KasiaTravels on a budget: Going with the flow (aka it’s time to visit Nicaragua. Part 1) Solo backpacking on a budget in Latin America.
As I have already shared with you in one of my previous posts, I started my solo dream travel to Latin America only with ideas about what are my must do/see that I simply cannot omit! I also decided only to buy flights from and to Europe and 1 internal flight – from Panama (in Panama) to Bogota (in Colombia) and from Bogota to Rio de Janeiro (in Brasil) as I knew that in this particular case the distance is far too vast for a bus and that with each passing day it’s price will go up.
This ascetic idea for my travel was challenging and overwhelming at first. I also couldn’t be fully honest with my mom about that as she would have been too anxious. But I quickly realised that it was a good idea. That I can trust my intuition.
After 2 weeks in Tamarindo, Costa Rica I decided it is the high time to move ;) Don’t get me wrong, I loved it there, I started to feel like at home. But. It was more expensive than I could spend and I wanted to be in a less touristic place. What’s worst, the surfing conditions were not welcoming, the water was still. And in the spots for advanced surfers, where the waves were good… Well, those spots were for advanced surfers and not for a newbie like me ;) The forecasts predicted that those conditions would continue at least for another week.
I was consulting the situation with my 2 friends – Nicky, the Witch’s Rock brew master and Diego, my Couchsurfing host. Both of them decided to move to Costa Rica many years ago in order to surf! :) So they understand the charts and know what to really expect later on. They were predicting that the conditions will be the same in the spots within our region. I could either move north, to the central parts of Costa Rica, where I could not surf, but I would profit from natural parks. Or I could head Caribbean coast, but as I have written here, the surfing conditions over there are tricky, to say the least.
I decided to take the third option ;)
I decided to join my friend – Jeff – in Nicaragua. We initially met while he was at the Witch’s Rock Surf Camp in Tamarindo one week earlier. He is a super nice, funny and interesting American, who is working for the local community in underprivileged neighbourhoods of Detroit. He invited me to join him in Nicaragua. The country is much less touristic, and, as a consequence, a lot cheaper.
So although I didn’t plan it, I went with the flow, bought the bus ticket to the border, packed my backpack and checked what is the easiest and less expensive way to get to reach my partner in crime.
I could do that because I was not attached to my travel schedules, I didn’t have my accommodation booked in advanced and so on. I knew I want to head down south in order to be in Colombia during my second month in Latin America. But that was it, so I could stay a bit longer or shorter in any place in between.
This type of travelling may be more stressful to some, especially to those who need to have their sh*t organised. But personally I simply enjoy the unexpected, I get comfortable with it. This way the travel remains a pure adventure, so I simply go with the flow and new opportunities.
During those 4 months I was listening more what locals or fellow backpackers were suggesting, and adjusting my plans accordingly instead of sticking with my nose in the “Lonely Planet”.
Thanks to this approach I was not only able to discover a little bit of Nicaragua. I was also able to do the PADI diving open water certificate! And let me tell you, I was not expecting it coming because, in general, it is a very expensive sport! And I had different plans for Colombia. But instead of chilling in a coffee finca with some epic green scenery or exploring Pablo Escobar's home town, I decided to go to the Caribbean side and learn to dive, because at that time the prices of diving in Colombia was really low.
So my humble advice to you, my fellow travellers and adventurers, would be to listen to yourself and your intuition! Get out from your comfort zone from time to time. Try not to stick to the plan too stubbornly. Often having your head open to new ideas is all we need to experience something valuable!
What do you think? What are your experiences?
More about me here :)
Some of my recent stories from South America:
KasiaTravels on a budget: Solo backpacking - on a budget - in Latin America. (Part 1: “When you finally decide to do it!")
Kasia and the death road - la ruta de la muerte - Bolivia (part 1)
Kasia and the death road - la ruta de la muerte - Bolivia (part 2)