean to do some sailing.

Kayaking + Snorkeling at Crab Cay and Three Brothers (Old Providence, Colombia)

All this happened on the 2nd of November, 2017. We rented a kayak and paddled to Crab Cay from the island of Old Providence. This is part of the Archipelago of San Andrés, Providencia, and Santa Catalina. This is where I did my first successful and enjoyable snorkeling session.  Renting a Kayak on Providencia We asked the owner of our guesthouse (Posada Sunrise View) Keoma how to go to Crab Cay (Spanish: Cayo Cangrejo). She told us where to catch the little motorboats, but also told us of the option to rent a kayak. Jonas and I had paddled inContinue reading

Hiking Up to ‘The Peak’ of Old Providence Island, Colombia

We did this hike on Tuesday, October 31st, 2017. Jonas and I traveled around the San Andrés Archipelago for two weeks after extending our Colombian visa in Santa Marta. This Caribbean archipelago comprises three islands (San Andrés, Providencia, and Santa Catalina) which are part of Colombia. We stayed on Isla de Providencia (Old Providence Island) for one week and did this hike to the peak. Preparations to Ascend The Peak Having had enough of the crabs and the sea for a day, we wanted to explore the inland of the island and hike up the highest point. According to theContinue reading

AMA: Were you afraid of hitchhiking alone in Central and South America?

A new question for my Ask Me Anything (AMA)! This person wrote the following message about hitchhiking alone in Central and South America: Hello Iris, I guess you got million times this question but it’d be fantastic if you could help with your advice. I need to get rid of my doubts and I finally push myself to follow my dream of hitchhiking Central and South America. I’m planning to do a similar route to what you have done. However, as a solo woman, I’m concerned about safety in these countries. Were you ever afraid of hitchhiking alone? How didContinue reading

Welcome to Panama! A Border Crossing Adventure

Welcome to Panama! But no, this was yet again more of an adventure than anticipated (and hoped for). This picture is from yesterday’s (11th of June) border crossing from Costa Rica to Panama at the binational city of Paso Canoas. I hitchhiked into a town called David around sundown with yet another good samaritan from Honduras. It was a tight call whether I could cross, but I made it! The Panamanian immigration officer asked me for my (doctored in MS Paint) flight ticket to Madrid. And it worked! But then he asked me for proof of sufficient funds, which comesContinue reading

Getting My Yellow Fever Vaccine (+Bonus Shot!) in Trujillo, Honduras

I wrote this post in 2021 many years later after the actual events. Back in 2014, I had barely started the first iteration of this blog (Escapist) and it was basically a Tumblr. So this post about how I got my yellow fever vaccine in Honduras is based on memory and photographs. My First Medical Tourism Experience While hitchhiking from Mexico to Panama, many fellow travelers going up or down the Gringo Trail exchanged information. So basically all insights about travel and vaccination requirements came from hearsay. I was 22 years old and had freshly dropped out of university. AndContinue reading

Trapped in Paradise

There’s a place called Paradise. In fact, there are many of them, all a flight away from Home. But the people that originate from Paradise are often Trapped in Paradise. A Scene: Visitors and Locals At the club in a resort, only the adults stay behind after their children have gone to bed under protest. A day full of tanning until having perfected that lobster shade, letting their spawn wreck havoc, swimming in the hotel’s pool – located next to the sea – is over. The included breakfast, lunch, and dinner have been eaten every day for a week. TomorrowContinue reading