As we take off for Central America (this time to Costa Rica), we think back to our first visit to the region a couple of years ago: Antigua, Guatemala.
Although Antigua has a reputation for being touristy, we found that it wasn’t too difficult to get lost and find a slice of authentic Guatemalan life. One of our favorite places to do this: Antigua’s central market.
Walk past the front section of the market, past the souvenirs and freshly cut fruit intended for gringos, and just keep going back, back — deep into the market, maybe even into the adjacent back parking lot areas where on weekends vendors come from neighboring villages.
It’s beyond this first scratch where you’ll find it: real life. Open the panorama to full screen to see it. Continue Reading »
Have you ever returned to a country and felt you were visiting for the first time, the experiences and locations so utterly different than before? That was our recent visit to Nicaragua. Continue Reading »
A long horizon, inky waters and waning light. What is it about all this that delivers a sense of peace and perspective, of one’s small place in this world? The rhythm of the waves serves as a sort of meditative mantra, keeping petty stresses and worries in their place, at bay.
We recently arrived at this spot on Nicaragua’s Pacific Coast, and ended our first day at Morgan’s Rock gazing out over this. Open up the panorama below to full screen to enjoy a bit of this experience at home. Continue Reading »
Stand in the middle of the Grand Plaza between Temple I and Temple II at Tikal, Guatemala and imagine what life must have been like in this Mayan city over 1,200 years ago when Tikal was at its peak. The size of the temples and surrounding acropolis indicate that this must have been a rich and sophisticated city-state. Yet the ruins are only partially exposed and understood, as thick rain forest still covers most of the park.
And the grand mystery remains: Why was Tikal abandoned in 900 AD?
We can’t answer that question, but we can give a sense of what it’s like to sit in the middle of the Grand Plaza and wonder. Continue Reading »
Ever wondered what sawdust carpets have to do with Good Friday? Continue Reading »
When travelers think “Honduras” they probably don’t think “big, weekly indigenous markets.” So when we were in Honduras and caught wind of a weekly market in a little town called La Esperanza in country’s western hills along a path of historically indigenous villages called the Ruta Lenca, we hopped a series of chicken buses in the wee hours of the morning to see what it was all about.
One part windblown, another part oasis and a whole lotta’ cowtown, La Esperanza appears a concatenation of dusty street corners. If you open up the panorama and take a spin around, you can see for yourself what it’s like to stand amidst it all and watch market life go by. Continue Reading »
What is it about the center of a land mass that seems to dull its food? Continue Reading »
As we close out our reflections on Central America (don’t worry, food comes next), we are reminded of the places and moments — the good, the bad, the idiosyncratic, the illustrative — from our zigzag chicken bus journey across Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua.
Let’s dig in. Continue Reading »
As we travel, it’s common for locals the world over to ask us where we are from. In Asia, the response “The United States” was usually sufficient. In Europe, they didn’t ask; they assumed.
Not so in Central America. People were curious to know the states and often the towns and cities where we grew up, where we have lived. After sharing our details, it wasn’t uncommon to hear: “I had a cousin who lived there”, “Oh, I lived [nearby] for 15 years” or “My brother lives there.”
Continue Reading »
We usually share photos to better relate our experiences and provide a more personal look at a country and its culture. Here we do the same, but we add a cautionary tale. Continue Reading »