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July 5, 2010 11:10 AM   Subscribe

TravelFilter: A month travelling central america or india/sri lanka...

My boyfriend and I will have a little over a month (maybe we can stretch it out to 2...) to travel, in Septemer or October, and we've narrowed it down to these areas.. Either we go from Nicaragua to Costa Rica to Panama along the coast, or we travel down through India and then check out Sri Lanka. We love surfing and hiking and camping and... escaping to experience a different culture or seeing awesome natural beauty.

Any personal experience in either of these places would be apppreciated as we try to decide and plan..

posted by osloheart to Travel & Transportation (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I love India and Sri Lanka. If you've got a month, unless you're doing a total whistle-stop tour I'd do either part of India or Sri Lanka. I certainly wouldn't try and do both. The distances are vast in India and infrastructure isn't great. Sri Lanka is much smaller, more manageable and has a lot less in-yer-face grim poverty if you struggle with that. Both are very cheap.

Some suggestions. All of these took me roughly a month and I travel real fast.

Northern India: Delhi-Taj Mahal, Darjeeling and then maybe Sikhim for trekking.

NW India: Delhi: Shimla, Manali, then up to Ladakh for trekking and mountain climbing.

Southern India: Chennai (Madras), Pondicherry, Rameshwaram, Madhurai, Kodaikanal, Kerela

Sri Lanka: Kandy, Nuwara Eilya, The two ruined cities, tea plantations, southern coast.

Never been to central America, though it looks cool. The food will be better in India/ SL though. If you have any questions pls email me. Loads of pix/ descriptions on my website.
posted by rhymer at 11:26 AM on July 5, 2010

Sri Lanka's awesome. Lovely people. Nice food. Fantastic scenery. Interesting culture.

There are some hiking options.

I don't think it's that great if you can't afford to hire a car (which basically means hiring a car + a driver). It's not developed enough that basic camping is a realistic option, IMHO. There is luxury safari-style camping though.

I did spend 10 days there, but did it in small hotels. I don't recall seeing either that many backpackers or places for backpackers, if that's what you intend doing.

I highly recommend Boutique Sri Lanka as a go-to place for organising a trip or just as a good site to browse for info.
posted by MuffinMan at 11:34 AM on July 5, 2010

Some general thoughts: I can only put in my vote for India, as I've not been to South America. But being sort of middlingly well-traveled, I can say that India is the most incredible place I've ever been. Not to sound like a bad hippy "I evolved myself on an Ashram" type, but the month I spent pretty much aimlessly travelling around the Delhi area was the best time of my life. You will not regret any time spent there. Natural beauty, culture, spirituality... it's all there.

oh: and Sri Lanka has some incredibly beautiful beaches, according to a Sri Lankan friend of mine.

Caveat: this assumes, of course, that you have either already undertaken or are fully prepared to undertake traveling in a developing country. Some people think they are, but then get there and freak out (some of the people I traveled to India with got on a plane two weeks before we were originally scheduled to leave).
posted by ladybird at 11:43 AM on July 5, 2010

If you are located in the States, head for India (or my vote:) Sri Lanka.
You can nip down to (relatively nearby) Central America anytime.

Also, Costa Rica and Panama, although beautiful, are very westernized and are culturally less interesting.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 12:18 PM on July 5, 2010

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