Traveling “freelance” way in Central America

I am getting lots of questions regarding my travel, living, working in central America so here are few answers.

About my trip

I left Europe somewhere in November and head to Florida where I joined sail boat and sailed down to Guatemala. I am traveling on land for couple month around central America (Guatemala, Belize, Mexico, Cuba,..) and slowly returning back to boat to sail more. Right now I am in the middle trip and I need to extend my return tickets to extra 2-3 months (it is still cold in Europe 🙂

Language

Spanish is the language you want to know here 🙂 I didn’t know anything and starting getting into it 🙂 Google translator, your hands are your best friends 🙂

Security

Many people are afraid of security here (I mean those in EU or USA) but I didn’t had or feel of any security issues. Nothing get stolen, I am not being afraid of walking in the night. I have few rules:

  • Be nice to local people, they will be nice to you
  • Keep general safety rules like:
    • don’t walk in the night where is not light
    • separate your money and keep them in separate places
    • learn by observing – accept their habits and don’t expect your EU or USA standards
    • water only from bottle, but don’t be too much paranoid about it
    • ….
  • Be positive !  even if something bad happens 🙂
  • Be friendly !
  • Be thankful !
  • meditate / talk with God as much as you can – there is reason for what is going on in your life 🙂

Food

I like to eat local food. It is part of the culture you are currently in and it taste so good and most of the time it is cheaper. Some people don’t do it and want theirs restaurant’s food. So it depends on your preferences. You can get local food from $1-$2 USD (Mexico – tacos – something like “Doner Kebab” in EU for 0.5$) up to $30USD in restaurants. It is only up to you, your preferences and your budget.

Internet

Internet is everywhere but the stability is “shaky”. Best internet so far is in Mexico

  • Mexico – wifi 15Mb down / 4Mb up
  • Cuba – only wifi 2-3Mb down / 0.5Mb up
  • Belize – wifi 5Mb down / 0.5Mb up
  • Guatemala – LTE – 15Mb down / 5Mb up, but in peak hours (like evening) it drops to 2Mb / 0.5Mb

Work

This is hard question. I need internet to my work so  some places would not be as suitable as others. My current project doesn’t require reliable internet – so I am set well 🙂  Bigger problem is to find discipline and actually work 🙂 Sometimes I take few days off and work from hotel or bar next to beach or sometimes when I travel in bus I use this time to do my work. I take it easy 🙂

People – tourists

Generally there are 2 types of tourists you meet:

  1. Tourists who come here for few days
  2. BackPackers who are traveling for few months – (I don’t like much word “backpacker” – it sounds to me like you are something less which is not true but I wanted to distinguish those 2 types of tourists somehow)

ad 1) Tourists  – usually throw lots of money around them. They are here for few hours/days and they want the best before they have to return back to work. I understand them – sometimes I want luxury as well 🙂 But for some unknown reason they behave like snobs 🙂 couple examples:

  • If you say “Ola” and greet them, usually they don’t even responds
  • They treat locals kind of like a slaves – locals are here for them just to clean their rooms, to fulfil their needs (maybe word “slave” is too extreme but you get the idea) ,….

ad 2) BackPackers – Usually travel longer (several weeks, months, years). Very open for discussion and share their experiences and tips they have. Maybe just word “Sharing” describes them very well. They are very open. They don’t have to be cheap and going on low budget even though if you are traveling for few month every dollar you save means you can extend your trip 🙂 For few days you become very good friends.

Prices

You are already getting the idea how it works. You can live expensive way or you can live quite low. Really depends on your preferences and your budget. Many people thinks traveling for few months is extremely expensive. If you find place you like you can always try to search for job for month or two and extend your stay 🙂 Anyway here are few numbers to get ideas:

Cuba – seems like most expensive country on my trip:

  • bed – 20-35$
  • food – breakfast 5$, dinner 15$ – average I was spending 25$
  • transport – depends where you go, but in average 30$ if you travel (havana -> vinales -> playa larga -> cienfuegos -> trinidad -> havana)
  • diving – (in Playa Larga) – 2 dives 70$

Mexico – bigger variety of prices – are you where tourists go or where locals go

  • bed – 20$ hotel, airbnb has similar prices
  • food – from 2$ (street food) up to 30$ in restaurants (lobster cca 24$)
  • transport – 30$ (Playa de Carmen to Palenque)
  • diving – cca 85$ (2 dive tank) + 20$ rental

Belize – I stayed in Caye Caulker island

  • bed – from 15$ and up
  • food – from 2 $ (street food) up to 20$ (lobster cca 14$ restaurant)
  • transport – 25$ ferry, 50$ bus to get to Flores / Guatemala
  • diving – 8 dives for cca 500$ (including rentals) – one of the best dives ever

Guatemala

  • bed – from 10$ up
  • food – from 3$ (street food) and up (15$ chicken in restaurant)
  • transport – 18$ (bus Rio Dulce -> Guatemala City)
  • no diving 🙂

 

Picture of “street food” – breakfast for $2.5 USD in Cozumel/Mexico

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