hi! i would love some advice from seasoned travellers.
my friend and i are two university seniors taking a three-week trip to central america in august. she speaks spanish fluently and her mother is from guatemala so we should be fairly well off language- and to an extent street-wise. we've both travelled around quite a bit (me around europe, her around israel/guatemala) and feel pretty confidant we'll be able to do this safely and have a great time.
we've decided to fly into costa rica, spend a few days there, and then travel into panama by bus and spend another couple days there. from there we had really wanted to visit colombia for gabriel garcia marquez related reasons. we know enough by now that we would take a ferry to do it, but we're veeery apprehensive about going safety-wise; after all we are two girls in our early twenties and even if one of us can pass for a local, it still doesn't feel too safe (plus we don't want to give our parents heart attacks).
i was wondering if anyone could recommend other cities or countries that they think would be a good other option to go to by plane or much more preferably boat, from panama. quito? carcaras? are either of these a good (and, importantly, economical) idea? are there any other options?
i would love some input from anyone who's travelled the region.
thanks so much!