San Blas island and summary Central America

Here I am, writing from home again. In my last post from Panama I mentioned that I was about to finish my trip with a camping tour to the San Blas islands (Kuna Yala). To summarize, it could really have been paradise but the conditions of the camping tour and the weather spoiled that experience unfortunately. It was a terrible trip for me, not only because of what I just mentioned but also because I had a very bad cold. Coughing the nights through in a hot, moist tent made me more homesick than I have ever been before. After the tour the group (me + eight great people whom without I would not have managed those days) got some refund from the tour operator for sending us to a poorly maintained camp.

Below picture of the dog in the rain will allways remind me of how I felt those days stranded on an, almost, deserted island. So glad to be back!

Besides the poor camping conditions the tour was over prized and did not fullfill what it said. As a counterargument the travel agency mentioned that doing business with the Kunas is really difficult. They show their dominant postion through example controlling who enters and leaves Kuna land every day. This is the reason me and the group could not leave earlier even if we wanted. The sad thing is that it would have been a much better experience if only the camping element was taken away. The last night was spent in the Kuna village and even though the conditions where simple we had waterproof roof and dry bed. This is how most people experience San Blas, by a homestay. I am sure it would have been a complet different experience if I would have choosen this option but then once again, my cold would still have bothered me. Guess why everyone looks so happy on the last picture? Because it was the last meal before heading back to Panama city 😉 For the refund and a bit more I checked in to the Marriott in Panama city for the last night and it was worth every penny.

From this trip I choose to write rather much, country by country, but since I travelled without laptop transferring photos was a bit difficult but I have updated all my posts with pictures today so feel free to check them out. One interesting observation I did when choosing pictures for Honduras was how difficult it was to reduce the amount of pictures. The tone in my text does not allways correspond with the pictures. There was some disappointments about food, weather and lack of atmosphere on our holiday in Honduras but looking back on my pictures I choose to remember only the good days and the good days we had where actually really good 🙂

Florida

Honduras

Nicaragua

Costa Rica

Panama

I have now been to all countries in Central America minus El Salvador and plus Tulum in Mexico. This years trip can in no mening compete with last years. At first I thought it was only the first impression last year that made me feel like that. Or maybe the fact that the weather has been a bit disappointing during this years trip. But looking back I understand that we just happened to choose the most amazing places already last year. And the lodgings were all wonderful which is something that has become more and more important for me for the total experience of a place. Not to forget last years culinary experiences. On this trip the most spectacular lodging was definetely the “Mananamadera” coffe estate in Boquete, Panama. But also “Lands end” in Honduras was a great experience and all the comfy hotels in Florida plus my last Marriott night in Panama city. Not to forget the tranquilo Finca Mystica in Nicaragua. The food was not at all as good on this trip although I have to say they knew how to make smoothies in Panama (unlike Honduras and Nicaragua).
If you are planning a trip to Central America I would say stick to mine and Louise´s last years itinerary but add a bit of Panama if you have the time, and you will have seen the best of this region. Some say Nicaraua is their favourite destination. I liked what I saw and maybe I did not see enough to be able to make a fair judgement. But for me Nicaragua can not compete with Guatemala, Panama and Costa Rica. And this years beach experiences cannot compete with Tulum in Mexico. The snorkelling in Panama is fantastic  due to the colours of the reef but the large amount of sharkes, turtles and stingays that we saw in Belize makes Belize a more exiting snorkel desination.

It has been great to have two month vacation but I have learned about myself that more than that is not necessary in one go for me. Lots of people travel for half a year, a year or more. I rather split it up since I have noticed that after a while you take everything for granted and tend to forget how privileged you are being on such a great vacation. With this said I am very happy I took two month off because I believe it is great to now and then disconnect with my normal routines and stressful life I sometimes live . No more trips planned so far even if the “want to do list” is very long as usual. In the meantime I will keep on documenting past trips. Hope you will follow!

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About Jenny Trozell

Swedish girl with a passion for travelling, Latin dance and meeting new interesting and fun people :-)

Posted on April 15, 2012, in Panama and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 22 Comments.

