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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 monuments.


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 Cuba, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands, Sint Maarten, Saint Martin, Anguilla, Saint Barthélémy, St-Kitts, Antigua, Montserrat, Guadeloupe, Dominica, Martinique, St-Lucia, St-Vincent and Barbados. Then, after an overnight stop in Caracas, Venezuela, I went on to Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, Belize  and 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 some information on costs and hotels  that might be useful to you if you are considering a trip in that part of the world.


I continue developing this site for the pleasure of sharing the joys of discovery with you. Meeting wonderful people of all skin colours, ethnic origins and beliefs has inspired me to set up the Humanist Foundation of Quebec to promote critical thinking and intercultural tolerance.

You may download and use the globetrotter's photos provided you mention "Photo by Bernard Cloutier" with a link to this site below each photo. High resolution versions can be acquired from our agent



If you feel like it, you may exchange comments and impressions with other readers in the questbook or express them to me privately by the e-mail link. Putting a link on your web site, if you have one, would invite your viewers to enjoy free virtual travel as I hope you did.




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