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The Tranquilo Traveler

The Tranquilo Traveler is a celebration of voluntourism, slow travel, and other interesting ways to see the world. Travel writer and award- winning Moon Handbooks author Joshua Berman created The Tranquilo Travel as a resource for world trippers and international volunteers, a window to the author’s travels in Nicaragua, Belize, and beyond, and an update of his books and articles.

Born to Mush! My “Around Colorado” travel column in The Denver Post turns 3 with a family dog-sledding trip

Username By Joshua | February 15th, 2015 | Comments No Comments »


My travel column, “Around Colorado,” debuted on February 14, 2012, with a 500-word essay called, “There’s always more to see right here at home.” It was about hiking the Hogback Loop trail, up the street from my home in Boulder. Three years, 36 columns, and 17,000 words later, my readers and I continue to explore this great state with a dog-sledding trip to Snow Mountain Ranch.

GRANBY — A black metal snow hook anchors our wooden sled to a tire fixed to the ground, as each dog in the seven-husky team strains at its harness, barking and yipping with the excitement of the run.  READ THE ARTICLE

Discovery Channel’s “Dude You’re Screwed” features Lakes, Volcanoes, Wildlife of Nicaragua

Username By Joshua | December 10th, 2014 | Comments No Comments »

nicaragua lake volcanoes

LAGO COCIBOLCA, NICARAGUA — “Dude You’re Screwed” is a survival-themed reality show on Discovery Channel, now at the end of a second successful season. “The Island of Death” episode, which originally aired December 10, 2014, features the lakes, volcanoes, and, yes, haunted islands of Nicaragua.

Download the 43-minute episode (for $2.99) on iTunes here: Episode 7, “The Island of Death”

The concept of the show is a new twist on the survival genre. In “Dude You’re Screwed,” an elite group of bad-ass bros, all experts in survival, take turns kidnapping and dropping each other off in some of the most extreme environments on the planet. They call it “playing the game.”

They give their buddy a few random tools before releasing him into the wild, then they make a basecamp where they monitor his progress. The man in the field has 100 hours to find civilization. The cameraman cannot help him in any way. They dudes monitor their friend’s vital signs and they are aware of all local threats and dangers. Earlier this year, the dudes decided to release their boy Jake Zweig, a football coach and former Navy Seal, in the middle of the Nicaragua jungle, in the middle of Lake Nicaragua (or Lago Cocibolca). As a “Nicaragua fixer,” or location specialist, I was all too happy to help them pull it off. Read the rest of this entry »

Category: Travel, Nicaragua

Around Colorado: Camping Trip Up the Poudre

Username By Joshua | October 30th, 2014 | Comments No Comments »

Impromptu getaway proves just the Rx for an over-planned life

Category: Travel, Colorado

GUEST POST: Why You Shouldn’t Forget Suriname on Your Latin American Travels

Username By Joshua | September 18th, 2014 | Comments No Comments »

suriname.png[GUEST POST written by Kady Harper:]

So many vacationers and travelers are wrapped up in hitting the big-name countries in Central and South America or the Caribbean. They plough through smaller nations without paying attention, striving to get to Peru or Brazil to check big ticket items off their lists. This type of traveling limits your scope of the world, and it can prevent you from seeing places that are truly wonderful to behold.

Suriname is an oft-forgotten nation in the north of South America, wedged neatly between French Guinea and Guyana just above Brazil. This former Dutch colony is awash with a culture unrivaled in South America, and travelers thirsty for unique experiences would do well to devote more than a day to exploring and experiencing this fine country. Read on for some of the best things to do and see in Suriname, and you’ll know exactly where to plan your next vacation. Read the rest of this entry »

Category: Travel, Guest Post

Gifts for people who love Nicaragua

Username By Joshua | September 1st, 2014 | Comments No Comments »

nicaragua flag zapatera joshua berman
PHOTO: Nicaraguan flag and Volcán Mombacho in the clouds, at the dock at Hotel Bahía Zapatera, Isla Zapatera; by Joshua Berman

To honor Nicaragua’s mes de patria, a month-long celebration of national history, independence, culture, and pride, I thought I’d suggest a few gift and/or donation ideas. These are products either made in Nicaragua or spawned by someone’s travels there. Consider buying one of these for your Nicaphile friends, whether they are 100% Nicoyas or gringo wannabe-pinoleros (like me).

NOTE: This is an incomplete list! Please add your suggestions for Nica-themed gifts in the comments section below - gracias!

