Aug 172017
 

Costa Rica is one of the most bio-diverse places in the world and there is no way that I can name every animal there is. So I decided to do a list of the most representative animals from Costa Rica’s Wildlife.

1. Magnificent Frigate Bird: The frigate birds are a family of seabirds and are also called frigate pelicans. It can be found breeding along the Pacific coast of Costa Rica.

2. Cattle Egret: They are commonly found around bodies of water. These are migratory birds known as a cosmopolitan specie of heron. In Costa Rica it is commonly found it Cocos Island.

3. Clay Colored Robins: The Clay-colored Robin is a small common Middle American bird known for “calling the rain”. Costa Ricans chose the clay-colored robin as a national symbol due to its strong and melodious song. It is also known as yigirro. It can be found all over in Costa Rica.

4. Boa Constrictors: The Boa constrictor is a large, heavy-bodied species of snake that strangles its prey instead of using venom. They are also ambush predators. It can be found in the Caribbean, Northern and Central Pacific regions of Costa Rica.

5. Deer: The White-Tailed Deer is a long-legged, fast-moving mammal and the smallest members of the North American deer family. White tailed deer are very commonly seen in North and Central America, in Costa Rica it can be found all over the country.

6. Squirrel Monkeys: Their full name is black crowned Central American squirrel Monkeys and can be found in the Costa Rican rainforests. Unlike the other New World monkeys, their tail is not used for climbing, but as a kind of “balancing pole” and as a tool.

7. Sloths: Sloths are extremely slow-moving mammals. Actually they are the world’s slowest mammal, so sedentary that algae grow on its furry coat. They can be found in the rain forest canopies of Corcovado National Park in Costa Rica.

8. Silky Anteaters: Silky anteaters are the smallest anteater species in the world. They have a total length ranging from 3.6 to 4.5 cm. The Silky Anteater is a slow moving animal and feeds mainly on ants, between 100 and 8000 a day. They can also be found in Costa Rica’s lowland rain forests.

9. Raccoons: Raccoons are medium-sized mammals that learned to live close to humans. And have a reputation of nocturne thieves. They are found throughout different landscapes of Costa Rica such as rainforests, cloud forests and beaches.

10. Kinkajous: They are also known as honey bear, because when in captivity they seem to enjoy eating honey. They can be seen in Drake Bay, Costa Rica. They are nocturnal animals and are rarely seen.

11. Coatis: Coatis are these long animals with a long snout. They look nothing like raccoons, yet they are family. They live in a wide variety of terrain, such as the lowland rainforests, river woodlands-Tortuguero, bushy and rocky terrain, though they are usually found in heavily forested areas of Costa Rica.

12. Agoutis: Agoutis are normally called Tepezcuintles in Central America. They are small rodents that look a bit alike a guinea pig. In Costa Rica they can be seen in Corcovado National Park and in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve.

13. Green Iguanas: These are herbivorous reptiles great tree jumpers and fantastic swimmers. They can be found all over Costa Rica.

14. Scarlet Macaws: These are tropical, colorful birds that can reach a meter long. The best places to find the Scarlet Macaw in Costa Rica is Carara National Park and the Osa Peninsula.

15. Jaguars: Besides Guatemala and Belize, Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica has one of the highest Jaguar populations in the world. The Jaguar is the 3rd largest feline after Tiger and Lion. They live mainly in dense forests.

16. Tayras: These animals are also known as Perico ligero in Central America. It is part of the weasel family and thrives in Corcovado National Park. They like to eat fruit, carrion, small mammals, reptiles and birds.

17. Biard’s Tapir: html One of the largest mammals to be found in Corcovado National Park, the Biard’s Tapir, was named after the American naturalist Spencer Fullerton Baird who traveled to Mexico in 1843 and observed the animals.

18. Crocodiles: American Crocodiles are considered to be one of the most perfect creatures in the world when it comes to hunting and surviving. Besides being the most biologically complex reptile. Another interesting thing is that they have the strongest immunity system of all creatures. They can be found in Jaco’s Tarcoles River, Costa Rica.

19. Collared Peccary: It is the only wild, native, pig-like animal that you will smell before you see it! They can be found in Corcovado National Park and Monteverde Cloud Forest, Costa Rica. They live near water systems with plenty of shade because they are unable to evaporate moisture through panting to prevent overheating.

