- The Lack of Love for the Central American Capital
Over the last few years, we have seen a huge wave of foreigners relocating to Mexico.
One of their favorite spots to live or visit is Mexico City.
The love for Mexico City is strong.
And, to be honest, I can relate.
Mexico City is one of the few cities that -- despite its faults -- I could see myself spending the rest of my life in.
Similarly, I've been to other Latin American capitals like Bogota, Santo Domingo, Buenos Aires, etc.
And they were also all great cities to have a good time in.
Even the Bolivian capital of La Paz -- while perhaps not great for dating -- has plenty of cool things about it given all of the awesome stuff not too far away that you can see (Copacabana, Death Road, etc).
Having said that, not every Latin American capital is equal.
Some countries down here have some shit capitals.
And, as you talk with other expats, you realize a certain common belief held by many who have been around.
There are common beliefs about a lot of things that come with life in Latin America.
Like how everyone thinks Colombian food is shit but Colombian women are hot as fuck.
Similarly, one other common belief is that most Latin American capitals are not really worth much of a visit.
Maybe for a weekend but that's it.
Granted, if we were more nuanced here, one could argue that this is generally true with the exception of Panama City.
Despite how humid it can be and relatively more expensive (among other problems), most people seem to really like Panama City.
Relatively more developed, great views, decent nightlife, the women are not terrible looking, close to the US, etc.
Putting aside Panama City, you don't notice as much love for the rest of Central American capitals.
And, in my brief experience with only a few of them, I can understand why.
Quite honestly, the magic that Central America brings usually isn't within the capital cities but with the rest of the country.
Or at least that's my opinion and also the opinion of various other expats I have met over the years who know Latin America well.
Giving Advice to the New Gringo
Not too long ago, I went to some place with another American named Matt and some other foreigners who showed up also.
At the moment, there were a few others who were new to Latin America and some who were more exposed to the region down here over the years.
Naturally, you have those asking for advice on future traveling plans and those giving advice.
In particular, there was some European dude who was thinking of moving on from Mexico to Central America before heading back home to Belgium.
And naturally his questioning came along the lines of "where should he go within Central America?"
I gave my opinions.
Though, being honest, I'm not overly exposed to Central America as of this writing in 2022 but I've seen a few places over there and have some spots I liked more than others.
And two other folks gave their opinions also.
Among giving out our opinions, the Belgium dude was curious though about the capital cities.
"How is Managua? San Savlador?"
While I couldn't give my opinion on San Salvador, I did say that Managua isn't worth much of a visit.
To see once over a day or two? Sure.
But don't give it much emphasis on the trip.
And others gave similar sentiment when it came to other capitals in the region from Guatemala City to San Jose.
In short, we were all in agreement that the capital cities are not much worth of a visit and that more of the magic is outside of them.
No exact reasoning given for such other than "this city or that one is uglier, not very exciting, etc."
Though, over the years down here, I think there are specific reasons why most Central American capitals don't get much love.
The Lack of Love for Central American Capitals
There are various reasons why I think Central American capitals -- in contrast to most Latin American capitals -- don't get much love.
First, they tend to get seen as not very aesthetically pleasing.Relatively ugly looking.
Second, you have security concerns for specifically the capitals of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.
That can scare some gringos away.
Third, if we are being honest, a certain percentage of gringos come to Latin America because it is easier to get pussy. Most Latin American countries are not well known for pussy.
You do have Costa Rica and Panama that dominate the gringo interest for pussy in Latin America but that's mostly because they are seen as "relatively safer" options to visit in my opinion.
Nobody thinks the average gal from Costa Rica or Panama is hotter than the one from Colombia or Brazil.
And those are only two countries out of the rest in Central America.
Fourth, I remember a visit of mine to Managua years ago. Also to Guatemala City.
In short, neither city has much to do compared to most Latin American capitals.
Managua did have some exhibition scene somewhere in the city of how the city looked before some major earthquake. It wasn't very exciting.
Nor was the rest of the city.
Fifth, a lot of expats come to Latin America for cheap cost of living but most Central American capitals don't offer competitive prices for living when compared to other Latin American capitals.
You objectively get more bang for your buck living in a place like Mexico City or Buenos Aires (especially if converting USD on the black market) than you do your average Central American capital.
Now, to be fair, this isn't to say that Central American capital cities don't have anything to offer.
They can be OK to live in and visit!
Like I said, Panama City is quite nice.
And other cities like San Jose or Managua are OK to live in also.
They are not terrible places.
Only that, in comparison to other Latin American capitals, they don't get much love.
And, when speaking in broad generalities of Central America in general, I have noticed that more love gets thrown to other areas of Central America outside of the capital cities than inside them.
But, like I said, the capital cities are not terrible.
For a nuanced but positive perspective on one of them (Guatemala City), check out this article here.
Here's some key quotes.
"Well, Guatemala City is not as bad as I initially thought it to be, to put it bluntly. I’m glad I gave it another shot — it was the right thing to do.
But nor is it El Dorado.
Although I was far too harsh toward Guatemala City the first time around, the nightlife scene and the general atmosphere of the city, it’s still not a place that left an overwhelmingly positive impression.
Is it worth a visit?
Probably not for the vast majority of individuals.
That said, if you’re like me and get off on city living, people-watching, nightlife and there being virtually no backpackers around, perhaps give it a try.
But don’t go too far out of your way to do so."
Anything to Add?
If I was to ever live in Central America, there are a few capital cities I could see myself living in maybe.
A place like Panama City? Sure.
San Jose? Never been there as of 2022 but I'd give it a chance.
Otherwise, if I had to live in other countries of Central America, I'd probably aim for the non capital cities.
A place like Xela of Guatemala or Granada of Nicaragua.
Anyway, that's all I got to say.
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Thanks for reading.