  1. Looks like it was a great adventure.

  2. It was, thanks 🙂

  3. Your photos really capture the adventure and make me want to travel to the same place. Sweet post.

  4. Jenny thanks for sharing. It looks like it was a great experience overall. I love the picture of the elderly woman-lots of character there.

  5. Hej och välkommen hem! Tråkigt att sista äventyret, som jag trodde skulle bli höjdpunkten, blev en sådan besikelse – ryser bara jag ser tälten i det dåliga vädret… Hur som helst, du är en erfarenhet rikare och kan nog skratta åt detta en dag. Det har varit jättespännande att följa din resa så tack för att vi fick “följa med”! Kramar Marika

    • Tack Marika, vad kul att du följt med mig på äventyret 🙂 Precis som du säger är det en annan upplevelse när man tittar tillbaka på de jobbiga stunderna. Och man lär sig så mycket om sig själv genom resandet!

  6. Haha bilden pâ hunden ãr stõrtskõn! Sammanfattar din kãnsla som du skrev, ja camping kan vara sâdãr och det ãr bra att inse sina egna begrãnsningar nãr man reser:-) Kram pâ dig! Vi ses i juli nãr mitt ãventyr ãr õver…

    • 😉 Jag ser fram mot att få hem dig igen så vi kan plocka fram din partylåda och släppa loss! Inget går upp Latin party á la Hilary!

  7. “Lots of people travel for half a year, a year or more.”
    Huh?! Where are they? I never met them. xD haha. Then again, I live in America. We’re lucky to have two weeks vacation in one year…and a lot of times we can’t even use the two weeks at once. Just bits and pieces throughout the year. 🙂 My brother’s old job allows him only one week vacation per year. I live in South Florida and I was even fortunate enough to visit Puerto Rico! Old San Juan is picture worthy. Love it. 🙂

    You take amazing photos – they’re breathtaking. I am happy for you. Travel for people like me. 🙂 If it weren’t for my husband, I would never have the apportunity to go to Taiwan. Good things do happen, I suppose. 🙂

    Thank you for sharing – you have a way with words. 🙂

    • Thank you Eileen for your kind words. I was hesitating at first if to write in English or not since it is not my native language. But it feels fine now and I am glad I can reach more people than if I wrote in Swedish 😉

      The people I meet that travel for a very long time are either young and just finished school or they are my age and sold their house and resigned from work to just travel on unlimited time. But I still wish American employers would realize the benefit of letting their employees taking at least a 3-4 weeks break every year. That is so important! Hugs!

  8. glad you have the wonderful experience, and that photo of the cat is so funny! lounging around like a tourist!

    • haha, that cat cost me 1 USD but it was worth it 😉 The Kunas charge you for everything. Making camp fire on an island cost 15 USD!!

  9. Haha, selling your house and actually make a profit is luxury. My place is only worth $32,000 and I owe over $95,000. Not something I can do. 😉

    “Just finished school.”
    I would be dept up to my eyeballs when I graduate from school. Nevermind traveling when I do graduate! haha.

    Ah well. Such is life.

    • I guess it all depends on how fortunate you are but I think it is pretty amazing that some people resign from a good job, get rid of all their belongings and just go away 🙂

  10. I have enjoyed reading about your travel in Latin America. Great posts and so many great photos!
    But I am sorry for your bad experience in the end 😦

  11. Nice that you have enjoyed the reading and the pictures. A pity with the ending indeed but such is life 😉

  12. Nice photos Jenny!!
    Greetings,
    xandi

  13. what a shame about that camping in Costa Rica. We were travelling in Costa Rica a couple of years ago and had an amazing time
    http://adventureincroatia.wordpress.com/2011/06/10/costa-rica-part-1/

    • The camping tour I did was in San Blas islands in Panama. In Costa Rica the only problem I had was bed bugs in Cahuita, otherwise I loved everything about Costa Rica. Thank´s for sharing your post 🙂

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