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Advice for solo expact

Baddeck, Canada
Level Contributor
19 posts
Advice for solo expact

Hi,

I live alone in Canada, and cannot stay another winter. I am 57, and am on a fixed income. I really want to explore and live,learn cultures and perhaps never see snow again!! lol So this is a new adventure for me, I have not really traveled that much before and never for about 5 months which is what I plan. Dec./Jan to mid/end of April. I was told a bit by email of a friend who spent time in Guatamala in the 90's. Sounds very interesting, so I did a bunch of research on the area. Thought I may be interested in places around the lake as opposed to Panajachel?! Santa Cruz, San Pedro, j...can't think of the name right now. Anyway, it all sounds very interesting and intriguing, however I really am a beach, salt water person.

My top priorities are safety, affordable, coastal..ish, and culture.That being said, I have been looking @ Panama, Belize, Nicaragua(?), and Guatamala, Atitalan area, which is not coastal..so??? I'm just researching these and am not sure of affordability at this time. Sooo I am opened to advice, suggestions, and any information I can gather. Peru has also been suggested and also is very appealing. I have not researched it as of yet, been busy with the other possibilities. And to be very honest, I am a tad overwhelmed, to say the least!!

I would be very interested to hear about anyones experiences, locations, thoughts, interpretations, and advice. I will leave this with you, and hope to hear from you at your convenience.

Thanks,

Murdena

Hopkins, Belize
Level Contributor
1,536 posts
76 reviews
1. Re: Advice for solo expact

Well a lot of it depends on what you are looking for, and what kind of life you want to have. Your questions are pretty broad, and encompass a good portion of latin america (from guatemala to peru).

There are people that go to each of the countries in between and love it, and there are people who go and hate it. In each country there are also a variety of places, some more lively, and some more rural and quiet. some more touristy, others very native.

The only country that will be a major difference is Belize probably as thats mostly caribbean culture, as opposed to the mainly spanish/latino culture of central america. (though in each country the caribbean side offers a similar culture to belize or native culture, whereas the pacific is more spanish).

Belize and Panama can get on the more expensive side, Nicaragua is going to be on the cheaper side in general.

Language is a big thing. Its possible to get by with little to no spanish in certain areas, but you will save yourself a lot of frustration if you learn the language.

I personally love it. I live in Managua. Im a big city person. Its a great place to center myself, and its in the middle of everything if i go on day trips, or trips around the country. The chaos, and difference in culture (no waiting in lines, more in your face business, and the constant haggling) get frustrating at times, but overall, im definitely glad i moved. I hope i never go back to the states.

Baddeck, Canada
Level Contributor
19 posts
2. Re: Advice for solo expact

Thank you for your input!! I agree, I have a lot of broad questions. I am interested in small town, quiet areas. No city life for me. I will keep looking. Thought about Leon and Corn Islands?

Granada Nicaragua
Level Contributor
963 posts
317 reviews
3. Re: Advice for solo expact

One good start would be to prioritize two more things..

1. Proximity tom salt water (ocean)

2. Proximity or ease of getting bcd and forth to USA

If both of those is low, I would look at Ecuador..in the south…Cueca or Banos. Small towns and a lot of stunningly beautiful country. COL about like nicaragua.

Hopkins, Belize
Level Contributor
1,536 posts
76 reviews
4. Re: Advice for solo expact

Corn Islands is difficult to live on. You have to be a certain type of person to be able to stay permanently on an island you can walk around in just a few hours. Its far enough out to be pretty isolated too. You need to either brave a 6 hour boat ride back to the mainland (which even then, bluefields is pretty isolated), or have the money to fly back and forth everytime you want to get off the island for a change. If you like the secluded island life, Corn Islands is picturesque perfect. But its not for everyone.

I dont know if Leon would be considered a small town. Its not a huge city, but its somewhere in between (i think around 150,000 ppl plus outlying areas). Similar to Granada in architecture. A half hour away from the beaches. Its one of the hottest places in the country though, so beware of the heat.

Baddeck, Canada
Level Contributor
19 posts
5. Re: Advice for solo expact

Thank you for your info and your time. Much appreciated. I am still exploring all the possibilities and Nicaragua is definitely one of them.

Here's hoping I can nail something to my satisfaction down.

Cheers,

Murdena

1 post
6. Re: Advice for solo expact

Well some good advice here.

I would add this is your first trip to Latin America so take that advice. You will like Latin America but you are going to have to learn some Spanish, and even quicker, to pay with the exact as money possible, to make sure you get you change, that you need to question that sales tax which then becomes a voluntary tax, that staying one night at a hotel suddenly means having to pay two days, that you always need to find what the right price is before you ask the price, and sometime you have to go to 10 people and walk away before you find the one person giving you the correct price. If you going to be renting get used to the last one etc etc

That said, Latin America is the best of the World. For me the best is Brazil, and then Colombia. But each country has great points but you cannot compare nicas to brasilieros. For where you are I would suggest Leon, Nicaragua. A very safe town in comparison, very cheap, and close to the sea by bus, or even a taxi to las penitas is not expensive. Central America is very different from South America, which is not something people really go on about. The countries are much smaller and much closer to the US and its influence.

Some recommendations outside of nica;

Brazil - Joao Pessoa - an apartament on Cabo Branco beach is perfect

Colombia - Santa Marta - NOT a beautiful beach but you are in the middle of Costeno culture, close to the stunning beaches of Parque Tayrona and near the amazing Sierra Santa Nevada, exploring these mountains is not easy/fully possible but it is one of the most amazing places in latin america.

Punta Uva, Costa...
Level Contributor
291 posts
119 reviews
7. Re: Advice for solo expact

I saw your post in the Guatemala forum and I'm wondering if you've considered the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica? It has everything you are looking for with enough of the flavours of home to not be a complete shock to the system. Also has a strong ex-pat presence and some of the most stunning beaches you could ask for.

If you rent, as opposed to buying, you can find affordable housing for $300-600 per month.

8. Re: Advice for solo expact

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