Things we'll miss about backpacking Latin America


We finally have tickets home and the days are flying. With just over a month until we land back in the US, we’re trying to savor the time we have left in this incredible part of the world. After a year and a half of backpacking around Latin America, we’ve compiled a list of the things we’ll miss the most when we get back home.

  • The markets. We’ll miss the organized chaos of being able to buy just about anything in a local market, all while chatting up the characters selling everything from toilet paper to phone chargers to fireworks. We’ll especially miss the selection of fresh fruits, veggies, and spices, and the ability to buy the things we need in the quantities we want.

  • The public transit system of buses, combis, and colectivos. In most of Latin America, we can count on being able to get from Point A to Point B stringing together public transit, even in pretty remote places. It may be crowded, it may take a long time, but it will be cheap and will get you there.

  • The menú del día. We love that we don’t have to sort through dozens of options on a menu, and that we get a filling multi-course lunch for a great deal that lets us sample the local cuisine.

  • The bakeries. Whether we’re looking for a cheap snack for the road or for a sweet treat at night, Latin American bakeries have never let us down. They’re everywhere, and they’re delicious.

  • Meeting others who get what you’re doing and have interesting life stories. Sometimes it’s hard for people who have never quit their jobs, packed their life into a bag, and left for an indefinite amount of time to understand the motivations that got us here and what our daily life is like. Meeting others who have done the same thing helps us not feel so alone in our choice to live this alternative life, plus lots of interesting life stories of how they got to this place.

  • Freedom to do (mostly) what we want every day. Want to go to the market and cook a meal? Let’s do it. Want to read on the beach? Ok. Want to visit a museum? Let’s go. Want to hike out to the sand dunes and stargaze? Alright. Returning to the “real world” means daily routines that aren’t interrupted with the magic of spontaneity.

  • The nature. Whether it’s the mountains or the ocean, Latin America doesn’t disappoint and we’ve been lucky to spend most of our trip surrounding ourselves with waves, trees, peaks, and waterfalls. Plus the fact that we haven’t really had to experience winter in a year and a half has been glorious.

  • The value of people over things. People in Latin America take siestas and regularly spend hours eating together. Families routinely share meals and friends make time to see each other. We wish there was more of this culture back home where people usually make plans weeks in advance to have lunch together or to meet up for coffee.

  • The elaborate celebrations. Flowers, candles, traditional dresses, fireworks, painted faces, drums, and dancing. Seeing and participating in local celebrations with time honored traditions has been refreshing compared to many of the capitalist, consumption-focused holidays back home.

Have you ever traveled abroad and missed things from another part of the world? Let us know in the comments!