Chapter 1:  Farewell

Budget backpacking has distinct advantages over upscale forms of travel…budget travelers put currency directly into the hands of the villagers and develop friendships with individuals of all stripes. This amounts to community-based tourism. Not content just to sightsee, we expected to integrate, live as the locals did, have real-life experiences that would enhance our understanding of the culture.

Central America
Central America

Sewing bedrolls
Sewing bedrolls

Killing time in Miami Jocelyn
Killing time in Miami Jocelyn

Central America
Central America

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click >>>

Chapter 2: Baby Steps

...“hot” showers are achieved courtesy of a contraption colloquially known as a “suicide shower.”

Suicide Shower
Suicide Shower

Leaping in San Jose
Leaping in San Jose

Mar Caribe
Mar Caribe

Suicide Shower
Suicide Shower

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Chapter  3:  Parismina

As part of a hands-on biology lesson for Jocelyn and Natalie, we devoted three weeks to assisting an organization called ASTOP (Asociación Salvemos las Tortugas de Parismina) in saving endangered sea turtles.

Baby Sea Turtle
Baby Sea Turtle

Pappy
Pappy

Alas poor Yorick
Alas poor Yorick

Baby Sea Turtle
Baby Sea Turtle

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Chapter  4: Tortuguero

At the end of their outstretched arms, we spotted lizards, iguanas, frogs, lanky spiders spread-eagled in webs between trees, as well as parrots and butterflies, including the famous blue morpho. Out on the main tributary, the brothers pointed out branches swaying in the treetops, indicating the presence of one of the three species of monkey: spider, howler, and white-faced capuchin.

Tortuguero Canals
Tortuguero Canals

Sloth
Sloth

Blue Jean frog
Blue Jean frog

Tortuguero Canals
Tortuguero Canals

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Chapter 5: Puerto Viejo

With my Spanish still mediocre, I unwittingly invited my whole family to spend one night with Abril, Ignacio, and their five children in the KeKoldi Indigenous Reserve.

Hostel Bathroom
Hostel Bathroom

Hostel´s beach
Hostel´s beach

Tile sisters
Tile sisters

Hostel Bathroom
Hostel Bathroom

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Chapter  6:

Entering Panama

On my darkest nights back in Canada when I entertained thoughts about danger, I never imagined sidestepping tanker trucks by clinging to a bridge overlooking a rushing river.

Parade - Bocas Del Toro
Parade - Bocas Del Toro

No, not THAT bridge
No, not THAT bridge

Nat at beach
Nat at beach

Parade - Bocas Del Toro
Parade - Bocas Del Toro

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Chapter   7: Panama City

Stationed at a strategic international crossroad, Panama City is, hands
down, one of the most geographically privileged metropolises in the world.

Panama Canal
Panama Canal

Shopping at local markets
Shopping at local markets

Sketching by candlelight
Sketching by candlelight

Panama Canal
Panama Canal

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Chapter   8:  Jacó,

Costa Rica

For three months we lived rough, camping and learning about the locals’
way of life.

Beach time
Beach time

Jacó campground
Jacó campground

Jammin at bus station
Jammin at bus station

Beach time
Beach time

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Chapter   9: Settling Down

The itinerary we had roughed out over our dining room table back home came to an end in December. It was time to settle down and stretch our dollars and learn to live like the locals.

Natty setting the table at the villa
Natty setting the table at the villa

Hot Springs Orosí
Hot Springs Orosí

Making Chocolate in the rainforest
Making Chocolate in the rainforest

Natty setting the table at the villa
Natty setting the table at the villa

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Chapter  10: Summer Vacation - Back to Panama

...it seemed tricky at first, but after shambling down a steep hill for twenty minutes, crossing a wobbly rope bridge, slipping and sliding uphill over muddy terrain for about fifty meters, crossing a stream by way of a log, then turning left at the goat...

At Mono Feliz
At Mono Feliz

Relaxing white-faced capuchins
Relaxing white-faced capuchins

Natalie, Jocelyn and wooden bear
Natalie, Jocelyn and wooden bear

At Mono Feliz
At Mono Feliz

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Chapter 11:

Winding Down

Near the end of the rainy season, Natalie developed recurrent fevers that waxed and waned for about ten days and that I initially dismissed as a simple virus.

Kayaking on the Pacific
Kayaking on the Pacific

Da’ Flying Frog Adventures
Da’ Flying Frog Adventures

Natalie...backyard
Natalie...backyard

Kayaking on the Pacific
Kayaking on the Pacific

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Chapter 12: Nicaragua

We were slack jawed at people riding on top of tractor trailers, holding down tarps and eating their lunch as the truck hurtled down the highway

La Miliciana
La Miliciana

Don't walk on the domes!
Don't walk on the domes!

Our Lady of Grace Cathedral, León

Watching the cigar rollers
Watching the cigar rollers

La Miliciana
La Miliciana

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Chapter 13: Honduras

Then we caught sight of a printed sign behind his seat that read, roughly translated: If you wish to vomit, please request a bag from the driver.

I wish to vomit?
I wish to vomit?

Entering Honduras
Entering Honduras

Fortress of Omoa
Fortress of Omoa

I wish to vomit?
I wish to vomit?

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Chapter 14: Belize

The next day, for a lark, we went to Marie Sharp’s Hot Sauce factory to study Belizean cultural practices, of course. The popular sauce, topping every restaurant table in the country, comes in the following flavors: Mild, Hot, Fiery Hot, Comatose, Beware, and No Wimps Allowed. We preferred Mild

THE Red Lobster
THE Red Lobster

Hottest peppers on earth?
Hottest peppers on earth?

Eating all the samples
Eating all the samples

THE Red Lobster
THE Red Lobster

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Chapter 15: Guatemala

Star Wars fans get ready . . .

Tikal National Park
Tikal National Park

Observing a pizote
Observing a pizote

Hostel overlooking Lake Peten Itza
Hostel overlooking Lake Peten Itza

Tikal National Park
Tikal National Park

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Chapter 16:

Back to Belize

Without question this was the best location on the island, and at thirty dollars a night for the four of us, a treasure.

Caye Caulker
Caye Caulker

Watch repair
Watch repair

Rasta Pasta
Rasta Pasta

Caye Caulker
Caye Caulker

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Chapter 17: Mexico

Lloyd choked on a mouthful of beer when I warned him that drinking was expressly forbidden at the motel.

“What?”

“Didn’t you see the sign behind the reception desk?”

“No!”

Someone knocked on the door.

Tulum Museum
Tulum Museum

Chicken Bus
Chicken Bus

Tulum ruins
Tulum ruins

Tulum Museum
Tulum Museum

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Chapter 18: Home

In taking our children on this adventure, we hoped to instill a lifelong interest in the miracle of planet Earth.

Cancun Airport
Cancun Airport

Lobster traps, Maine
Lobster traps, Maine

Back to Canada
Back to Canada

Cancun Airport
Cancun Airport

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