I’m back in the States! And trying to dig myself out of a huge vacation hole.
But it’s worth taking some time to reflect on the trip, I think. So here’s my summary:
Starting point: Managua, Nicaragua
End point: San Jose, Costa Rica
Language: Spanish. Can get by with English, but this trip seriously motivated me to finally get my Spanish groove on. I want to be able to communicate better the next time I travel to this part of the world!
Cost: Nicaragua is cheap, folks! I was easily getting by on less than $35/day (including accommodation) until I crossed the border into Costa Rica and adopted (quite eagerly, I might add) the luxury lifestyle of friends who met me there. Costa Rica was more pricey, though $10 dorm beds could be found in most of the places I visited. Round-trip flight cost about $500.
Overall assessment: Loved much of Nicaragua, but Costa Rica was a bit too touristy for me.
Of course, your impression of a place is always based on the experiences you had there. Tamarindo is the most touristy town in Costa Rica, yet I had a great time there because I hung out with friends from the States who were vacationing for a few days. And I hated the beaches of San Juan del Sur because they took the life of a young American surfer right before my eyes — one of the worst experiences I’ve ever had while traveling.
I’d love to experience more of Nicaragua, especially Leon, which other travelers spoke highly of.
On working while traveling: More on this in a future post. In short, next time I’d make it a true vacation — rather than a working vacation — and I’d go for two weeks rather than three.
Two weeks was plenty to let me feel escaped and relaxed, but after that I started thinking about work, wanting a hot shower and my own bed, etc. Strange to hear that from someone who backpacked through Africa for six months, right? But I’m getting older (an elderly 31) and my discomfort tolerance is slowly dropping.
So there you have it! First big trip of the year… Check. Where should I go next?!