How to pack for Central American Journey?

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How to pack for Central American Journey?

Postby americanwithapassport » Sun May 26, 2013 4:54 pm

This is my first trip with G Adventures YOLO style so I'm not familiar how to pack for it. I was planning on bringing a rolling luggage that holds about 90L with a 30L daypack.

Has anyone who has been on this trip or similar please give me advice? Maybe what you've seen works or doesn't work?

Thanks :mrgreen:
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Re: How to pack for Central American Journey?

Postby Janice08 » Tue May 28, 2013 7:20 am

I haven't been on this trip but I've been to Central America several times. As you mentioned, this is a "Basic" trip which means that you will usually be taking public transportation. Public transportation means that you have to get from your hotel to the bus station. That may mean walking. Many streets in Central America are cobblestone and wheeled bagagge doesn't cut it. If your wheeled bag also has backpack straps it is useful because then you have the best of both worlds - wheels when you can use them, backpack straps when you can't.

You need to be able to carry your bag. 90 litres is a big bag and if you fill it its going to be heavy. Most seasoned travellers get by on 45 - 65 litres. You don't need any more stuff for a 32 day trip than you do for a 7 day trip. Bring clothes that you can wash in the shower or sink in your room and hang to dry overnight. You can find a good selection at outdoor stores. Once you know what you are looking for, you can also find a good selection at places like Walmart or at thrift stores. About 4 complete changes of clothes will do you. Have clothes you can mix and match. You may want one "nicer" outfit but it isn't necessary. Instead of bringing a heavy sweater or jacket, bring a couple of lighter ones that you can layer under your rain jacket. I also bring a travel towel that I can roll my wet clothes in after I wring them out to get out the last of the moisture, so they dry faster. Often I will also bring a few lightweight clothes hangers along as well so I can hang stuff in the shower if we have our own bathroom or on the backs of chairs or doorknobs if we don't. You can always restock things like shampoo and soap on the way.

You do want the day pack so you can keep your valuables with you when on buses and also have something to take with you as you explore each day. 30 litres is also probably bigger than you need. For day to day exploring, you need something big enough to hold your camara, water bottle, sweater/rain jacket, money/ID (for the day only), towel and swimwear (depending on the activity) and the other little things you like to carry with you. If you choose to bring the bigger pack, put an inexpensive folding bag/day pack inside so you have the option of carrying something smaller if you want to.

No matter what pack you bring, have enough stuff in your carry-on bag on the plane to keep you going for a day or so if your bag takes a different flight than you. Never check anything you can't live without. I usually pack one complete change of clothes in my carryon bag. Wear or carry your hiking boots/shoes if you are bringing them. They are one thing that is hard to replace. My day pack is usually my carry-on.

You asked about "hiking pants" in another posting. You don't need dedicated "hiking pants." You need something that you can wear climbing a mountain or walking through the jungle that is comfortable even when wet (think thunderstorm) and keeps the bugs away (think jungle). Jeans don't cut it as they are heavy and uncomfortable when wet. A lot of people choose zip-off convertible pants so they can turn them into shorts if they want to. However, a nice pair of microfibre slacks could do for a night on the town and a trekk up a mountain or through the jungle.
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Re: How to pack for Central American Journey?

Postby readingfcboi » Tue May 28, 2013 1:56 pm

This is a very useful post, thanks Janice. I am going traveling next month and will be in Central America at the beginning of July.
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Re: How to pack for Central American Journey?

Postby alex0077 » Fri May 31, 2013 5:14 am

A brilliant and detailed answer, thank you Jenice for a big help. I am planning to go to Central America in the end of this year. I have heard of its gorgeous destinations like San Jose, La Fortuna de San Carlos Costa Rica, Sen Pedro, Granada etc.
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Re: How to pack for Central American Journey?

Postby danuk76 » Tue Jun 04, 2013 8:24 pm

I hope I´m not too late in posting a reply to this question.

I finished this trip yesterday and I´m currently in Costa Rica awaiting my flight home. Firstly, you will have an amazing adventure, seeing perfect beaches, wonderful lakes, volcanos, historical towns, crazy adrenalin activities and meeting great people!

In answer to your question, a 90L bag is far too big. 60 is the most you should bring and it really must be a backpack. You have 5 border crossings to walk through, a huge amount of lifting up onto buses, or through its windows not to mention walking through streets to get to the various bus stations. Something on wheels would be a major pain. Don´t expect your guide to help you, thats not their job! Your daypack needs to be about 20L i think. Enough to hold a large water bottle, rain coat, swim gear and daytime essentials like cameras, and ipod etc. Being able to carry both at same time is useful, daypack on front with documents in, main bag on back. It keeps your hands free and is more secure too.

Pack for a week, so 5 or 6 t shirts, and a couple of pairs of shorts, pants. Take 2 lots of swim wear so you always have a dry set, plus a small towel. Jeans would be useful for cooler areas like Costa Rica and Antigua. You also need hiking gear so good shoes are essential if you´re planning to climb any volcanos. People that wore trainers on our trek struggled for grip. Every town had a launderette which charged about $5max for doing laundry. You just drop stuff off in the morning and pick it up in evening, anything delicate or shrinkable should be handwashed by yourself though.

Hope that helps, have a great trip.

Dan
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