Cuba, the Caribbean Islands,
and Central America in 2001
After backpacking every winter for the last nine years I'm running out of new places
to visit. The Caribbean Sea seemed to be the best destination for 2001 because it was the
region where I could visit the most countries that I did not know yet while travelling
the shortest distance.
I had been to Cuba and some of the islands but
only as a sun seeking tourist with little interest to get to know the local people.
This time it would be different. I had also visited Central America in the winter
of '93 and it was time to return to visit friends and to see more of the great Maya
My overall impressions concern the
contradictions in which Cuba seems to be trapped and the
impact of excessive tourism on the Caribbean.
In Central America I thought I would be able write something about the prospects of the economic
development of Central America in a global economy. Thinking it over however, the extreme social
inequalities that are maintained, with outside support, by the
concentration of wealth and power in the hands of a privileged few, have left me with little hope that the
six small countries that share this this fragmented region might someday become more than the
subservient satellites of their big northern neighbour. Even the most advanced one, Costa Rica,
survives on a very short leash.
The map traces my journey. This year's adventure took me from Montreal to
the US Virgin Islands,
the British Virgin Islands,
Barbados. Then, after an overnight stop in
Caracas, Venezuela, I went on to
Mexico before returning to Montreal.
Sometimes, I have added some photos from previous trips to give you a better panorama
of the region.(
For example, El Salvador). To avoid
confusion I have used a different background colour with these older photos. I had
planned to include pages on Haiti and the Dominican Republic but I changed my mind
because most of my old photos were just not good enough. As usual, I am providing
information on costs and hotels that
might be useful to you if you are considering a trip in that part of the world.