20. Fer de Lance: This is the most deadliest snake in Costa Rica and Central America. Found mainly in the Rain Forests of Costa Rica, especially Corcovado National Park, it also thrives and isn’t shy in areas inhabited by people where large rat populations exist.

21. Humpback Whale: Humpbacks can be found in all the oceans of the world. However they choose to come to the tropical waters, off of Drake Bay and Corcovado National Park in Costa Rica, during winter for breeding and birthing baby whales.

22. Margay Wild Cat: At one point this beautiful little wildcat used to be found everywhere in Costa Rica. It was considered least-likely to be endangered, but unfortunately it isn’t immune to the human effect. Now a days you can find then in Corcovado National Park.

23. Pacific Spotted Dolphin: One of the most intelligent mammals of the water is on constant Welcome Committee Watch when you arrive to the southern coastal areas of Costa Rica – Drake Bay, Osa Peninsula, Corcovado National Park and the nearby beaches.

24. Howler Monkeys: Howler monkeys are the largest of all new world monkeys. They live in Central and South America. In Costa Rica, Corcovado National Park is the host of a lot of Howler Monkeys.

25. Sea Turtles: In the whole wide world there are only seven sea turtle species, four of them frequent Costa Rica and nest here. Out of these four all of them are on the highly critical endangered species list. They nest in Tortuguero National Park, Mario Ballena National Park and Ostional Wildlife Refuge.

Marina K. Villatoro, lives in Central America – Costa Rica and Guatemala for the past decade. She has traveled all over these areas with her family and now she loves to organize vacations to Costa Rica and Guatemala. Contact her for advice and to plan your perfect trip!
Jul 122017
 

1. Practice Your Spanish: Part of the fun of traveling is trying to communicate with the local people and learning their traditions. In Central America you will always find nice people willing to let you know something interesting about their culture and to lend you a hand to practice. So whatever Spanish you know, use it!

2. How to Learn More About Local Culture: The best way to get to know the local culture from the country or town you’re visiting is not to go with a big tour group. It would be better to get a local, private guide. That’s because they will know more about what goes on in the town. Another thing that will help you get a better experience is to shop at small grocery stores, pharmacies and outdoor markets. In them you will not only meet the locals but you will also get inexpensive souvenirs.

3. Eat Safely When Traveling To Central America: So you are traveling to Central America and concerned about what foods are safe to eat?

a. I’ll start by saying that any foods that have been boiled are generally safe, as well as fruits and vegetables that have to be peeled before eating.

b. You should also stay away from foods that require a lot of handling before serving.

c. You’ve probably heard that you shouldn’t drink the water in some countries overseas. This is why: Water supplies in developing countries are not treated in the same way as water supplies in developed countries. I would suggest you drink only bottled water when traveling.

4. Airport taxis: Central America, along with every other country in the world, has it’s share of crime. The majority of them start at the airport with pirate cabs, that offer a much lower fare, await the newcomer. 50% of them are good guys trying to make a living, but the other 50% not so much. My advice, spend the extra few bucks. Airport cabs are registered, each trip is logged in and accounted for. They will never rob you because the whole company has to answer for the misdoing.

5. Check out the Countryside: Central America is home to some of the world’s most fascinating ancient sites that include Mayan ruins, church ruins, old buildings form its colonial days, incredible forests and much more. So where’s the point in staying in the in the urban areas? That’s why this week’s travel tip is: Go out, explore, there are tons of new things to do waiting for you out there.

6. Enjoying Foreign Food: When we travel to a different country we tend to look for what is familiar like Mc Donald’s or star bucks. In this case the advice would be to try the local dishes and not comparing them to the ones at home. Instead enjoy every new dish and flavor. I know that some dishes might look a bit weird but you will be pleasantly surprised in most of the cases. So go for it!

7. How Not to Gain Weight on Your Vacation: Many people gain weight when they travel and I can’t blame them because who wants to cook when on vacation? Here are some ideas on what you can do to avoid it:

a. Don’t wait until you are starving to go to a restaurant.

b. Ask for healthier options in whatever restaurant you visit.

c. If you still want to have what’s in the menu you can always ask for a smaller portion.

d. Another good thing to do is to personalize your order, for example you can ask for a salad instead of smashed potatoes.

