Current Location: Midwestern college town, USA


Price of beer in a bar: US$4.50/pint to sample a wide variety of the what the American micro-brew revolution has to offer

Song currently stuck in my head: My Own Face Inside the Trees (The Clientele)

I’m gearing up for a little bit of wandering.  I bought a second hand netbook, verified the available space in my passport, made a mental list of what to pack, cut it in half, then cut it in half again.

I’ve booked travel into Costa Rica in the near future, leaving myself a few months to kill before the return flight.  I’m thinking about heading to Leon (Nicaragua) but I’m open to suggestion.  I probably won’t travel outside of the Nicaragua/Costa Rica/Panama area, so if there’s an affordable town that you’re curious about give me a bit of where and why as a reply to this post.  I might just be your man on the ground.

Edit: It looks like WordPress.com may run ads on my blog now.  I don’t blame them, who wouldn’t want access to the 10’s of people in the Monday (or something) community?  Either way, just so you know, these aren’t my ads.


10 Responses to “Current Location: Midwestern college town, USA”

  1. My girlfriend and I are planning an exploratory trip to Costa Rica to see where we’d enjoy staying for 4-5 months out of the year. If you happen to find yourself in Guanacaste, we’d love a bit of info on the Coco / Hermosa areas if you’re on the beach. Or the Arenal area if you’re more in-land.

    • cgearhart Says:

      Hey Adam, can you be a little more specific about the Arenal area? Is there a town in particular?

      I’m not too familiar with this region, so if I’m missing something obvious (like a huge town named “Arenal”), just point me in the right direction. I see the Volcano.

  2. Wade Kilpatrick Says:

    Glad to see you hit the road again! Always looking for good info. There’s a small northern Nicaragua city, Matagalpa, that I’ve read good things about. And San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico is supposed to give a Guatemalan type experience without many of the negatives. Leon is supposed to be very hot, hotter even than Granada, but otherwise gets good press. Hope you make it to Colombia and Ecuador someday.

    Regards, Wade

    Sent from my iPad

    • cgearhart Says:

      I’ve actually been to Ecuador, though not Quito (which is a big expat destination). I was underwhelmed, though I wasn’t there long enough to give my opinion much weight. I did like nearby Lima (Peru), but again it was just a brief stop. Colombia would have been our next stop in 2011, had we made it that far. I was tempted to check out the warmer lowland cities in Bolivia (which I like in general) this time, but the airfare was too steep for this little side trip.

      We kept meaning to visit Matagalpa while we were living in Esteli. I’ll keep that in mind.

      I spent a few days in Leon during a heatwave years ago. All the stores were closed, the locals wouldn’t even get out of the seats all day. It lives up to it’s reputation.

  3. I’m psyched to see you’ll be traveling again! I’ll be tuned in to see if you find a beach town like SJDS, but with water clean enough to swim in. 🙂

  4. david sloan Says:

    Any place you travel in the area,make a note on short/long term rentals,both furnished and unfurnished.David david_sloan_94086@yahoo.com

  5. Sabrina Frankenberg Says:

    I’m curious to safety in all of the areas you’ve mentioned. If you could ask locals to get a general consensus. You hear about all the mugging via gunpoint or machete but have also heard Central America is safer than South America. Just curious – headed that way too someday. 🙂 Thanks!

    • cgearhart Says:

      Safety was always a major consideration and talking to locals is always how we gauged it. A quick rundown on 2010/2011: Utila was getting scary, which is a shame. Esteli was safe. SJDS was safe in town, you might get robbed (machete) or get stuff snatched outside of town along an empty-ish beach or hike. Granada was safe. Big Corn Island was said to be dicey “downtown” but everwhere else was supposed to be fine, Little Corn was safe. Panama City is a major city with safe and dangerous areas. Boquete was safe. Bocas del Toro (Bocas Town) was mostly safe with dangerous areas.

      On the national level, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador are dangerous, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama are safer. Belize is somewhere in between. All the capital cities are awful, except Panama City and, I’m told, San Salvador.

      I realize just using a term like “safe” is subjective; here I mean it to signify you can walk around alone after dark in an area you’re familiar with and expect not to be hasseled.

  6. Gordon Says:

    We lived in Leon for a few months and it was one of the least expensive cities for Nicaragua. Partly due to all of the students. It’s a fun, high energy city. Just don’t go from March until the end of May. It is unbearably hot during the end of dry season. The rest of the year is pretty good though.

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