The most important inspiration for my trip to Central America was Paul Theroux book "The Old Patagonia Express". This is a brilliant report of the trip he made in the 70's: starting in Massachussets and then all the way to the most Southern part of Argentina. And all that by train.
Unfortunately it's no longer possible to do this trip by train, since almost all railways have been closed. But still the book gives you a great sence of the atmosphere and it's a great inspiration! I read it and within three months I was busy doing my version of the Old Patagonia Express; a shorter one, but still... :)
We wore shorts and t-shirts and bathing suits and I took 2 cotton hoodies and pants.
most all the time I wore a few different little cotton skirts easy to wash and dryed fast. Pack a good hat and sunglasses!
Also for the fancy dress up nights they let Ray into the dining room with just a nice collared shirt and khaki pants and dress shoes. I just brought 2 fancy shirts and just wore a pair of slinky brand black pants or one of my cotton skirts.
Lots of people bring and buy fancy clothes but that's not what kind of people we are. Bring clothes that can wash out in the small sink and dry super fast! Rays underwear took days to dry while my nylon underwear dryed over night, no place reallt to hang up laundry jsut a little spot in the shower.
There was not laundry machines to use on the ship only the dry cleaning service they offered, 4. for a pair of pants to wash and 3. for a pair of underwear. SO we had some very ripe laundry time we were back home!
ok I know no one wants to see blisters on a trip but I got them the first day at the beach. Sand in my gym shoes on the walk back to the ship.
I seen so many people with their heels tore off! I had to look in a couple different stores of some cheap slip on beach shoes they were hard to find for under 20. and they were only worth 5. at the most! So pack extra style of shoes I wore my flip flops after the first day and wore a hole in the side of my foot from the strap!
Take more than one style and rotate what shoes you wear everyday to give your feet a break we walked miles and miles during our trip.
Also pack some good first aid cream and bandages . Once i kept a bandage and tape on the worn spots they didn't get any worse. bandaids didn't stay on you need gauze pads and tape to keep them secure.
the first aid station on the ship did have some great antibioctic ointment for 5.00 a big tube which saved me from having them infected.
Luggage and bags:
If you intend to use bus from place to plae, pack light. A backpack or a small case, no large luggage, because they won't fit the overhead compartments.
We took 60litre backpacks, one for eah, and on the way, because we bought pottery and fragile crafts, we bought two other backpacks, school size.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Dry season is the best time to go, and tmperatures are high everywhere - a light jacket will do for the higher destinations, like Boquete in Panama. Towels are a must, Douglas Adams cannot be worng. Take trousers (jeans is enough) if you wish to visit churches and public buildings. You won't be allowed in in shorts.
Tip from a Latino: PRESS YOUR CLOTHES. Bring a nice set, specially if going out at night. We are very careful about getting dressed for things, and when we look at you and laugh is usually because you are dressed up like scarecrows.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Buy insect repellent there. They work better. After all, they know their bugs. In Bocas and Chuita, for instance, the only thing that works against sandflies is something in coconut oil they sell locally.
Photo Equipment: You will easily find supplies. Bring what you think is convenient. We were able to buy a chip for our digital in the middle of nowhere in Nicaragua, for instance.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Camping where there are hotels is not much cheaper than getting a room. Unless you are MOSTLY going to the woods, they are not necessary, since you can rent them for reasonable prices.
Miscellaneous: Bring little gifts, souvenirs. We bought 100 Fitas do Senhor do Bomfim (a string usually sold in front of a church in Salvador, but also in other places). We gave them to everyone we talked to. It was great!
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: I found, that even more than sunblock, I was grateful to have my Jungle Juice with me... which is 98% DEET, and probably very fatal if I were to wear it every day of my life... but so fantastic at keeping the bugs away! the only place I have been able to find it is at REI.. but watch out, because they make some lotions by the same name too that may only be 19% DEET or something.. so read the label before buying!
Luggage and bags:
There is no baggage limitation aboard the ship, but it always makes sense to limit the amount you bring, especially if you fly to the home pier. But, bring an overnight bag for your last night at sea since they take your other baggage to prepare it for departure.
Identify all your bags, even carry-ons. Use your Celebrity Cruises luggage tags
Might want to insure all luggage and valuables.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Sweater for cooler days, pants suit or sporty outfit, dress, pants outfit, walking shorts, polo shirts, sundress, cover-up, cocktail dress or long gown for women. Jacket, shirt and tie, sports shirt, slacks, dinner jacket and dark suit, walking shorts, polo shirts. Bathing suit, hat, sunglasses, lightweight windbreaker, comfortable, rubber-soled shoes for both men and women.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Good sunscreen, extra pair of prescription glasses or contact lenses, prescription medications, and some type of sea sickness prevention.
Photo Equipment: Your Camera and plenty of film. You might want a throw-away type waterproof camera for water activities.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Beach towel, swim suit, tennis shoes.
Miscellaneous: May want to bring appropriate clothes for theme deck parties such as "Tex-Mex," "Island," etc.
Guidebook about your destinations.
Personal electrical appliances compatible with ships' electrical current.
Note: Outlet adapter is required for European standard.
Luggage and bags:
Bring a carry on large enough to bring whatever you might want to change into before your luggage is delivered to your room. Could be a few hours. Also, you have to leave your luggage outside your room by midnight on the last night. So, make sure that carry on is large enough to fit whatever you're wearing that night and your PJs.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Shorts, sundresses and dressy clothes for dinner (optional but nice to do) and Formal wear for Formal night. Flip flops, sandals and comfy walking shoes for your day trips. And, be sure to highlight any pedicures....
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Sunscreen, aloe, and very importantly, something for tummies that might get upset from the lower quality food and all the booze you might drink. Okay, this is ME I'm talking about but it could happen to you too!