8. Useful Advice For Gifts When Traveling: Some of us like to take presents when traveling specially if we are traveling for a special occasion. If that is the case I would recommend putting it with the rest of your luggage. But there will eventually be some delicate things that you might want to take with you as a gift. So a good thing to do before you even buy the present is to check hand luggage restrictions of the country you are leaving and the one you will be entering because those must definitely go in your hand luggage.

9. Overcoming Jet Lag: During the first day the most important thing to do is to STAY AWAKE. The secret is, once you arrive to your hotel, don’t stay there. Central America has tons of fun activities so Go out! Whatever you decide to do that isn’t in your hotel room or television induced, will help you make it through the day and you can hit the sack at a decent hour. This way, when you wake up the next day you’ll be more or less on local time and refreshed!

10. Get a Guide: I highly recommend at least one day with a guided tour driver of your own wherever you go. The guide’s knowledge and love of his country will be excellent in most of the cases. He can translate for you everywhere you go. Do it! I recommend this to most of my clients too and they all have found it very useful.

11. Long Road Trip Boredom Solved: Let’s face it, long road trips or long airplane flights can drive a kid and everyone around them crazy! There is only so much coloring, destroying, play doo-ing one can do. My solution: Portable DVD player. I know that traveling is all about bonding, plus they get enough TV at home. But after you’ve bonded for an hour or so on a five hour trip, you’ll be ready for a bit of calmness.

12. Obvious Stuff We Sometimes Overlook: The first one is to wear comfortable shoes but sometimes shoes that may have been comfortable at home are not comfortable for traveling so wear them for long walks before you travel. Another good idea is to do some research but skimming through a travel book doesn’t count! The trip will be a lot more smooth of you can map out a specific itinerary in advance. Plus you don’t want to spend your vacations being bored.

13. A Couple of Things to Consider When Flying While Pregnant: I know that sometimes women who are pregnant for the first time want to go on a final adventure before they have to go crazy with diapers and feeding. That’s why I came up with a list of tips that will help pregnant travelers have a better trip.

a. A seat near the bathroom will facilitate more frequent bladder emptying.

b. An aisle seat will make it easier to get up for those trips to the bathroom.

c. Bulkhead seats have the most legroom.

d. Get up and take a short walk down the aisle once every half hour.

e. Don’t travel alone. You never know when you are going to need some help.

f. Don’t forget to get a medical certificate from your doctor.

g. It is also a good idea to carry your emergency contact number and your doctor’s contact number.

h. Do some research about clinics of the country you are traveling to in case of an emergency.

Marina K. Villatoro, has lived in Central America – Costa Rica and Guatemala for over 10 years. She’s traveled these parts extensively and now loves to organize vacations to these amazing parts of the world. With her first hand experience, she can recommend the best options for you. Contact her for advice and to plan your perfect trip!
Jul 162017
 

Traveling in Central America is not the same as traveling in any other part of the world so there are some things we should keep in mind, here are 10 of them:

1. This is a great and very important tip. Take some time to check the engine of your car and make sure it is ok before you go on a road trip. The reason why is: Central America is not the best place to just pull over and wait for someone to help you out with your car if it breaks down for two reasons: As friendly as people is in these countries almost no one stops to help people on the side of the road because it’s a quite common trick used by kidnapers and if someone does stop unless you speak Spanish no one will understand you.

2. I know that I recommend trying the traditional food of the places you are visiting. But I also recommend being careful about where you eat because no one wants to get sick in vacation. In Central America you will find street stands and small rustic restaurants, that I advice to stay away from, as well as some great well know restaurants. But if you are on the road what are the chances of finding a restaurant right when you get hungry? So my advice is to pack some food to save some time and money. This takes me to the next tip.

3. This one is a short silly tip that I find very useful. Eating in the car means garbage in the car afterwards. Plus I’m sure none of us would think of littering the beautiful Central American scenery. So take some garbage bags with you to avoid the mess.

4. If your air conditioner is on, the engine uses more gas so you have to spend a little mor of money. So unless you’re on the highway you should keep the windows open to get some fresh air and save money. But in this case I will have to recommend keeping the windows closed. The reason for it is that Central America’s big cities have their share of crime and you wouldn’t want to be robbed as you wait for the traffic light to change to green.

5. Avoid a stressful ride along a crowded highway enjoy the beautiful sceneries that these counties have to offer. Most Central American countries have highways and secondary more scenic roads.

