Small Ometepe Island Punta Jesus Maria - Charlie on Travel

The Cult Behind Hospedaje Central on Ometepe Island

“We originally came to Ometepe to work at the Hospedaje Central,” said the homeowner, “that was before we heard the rumours of the violent cult going on behind it.”

When we arrived back on Ometepe Island, we were tired, thirsty and ready to put our feet up. We dumped our bags and headed right over to Hospedaje Central (also known as El Indio Viejo) for some passionfruit juice and cheap Tonas. The hostel is one of the bigger and more lively joints in town, attracting a lot of young, free-spirited backpackers. Rainbow coloured ribbons hang from wide basket lamp shades, the walls are shabby and the ceiling is exposed bare barn house timbers. Everything is painted in bright colours, from the bar stools to the murals on the walls.

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Raw vegan travel - Catherine Forest

What Vegetarian and Vegan Travellers Eat on the Road

As vegetarian – and even more so as vegan – travellers, the one question we often get asked is what do you actually eat? For a non-vegetarian traveller, the idea of finding food which doesn’t come with meat included while on the road can seem like an impossible task. There’s no doubt that it requires a bit of extra effort to find good vegetarian and vegan food while travelling, but it’s wholly possible and when you’re actually looking out for it, it’s much easier.

I asked five travel bloggers who have vegetarian, vegan or raw diets what they eat in order to keep healthy on a typical day while travelling.

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Boat to Ometepe Island Nicaragua - Charlie on Travel

Why We Came Back to Ometepe Island in a Heartbeat

This little volcanic island out in Lake Nicaragua is one of those incredible places that you think you’ll only get to see once. As it turns out, we’re here for a second time.

We have fond memories of Ometepe Island. It was our first time climbing an active volcano, our first encounter with a howler monkey, and our first opportunity to rent a scooter and relive our Taiwan scootering days. When we left, we were practically glowing with what a good time we’d had and we were pretty sure that it was one of those once in a life time visits.

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Charlie in Ciudad Colon Small Towns Costa Rica - Charlie on Travel

5 Small Towns You Shouldn’t Miss in Costa Rica

I had the small town blues last week. Since Luke’s leg injury, we’ve been shacking up in small towns across Panama and Costa Rica. I was lusting for adventure – and all these small towns were making me feel blue.

I’d had my fill of sweet suburban houses, local farmer’s markets and small sodas – but hang on, what was I complaining about exactly? Life can’t always be big city lights and volcano boarding adventures, and quite frankly I wouldn’t want it to be either. Come to think of it, the small towns in Costa Rica have been some of the best places I’ve visited. Here are five of those awesome little places which you just can’t miss.

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From Rookies to Long-Term Travellers - Charlie on Travel

How We Went from Rookies to Long-Term Travellers

When we set off on our indefinite travel adventure to Costa Rica, we didn’t know what to expect. Eight months later and we’re long-term travellers. So how did it happen?

When we left the UK in May last year, we didn’t have all that much. We had a little money saved from our year teaching in Taiwan, a one-way plane ticket and our first ever house sit lined up. We knew that, at worst, we had enough money to last us for two months of travel. If we had to come home and rethink our plans after that, then well, we would’ve had a great holiday. Any amount of time we were able to stay travelling after that was a bonus. Right now, we’re into 6 bonus months and still going strong. Here’s how it happened.

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Up in Cerro Punta

Charlie on Volcan, Panama

Volcan is a very small but very pretty town in Panama. It’s not exactly a tourist hotspot – and really, that’s what’s so lovely about it.

We never intended to visit Volcan. After we finished house sitting in Boquete we were going to whizz on down to Panama City, except Luke injured his leg and there was no way that he was going to survive that 9 hour bus ride. With only a week before we were returning to Costa Rica, we decided to loop round to a small town on the other side of the volcano so Luke could rest up. For this, Volcan was the perfect choice.

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Vegetarian in Costa Rica - Charlie on Travel

Why Being Vegetarian in Costa Rica is Easier Than You Think

Think eating vegetarian in Costa Rica means endless days of “rice and beans – hold the chicken?” Think again.

Friends of ours who travelled in Costa Rica said that we’d be sick of rice and beans in no time. Though we’ve certainly eaten more rice and beans than is probably healthy while on the road, Costa Rica has proven to be an excellent destination for vegetarian travel. Being able to order vegetarian food in local sodas (cheap eateries) is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to vegetarian travel in Costa Rica.

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5 Films about UK Youth Culture to Watch Before Your Travel

5 Films about UK Youth Culture to Watch Before You Travel

Those who haven’t travelled to the UK often has a very romanticised view of our culture and lifestyle from watching Downton Abbey and Hugh Grant romcoms – but in truth the UK and its film industry is a whole lot more diverse than that.

Love Actually and Bridget Jones’ Diary captivated many a romantic dreamer, but that’s not all the UK film industry has to offer. The more popular UK films might leave viewers thinking that we all live in mansions and drink tea in the countryside, but that’s just not the case. The UK has a plethora of directors making great films about youth culture that deal with real issues experienced by people in the UK in recent decades. While my list of five films aren’t the most wanderlust inducing and probably won’t make you swoon over English traditions, all of them taught me a lot about the socio-cultural background of the country where I grew up.

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Coffee beans drying out in the sun

Charlie on Boquete, Panama

Green mountain views, world renowned coffee plantations and cafes that just sell strawberries, it’s no wonder that we loved Boquete, Panama.

When we realised we had a spare six weeks to explore Panama over Christmas, we set about looking for a house sit in Boquete so that we’d have a place to call home over the festive season. As it turns out, the sun was shining on us and we found a lovely home to look after. We had wonderful mountain views, local dark roast coffee and three goldens to keep us occupied.

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header Panama river rum smuggling crossing - Charlie on Travel

From Smuggling Rum Across the Panamanian Border to a Luxury Nature Retreat

When we turned up for a nature photography tour, we had no idea that rather than taking shots of toucans and tree frogs, we’d actually be smuggling rum across the Panamanian border.

The tour, which was organised by a nature retreat in Puerto Viejo, wasn’t what we expected to say the least.

“Do you think they’re not coming?”

I said to Luke with a sigh and a shrug. We had our backpacks on, our hiking boots tightly laced and my hefty camera strapped across my shoulder, we were ready to head into Cahuita National Park for some trekking and wildlife spotting – as the tour brief had outlined. Except, our guide didn’t turn up. Being terribly British when it comes to punctuality, we had politely turned up twenty minutes early and fifty minutes later were still standing there. As we stood up, ready to call it a day, a local guy in a beat-up van skidded to a stop.

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