Central America exploration

Because I’ve always wanted to…

Issue 38 / October 2019

Autumnal greetings to you all,

As many of you are aware, I consider first-hand knowledge of the countries to which we send our travellers is of paramount importance in creating a unique ‘laterally’ perfected itinerary.  It’s an investment which I view as vital to our business, so to this effect the team have been rather busy in 2019!  This year the Laterallife team has travelled to:

Asia – Japan including Honshu, Kyushu, Shikoku and the islands of Okinawa, India and Sri Lanka (January 2020)

Africa – São Tomé and Príncipe Islands (Off Gabon), South Africa (KwaZulu Natal and Cape Town), Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique & Namibia (November 2019)

North America – USA (Charleston, Kiawah Island, Savannah and New Orleans)

South America – Argentina (Buenos Aires, Ibera wetlands, Iguazu Falls), Brazil (Amazonia, Bahia, Pantanal, Paraty & Rio de Janeiro), Ecuador including the Galapagos, Peru and Chile (December 2019)

Central America – Costa Rica, Nicaragua & Panama

Australia (December 2019)

In this e-letter I am delighted to bring you our findings from Costa Rica, Nicaragua & Panama which Jessica explored for us this summer.

Should you wish to follow our adventures on Instagram you will find us under the name @Lateral_Life.

More from us next month.

Best wishes from us all,


Nicaragua is back as a tourist destination and is ready and open for visitors. It is a fascinating country and despite its recent political issues it is now stable and safe. Now is the ideal time to visit whilst traveller numbers are low. Nicaragua is known as the land of lakes and volcanoes and has spectacular vistas just waiting to be seen. Below are some of the wonderful places I visited for you to peruse.


The colourful colonial city of Granada is a highlight of Nicaragua. Located only one hour by road from Managua airport it is easily accessible. The old town can be explored on foot or by horse and carriage. On top of this, many other attractions are located within a short distance of Granada including Mombacho volcano, Apoyo Lagoon and Lake Nicaragua and the islets.

Morgan’s Rock

Morgan’s Rock is located in the very south of Nicaragua close to the Costa Rican border. It is only one hour from Costa Esmerelda Airport with scheduled flights to Libera and San Jose in Costa Rica, making it easy to combine Nicaragua and Costa Rica.  The hotel is perched on a hillside overlooking the Pacific Ocean and features 15 individual bungalows and 3 two-bedroom villas. The villas have a private plunge pool in addition to the communal pool for all guests, a spa and the beach. The hotel offers an array of activities including horseriding, boat trips, hiking, wildlife viewing tours, farm visits etc. However if you are just wanting relaxation this is also possible and you can just spend time at the beach, pool or spa.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica is rightly known as a nature lover’s playground, with over 30% of its territory protected forest and around 5% of the World’s biodiversity. If you love being active and outdoors, you will love Costa Rica. It offers family adventure at all levels from river floating to white-water rafting, zip-lining (apparently invented here), mountain biking, volcano hiking, therapeutic hot-springs, Pacific surfing, sandy beaches and a sense of well-being that few other countries can rival. Below I’ve highlighted a few of the more lateral regions and some suitably luxurious accommodation.

Pacuare Lodge

The Pacuare river region provides some of the most scenic jungle landscape and abundance of wildlife found in Costa Rica. Pacuare Lodge is inaccessible by road and therefore reaching it involves a unique journey by white-water rafting on class II-III rapids for 90 minutes. The departure is also by river on class III-IV rapids for 4 hours of exhilarating adventure. The lodge’s Linda Vista Suites are a truly remarkable feat of luxury – almost everything from bath tubs to king size mattresses were brought here by raft – and provide secluded luxury which is sure to exceed any expectation; these suites even have a private infinity pool. The lodge offers 8 complimentary activities including ziplining, canyoning, hiking and kayaking. There is also a spa if you prefer to relax. The white water rafting is suitable for 12 years and older only.

Nayara Resort, Spa & Gardens

Flanked by Arenal Volcano, Nayara Resort is a luxurious haven with incredible panoramic views. The surrounding area offers plenty of adventure with excellent hiking, biking, ziplining, kayaking and rafting nearby. For a more gentle experience there is superb bird-watching, fishing, visits to coffee and tropical fruit plantations, and a farm tour with cooking class. Make sure to take some time-out from the sightseeing to simply relax at the hotel. The hotel has a calm tranquil feel to it with gardens and winding pathways leading between the hotel facilities and the rooms. The hotel consists of both an adults only section and a family friendly property joined by a bridge. They are also due to open a tented camp at the end of the year.

Playa Cativo

Located on the Osa Peninsula, this is the wildest most remote region of the country and only accessible by boat or air. Fly into either Golfito or Puerto Jiminez where you will be taken by boat to Playa Cativo – a great way to arrive and really adds to the wow factor of the hotel. The setting is that of a tropical paradise; a secluded beach with crystal clear water framed by palm trees and backed by rainforest. Service and food are some of the best you will find in the country and my only advice is don’t rush your stay here. The hotel has a spa, pool, yoga deck and complimentary use of kayaks and paddle boards. They also arrange a number of activities on site including night walks, bird watching, yoga classes, guided kayak rides and sustainability tours.


Most famous for its canal and whilst this is a must see there is also much more to see and do when visiting this fascinating destination. This small country offers an abundance of wildlife, unspoilt rainforest, remote uninhabited beaches, coffee and cocoa plantations as well as the vibrant city of Panama City.

American Trade Hotel

Located in the centre of Casco Viejo, the American Trade Hotel is the place to stay in Panama City. Each room is slightly different but all embrace the character of the building. The hotel also features a lovely bar and restaurant in the lobby, as well as a Jazz bar located next door. All this plus the intriguing Casco Viejo on your doorstep waiting to be explored.

Up Periscope: Montage Palmetto Bluff, South Carolina

Set on the banks of the May River the Montage Palmetto Bluff hotel has a quintessentially southern feel to it thanks to its white cottages with screened in porches surrounded by oak trees. It is a very family friendly property with plenty to keep the kids (and adults) entertained with cycling, boat trips, kayaking, paddleboarding, golf, bowling and much more. Plus it is only 30-40 minutes drive from Savannah.


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