6. This is a general road trip tip. Driving can be tiring and a bit stressful and if just one person does all the driving for hours it can become a bad and boring experience and the idea of going on vacation is to all have fun. Take turns when driving.

7. Central American countries are very close to the equator so the sun heat is very strong and you can get sunburned. Even when you are inside the car, it doesn’t matter if the car has tinted windows if you don’t have sunscreen on you will get sunburned.

8. This is a basic one: don’t wait until gas is on empty to start looking for a gas station. The reason for that is that in some Central American highways you might not find a gas station for long distances.

9. Some highways or roads in Central America only have one track on each way. That can cause waiting in the traffic. Plus they are constantly being fixed so even if the highway has more than one track on each way you will find traffic jams. Plus bathroom, eating, refilling and gas stops take some time. So when planning a road trip always take unexpected stops in to consideration.

10. GPS is great but in these developing countries roads and highways are always changing. Plus these devices make mistakes. So just to make sure you don’t get lost always bring a real, actual, paper map to Central America, one that doesn’t talk to you.

Marina K. Villatoro, the Travel Experta, has been living in Central America – Costa Rica and Guatemala for over 10 years. She has traveled here extensively. Now loves organizing vacations to this amazing part of the world, having first hand experience of all the places with her family. Contact her for advice and to plan your perfect trip!
Jul 032017
 

The Green Heron is a small bird that likes to stalk it’s pray. Native and migrating populations can be found all over Costa Rica as well as in most of Central America. They are quite common along water bodies such as mangroves, beaches and rivers.

As most bird species green herons distinguish themselves by their color. Adults have a glossy, greenish-black cap, a greenish back and wings that are dark green or blue, almost black. Their bill is dark with a long, sharp point.

As I mentioned before they are stalk predators and feed mainly on small fish, frogs and aquatic arthropods, but it has also been know that they usually take any invertebrate or vertebrate prey they can catch.

The Green Heron is also relatively small with a body length of 44cm as an adult. The oldest wild green heron was captured when it was almost 8 years old. There is very little information on lifespan in these birds due to the fact that they are more nocturnal than diurnal. They prefer to retreat to sheltered areas in daytime.

During courtship, the male loud noises with a wide-open bill and makes noisy wing-beats. They also make loud noises while flying. Green herons usually lay 2-5 bluish-white eggs which are laid in 2-day intervals. After the last egg has been laid, both parents incubate them for about 19-25. The young sometimes start to leave the nest at 16 days of age, but are not fully independent until 30-35 days old.

Human activities have had their effect on the heron but it is still listed as least concern. Historically, green herons were hunted for food. Fish hatcheries also kill green herons to prevent them eating their fish.

These birds appear in their breeding ranges at the same time they did 100 years ago.[They are seen as far north as southern Canada and as far south as northern South America.

Marina K. Villatoro, the Travel Experta, has been living in Central America – Costa Rica and Guatemala for the past decade. Traveling with her family to all parts of Costa Rica and Guatemala, she now loves organizing vacations for people and offers first hand experience. Contact her for advice and to plan your perfect trip!

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Jul 092017
 

The Green Heron is a small bird (44 cm.) that likes to stalk it’s pray. Native populations can be found all over Costa Rica as well as in most of Central America. Adults have a glossy, greenish-black cap, a greenish back and wings that are grey-black grading into green or blue, a chestnut neck with a white line down the front, grey under parts and short yellow legs. The bill is dark with a long, sharp point. These birds appear in their breeding ranges at the same time they did 100 years ago. They are quite common in habitats that go along water bodies such as mangroves, beaches and rivers.

They mainly eat small fish, frogs and aquatic arthropods, but may take any invertebrate or vertebrate prey they can catch, including such animals like leeches and mice. The Green Heron is relatively small; adult body length is about 44 cm. The oldest know wild green heron was a banded bird that was captured when it was almost 8 years old. There is very little information on lifespan in these birds.

During courtship, the male makes noisy wing beats and calls in flight, and sometimes calls to the female before landing again. The clutch is usually 2-5, rarely up to 8 bluish-white glossy eggs. After the last egg has been laid, both parents incubate for about 19-25 days until hatching, and feed the young birds. The young sometimes start to leave the nest at 16 days of age, but definitely leave until 30-35 days old. This species is most active during dusk and dawn, if anything these birds are nocturnal rather than diurnal, preferring to retreat to sheltered areas in daytime.