Photo Equipment: Lots of it! You'll want to capture all the sites (and I mean ALL of them)!
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Bathing suits. They give you towels!
Miscellaneous: Some folks cut costs by bringing their own booze. But you didn't hear that from me!
Miscellaneous: There are very few ATMs that work under the cirrus network. However, there are several ATMs using the VISA network. I couldn't find any ATM accepting foreign Mastercards (cirrus network) in Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, or El Salvador (even tried the capital city of El Salvador, where I stayed with a friend who knew all the ATMs) in 2001. I did find ATMs in San Jose, Costa Rica and Panama City, Panama. The ATM availability may have changed by now, but just in case take more traveller checks. BTW, you can usually do a credit card cash advance withdrawal at banks that use the Cirrus network (note that this is not via an ATM and so it's more expensive both at your bank end and at the bank you do the withdrawal from). I am afraid that for now the Visa network is the best alternative as it offers more ATM availability in the region. This is usually true worldwide as well. I've (myself) even changed my banking to a bank that offers Visa to avoid this hassle in the future.
Luggage and bags:
We were there in February, and many of the days were overcast in the morning, and then the sun came out in the afternoon. So have jeans and long sleeves available. And sweatshirts for the boat ride to the snorkling. No fancy clothes needed. All restaurants are casual.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: For the jungle walk, smart to have hiking boots, or sneakers you don't care about getting muddy.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: The have some small markets for toiletries in case you run out, but good idea to bring most things from home. I heard film is expensive, so bring plenty of your own.
Photo Equipment: Had lots of fun w/underwater disposible camera while snorkling. I'd definetly recommend picking up one before you get here.
Luggage and bags:
I would pack very light! We spent most of our time in our swimsuits! I took two outfits for each day that we were there (5 days) and that was too much. Just take one outfit for each day...
We had two suitcases and one carry on bag.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Shorts and light shirts. If you are going to do a lot of walking or hiking, make sure that you have the appropriate shoes. For the beach, sandals or flip-flops. No need to take towels, the resort gives them to you or you can buy souvenier ones in the boutiques.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: We made sure that we had Benadryl and stuff like that as well as mosquito spray (didn't need it though). Lotion for your skin is really a must after spending the day in the ocean.
Photo Equipment: Cameras and film are extremely expensive there...for an underwater camera, I spent $9.00 here in the US - in Jamaica, I spent $15.00 US dollars for the same camera! Make sure you take what you need!!!
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Our resort made sure that we had towels, chairs and floats to use while on the beach. We took a beach bag to carry our lotions, hats, cameras, magazines, etc. The sand is crushed shells so it does not get hot in the sun...I found that I went barefoot most of the time...but I did have flip-flops just in case.
Luggage and bags:
Travel light! I arrived with a camera bag and one suitcase with enough clothes for a week. 50% of the people who arrived did so without their checked luggage.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Warm weather gear is definitely called for. Synthetics are best if you're diving. They dry fastest. A hat to keep the sun off of your face is recommended as well. If you're diving, you might consider a hood or vest and hood in winter.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen! Unfortunately, intestinal parasites are not uncommon on Grand Turk. A good anti-diarrhea medication is not a bad idea.
Photo Equipment: The dive shops and small shops have some batteries and film, but everything is very expensive. Bring extra film and batteries if you think you might need it.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: An absolute 1 micron water filter would be a good idea. Giardia lamblia, an intestinal parasite, is rampant. Otherwise, only drink bottled water. Don't even brush your teeth with the tap water.
Miscellaneous: A couple of good books for the surface intervals. Nothing better than kicking back on the beach for a nap and a read. Bring paperbacks and plan on leaving them behind. The hotels have small collections of paperbacks that others have donated.
Luggage and bags:
Keep it simple, there are NO dress rules on this ship and they don't call it a barefoot cruise for nothing. For some reason my feet had swelled some and there wasn't getting any shoes on!
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: We didn't see a drop of rain, but I would suggest a squall jacket for those first couple of days at sea. You're in the shipping lanes and really moving -- when topside it really gets breezy.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: My husband started at 45 sunblock and graduated to 15. He's got the fair Anglo-Saxon skin and just burns and burns. Poor Herb . . .
Photo Equipment: Our Canon Sure Shot, coupled with our Pentax SLR took some great photos. BE SURE to bring enough camera batteries -- they are expensive here!!!! (Learned that lesson the hard way.)
Miscellaneous: Bring something for the costume party!
Luggage and bags:
Just imagine going to Arizona and pack like that. Good tennis shoes. It's soo hot so sunscreen and a hat of some kind. Tee shirts and shorts are fine. Most people dress up even when doing daily errands. Not us we wore shorts and fit right in. They don't care. Just smile a lot and nod....
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Lot's of pharmacies around with all the modern products. No need unless you are going to the jungle. In the city, you will have no trouble.
Photo Equipment: Take lots of pictures it is a beautiful country.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Great beaches and resorts just ask around We stayed one night at the Casa Del Sol. Wunderbar!!!!!
Miscellaneous: Have fun, relax and take your time. Life goes at a much slower pace. So unwind a little.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Sun screen Sun screen Sun screen Sun screen Sun screen Sun screen Sun screen Sun screen Sun screen Sun screen Sun screen Sun screen Sun screen Sun screen Sun screen Sun screen Sun screen Sun screen!!!!
Luggage and bags:
Make sure you lock your bags & have all major documentation & money on you.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: The weather is tropical so shorts, tank tops, t-shirts, sun dresses, etc. A few places require a semi-casual for dinner reservations so bring a pair of Khaki pants & polo shirt.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Good sunscreen, neosporin, pepto or Ammodium AD (just in case...).
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