Central America and the Caribbean

This area includes the southernmost portion of the North American continent and the large number of island groups and territories that inhabit the Caribbean Sea to the east.

5 stars

In Search of Captain Zero
Published: 2001
Countries:
Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica
Blurb: In Search of Captain Zero: A Surfer's Road Trip Beyond the End of the Road is a bodacious account of Weisbecker's slow-travel South, from Mexico to Costa Rica, in search of a vanished surfing buddy. Comprising a hybrid of the movie Point Break and the book Mr Nice, spliced with a touch of gonzo travelling for good measure, this book proves beyond doubt that the surfing gods truly do exist.

4 Stars

The Lost City of the Monkey God by Douglas Preston
Published:
2017
Countries: Honduras
Blurb: Preston writes an amazing story of the history and archaeological discovery of the White City (La Ciudad Blanca) situated deep within the Honduran jungle. Since the earliest day of Hernan Cortes in the early 16th century, there has always circulated rumours of a hidden city nicknamed the Lost City of the Monkey God which would bestow wealth beyond all imagination for anyone who could find it. Preston’s provides an unforgettable story of history of those who have sought their fortune trying to find this fabled city along with his own search in this inhospitable and dangerous part of the world.

3 and a half stars

An Embarrassment of Mangoes by Ann Vanderhoof
Published:
2003
Countries: The Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Grenada, Trinidad
Blurb: Mix 2 cups travelogue, 3 desert spoons cooking book and a teaspoon of how-to sailing guide and the result is the delightfully light and fluffy An Embarrassment of Mangoes: A Caribbean Interlude. The book details Ann and Steve Vanderhoof's journey aboard their 42-foot yacht Receta as they take a two year break from their professional careers to sail down the east coast of North America to the West Indies. Travelling more than 7,000 miles via 16 countries, this is a story that definitely requires cautionary labels as its guaranteed to make you wonder whether taking a similar sojourn yourself is required!

Walking the Americas by Levison Wood
Published: 2017
Countries: Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama
Blurb: Following on from his two wildly successful walking travelogues, Wood delivers yet again an imminently likeable and interesting book which charts his 2,900km journey through Central American highlands, jungles, remote wilderness and urban ganglands. This time, he is accompanied the entire way by his Mexican friend, Alberto, who provides a more consistent counterpoint to his own experiences and ensures that Walking the Americas is a worthy addition to the Levison Wood book stable.

The Dead Yard by Ian Thomson
Published: 2009
Countries: Jamaica
Blurb: The Dead Yard ain't no usual travel book, oh no, but I love it, yeah (courtesy of 10cc). Part social commentary, travelogue and historical account of the Jamaica that exists behind the sand, sun and sex that most tourists only ever experience, this is an impressively comprehensive and accessible narrative of a country still struggling to break free of the slavery shackles binding Jamaicans today via its class and racial divides.

The Full Montezuma by Peter Moore
Published:
2000
Countries: Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Cuba
Blurb: Moore’s second foray into epic overland journeys, see him this time bringing along his girlfriend of six weeks, referred to as the GND (the Girl Next Door). The book is a good read with some great experiences not least due to Hurricane Mitch that proceeded their arrival and throwing their travel plans somewhat into disarray. The only downside is that the constant references to the bickering between the author and the GND becomes repetitive and distracts from the quality of the rest of the story.

3 stars

It's Every Monkey for Themselves
Published:
2007
Countries: Costa Rica
Blurb: It's Every Monkey for Themselves is Vanessa Woods' warts and all story of her year spent in the Cielo Forest in Costa Rica researching behavioural ecology of Capuchin monkeys. Focusing primarily on the upright primates that inhabit the "monkey house", rather than the those in the wild, the book abounds with plenty of adult-themed content and comes across as something like what the 1990's TV series Melrose Place might've been, had it been set in the jungle.