MY BIGGEST PIECE ADVICE TO YOU IS TO QUIT THINKING ABOUT WHAT KINDS OF SHOES YOU SHOULD BRING AND HOW YOU ARE GOING TO BLOW DRY YOUR HAIR. TRUST ME WHEN I SAY THAT YOU WILL BE BAREFOOT AND AU NATURAL THE ENTIRE TIME!
ENJOY THE SIMPLICITY OF LIFE!
WHEN YOU TAKE AN EXTENDED VACATION OF 2 WEEKS OR MORE PACKING BECOMES QUITE A TASK AND CAN BE STRESSFUL. AND IF YOU ARE LIKE ME, YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR NOT ONLY PACKING YOUR BELONGS BUT ALSO YOUR CHILD'S AND YOUR SPOUSES. YES, MY HUSBAND HAS IT MADE :)
My family has traveled to Central and South America many times and through trial and error have learned that packing light is best! And as a women, there are some things that have just made my entire vacation much more pleasant!
MY GUIDE OF 5 THINGS EVERY WOMEN NEEDS FOR A LATIN AMERICAN VACATION IS A GREAT GUIDE FOR ANY OF THE LATIN AMERICAN COUNTRIES OR FOR ANY EXTENDED VACA IN A TROPICAL AREA.
5 THINGS EVERY WOMEN NEEDS FOR A LATIN AMERICAN VACATION
FIRST - FAST DRYING AND LIGHT TOWELS
One thing I hate the most to pack is a beach or bath towel - they take up so much room! My solution has been the REI MultiTowel Light X Large because it literally soaks up an insane amount of water but then rings out to nothing! I would bring one of these plus a sarong and you are good to go!
SECOND - BATHING SUITS
Whether you are staying at a fancy resort or at a hostel, I would plan on being in your bathing suit majority of the time. It is hot...really hot down there so plan on your suits being your primary clothing option!
THIRD - LIGHT WEIGHT, FAST DRYING ITEMS
From my experience traveling to Nicaragua and Ecuador, out of everything I packed, I always found myself reaching for any airy, thin, long tee shirt to walk around in. Something that I could lay in the sun and it would dry while I was swimming. Unless you are super comfortable in denim I would limit it to maybe one pair of shorts. Another point to make about these countries is that they are super dusty from the lack of paved roads. Meaning, avoid white - it will become grungy and nasty. Just don't do it!
FOURTH - FLASH LIGHTS, RESUSABLE WATER BOTTLES, A KNIFE
These three items are not a necessity but really do come in handy.
You will need a flash light for walking down the beach a night or if the electricity where you are staying cuts off daily. Losing electricity during the day is common in most Latin American Countries, the towns do it to save power.
Reusable water bottles are amazing if your accommodations offer free water out of a large professional jug. Remember you need to stay extra hydrated especially if you are not used to extreme heat so filler up!
A knife...yes I am serious. Remember we are vacationing in Latin America not the States. And actually I would recommend carry a knife with you everywhere no matter what country you are in. If you do not already own a pocket knife, purchase one that is easy to open and close and will fit in your pocket or purse. JUST REMEMBER TO PACK IT IN YOUR CHECK LUGGAGE SO SECURITY DOES NOT TAKE IT!
FIVE - SPECIALITY ITEMS
I am not talking about shampoo and such but rather tampons, sunscreen, and aloe vera gel. If you think sunscreen is expensive here you will be blown away at what the local stores charge for it! And to boot, if you get burned (which you more than likely will) finding any after sun soothing gel is an impossible task. Not only are these draw backs of buying these items while on vacation, but you also need to consider that you probably are not going to be in a town and will have to take a cab at least an hour away. So plan ahead, if you are going to have your demon seed bring plenty of tampons...don't get caught in need yet a hour away! A little hint, you cannot flush any toilet paper or sanitary products - they all go in the trash can.