My 6 month trip with the objectives of a) evaluating possible locations to retire in Central America, b) discover Cuba, c) a trial run for my RTW in Sept (now depending on the strength of the Loonie to real currency) can be called a success after 4 months & a bit.
As any one who has been following my blog can see the value of a loose itinerary, a set start date plus a general outline of where & when but nothing set in stone. This let me visit Caye Caulker which wasn’t on list but turned out to be one of the high-lites of the trip. Also Antigua wasn’t on at the start either but is where I am posting from while I test full time living here.
Costa Rica which was big on my list at the start is now at the bottom after spending only 2 days there instead of the planned 3 weeks, while Panama also high on the list remains a close second, technically should be first but Antigua Guatemala has a certain mystic that draws me here & the longer I stay the more I like it.
Actually all of Mexico & Central America are extremely interesting & one could make a home most any where outside of the capitol cities which are not nice places with the exception of Panama City which is great except for a small rough section while the others have a small good section & the rest NOT nice. In fact Panama City is the only city I have been in (Canada & US included) that I would even remotely consider living in. From reports from other travellers I can’t wait to explore South America but that will have to wait until after my RTW.
Cuba turned out to be a disappointment mainly because of the Yuma ATM syndrome prevalent in any populated area, the poor customer service at Viasul the absolute worst bus-line outside Canada & the US which are the worst examples of public transportation. The feeding time at the zoo syndrome with the jinteros every time the Viasul pulls in is absolutely ridiculous, would be nice to leave the terminal without having to force your way through a bunch of idiots touting CP’s & taxi’s, absolutely disgusting. Add the hassle to the high cost of independent travel due to gov’t taxes on CP’s + the CUC being married to the inflated US$. Unless anyone is going AI where you get a weeks lodging with all the food & booze you can pig out on for less than the price of airfare I wouldn’t recommend going.
Rant over where was I? OK a) place to live, Antigua b) explore Cuba, done c) trial run, planning was right, leave lots of flexibility, packing list; was pretty much right on thanks to the posters on bootsnall basicall only 2 things I would change (actually have) 1) Bubba mug took up too much room & being plastic held odors from different drinks, forgot it at a casa some where, no loss 2) should have started off with note book computer as WIFI every where (exception Cuba of course) but then again maybe a good thing as had a chance to observe what other travelers were using & purchase what best suited my needs. Now all set for RTW.
Trip: traveled 6500+ km on buses in Mexico & CA
Oct-Dec 72 days Budgeted US $60.00/day Spent $48.00 all expenses excluding air fare
New years at Hotel Nacional 3 days including food, drinks & airfare from Panama City US$ 1050 splurged for the special occasion & don’t regret it.
Cuba: 23 hrs on Viasul buses +8 hrs on Transtur Vinales-Trinidad
51 days budgeted $50.00 Canadian/day cost 57 CUC/day note $100 Cad gave 73 CUC at start 70 at end or 80 CUC/$100 us
Cuba US$68+/day approx compared to US$48/day in CA
Save Your Money stay in the Americas
2 months in Antigua looks like around US$35/day + $10/day Spanish lessons