November 2022 | Recap

Hey friends! I can’t believe we are halfway through December and I’m just getting around to posting this recap of November. That always seems to happen this time of year!

Last month was one of our most jam-packed yet on our longterm travel adventures through Latin America. Here’s a quick recap of the month that was.

IMPORTANT QUESTION FOR YOU READERS | I’ve been writing monthly recaps nearly every month since I started blogging in 2015. Mostly I do them for myself but they are also quite a bit of work to write up. I’m considering moving them to my email newsletter instead of publishing here. Another option is publishing them quarterly instead of monthly. If you’ve been reading for a while and have any opinion on the future of these recaps, I’d greatly appreciate a comment below with your preference!

My favorite of the San Blas Islands! As you can see, it was a wee bit windy…

Where was I in November?

  • Countries: Panama, Costa Rica
  • Cities: San Blas Islands, Panama City, Boquete, Panama; Dominical, Manuel Antonio, Monteverde, La Fortuna, Costa Rica
  • Flights: 0
  • Days on the road: All of them! 🙂

November on the blog…

Blogging definitely got away from me in November and I only published a few posts (and updated an old one).

Here’s what’s new on the blog:

Monkeys outside our VRBO in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica! I got a new camera lens this month so look forward to alllll the wildlife photos.

November adventured like…

We sailed from Colombia to Panama via an epic 5 day sailing trip through the San Blas Islands. Living on a sailboat with a bunch of strangers was certainly an adventure of a lifetime (and definitely not in the travel budget) but I’m so glad we did it. We made some great friends, played a lot of cards, survived a 40 hour ocean crossing without barfing (thanks dramamine), snorkeled, ate lobster, and had a blast. The actual islands were kind of a disappointment as we had HORRIBLE weather, but the boat trip itself was awesome.

Beautiful sunrise views from our sailboat the Amande I in the San Blas Islands.
The group that we sailed with! I was the only American and Dan was the only Brit. Others were from Netherlands, Germany, and Belgium! Our captain was Spanish and the crew was Panamanian and Argentinian 🙂
Dan on our ocean crossing day.
Snorkeling in the San Blas! It looks close to shore but that was a channel and it was…deeeeeeep.

We spent time exploring Panama City. Honestly Panama City (and Panama as a whole) surprised me. I really loved it and want to return in the future to see more of it. In Panama City I had some of my best gluten free meals to date – including at a 100% gluten free sushi restaurant! We spent some time exploring the city with new Dutch friends from our sailing trip, and I also serendipitously met up with my friend Rachel from Rachel Off Duty who happened to be in Panama at the same time!

Probably the best sushi meal I’ve ever had. Stay tuned for my gluten free Panama guide!
Rachel and I in Panama City!

Then we holed up in an Airbnb in Boquete, Panama. In Boquete we had a great deal on an Airbnb and just watched The Circle on Netflix and cooked for ourselves – honestly we were exhausted at that point and recovering from the sailing trip + activities in Panama City. We had great plans for hiking a volcano for sunrise but it turned out to be illegal to hike overnight, pouring rain every day, and overall our energy reserves were at zero…

Boquete was pretty…not that we saw much of it LOL.
I was SO HAPPY to find Schar gluten free bread in Boquete. Man… I missed sandwiches.

We stayed in a 100% gluten free hotel in Costa Rica. We crossed the Panama – Costa Rica border (full guide at that link!) where we promptly checked into Cuna Del Angel, which was my first ever 100% gluten free hotel experience. This was my belated birthday present from Dan and it was just incredible. I ate gluten free calamari, bruschetta, pancakes, and even a BREAKFAST BUFFET (fellow celiacs can relate to the excitement there lol). I’ll be writing a full guide reviewing it, so stay tuned!

Gorgeous infinity pool at Cuna del Angel!
Gluten free hotel breakfast of my dreams.

Then we spent 10 days exploring Costa Rica with my parents! My parents flew to Costa Rica to meet us and we had the most epic whirlwind 10 days with them. We visited Manuel Antonio, Monteverde, and La Fortuna, seeing sooo much wildlife along the way (sloths, monkeys, toucans, and more!). Dan, my Dad, and I played a lot of cards, drank a lot of margaritas, and we all cooked together and made some delicious food. For Thanksgiving, Dan and I cooked empanadas! It was just so nice to see my parents and make these forever memories all together.

The whole squad on the hanging bridge in Monteverde!
Dan took this photo of me with my parents near our VRBO in Manuel Antonio <3
On the 1968 Arenal Volcano hike near La Fortuna!
One of many… many… many… margaritas prepared by my dad. I know backpackers are supposed to drink and party a lot but we’ve hardly drunk a drop compared to the 10 days with my parents and their margarita skills LOL.

