Are you one of those crazy chicas that just has to do everything people tell you not to do? Have you already tried all types of chicken buses and feel a bit tired of being squeezed in between too many people? Maybe hitchhiking is something for you!
Hitchhiking is not for everyone and there are obvious dangers involved, but if you feel that this is something you want to do I’d like to give you some advice to stay safe while doing so.
My first experience hitchhiking in central america was in 2014. Me and my Salvadorean friend hitchhiked up to the mountains and back down again. I was already a confident traveler after 5 months on the road traveling by chicken buses. But this experience made me feel not just safer but also more in contact with the country and local people of the countries I was visiting.
So this time around, back in the Americas, I make sure not to miss the small towns and all the beautiful people.
Here is my best advice for hitchhiking as a girl through Central America:
- Always travel during daylight. This is one of the most important things, I would say. If sunset is approaching and you haven’t arrived at your destination yet, find a place to stay in the nearest town, you will most likely find a hostel, hotel or hospedaje which is like a guesthouse in someones home.
- Speak the language. You have to be able to say where you are going and make sure you understand if someone is talking about you. There are a lot of Spanish courses in all of central america and they are very easy to find, just ask for them or search on the internet. This will also help you get to know the culture of the country you are in.
- Know your route. Make sure you know the name of the towns along the way to your destination. In case someone drops you of before your final destination- you will be able to know approximately where you are on the map.
- Think positive. Don’t go around attracting things you don’t want by worrying too much. Nice people will come around, you will get where you want, you will enjoy the ride and you are going see some amazing things. I don’t have to tell you all about the law of attraction right?
- Trust your instincts. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it, there will be more opportunities.
- Go for the pickup trucks. In Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua hitchhiking and pickup rides are very common. Always look for the pickups and jump in the back.
- Never wear white. You are going to get dirty, that’s for sure. Walking along the highway and sitting on the floor of trucks is something you have to count on. Wear comfy clothes and items you don’t care about getting dirty. The same goes with jewelry. I wouldn’t wear silver or gold if it’s not a must.
So in the end you might still be wondering, why hitchhike? The buses are really cheap and they can take you almost anywhere.
For me its all about the experience, enjoying the nature and the good energy of the sun. Plus, most of the time you will get there faster. If you are going from a city all the way to a mountain village and taking a chicken bus you have to count on spending a good couple of hours traveling and you will miss a lot of nature and village experience.
Rebecca started traveling 5 years ago when she embarked on a solo trip to Italy. This journey changed her perspective on life, meeting all sorts of artistic travelers that earned a living by working in the streets selling hand made jewelry, juggling and theater. So Rebecca decided to do the same, but in her own kind of way. Since then she have been going back and forth to Sweden (her home town ), hitchhiking and selling macrame jewelry.