advice on bus travel through CA - belize to Panama in 1 month
Replies: 18 - Last Post: Feb 5, 2013 11:50 AM Last Post By: SoloHobo
Feb 2, 2013 12:51 AM
advice on bus travel through CA - belize to Panama in 1 monthHello,
I am looking to do some travel down through central america. I will be traveling on my own through hostels and just pretty much wandering down the peninsula. I had thought to fly into wherever is cheapest..maybe Oaxaca, Antigua, or Belize City.
I have no plans, but figured I'd check out a few of the underwater wonders in Anberguise Cay..swing by Antigua, swing by San Pedro..some beaches in Nicuragua, a splash of Costa Rica and down into Panama. Figured a few days in each place...it will be kind of a rush but I was wondering what the bus situation was in the area.
Can you usually easily book at the hostels? How long would you say the average journey is? Are the busses comparable more to Brazil and Argentina or more like Cambodia and Laos?
Sorry to be so vague, but I was given a month off from work at the last minute and my trip to Iceland got canceled, so I thought I'd experience Central America.
I should be pretty comfortable down there...traveled a lot of South America before and a bit of El Salvador (one of the more sketchy countries I experienced - although that may have just been from the stories I heard because I had a great experience).
I was thinking of going in a few days so I think it should be a nice time weatherwise as well.
Feb 2, 2013 3:47 AM
1With just a month I'd pick 2 countries or maybe parts of 3. Pushing through 6 or 7 means only 4 or 5 days per country and most of that would be spent sitting on buses. Often Cancún is a cheap place to fly into or out of. I'd consider flying into Guatemala and out of Belize or Cancun. Guatemala and Honduras make a good combination, too. My photos with blog and travelogue links on the main page of each collection are below in case you're interested - all my recommendations are embedded there. Happy trails!
Feb 2, 2013 7:56 AM
2Check the fares to Cancun, but fly there only if it is a significant saving because the trip to Belize will add a few days -- it's only a 6-hour bus trip, but you could easily spend a week in the Yucatan region.
The bus system in Mexico is excellent -- first class express buses, safe, comfortable.
It all changes when you get to Belize. Most of the buses are used Bluebird school buses; not very comfortable, not air-conditioned, and not well equipped to handle luggage, but they are cheap! Air-conditioned buses are used on some Express runs. Buses operate on Sundays and public holidays, sometimes on a less frequent schedule. There are better buses on express runs to Guatemala. For more information on buses and transportation in general, google "BelizeBus" -- it's a bus & travel guide for Belize.
In Guatemala, the bus quality ranges from first class to "chicken".
You'll find several hostels in Mexico and a few in Belize. On Ambergris, I think Pedro's has dorm beds, and there are 2 hostels on Caye Caulker. The only one you really need to reserve in advance is Yuma's House Hostel on Caye Caulker. You should be fine at the others unless you're travelling at Easter -- a peak tourist period.
Feb 2, 2013 8:13 AM
3Where are you flying out of?
If it's diving you're after and $$$ is a concern....try the bay islands off of La Ceiba, Honduras....probably Utila being the best bet....half the price of San pedro.
If time is a problem after Utila and you want to head over to the pacific...hop a cheap flight from la ceiba to Tegus and head for Nicaragua's best beaches which are in the north.
Costa rica is overrated and expensive...but if you haven't been there?
Having said all that...with a month I'd head to guatemala city where there are generally some good flight options from the states...jump over to honduras and catch Copan..not the best mayan ruins for big temples but generally considered the best for stellas... along the way to the caribe coast and the bay islands
Feb 2, 2013 10:27 AM
4thanks for all of the info guys!!
I think I agree with you guys...I'm not one who likes to rush all that much; but I usually take 6 months to a year each time I travel. This will be different as I only have 1-2 months off and I have a job immediately when I return...so money is not as much of an option as my usual trips (where the more I save the longer I travel).
I might notch down the epic land mission...
I like the idea of skipping the more touristy areas of Belize and Costa Rica and heading to the island off of Honduras. I've heard great things about Honduras and Nicuragua. I'm guessing that I can find diving and surfing that may be just as good for much cheaper?
Feb 2, 2013 10:32 AM
5Do you think that if I flew into Guatemala City that it would be reasonable bus trips (around 6-12 hours) to other points of interest in the region?
Could you offer a route that you would recommend?
I love to dive, but am guessing that a lot of areas around Central America can be found as good as that in Belize? Surfing is also great, but I'm not sold on Costa Rica as it is so touristy...have heard Nicaragua is the new Costa Rica and incredible. Maybe catch a few ruins here and there and a little jungle experience.
I also love visiting fun, quirky, wild hostels as well and often make that a base of my trip if anyone has any hostels I can't miss!
Feb 2, 2013 11:29 AM
6btw...flying out of Los Angeles...trying to decide where to go...Belize is about $450....Oaxaca is $250...Guatemala $350..thinking Guatemala might be the place to start at that price
Feb 2, 2013 11:58 AM
7Yeah I agree on Guatemala going out of laz. I go out of tijuana when heading to C.A....
Belize and Honduras are the best island dive places in CA....To get better you have to go on a long distant boat. NOt much difference between Belize and Honduras as they are the same reef...but Honduras is much cheaper...english is the primary language on all the islands
Where are you planning to fly back from? Guatemala city? probably so if $$ is of importance. If so go diving first in Honduras, then trek or take a cheap flight over to Nicaragua's north pacifc coast and head back along the coast highway to Guatemala.....go as fast or as slow as you want thru el salvador
Feb 3, 2013 1:36 AM
8Pretty much agree with #7
If you have a month...head down from Guatemala into Honduras,over to La Ceiba (via Copan maybe) and then do your diving at Utila.
Then back across Nica (maybe a stop at D&D brewery in the middle)...into El Salvador for surfing...then back up to Guatemala (maybe with a stop in Antigua).
That's a pretty good month.......
Feb 3, 2013 7:42 AM
Feb 3, 2013 8:45 AM
10Its a pretty famous one on here ;-)
Its near Lake Yojoa in Central Nica...a couple of hours south of SPS.
A place for drinking beer (including the infamous fruit beer),bird watching and also some good walking,sightseeing or just relaxing.
Feb 3, 2013 9:19 AM
11thanks for the advice! I like the sound of it...think I will fly into Guat, head to Honduras as mentioned for my diving (great to hear it is still just as spectacular a diving spot as it is the same reef....also the blue hole sounds amazing, but hear the diving is not that amazing there and it's really hard to get a grasp of the beauty unless you see it from a flight above)...then to Nic...then was thinking Panama and then doing a sailing trip into Colombia and fly back from Bogota or something.
Quite a lot of road trips, but with 1.5 months, think I should be good.
I am just planning on booking a 1way down to CA so that I can wander wherever and then return from wherever I end up. Figured getting into Guat prob wouldn't be too much a problem with a 1 way tix?
Oh, and will surely be looking into that brewery as well!
Feb 3, 2013 10:36 AM
Feb 3, 2013 1:36 PM
Feb 3, 2013 1:59 PM
14I am just planning on booking a 1way down to CA so that I can wander wherever and then return from wherever I end up. Figured getting into Guat prob wouldn't be too much a problem with a 1 way tix?
Oh, and will surely be looking into that brewery as well!
The above looks very good wright...that's sort of the way I travel...have a general direction and an escape plan from wherever.
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