Human activities have had their effect on these guys. It is known that green herons were sometimes hunted for food. But the most impact is caused by fish hatcheries that kill green herons to prevent them eating their young fish.

Green herons live as far north as southern Canada and as far south as northern South America. Most populations are migratory.

Marina K. Villatoro, lives in Central America – Costa Rica and Guatemala for the past decade. She has traveled all over these areas with her family and now she loves to organize vacations to Costa Rica and Guatemala. Contact her for advice and to plan your perfect trip!

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Jul 062017
 

Belize is the smallest of all the Central American countries but don’t let that fool you because it has Mayan archaeological sites such as: Caracol, Xunantunich and Lamanai, lots of miles of beautiful white sanded beaches, rain forests filled with wildlife, lots of animal species and a culture with a very noticeable British influence but unique at the same time.

They have an estimated population of only 333,000 in an area twice as big as Jamaica. Here you can find lots of different cultures including Garifunas, Creoles, Europeans and Mayans. There might be a lot of cultures in Belize but all of them have a thing in common: They are warm and friendly people. It is believed that this country’s name comes from the native word be’lix, meaning “muddy water”, as they referred to the Belize River.

Belizean cuisine is influenced by British, Mexican and Western Caribbean cooking. In this country plantains, rice and coconut milk are ingredients of almost all traditional dishes.

This is the only country in Central America where the official language is English but Spanish and creole are common too. It has a tropical weather with a range of 16 to 30 C year round, yes even during the rainy season! This along with national parks and a Barrier Reef, over 1,000 offshore Cayes or islands offers tons of fun things to do such as:

* Fishing close to the reef

* Scuba diving among colorful fishes

* Snorkeling around the coast

* River rafting

* Mangrove kayaking

* Hiking in the rain forest

* Bird watching guided tours

* Discovering Mayan ruins

* Cave tubing

* Cruising tours

And for all for all of those travelers concerned about the environment this is also a place where eco tourism is becoming very popular in this country.

So stop giving it too much thought and come over to this Caribbean Paradise!

Marina K. Villatoro, the Travel Experta, has been living in Central America – Costa Rica and Guatemala for over 10 years. She has traveled here extensively. Now loves organizing vacations to this amazing part of the world, having first hand experience of all the places with her family. Contact her for advice and to plan your perfect trip!

Related Travel Central America Articles

Jul 012017
 

After conversing with many people over the years both in the U.S. and abroad, there are generally many uncertainty when it comes time to travel Central America. So many people are familiar with Costa Rica and Panama, though several will mistakenly say South America when referring to the location on the map of such countries. Then the other nations which are not so popular just like Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, and Belize all have their unique great mysteries and attractive places to get uncovered and the wise traveler searching for a journey that’s cost-effective as well as off the beaten journey should consider these types of nations.

There are many considerations one should pay attention to just before they travel Central America. Many people will certainly realize before they travel that these locations are near the equator and are generally hot year-round, however right up until they really get off the air-conditioned aircraft will they realize precisely how humid and hot these nations could get. Those with intense asthma or other health-related concerns must consult with their physicians first just before they travel Central America.

In case your holiday carries you to a distant rainforest or beach front vicinity which are prevalent in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Belize and Panama then you will want to be conscious of insects and other nasty critters such as large spiders and particularly scorpions. The native scorpion of the region is smaller than average golden crimson. This particular creature will hide in clothes and drop from ceilings and their sting is uncomfortable but not deadly. Some puffiness may manifest and partial paralysis or numbness for a short-lived time frame. Tourists are warned to shake out their garments and footwear before wearing them as this is where these critters love to hide. Load up some Benadryl and take one when injured and also the impact of the sting will most likely disappear much quicker, unless you are sensitive to the sting after which you need to look for medical help instantly.

Additionally , there are snakes you’ll want to be familiar with, though they may be a lot more unusual than one could think. In Managua, the main town of Nicaragua, citizens would complain of deadly coral snakes getting into their own homes to get a little bit of shade. In Costa Rica, many beach front accommodations was stricken by probably the most aggressive serpents, the Ferre de Lance, or Terciopelos as the residents call them. One bite from a single of these reptiles and it could be all over if medical assistance is not reached fairly quickly.