Bueno. Start with a copy of the latest edition of Moon Nicaragua. I wrote the first four editions of this Moon guide with my coauthor, Randy Wood, after the two of us had served in the Peace Corps there. The 5th edition was penned by Amber Dobrzensky and is useful both for traveling in the country or just reminding yourself of good times there. It breaks down the country by region, explaining the importance of each departemento, city, and pueblo; it lists bus schedules and hotel prices; it teaches you how to point with your lips and say fun words for “diarrhea.”
To keep the gallo pinto cooking, pair your travel guide with a cookbook: Nicaraguan Cooking: My Grandmother’s Recipes, an English language book by Trudy Espinoza-Abrams who grew up in Granada. Read the rest of this entry »

Category: Travel, Nicaragua

Around Colorado: Family fun in Steamboat Springs

Username By Joshua | August 23rd, 2014 | Comments No Comments »

steamboat beach joshua berman
Playing on the Burgess Creek “beach” is one of the popular summertime family activities in Steamboat Springs. (Joshua Berman, The Denver Post)

The Tenderfoot trail pulls me down the mountain, through another aspen grove, then up a high-banked turn, whipping me around to do it again. This is one of the newly constructed downhill paths at the Steamboat bike park, an ever-improving attraction that boasts 50 miles of trails, 2,000 vertical feet of lift-served downhill riding, and the attention of the International Mountain Bicycling Association, which will hold its biennial World Summit here Aug. 20-24.

But I’m just a novice, an unpracticed singletracker on a green trail, enjoying the quick downhill rush. I’m in Steamboat Springs on a random summer weekend with my daughters (who are playing by the stream below). Every ski area in Colorado has an alter ego in the summer, when existing infrastructure is retooled for warm-weather sports and summer concerts and festivals. I’d heard that Steamboat had particularly fun summer pickings, so we’re here for a sampling. Read the rest of this entry »

Category: Travel, Colorado

Rocky Mountain Travel: My Travel Guide to Colorado is Live!

Username By Joshua | July 7th, 2014 | Comments No Comments »


I’m proud to be a “Local Expert” on Colorado for, the website for the best print travel magazine in the world right now. And I’m happy to announce that they have just published my travel guide to Colorado, which is more like a grassroots collaborative collection of “highlights” and “wanderlists” than a traditional print guidebook. Here is the intro, enjoy and feel free to contribute if you have an account with AFAR:

Colorado is synonymous with its primary attraction: the Rocky Mountains, a jaw-dropping geographic wonder of the world whose peaks, crags, and canyons will dominate your view—and your itinerary. Visitors come to Colorado for its world-class ski resorts and numerous outdoor adventures. They come for the national parks, dude ranches, hot springs, and rodeos. They come to Denver for its museums, sports stadiums, pubs, parks, and bookshops. They come to pop a tent, unplug, and walk into the backcountry. In the eighth-largest state in the nation, there is room for everybody. READ THE REST->

Category: Travel, Colorado

35 Fun Gifts for Dads Who Travel

Username By Joshua | June 13th, 2014 | Comments No Comments »


I’m a dad. I travel. Sometimes I’m bumbling through airport security with three daughters, diapers and pacifiers flying in all directions; sometimes I’m flying luxuriously solo, rocking my wireless office through Denver International Airport, en route to a new adventure in Nicaragua, Mexico, or Belize.

Both types of Dad-travel require different levels of preparedness and equipment. Since half the battle of fatherhood is having the right tool for the job, I thought I’d offer this travel-themed Father’s Day gift list. Note: The Nicaragua connection to many of these gifts is not accidental. I’ve been traveling there since 1998 and wanted to share some of my discoveries and connections with you — and your traveling Dad.

Read the rest of this entry »

Category: Travel, Travel Gear

Travel Gear Review: Pegasus Wheeled Backpack

Username By Joshua | May 23rd, 2014 | Comments No Comments »


I took my newest piece of carry-on luggage for a test run recently on my DEN -> LGA family run. My Pegasus Convertible Wheeled Backpack, made by ECBC, was compact, tight, and kept both my electronics and clothes organized and safe.

I like.

For this past trip, I was using my Pegasus as an everyday commuter-type bag, using the roller wheels and filling it with my shirts and business items. I can’t wait to take it to the jungle this summer and see how it performs as an expedition bag — there are backpack straps which pop out, for slogging it across a humid airstrip in the middle of the tropical forest in Central America…  Read the rest of this entry »

Category: Travel, Travel Gear

My Family Travel Micro-Guide to Boulder, Colorado is for sale

Username By Joshua | May 4th, 2014 | Comments No Comments »


My first guide for, a Boulder-based travel app which hires real writers and local experts to produce unique, niche travel guides. Buy mine here.

About the Author
Joshua BermanJoshua Berman is an award-winning author for Avalon Travel Publishing's Moon series. He is a writer, editor, and trip leader, based in Central America and Boulder, Colorado. Learn more about Joshua or contact him here.
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