Central & South America

Learn Some Spanish

If you're headed to the American "Down Under" it would be a good idea to learn some Spanish especially if you really plan on getting off of the beaten tourist path. The major cities are as metropolitan as any where else, but rural areas are, well rural areas. It also helps at the ATM machines. Banks are known for giving better exchange rates to Spanish speaking customers. Do not forget it always helps to have an International Calling Card on hand!

Off The Beaten Path . . . . . . . .

Honduras - Roatan Island

Roatan is a diver's paradise. Many people may not realize that Roatan has the 2nd Largest Reef in the World. Second to only the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. The island is dotted with dive shops. All of the dive shops I visited were friendly and helpful. They all had that "Youth Hostile" feel. After the dives everyone hung out, had a few drinks, and ingaged their fellow divers in conversation. Ultimately I dove the folks from the Beach Shack which is basically a private dive charter. It allowed for one-on-one time on the dive since I traveled alone. Hard economic times have hit Roatan even harder than most places in the world so be prepared for that. There are several resorts on the island that can provide you with "civilized" ammenities. I was not fond of the days that the cruise ships docked. The island seemed more hectic and taxies seemed more expensive.

My photos of Roatan: <click here>

Roatan Information

The Beach Shack (Day Spa - Private Dives & Snorkeling)

Anthony's Key Resort

Fantasy Island Resort

Venezuela - Margarita Island

I found these places when doing research on a vacation I hand planned a couple of years ago. I had found a cheap condo through the Armed Forces Vacation Club but discovered the condo was more than a mile from the beach. I found this bed & breakfast further north away from the city that also managed some houses near the beach. I took a book with me to read that week and finished it the first morning while sitting in the hammock on the front porch. The beach is about a half a block away. On the corner by the beach is a cafe where you'll find a lot of retired Americans in the morning. They manage some other condos and fishing charters, etc. There are several local resturants along the beach and a grocery store about a half a block away going away from the beach. Besides, how could I go wrong with a place named after one of my favorite drinks!

Trudel's Bed & Breakfast and Garden Homes is my pick. CASA TRUDEL Website

My photos of Venezuela: <click here>