Category Archives: Safety

Safety tips for travelers

Be sure to hydrate on the road

imageBy Vicki Barnes
I have long been an advocate of proper hydration. You know, drink water…lots of water…all day, every day.
So, imagine my  surprise when I looked back on a day last week and realized I was so dehydrated that I was actually suffering from heat exhaution.
We were traveling about 8 hours on the un-airconditioned bus to cross the border between Panama and Costa Rica.  All day, sitting on the bus with a brief stop to get passports stamped, walk a half a kilometer from one country to the other, get another stamp and reboard.
Over the course of the day, I drank about a liter and a half of water. I figured that should be sufficient.
I figured wrong. Continue reading

Showering here could be a shocking experience

By Vicki Barnes

Of the things we’ve done without on our trek – television, air conditioning, telephones, washing machines – there is one thing that Steve says he misses one thing more than any of those: a hot shower.

Frankly, with temperatures in the upper 90s most days, I find a cool shower feels far more refreshing.image

It is rare in a hostel to find hot water. A shower here is a place to wash off the grime you have collected during the day. It is not a place to luxuriate under a cascade of warmth.

It is not just hostels where hot water is difficult to find, most of the residents in Central America can not afford a water heater for their home, much less the electricity necessary to heat that cylinder of water and to maintain it at a high temperature. Continue reading

Don’t look up

By Vicki Barnes

It’s amazing that I have seen anything in Nicaragua.

Walking through town, one hops from sidewalk to street and back, depending on traffic, the placement of impromptu stores or where a group has gathered for a chat. Cars are sometimes parked on the sidewalk while the streets are clear.

A walk becomes a dance…a precarious one. Moving both forward and sideways simultaneously. Jumping while moving ahead. Stopping and going to the side…all at once.

All the while, there are hazards like this three foot deep hole, unmarked and without warning. You have to be prepared for these extra dancers on the way while still keeping an eye on the world around you.


We took a little drive

imageBy Vicki Barnes
While Montezuma is known for having some good surfing waves on the Gulf of Nicoya, we’d heard the waves were even better on the west coast of the Nicoya Peninsula…directly on the Pacific. Why not check it out, we thought. It’s just a short drive down the road.

Looking at the map, there were two options: 30 miles across on the gravel road or that 15 mile shortcut to the south. We double checked the map symbols and a solid red line denotes those paths that are only passable with 4-wheel drive vehicles. This road was a dotted red line.

What could that mean? Let’s find out! Continue reading

Don’t put THAT in your bag…

By Vicki Barnes

Don’t pack a hand grenade in your suitcase (or your carry on) when you head to the airport.image

OK, so maybe that one seems obvious, but there are things the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will not let you bring on a plane that you might not have considered.

The TSA website has a long list of things that are banned on planes. Check it out before you go so the contents of your bags doesn’t make you a target for more screening. Continue reading