This article was guest-written by our friend and fellow dirty vagrant Carmella Guiol.
In response to the post praising the colder regions of the planet, I have decided to retaliate with my own post in praise of the warmer, tropical regions of the world! Raised in South Florida without an air conditioner, I might have a higher heat tolerance than most, but here are some universal reasons why the tropics are hot.
1) They’re cheap! Traveling in tropical places saves you serious money.
a. Clothing, or lack thereof: First of all, you don’t have to buy tons of extra warm layers to keep from freezing. (And you save room in your backpack when all you need to pack is a swimsuit and towel!) And if you get too hot, you can go cool off in the beautiful ocean or take a dip in a lush, rainforest river. Or perhaps find a gorgeous half-naked man to fan you while you repose under a coconut tree? See # 3 [Ed. note: my hippie parents took me to many nude beaches when I was a child. I am of the opinion that SOME PEOPLE are far kinder on the eyes when covered with Icelandic wools.]
b. Food: You need fewer calories to sustain yourself when it’s hot out so you don’t have to spend as much money on food as you would in, say, Iceland. Also, tropical fruit is abundant and often free for the taking! See # 2
c. Economics: It’s common knowledge that the extremities of the planet are simply more expensive than the equatorial band. In Norway, hotel rooms cost $300/night. On the other hand, in Nicaragua I never paid more than $3 a night for a place to sleep (granted, some of those nights were spent in hammocks, but once you get the hang of them, you sleep like a baby in a bassinet!) [Ed note: for some reason disasters befall us when we try to sleep in hammocks.] In the Southern hemisphere, Argentina and Chile are the most expensive – and southernmost – countries in South America. Coincidence? I think not. In Ecuador, I got used to eating three course meals for about $5–Take that, Scandinavia!
2) Tropical fruit! It’s everywhere, and it wants you to eat it! This also goes along with the previous thought, because basically, mangos falling from trees = free food. Not to mention, starfruit, bananas, dragonfruit, oranges, durian [Ed. note: Clearly our friend Carmella has not read this article], jackfruit, lychees, and plenty of other exotic fruits that have perhaps pursued you your wildest tropical fruit dreams/nightmares. Plus, tropical fruits are just the most delicious things ever, and that is an indisputable fact.
3) Everyone knows the tropics are sexy. This goes with the whole ‘wearing less clothing’ thing (see #1a). Picture this: it’s hot, you’re half naked (as is everyone else), you’re probably dancing to some sweet drumming on a beach somewhere, there’s probably a full moon… You catch my drift? You picking up what I’m putting down?
4) Even as a traveler passing through, your social calendar will definitely be buzzing with all kinds of awesome events, such as sports, pig roasts, and parties for just about any reason imaginable. Unlike in cold places where everyone is huddled in front of their fireplaces by themselves, trying not to die from pneumonia, in warm regions, life happens outside of the home. When traveling in the tropics, you can expect lots of loud, rambunctious outdoor gatherings, usually involving fantastic music, with lots of opportunities to meet interesting, beautiful people and strike up long-lasting, meaningful relationships (or, um, see #3).
5) It’s magical and beautiful! From vibrant rainforests to amazing underwater worlds, the tropics have an abundance of natural beauty to discover. Giant leaves bigger than your body! Ecological hotspots with more endemic species than you can shake a stick at! Colorful markets with tropical fruits, panama hats, hammocks, bags, whole animals, or anything your heart desires! There are so many beautiful things to discover in the tropics, which brings me to my next point.
6) Adventure! The tropics are one hell of a wild ride. In the tropics, you’ll have experiences that will test all of your limits, but you’ll also be treated to some incredible moments, like listening to the rare umbrella bird sing or climbing the inside of a hollow strangler fig until you’re sitting at the top in the canopy of the rainforest like a howler monkey. But beware – lots of things are out to get you. With deadly diseases and poisonous insects, the tropics don’t play! But this just makes your journey all the more adventurous, as long as you’re prepared–with malaria meds, lots of insect repellent, thick rubber boots, and an indomitable spirit.
About the author: Carmella has been meandering across sea and land since she was a small tyke. She’s trekked El Camino a few times and lived at sea with her captain father. She’s done more awesome things than we could adequately relay here, so we shall direct you to her blog instead.