Incredibly readable travelogue with tales from my kind of adventure– bushwacking through countries without hotel reservations, camping on beaches, bicycling across South America. Bruce and Tess jump headfirst into their surroundings and experience local life as authentically as possible.
The book covers journeys during a 20 year span from 1976 through 1997, all in the Mexico, Central and South America region. Their first trip to the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico entails 3rd class trains and buses, camping in hammocks on the beach, visiting the Mayan ruins during off peak times (early morning, late afternoon) when they had the sites to themselves. Their second trip finds them in Guatamala, visiting Tikal and climbing volcanoes.
The fourth trip is a 3 month bicycle trip through Central America, with a month in Costa Rica, a month in Nicaragua/Honduras, and a month in Guatamala. Costa Rica adventures hit all the places I remember– the Osa Penninsula, Manuel Antonio, Monteverde cloud forest, Arenal volcano, Tamarindo. The Nicaragua and Honduras chapter was in marked contrast to idyllic Costa Rica– bombed out cars from the constant war zone, poverty, highlands Indian culture, local markets, monarch butterfly migration, learning tortilla-making, visiting their charity case, and manic bus rides.
The fifth trip is to Ecuador and Peru– first a stop in the Galapagos Islands where they charter a boat to take them around all the various islands. Then they fly to Quito before climbing Cotopaxi Volcano, in Ecuador, going through glaciers and snowfields. Then they get on their bikes and travel throughout Ecuador, Peru and the Amazon basin, opting to eat food from locals along the way instead of packing a camping stove. Many side trips to catch sight of rare birds, insects, and trips to nature lodges.
The final trips are in Baja, Mexico. These trips were too short for my preference.
Exhausting and invigorating to read.
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