Whenever swimming in the seas off the coast you’ll need to be careful of riptides. There is an area in northern Nicaragua called Poneloya in which the swells are so fierce and the riptides so plentiful that each Holy Week a couple of hundred persons get taken in and so are never spotted again. In case you are drinking, old or very young, you need to steer clear of these kinds of violent waters whenever you travel Central America.

When folks swim in the ocean they could be lulled right into a fake sense of security, particularly if they swim every day. They forget that the sea is teeming with life and not everything pleasant. You will find sharks, needless to say, and other ugly fish such as barracuda, but attacks from these animals are uncommon. More likely is getting stung by jellyfish that will occupy particular locations at different times during the the year. You should get reliable information from other swimmers prior to going out in to the sea.

These are just a few recommendations to consider when you go to Central America. Make use of your good sense and ask lots of queries before embarking and you certainly will be fine and have a great time on your own vacation.

Are you a foreigner who wants to hire a travel agency LA metropolitan area? Lots of LA travel agents are more than ready to assist you delight in your vacation far away from home.

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Jun 212017
 

After conversing with many individuals over time both in the U.S. and abroad, there are many misunderstandings when it comes time to take a trip to Central America. Most people are informed about Costa Rica and Panama, though many will mistakenly say South America whenever talking about the location on the map for these nations. Some other nations that aren’t so well known such as Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, and Belize all have their own fantastic mysteries and appealing destinations to be found and the wise traveler searching for a journey that’s inexpensive as well as off the usual path should consider these nations.

There are many essential things one should pay attention to before they travel Central America. A lot of people will certainly realize before they travel that these countries are near the equator and are generally hot all year long, however right up until they really get off the air-conditioned aircraft do they fully grasp how humid and hot these places could possibly get. People with severe asthma or other medical issues must speak with their physicians first well before they travel Central America.

When your travel takes you to a distant jungle or beachfront vicinity which are common in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Belize and Panama you will need to be conscious of bugs and other awful creatures such as big spiders and particularly scorpions. The indigenous scorpion in the region is smaller than average brownish red. This particular creature will probably hide in garments and drop from ceilings and their sting is distressing but not deadly. Some inflammation can occur and fractional paralysis or numbness for a temporary period of time. Travelers are informed to shake out their clothes and shoes prior to putting them on as this is exactly where these creatures prefer to hide. Load up some Benadryl and take one if injured and the effects of the sting will likely go away much faster, unless of course one is hypersensitive to the sting and then you have to seek professional medical help promptly.

Additionally , there are snakes you’ll want to be familiar with, though they may be a lot more unusual than one could think. In Managua, the main town of Nicaragua, citizens would complain of deadly coral snakes getting into their own homes to get a little bit of shade. In Costa Rica, many beach front accommodations was stricken by probably the most aggressive serpents, the Ferre de Lance, or Terciopelos as the residents call them. One bite from a single of these reptiles and it could be all over if medical assistance is not reached fairly quickly.

When swimming in the seas off the coast you’ve got to be careful of riptides. There is an area in northern Nicaragua called Poneloya where the swells are so brutal and also the riptides so abundant that many Holy Week a couple of hundred persons get sucked in and are never spotted again. Should you be drinking alcohol, old or very young, you have to steer clear of these types of turbulent seas whenever you travel Central America.

When folks frolic in the water in the ocean they could be lulled into a fake sense of safety, particularly if they swim on a daily basis. They forget that the sea is teeming with life and not everything pleasant. There are sharks, naturally, along with other nasty fish such as barracuda, but attacks from all of these animals are unheard of. Much more likely is getting stung by jellyfish that will invade particular areas at various times of the entire year. You want to get reliable information from other swimmers just before venturing out into the sea.

These are simply some suggestions to consider when you go to Central America. Use your sound judgment and ask a great deal of questions just before embarking and you certainly will be alright and have a great time on your holiday.

Are you a foreigner who wants to seek the services of a travel agency LA metropolitan area? A lot of LA travel agents are more than willing to help you delight in your holiday far away from home.

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Jun 212017
 

There are a lot of things that you may want to do as you plan to travel across Central America. Take note of a few travel tips that will help you find your way across your destination.

1. Practice Your Spanish: Part of the fun of traveling is trying to communicate with the local people and learning their traditions. In Central America you will always find nice people willing to let you know something interesting about their culture and to lend you a hand to practice. So whatever Spanish you know, use it!