I got some new camera gear. I finally bit the bullet and ordered myself a higher quality camera lens and an underwater iphone case, which my parents brought to us in Costa Rica. OMG. I wish I’d done this years ago! I got sooo many wildlife phots in Costa Rica and this is definitely my new obsession!

A green violet ear hummingbird at our house rental in Monteverde, Costa Rica! I loooooove this new lens, y’all.
A Toucan at Bogarin Trail in La Fortuna, Costa Rica! I got sooo many toucan photos!

Gluten free travel is looking up. If you’ve been reading along, you’ll remember I REALLY struggled to eat gluten free in Peru and got glutened like four times and lost about 10 pounds in the two months we were there. It was awful. Since we got into Central America, things are really looking up. I found it soooo easy to eat gluten free in Costa Rica, and I’m hopeful that the rest of our travels will be like this or even easier!

Enjoying gluten free almuerzo in Costa Rica!!

November travel budget breakdown…

As a reminder, my travel budget is $1,500 per month, or roughly $50/day. I was actually under budget in July, August, and September, but then went over budget (by $279) in October as we splashed out on our epic trip to Providencia Island in Colombia.

Going into November we knew things could be baaad (budget-wise). Our San Blas Islands sailing trip was about triple our daily budget. Saying that, it was going to be not that much less to fly from Colombia to Panama, so in a way it was a good deal as we not only did the border crossing but got an epic experience out of it, too.

We did recover from that budget-buster in Costa Rica because my parents paid for all our accommodation during their 10 day visit (as our joint birthday and Christmas presents). It was suuuuch a treat and I can’t wait to share links to our house rentals in my Costa Rica blog posts because they were so beautiful.

Here’s a breakdown of my November travel expenses:

  • Accommodation: $264
  • Travel: $133
  • Activities: $729
  • Food: $685
  • Miscellaneous: $77

Total: $1,888

November blogging income report and update…

Traffic remained down on the blog which is frustrating but a result of travel winding down and entering the festive season!

  • Sessions: 60,553
  • Pageviews: 71,074

November 2022 blogging income

My blogging and writing income remained pretty steady this month. What you don’t see below is that I also had a lot of business expenses in November – including renewing my website hosting and buying camera gear!

Here’s how my income broke down in October:

  • Advertising: $1,482.83
  • Freelance Writing: $1,050
  • Affiliates: $407.90

Total: $2,940.73

Note: This is my gross income, before expenses and taxes.

I may have spent way too much money on food in November than is remotely reasonable buuuut…. at least it was GOOD food.

Upcoming in December…

Well, we’re already halfway through December as I write this, LOL. December finds me in Nicaragua and loooving it. I know I raved about Colombia, but I think Nicaragua might be my new favorite, guys!!

If you’re on my email newsletter list, you’ll also see I’ve ordered my Christmas presents (still have some postcards to write). This year I bought some beautiful stained glass hangings from GlassArtStories, an Etsy shop based in Ukraine. It feels good to support Ukrainian artists and not to mention their work is stunning. Highly recommend!

Other than that, I’m just plodding along trying to finish up my final freelance articles for the year, catch up on my business accounting, and plan our upcoming travels. I have about a million blog posts to write which is stressing me out, but I’m hoping I can approach that with new determination in the New Year.

What are you all up to the rest of December? Any exciting travel plans for 2023?

IMPORTANT QUESTION FOR YOU READERS | If you’ve been reading for a while and have any opinion on the future of these recaps, I’d greatly appreciate a comment below with your preference!

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  1. I love the monthly recaps! So many travel bloggers used to do them, but now you and Adventurous Kate are the only two I follow who still keep up with them. The ones since you started traveling have been super helpful with the budget breakdowns and income reports, and I love reading them.

    1. Thank you! It really helps to get feedback because sometimes with these recaps I feeling like I spend ages writing them and then send them into the void lol. I read Kate’s recaps too and I really enjoy them! It makes me a little sad people seem to have stopped doing them. I don’t think blogging is dying but it definitely feels less personal these days. I’m happy to hear the budget breakdowns etc are useful!!

  2. I love the monthly recaps – it’s so nice to read about your travels and all the different things you have been doing! Love the wildlife shots too – which lens did you get?

    1. That is good to hear because they’ve become quite a bit of work (have to finish my monthly accounting lol) and so I want to make sure people are still interested!! And thank you, that means a lot coming from you my wildlife photography master!! I just have a canon eos m6 mirrorless camera (bought back in 2019, I think it’s been discontinued) and I bought the EF-M 55-200mm lens. So it’s not even a crazy telephoto amount (no clue if that’s the right terminology hahah) but it’s sooo much better than my kit lens!

    1. Ok that is good to know! I’m starting to think I will keep them as blog posts at least until May next year (when we are done traveling in Latin America) and then reassess from there. Happy holidays to you too! I hope you have a lovely time celebrating with your husband and kiddos.

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