2. How to Learn More About Local Culture: The best way to get to know the local culture from the country or town you’re visiting is not to go with a big tour group. It would be better to get a local, private guide. That’s because they will know more about what goes on in the town. Another thing that will help you get a better experience is to shop at small grocery stores, pharmacies and outdoor markets. In them you will not only meet the locals but you will also get inexpensive souvenirs.

3. Eat Safely When Traveling To Central America: So you are traveling to Central America and concerned about what foods are safe to eat?

a. I’ll start by saying that any food that has been boiled is generally safe, as well as fruits and vegetables that have to be peeled before eating.
b. You should also stay away from food that require a lot of handling before serving.
c. You’ve probably heard that you shouldn’t drink the water in some countries overseas. This is why: Water supplies in developing countries are not treated in the same way as water supplies in developed countries. I would suggest you drink only bottled water when traveling.

4. Airport taxis: Central America, along with every other country in the world, has its share of crime. The majority of them start at the airport with pirate cabs, that offer a much lower fare, await the newcomer. Airport cabs are registered, each trip is logged in and accounted for. They will never rob you because the whole company has to answer for the misdoing. So spend the extra few bucks.

5. Check out the Countryside: Central America is home to some of the world’s most fascinating ancient sites that include Mayan ruins, church ruins, old buildings form its colonial days, incredible forests and much more. So where’s the point in staying in the in the urban areas? Go out, explore, there are tons of new things to do waiting for you out there.

6. Enjoying Foreign Food: When we travel to a different country we tend to look for what is familiar like Mc Donald’s or starbucks. In this case the advice would be to try the local dishes and not comparing them to the ones at home. Instead enjoy every new dish and flavor. I know that some dishes might look a bit weird but you will be pleasantly surprised in most of the cases. So go for it!

7. Useful Advice For Gifts When Traveling: Some of us like to take presents when traveling specially if we are traveling for a special occasion. If that is the case I would recommend putting it with the rest of your luggage. But there will eventually be some delicate things that you might want to take with you as a gift. Those must definitely go in your hand luggage. So a good thing to do before you even buy the present is to check hand luggage restrictions of the country you are leaving and the one you will be entering. Another good thing to keep in mind is not to wrap them as they are subject to security checks and may be unwrapped.

8. Overcoming Jet Lag: During the first day the most important thing to do is to STAY AWAKE. The secret is, once you arrive to your hotel, don’t stay there. Central America has tons of fun activities so Go out! Whatever you decide to do that isn’t in your hotel room or television induced, will help you make it through the day and you can hit the sack at a decent hour. This way, when you wake up the next day you’ll be more or less on local time and refreshed!

9. Long Road Trip Boredom Solved: Let’s face it, long road trips or long airplane flights can drive a kid and everyone around them crazy! There is only so much coloring, destroying, play doo-ing one can do. My solution: Portable DVD player. Yeap, that’s right! I know that traveling is about the bonding, plus they get enough TV at home. But after you’ve bonded for an hour or so on a five hour trip, you’ll be bonded out and ready for a bit of calmness.

10. Obvious Stuff We Sometimes Overlook: The first one is to wear comfortable shoes but sometimes shoes that may have been comfortable at home are not comfortable for traveling. And a second one is to do some research but skimming through a travel book doesn’t count! The trip will be a lot more smooth of you can map out a specific itinerary in advance.

11. A Couple of Things to Consider When Flying While Pregnant: I know that sometimes women who are pregnant for the first time want to go on a final adventure before they have to go crazy with diapers and feeding. That’s why I came up with a list of tips that will help pregnant travelers have a better trip.

a. A seat near the bathroom will facilitate more frequent bladder emptying.
b. An aisle seat will make it easier to get up for those trips to the bathroom.
c. Bulkhead seats have the most legroom.
d. Get up and take a short walk down the aisle once every half hour.
e. Don’t travel alone. You never know when you are going to need some help.
f. Don’t forget to get a medical certificate from your doctor.
g. It is also a good idea to carry your emergency contact number and your doctor’s contact number.
h. Do some research about clinics of the country you are traveling to in case of an emergency.

Marina K. Villatoro is an expat living with her family and traveling in Central America. Travel Tips for Central America.

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